THE WOLVER­INE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Now show­ing Vil­lage Cinemas

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.

LO­GAN’S RUN: A mus­cle- bound Hugh Jack­man re­sumes his X- Men role in The Wolver­ine.

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