Monday, December 08, 2008


I can't be the only person that used that title for their review of Wanted, so part of me wishes I were being more clever, but then does the movie warrant that effort?

Well, I liked Wanted by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones. It's a more than amusing tale with a couple of mildly amusing twists. A good time.

And I'm more than prepared to call myself a fan of Timur Bekmambetov. I loved Night Watch. I liked Day Watch nearly as well, and I suspect that drop is more because I'm a lazy American and used to lazy American sequels that spoon feed your transition from one to the next. Next time I'll watch them together. I even thought The Arena, his remake of The Arena by Steve Carver, was pretty entertaining.

And I can't at all say I hated this movie.

I liked the direction and energy. Sure, it's too much, but it wants to be too much. Its working it too much direction for all its worth, and when it works, it works.

Mind you, it's another of those adaptations that occur strangely often that I'm not entirely sure why the people made it bothered to pay for the rights to the book. I mean, it's cool that Millar, Jones and whoever else got a check. I'm sure that's sweet, but only a couple of cosmetic changes to this and there'd be not nearly enough in common to even begin a plagiarism case or even for Millar, Jones or anyone else to even notice that the comic might have provided some inspiration.

The fact of the Fraternity being changed from super-villains into assassins seems too often referenced as a point of contention. I must say that it sounded like an obvious way to subvert the media that they're actually working in. The problem is more essential. In the movie, the Fraternity doesn't control the world. This undermines the entire structure and meaning of the original comic book story, which it, up until that point, is built upon.

From there it continues as a rather uninspired but generally entertaining action movie that frankly would have worked much better with a different build up.

Seriously, it would have been a mild, very mild, thumbs-up for the assassin movie they were trying to make if they didn't try to shoehorn it into the beginning and (something not quite like) the end of the comic book. The two approaches never mesh and tend to work against one another, as they're pushing entirely different moral agendas.

Too bad, the straight(er) adaptation of the book, complete with original story and unadulterated ending would have been a cool movie, and Bekmambetov's fearless direction could have been the perfect device to force it down our throats... or whatever...


r_sail said...

I've never read the book but, I FUCKING HATED that movie.

THE LOOM OF FATE!!! Fuck me... I just spent how much time watching this? The Loom of Fate? Jesus H. Christ.

Neil Sarver said...

Yeah, I don't remember weavers or looms of fate in the comic. And that section is pretty poorly written. I made it through without too much trouble because I really did enjoy the vigor of the direction.

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