Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Wolverine (2013) Review

This week, I refused to trim my sideburns, donned my favourite yellow spandex unitard and went across to the local cinema to check out The Wolverine (2013) starring Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold.

The story takes place some time after the events of X-Men: Last Stand (2006). Logan (Jackman) is a bearded, bedraggled man haunted by memories of his past love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), living off of booze and little else up in the mountains somewhere. He's approached by a young Japanese woman who's job it is to bring him back to Japan where a soldier from WWII that Logan saved can pay his last respects and say goodbye. When Logan gets to Japan, hijinks promptly ensue as everything is not as it seems....

Wait. Actually, everything pretty much ends up being exactly as it seems. Well, the parts that make any kind of sense, anyway.

Jackman embodies the role of Logan/Wolverine seamlessly. He's one of those rare Hollywood actors who've become so synonymous with a single role, yet has managed to branch out and put together a fairly impressive body of work. Instead of turning his nose up and outgrowing the role that made him famous, Jackman returns again and again, paying homage to the character that made him a household name.

Unfortunately, he's saddled with one of the worst films I've seen this year. And that's saying a lot.

The plot, if you could call it that, has two major points. The first focuses on the granddaughter of the tech industry giant that Logan saved back in WWII. She stands to inherit the company once her grandfather dies, much to her father's chagrin. Thugs are hired by her evil dad to take her out. Logan decides it's his job to protect her. They spend two days together and fall in love with each other. His love for this Japanese girl whom he met two days ago is enough for him to let go of the years long love he's had for Jean.

Yep. You read that right. TWO DAYS.

I have to mention something about this love story. It's awful. The reason? The complete and utter lack of chemistry between Jackman's Logan character and "Mariko" played by Tao Okamoto. The last time there was a couple on screen that had this poor of chemistry, those movies had "Clones" and "Sith" in their titles. I never, not for one single second, bought these two as a legitimate couple. I certainly didn't understand Logan letting go of Jean for a woman he's just met and only shared a single night in bed with.

The other half of the plot is so convoluted I don't even know where to begin. The aging tech giant Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) was once stationed in Nagasaki during WWII. Logan was being held as a POW there. When the A-bomb starts to drop, Logan saves Yashida for no discernible reason. Years later, Yashida is dying of cancer and wants Logan to give him his power of healing in exchange for a normal life and a proper, ordinary death. Logan refuses and the old man "dies".

The old man's oncologist, a horrible, misused villain called The Viper played by Svetlana Khodchenkova, somehow robs Logan of his healing ability but doesn't pass it along to the old man. Meanwhile, the ex-boyfriend of the granddaughter Logan is protecting/loving is a ninja (totally not making this up) and has a huge gang of ninjas (still not making this up) that start out helping Logan, then wind up hunting and hurting Logan, then end up helping Logan again.

How do you bring that all together, you ask? Spoiler alert (which you will not need if you see the film), grandfather is still alive and behind the whole thing.


The action beats can't even save this movie. From the physics defying, ridiculous train top scene to the horribly choreographed hand-to-hand fight scenes that include the often misused and completely unnecessary extreme close-up, shaky handheld camera shots to the final, climactic fight between all the protagonists and all the antagonists, the action is just dreadful. Maybe I missed a memo somewhere, but I thought this guy was supposed to be a comic book super hero.

I can't fathom why this movie is reviewing so well, but I can understand why domestic moviegoers are staying away. While Jackman is great, everybody else is just appalling. Some of the dialogue is downright laughable in it's clunkiness and corniness. There isn't a single "reveal" in this movie that will surprise you in the least. It's just bad all the way through and easily the most boring movie I've watched this year.

1 out of 5 stars.
The Wolverine (2013)
Reviewed by The Bitter Critic on Aug 07 2013
Rating: 1

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