Director : Starring :
James Mangold ( Hugh Jackman, Hal Yamanouchi, Rila Fukushima, Famke Janssen.
LET’S be frank here. With its Marvel franchise stablemate The Avengers breaking box- offi ce records on a regular basis, the X- Men series feels a bit like yesterday’s news.
Therefore, another solo outing for that metalclawed, mutton- chopped mutant Wolverine ( aka Logan) is hardly the hottest ticket of the US summer blockbuster season.
Especially if Wolvie’s dull origin- story movie in 2009 left you cold.
Well, it is a pleasure to report that The Wolverine is something of a return to form. Never absolutely essential, but never a waste of your precious time.
The tentative dithering of the last instalment is gone. The Wolverine means business from the get- go. The storyline has a whole new direction to navigate.
So don’t go missing the fi rst few minutes here, or you could fi nd yourself playing catch- up for the rest of the movie.
An enjoyably over- the- top prologue fi nds Logan ( Hugh Jackman) bracing himself for the drop of an atomic bomb at Nagasaki in 1945.
Just before the fateful moment of impact, Logan uses his self- healing superpowers to save the life of a Japanese soldier.
One mushroom cloud and many decades later, and that soldier has become the richest man in Japan. On his deathbed, the elderly industrialist Yashida ( Hal Yamanouchi) wants to do one last deal.
Only Logan can deliver the goods Yashida wants to acquire. So the businessman sends a scarlet- haired, schoolgirl- outfi tted emissary named Yukio ( Rila Fukushima) to retrieve Logan from a self- imposed exile in the Canadian wilderness.
Freaky story, huh? Well, The Wolverine is only getting started with its weird departures from the norm.
Yashida wishes to buy and extract Logan’s immortality. Tired of the burden of everlasting life, and pining for his dead true love Jean Grey ( Famke Janssen in fl ashback mode), Logan is tempted by the offer.
Nevertheless, he turns it down, and the old man dies. However, if Logan thinks he can leave Japan and go back to hanging out with bears in the Rockies, he is sorely mistaken.
The rest of The Wolverine? Pretty much Logan versus the Yakuza, Logan versus a gang of black- clad ninja archers and Logan versus every freelance hit man in Japan.
Yep, it is mostly a fi ght movie, occasionally a chase movie, and that it is all. Set- piece action sequences range from quite good to truly great. Though a few of the combat sequences are slightly unwieldy in their construction, a ripping fi ve- minute scrap on the roof of a bullet train is one of the great stand- alone scenes of 2013.