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Review: Wanted

movie-reviews Updated: Aug 30, 2008 17:37 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Cast: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie
Direction: Timur Bekmambetov
Rating: ***1/2

A down-at-heel accountant is inducted into an elite fraternity of assassins, goes through intense training and presto, here's a super-killer ready to go. Wanted is the kind of frenetic actioner that Michael Bay or Robert Rodrigues used to make, but it’s confidently helmed by a little-known filmmaker from Kazakhstan.

Director Bekmambetov, who previously helmed two hallucinatory horror flicks (Night Watch, Day Watch) in his native country, makes an astonishing English language-debut with this adaptation of the cult graphic novel by Mark Millar.

The plot, of course, is pure hokum. A skimpily dressed femme (Jolie) entices the unlikely hero (McAvoy) to follow in his father’s footsteps. It seems that the old man, an ace assassin himself, was gunned down a few days ago. It’s now up to the son to avenge the death. Bullets fly, buildings explode and — believe it or squirm — rats are blown to smithereens as the mission is accomplished with gratuitous glee. Bekmambetov belts out spectacular action set-pieces like the heart-thumping chase in a train.

On the downside, the suggestion — that it’s necessary to kill a chosen few for the greater good of mankind —is morally untenable. James McAvoy in his first full-on action role and veteran Morgan Freeman as the head of the shady guild, seem to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. Angelina Jolie dominates the show with her body-toned physique, leaping, jumping, shooting, clearly outclassing her co-stars. A recommended thrill ride.