In the opening scene of "Wanted," a man in business attire runs down a hallway at the top of an office building and bursts through a plate-glass window, leaping across to another rooftop in a shower of glass. This "Matrix"-style scene is only the first of many, giving the audience a taste of all of high-intensity action sequences to come. However, with all of the over-the-top violence and non-stop action, "Wanted" disappoints with the lack of a strong script or intriguing story.
"Wanted" is Kazakhstan-born director Timur Bekmambetov's first venture into American cinema. Best known for his Russian sci-fi vampire thrillers "Day Watch" and "Night Watch," based on a fantasy trilogy by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko, Bekmambetov seems the perfect director to tackle the film based on comic book mini-series "Wanted" by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones. The film is part origin story, part revenge flick, and part drama. If only all of these parts had combined to make a memorable whole.
Twenty-five-year-old Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) begins the film by complaining that he feels nothing but suffers frequent panic attacks that send his heart racing and blood pulsing. He is cubicle-bound in a dead-end accounting job, his boss is a bitch, his fratboyish best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend, and his apartment is a dump. Even though he is clearly unsatisfied, he does not care enough to change his situation.
His humdrum existence is turned upside down when the beautiful and deadly Fox (Angelina Jolie) appears and tells him that she was sent to protect him from Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), a rogue assassin who killed his father (the airborne gentleman from the first sequence). The point at which Fox screams by in a red sports car, does a 360-degree turn, and scoops Wesley into the passenger seat without even touching the break pedal is when you, the viewer, must make a choice. Do you go along with the ride or complain about the lack of physics and grumble about the $8.50 you just spent on the ticket?