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A Wolverine Abroad!

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THE WOLVERINE (2013)

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen

Plot: Did you ever see The Bad News Bears go to Japan?  It’s exactly like that.

Rating: PG-13 for shooting and stabbing with the claws and more stabbing with swords. There’s a whole lot of stabbing.

I’m not a big follower of the X-Men movies and characters, but I do know that Wolverine (also known as Logan) played by Hugh Jackman is without a doubt the most popular character of the bunch.

Sorry Halle Berry.

And what’s not to love about this Canadian loner? He’s mean and surly, he’s quite fond of mumbling, he loves a stiff drink and a good cigar, and when push comes to shove he unleashes his adamantium claws and turns his foes into thinly sliced deli meat.

Oh, and he calls everyone “bub.” Love this guy!

The Marvel folks love Wolverine so much he got a second movie to star in all by his angry self. This movie, simply titled The Wolverine has our moody hero traveling to Japan to settle old scores, make some new enemies, and figure out once and for all what the hell is up with Japanese game shows!

As the movie opens, poor Logan/Wolverine is living alone in the woods of his native Canada, still brooding about that time in  X-Men: The Last Stand where he had to kill fellow X-person Jean Grey, who Logan loved but she only loved him as a friend, and we all know how those kinds of relationships turn out!

One night Logan is approached by a mysterious girl named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who has been sent by a Japanese bazillionaire Yashida to find Logan and bring him to Japan for a reunion. Turns out a young Yashida was saved by Logan when the A-bomb destroyed Nagasaki at the end of World War II, and since he’s a bazillionaire now he wants to pay Logan back with what I assume will be one of those giant Publishers Clearinghouse checks and a lifetime supply of Omaha Steaks.

Logan travels with Yukio to Japan and reunites with Yashida who is dying of old age. He makes Logan an incredible offer – Yashida has the technology to transfer Logan’s mutant healing power to his frail and dying body so he may live again, which will also take away Logan’s immortality which he always hated anyway.

I can see why Logan hates being immortal. I mean, how would you like it if you stayed young and healthy forever while the jerks in your life grew old and died?

Wait, can I change my answer?

Anyhoo before Logan can give his final answer, Yashida dies. At the huge funeral, all heck breaks loose when members of the Yakuza (the Japanese Mob) try to kidnap Mariko (Tao Okamoto), Yashida’s granddaughter and heir to the family fortune. Logan and Yukio (who by an amazing stroke of luck is a master of martial arts) prevent Mariko from being taken, and Logan is now on the run with Mariko as they try to figure out what the heck is going on and who wants Mariko dead.

Oh, and to make things interesting, a mysterious blonde lady (Svetlana Khodchenkova) uses her mutant powers to rid our man Wolverine of his healing powers – which makes Logan rethink his usual fighting technique of letting the bad guys shoot him repeatedly until they run out of ammo and then killing them.

The Wolverine bounces from on action scene to another as Logan battles Yakuza thugs on the roof of a bullet train, fights ninjas in a Japanese village, and battles a giant silver robot samurai because it’s freakin Japan and they invented giant silver robot samurai. The film drags in spots to give Logan a few romantic scenes with the lovely Mariko, who should know that The Wolverine aint got no time for love when there’s bad guys to be sliced and diced bub!

Once again, Hugh Jackman does a fine job as the super stabby anti-hero we all know and love. Personally, I think Jackman should get some kind of award for the  thousands of hours he spends in the gym to achieve the super ripped physique required to play Wolverine. At the very least I hope his gym gives him free towels or coupons for free smoothies at the juice bar. That would be nice.

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