Most Wanted Review

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A Marine on death row is recruited by a shadowy U.S. military officer as part of a top-secret ops team, then gets framed for murder when the team and it's officer set him up as the fall guy for the assassination of the First Lady


How fortunate for the studio actioner that mad, bad Saddam Hussein got bolshy in the desert at the start of the decade, finally offering a conflict more recent than Nam to provide movie characters with combat history and legacies of heroism/failure/honour/ disgrace (delete as appropriate).

Thus, court-martialled sharpshooter James Dunn (Wayans) is en route to Old Sparky, convicted of a Gulf War crime (though naturally a crime essentially noble and audience-friendly) when his terminal bus ride goes belly-up at the behest of shady Black Sheep supremo Lt. Col. Grant Casey (Voight). The Sheep is an elite, covert hit unit (i.e. they walk about sporting shades, clad entirely in black and looking just about as un-covert as you can get) and it's a case of join us or die and, by the way, the first job's an assassination of black-marketeering industrialist (Robert Culp), and you're pulling the trigger, okay?

Except, of course, it's not okay, because the President's wife ends up taking the bullet (though not from Dunn's gun) and he's spun into a cat-and-mouse effort to find his framers, under the weight of a $10 million bounty and with the reluctant aid of an improbably sexy doctor (Hennessy).

Unfortunately for Wayans, Jerry Bruckheimer does exist, and against his benchmark, anything less than the best is a felony. No problem as far as action goes, with Wayans and adversary Wolfgang Bodison suitably meaty. But Wayans' own script lacks the Con Air or Face/Off snap, serving up leaden dialogue that has you flinching much more than the sniper's aim.

After A Low Down Dirty Shame and The Glimmer Man, this is another functional entry into Wayans' catalogue, which neither distinguishes nor disgraces itself in the family canon of workmanlike action and comedy.