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Timur Bekmambetov
James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie
Writing Credits:
Chris Morgan, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas

A frustrated office worker learns that he is the son of a professional assassin and that he shares his father's superhuman killing abilities.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Opening Weekend:
$50,927,085 on 3175 screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 12/2/2008

• Extended Scene
• Alternate Opening
• U-Control Interactive Feature
• “Cast and Characters” Featurette
• “Stunts on the L Train” Featurette
• “The Art of the Impossible” Featurette
• “From Imagination to Execution” Featurette
• “Bringing the Graphic Novel to Life” Featurette
• “Through the Eyes of Director Timur Bekmamvetov” Featurette
• “Wanted: Motion Comics”
• “The Making of Wanted: The Game” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Wanted [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 18, 2021)

2006’s Last King of Scotland and 2007’s Atonement put James McAvoy in dramatic Oscar-nominated fare. However, McAvoy took on something different with 2008’s loud action spectacular Wanted.

Sad sack Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) toils at a miserable office job while his best friend Barry (Chris Pratt) bangs his nagging girlfriend Cathy (Kristen Hager) behind his back. Matters take an enormous change when he encounters a mysterious babe named Fox (Angelina Jolie) at the pharmacy. She tells him that his father was a world-class assassin who just got murdered – and whose killer (Thomas Kretschmann) has Wesley in his sights.

Fox rescues Wesley from this situation and exposes him to the reality of his history. Wesley thinks he suffers from panic attacks, but it turns out he actually has superhuman perceptual skills that simply overwhelm him. He learns that his dad was part of an ancient group of assassins called The Fraternity and that he needs training to join their ranks.

Which he does. Wesley enters into a brutal regimen led by Fox and also learns about his murky history along the way. We follow his path along with a mix of snarls and complications.

When I saw Wanted theatrically, it would be an understatement to say that it left me unimpressed. To me, it represented pretty much everything wrong with action movies. I love the genre but not when it displays the level of idiocy found in Wanted.

Did my subsequent viewings of Wanted change my mind? No.

Granted, I didn’t go through the same visceral sense of irritation and disgust. When you know something stinks, it becomes difficult to relive that initial feeling of disdain.

That didn’t make my subsequent screenings enjoyable, though, as all the film’s flaws remained on display – and I couldn’t find any previously undiscovered positives.

First of all, Wanted displays a relentlessly derivative experience, one that I liked better when it was called The Matrix. We see the thumbprint of that iconic hit all over Wanted, as it nearly amounts to a remake.

Yes, I realize that Wanted drops all the sci-fi trappings and philosophical mumbo-jumbo found in the earlier flick, but it still comes across as a very close cousin.

That goes for nearly every aspect of the film. Both feature cubicle drones who learn that they possess fantastic abilities when a rockin’ babe yanks them out of their nowhere existences. Both deal with somber African-American mentors. And so on.

I will admit that the two films don’t offer very similar plots. The Matrix goes down a much more ambitious path and posits its hero as a Christ-like figure.

On the other hand, Wanted mostly deals with revenge. Though it tosses out twists and turns, it doesn’t add up to a whole lot more than that.

And I don’t regard that as a bad thing. While I have many complaints about Wanted, the story isn’t one of them.

No, it never proves particularly involving or dynamic, but it’s perfectly adequate, even if it does take a serious Empire Strikes Back move along the way.

Too bad so many other problems arise, many of which stem from the film’s sheer stupidity. Instead of Wanted, they should have named it You Know What Would Be Cool?, because that's all it is: a random compilation of moments some 14-year-old thought would look awesome!!!

Loud, stupid and annoying, I was close to bailing on this one after 15 minutes, but I stayed because I never give up on movies. I hoped it'd get better, but it didn't. Wanted remained thoroughly idiotic and obnoxious.

I knew I was in trouble within the film’s first five minutes or so. We see a character leap through a window, and as he soars through the sky in slow motion, the shards of glass cling to his face.

That scene may act as a litmus test to determine whether or not you can stand Wanted. If you think this showy piece of action, then you’ll likely enjoy the movie’s over the top material.

If you’re like me and you think the “shards of glass” sequence is nothing more than slick visuals without any other inspiration or purpose, you’ll probably hate the experience.

Matters sure don’t improve from there. I get the feeling director Timur Bekmambetov adored the “bullet time” footage from The Matrix and figured he’d like to base a movie on that technique. He certainly does pour on the slo-mo action here, as it seems unavoidable.

Didn’t “bullet time” get tiresome around 2001 or so? Cripes, I think it felt played out by the time Charlie’s Angels hit screens in 2000.

The method hasn’t somehow improved with age. It worked great for The Matrix but now comes across as cheesy and lame.

I think McAvoy has talent, but you won’t figure that out from his performance here. He sports an awful attempt at an American accent and never quite invests in his character.

Wesley never seems convincing. Whether as a neurotic office worker or as a super-assassin, McAvoy fails to connect with the part.

Jolie has her bad-ass routine down to a science, but that’s not enough to make Fox more than a one-dimensional cartoon. She nearly sleepwalks through the part, which is more than I can say for Morgan Freeman as the Fraternity’s leader. He seems so disinterested in the film that you can almost hear him snore.

There’s nothing wrong with the basic story, characters or theme of Wanted. All of the problems stem from its sheer stupidity and its obsession with ridiculously stylized visuals. This must be one of the most annoying flicks to hit the screen in years.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A/ Bonus B-

Wanted appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film featured a largely good transfer.

Sharpness seemed mostly fine. A few shots appeared a bit soft, but most came across as accuate and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared. Edge haloes and source flaws remained absent.

Like most modern action flicks, Wanted featured an orange and teal palette. I thought the tones were a bit on the heavy side, but intentionally so, which meant the image reproduced them as desired.

Blacks appeared reasonably dark and tight, while shadows showed acceptable clarity. All of this added up to a “B” for visuals.

On the other hand, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Wanted proved wholly satisfying. The soundfield proved consistently active and involving.

Quieter scenes present a good sense of place and atmosphere, while the action sequences open things up in a dynamic manner. Bullets and vehicles zoomed and jumped around the room, and the scenes placed us in the action. Surround usage was quite full, and the mix created a strong setting for the adventure.

Audio quality was always excellent. Speech appeared natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues.

Music seemed rich and dynamic, and effects followed suit. Those elements were crisp and clear, and they showed terrific bass response. The audio earned a solid “A”.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio offered more heft and impact, while visuals were tighter and smoother. The Blu-ray became a step up, especially in terms of picture.

The Blu-ray offers most of the DVD’s extras and adds a few new ones like an Alternate Opening. This runs two minutes, 38 seconds and shows a prologue set in the Middle Ages.

It offers a formal introduction to “The Fraternity” and seems interesting, though it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the movie’s tone.

An Extended Scene lasts one minute, 58 seconds. It shows a little more of the sequence when Wesley shoots at cadavers. The addition just provides more comedy to the sequence; nothing more significant occurs.

Six featurettes follow. Cast and Characters goes for 19 minutes, 59 seconds as it includes comments from producer Marc Platt, director Timur Bekmamvetov, author Mark Millar, and actors Morgan Freeman, James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Common, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Dato Bakhtadze, Konstantin Khabensky and Marc Warren.

The show offers basic character notes and a few remarks about performances and the shoot. Occasionally we learn something decent about the flick, but most of the time the show just reiterates plot and character facts that are already known to anyone who saw the movie.

Next comes the two-minute, 30-second Stunts on the L Train. It offers notes from McAvoy and stunt coordinator Nick Gillard as they discuss one big scene. We see a few interesting green screen shots, but we learn very little about this stunt sequence because the featurette is so brief.

With Special Effects: The Art of the Impossible, we get an eight-minute, 27-second piece that features Platt, Bekmamvetov, McAvoy, and special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy. The show gets into practical effects used in the film.

Like the prior featurettes, this one seems more focused on the film’s big-bam-boom than on facts, but it does allow for a few good basics to emerge. While it remains way too flashy and promotional, the behind the scenes bits help make it moderately worthwhile.

Groundbreaking Visual Effects: From Imagination to Execution goes for eight minutes, six seconds and provides remarks from Bekmamvetov, Platt, Khabensky, editor David Brenner, producer Jim Lemley, visual effects supervisors Craig Lyn, Stefen Fangmeier and Jon Farhat, senior visual effects supervisor Pavel Perepelkin, and visual effects producer Maria Karneeva.

“Imagination” resembles “Art” except it concentrates on computer imagery instead of practical elements. It works in a similar manner; it conveys a mix of decent facts but remains more style than substance.

During the eight-minute, five-second The Origins of Wanted: Bringing the Graphic Novel to Life, we hear from Platt, Millar, Bekmamvetov, and screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. We learn a bit about the adaptation of the source graphic novel and attempts to stay true to the source.

When we hear from Millar, “Origins” proves quite interesting; he offers great notes about his influences and the comic’s roots. The rest of the piece feels more like filler, but there’s enough from Millar to make it worthwhile.

For some filmmaker info, we head to Through the Eyes of Director Timur Bekmamvetov. In this nine-minute, five-second piece, we get details from Bekmamvetov, McAvoy, Jolie, Freeman, Platt, Common, Lemley, Kretschmann, and Millar.

Mostly the featurette just tells us that Bekmamvetov is brilliant. Once again, some interesting shots from the set help redeem the show somewhat, but the content remains forgettable.

Something different arrives with Wanted: Motion Comics. This area runs 13 minutes, 55 seconds as it shows segments from the graphic novel that inspired scenes in the movie.

Why are these called “motion comics”? Because they offer moving, acted-out scenes, not just still frames.

This becomes one of the disc’s more compelling extras, as it’s fun to compare and contrast the graphic novel with the film. For instance, the comic’s Fox shows a heavy Halle Berry influence; she couldn’t look or feel much less like Jolie.

For the final featurette, we go to the 10-minute, one-second The Making of Wanted: The Game. It features GRIN executive producer Emmanuel Marquez, GRIN CEO Bo Andersson, Universal game producer Nick Torchia, Universal executive game producer Pete Wanat, GRIN project manager Saul Gascon, GRIN creative director Pascal Luban, GRIN game designer Alvaro E. Vazquez, GRIN lead animator Jonathan Hodge, GRIN lead level designer Morten Sandholt, and GRIN game director Ulf Andersson.

They provide some details about the game. In essence, this acts as a long advertisement.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray, U-Control breaks into four domains. “Motion Comics” offers the same graphic novel material seen earlier, but it allows us to easily compare comic to film, which makes it fun.

With “Scene Explorer”, we can view four movie sequences with extra options. It allows us to check these out via story boards, CG previs, and footage from the set. It’s another good addition.

“Assassin Profiles” pops up 14 times during the film. It offers simple “fact sheets” about characters, weapons and locations. It’s not bad, but it’s the least interesting of the “U-Control” elements,

Finally, “Picture-in-Picture” presents shots from the set as well as comments from Millar, Bekmambetov, Jolie, Fangmeier, Kretschmann, Farhat, Brenner, Perepelkin, makeup/hair designer Frances Hannon, supervising location manager Michael Sharp, 2nd unit director Dmitriy Kiselev, composer Danny Elfman, and rigging/wire effects coordinator Kevin Welch.

They provide notes about the graphic novel, story/characters, cast and performances, effects, makeup, stunts/action, sets/locations, camerawork and music.

That’s a good array of topics, but the execution seems a bit lackluster, mainly because many of the PiP sequences are short. This makes the feature frustrating.

I hoped that Wanted would provide a clever, exciting action flick. Unfortunately, it cared only about its ridiculous visuals and never became anything more than a long, tedious ad for slow-motion techniques. The Blu-ray provides good picture and excellent audio but supplements tend to remain superficial. Expect disappointment from this silly film.

To rate this film, visit the original review of WANTED

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main