|THE WOLVERINE (director: James Mangold; screenwriters: Mark Bomback/Scott Frank; cinematographer: Ross Emery; editor: Michael McCusker; music: Marco Beltrami; cast: Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Will Yun Lee (Harada), Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Tao Okamoto (Mariko Yashida), Svetlana Khodchenkova (Viper), Ken Yamamura (Young Yashida), Haruhiko Yamanouchi (Yashida), Brian Tee (Noburo); Runtime: 126; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Lauren Shuler Donner/Hutch Parker; 20th Century Fox; 2013)|
|"It moves along as fast
as a speeding bullet train, too bad the journey
wasn't more pleasurable."
by Dennis Schwartz
Fox's latest X-Men
presentation, its sixth, is a solo outing with
misfit of adamantium
stylishly set in Japan and efficiently directed by
eclectic filmmaker James Mangold ("Walk The
Yuma"/"Identity"). Writers Mark Bomback and Scott
Frank are inspired by the Chris Claremont and
Frank Miller Marvel miniseries from the 1980s dealing
with Wolverine's adventures in Japan, as he fights
like a samurai. This one has a brooding Wolverine suffering from daily
nightmares and disturbing ghostly visions of the lover
he had to kill, Jean (Famke Janssen), and trying to survive a life
and death struggle after losing his superhero powers
in modern Japan in a conflict with a powerful
industrialist, the yakuza, a crooked politician, a
mutant Viper (Svetlana
venal corporate bosses and scores of ninjas. It moves
along as fast as a speeding bullet train, too bad the
journey wasn't more pleasurable. The narrative
promotes one spectacular fight scene after another to
tell its power struggle story, until it loses its
artistic grip in the third act with an overload of CGI
and an unconvincing fight scene between a superhero
and a man wearing a large suit of adamantium armor.
Wolverine, after seeking justice for a grizzly bear severely wounded by a soulless hunter, is escorted on a flight from the Yukon to Tokyo by the feisty reddish haired pixie Yukio (Rila Fukushima), who has been adopted into the dysfunctional family of the wealthy, elderly, dying industrialist Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) and works for the patriarch. In flashback we witness the A-bomb dropped at Nagasaki during WWII and how the POW mutant had saved Yashida from radiation when he was a soldier. The creepy Yashida wishes to thank the mutant for the last time before dying and on his death bed proposes a swap that would allow the bereaved mutant to become mortal and reunite with his Jean while the industrialist obtains through transference the ageless mutant's self-healing power and cursed immortal life.
cartoonish pic goes into high-octane motion when
Yashida dies and it's learned within three days, at
the reading of the will, that his sweet
granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto)
will inherit his company and wealth and not his
snarling son Lord Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada).
The pissed-off Shingen plots with the evil mutant
Yashida's nurse, to kidnap Mariko at the temple
funeral with the aid of the yakuza to make sure he
inherits his father's fortune and not his daughter .
Meanwhile the Viper weakens the granddaughter's
volunteer protector, the Wolverine, with some
poisonous wire materials she implants in him.
While saving Mariko's life from just about every rotten person in Tokyo who is after her and becoming romantically interested in the comely heiress, the superhero must fight yakuzas atop a speeding bullet train traveling at 300 mph, at a fortress fight scores of ninjas with arrows and finally overcome a surprise fighter in armor before he can hop on a plane and skip out of Japan.
A virile performance by
Jackman, as usual, and some novel action sequences,
ensures the wounded franchise will continue with a
REVIEWED ON 7/27/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ