Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) hates his life in the action movie "Wanted."
His girlfriend is cheating on him; his father left him when he was seven days old; he loathes his boss and job; and nothing exciting happens to him. And the best part, he says, is he gets to wallow in his miserable existence all over again the next day.
While Wesley is stuck in his cubicle, strange things are afoot across town. A man flies out of a skyscraper window to take out three men on the rooftop of an adjacent building. After his mad skills are shown, and we suspend reality, he is taken out by a slow motion bullet from a hitman sitting in a recliner at least a mile away.
Through the brief telephone conversation between the late Mr. X (David O’Hara) and the hitman Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), we hear about the Fraternity, a secret society of assassins formed by a group of weavers 1,000 years ago. The assassins get their kill orders from a code embedded in cloth. (Hey, I didn’t write the script. If I did, I would have made the kill order via Magic 8-ball.)
Apparently, Cross had left the Fraternity and plans to kill the remaining members, as well as our hapless main character, Wes.
One night while taking a trip to the pharmacy to get his anti-anxiety medication, Wes meets the mysterious Fox (Angelina Jolie) and in a matter of minutes, his boring life where nothing exciting happens is changed forever.
Fox is a member of the Fraternity and her mission is to recruit Wes into the assassin life. She introduces him to high speed car chases, top of train fun, beatings, knife play and how to curve bullets. She also brings him to meet Sloan (Morgan Freeman), head honcho of the Fraternity.
Sloan, in his wondrous speaking voice, tells him that Cross killed his father on the rooftop of a Chicago building a few days past and is now after him. He believes Wes is the only person capable of killing Cross, and wants him to join the Fraternity because of that.
But will our depressed Wesley leave his boring existence to avenge the murder of a father he never really knew and become a deadly assassin? You betcha.
"Wanted" is utterly ridiculous, but entertaining, nonetheless. I think my enjoyment of the movie started when I was watching the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" one night and McAvoy was the guest. They showed a clip where his mission is to kill a diplomat and he can only get to him by flipping his car over and shooting the guy through his sunroof. Still holding onto his politeness from his pre-assassin existence, he says in slow-timed voice that he’s sorry, smiles a little and proceeds to shoot the guy. After the clip was over, McAvoy came out, shook his head, said he was sorry for that, and looked really sheepish.
I know that reasoning for enjoying a movie seems strange, but that was so endearing I just couldn’t let myself completely hate it. Or I couldn’t let myself hate it because he was awesome in it, as well as Jolie, but when isn’t that woman awesome?
I would liken "Wanted" to a drink of movies. If you put "The Matrix," "Fight Club" and "The Empire Strikes Back" into a blender, then added the stupidest guilty pleasure of a movie you can think of, the concoction would be "Wanted." It would be kind of stale, feature lots of action and pretty people, and you would probably say no to another taste of it in public.
However, when no one was looking, you just might go back for seconds because you secretly liked it.
I gave this film a B-.
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.