[Screen It]


(1997) (Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jon Voight) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme
Minor None Moderate None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Mild None Minor Extreme

Action/Adventure: A military prisoner on death row is picked to assassinate a corrupt businessman, but finds himself the victim of a government setup when the First Lady is shot and killed instead.
Sgt. James Dunn (KEENEN IVORY WAYANS) is a decorated Gulf War hero and highly trained sharpshooter who is sentenced to die in a military prison for accidentally killing a superior officer who ordered -- at gunpoint -- the assassination of a young boy. He gets an offer, however, from Lt. Col. Grant Casey (JON VOIGHT) to join an elite, top secret military assassination squad code-named "Black Sheep," and Dunn opts for that over death row. His target is Donald Bickhart (ROBERT CULP), an industrialist who is selling deadly biotechnology secrets on the black market. Things go terribly wrong, though, when on the day of the hit the First Lady is shot instead of Bickhart. Dunn suddenly finds himself framed by Casey, who's real name is General Adam Woodward, and becomes the most wanted man in the world. Hearing that Dr. Victoria Constantini (JILL HENNESSY) was at the scene and captured the hit on videotape, both Woodward and Dunn want her and the tape, but Dunn gets to her first. They then go on the run and contact CIA Deputy Director Rackmill (PAUL SORVINO) who can't believe what's going on, but tells Dunn that he needs to get evidence of Woodward's plan if he hopes to clear his name. As Dunn and Victoria try to do just that, Woodward and his right hand henchman, Captain Steve Braddock (WOLFGANG BODISON), set out to stop them at any cost.
If they're fans of military type action films, or of someone in the cast, they just might. Preteens, however, will have little or no interest in seeing this film.
For violence and language.
  • KEENEN IVORY WAYANS plays a former sniper who was sent to prison for accidentally killing his superior after refusing to assassinate a young boy. He finds himself the victim of a setup and does what he must (some fighting, and just one death) to prove his innocence.
  • JON VOIGHT plays a corrupt military officer who's responsible for killing the First Lady and for trying to kill others as well as setting up Dunn as the patsy.
  • JILL HENNESSY plays a doctor who also finds herself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy. Other than being a decent person, her character isn't that well developed.


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    Conspiracy movies usually come with one of two types of villains. There are those who are anonymous for the most part ("Three Days of the Condor") and those who are known to be bad from the beginning. This film falls into the latter category and Jon Voight, who's become the villain de jour of late ("Mission Impossible," "Anaconda," etc...), does a decent job at being despicable enough to fuel Dunn's motivation. A rather straightforward, but effective thriller, this film sports a decent enough story -- penned by Wayans -- but doesn't offer any great surprises. That pretty describes Wayans' character as well, and his no-nonsense demeanor works for the movie but nearly keeps us from feeling any empathy for him. Of course he is a sniper and I suppose to do that kind of work one has to be emotionally detached from what they're doing, and that emotionless quality obviously seeps into one's character.

    Thankfully the film offers some humorous interludes -- albeit brief and sparse -- to keep Dunn from being too much of an impersonal, robot-like guy. However, the movie's funniest moment -- when scores of everyday citizens collectively chase Dunn through the downtown streets in hopes of collecting the $10 million reward -- is also the most illogical. While it works to create that funny scene, there's no way that Dunn, a solider trained to blend in as a sniper, would ever walk down the streets knowing that such a huge bounty was on his head. Beyond that moment and the fact that -- like most other action films -- none of these trained officers can shoot and hit anyone with their machine guns, the plot follows the standard conspiracy recipe. A guy with a questionable past finds himself the patsy in a crime he didn't commit. He then must clear his name before being killed by corrupt agents who run deep into all levels of the government.

    From Wayans' performance, to his script, and to the direction by David Glenn Hogan, the movie has a very planned, calculated feel to it. Fortunately, every so often Wayans and Hogan throw in a few red herrings -- moments when you think something's going to happen, but it doesn't -- to keep the audience on their toes. While it's nowhere near the greatest example of this genre, it's certainly passable entertainment with decent performances from the cast. Though it's questionable whether the film's title will correctly describe audience demand for the tickets on opening weekend, the movie should enjoy a good run once on video. Surely to please fans of the conspiracy genre, we give "Most Wanted" a 6 out of 10.

    Violence and profanity will probably be the biggest issues of concern for parents with this film. Several people are shot and killed (with bloody results) and others flee from shots fired at them. That also leads to some suspenseful and tense scenes, during which some of the extreme-rated profanity (at least 30 "f" and "s" words) is uttered. Regarding nudity, there's one brief scene where we see a woman's bare breasts and butt as she gets out of a pool. Beyond the stereotypical bad guys' bad attitudes, there's just a little drinking and smoking. Since some teens will probably want to see this film, we suggest that you check out the content to decide whether it's appropriate for them, or for you.

  • People drink in a bar.
  • Woodward drinks some Johnny Walker (Scotch).
  • The corner of Dunn's mouth is just a little bloody.
  • The first lady is bloody after being assassinated.
  • Blood spurts out from a cop's leg after he's been shot, and another cop's mouth is bloody (presumably from Dunn hitting him).
  • Woodward's nose and mouth are bloody after being hit by Dunn, and Braddock's head has a bloody cut after also being hit by Dunn.
  • Dunn digs into a scar on Woodward's arm to pull out a computer key, but the scene is bloodless.
  • Dunn has a small bloody bullet hole in his shoulder.
  • Several people are bloody after being shot at the end of the movie.
  • Obviously Woodward and those working for him have extreme cases of both as not only do they kill the First Lady, but they'll also kill anyone who knows anything about the crime, and they setup Dunn for the fall.
  • Bickhart has been selling biotechnology secrets on the black market and is also involved in the First Lady's assassination.
  • A government official turns out to be corrupt, just like the bad guys.
  • Viewers may also find scenes listed under "Violence" as tense.
  • In a Gulf War flashback, Dunn is ordered to shoot a courier who turns out to be a kid. His commander threatens to shoot him if he doesn't make the shot, so Dunn grabs him and they roll through the desert.
  • The assassination plan is ready and Dunn prepares to shoot Bickhart when the First Lady is shot instead. What follows, essentially for the rest of the movie, is Dunn going on the run, trying to avoid being captured or killed, and finding proof of Woodward's crime.
  • A sniper nearly shoots Dunn.
  • Dunn is nearly discovered hiding in a laundry cart and prepares to shoot the officer if he uncovers him.
  • Dunn discovers a bomb inside Victoria's house that's counting down and they have to race to get out before it blows up.
  • Handgun/Machine Guns: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Bomb: Used to blow up Victoria's house.
  • Phrases: "Balls" (testicles), "Bastard," "Payback's a bitch," and "Piss poor."
  • Dunn fires his handgun into the air in a market to make everyone run out.
  • None.
  • There is a moderate amount of suspenseful music throughout the film.
  • None.
  • At least 14 "f" words (1 used sexually), 16 "s" words, 2 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" word), 8 hells, 6 asses (2 used with "hole"), 6 S.O.B.'s, 4 damns, and 6 uses of "G- damn," and 1 use each of "Oh Christ," "God," and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • The rather buxom Victoria stands in front of Dunn who says, "Damn, that looks good. You know I haven't had a piece in five years." He then reaches toward her but grabs a slice of pizza that's behind her.
  • A topless woman steps out of a pool wearing just a thong bottom. Thus, we see her bare breasts and butt.
  • Rackmill smokes cigars in a few scenes. Woodward and Bickhart also smoke cigars, but less often.
  • Others smoke in the backgrounds of a few shots.
  • None.
  • Government conspiracies and whether such covert operations exist.
  • In a Gulf War flashback, Dunn is ordered to shoot a courier who turns out to be a kid. His commander threatens to shoot him if he doesn't make the shot, so Dunn grabs him and they roll through the desert (and we're told that the commander was then accidentally shot and killed).
  • Several explosions knock over a bus transporting Dunn.
  • We learn that Braddock was sent to prison for raping a fifteen-year-old girl.
  • The First Lady is assassinated.
  • Snipers shoot at Dunn in a hotel room. Other cops then show up and also shoot at him.
  • Dunn grabs a cop, causing him to shoot another cop in the leg. He then shoots at the other cops, but makes sure not to hit them.
  • A bomb blows up Victoria's house.
  • Dunn punches a man who chases him for the ten million dollar reward.
  • Many cars crash into each other and some of them explode. Many people on foot are then hit by cars and a motorcyclist is hit and flies through the air.
  • Woodward knocks over some items in a library in anger.
  • Dunn strikes Braddock several times and then hits Woodward and holds a gun to his head in an elevator. Moments later the two hit each other, with Dunn finally pummeling Woodward.
  • A police helicopter shoots at Dunn on a rooftop.
  • A bomb explodes on a rooftop, injuring or killing many people.
  • Dunn is shot in the shoulder.
  • Dunn and Braddock get into a fight where many punches are thrown. Braddock then kicks Dunn several times and prepares to knife him. Dunn, however, zaps Braddock with Victoria's stun gun.
  • Three more people are shot dead in the end.

  • Reviewed October 8, 1997

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