I don’t like R-rated movies; however, I’d heard very positive early reviews of this comic-book inspired action flick, so I felt it was worth a shot.  Being from Chicago, I felt it was also a nice treat to see familiar sites and sounds.  Angelina Jolie returns as yet another cold-blooded, “heartless” assassin, with looks to kill for and, well, you’ve already heard the cliche.

And that’s sort of the problem here.  The whole movie never feels particularly original.  I admit the action sequences will have your adrenaline pumping, and no doubt the storyline, as wacky as it is, almost sounds coherent enough.  If you’re looking for a thrills-a-second movie to quench your thirst for violence, then “Wanted” should fit the shoe nicely.  If you’re easily offended by over-the-top violence, then this movie probably isn’t going to do it for you — no matter how much you love Ms. Jolie.

I’ve heard Angelina is considered by far the most photogenic actress of our time, and I have to agree.  The leading lady doesn’t leave her fans disappointed.  She’s essentially playing the same character here from “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and the “Tomb Raider” pictures, but arguably the gloves are completely off here.  No holding back blood for that PG-13 rating.  This one isn’t for the weak-hearted.  There is one particular scene where Jolie nearly pummels McAvoy’s character, and well, let’s just say Mr. Pitt probably never wants to make her angry.

Speaking of McAvoy, this is the first time I’ve seen this man in any picture, and he certainly went a long way towards convincing me he can act.  McAvoy’s performance as the beaten-down accountant with a thankless friend is likely to win-over many viewers.  His transformation, from geek to killer, is at times painful to watch, but played as realistically as real can get in a movie like this.  There is perhaps an oddly sudden jolt in character attitude after he first learns about his “destiny,” but the endurance trials he suffers through afterwards help to diminish and draw out the reality of death, murder, and skill.

Morgan Freeman is — well — Morgan Freeman.  The man could talk about cheese curling in the sun and I’m sure people would still watch and listen.  He’s always had a commanding presence and voice, and that’s what “Wanted” shoots for; he doesn’t give his “Shawshank Redemption” all but Freeman at 50 percent is better than many actors at 100.

Bottomline: “Wanted” is a thrill-ride movie, with blood and betrayals aplenty.  It isn’t quite the Bourne series but it’s not trying to be, either.  “Wanted” is over-the-top chases, bullet curving madness set within a storyline that tries to grab you by the collar and make you want to believe it.  But in the end, all you’ll probably remember are all those bullet stunts you’ve probably caught in the adverts; that and the killer glare of Ms. Jolie as she avoids bouts of certain death to “kill one and save 1,000.”

Those troubled by excessive violence won’t “like” this movie as much as the Xbox-fed, alpha males.   In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling enforcing the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun, movies like “Wanted” remind me how lost and obsessed we are with violent action.  The carnage in “Wanted” might be stylized but that doesn’t take away the awkward feelings I had, watching (and covering my eyes) to the gore before me.  Amazed and glued at times, and at others saddened and filled with guilt for enjoying the every same scenes.  May be that’s just my age, or may be that’s just entertainment.  May be it’s because there were so many young people watching this film.

Or, may be it’s because I knew violent movies like this only help breed the need for even more violence.  And that  as slick as those guns look in Angelina’s hands, I know I’d exchange everything — all the shooting entertainment Hollywood has to offer — if that meant we could end the violence in the real world.