Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wanted: Assasins With Killer Threads

Though Angelina Jolie is pictured prominently in the foreground of every poster, billboard, and widget (see below) promoting this new movie, Wanted is not her story, it's his...the man you see in the background by her elbow. Meet Wesley (James McAvoy, Atonement), an unhappy 25-year-old account manager who lives by the L-word. That's L for loser not lesbian, people! Whether at work or at home, he gets no respect. Even his girlfriend disses him for his best friend. Then combine those woes with chronic panic attacks and low self-esteem and you understand why Wesley is a poster child for underachievement.

Then one day Wesley's life takes a dramatic turn thanks to a chance meeting with a sexy, mysterious woman named Fox (Jolie). She informs Wesley that his estranged father was a member of an elite group of assassins called, the Fraternity, and has been killed. She too is a member and wants to recruit Wesley to avenge his father's death.

Hold up! Rewind! I know a little something about fraternities thanks to a wonderful HBCU college experience. Shout out to Gamma Rho, Spring '92! Fraternities don't typically include women which is why they are referred to as brotherhoods. But this is a MOVIE not a documentary so let that detail go.

One thing that IS true in this film of most fraternities, membership ain't free. In Wesley's case, membership dues are paid through his ass which gets mercilessly beaten during several days of grueling assassin training. But by the end of his "pledge" process, neophyte Wesley can kick ass with the best of his frat. All you "Big Brotha Almighties" out there please don't get any new ideas!

Also true of elite groups like The Fraternity is the unwavering faith in the vision of the founding members. In this story the visionary is the charismatic yet deadly, Sloan (Morgan Freeman). By deciphering a code issued by a large loom, Sloan decides the fate of the "one that must be killed to save thousands," a paraphrase of The Fraternity motto. Now, where the loom gets its information? Who knows? Well, I know but I'm not telling.

So what happens when despite all you've learned from your new frat brothers and one tattooed sister, you realize taking another person's life just because a textile machine told you so doesn't quite make sense? Simple. You become "wanted", dead never alive. And now everything you've been taught to kill others must now be used by you to destroy your teachers.

So should you rush to the theater June 27th or wait for DVD? Definitely theater! Rushing is optional. But if you really like Matrix style special effects and some graphic violence then by all means, be present June 27 at your favorite theater. And "What about Jolie's performance?" You ask. She's basically an expressionless robot throughout the entire film, but there are unexpected glimpses of her humanity. Oh, and I almost forgot. Gorgeous rapper Common is in this film too. But unfortunately, his role is synonymous with his name. Common is basically the same character in this film that he was in his last 3 movies. It's definitely time for a role that moves him beyond likeable thugs, guns and violence.

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