The following review contains very minor spoilers.
Not unlike applying an exact birth date to new slang, it’s difficult to gauge whether director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) has invented a new language for the modern action film with Wanted. We’ve reached a point where today’s actioners are required to wear moon shoes—films like Wanted and Crank aspire to both hat-tip and one-up the Wachowski brothers’ hyperactive stylings (sans the techno white dreadlocks and Columbine coats), all the while hopping on and off the latest trends in video games, technology and comic book movies like coked-out mosquitoes.
Of course, Wanted itself is based on a comic book miniseries by Mark Millar—some fanboys would say the film merely uses the comics for TP—but the movie feels like a cultural genre gangbang where basic movie logic not only no longer applies, it’s laughed at under a calm hipster veneer for being old school.
Wanted takes the “enlightened chosen one” storyline of Unbreakable, ditches most of the ethic recoil, remolds the central hero as a sleepy, tech-literate 20something (note: resembling today’s bloggers) and posits him in a Grand Theft Auto urban fantasia with endless ammo, life, freedom and a doting, hushed Angelina Jolie at his side. Before he learns the way of the gun/Jolie, our aforementioned hero, Wesley Gibson, played by James McAvoy (Atonement), drifts though a cubicle-strewn life and can’t bother caring that his GF is getting dogged by his BFF on his IKEA table (shades of Fight Club) on the regular. But that’s before Gibson finds out that he can bend bullets (how trendy!); he’s also one of the world’s elite natural born killer-slash-assassins. The movie’s two lessons: 1) not trying too hard is vital to coming off cool and 2) hot doting girls are that much hotter when they rarely speak.
Universal Pictures Hong Kong features their “stunning series of summer attractions” in the washrooms of local AMC Theatres. Because there is nothing like taking a crap while watching the latest movie trailer for The Mummy 3.
Thanks to /Film reader Adam H for sending this over.
The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, David, Peter, Devindra, Adam, Christina, and Sean, make grossly unfounded predictions about Wall-E’s opening weekend box office gross, agree on the meaninglessness of “Top” lists, and try and figure out what makes a good spoof film. Neil Miller joins us from Filmschoolrejects.
What movie should you see this weekend? Wanted is surprisingly good, and will likely beat your expectations. I can honestly recommend it… but the clear winner is WALL-E.
So far the little robot that could has a 98% tomatoemeter rating on Rotten Tomatoes with over 40 reviews. Actually, only one reviewer gave a negative critique. It helps to know that Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star also gave M Night’s The Happening a three out of four star review… Point is, WALL-E is the best reviewed mainstream release so far this year. We’ll see how it holds up after the weekend as 100-150 more reviews will likely be added to the database. But I’m sure it will remain above 90%. Wanted is currently scoring 68% on the tomatometer.
Best Reviewed Mainstream Releases of 2008 (so far)
1. WALL-E 98%
2. Iron Man 93%
3. Kung Fu Panda 88%
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall 86%
Twitter has been flush with positive, early endorsements, Slashfilm‘s included, for Wanted, the R-rated bulletime fiesta opening this weekend based on Mark Millar‘s lauded comic book miniseries. A veddy confident Millar has announced via his message board that the studio is already putting its sequelitis into action, and then he aimed his gold-plated Uzi at Wall-E…and fired!
“PS: Wanted 2 already being planned and they’ve asked me how I can develop some of the other stuff from the book into the sequel. We’ll see what box office is like at the weekend, but everyone knows this is going to make a LOT of dough. Wall-E permitting. Fucking bastard of a wee robot.”
Back in May, when it was far more iffy whether Wanted would rock the box office coffers, we reported that writers Derek Haas and Michael Brandt were already locked in to write Wanted 2 for Universal. The original currently has a 7.7 rating on IMDB after 1,000+ votes. A new R-rated comic book franchise that’s worth a damn, could it be?
Discuss: How do you expect Wanted to do this weekend? Are you offended by Millar’s accusation that Wall-E is “wee”?
Shock, horror! If any of our readers want to PhotoShop Wall-E shooting back at Millar while partying in a Jacuzzi, I will include the best/first creation in this post with credit! UPDATE: Slashfilm reader, cinexcellence, created the madness below and is forever immortal. Great job dude!
Universal has finally released another trailer for Wanted, Timur Bekmambetov’s big screen adaptation of Mark Millar’s graphic novel series. My excitement level for this movie sky rocketed after a behind the scenes featurette and Russian trailer that hit the net last month. This new full length American trailer, not so much. I am convinced that the American spots could have been cut much better.Â I see a potentially surprising action film hidden within the trailer below. They should have just shown a bunch of the cool cinematic action set pieces cut to music. When Morgan Freeman or Angelina Jolie begin talking, I begin to doubt myself. The key word is hidden. Share your thoughts in the comments!
You can watch the new trailer in High Definition on MySpace.
Official Plot Synopsis:Â Â Based upon Mark Millar’s explosive graphic novel series and helmed by stunning visualist director Timur Bekmambetov-creator of the most successful Russian film franchise in history, the Night Watch series-Wanted tells the tale of one apathetic nobody’s transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice.Â In 2008, the world will be introduced to a hero for a new generation: Wesley Gibson.
25-year-old Wes (James McAvoy) was the most disaffected, cube-dwelling drone the planet had ever known.Â His boss chewed him out hourly, his girlfriend ignored him routinely and his life plodded on interminably.Â Everyone was certain this disengaged slacker would amount to nothing.Â There was little else for Wes to do but wile away the days and die in his slow, clock-punching rut.
Until he met a woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie).
After his estranged father is murdered, the deadly sexy Fox recruits Wes into the Fraternity, a secret society that trains Wes to avenge his dad’s death by unlocking his dormant powers.Â As she teaches him how to develop lightning-quick reflexes and phenomenal agility, Wes discovers this team lives by an ancient, unbreakable code: carry out the death orders given by fate itself.
With wickedly brilliant tutors-including the Fraternity’s enigmatic leader, Sloan (Morgan Freeman)-Wes grows to enjoy all the strength he ever wanted.Â But, slowly, he begins to realize there is more to his dangerous associates than meets the eye.Â And as he wavers between newfound heroism and vengeance, Wes will come to learn what no one could ever teach him: he alone controls his destiny.