By Dave Montalbano
As the Wolverine, Hugh Jackman burst upon the celluloid screen 13 years ago in X-Men directed by Bryan Singer.
Much like John Ford’s influence in developing John Wayne’s image, Singer presented Jackman as an iconic leading man for the 21st Century. For an unknown Australian song and dance man, Jackman has become a durable leading man.
The Wolverine is Jackman’s sixth appearance as Logan, alias Wolverine. While this is a standalone movie, the film takes place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and before next Summer’s future blockbuster, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Stick around during The Wolverine’s closing credits for the exciting movie teaser.
The Wolverine opens with a depressed Logan, the ultimate soldier cursed with eternal life. In his long existence, Logan keeps losing the loves of his life. Recently Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) died at his hand and the guilt has caused Logan to become a hermit in the Canadian woods.
Enter Yukio (Rila Fukushima), an employee of Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a dying industrialist whom Logan rescued from the atomic bomb blast at Nagasaki. Yashida would like to offer Wolverine the gift of death.
With such a serious theme in the background, The Wolverine could have been bogged down with theories and theology. Fortunately, director James Mangold has directed a visual treat (one feels like they are roaming the Morikami Gardens). The action sequences are directed with visual clarity; most notable is the creative detail utilized during a fight sequence aboard the bullet train racing at 300 m.p.h.
On a far more serious note, Blackfish opens tomorrow. This documentary reviews whale captivity and theme parks. Much like Ric O’- Barry’s The Cove, Blackfish presents how creatures of the wild cannot be confined to cages; for whenever there is a conflict between man and nature, monsters are born. In this case, senior trainer Dawn Brancheau died during a routine exhibition at Sea World Orlando on Feb. 24, 2010.
Also opening tomorrow is a Spanish Hitchcockian thriller titled The Body. After a femme fatale meets her maker, her body disappears from a morgue. This conspiracy-laced noir features Belen Rueda, Spain’s answer to Meryl Streep.