Wanted Man 2024 Movie review

In the dawn of a new year, Dolph Lundgren continues his prolific filmmaking journey, with “Wanted Man” marking his seventh directorial venture. Unlike some of his peers, Lundgren’s foray into filmmaking goes beyond vanity projects; it serves as a means to revisit the kind of content that endeared him to audiences during the 80s.

However, in this current era, the once-commercially appealing image of muscle-bound icons like Lundgren has evolved. Now in his late sixties, he has transitioned from the perfectly sculpted Übermensch physique to a more weathered appearance reminiscent of tough guy actors from the 20th century, such as Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson. While this transformation should secure him a niche in American multiplexes, the reality is that it’s increasingly challenging for seasoned individuals with granite faces to attract broad audiences. In the modern Hollywood landscape, only a select few, like Stallone, are actively seeking to cast aging action stars in leading roles. Consequently, Lundgren has taken matters into his own hands, creating his own cinematic universe where he embodies washed-up cops and killers – roles he was born to play.

In “Wanted Man,” Lundgren portrays Johansen, an aging, racist cop entangled in controversy after brutally attacking a Mexican suspect on camera. The narrative unfolds as Johansen is assigned to cross the Mexican border to retrieve witnesses tied to a DEA shootout. As expected, Johansen’s outdated beliefs clash with the unfolding events, leading him to question his assumptions about America’s role in the drug trade. The film attempts political commentary, surpassing many contemporaries by confronting the political complexities at its core.

While “Wanted Man” may not reach the heights of cinematic masterpieces, it offers an entertaining and refreshing exploration of Johansen’s evolution in relation to race and law enforcement. The film, featuring the dramatic prowess of Lundgren and newcomer Christina Villa, prioritizes character relationships over action, providing memorable moments despite occasional romantic elements that could be reconsidered. Although inspired by street-level potboilers, the script moves away from classic Dolph joints, showcasing character depth and memorability.

However, “Wanted Man” falls short in capturing the gritty authenticity required for a crime narrative. The film lacks the palpable weight and dirtiness that characterized the best neo-noirs of the 20th century. Lundgren and cinematographer Joe M. Han opt for a too-perfect digital sheen, diminishing the visual impact that could have elevated the compelling material. Despite this flaw, it’s remarkable to witness Lundgren, once the embodiment of 80s Russian iciness, now embracing the very-American genre filmmaking of the 70s.

In summary, while “Wanted Man” may not match the strength of the cop-with-an-edge thrillers it emulates, the film stands as a commendable recommendation for Dolph Lundgren enthusiasts and those with an affinity for back-to-basics crime stories.

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By acinetv