Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Wolverine

Why, you ask, does the Wolverine get a review in the middle of the film festival? The answer is that the draw of a free ticket is quite strong. Coopervision, who make contact lenses, shouted a bunch of optometrists and their staff/hangers-on a private showing of Wolverine. There was food and drink. And as it happened we didn't have any other movies booked that night.

Wolverine is a Marvel comic book superhero. His special power seems to be that he sprouts long metal spikes from one hand and short curved metal claws from the other when he's enraged. He's immortal, which as watchers of vampire movies will know tends to have a bad effect on the personality. Wolverine's personality has been further marred by the fact that once upon a time he had to kill his wife.

The Wolverine  opens in Nagasaki in 1945. Wolverine (aka Logan)  has been  imprisoned in a well shaft  in a POW camp. Along with one of the Japanese Officers, he shelters in the well shaft  when the atomic bomb  is dropped and escapes the worst of the fallout. The Japanese officer is grateful that Wolverine saved his life by persuading him in there.

Fast forward to 2012 (or thereabouts). The Japanese officer (Yashida) is now the head of a big corporation and wishes to express his gratitude and say goodbye to Logan before he dies. He sends Yukio to the Yukon to fetch Logan and they head off to Japan in a private jet.  Yashida dies quite soon and leaves his corporation to his granddaughter Mariko which annoys her father Shingen. Shingen has buddies in the Yashida (Japanese Mafia) and their violent campaign to bump off Mariko starts at the funeral. Superheroes can't stand idly by while women are in danger, so Logan comes to Mariko's rescue - more than once- and of course she falls for him. There's some added tension because for some of the movie Logan loses his self-healing powers. And a very nasty female baddie ( the Viper) seems to have it in for him.

And there you have the rest of the movie. Lots of fight scenes and a little bit of Logan and Mariko being intimate. There's fight on top of a bullet train which is inventive, thrilling and extremely well-choreographed - this was the highlight of the movie for me. Logan and Mariko being intimate might be a highlight for some - Hugh Jackman's naked torso being quite worthwhile viewing - but the fact that he frowns for 99.5% of the movie is a turnoff. I know he's had a tortured past, but being curmudgeonly all the time isn't endearing.

If you're a comic book aficionado there's probably lots of detail to enjoy that I am ignorant of. If you just like a good action movie with some love interest thrown in perhaps a  James Bond or Transporter film would be a better bet. On the plus side it's fast paced and being filmed in Japan gave it scenic interest.

Anne's rating 2.5/5 Ian's rating 3/5

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Anne. Everything looks promising for this franchise now, and I'm happy to see that fact.