This ridiculous movie just rocketed into the Netflix Top 10

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It’s been a slow few weeks in terms of new movies on Netflix, but the dearth of noteworthy originals is giving some of the older flicks in the streamer's vast content library the chance to shine. 

Cast in point, the 2008 action thriller Wanted has just climbed its way into the Netflix top 10 this week. Its resurgence in popularity courtesy of the streaming service is a solid reminder of how over-the-top ridiculous, but also relentlessly enjoyable, the movie is. And, even better, it holds up pretty darn well. 

Wanted is currently ranking at number nine, just ahead of The Dark Knight Rises, and now could be the perfect time for a rewatch or a first viewing. 

What is Wanted about?  

Wanted is basically power fantasy. It stars James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, a run-of-the-mill accountant frustrated with his unremarkable life who discovers he’s actually the son of a deadly assassin who worked for an elusive organization known as the Fraternity until his death. 

After learning from a member of this secret society, Fox (Angelina Jolie), that his father’s killer is still out there, Wesley abandons his ordinary life to become a member of the Fraternity and seek revenge. Not a bad pitch for an action movie!

Alongside McAvoy and Jolie, the film also stars Morgan Freeman as the leader of the Fraternity. Plus, there’s a small supporting role for a young Chris Pratt as Wesley’s co-worker and best friend. 

Oh, and in Wanted, the Fraternity's skilled assassins can fire bullets with a curved arc in order to hit targets from around corners or who are hiding behind cover. This completely disregards the laws of physics, but it’s pretty cool all the same. 

What do critics say about Wanted? 

Historically over-the-top action movies don’t tend to fare well with critics — just look at the Transformers franchises as proof —  and yet Wanted received a surprisingly strong 71% score on Rotten Tomatoes back in 2008. Even viewers weren’t as generous awarding it a 69% audience score. 

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert declared "Wanted slams the pedal to the metal and never slows down. Here's an action picture that's exhausting in its relentless violence and its ingenuity in inventing new ways to attack, defend, ambush and annihilate."

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly shared a similar sentiment to several other critics calling the film “kind of unintelligible and idiotic. Also kind of nasty and brutish. And also undeniably kind of fun…” Schwarzbaum also praised the performance of Angelina Jolie in particular. 

Sonny Bunch of The Washington Times made a not-unflattering comparison to an influential 90s science-fiction flick: “Few films have accepted the role of Matrix knockoff with such gusto as Wanted; indeed, at times it's almost impossible to distinguish the two.” 

Should you stream Wanted on Netflix?  

If you want a mindless action movie that is extremely ridiculous pretty much from the start, then you could do a lot worse than Wanted. McAvoy, Jolie and co have a blast with the pulpy material, and there are several action sequences that will really get your blood pumping. It's undeniably shlocky, but still highly watchable. 

If you’re after something with some substance, then this may be one to avoid. Wanted is the cinematic equivalent of fast food, but in its defense, it’s well aware of that fact. Based on an equally brash graphic novel series, Wanted knows its throwaway fun and doesn’t try to pitch itself as anything beyond that.  

Netflix is preparing to release its own over-the-top action movie in the form of The Gray Man later this month, so Wanted could make a nice watch in preparation. Although, based on the early reviews for The Gray Man, it would appear that the Netflix original flick, which stars Chris Evan and Ryan Gosling, might not measure up. 

Next: We've got all the MLB 2022 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby live stream details, as well as how to watch Better Call Saul season 6 episode 9 online. Meanwhile this Jon Travolta movie is gaining traction on Netflix — despite the 0% Rotten Tomatoes score

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • Sebi77
    Good synopsis...I LOVED this movie back in the day. How I interpret this film, is that this is a period of life,great music, great movies great tv, life WAS FUN, and this film captures a sort of graduating from our previous douchey selves with the energy drink addiction and the "broisms", and seeks to to transition into a better version of ourselves.

    Fun cast who COMMIT to the roles and story,making it that much more enjoyable. It takes you out of reality for a couple of hours, and is almost like watching a video game movie-but enjoyable, and done right.

    Fun movie, great cast, awesome, kick ash action, great night shots, love Jolie's custom 1911, and finally, it doesn't pretend to be something its not. Its pure adrenaline fueled sexy fun