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Movie Review: "Wanted" (2008)

Updated on August 24, 2014
1 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Wanted

DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

Remember the old days of Indiana Jones fighting to gain control of a well-protected nazi truck containing the Ark of the Convenant? Or how about when John McClaine tied a firehose around his waist and jumped from the roof of an exploding skyscraper? What ever happened to real action movies like those?

Now the action genre has succumbed to the likes of movies like "Transformers" and "Wanted". The MPAA might as well invent a new rating for these kind of films, they can call it ADHD -- Highly Appropriate for Idiots Under and Over 13.

What is Plot for $500?

So what exactly is "Wanted" about? Well, you see, it's all centered around an ancient magical cloth that allows people to bend bullets, survive fist fights without a scratch, and do other things that defy the laws of physics.

The plot of "Wanted" is not that far off from that of "The Matrix". The hero is a frustrated 9-5 office worker who gets involved in otherworldly business, so to speak. He learns that his father was an assassin and that he shares the same superhuman DNA as he. I'm assuming this movie was made as an attempt to reboot or remake "The Matrix" films?

Blow Me Up, Scotty!

Part of the greatness of action and adventure films is the way the action sequences are pulled off. It has to be done with clear and concise editing that makes it easy to understand what we are seeing. As far as effects go, while a bit of CGI is tolerable, it better be mixed with some realism thrown into it.

Being that most movies are fictional pieces of art, it makes it acceptable when the filmmaker decides to think outside the box and film something that is borderline physically impossible. However, I am a firm believer that there is a limit to doing this. You can only say "That was cool" so many times until you get fed up and say "Okay, I've seen enough this and now I'm finding it difficult to swallow".

Such is the case with "Wanted" which is filled with sloppy action bits from beginning to end. This is pure overkill here. "Wanted" makes amateur filmmaking look like pure genius. Let's take the scene early on when Wesley's father leaps a out the window of a skyscraper and has enough time to:

  1. Pull out a handgun.
  2. Pull out a rifle.
  3. Shoot three guys in the head who are stationed on the roof of the building across the street.

While one could say the same about movies like "The Matrix" and "Kill Bill", they don't necessarily go overboard with it and they each have a lot of excellent plot elements. In "Wanted", it's simply difficult to suspend disbelief.

Here's my impression of a five minute action sequence that's along the lines of "Wanted"...

A man is walking down a street. He looks up and sees a bird flying over. Suddenly, the bird poops, the man immediately dodges it by jumping into the street, right in front of oncoming traffic. The bus screeches to a halt as the man pushes himself away from it, he lands on top of a car but quickly recovers and jumps from car to car in the street.

Finally, he jumps onto the fire escape of an apartment building, climbs through someone's window, steals their glass of orange juice, spits it at the dog, storms through the front door, and runs up the staircase to the roof. He jumps off the roof and grabs onto a nearby helicopter, it flies over a river, the man lets go and falls into a speedboat.

He tackles everybody on the boat and throws them overboard, he turns up the speed full throttle and ramps up a rock. He falls out of the boat and lands into an empty beach chair. Finally, he takes out his sunglasses and takes a sip of the magarita sitting on the nearby table as the speedboat smashes into a house behind him and explodes.

Whoa, now I'm dizzy...

Random Things That Make No Sense

  • So Angelina Jolie's character follows Wesley into the supermarket and strikes up a conversation with him. She starts warning him about an assassin who is also following him in the supermarket and is trying to kill him. Why go through all that standing pretty for the camera while chit-chatting crap if the killer is nearby? I guess it was to show off Angelina Jolie's beauty to the audience? Maybe this could be classified as a 'sexy warning'?
  • Prior to his death, Cross pulls an 'Eyes Wide Shut' on Wesley and tells him that everything that he was told was a lie, that he was really after Fox in the drug store and not Wesley. Fox led Cross to the shootout so it would appear as if he was after Wesley when it was the other way around. Since Cross lived a block away from Wesley, he could have simply came over and told him this the next day.


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    • profile image

      Daisy May 

      2 months ago

      Guess I saw a different film. I enjoyed Wanted

    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY

      Jack, are you suggesting that "Wanted" is a good film?

    • profile image

      Jack McCormack 

      6 years ago

      71% on Rotten Tomatoes, 73% on Top Critics, 64 on Metacritic, 6.7 on IMDb, *** from Roger Ebert.

      In other words:

    • Traqqer profile image


      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Wanted was an overall "good" movie - could have been better, but was very enjoyable and certain parts were just pure gratifying. Let's not bring the issue of "action" into this discussion as all it does is it classifies films into artificial categories that are often disservices to most movies. Then, of course, one could argue that all of Michael Bay's movies are "action" craptastic movies that aren't fit to be viewed by Hitler - and one would be correct.

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 

      6 years ago from Macon, GA

      Good review, probably better than the movie really deserves. I have a theory about Wanted and Shoot 'em Up. I believe they may, in fact, be the same movie, or at least both movies used the same script. Shoot 'em Up, however, went with an over-the-top comedic approach to an inherently ridiculous idea of a nearly supernatural marksman. Whereas Wanted took itself seriously (way too seriously), and turned out to be a boring endeavor.

    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY


      No, that sounds more like the general teenage audience of the 21st century. As I said in my review, there is a limit as to how far "mindless" action can go. Michael Bay films can be a hit or miss here, lately he's had a lot of misses, let's put it that way. If you watch "The Rock" and "Transformers", it's like two totally different films. Yes, they're both big action spectacles, but "The Rock" comes off with a bit more class and cleverness than "Transformers" which is plain out sloppy to the point of overkill.

      There is a difference. Most action films today are executed in a sloppy manner, all of the scenes are filmed in shaky cam style and the audience never really has a chance to understand what is going on.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 

      6 years ago from California

      I thought men only cared for senseless plots, action filled scenes and pretty half naked girls, or so they say...


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