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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2013

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"The Wolverine" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Christian Eberle

The Wolverine (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

After the death of Jean Gray, Logan AKA Wolverine has retreated to a remote wilderness to stay off the grid and avoid hurting anyone. Unfortunately his sympathy for a suffering bear leads him to a confrontation with some unscrupulous hunters. Just as he's about to dispatch them, a mysterious red-haired Japanese girl appears and lures him away with an unexpected offer. It seems that during World War 2, Logan saved the life of a young Japanese soldier, Yashida. This soldier went on to become one of the most powerful businessmen in Asia and now wants to thank Logan one more time before he dies.

Logan travels to Japan and is immediately caught up in the struggle between the dying man's family members for control of his vast wealth and power. Yashida offers Logan the chance to transfer his immortality away to live out a normal life. He refuses and Yashida dies a few hours later. The next day, during the funeral, his granddaughter Mariko is attacked by Yakuza who attempt to kidnap her. Logan saves her but he is weakened inexplicably. Suddenly his healing powers are gone. Eventually, the Yakuza do kidnap Mariko. Logan discovers that Yashida's mysterious doctor has implanted some sort of robot parasite inside him.

After removing the parasite, Logan pursues the kidnappers to a mountain stronghold where he discovers Yashida's true plan. He is still alive and wants Logan's immortality for himself. In an epic final showdown, Logan must battle Yashida's adamantium armor and the doctor who turns out to be the evil mutant Viper.

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • 2013, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hrs 6 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto
  • Directed by James Mangold
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

You can see by the lengthy synopsis that the plot does meander a bit. It is still fairly entertaining though I'd consider it the weakest of all the X-Men films so far. I was ready to give it four stars but the climax is so predictable I had to knock off a star for lack of originality. Still, The Wolverine does have some elements to recommend it. The action scenes are extremely well done and have a kung-fu flavor rather than the usual bloody gun battles with constant explosions. There is some excellent choreography in the stunt sequences with some elements of parkour and lots of swordplay. The actress who plays Logan's sidekick, Rila Fukushima, is very engaging and funny and looks just like an anime cartoon. Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine in his usual blunt and brusque style which fits the character perfectly. And I do believe he has even more veins popping out of arms than ever before! If you're an X-Men fan like me, you'll want to add this to your library. If you're just looking for a good action flick on a Friday night at home, it's worth a rental at best.

Technical

The image is reference-quality in every respect. Detail is always super-sharp with perfect contrast, exacting shadow detail, and natural saturated color throughout. The middle of the film takes place in the Japanese countryside and is just gorgeous with warm vibrant colors and rich detail in both the background plant life and all the actors faces. Closeups look especially tasty.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is encoded in 7.1 here but I viewed the film on a 5.1 system. I didn't miss the extra channels because the surround effects are among the best I've ever heard. This mix is more about detail and ambiance rather than LOUD, which I greatly appreciate. Early in the movie there is a scene in the rain that makes an awesome surround sound demo. It sounded so much like real rain I nearly reached for an umbrella. And there's a great subwoofer demo in the first few minutes when the atomic bomb explodes over Nagasaki. It seems to extend down below the audible range; to the point where my theater doors nearly rattled off their hinges!

Extras

The best extra is the 53-minute bonus feature on Ronin warriors and the Samurai theme used in this movie. Also included is a theatrical trailer, a preview of the next X-Men film X-Men: Days of Future Past, and an alternate ending. The package I received included a DVD and a digital copy accessible through UltraViolet in addition to the Blu-ray feature.