Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Logan struggles to stay on bullet train

THE WOLVERINE (2013). Director: James Mangold.

Logan, the mutant Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) from the X-Men, is determined to give up his violent ways after being forced to kill Jean Gray in X-Men: Last Stand. But this is a vow he has trouble keeping when he's summoned to Japan to say goodbye to a now-aged Japanese man, Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) whose life he saved in Nagasaki during WW2. [Wolverine's healing factor keeps him forever young.] Yashida has studied mutants, and Wolverine in particular, and wants to steal away his immortality if he can. Wolverine is aided by a young lady with psychic powers named Yukio (Rita Fukushima) and tries to protect Yashida's grand-daughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), from attacks by the criminal organization, Yakuza, and a nasty lady mutant called Viper who has a literally poisonous tongue and can suck away men's life forces with a kiss. Late in the movie what appears at first to be a robot Silver Samurai shows up to engage Wolverine in battle. The Wolverine is a fairly standard action/super-hero movie with little new in it, and is not as good as the character's first solo feature nor such films as X-Men: First Class. It has one near-thrilling sequence when Logan has a battle with an assassin atop a speeding bullet train and the two engage in some nifty acrobatics while trying to kill one another, but the rest of the movie isn't on that level. There's a post-credit sequence wherein Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) make an appearance [presumably leading into X-Men: Last Stand]. Jackman has nailed the character perfectly and turns in a very good performance, and the supporting cast, especially Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper, are generally arresting.

Verdict: If you've seen one Wolverine, you've seen them all. **1/2.

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