wolverineClaw Your Way Through Life
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova and Famke Janssen
Director: James Mangold
Scriptwriters: Mark Bomback and Christopher McQuarrie
Composer: Mario Beltrami
Fox Pictures
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 126 minutes
As the comic book character, “Wolverine,” Hugh Jackman, late of “Les Miserables,” heads for Japan and new adventures there. This is the second “Wolverine” film and with a plot of familiar contrivances (kidnappings, gangs, torture, double-crosses, angry robots and plenty of angst). Hugh Jackman, muscular and clawed, does a fine “Wolverine” but two Asian actresses, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima, steal their scenes. There are plenty of references to mutants, and remember, an “X-Men” film is coming out in 2014 (plenty of hints in film.)
As the story begins, it is Japan just before the atomic bomb hits Nagasaki. A Japanese soldier decides to free a prisoner and the prisoner saves his life. The soldier gets the surprise of his life as the prisoner, though severely injured, heals rapidly. Fast forward, and now the former prisoner, Logan (Jackman as Wolverine) is living in a cave somewhere in Canada. He is depressed and avoids society. Logan has a run-in with hunters about illegally killing bears and is observed by an Asian girl, Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who is quite handy with a sword. She has been looking for Logan, to bring him back to Japan to meet a mysterious “someone.” This person is dying and about to divide his wealth between his son, Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Shingen’s daughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto). “Someone’s” doctor looks suspiciously like a person we have met before (dresses in snakeskin, spits poison) and you know the plot is thickening and there is evil all around. In the midst of this, Logan has dreams of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) still being alive (he had to kill her in one of the “X-Men” movies.) Logan is being chased for his regenerative powers and ability to stay young, Yukio and Mariko are on his side against the bad guys that include an eight-foot tall metal robot and a samurai who has a sword made of the same metal as Wolverine’s claws---adamantium (no relation to kryptonite.) Plenty of action that takes center stage and pushes the storyline aside.
“Wolverine” is an adequate second film about this character. A man who had an experiment done to him without consent and it changed him for a lifetime. There is anger and it comes out with a roar, so to stay calm, the man avoids people. Still, there is a familiar storyline about trying to live forever. Some want it and some don't. The action sequences are good including a fight on a train, hanging onto window/ledges to keep from falling and performing an operation (reference: “Prometheus.”) I don't know what plot device is left to do a third “Wolverine” movie.
I think Hugh Jackman has the role of “Wolverine” firmly in hand.  He is physically active, scowls and looks as though he could claw someone to little bits. Svetlana Khodchenkova is a new “Viper” to audiences. Other new actor’s names for “Wolverine” fans are Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima, who can do action scenes well, and Will Yun Lee, who plays a body guard with lethal purpose. Those Wolverine claws get plenty of attention in this film and fans only want to see him sprout them, anyway. Personally, I'm waiting for a Plastic Man movie. and I've said that before.
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner
For more reviews on movies made about comic book characters, see the following:
Batman Begins
Spider-Man 3
Iron Man