An above mediocre action flick, "Wanted," directed by Russian director Timur Bekmambetov of "Nightwatch" acclaim, is tolerable summer fare that aspires to be an in-your-face extravaganza of slow-motion, CGI bullets and attitude but fires more than a few blanks.
James McAvoy plays a cubicle jockey everyman accountant stuck in a dead-end job, who undergoes a Tyler Durden-esque self-transformation in the acceptance of his destiny as a member of a clan of super-powered assassins, assisted by Angelina Jolie as the stoic leader of the group. Chases and explosions abound in the bombast of the daily life of a killer, which doesn't start soon enough as we drudge through a rather drab origin sequence and listen to the banal mythos of the movie (a loom? really?). The final action sequence, however, is something to behold, and left me with a feeling that the movie could have been so much more if it found its home in those breathtaking shots.
The film is mildly fun and frivolous, and succeeds at what it it means to be, but doesn't really delve too deep before it starts to feel shallow. Moreover the film's breaking of the fourth wall is kitschy at first, but the self-awareness culminates in annoyance as it begins to goad the audience. The "Matrix" this is not, but if your hankerings for bullet time and gratuitous nude butt shots (no complaints here) haven't been satisfied lately, no harm no foul.
Emmerich's stab at the period epic genre is nothing more than a bloated exposition of dated effects and wooden acting, further derailed by trite and formulaic story arc of redemption that is largely empty and ill-resolved. Coupled with a blatant disregard for historical accuracy, convoluted mythology, and utter lack of subtlety, this film offers little in the way of leaving any lasting impression and is only memorable for its incompetence, a bumbling idiot that plies his wares and stumbles on when no heed is paid.
Two-thirds into the movie, I began to fast-forward through the lack-luster "action scenes" to see how the film ended, only to be further disgusted with the poorly executed bait-and-switch "twist" that more resembled the musings of freshmen film students than the work of a reputable Hollywood studio.
Viewing this film is akin to a mild exercise in masochism, a light whipping for even considering it watchable, let alone enjoyable. While not necessarily abhorrent (the film does have a few interesting shots, and it is no difficult feat to become lost in the lead heroine's captivating eyes), we are left with little more than a vapid, vaporous experience that does little harm, yet little else, for that matter.