If you are one of the few that has followed my random mumblings you will know that I am a huge fan of two films made in Russia, set in the modern day world of vampires, witches and super powered people, called Nightwatch and Daywatch. (the third is on its way). I even have a sense of pride that I was one of the first blogs to mention and feature an advert for the first film, thanks to much persuasion from a Ukrainian friend of mine. (a fan of the film - right from the mumblings given on a wired Satellite TV station from Kiev).
The director of these films Timur Bekmambetov, uses a marked visual style and even manages to get the subtitles to interact with the actors. (Watch the subtitled DVD’s to get the amazing effect) As you can guess anticipation was high in the Newmanfilms camp when the film "Wanted" was set to be released, and as this is Timur’s first Hollywood production, it seemed even more important the fiom was just right. Based on a graphic novel of some note, and looking good to fit into the summer blockbuster niche.
So does Wanted live up to the hype.
Well you can’t fault the casting, James McAvoy has the acting chops and can steal scenes from Forest Whittaker even when the latter won an scar. Angelina Jolie looks a little thin but still beautiful, and Morgan Freeman is always good. A cameo from Terrence Stamp (British 60’s icon, and teacher of elektra….) The film centres on the fraternity, and I am giving nothing away that the trailer doesn’t when I say that the film follows McAvoy’s induction into the fraternity, due to the demise of his father; an assassin killed in cold blood by a rogue member of this same assassin’s guild.
On paper the film looks great, a great cast, a unique director, and an interesting premise. However the film doesn’t sit true with the audience. It suffers from the same fate that "Jumper" did a few months ago. Special effects no matter how ingenious and breathtaking do not make you care about characters that have no real plot to follow, or more importantly an unrealistic moral core. The scientific ideas featured within the film are very enjoyable - from the warped physics of curving bullets, to the idea that someone can slow their own perception, and time appears slowed. This great panache that the director has obviously been affected by the Hollywood machine, Timur is great with subtleties and natural dialogue which are two things not apparent in this film. The Russian language is great for natural sounding speech, and that laid back approach is what made his previous films so much more natural and enjoyable, although set in an unnatural version of the world.
There are touches of real fun, and McAvoy’s office outburst is a wet dream to a nine to fiver. Some scenes could have been amazing….could have been……The film is like a something of a supermodel, initially great to look at, but at the end of the day it is just wearing someone else’s clothes and has nothing to say for itself. Iironically though it will probably do really well and spawn several sequels. …
Have a look at the trailer, all the best bits from the film are in it !!!