Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 26th July, 2013
Time : 126 minutes
Director : James Mangold; Writers : Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, Christopher McQuarrie; Music : Marco Beltrami
Starring : Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee
I am such a sucker for Japan, its mystique, customs, the language. Also its women, polite, petite, pretty. So am willing to ignore the fairly loose, skating-on-thin-ice story and just claw my way (pun obviously intended) through the film, its stop-start pace and fairly decent, though repetitive, action.
At the time of the Nagasaki bombing, Wolverine saved a young Japanese soldier, Hal Yamanouchi, from death. Many years later, Hal, now an ageing, cancer stricken billionaire, finds the Wolverine, flies him to Tokyo to thank him. And, also would like to check, if he would be, oh-so-kind as to let go of his gift of immortality and transfer that to him ?
Tao is the cute grand-daughter, Rila her friend and companion, also a seer, who gets visions of the future. Sanada plays the impetuous son, Svetlana, the venomous Viper and Will Yun Lee, a crack Ninja who’s loyalty seems uncertain.
Does Wolverine really wish to live on ? Continue being a soldier ? Does he have the will for yet another battle, one where he is the Gaijin (foreigner) and Ronin (soldier without a master) ?
I loved some of the random visuals, things shown. A grizzly bear walking in the forest amidst the early morning mist. The smoke wafting from a hot cup of green tea. The bed which adapts itself to its patients shape. The love hotel, complete with room options like ‘Nurse’s Office’, ‘Dungeon’, ‘Mission to Mars’.
Its fast-paced yet has pauses for breath. The action had ninjas, samurai swords, toxins, robots, and of course, guns and other standard stuff. Fights happen everywhere, including inside a house, on a rooftop, in a funeral parlour and on a bullet train roof. But it felt a bit forced at times, the outcome almost pre-ordained, even a weakened Wolverine more than a match for bullets and bombs.
I liked the setting. I liked the characters. Its interesting without being Wow. Fast without being impactful. Almost wish it was a different story – the central question – about the quest for immortality and the desirability of such a life, is engaging but could’ve gone in a different, more appealing direction.