Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Video review: "The Wolverine"
So they made a Wolverine movie to spin off the most popular character from the X-Men film franchise, and it didn’t do so well. In the spirit of recent Hollywood tradition when it comes to superhero flicks -- their motto could be “try, try again” -- they decided have another go. Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the feral, be-clawed mutant with extraordinary healing powers.
As with the Superman and Hulk movies, the do-over wasn’t markedly better than the first attempt. Which begs the question of why they bothered in the first place, other than sheer naked money-making.
“The Wolverine” goes for an adaptation of a popular 1980s graphic novel set in Japan, but booted most of the narrative and replaced it with a confusing mish-mash of fight scenes, wooing and, for some reason, a cyborg.
Logan aka Wolverine is summoned to Japan to the deathbed of Yashida, whose life he saved in World War II. He is stripped of his mutant power and thrown into the middle of a family squabble between his friend’s son, Shingen, and granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), over control of their billion-dollar corporation.
Soon Wolverine is fighting ninjas, Yakuza mob thugs, and a mysterious Western doctor with her own poisonous powers. Jackman frequently sheds his shirt for these, revealing his weird, veiny bod. Meanwhile, he and Mariko manage to fall deeply, irrevocably in love in about a minute and a half, leading to some obligatory damsel-in-distress scenes.
Some of the action scenes are engaging, but the story is such a shredded mess, it looks like a Japanese tapestry that had a nasty encounter with Wolverine’s adamantium claws.
The video release is accompanied by some nice extra features, though you’ll need to shell out for the Blu-ray version to get the best stuff. The DVD comes only with a making-of featurette.
Go for the Blu-ray edition and you add an alternate ending, an interactive mobile device app, a more in-depth look at Wolverine’s journey, and a sneak peak of the upcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past” set.
For the most complete experience there’s the “Unleashed” version that includes an extended, unrated cut of the film: “more violent and hardcore than ever before,” the jacket promises. And you get a feature-length commentary track by director James Mangold.