WANTED ****

WESLEY GIBSON (JAMES McAVOY) is not a loser.

It’s far more important – and an unfortunate fact – that he honestly thinks that he is.

Small and slight with brilliant azure eyes, he works as an account manager for an anonymous firm in the brittle heart of Chicago. He’s only in his twenties and he feels like this is the end of the line for him.

His boss (a badly dressed, power mad hag) is a nightmare. His selfish cheating whore of a girlfriend is riding the hobby horse with his morally bankrupt best friend. He is aware of this situation and refuses to confront either of them. He’s under so much pressure that he has to take anti-anxiety medication on a regular basis.

Wesley’s miserable. All he has is endless stress and insurmountable difficulties. The best days are the ones that are emptily uneventful and they all blend together. He’s so beaten down it’s like he can’t ever get up again.

He’s finished. Done. OVER…

One evening he’s in the pharmacy stocking up on more pills. An impossibly beautiful brunette – sleek, athletic, perfect features – walks up to him and begins a discussion about his father. He tells her that there must be some mistake. His dad walked out when he was just a few days old. He hasn’t seen him since.

She shakes her head. “NO. Your father was an international assassin. He died yesterday on a rooftop. The man that killed him is right behind you.”

She pushes Wes down to protect him, pulls out a gun and the entire situation goes ballistic in a matter of seconds. This leads to a spectacular car chase that is so over the top and brilliantly executed that it leaves you in shock and awe.

The woman’s name is FOX and she is, of course, portrayed by the splendid and magnificent ANGELINA JOLIE. She works for an organization called The Fraternity. They’re a group of lethal assassins that wipe out evil people before they get a chance to harm others. Kill one to save a thousand. That kind of thing.

They receive instructions from an ancient loom in binary code. Fox knows that Wes has the heart of a lion, untold emotional strength and fortitude. He would have to with the genes that he possesses. She has come to recruit him.

Fox introduces Wes to SLOAN (MORGAN FREEMAN), the leader of the pack. Wes’ education is about to commence. He will be beaten bloody, stabbed repeatedly, hit forcefully in every conceivable way. This is to ultimately protect him and to teach him the correct ways to survive attacks. After each session he is given healing baths to strengthen and nourish him. It appears as if he’s laying there in hardened white clay.

During this period, his girlfriend, best friend and boss are all given glorious and much deserved comeuppances. Revenge is blissfully sweet.
But the final showdown will be Wes taking out the man who killed his father. This is what the build up is for.

There will be no turning back.

WANTED is undoubtedly one of the best action movies of the decade. It’s polished, precise and gives you everything you were expecting – and one hell of a lot more.

MICHAEL BRANDT and DEREK HAAS have come up with an intelligent, superbly sharp adaptation (based on MARK MILLAR’S graphic novel series) that is hard edged, whip smart and highly involving. TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV has made a number of foreign language films. But if he can raise the stakes this high in an American genre picture he is amazingly talented. Danny Elfman’s brooding score is also fantastic.

MORGAN FREEMAN is terrific as always. He brings a restraint and a welcome gloss of sophistication to this tough dramatic piece. TERENCE STAMP is also excellent in a small role as someone who is prepared to help Wes out with some vital information.

ANGELINA JOLIE is the ideal candidate to play Fox. Though Sloan is technically the senior person, there is no doubt that Fox is really the one in control of everything. Angelina’s abundant sensuality and it girl hipness are used to great advantage here. Personal tragedy has brought Fox to an acceptance of The Fraternity’s policies. There can be no other way for her.

But JAMES McAVOY is undoubtedly a revelation. His American accent occasionally veers but he is simply incredible. Mr. McAvoy has an astounding range.

He can write his own ticket at this point. He can play anything. JAMES McAVOY is now the master of my own personal acting universe.

The action sequences are stunning, elaborate…and completely unbelievable. One of the major set pieces has Wes on a bullet train struggling with his father’s killer while Fox shoots a gun from a car beside it on a parallel path – and that’s only the beginning.

There is a major twist that alters the landscape irrevocably. It will take some time to absorb. But it says much about WANTED’S quality and fulfilled aspirations.

Truly exceptional in every way, WANTED is an expression of mind over matter. It’s about power and how you choose to use it. For good or for evil.

But when you deal with the devil, you have to take matters into your own hands. If you know what you’re doing, the world will be completely and utterly yours…

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