posted July 02, 2008 11:02:42 AM CDT | 10 comments

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If the Fraternity had its way, baddies like Charles Manson, Idi Amin and the telemarketer who calls at dinnertime to sell your Essence subscriptions would be eliminated from the face of the Earth. The Fraternity, a 1,000-year-old organization that somehow gets its orders from a secret code embedded in fabric woven from the heavens, believes that by killing the names in the thread they’re fulfilling fate’s will. Sloan (Morgan Freeman) is the head of the group, and as you’d probably expect, he walks with a purpose and talks as if everything came from a book of Kenyan proverbs. “It’s not a question of whom but a question of what,” he tells the newest enlistee, a one-time hapless nobody named Wesley (James McAvoy) whose destiny appears to be avenging his father’s death.

What Wesley, Fox (Angelina Jolie), Gunsmith (Common) and a few others actually are is a collective of assassins that have heightened senses once their adrenaline starts to rush. Time slows down. Vision becomes clearer. The Wanted crew (which is loosely based on Mark Millar’s comic miniseries) is like Trinity and Neo, but not really. Just like this fast-paced film attempts to read like the next chapter in Matrix-y thought and gravity-shifting look. The big difference: For whatever reason, when Morpheus jumped onto moving helicopters and fought atop speeding 18-wheelers, it never looked ridiculous.

In this present-day action vehicle that often feels more like a PS3 game, bullets laughably travel for miles around moving objects, cars pirouette in the sky and mortals fall several stories in a train accident and never get a scratch. And you won’t want to go into the joint expecting to see a lot of Common either. For the most part, Mr. Be finds himself forever at the Fraternity’s headquarters, cleaning weapons and not saying much to anybody.

Sure, you’ll have an “Okay, now that was cool” moment or two with some of the CGI-sparked antics. But sadly, you’ll have so many “Don’t take me for a fool” instances from your seat that you’ll kinda wish your own name came up in that hidden code the Frat swears by.

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