The money shot in "Wanted," its pièce-de-special-effects-résistance and reason for green-lighted being, appears in the opening minutes of this noisy, ultraviolent shoot-'em-up with Angelina Jolie, her many tattoos and some guys. A man has soared onto the roof of a high-rise where he has laid a handful of others to waste. Suddenly the camera cuts to his face as a bullet exits his forehead in slow motion, his skin stretching forward as the projectile tears through it, going straight for the camera and our already numbed skulls.
Well, that's one way to get the attention of fickle moviegoers, particularly if, like the director Timur Bekmambetov, you've got nothing else going for your big Hollywood debut except Ms. Jolie and a couple of ideas recycled from "The Matrix" and "Fight Club." Mind you, Ms. Jolie has been perfectly cast as a super-scary, seemingly amoral assassin named (wait for it) Fox. Few American actresses, especially those with such pin-skinny arms, can make beating a guy to the ground look so easy and, yeah, man, like fun. With her mean smiley-sneer and snug clothes, her heels and hieroglyphics, she cuts the kind of disciplinarian figure who can bring antsy boys of all ages to their knees or at least into their theater seats.