Wanted (2008) – [rate 2.5]

Wanted makes you wonder about the merits of rating movies with stars. Rating a movie with stars relates it to all other movies you’ve seen sofar, nevermind the genre, age or other attributes. Wanted is a pretty good movie if all you were looking for is entertainment, but it misses quite a few marks if you try to put it into a specific category of movies.

In creating Wanted, Brandt, Haas and Bekmambetov take a lot of fresh ideas from recent titles and use them to good effect. It feels modern and up-to-date and is thoroughly entertaining. But whichever aspect of it you take, it’s never hard to come up with other movies that do just that – a lot better.

The crude and violent humor with a wink is amusing, but nowhere near any of Guy Ritchies titles like Snatch (2000) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). In that sense, it also reminded me of The Boondock Saints (1999), but that title deserves a mention for the gunplay and action choreography as well, which Wanted doesn’t do as well, nor does it measure up to something like Equilibrium in that sense. Sure, the ‘curve the bullet’-thing is cool for a second, but that kind of cool never lasts. And if you like ‘absolute nobody lands head first in situation where they are a total hero and savior of the world’ stories, you will certainly prefer The Matrix (1999) and Cypher (2002) to Wanted, by a distance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a movie needs to be original in everything it brings to the screen. But it should definitely be original in at least some sense for it to stand out. Some of the stunts in Wanted are memorable but never revolutionary or awe-inspiring. The story is nicely over the top where it needs to be, but the plot has too many holes. The characters have potential but all of them act in strange ways that break suspension of disbelief.

All in all, Wanted is good fare if you just want to be entertained for an evening and you’re not easily miffed by plot incongruities or hyperbolic stuntwork. It would get a 4/5 if I were just rating action flics, but I’m not. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone and there’s quite a few other movies out there I’d recommend you go see first. From the director of Night Watch (2004) I expected a little better, although Day Watch (2006) wasn’t all that good either, as I’ve told you before.

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Jaap van der Velde

I live and breathe software, love games and spent many a vacation touring Europe on my motorcycle. Currently diving, riding, hopefully flying and gaining perspective around Oz.

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