Few things set anxious hormones twittering like overblown violence and the sight of Angelina Jolie's overblown lips. The best thing you could say about the grating, cacophonous Wanted is that it offers up ample servings of both.

Wesley (James McAvoy), a lowly office drone, spends his days hunched over an ergonomic keyboard. At night, he tries to ignore the fact that his girlfriend is sleeping with his best friend. If not for a certain family trait—namely, the strange ability to send his heart racing at 400 beats per minute—Wesley would remain but a blip on corporate payroll.

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What pulls him out of his rut is a shady organization known as "The Fraternity," a collection of super assassins who receive their orders from—no, seriously—mysterious stitching from a loom. Wesley is recruited by the aptly named Fox (Jolie), and in short order he's taking heavy beatings, healing within hours in a regenerative bath, and learning how to bend bullets midflight. And those are the parts that make sense.

With hyperactive direction from Timur Bekmambetov (creator of the cult Russian flicks Night Watch and Day Watch), Wanted aims to smother the audience in spectacle. Cars pirouette absurdly in the air. Assassins leap between skyscrapers. An army of explosive-armed rats makes a factory go boom. For a brief while, all this nonsense is enjoyable to watch; Bekmambetov may commit grand larceny upon action flicks of yore, but it's hard to resist all the energy on display. By the third act, however, as the story wheezes to a climax, all the visual lunacy grows tiresome. Wanted attempts to dazzle you into submission, but once the dust settles and the noise fades away, all you're left with is an empty husk of a movie.

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