What happens when you take a silly script, cast Morgan Freeman to lead an above average cast, and have Russian-Kazakh Auteur Timur Bekmambetov direct?
Two hours of crowd-pleasing action-awesome !
Professional pretty boy James McAvoy plays Wesley Gibson, a nobody in a dead-end office job. He hates his life to the soothing soundtrack of Nine Inch Nails, and can't stand up for himself yet his internal monologue is seething with rage.
All of this changes after his father is killed, and Fox (Angelina Jolie) comes to his rescue when some sort of super assassin tries to kill him. She takes him to the Secret Headquarters of the Brotherhoood, where their leader Sloan (Freeman), explains the plot to him. Fox then puts him through a BDSM-flavored training montage. The best kind of montage, really.
What's funny about this movie is it's really not an action movie exactly, as it spends a lot of time making the Wesley Gibson character into an action hero. A big part of the entertainment is the loser turning a blood thirsty bullet slinger. It would be a power fantasy, except that Gibson goes through hell to get that power. This is cool and all, but it's nearly 40 minutes of this stuff before the plot starts to move forward again. You see what happens? We complain about montages in action movies, until we realize they can take up HALF the film.
Then special guest star Konstantin Khabenskiy (of Night Watch and Day Watch fame) gets accidentally shot by Gibson and s**t gets real.
Gibson goes on a quest to kill the man who killed his father, and Morgan Freeman assigns Angelina Jolie to kill Gibson. There's a bunch of ass kicking and shooting, and Bekmambetov actually knows how to use slow-mo, so it's gorgeous to boot. Bullets collide with each other in mid-air. I said Mid-air, people!
Of course, there's the required huge plot twist. But it's after what could be the best on screen destroying of a train, so it doesn't matter much. It's all filmed with such attention detail and style that to call it fetishizing would be like saying Jenna Jameson makes "stag films."
Furthermore , the insane climax of this movie involves exploding rats, and gun play that would make the Clerics in Equilibrium consider taking up flower arranging. In fact, put this movie together with Equilibrium and you can have a great Gun-fu night.
It should be mentioned that only the first 20 minutes in any way resembles the comic (by Mark Millar) on which it is based . For another Millar adaptation, check out our review of Kick-Ass-The Management