Most knowledgeable folks seem to think that the upcoming Wanted looks like a piece of junk. I can understand their position: the trailer was kind of a sensory assault, and didn't exactly make the film seem original. For my part, I'm not ready to write it off. I like James McAvoy, director Timur Bekmambetov is a fellow Russian, and I tend to enjoy the wildly implausible brand of action that the film seems to be going for. So I'm happy to report a piece of news that kind of surprised me: Wanted has been rated R by the MPAA for "strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality." That elaboration makes it seem like they won't be trying to trim the bad parts to earn a PG-13.
Now, okay: obviously that doesn't mean much. I mean, the similarly (identically?) themed Hitman was rated R too, and look how that turned out. But for me, the R rating speaks not directly to quality, but to the kind of film Wanted is likely to be. Seeing the trailer (and not knowing the source material), I thought that while it looked kind of cool, it also looked like a broad, inoffensive, second-rate action romp -- my first association, probably due to the presence of Angelina Jolie, was with Lara Croft Tomb Raider. But maybe it won't be. Maybe it'll turn out to be harsh, and sexy, and over-the-top in ways that are actually interesting. Maybe it'll be more like Running Scared or Shoot 'Em Up than like Ghost Rider. You might think that those comparisons don't help and that it still looks like crap, but it seems to me that an R rating for a movie like this increases the odds of it being worthwhile. Or am I off my gourd?
Meanwhile, according to this New York Times article, Hancock has also received an R rating from the MPAA -- twice. There, of course, Peter Berg and his team are obligated to deliver a PG-13 film. With Wanted, I guess, not so much.