(out of 5)
You suspect you might be watching an adolescent male fantasy disguised as a movie when this one starts…and then Angelina Jolie shows up in a revealing dress and dangerous tattoos and starts shooting up a drugstore to save a geeky IT guy and you’re sure it’s an adolescent male fantasy disguised as a movie. James McAvoy, in his big-budget Hollywood debut, plays a put-upon office employee whose dull existence is somewhat improved when a member of a secret assassination fraternity (Jolie) shows up and tells him he is destined to be her colleague. She takes him to her leader (Morgan Freeman) where he learns to take beatings, shred his hand in a giant loom, and shoot bullets that curve around things in order to shoot…other things…that he could hit if only he’d move a bit to the left… His intended target, once his training is over, is the man who killed his father, a man he never knew and who was once a star player in this secret group of nasty killers. The rest of the time his targets are names that are randomly drawn from a loom whose stitches tell a secret code. Why? No reason except population control; the universe is chaos and randomly killing people reins it into the controllable…yeah, sure. Not that any of this highly nonsensical, extremely immoral film qualifies as “controlled”: its violence is excessive, even for an excessive action film, its plot makes no sense, the overlaid narration is atrocious and the ultimate message? If you can even find one you’ll see that it’s disgusting and perverse. Everyone should be ashamed of having taken part in this garbage; I fully accept that Jolie needs to unwind from a week of flying around the world and rescuing orphans by playing a gunslinging babe, but her involvement in a film that sees the world as meaningless and promotes enmity between all people is denigrating to the work she publicly performs outside her acting sphere. The half star is for her gorgeous hair.
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Cinematography by Mitchell Amundsen
Music by Danny Elfman
Production Design by John Myhre
Costume Design by Varvara Avdyushko
Film Editing by David Brenner