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Wanted (Movies)
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Information about Wanted (2008 film)

Wanted is a 2008 (13 years ago) action movie which is very loosely based on the comic book miniseries of the same name by Mark Millar. The movie is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and stars James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie (146 walls), Morgan Freeman, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp, and Konstantin Khabensky. The storyline follows Wesley Gibson, a frustrated office worker who discovers that he is the son of a professional assassin and decides to join the entity in which his father used to work, a secret guild called The Fraternity.

Production began in Apr. 2007 (14 years ago), with filming in the Czech Republic to later superimpose the sets on images (wallpaper) of Chicago. Wanted was released on Jun. 25, 2008 (13 years ago) in the United Kingdom and Jun. 27, 2008 (13 years ago) in the United States, to both critical and commercial success. On Jan. 22, 2009 (12 years ago), it was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.



The movie opens with a mysterious man, identified as "Mr. X", under attack from a half a dozen hitmen from the top of the building across the street from the skyscraper he is currently standing in. He focuses intently, runs at supernatural speed down a hallway, and soars through a window and across the divide between the buildings, gunning down all but one of the killers in the process, one of whom is hiding behind a structural pillar. Mr. X eliminates him by performing a seemingly impossible shooting technique which defies physics and causes the bullet to maneuver (curve) around objects in its path. After killing the last would-be assassin, Mr. X answers the ringing cell phone of one of the hitmen and chides their client for "sending sheep to kill a wolf." The man on the other end of the phone casually states the hitmen Mr. X has just slain were simply decoys, intended to maneuver/place him in the exact spot he currently stands. Mr. X is then executed by a clean shot from behind emerging from his forehead; the scene is played backwards and the unusual bullet is followed to its point of origin, several miles away, where the sound of the assassin's shot is drowned out by a passing train.

We are then introduced to a young man named Wesley Gibson, who works at a dead-end desk job with an overbearing boss, takes anti-anxiety medication for panic attacks, and has a live-in girlfriend who cheats on him with his best friend. During one of his trips to the pharmacy, Gibson is told by a mysterious woman named Fox that his father (implied to be Mr. X) was an international assassin who was murdered yesterday, and the killer, a man known as Cross, is standing directly behind Wesley. Cross and Fox engage in a shoot-out followed by a car chase in the streets of Chicago. Fox brings Gibson to the headquarters of the Fraternity, a thousand-year-old secret society of assassins. The group's leader, Sloan, explains that Gibson's panic attacks are actually the untrained expression of a rare, unexplained superhuman ability; when stressed he has drastically increased heart rate and adrenaline levels that result in bursts of superhuman strength, speed and reflexes. The Fraternity can teach him to control this ability, so Gibson can follow in his father's footsteps as an assassin, beginning by inheriting his fortune. Gibson is initially reluctant and returns to work, only to finally snap when discovering his online bank account balance is over 3 million dollars. He tells off his boss in front of the entire office and on his way out, hits his "friend" in the face with a keyboard (the letters of the keyboard fly off in such a way that they spell out the words "Fuck you" as they leave the keyboard, with the man's molar serving as the last U in the word). Fox is waiting outside to take him back to the Fraternity headquarters - an unassuming textile mill.

Gibson is then subjected to brutal training; among other forms of combat, he learns to curve bullets fired from smoothbore firearms around objects. Afterward, Gibson is shown the "Loom of Fate", a loom that mysteriously dispenses the names of the Fraternity's targets through binary code hidden in weaving errors of the fabric. Those the loom identifies are apparently destined to cause tragedy in the future; Sloan's singular task within the Fraternity is to find and interpret the targets selected by Fate. Gibson is initially reluctant about killing people he doesn't know on the word of a loom. Then Fox reveals that in her childhood, a hired killer burned her father alive in front of her — and said hitman's name was dispensed by the Loom, only to have the assassin assigned to the target balk at the last second. She considers that preventing such tragedy is now her mission. "Kill one person, maybe save a thousand."

After two routine missions and a chance meeting with Cross, in which Cross shoots Wesley in the arm with a deliberately traceable bullet and Wesley accidentally shoots a Fraternity member, he becomes impatient and demands to be allowed to avenge his father. Sloan grants his wish, saying that Cross's name had finally come up on the loom, but then secretly gives Fox a mission to kill Gibson, revealing that Wesley's name had come up as well. Analyzing the bullet that hit Gibson, it is discovered that the manufacturer was a man named Pekwarsky, a bullet-maker that lives in eastern Moravia. Gibson and Fox travel there and capture Pekwarsky, who arranges a meeting with Cross. Gibson faces Cross alone on a moving train. Fox steals a car and crashes it into the train, eventually causing a derailment when the train reaches a bridge over a deep ravine. The train filled with people then plummets into the ravine, killing all aboard, save Fox, Cross, and Wesley. After Cross saves Gibson’s life by preventing him from falling into the ravine, Gibson mercilessly shoots his saviour. Before dying, Cross reveals that he is Wesley's real father. Fox confirms the truth and explains that Gibson was recruited not because his inherited skills would allow him to kill Cross, but because the only person that Cross wouldn't kill was his own son. Fox then reveals the kill order on Gibson and raises her gun, but Wesley escapes by shooting out the glass underneath him and plunging into the river below.

Gibson is retrieved by Pekwarsky, who takes him to his father's apartment, located just across the street from Gibson's old home—Cross was always "only a camera-click away", as Pekwarsky states showing the photos Cross kept of Gibson since childhood. Pekwarsky explains that Sloan started falsely manufacturing targets for profit after discovering that he himself was targeted by the Loom of Fate, and didn't tell the Fraternity members that they were now nothing more than paid killers. Cross discovered the truth and went rogue, and started killing Fraternity members to keep them away from his son. Pekwarsky departs, stating that Gibson's father wished him a peaceful life free of violence. Wesley, however, decides to take out Sloan after discovering a secret room containing all of his father's weapons and maps. Gibson makes a clever and imaginative plan to unleash an army of rats with bombs strapped to them in first, so as to not have to deal with too many assassins, though his journey through the textile factory is still unbelievably dangerous. Upon entering Sloan's office after killing nearly every Fraternity member, he reveals Sloan's deception to the master assassins present in the room, including Fox. Sloan then reveals that the names of every single assassin in the room had come up in the weaving, and that he had merely acted to protect them. Were they to follow the code, every one of them should kill themselves on the spot. Otherwise, they should kill Gibson. Fox, who believes in the code more than anyone due to her own experience, turns on her fellow assassins, and "curves" a bullet that kills every Fraternity member in the room, including herself. Sloan manages to escape.

Wesley, penniless once again, does not know what to do with himself. While he provides a voice-over, the audience sees Wesley at a computer in an office, searching the internet for his own name, much as he did at the beginning of the film. Sloan appears from nowhere and points a gun at back of his enemy's head. At that moment, the man turns around and is revealed to be a decoy. Sloan is then killed by Wesley using a long-distance untraceable bullet, exactly in the manner that Cross killed Mr. X in the prologue. Similar to the comic, the movie ends as Wesley turns to the camera and breaks the fourth wall, saying, "This is me taking back control of my life. What the fuck have you done lately?"


  • James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson: A meek 24-year-old who works in a cubicle, but learns he is heir to a legacy of assassins.
  • Morgan Freeman as Sloan: Leader of the Fraternity, and assassin partner of Wesley Gibson's deceased "father".
  • Angelina Jolie (146 walls) as Fox: One of the Fraternity assassins who mentors Gibson.
  • Thomas Kretschmann as Cross: A rogue assassin who has left the Fraternity and Wesley's true father.
  • Common as Earl Malcolm Spellman a.k.a. "The Gunsmith": A professional gunman who trains others to use weapons.
  • Konstantin Khabensky as The Exterminator: An expert in explosives who makes bombs and attached them to rats; secretly allied with Cross, and one of Wesley's only friends in the Fraternity.
  • Marc Warren as The Repairman: An assassin who says he "breaks bad habits" by violently beating people. Trained Wesley in hand-to-hand combat and endurance by beating him every time he incorrectly answered the question "Why are you here?" One of the first members of the Fraternity Wesley kills during his attack.
  • Dato Bakhtadze as The Butcher: A master of knife work to the extent that he can block bullets. Trains Wesley in knife fighting. Wesley kills him during his attack on the Fraternity using a butcher's steel jammed into one of his guns.
  • Terence Stamp as Pekwarsky: A master in the science of killing. Pekwarsky operates as a rogue agent outside of The Fraternity. He is also a craftsman who is able to build bullets both untraceable and capable of traversing long distances. One of Cross's accomplices.
  • David O'Hara as Mr. X: Said to be the greatest assassin, and initially believed to be Wesley's father. His murder is the catalyst for Wesley's introduction into the Fraternity.
  • Chris Pratt as Barry: A co-worker of Gibson and also his best friend, who is also having an affair with his girlfriend.
  • Kristen Hager as Cathy: Gibson's unfaithful and bickering girlfriend.
  • Lorna Scott as Janice: Gibson's overbearing boss.



The comic book miniseries Wanted by Mark Millar first attracted the attention of Universal pictures (wallpaper) executive Jeff Kirschenbaum, a comic book fan who sought a movie adaptation that would be considered a "hard-R" and encouraged the studio to pick up the rights to the miniseries. By 2004 (17 years ago), producer Marc Platt set up development of the movie adaptation. In dec. 2005 (16 years ago), Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov was attached to helm the project as his first English-language film, with the script being written by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt. Millar did not like the first draft of the script. He explained:

“ I Wanted the movie to basically be the opposite of the Spider-Man movie, the idea of someone getting powers and realizing they can do what they want, then choosing the dark path. The [script] I read was just too tame. It just seemed a little bit Americanized. But Timur came in with his Eastern European madness, and he really made it nasty. He went closer to the spirit of the book. ”

Director Timur Bekmambetov said that the movie would keep the same characters from the miniseries (which ultimately, did not happen) though the director would take liberty in adapting the comic book's world. In Jul. 2006 (15 years ago), screenwriter Chris Morgan was hired to revise the third act of the Wanted script written by Haas and Brandt. Haas and Brandt returned to polish the character of Wesley Gibson, which they had established in their first draft.

Wanted creator Mark Millar saw previsualized footage for the movie and said the footage had raised his expectations for the movie adaptation. Millar described the first half of the movie as being close to the graphic novel, and also said that the film's ending was similar, though it was relocated elsewhere from the setting in the graphic novel. The superhero costumes in the series were also removed, with the exception of the leather attire worn by Wesley Gibson and Fox. Ironically, this had been Millar's intent when writing the graphic novel, although he and artist J. G. Jones had forgotten to. "I Wanted them to have those powers and then just wear those costumes for the initiation, but just for one panel. And then I forgot." he said. Millar also stated he would have liked to keep the supervillain mythos that dictates the original comic in the film. Millar was favorable to most changes in the storyline, including the story arc of the Fates issuing death orders in line with the series' original theme of predestination. Angelina Jolie (146 walls) asked for Fox to get killed, considering that "If she was to find out she had killed people unjustly and was a part of something that wasn't fair, then she should take her own life."


James McAvoy, who had screen-tested for the role early in 2006 (15 years ago), was initially rejected because the studio was seeking an actor with conventional Hollywood leading-man looks and physique. McAvoy was later recalled, being considered the "runt of the litter" of those who tested. According to McAvoy, "They [ultimately] Wanted someone geeky." McAvoy was cast in the role in Oct. 2006 (15 years ago). The Scottish actor, who portrays an American in the film, worked out to improve his physique for the film's action scenes, and suffered several injuries during shooting, including a twisted ankle and an injured knee.

Angelina Jolie (146 walls) was cast in Mar. 2007 (14 years ago) after screenwriter Dean Georgaris rewrote the screenplay to tailor the role for her. Mark Millar became much more enthusiastic about the project after learning that Jolie had accepted the role of Fox, saying "the only way they could have got a bigger star to play this role is if they'd hired Tom Cruise (12 walls) in drag." Jolie decided to make Fox seem "distant and unattainable" by having her silent in many scenes. She mentioned Clint Eastwood, who had recently directed her in the movie Changeling, as a possible influence for this aspect of her performance.

Common became interested in the role due to both the script and the prospect of working with actors McAvoy, Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Common learned a great deal about firearms as preparation for the role, but said he is not a strong supporter of guns in real life. Konstantin Khabensky, who starred in Bekmambetov's Night Watch, was cast so the director would have a familiar face around. British TV veteran Marc Warren accepted to work in the movie because he always Wanted to be in a Hollywood blockbuster. Thomas Kretschmann originally intended to pick up the comic series after being cast, but Bekmambetov convinced him not to. He practiced a lot of gun training to "look good and I look like I know what I’m doing". Kristen Hager originally auditioned for Fox, but accepted the role of Cathy, considering it "fun to play".


Location plate shooting took place in Chicago in Apr. 2007 (14 years ago). Several chase scenes, including one with a low flying helicopter, were shot in Chicago over two days, on Wacker Drive along the Chicago River, between Columbus Drive and LaSalle Street. The opening scene was filmed using the Carbide & Carbon Building. Production moved to the Czech Republic later in May, scheduled for 12 weeks of shooting. Using a former sugar factory in Prague, production designer John Myhre constructed a large textile factory as part of an industrial world, the setting of a mythological environment in which looms create fabrics that weavers interpret as assassination orders. Afterward, filming moved to Budapest, then returned to Chicago in August. The movie originally had both an alternate opening and an alternate ending. The alternate opening, a flashback to ancient times describing the history of the Fraternity and the Loom of Fate, is available on the special edition DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) and Blu-Ray.

Eight visual effects companies worked in the movie, with the majority of work being done by Bekmambetov's company Bazelevs. Cars of both Chicago 'L' and European Pendolino trains were built, and were combined with computer-generated models of said trains in the action scenes. Some of the action scenes had the actors practicing free running and parkour.

Video game

A video game titled Wanted: Weapons of Fate was released in Mar. 24, 2009 (12 years ago) with above average reviews. Developed by GRIN and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360, it is not an adaption of the movie, but a follow-up, with its plot beginning five hours after the movie ended.


Wanted was initially set to be released in cinemas on Mar. 28, 2008 (13 years ago), but in dec. 2007 (14 years ago), Universal announced it would be moving the release date later to Jun. 27, 2008 (13 years ago). Previews started in the UK on Jun. 25. It was also the opening night movie for the Los Angeles movie Festival, in Jun. 19. Wanted debuted in 3,185 theaters and got $50,927,085 on its opening weekend, putting it at second place under WALL-E. Overseas, the movie grossed $33 million on its opening weekend, breaking records in Russia and South Korea. Wanted made $134,508,551 domestically and $207,430,122 in foreign theaters, putting its worldwide total up to $341,757,247.

The movie received generally positive reviews from critics. As of Jul. 21, 2009 (12 years ago), the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 72% of critics gave Wanted positive reviews, based on 190 reviews. The consensus, according to the website, was that the movie "is a fast-paced, crackling thrill ride tailor-made for the Summer audience." Metacritic reported the movie had an average score of 64 out of 100, based on 38 reviews.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly encapsulated many critics' views, saying "'Wanted' is kind of unintelligible and idiotic. Also kind of nasty and brutish. And also undeniably kind of fun..." Likewise, Tom Long of The Detroit News said, "Wanted may be the most absolutely stone bonkers, crazy-good movie of the century. Or it may be a gargantuan piece of trash. Chances are it's a combination of the two. But man, does it rock." Claudia Puig of USA Today found the "thrilling stunts and hyperkinetic action scenes [to be] the undisputed stars of this surprisingly entertaining film." Conversely, John Rosenblatt of The Austin Chronicle denounced those same attributes, saying, "If Maxim magazine (55 walls) ever decides to branch out into filmmaking, Wanted is just the kind of ear-throttling nonsense it's bound to produce," and David Fear of Time Out New York called it "the cinematic equivalent of an energy drink. The movie keeps artificially pumping your adrenal glands with mindless, malnutritional sensations, only to leave you crampy and cranky minutes later....this exercise in ultraviolence then insults us by having a beaten, bloodied McAvoy inform viewers that he used to be a loser 'just like all of you.'" Frank Lovece of movie Journal International, one of few mainstream critics to have read the comic-book miniseries, said the movie compared poorly with the source material. Noting that the hero in the comic goes even further, "breaking the fourth wall and positioning himself so that he's 'prison-raping' and taunting the reader for having liked the series," Lovece found that, "While Millar may have contempt for his readers — and, by extension, the medium in which he works — at least he has his own vision, and gets it across with style and wit" that the movie lacked. Roger Ebert of Ebert & Roeper said "'Wanted' slams the pedal to the metal and never slows down. Here’s an action picture (wallpaper) that’s exhausting in its relentless violence and its ingenuity in inventing new ways to attack, defend, ambush and annihilate," while Richard Roeper said, "It’s made for fans of movies that really just want to see some great visuals, some amazing sequences and some terrific performances."

In the comics press, Erik Amaya of Comic Book Resources said, "The film's biggest faults lie in how far it strays from the source," and that, "If you've ever seen any movie about leather-clad assassins, you already know how this movie plays out. The speed and skill of the movie-making balance out those faults, however." Tom McLean of Newsarama noted that while the story deviated strongly from the source, the movie "stands out as a highly entertaining action movie that preserves the comic's core premise and cheeky attitude while taking the story into very different but still satisfying territory."

Among European critics, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said, "It looks as if it has been written by a committee of 13-year-old boys for whom penetrative sex is still only a rumour, and the resulting movie plays like a party political broadcast on behalf of the misogynist party," concluding, "In an ideal world, the title would have the word 'Not' tacked on to the front." Kim Newman, writing in Empire, praised Bekmambetov as "the most exciting action-oriented emigré since John Woo," and commented that the film's gruesome violence "hints at the comic's uncomfortable suggestion that escapism is merely a licence to become monstrous."

The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing; the Critics Choice Award for Best Action Movie, the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, three MTV Movie Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble.


  1. "The Little Things" - 3:26
  2. "Success Montage" - 3:32
  3. "Fraternity Suite" - 3:28
  4. "Wesley's Office Life" - 5:15
  5. "The Scheme" - 1:44
  6. "Fox In Control" - 2:16
  7. "Welcome To The Fraternity" - 4:28
  8. "Fox's Story" - 3:29
  9. "Exterminator Beat" - 2:52
  10. "Rats" - 3:28
  11. "The Train" - 3:59
  12. "Revenge" - 4:33
  13. "Fox's Decision" - 2:29
  14. "Breaking The Code" - 1:21
  15. "Fate" - 1:46


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