Wednesday, April 29, 2009

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE - Fast, Furious & Feral

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (fantasy actioner)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, Dominic Monaghan and Lynn Collins
Director: Gavin Hood
Time: 106 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: If you are one of those who have bought those 'clear' pirated DVDs of this movie, you have been suckered! What you have is an incomplete version of the film with many important parts and spectacles missing. The audio-visual feast that you would expect from the Marvel comic book series will just be an unsatisfying snack, trust me.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? A sickly Jim Logan (Troye Sivan) discovers his mutant characteristics when a tragic incident occurs during his childhood in the 1850s. Together with his half brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), Logan (Hugh Jackman) joins the military, taking part in the major wars and conflicts. Their lives change when they join a team of mercenaries led by Col Stryker (Danny Huston), a ruthless maniac who would stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Soon Logan gets tired of being a part of Stryker's atrocities - and he retires to Canada where he works as a lumberjack, living with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Of course, Victor and Stryker would not leave him alone - and they work out a plan to lure him back into action.

HITS & MISSES: Except for the special effects, watching the first half of this prequel is a lot like sitting trhough TV's Heroes and the Highlander series. Like Heroes, Logan, aka Wolverine, and Victor, aka Sabertooth, are being hunted for their 'gifts'. And like Highlander, they are virtually immortals, stuck in the prime of their lives in their 30s.

Still, this origin tale grabs us because it has a nice balance between style and substance. The love story between Logan and Kayla is touching - especially the part where Logan adopts the name Wolverine from a folklore told by his loved one. And I like the 'brotherly rivalry' caper between the half-men-half-animals. Under Gavin Hood's direction, the fight sequences are fast-paced and mind-boggling.

The aim of this movie is to 'justify' Wolverine's indestructible powers and memory loss - and we learn about an 'out-of-this-world' element called adamantium (which explains Wolverine's blades). We also get to meet other mutants like Wade Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), The Blob (Kevin Durand), John Wraith (, a young Scott Summers (later known as Cyclops), Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) and Emma Frost (Tahyna Tozzi), a girl with diamond-hard skin.

Don't be in a hurry to leave the cineplex when the end credits appear. As usual, there is a scene that provides a narrative hook for a future film.

THE LOWDOWN: It's not the most Marvel-lous of Origin films, but close enough.


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