Before I made this review, I had to catch up with both of Timur Bekmambetov‘s previous movies, Night Watch and Day Watch, so called The Matrix of Russia (specifically, Kazakhstan, home of the infamous Borat).

The reason is, those 2 movies are his ticket to direct in Hollywood. And did it work out? To me it’s both hits and misses.

When watching the Watch Trilogy (Night and Day Watch is out, and there is supposed to be a third installment), I get to see how it is considered as good as The Matrix. While not as polished as The Matrix, in fact I would say it is raw, Timur did not skimp on effects and stunts.

He managed to push all limits to all boundaries, and to make things interesting, he does not explain how it can be done. He forced us to assume that all stunts and magical acts are normal, so no explanation are necessary. Somehow, to me, in the Watch Trilogy, it works.

But in Wanted, we are conscious that we are watching a Hollywood movie, thanks to hot mama Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Thus, we could see all the shininess of Hollywood, thus making it uncomparable to The Matrix anymore. If it does, then it falls short. Far too short.

Wanted tells the story of Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), a stressed out loser that had to depend on pills to kill his anxiety attacks. Even his best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend and he knows it. And he’s still his best friend.

He was then approached by an assassin group called the Fraternity, which receives their order from codes embedded in threads. They told him that his father, the greatest assassin, was killed by another rogue assassin, Cross, and Wesley’s the only one capable to kill that Cross. And seeing this as a better option than his life, and to kill his father’s murderer, he joins the Fraternity.

Trained by Fox (Angelina, looking hot and old at the same time, I guess no more close ups, eh?) and other trainers, Wesley learns to control his dormant capabilities, which he previously mistaken as anxiety attacks. And, at the same time, he hunts down Cross, who seems to fail to hide from him, but for a reason (which I will not reveal…MUAHAHA).

Okay, as in Timur’s other action films, he chose to deny all possible laws, and create one of his own. Like in Day Watch, a horse can go through a wall, and in Night Watch, a truck can do a frontal summersault. Somehow, when it is ported onto Wanted, something is amiss.

Some scenes seem too ‘plastic’. Maybe it’s because it looks too clean to be assumed real. Timur should have used a bit more raw-ness in Wanted, but maybe it is too much for Hollywood-lovers to comprehend. I guess, if an effect is to be used, then it should be as transparent as possible. If not, it’s better to use actual stunt, if cash is not the problem.

As for the story, I guess, there’s not much to it. Nothing wrong, but nothing to shout about either. The actions does help you to stretch a short story into a full movie, and believe me, there is no dull moment here.

Although I did rant about the “plastic-ness” of the action scenes, some are quite raw and gore, especially in close-quarter fights. Blood and guts spill freely (no, not like Tarantino’s), giving it a serious beatdown look and feel, but when it’s a gunfight, all physics are thrown out of the window.

It’s not all bad, though. I mean, it is still fun to watch 2 men gunnign each other, but instead of dodging the bullets, they shot it in mid-air. Deflecting a bullet with another bullet. How cool is that?

But in the end, when you exit the movie, you kinda feel like how Wesley feel when he passed all his tests, you forgot the earlier part of the movie. I guess it’s a sensory overkill, like a roller-coaster ride (who can remember all twists and turns after the first ride?), or maybe the earlier part, which shows Wesley as a loser, are so insignificant as compared to the 1 man soldier he was in the end.

A question though: how can a group of assassins that receives order from threads, and not financial income (at least, none is shown), can be so rich (Wesley inherits his dad’s 3 million) and Fox changes sports cars like shoes.

Verdict: Fun to watch, just don’t ask questions. 3/5.