Wanted is a loud, obnoxious action movie that will entertain people who like loud, obnoxious action movies. I don’t want to sound like the usual stick-in-the-mud who can’t enjoy these sort of things, but I was turned off from the beginning by the casually misanthropic tone. While it’s cool that the letters of a keyboard that has met the face of jerk can fly, in bullet-time like The Matrix, at the camera and spell out a quote from Catcher in the Rye, it’s overkill in so many meanings of the word overkill.

The extensive and predictable plot involves an ancient clan of assassins who read, in Greco-Roman fashion, the warp and weft of fate in a giant loom. Morgan Freeman, as the head of this clan, once again plays into his God trope.

Continue reading about Wanted (minor spoilers)…Cubicle-dwelling loser Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy, channeling Shia LaBeouf) is the son of one the best of these assassins, though he’s never known his father and so doesn’t realize that the panic attacks he has are actually manifestations of his super-assassin powers. Thankfully, Fox (Angelina Jolie) comes to rescue him from a stultifying desk job (like Keanu Reeves had in The Matrix) and unleash his inner killer. After some perfunctory objections to killing people based on how threads spell out names (in a binary code, similar to The Matrix), Gibson becomes the greatest assassin ever and puts his assassin powers to use in a Matrix-like frontal assault of bad guy headquarters.

Director Timur Bekmambatov occasionally has original stylistic flourishes, so it seems like a waste that he continuously returns to the Matrix knockoff sensibility. I hear his movie Night Watch is a masterwork. I wish I had seen that one instead.

MORE: Secrets of Wanted‘s special effects

UPDATE: I have now seen Night Watch and can definitively recommend watching it instead of/before Wanted. Much better movie.