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Wanted | DVD | (20/10/2008)
from £3.82 | Saving you £16.00 (80.00%) | RRP
As the impresario behind gravity-defying Russian blockbuster Night Watch, it's inevitable that Hollywood would come calling for Timur Bekmambetov. With a studio budget and an international cast, including two Oscar winners, Timur cooks up a Hong Kong-styled actioner bursting with fast cars and big guns. Our unlikely hero is mild-mannered Chicago accountant Wesley Gibson (Atonement's James McAvoy), whose father died when he was a tot. Wesley never learned to stand up for himself, and his girlfriend, boss, and best buddy all take advantage until the seductive Fox (Angelina Jolie) rescues him from a sharpshooter named Cross (The Pianist's Thomas Kretschmann). After which, she whisks him away to a mansion on the edge of town to meet the other members of the Fraternity, where leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) informs Wesley that Cross, a rogue agent, executed his father. Sloan believes Wesley has the goods to take him out, so he undergoes the Fraternity's brutal training regimen (Marc Warren and Common dish up some of the abuse). When he's ready, Sloan sends him out to fulfill his duty, but matters become complicated when Wesley finds out someone isn't telling the truth, leading our former milquetoast to exact an elaborate revenge. For those who've been following McAvoy's career to date, Wanted will surely come as a surprise. In adapting Mark Millar's comic series, Timur offers buckets of blood and a smidgen of depth, but fans of The Matrix and Mr. and Mrs. Smith will want to give this one a look. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Doomsday | DVD | (01/09/2008)
from £3.89 | Saving you £6.10 (61.10%) | RRP
Loud, violent, and proudly derivative, the post-apocalyptic action-thriller Doomsday is the latest from UK cult director Neil Marshall, who impressed horror fans with his previous efforts, Dog Soldiers and The Descent. Both pictures established Marshall as a director with a knack for reinventing well-worn genre pictures, but here, he seems more interested in stitching together favorite scenes and elements from established horror and science-fiction films. Escape from New York is the main source for Doomsday, though there are plenty of nods to The Road Warrior and its multitude of Italian-made carbon copies, as well as the zombie/plague subgenre; the lovely but impassive Rhona Mitra is the Snake Plissken-esque loner sent by police (represented by Bob Hoskins) to infiltrate Scotland, which has descended into anarchy following a viral outbreak. The disease has surfaced in London (now a walled city), and Mitra is dispatched to find a scientist who may possess a cure. Marshall's vision of Scotland in ruins brings together the punk/modern primitive costume design of George Miller's Mad Max trilogy with some eclectic homegrown elements (knights on horseback defending a gang leader's castle), and while these touches are novel, the picture as a whole should ring overly familiar to any viewer who's spent time in the exploitation trenches during the past 25 years. Younger and less discerning audience members will undoubtedly enjoy the plentiful violence and gore, as well as the unbridled performances of the supporting cast, especially stuntwoman/actress Lee-Ann Liebenberg as the heavily tattooed Viper. --Paul Gaita
Mutant Chronicles | DVD | (16/02/2009)
from £3.02 | Saving you £16.70 (83.50%) | RRP
In the year 2707 Earth's natural resources have been exhausted by mankind. Battle rages between the soldiers of four leading Corporations: Capitol Bauhaus Mishima and Imperial. When the violence breaks an ancient stone seal Necromutants appear and begin to multiply by the millions destroying all before them. The Corporation's leader Constantine (John Malkovich) is about to abandon the planet and leave countless innocents to their desperate fate when he is approached by Brother Samuel leader of the Brotherhood an ancient monastic order who offers hope to the discouraged leader. Against the odds Constantine entrusts brother Samuel and other like minded soldiers to save them from the mutant armies.