Plot: What’s it about?
Let me get something out in the open before I continue with this review, I’m absolutely sick of Angelina Jolie. I’ve heard way too much about her, I don’t care who she’s married to and don’t care how many children she has or wants. As an actress, I’ll admit she’s nice to watch on screen and some of her past roles are great to watch, but seeing about her and hearing about her every time I turn on the radio or turn around in the supermarket there she is. Ok, rant officially ended. I will say that it is nice to see her in a major role again, if I’m not mistaken her last one was in Mr. and Mrs. Smith where she met Mr. Pitt and we all know, in detail, what’s happened since then. But I digress as this is a review of the movie Wanted and not a dossier on Angelina Jolie. And in the world of professional assassins, I have to say that this is entertaining but at the same time surreal. Well, I use the word “surreal” unless there are people out there who can react with lightning quick reflexes and jump from building to building. No? Ok, it’s surreal then.
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) lives in a world of hell. His overbearing (and overweight) boss constantly threatens him, his best friend is having an affair with his girlfriend and he’s just unhappy in general. He soon learns, however, that his father (who walked out on him when he was seven days old) has been killed and his inheritance has been transferred to his bank account. Through a series of random events, he meets up with Fox (Angelina Jolie) a member of an exclusive organization known as “The Fraternity.” Having quit his job, Wesley decides to take Fox up on her offer as he’s “trained” (aka having the crap kicked out of him), he starts to pick up some of the traits he shared with his father who was known as one of the best assassins in the world. Wesley does a few hits and as his skill improves, he becomes more engrossed in the world that is “The Fraternity.” Is all of this too good to be true or has Wesley finally found his calling in life?
I’d expand upon the synopsis for Wanted but in doing so, might divulge a few plot points that would otherwise ruin it for those that haven’t seen it. For me, it had some of the elements of The Matrix and was more like Office Space had that movie delved into the supernatural. Yes, there are fast-paced action sequences and I highly doubt there’s a way to shoot a gun and actually make a bullet curve, but I can’t be too sure. Of all the films that came out during the summer, “Wanted” quietly make around $130 million while films like Iron Man and The Dark Knight took all the glory. I neglected to mention the always affable Morgan Freeman in the role of “Sloan”, his presence makes the movie that much more enjoyable. Yes, Wanted might be a popcorn flick, but it’s an interesting way to spend two hours.
Video: How does it look?
It’s been over a decade since I watched this film. I think it was for my original Blu-ray review, actually. That said, I read some of my comments and do remember that I wasn’t too terribly satisfied with the way this “new” movie looked on screen. Flash forward nearly a decade and a half and we’ve now got the movie in 4K, benefitting from HDR and, of course, technology. Has time healed old wounds? In a word – no, but those wounds aren’t nearly as deep as they were with the initial Blu-ray offering. Grain is nearly gone, detail has been improved and I felt a more theatrical look and feel to the movie that simply wasn’t present before. Angelina Jolie’s tattoos, Morgan Freeman’s hair or watching a bullet curve all have a newfound glimmer to them. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image leaves little to the imagination, all the while giving us a much-improved transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
What would seem a candidate for a Dolby Atmos track get shafted. The original DTS HD Master Audio mix is all we get and this uncompressed mix is one of the more active I’ve heard. It’s difficult to illustrate a bullet curving around a woman’s head is through the use of surround speakers. All 7.1 channels are active and active for quite some time. Dialogue is pure and clean and the subwoofer certainly gets a workout too. There’s a recurring “theme” if you will of a heartbeat and it’s thrilling to listen to in 7.1 sound. Car chases, exploding rats and more bullets than can be counted all sound amazing in this track. And, as per usual, Danny Elfman’s score is amazing.
Supplements: What are the extras?
No new supplements have been added, rather they’re all on the included Blu-ray.
- Alternate Opening – Pretty self-explanatory.
- Extended Scene – Just one, clocking in at 2 minutes.
- Cast and Characters – Probably the “best” feature on the disc, we get a smattering of interviews with the cast and crew as they wax philosophical on their respective roles, the overall film and what drew them to the script.
- Stunts on the L Train – If you’ve ever seen The Fugitive, you’ll know that the L train is one that isn’t on the ground. You’re welcome. Here we’re treated to some of the stunts from the film.
- Special Effects: The Art of the Impossible – A look at some of the effects used in the movie.
- Wanted: Motion Comics – Essentially a “digital” graphic novel that’s pretty interesting and pays homage to the source material.
- Groundbreaking Visual Effects: From Imagination to Execution – I don’t know why this couldn’t have been mixed in with the other feature on VFX, but alas…
- Origins of Wanted: Bringing the Graphic Novel to Life – Pretty much that. They give us a crash course in the source novel and how it translated to screen.
- Through the Eyes of Visionary Director Timur Bekmambetov – A profile of the director (who would later go onto direct Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Take that for what you will.
The Bottom Line
This one hasn’t aged as badly as I thought it would. Watching it again nearly 15 years after my initial viewing, I found myself enjoying it. The upgraded picture is reason enough to warrant a purchase, though I’d wish they’d have given us a new Atmos track and perhaps a few new supplements. Nevertheless, fans should be pretty pleased with this 4K offering.