WonderCon 08: Wanted

Not all movies are meant to be believable.
By  · Published on February 23rd, 2008

Not all movies are meant to be believable. This includes the obvious genres of sci-fi and fantasy, but can often apply to action films as well. I know that, and I’m okay with it, but a part of me has to draw the line somewhere. That line is rarely crossed, and the only recent example I can think of is the kinetic shitball that was Shoot ‘Em Up. I’d call it a live-action cartoon, but that’s unfair to cartoons. It was a flurry of nothing, and I was not a fan.

Which brings me to the new film from director Timur Bekmambetov, Wanted. He made the visually stunning but ultimately disjointed Night Watch and Day Watch, and now he finds himself at the reins of a big-budget Hollywood summer film starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. Having seen the previously released trailer I was mildly interested but wary of the Shoot ‘Em Up odor I detected. WonderCon previewed an entire action scene from Wanted today, and I think my initial impression was correct. It was accompanied by a video introduction from Bekmambetov stating that the effects were unfinished. For those interested, here’s a rundown of the scene.

Jolie and McAvoy are in a convenient store being shot at by another man. Jolie, looking tight and tattooed, whips out a wickedly hinged handgun that she flips side to side to shoot around corners. Even though she appears to have the bad guy dead to rights at one point, she instead shoots out the security mirrors as McAvoy runs from the store. Bad guy chases after him, eventually chasing him down in a delivery truck. Jolie comes skidding in driving a fancy sports car, McAvoy falls through the open passenger door into the car, and the chase is on. The delivery truck keeps up with the sports car. Lots of dodging and weaving through traffic. Some of those space-bending bullets from the earlier trailer. Jolie fires multiple rounds at the truck (but never at the tires) to no avail, even going so far as to shoot out her own front windshield so she can lay out on the hood on her back and shoot over the roof. Some nice suggestive shots of her spread legs sticking into the car, one foot with McAvoy and the other steering the car. She crawls back in, pulls the car into a skid, and flips the car sideways into the side of a bus. The bus falls over, and the sports car is now right side up and drives off the bus and down the road. Some of the effects did look in need of polishing, particularly the multiple CGI cars they whizzed past during the chase. And yes, the scene plays as ridiculously as it sounds. (Although somewhat less convoluted…)

James McAvoy came out after the clip, and as the sole guest on the panel he managed to be almost as entertaining and equally as engaging as the Forgetting Sarah Marshall cast that preceded him. He was fun, honest, and full of praise for Jolie’s intensity and professionalism. During the Q and A he was also extremely humble and self-deprecating, stating that he was happy to see them cast him in the action role instead of the typical tall, rugged, “built like a brick shithouse”, really good looking man. He’s proven himself in The Last King of Scotland and Starter for Ten to be an talented and interesting actor, and as such he may be a good enough reason to watch this movie.

Wanted opens June 27th.

For more photos from WonderCon 2008, head over to our Official Flickr Page where I will be posting new stuff all weekend.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.