Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wanted, or What does the NRA think about Assassins

I watched Wanted last night. I knew I was in for something different, since director Timur Bekmambetov isn't known for creating a sober film. His Russian fantasy films, Night Watch and Day Watch, are a crazy mix between an acid trip and a few episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants. This makes complete sense when creating a comic book film, though I do wonder if the general public will be ready for this one. Wanted definitely has its own style. The voiceover narration, by James Mcavoy, makes the film more than just a sheer superhero film, though it's technically a supervillain film. Newby Mcavoy is asked to join the Fraternity of Assassins, designed to create order around the world. He is one of a few people in the world with a rare gift; he can slow down time and respond quicker to his surroundings. This makes him more agile and an amazing gunman. But the point of the joining the Fraternity isn't for the sake of humanity's survival. No, Mcavoy's character joins up because he doesn't know who he is and feels that this group of killers can help him find his destiny (a commonly used word in the film), or purpose.

The entire film actually felt like a fucked up version of Rick Warren's A Purpose Driven Life. He wasn't doing what he should've been with his life when he had the 9-5 job. Now, he was livin' the dream. Getting the much-needed rush to calm his anxiety and help him find know, amidst all the killing. The way "purpose" is addressed in this film is almost satiric. This is "Fight Club" for gun lovers. While bullets fly through people's skulls, Mcavoy says, in voiceover, "this is me taking control of my life, my destiny, what the fuck have you done lately." I wanted to cheer and laugh at the same time. Obviously, the film was shooting for badassness, but it sure was telling at the same time.

On a different note, I really think the film would've been better if it had followed the graphic novels it was based on more. The premise is amazing. In 1986, the Fraternity decide to kill all the superheroes of the world and decided to quietly control it through their organization. The series picks up with an uprising in the Frat, where some members are tired of remaining on the sidelines of society. There are no good guys-not ridiculous idea that assassins are a necessity for peace. In Wanted, assassins are just people trying to take over the world. Also, the Wanted series also has magicians and people with other types of powers besides awesome gun slinging, but perhaps concepts like curving the bullet were enough for one film to handle. It wasn't perfect but it sure was entertaining. And James Mcavoy is an amazing actor. He definitely pulled off the action hero role. Props.

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