Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wanted - Ridiculous Doesn't Do It Justice

Onyx and I saw Wanted last night (free screening a friend let me know about). For what it was – a mindless, suspend your disbelief at the door action flick – it was fun. It was fun in a way that made me laugh out loud at just how ridiculous some of it was. Don’t get me wrong, I love a “good” ridiculous movie every now and then (I will argue to praise for Shoot ‘Em Up any day of the week; when the first death in the movie is death by carrot, how can you not get on board?). Unlike Die Hard 4, Shoot ‘Em Up and Wanted didn’t seem to want to be anything more than an over the top action movie. (Bruce Willis could have played John McClane with a bit more camp this last time; it would have suited the over the top film better – though I know that’s not the McClane we all love.)

Going in knowing that Wanted was going to be full of impossible shots, head splitting action (literally), and a plot most likely held together with Elmer’s glue, I still couldn’t help but take issue with the movie at times. My biggest problem, actually, was the setting. I could have sworn the movie was taking place in New York, and after the screening, Onyx said the same thing. But the cops were definitely not NYPD – they looked European. Then, we were in a different city all together. The movie was taking place in the same city, but it certainly didn’t look like it was shot in the same place we’d been spending time. It got to the point where I was devoting as much time to trying to place the action as I was to watching it. This just goes to show something that Zombie usually brings up first—place your movie, ground us somewhere, even if the “where” is not integral to the plot. It just plain helps.

There were a couple of inconsistencies in the picture, too, which I learned to get past, but stuck with me after the screening nonetheless. At one point, a character runs at above normal speed through an office hallway and jumps across a wide city street, crashing through the opposite building’s window. In the meantime, he shoots three assassins. (This was a laugh at the ridiculousness moment.) Though a feat such as that was explained by a heightened adrenaline rush, no one else really did anything comparable throughout the entire film. If one man is superman, shouldn’t others be, too, if they’re all equals?

I guess I have to stop dissecting it now, though, or I’ll go nuts. One thing I can say the movie did well was to establish its rule: there are no rules. No physics. No pain. No impossible shot. Cars can just about fly. As can people. And bullets can be trained to fly like model airplanes, over, around, and under anything in their way. Will this movie become a classic to air on AMC twenty years from now? I doubt it. But, at least I wanted to watch it the through to the end.


Onyx Enforcer said...

All in all I think the flick has bigger things to worry about than its setting. But then again maybe it doesn't have much to worry about if it's just an over the top action movie. It wins style points and it will put people in the seats with fun (and ridiculous) gunplay, and pretty faces aiming the guns. I would have liked some better character development, something that helped me care more about the characters come the big twists rather than less.

Cake Man said...

Oh, don't get me wrong. There are many more problems than just the setting. I think that one bugged me most because it was something that, even in an over the top action pic, is normally clear.

But yes, there were some things that, even for the world in which the movie takes place, were impossible. There were twists and character motives that weren't explained (or only half explained, like the writers got tired of trying to answer all the questions, so they just did a few). The list goes on... Or can, if you analyze it as something trying to be more than it was.