Wanted wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
This isn’t saying much.
Basically, the premise is that our guy Wesley is a loser. He works in a cubicle, has anxiety attacks, knows he’s being cheated on, AND has to deal with the fat witch at the office acting like she’s the office manager or some stupid ish. Goodness only knows why she keeps asking him for that pesky budget. While Wesley’s in line at the pharmacy trying to get his anxiety meds refilled, he’s rescued by Fox, played by Angelina Jolie, who is an agent of the mysterious Fraternity his father. It turns out that someone wants him dead. In a tightly shot car chase, we get introduced to the mythos of the Fraternity, including their awesome abilities re: shooting around curves.
All of Wesley’s missed deadlines and deeply rooted anxieties go away when he realizes he’s actually the son of one of the most amazing gunsmen in the world. He embarks on a psychological journey to save the rec center! to recover his lost masculinity! to avenge his father when he learns the Fraternity’s secrets. Ultimately, he realizes that there’s more to being the truly bad-ass son of mystery man than threatening his ex-girlfriend flirting with Angelina Jolie. There’s honor and such, too.
Now, better writers than me have picked up on the problematic racial casting involved in selecting Angelina for the role of Fox. In Angie’s defense, I will point out that, y’know, it’s hard out there for thin white women looking to get cast in strong, awesome parts not reliant on their sexuality.* What troubled me more about the film is the way it defined being a man as a violently angry repudiation of any kind of weakness. Wesley’s goal is to stop being a pussy; this is accomplished through physical violence, murder, tons of fat jokes, and a studious rejection of anything reeking of the feminine, the peaceful, or the weak. In fact, one of the first people Wesley kills is the only member of the Fraternity to show anyone any sort of kindness. This made him weak, and this weakness made him a victim.
At least the special effects were awesome. The film was directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who worked on both Night Watch and Day Watch. The man is a visual genius, and I sort of wish I’d just re-watched those instead.
*I… can’t even tell if I’m being sarcastic here. There is a serious lack of good roles for women.