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Wanted – Jolie just joshing. Can’t be serious

Where's your seatbelt Ange?

Where's your seatbelt Ange?

Wanted – Timur Bekmambetov

Good Fascist fun – or simply silly, senseless and sadistic. If unwisely, you pays your money, you can take your choice. The character list gives the fatal clue: Mr X, The Exterminator, The Repairman (Ooooh – look out, here come the plumber), The Butcher (aptly named), The mono-nominal Gunsmith is even played by monosyllabic rapper ‘Common’ which is about as near to irony as this mind-beggaring junk gets. For reasons that passeth understanding Morgan Freeman (Sloan), Angelina Jolie (rather more foxy than ‘Fox’ and Terence Stamp doing Terence Stamp, are all to be held guilty before the court of shame for participating in this meretricious tripe.Into this muddled, murky, ineptly blatant Matrix rip-off steps lovely little Scot James McAvoy; a fine actor as The Last King Of Scotland proved and even Atonement couldn’t hide. But taking an actor of subtlety and shall we say modest stature, and turning him from nerd, which works, into one of the greatest assassins on the planet, which hilariously doesn’t, is frankly taking the pee. Like The Apprentice, this is one to watch from behind the sofa in embarrassment not fear. Look at the list of names above, stupid, daft, I know but sort of what we might associate with a gang of world-class assassins in some brain dead Hollywood Producer’s wet dream: so into this uber-macho, ultra-violent, fascist fan club steps who do you think? Wesley Gibson that’s who. Now of course Wesley is a nerd whose geeky headaches are actually misunderstood evidence of his super-human powers to do extraordinary things like shoot the wings off flies with a hefty .45. I guess a quick squirt of Vapona wouldn’t carry the same mortal combat cachet. Now if, however pointless, this strikes you as an extraordinary feat of marksmanship, save your astonishment cos it’s easy peasy see, cos our Wes (maybe we should distil him into Gibbon, or Gibbo for short) now knows his headaches can be controlled to make everything slow down and look very big. If this works I’m gonna hold fire on the paracetamol next time, I’ve got a few wasps I’d like to blow away, how about a sawn-off 12 bore? Should do the trick. Bugger the wings though, I’m going for the sting – single shot target.

Cruelly, foxy Fox, or the lippy Angel as we Jolie-lusters like to call her, tells Wesley the dad who left him when he was a baby and he hasn’t seen all his life, just got eviscerated on top of a 50 story skyscraper he had flown onto by getting angry and launching himself through a plate-glass window. The weapon of choice was an untraceable bullet fired like a Cruise missile from a couple of miles away by Cross, a rogue drop out, from the Fraternity of master assassins – an astonishing 1000 years-old – the group not the assassins. Cross? That’s another winner from the ‘Wesley’ stable. Maybe the arch villain instead of ‘Sloan’ which lacks any adverbial form, should have been called Slightly Irritated.

Shall I go on? It is the first time I have seen extraordinary action scenes, cars and more cars, car wrecks and more car wrecks, made to look stupid because so farcically unbelievable: like Wesley’s star turn full auto-somersault over a bullet-proof limo to shoot the guy through his open sun-roof half way round. Big deal of the movie is that everyone can bend their bullets like Beckham can bend his balls; why foxy Fox even kills six people at once with one bullet that traces a complete circle. Lovely shot – shame about the geometry but by then, like me, old foxy had lost the will to live. All shot, so to speak, in that lovely Matrixy slow motion but with the swirling blood to add a bit of colour.

We can’t blame James McAvoy for taking a big pay-day and hoping to get known in Hollywood. But known as what? I swear at one point they fitted him with some cast-off Daniel Craig prosthetic pecs, waterproof of course. This transformation came so fast my draw dropped open – a Hulky transformation not so much Incredible as Invisible.

You have to laugh at this one or you’ll get angry or disgusted: angry that they have such contempt for us the audience that they try to pass off this non-sequential dross as a plot; or disgusted at the sheer tastelessness of the violence. A choice moment comes when Wes is chasing Cross who is chasing him with Fox chasing both on board a six carriage train taking men, women, children across a precipitous mountain bridge. As a result of their ongoing fight, 5 carriage-fulls of said passengers are simply sent to their unremarked dooms while we are asked to concentrate on the really important little super-spat on the one left. Now I know it’s just a comic book action movie but I do wish all these so called comic aficionados had ever read a bloody comic book. Just like fellow lunatic M Night Shyamalan in The Happening who kills off whole cities in seconds, the equally unpronounceable and unspellable Mr Bekmambetov here ignores the fate of several hundred passengers just to get a shot. If 100s of people are just shot-fodder, how are we supposed to take any interest in the one or two left? Comic books like Superman didn’t waste people or their dramatic possibilities that way; tension was created by his dilemma in catching the villain or saving the train. Beky has no dilemma – it’s die you buggers die, I want to crash another car”. It’s not just unpleasant and brain-dead it is simply bad, very bad, absolutely bloody awful film-making.

If you haven’t seen enough car crashes, or the younger Mrs Pitt pouting, or sadly the otherwise excellent James McAvoy struggling manfully to stop Hollywood making him look like a complete prick, then pop along to Wanted. I got in free and wanted to ask for my time back. Morgan Freeman should be ashamed of himself. To paraphrase Hobbes: this one is nasty, brutish, but nothing like short enough.

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