Ray reviews THE SIN CITY MATRIX REPORTS STAR WARS. aka... WANTED!

A copy-and-paste plot never looked so cool.

Remember THE MATRIX? How about STAR WARS? Or SIN CITY? Or MINORITY REPORT? Yes, everything you have heard about plot-borrowing in the new film WANTED is exactly right. We have a cubicle-numb hero and a secret society from THE MATRIX, replete with that film's physics-defying stuntwork. We have the father of the hero who was betrayed and murdered (but left his son his secret weapon) straight from the yellow pages of George Lucas' STAR WARS notebooks. We also have a fate-determining device that propels the plot, much like MINORITY REPORT. And we have the gritty, hardboiled dialogue and voiceovers from the SIN CITY comic book adaptation. Writers MARK MILLAR and J.G. JONES - as well as screenwriters MICHAEL BRANDT and DEREK HAAS - obviously spent a lot of time rummaging through their DVD collection in preparation for this. JAMES MCAVOY stars as Wesley Gibson, a chronically depressed office worker who lives with an unloving girlfriend in a rented hovel. He yearns to understand his place in the world. That wish is granted when ANGELINA JOLIE shows up and whisks him off to The Fraternity, as secret group of assassins led by MORGAN FREEMAN. You see, young Wesley is destined to become one of the greatest assassins ever thanks to the genes flowing in his blood that he inherited from his father. And so his training begins, teaching him the ways of assassins in order to face the evil man who killed his father. Even from that simple paragraph, you can see the various influences on this particular story. In fact, some fun can be had from simply watching the film and spotting homages. Of course, Russian director TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV desperately tries to distract from these obvious plot thefts with several glorious set pieces, all of which astound. The assassins in the movie are near-superhumans capable of extraordinary feats of acrobatics and athleticism, which allows for some amazing special effects work. Throughout the film, I kept thinking to myself, "Now, THIS is how Lucas should have done Jedis in the STAR WARS prequels." That's both a compliment and a criticism. Acting in a film like this is almost an afterthought. McAvoy is fine as Wesley, capably demonstrating his arc from nerd to assassin. In fact, McAvoy manages to do this despite the limitations of the script, which I feel rush through his learning curve and risk rendering his turn unbelievable; credit McAvoy here. Jolie is yet another mysterious and wily charmer, although her character has little to do but smirk and gaze through much of the film. And once again, we have Freeman doing another "wise sage" role; I long for the days of UNFORGIVEN, before he became so pidgeonholed by the soothing black man stereotype. What the films lacks in substance or individuality, it makes up for in style and very cool action. If you can turn your brain off and enjoy some in-your-face fun, then you could do a lot worse than this film. I just wish they could have put all of that style to use on something more original and daring. Oh well. Films of true vision like STAR WARS or THE MATRIX come around once a decade, and a film like WANTED can't be faulted for trying to emulate the best. P.S. I just want to add that I hate the title WANTED. It's so limp and just lies there. Could they think of nothing better?? How about THE SIN CITY MATRIX REPORTS STAR WARS? That actually more closely describes this film than WANTED.

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All you need to know is that I love movies and baseball. I write about both on a temporary medium known as the Internet. Twitter: @rayderousse or @unfilteredlens1 Go St. Louis Cardinals! www.stlcardinalbaseball.com