We start in Nagasaki, Japan, 9th of August, 1945, as American bombers fly over, a Japanese soldier, seeing the end is near, sets free POWs, including Logan in his pre-adamantium form. As the atomic bomb destroys Nagasaki, Logan rescues the Japanese officer, Yashida, who witnesses Logan’s awesome regenerative powers.
Many years later, haunted by the death of Jean Grey, weighed down by his eternal life – no longer wishing to be the soldier, The Wolverine, Logan is holed up like a hobo in the wilderness, when he’s asked to go to Japan by the doll-like but deadly dangerous Yukio, an assassin employed by that very same officer, now one of Japan’s wealthiest men, but dying, and expressing a wish to thank the man that saved his life many years ago.
Great action sequences follow from director James Mangold, as thuggish Yakuzas battle with swift ninjas in a deadly attempt to kidnap Yoshida’s Granddaughter Mariko from a gorgeous Japanese temple, a battle that spreads through the streets of Tokyo and into a thrilling climax on the top of the 300mph bullet train.
The stars are engaging, the gruff earthiness of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is in beautiful contrast to the grace and elegance of Tao Okamoto as Mariko. Rila Fukushima as Yukio with her super cute doll like face, bright red hair and deadly sword skills is like a manga character come alive.
Svetlana Khodchenkova is suitably delicious and poisonous as villainess Viper. The only issue is that when, snake-like she sheds her skin and hair, the bulbous shape of her head is obviously a bald cap. I know her long blonde hair is absolutely gorgeous, however one would expect for a proper commitment to the part that she would lose those locks. If Karen Gillan is willing to lose her equally wonderful red hair for a while for her role as blue skinned galactic pirate Nebula in the upcoming Avengers: Guardians Of The Galaxy, surely Svetlana Khodchenkova could have done the same. Or they should have cast someone else. Because, frankly, her bulbous head was distracting. Actual photos of her bulbousness don’t seem to have been included with all the other publicity shots.
There’s been a lot of talk about the body Hugh Jackman put on for this movie, getting advice from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and working out 3 hours a day to burn through 6000 calories a day, putting on layers of hard muscle. However for me one of the great things about Hugh Jackman’s performance is how he can be given a suit to wear to a funeral by the richest family in Japan, or he can put on an exquisitely understated handmade Japanese robe, and yet on him it sits like a $50 suit or a $12 bathrobe from K-Mart. Now that’s acting.
Great entertaining action flick, despite the bulbous head. And stay for the awesome teaser just after the end – you will be wowed.