Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Writing credits: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Chris Morgan
Plot: Boring office worker Wesley Gibson is inducted into a secret league of assassins after finding out that his recently-deceased father was a member.
Review: This film adaptation bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to the comic it's based on, aside from protagonist Wesley Gibson, Fox, and the idea of a secret organization known as The Fraternity running things behind the scenes. The first fifteen or twenty minutes follow the book pretty closely, but that's where the similarities end. In the movie, the Fraternity is a group of assassins as opposed to super-villains, which unfortunately takes away the most interesting thing about the comic. Instead of seeing dark, twisted takes on villains we're already familiar with, we instead get a handful of mundane assassin characters who really aren't very memorable or interesting. And since our main character isn't particularly interesting either, this is a problem.
I would have had an easier time suspending my disbelief if they had presented a world where people possess a variety of superpowers, rather than all the assassins having the same super-adrenalyne power that somehow allows them to "bend" bullets simply by twisting their wrist when they fire the gun. It's unfortunate that so much of the action here is laughable because it's not presented in a context where it's believable. I can accept Superman lifting a bus over his head because that's what Superman does, but seeing characters here leaping from one skyscraper to another or shooting the wings off of flies simply because their heart can work at a rate of 400 beats per minute just seemed ridiculous to me.
Speaking of riduculous, when they introduced the concept of the Loom of Fate, I couldn't help but laugh out loud, which is something I alone found myself doing in response to a lot of the action sequences. And though he's one of my favorite actors, it's also hard for me to take Morgan Freeman seriously as a villain. I've just seen him in far too many fatherly, gentle mentor type of roles, so trying to twist things around and have him be a bad guy (a la Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West) is an intersting idea, which I will give them an A for Effort for, but in this case it just doesn't work. There's also an annoyingly cliched twist that was sort of present in the comic, albeit in much less obnoxious form. If you're like me, you'll no doubt find yourself rolling your eyes when they drop that "bomb" on you.
That's not to say the movie is all bad, however. As far as mindless action flicks go, you could do a lot worse. There's plenty of entertaining action sequences that you can sit back and enjoy for their visual flair and unintentional (?) humor value, but don't expect to give a damn about any of the characters. The comic it's based on isn't really any deeper or any more effective with it's "take control of your life" message, but I can at least say that with its far superior characters it's a much more entertaining way to spend your time than this.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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