The Blu-Ray Shelf
I didn’t catch this at the cinema but I got it on Blu-ray as soon as it came out. I had heard the reviews and it was generally positive and certainly more positive that the other Wolverine film. I’m glad to say that is a major improvement in many ways and I enjoyed the film a lot more than I expected to. The story has a smaller scale to it though it’s still full of highly improbable, highly enjoyable action scenes.and is a more intimate story for he most part though the comic book antics do get a bit carried away at the end
We see Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a prisoner in Japan during the Second World War when he rescues a young Japanese soldier called Yashida (Ken Yamamura) when the atomic bomb gets dropped on the nearby city of Nagasaki. Yashida is fascinated by Wolverine’s mutant ability to recover from the heat blast from the bomb and is extremely grateful to Wolverine for saving him.
Forward to the present or a least some time after X Men Last Stand and Wolverine is dreaming about being with Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) the woman who he loved but was [SPOILER] forced to kill to stop her destroying the world (or San Francisco – they never did quite get the cosmic scale of the comic book Phoenix). Wolverine wakes from the dream and he’s really somewhere cold and mountainous in North America living like wild mountain man. He’s give up on being an X Man and just wants to be left alone but when he has a run in with group of dangerously incompetent hunters he has to get involved. This is when a young Japanese woman that was following him comes to his aid taking on the hunter’s friends. Her name is Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and she has come to find him with a message from Yashida who is dying and wants to see Wolverine one last time
The rest of the film is set in Japan in a world that is a paradox of ultramodern technology but with deep roots of family and tradition especially when it comes to Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) and his family. Yashida is one the wealthiest and most powerful men in Japan but he worries about will happen to his empire when he dies. Yashida tells Wolverine that he can give him the gift of death while taking from him the curse of eternal life. Wolverine rejects his ‘kind’ offer very quickly but Yashida asks for one more favour: he wants Wolverine to protect his grand-daughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto).
The reason Mariko needs protection is that Yashida has left everything to her in his will, enraging her father Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada). Wolverine is going back home next day but that night while he sleeps he gets a visit from Yashida’s tall blonde doctor Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) who poisons him with a kiss. That night Yashida dies so Wolverine is obliged to stay for the funeral.
At the funeral is where the shit really kicks off when Yakuza assassins dressed as monks go all out trying to kill Mariko while Wolverine, Yukio, Mariko and a mysterious ninja bowman called Harada (Will Yun Lee) fight off the assassins. This is when Wolverine notices that he’s not instantly healing from his wounds. It’s the old “hero losing his abilities” trope that has often been used in superhero films but then it is also a frequent theme in the comics too and Wolverine’s powers do need to be taken down a few notches to make the human threat even look plausible. There is a long exciting chase through Tokyo with Mariko and Wolverine fighting off the Yakuza but they get away and hold up in a “love hotel”
The middle section is Wolverine and Mariko trying to keep away from the Yakuza and includes an over the top fight sequence on the top of a bullet train. This part of course has the obligatory scenes of Mariko and Wolverine alone and the relationship moving from mistrust to affection for each other and Wolverine even considers allowing himself to love again.
The film does a have big comic book climax with Wolverine in a showdown with the Silver Samurai and while it’s not terrible it is a bit of a let-down after the big build up. Treachery is revealed and alliances shift as choices are made. Overall I thought it was a great fun film that gives Wolverine the showcase he deserves but didn’t really get in the Origins film. Hugh Jackman inhabits the role of Wolverine so well once again. The supporting cast is convincing enough though Viper was like an evil baddie from Saturday morning cartoon series. I liked the scene at the end that was a major set-up for the X-men Days of Future past film and it made me a little bit more excited about it..
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Review: The Wolverine 2013 (akoxix.wordpress.com)
- DVD Of The Week: The Wolverine – Unleashed Extended Edition (2013) (heropresstwo.blogspot.com)
- The Wolverine movie review (realityofmovies.wordpress.com)