“Wanted” – Susan Granger reviews

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Making his American feature debut, Kazakhstan-born director Timur Bekmambetov ups the ante on turning graphic comic books into big-screen adventures with this hyper-kinetic, viscerally thrilling, supercharged transformation of a nerd into a superhero.

25 year-old Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy of “Atonement,” “Last King of Scotland,” “Chronicles of Narnia”) is apathetic and riddled with anxiety; he hates his job as an account manager and his girl-friend is boffing his best-friend. Which explains why he’s immediately intrigued when Fox (Angelina Jolie) suddenly saves his life, telling him his estranged father was one of the world’s greatest assassins and recruiting him to follow in his footsteps.

Yet it’s not quite that simple. Fox works for Sloan (Morgan Freeman), who masterminds The Fraternity, a 1,000 year-old league of supersensory-trained killers pledged to carry out a binary code of vengeance hidden in the fibers of the Loom of Fate: “Kill one, save a thousand.” Their shooting specialty is curving the trajectory of bullets around obstacles and people. The Fraternity’s training methods are brutal but Gibson soon develops his dormant skills, along with growing suspicions about Sloan’s fickle finger of fate and his own destiny.

Mark Millar and J.G. Jones’ cult comic book series was adapted by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan, and Timur Bekmambetov’s resume includes “Day Watch” and “Night Watch,” Russia’s two biggest commercial hits. Inventive action and stunt work are his forte – as demonstrated by the elevated train sequences and a climactic chase on a high-speed Pendolino train, superbly photographed by Mitchell Amundsen, edited by David Brenner and orchestrated by Danny Elfman.

. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Wanted” is a wry, nascent 9, because Terence Stamp, who plays an enigmatic character, says a sequel is already in the works.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.