No claws for big ap­plause

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

AN an en­ter­tain­ing enough ad­di­tion to the X-Men fran­chise, The Wolver­ine meets the bar rather than rais­ing it.

A large part of what makes the movie watch­able is Aussie Hugh Jack­man, who owns the part of an­gry mu­tant Wolver­ine (aka Lo­gan). With a hec­tic physique and sig­na­ture mut­ton chops, he’s fan­tas­tic as al­ways in the role that first made him a house­hold name.

Filmed in Aus­tralia, but set largely in Ja­pan, The Wolver­ine picks up af­ter the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, when our me­tal-clawed hero is not do­ing well. Guilt-rid­den by what be­fell his love Jean Grey, he’s strug­gling to live with him­self, which is kind of hard, con­sid­er­ing his heal­ing pow­ers make him es­sen­tially im­mor­tal.

But then, a per­son from his past in­vites Wolver­ine to Ja­pan and re­veals he doesn’t have to suf­fer for his length­ened life­time – there’s a way for his pow­ers to be taken. When they are – with­out his con­sent – Wolver­ine is faced with his own mor­tal­ity as he tries to pro­tect a Ja­panese heiress from dan­ger.

Di­rected by James Man­gold, it’s not that this film, the sec­ond spin-off for Jack­man’s char­ac­ter af­ter X-Men Ori­gins: Wolver­ine, isn’t en­ter­tain­ing. It’s just a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing for those that hoped to be blown away.

The back­story in­volv­ing the Na­gasaki atomic bomb­ing is in­ter­est­ing, as is drop­ping Lo­gan into an en­tirely dif­fer­ent world in Ja­pan. But there isn’t a great vil­lain here. In­stead, a Poi­son-Ivy type woman named Viper (Svet­lana Khod­chenkova) is quite oned­i­men­sional. In com­par­i­son, two new fe­male char­ac­ters – body­guard/ninja Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and heiress Mariko (Tao Okamoto) – are com­plex, par­tic­u­larly the for­mer.

How­ever, the ro­mance that emerges isn’t be­liev­able and for the big­ger geeks it’s il­log­i­cal that Wolver­ine can­not re­gen­er­ate, yet he has no prob­lems whip­ping out his claws with­out show­ing the ef­fects.

The best parts of The Wolver­ine are when Jack­man’s go­ing hell for leather. Some ex­cel­lent ac­tion se­quences in­clude a bul­let-train fight and a spec­tac­u­lar mar­tial arts dis­play by Fukushima.

Stick around af­ter the cred­its for one of the best bits – a meet­ing with old friends and an ex­cit­ing link to next year’s X-Men: Days of Fu­ture Past.

The Wolver­ine.

The Wolver­ine opens to­day.

– CARIS BIZZACA

Svet­lana Khod­chenkova and Hugh Jack­man star in

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