Thursday, 4 December 2014
Wanted: Dead or Alive, Preferably Dead
I've been watching a lot of action movies lately. I just finished class on action movies and I'm currently preparing for the exam so it kinda makes sense. That and with the usual mental that comes during and immediately after the exam period I needed a few lighter movies. Naturally I spent some time combing Netflix and I found the movie Wanted. It seemed to be just what I was looking for: some great action, a strong female lead played by Angelina Jolie, plenty of tension and suspense. Yet for some reason I got about an hour in and just didn't feel like I could finish it.
I'm not even completely sure why. It seemed to be kinda fun up to the point I stopped. Angelina Jolie was definitely getting her share of action scenes so I can't complain about her. Morgan Freeman was there too, so where could it have gone wrong? I had wondered if maybe I'd just been watching too many action movies or if it was some kind of taste issue. Maybe the action was just a bit too stylized for my liking (even by action movie standards, some of this gets pretty weird). Thinking about it at length afterward, it started to dawn on me that this was a pretty silly movie.
Let's look at the plot: a man discovers he can somehow speed up his heart allowing him to perceive things in slow motion and gets pulled into a secret organization of assassins. Said group of assassins for some reason constantly insists on being called a fraternity, even though the presence of Fox (Angelina Jolie's character) clearly shows that it isn't one. This so-called "fraternity" of assassins gets their assignments not from contracts or anything like that. These people literally get the names of people they have to kill from a loom. I'm not making this up, this is an entire secret society of assassins with a loom that apparently has an infinite supply of thread and gives people's names in binary code.
Yeah, this was getting pretty weird. Maybe it was for the better that I stopped watching it. If anything, this sounds like it should be the plot to a comedy. Had they done that perhaps it might have worked. It could have been played for laughs that these guys have a loom that tells them who to kill or that they don't seem to have a dictionary on hand so they can't look up the meaning of the word "fraternity". But no, this is played completely straight. We're actually supposed to take this seriously it seems. Action movies are usually supposed to be fun but this is going a little bit too far.
Thinking about it afterwards, it suddenly seems to make sense. The reason I couldn't take this movie was because it was just far too ridiculous. The stunts were completely insane (bullet bending? really? Even if the Mythbusters hadn't thoroughly debunked it I probably wouldn't buy that), and the story was just off the wall and crazy. This might have worked if it were played for laughs, but since they seem to insist on making such a bizarre and insane idea and play it completely straight, I can't say it works. Even Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie don't seem to have what it takes to save this film.