Jolie and Freeman sleepwalk through their roles with nothing interesting to say beyond the typical platitudes. McAvoy’s performance stands out, however, convincing as wimpy Wes and earnest as action hero Wes. There are times when he is a lot of fun to watch as his world gets crazy. But in addition to excruciatingly little explanation for all these fantastic elements, the transformation of this character itself appears too radical to be believed. A few beat-downs and one training montage later, he stands ready to stop being timid and do his Fraternity masters’ bidding.

This performance, while excellent, does not really balance out the mountains of ridiculousness. Wanted gives us nothing more artistic or exciting than stylized blood spatter flying from gunshot exit wounds.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Wesley takes prescription drugs for anxiety. Fraternity member sneaks Wesley some vodka while he is in training.
  • Language/Profanity:  A great deal of verbal vulgarity and obscenity. God’s name spoken profanely several times. When wimpy Wesley finally reaches his breaking point, he humiliates his boss by cussing her out (in retaliation for all the time she spends verbally abusing and degrading him).
  • Sex/Nudity:  Wesley is living with his girlfriend although there seems to be not an ounce of affection between them (physical or otherwise). Rather his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend. In two quick scenes, the two are shown having sex on the kitchen table, she in her underwear, he without pants bare backside exposed. Fox is shown once getting out of the bath, bare backside exposed. Fox and Wesley share a long kiss in front of his girlfriend intending to make her jealous.
  • Violence:  Excessive and graphic violence. Wesley smashes his best friend in the face with a computer keyboard (because he slept with Wesley’s girlfriend). Several slow motion, close-up headshots with a great deal of blood splatter. Several gun battles throughout the film. Brutal fist fights and knife fights. Wesley is viciously beaten several times in his training process, even to the point of being stabbed through the hand with a large knife. Often Wesley is severely injured during his training (thank goodness for those healing tanks). Once shot, Wesley digs the bullet out of his arm with his own fingers. Many times in the film bystanders are put in peril or killed due to the Fraternity’s “assignments.” A man is stabbed though the chest in a knife fight. Several car chases and crashes, one where the participants evade the police. A violent, over-the-top, train crash, where many innocents are seemingly killed. Bombs are tied to rats who are then released to cause various havoc. In one gun battle Wesley shoots a man in the head, then continues to shoot other thugs through the body, holding it up as a shield. One character commits suicide.
  • Worldview:  Several times Fox steals cars. There is a great deal of discussion here about fate and one’s purpose in life, but it is largely inane and no insightful conclusions are reached beyond a purpose of killing people. The assassins serve “fate,” and how they interpret what fate requires of them is the most ridiculous part of the film.