Wes is a 25-year-old nobody who sits behind a desk, and everyone is certain this disengaged slacker will amount to nothing. After his father is murdered, he is recruited into a secret society that trains Wes to avenge his dad’s death.
As the impresario behind gravity-defying Russian blockbuster Night Watch, it’s inevitable that Hollywood would come calling for Timur Bekmambetov. With a studio budget and an international cast, including two Oscar winners, Timur cooks up a Hong Kong-styled actioner bursting with fast cars and big guns. Our unlikely hero is mild-mannered Chicago accountant Wesley Gibson (Atonement’s James McAvoy), whose father died when he was a tot. Wesley never learned to stand up for himself, and his girlfriend, boss, and best buddy all take advantage until the seductive Fox (Angelina Jolie) rescues him from a sharpshooter named Cross (The Pianist’s Thomas Kretschmann). After which, she whisks him away to a mansion on the edge of town to meet the other members of the Fraternity, where leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) informs Wesley that Cross, a rogue agent, executed his father. Sloan believes Wesley has the goods to take him out, so he undergoes the Fraternity’s brutal training regimen (Marc Warren and Common dish up some of the abuse). When he’s ready, Sloan sends him out to fulfill his duty, but matters become complicated when Wesley finds out someone isn’t telling the truth, leading our former milquetoast to exact an elaborate revenge. For those who’ve been following McAvoy’s career to date, Wanted will surely come as a surprise. In adapting Mark Millar’s comic series, Timur offers buckets of blood and a smidgen of depth, but fans of The Matrix and Mr. and Mrs. Smith will want to give this one a look. —Kathleen C. Fennessy