I’m not a huge fan of most action films. In fact there are a very few action films that I like. Most of the time I feel like they are dumbed down dramas that bank on violence and 13-year-olds naivety in order to make a profit. This was not the case for Timur Bekmambetov’s latest film, Wanted, which is more of an artistic, violent, day-dream for adults than an action film starring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy. What I like about Wanted is that is doesn’t try and dumb anything down for the kiddies, it relishes in it’s R rating. This film was made to appeal to a slightly older generation, one that can understand the monotony of a desk job and need to escape into their imagination.
The point of the film is not to blow things up, it’s to escape. The graphic violence is so outlandish and impossible to understand that it is enjoyable. Although I still don’t exactly understand how one bends then bullet, that seemed like a minor part of the whole and one that I could easily accept. Hell, I’ve watched a man get injected with something to make him a green monster, another man fly around in a suite of iron armor, and an kid fly through the trees with monkeys, I don’t think bending bullets is that far out there anymore.
When is comes to explaining every little detail, sometimes things are better left unsaid. The film does not waste time with those kinds of logistics, it gives you an explanation and then moves forward prompting you to jump on for the ride. At the end it even wraps it’s up with a “nice” little message to boot.
Wanted was made to be more of a fantasy film for adults than an action film for teens, and overall I think this film was better put together than ANY of the action films I have seen this summer.
The violence in this film, although quite graphic, is really more artistic and sarcastic than grotesque. In a way, it’s almost less graphic than many of the PG-13 movies out there because it has to need to justify itself to reality. Wanted lives in a dramatic, fictional, painting, rather than trying to give into realistic images or reactions. Recently, when LA.CityZine spoke with James McAvoy about why he decided to take this role, he seemed to agree that the violence in it made it something different:
“…the fact that they weren’t making this movie for all the family. They were making this a very violent R rated film for adults and I’ve not seen that a lot lately. They’re all superhero movies that are incredibly violent actually, but they’re just filmed in a kind of slightly sanitized way. Like Indiana Jones. Ants crawling inside somebody’s body and eating them from the inside, that’s incredibly disturbing but done in a kinda slightly cutesy way so you can give it to 12-year-olds.
Some people are not happy because the graphic novel is actually much more violent than the film. In the graphic novel the assassins, kills good guys, not bad guys. The Director Timur Bekmambetov decided to change this. He said to LA.CityZine that “I don’t think it’s good for millions of people to see a movie about a person just killing people for fun.” Even though he’s willing to show violence, he doesn’t see a need to show it from that dark of a perspective. His perspective is more sarcastic, fun, and possibly even hopefully than the comic. Timur definitely wanted people to know that although some are comparing his film to the Matrix, that was not his intent at all, Wanted is “another type of food, it’s a different meal â it’s not the same. Matrix, there’s no sense of humor in Matrix at all. It’s very serious and humor we are very funny”
For those who don’t know Timur Bekmambetov, he directed two of the top grossing Russian films ever made, Day Watch and Night Watch and he is just breaking into the American film industry with Wanted. We asked Timur why he chose to make the changes he did and why he added a message and he stated:
“I really believe that the movies without a message don’t work. I saw many movies with no messages. There is no reason now why I spent two hours, paid money, and why I need it. I really believe that movies are so powerful, so influential. It needs a message, it needs something, that you want to tell people and take with them in their life.
The best part about this film for me was the ending. No one races up a tower, no one falls off a bridge, is shot tens times in the head and then somehow survives and keeps going. The ending of the film is simple, entertaining, and shows that even though this is a fantasy film Wanted seems to comprehend reality more than many other films out there, because part of understanding reality, is understanding one’s need to escape from it.
Overall, that is what sets this film apart, a fun and yet important message. Everyone takes being serious, so seriously. Why not play around with it a bit? I think what people need to know is that this is a FUN film. Even at it’s most serious moments, it’s still just a piece of fun, visually stimulating, piece of art.
So, in the spirit of Wanted: What the fuck are you waiting for? Go see the movie and enjoy the ride!