Oh to be a hitman. Precision sniping, jumping through windows, screaming tires, explosions, girls with guns…
Five minutes into Wanted, my friends and I were nudging each other and tittering like schoolboys. “I’m quitting my job. From now on all I do is hitman training. Punch me in the face. Seriously. Punch me in the face.”
James McEvoy plays Wesley Allen Gibson, a disaffected loser. He works like a drone, suffers frequent panic attacks and is fully aware that his best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend. Needless to say it’s a fairly mundane existence. But wow! That all changes when he discovers that he was the son of a murdered secret society hitman. And now, someone’s trying to kill him. Good thing he’s got Fox, (Angelina Jolie), to teach him the killer tricks of the trade. Does he have what it takes to break free from the shackles of his old life and avenge his father’s death? Only time will tell…
“Welcome to the Fraternity. That gun you’re holding belonged to your father; he could conduct a symphony orchestra with it.”
There’s something about a geeky, skinny, brown haired guy with crooked teeth who transforms himself from zero to hero that really appeals to me – so Wanted is possibly the most vicariously exciting film I’ve ever seen. Sure he’s a coward at the start. He wants to quit. He can’t handle the pain. But then there’s that one moment that changes everything, (methinks it was that part when Angelina Jolie rose naked from the bath next to his), and you know that he’s going to win.
“It’s a choice Wesley, that each of us must face: to remain ordinary, pathetic, beat-down, coasting through a miserable existence, like sheep herded by fate – or you can take control of your own destiny and join us, releasing the caged wolf you have inside. Our purpose is to maintain stability in an unstable world – kill one, save a thousand. Within the fabric of this world, every life hangs by a thread. We are that thread – a fraternity of assassins with the weapons of fate. This is the decision that lies before you now: the sheep or the wolf. The choice is yours.”
Despite all the praise, I have to say that the first half of the film is far more exciting and aspirational than the second, and don’t get me started on that twist. Even so, Wanted is one of those Hollywood blockbusters so cheesily enjoyable it has you wishing you were an American just so you can stand up, salute the flag, then hold your chest and sing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of your lungs. I give it 8.5 out of 10.