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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

tn_wolverineBy special request, and because I was planning on doing it anyway, here is my review of X-MEN 4: X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE: THE PREQUEL.

Word on X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE has been toxic ever since some prick leaked it onto the internet a month ago. Nerds hated it, critics hated it, my buddy who was looking forward to it as much as I was hated it. I heard nothing but bad news. When I checked the San Francisco Chronicle for a followup on that kook that says her dad was the Zodiac I instead found a WOLVERINE review with the headline “Lower your X-pectations.” So I did. And it was a bummer because I genuinely had been X-cited. I enjoyed the X-MEN pictures… ALL THREE OF THEM. Do you find that shocking? EVEN PART THREE, MOTHERFUCKERS. I am 33% more into X-Men than most nerds.

This one seemed promising because first of all, Wolverine is obviously the second best character of the X-Men movies after Mystique. So it makes sense to do this as a warmup to the real spin-off movie, Brian De Palma’s X-MEN VILLAIN SPIN-OFFS: MYSTIQUE. Second of all, the trailer led me to believe this was gonna be the character transported to an ’80s action movie kind of setup. At the beginning of X-MEN part 1 Logan Wolverine walked in as a Clint Eastwood character. He looked and sounded like young Clint Eastwood and reacted to all the X-Man business with the kind of cynicism Clint would. He even took Rogue under his wing the way Clint did Clyde the orangutan.

So this is a great idea for Wolverine’s X-Men origins to be in the form of an action movie, even if it’s more of a Schwarzenegger than an Eastwood. Logan Wolverine and his brother Victor C. Sabretooth (Liev Schrieber, unethically stealing the role from Tyler Mane) are soldiers who get busted for gutting a superior officer, they survive the firing squad so they get transferred to a secret special forces team of mutants.

mp_wolverineThis is ingenious because being on a team of special ops badasses is much cooler than being on a team of super heroes. And on a team like this everybody has to have a specialty, you have the demolitions guy, the sharpshooter, etc. When it’s mutants they have special powers instead of specialties, it’s a nice fit. And then Wolverine starts to grow wary of having his body made into a weapon of imperialism, doesn’t agree with his missions or something, so he goes AWOL. But you don’t just leave a family like that, so they come after him. He’s a one man A-Team! With claws!

Unfortunately for me that stuff in the trailer is not really what most of the movie is about, that’s mostly the setup. Wolverine fights in five different wars, but all during the opening credits. The team goes on one mission and it’s kind of cool but not classic material or anything. They do have the ol’ “soldiers on a helicopter giving each other shit” scene which introduces the various members of the team, most importantly Ryan Reynolds as the wiseass swordsman Wade Deadpool (basically his same character from BLADE: TRINITY but with less screen time). There’s also kind of a Randall Tex Cobb type dumb strongman character that I liked, but he’s not as cool when he shows up later wearing a fat suit. Anyway the mission is over quick and then Logan quits.

Later on Sabretooth pulls some shit that really pisses Logan off, so in order to get his revenge he allows the military guys to hook him up to a machine that gives him his metal skeleton. But then they try to betray him so he runs away naked. He announces that he’s gonna kill Victor and Danny Huston’s character Stryker, and as a rule hit lists are always a nice structure for a movie. But this is the rare prequel exception to the rule since we know both characters on the list are gonna survive into the other movies. So it doesn’t have that same thrill.

Stryker sends a Korean soap opera star after him in a helicopter and this is the best part of the movie, a little motorcycle vs. helicopter chase, partly given away in the trailer. But that’s the action movie portion of the proceedings. The rest is more like an X-MEN movie, with Stryker up to his anti-mutant shenanigans, cameos by various mutant characters I guess from comics or young versions of characters from the other movies.

I understand that they’re not necessarily trying to make the kickass action movie I was hoping for, so you can forgive them for not going all the way with that. But I feel like they didn’t go all the way with it being an X-Men movie either. They got the fun of the different characters and powers and what not but part of what’s great about those is the whole issue of the X-Men versus the Magnetos. Magneto goes too far but he’s right about wanting to protect mutants from humans, and Professor X is right that mutants and humans should co-exist, but sometimes he crosses the line in fighting extremist mutants, like when he lets them use the mutant cure as a weapon against Magneto.

I like that it’s a series where I care about some of the bad guys more than some of the good guys, and that acknowledges there is some grey area even though its comic books and good vs. evil and shit. And part of what I liked about part 3 that nobody gave it credit for was the parallels it had with various issues involving race and sexual preference. The kid whose dad can’t accept that he has wings, the mutant hero who is willing to be “cured” of what makes her unique because she’d rather fit in. It’s mostly a silly movie about different super powered guys strategically using their powers against each other, but it also has these little things worth thinking or feeling about. That makes them stand out from the other super hero movies.

WOLVERINE has none of that. I do like the story of these two brothers who are kind of out for each other’s blood but also kind of aren’t because they always remember they are brothers. And they get caught up in this military conflict. I think this would be a good enough story if it was tying together a bunch of knock-you-on-your-ass set pieces, but it’s not, most of the big scenes are only okay and some of the effects look pretty cheesy. Therefore, it needs to excel at the soulful side of things, so you can say “well, the action scenes aren’t that spectacular or anything but it’s not really about that, I was really moved by the relationship between these two brothers” or whatever. But they didn’t really go all the way with the drama either. And to be honest I’m not exactly sure what Victor’s motivation is, he’s just mad at Wolverine for quitting the military or something. I don’t get it.

So it’s not really the great action movie or the great comic book drama. They were going more for the comic book crowd but I ended up liking it better than they did, even though it wasn’t great. The lesson for studios is for now on to cater all movies to my tastes. Those whiners aren’t gonna like it anyway so just make it COMMANDO with claws. thanks guys.

It’s a pretty half-assed script. The one smart touch I can think of is that (SPOILER) Logan finds his lover dead and mourns over her body, but it later turns out she wasn’t really dead. Then he finds her actually dead but this time doesn’t feel anything because he doesn’t remember who she is. Other than that most of the ideas are pretty obvious, or presented in a too-obvious way. Like, he’s gotta lose his memory by the end of the movie, right? I was worried they would do some corny brain-wipe machine. Instead he gets shot in the head with adamantium bullets. His brain can grow back but it’s just cells, he’s not gonna retain all his memories. That was a cool way to do it, but did they have to have Stryker announce that he would shoot him in the head in order to remove his memories? Wouldn’t it be cooler and more believable if he shot him in the head trying to hurt or kill him, and the memory loss was a side effect?

And then there are just the little touches like why do they give him new dog tags right before beginning his operation, what kind of hospital protocol is that exactly? And if (SPOILER) Professor X was nearby ready to airlift the kids to safety why didn’t he show up earlier and help out? Especially since he’s not in a wheelchair yet. The fucker was probaly out playing chess somewhere, missed all the action.

But maybe we can blame the director more than the script. It seemed like a brilliant idea not to hire from the usual list of names, but instead get the director of the best foreign language film Oscar TSOTSI. But then I never saw that movie so maybe it would’ve shown that he’s not really the guy. He seems competent and at times good but since he fails to bring depth to the drama or deliver on the more visceral stuff this would have to be considered a strike out. I read on Wikipedia that Alexandre Aja (THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake and HAUTE TENSION) was one of the directors trying to get the job, I kind of wish that would’ve happened, that might’ve been interesting. He definitely knows how to do chase scenes. But maybe he wasn’t really up for it, I don’t know. I also read on Wikipedia that on the old TV sitcom Mr. Belvedere the title character was a struggling mescaline addict who in the last episode married an African tribeswoman. In my opinion that is not an accurate description of the show so Wikipedia may sometimes contain incorrect information.

I do still like Hugh Jackman in the role, and he’s channeling Clint Eastwood more than ever. I definitely think he studied the old Clint movies. He has the same kind of stoicism, same kind of smile, same kind of wry comeback or exasperated complaints. He’s got a couple funny Clint type lines and a great moment where another character says a corny hero line and he sighs “Oh Jesus.” He’s a working class Clint character like Philo Beddoe, driving an El Camino and carrying a chainsaw and ax to work (because he’s a lumberjack). He’s not an underground fighter though like he was in the beginning of part 1, and doesn’t really seem like as much of a tough guy, come to think of it.

I liked Liev Schrieber in the role, would’ve been nice if there was a little more to it though. I was bummed when they replaced Tyler Mane, because I like that guy and wanted to see him in a role that was a little more challenging. But actually I don’t think there’s a whole lot of depth to the character in this version either, I don’t think Mane would’ve had much trouble pulling it off. Oh well, some day he’ll get a good one.

The guy I really was excited to see in the movie was Scott Adkins, the excellent British martial artist from such Isaac Florentine DTV joints as UNDISPUTED II, SPECIAL FORCES, THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL and the upcoming NINJA, where he plays a ninja. In case any of you are not familiar with his kicking and flipping I have provided this handy embed of highlights. (Warning: cheesy song. Volume control is advised.)

It had been previously reported that Adkins played a character named Weapon XI. Turns out that’s what Ryan Reynolds turns into after an operation – in other words, he’s the stunt double for a big fight at the end. The weird thing is that Adkins looks kind of like Ryan Reynolds and would make a good double for him (and probaly did some of the swords and stuff at the beginning) but Weapon XI is under makeup where the resemblance doesn’t matter. Oh well.

He does get some moves in but nothing as memorable as in those straight to video movies, and one of his powers is to teleport. I don’t know if I’ve ever brought this up before, but I believe teleporting is one of the least cinematic super powers. I never saw that movie JUMPERS but it really struck me when that came out – sure, to be able to zap yourself into a bank vault would be cool in real life, but to watch it in a movie is just not cool at all. The idea of a movie is to see somebody do something. It is not to see a guy standing in one place and then in the next frame – HOLY SHIT! – standing in a different place. The whole point is getting from point A to point B, you don’t just want to see the two points separately. That’s anti-movie.

So having that power helps him in the fight but sure makes the fight less exciting. They hired this guy for all the kicks he can do but then he keeps disappearing. You can’t kick somebody when you’re disappeared.

For the best super powers award I’d have to go with the girl whose skin turns into bullet-proof diamonds. That looked pretty cool. Not a major character but hopefully she will show up either in another X-MEN ORIGINS picture or in a video on the arm of Ghostface Killah or somebody.

Also, almost forgot to mention this, but I gotta say it’s sad that Stryker was not held accountable. Not only does he pour a half billion dollars into Logan’s skeleton, he also has these adamantium bullets. And those make sense to use against Wolverine, but he tries to use them on his girl too! Are you kidding me, man? In this economy? Oh yeah, but this is a prequel, which explains why the guy apparently went on trial for murder but was still in charge of a major military program in the 2000s. He’s like all those Iran-Contra criminals that ended up in the Bush administration.

By the way, there are two different post-credits scenes, and of course I got saddled with the shitty one. Mine just tells you that Wolverine moved to Japan and became a drunk in a hotel bar. So the sequel could be a crossover with LOST IN TRANSLATION. I don’t know man, Japan is cool and everything. If Wolverine is gonna join the drifting scene I’m all for it. But the idea of these types of post-credits scenes is supposed to be to imply something exciting to keep you wanting more. Like some ninjas jump out and he pulls out the claws and it goes to black. Go watch the end of BLADE for more information. (The other ending is about the Ryan Reynolds/Scott Adkins character, maybe setting up another movie. I would call it X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE ORIGINS: DEADPOOL.)

I would call this a disappointed review more than a negative one. I enjoyed watching it but I just can’t be passionate enough to write the “come on guys, it’s not that bad” defense. It’s true though, it’s not that bad. It’s ridiculous for people to be talking about this as a terrible movie when it’s in the same genre as DAREDEVIL, FANTASTIC FOUR, BATMAN FOREVER, BATMAN AND ROBIN, GHOST RIDER, SPAWN, and other ugly, moronic movies. It’s never that embarrassing, that stupid, that laughable or boring. But there’s the other side of the coin too, that this is  the genre that gave us IRON MAN and THE DARK KNIGHT just last summer. So we can expect better than this.

I’d still like to see more of these movies. But how bout some more elbow grease next time, mutants.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 at 12:35 am and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

68 Responses to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

  1. caruso_stalker217

    May 3rd, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Good review, Vern. I didn’t want to see this movie before. And I still don’t. But the review was entertaining and informative.

    And say what you will about BATMAN FOREVER, but there is actually a real movie buried in there. A pretty decent one, too.

  2. ebonic plague

    May 3rd, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Hey Vern, I like the new redesign!

    It’s a shame about Wolverine, there’s so much you could do to make a good series of movies out of that character, but it sounds like they just threw all the pieces together without any effort to make it work as a real movie.

    I want to see “X-Men Origins: Cowboy Will.I.Am” next. I hope his power is to turn into a hologram with super-enhanced political insight.

  3. I can’t agree with you on the teleportation being uncinematic. The opening scene to X-Men 2: X-Men United was pretty tits.

    As for X-Men 3: XXX, I was hooked with the opening of Angel shaving his wings off, but then you didn’t see him again until they were going to un-mutantize him and all off a sudden he wants to stay a mutant and he hates his dad. Then at the end you see him for the last time where he comes out of nowhere to catch his dad and everything is a- okay.

    It just seemed like they gleaned over a lot of interesting character issues in favor of “I’m the Juggernaut, Bitch!” jokes, and Storm STILL doing the “You gotta pick a side” routine.

    At least with X-Men 3 they had an interesting idea, they just didn’t use it to it’s full potential. It sounds like this one didn’t even have an interesting idea to not use which I can’t figure out which is worse.

    I’ll still give it a shot though. I do like the X-Men, and it can’t be as bad as Tomb Raider or Transformers.

  4. I wish they had gone for a X-men version of Commando. The opening stuff with the mutant team was pretty awesome, and I wished that more of the film had been that. Instead it was over in 10 minutes and moved onto Wolverine’s adventures as a lumberjack.

    The whole plot was just so awkward and convoluted and unecessarily complex. there are lots of different plot ideas that sound simple when you say them on there own:
    “oh its about wolverine getting revenge for the death of his girlfriend”.

    Or,

    “its about wolverine joining a black ops mutant team and going rogue, so he gets hunted down”

    But then you have to throw in:

    *deep breath*

    “well, its about wolverine and his brother who find out there dad isnt’ their dad but that isn’t particularly important so they fight in some wars and his brother likes it too much he becomes a lumber jack, his gf is fake killed, so he gets metal bones but then the people that gave him the metal bones are gonna kill him ‘cos they were only giving him metal bones so they could put it on some other dude who they are giving lots of mutant powers but we’re not sure why they’d want to do that when they had a perfectly good team of mutants, wouldn’t that be better than just having one guy? They fail to kill him, it turns out his gf wasn’t really dead and she was faking there entire relationship just so they could set it up so he wanted to get revenge in the most silly and OTT method of getting someone to put metal bones on there skin, but then she really does die, his brother saves him ‘cos he wants to be the one to kill him but we’re not sure why he wants to kill him in the first place and he loses his memory by being shot in the head by a bullet made out of the same metal his skeleton now is and instead of it bouncing off it passes through the metal into his brain for some reason, does it stay there? then he just leaves”

    Who on earth thought all of that was a good idea? Should of cut out 90% of that, just gone with Wolverine on a black ops team being made all indestructable and going rogue.

    It just feels like they missed out all the stuff that would make us care about what was going on as well and skipped to the end “erm, yeah just assume that we’ve shown you logan and his brother have a good realtionship that falls apart” or “erm, just assume we’ve shown you how this immortal, not-fond-of-emotion dude fell in love with a school teacher”.

  5. You raise fair points, Mr. Vern, but Fox still raped my childhood and all that other geek-jihad stuff.

  6. Also, what the guy above me said. That stuff too.

  7. Yeah, I saw it and agree with you and will lower the bar a little more though. I’ll go on record saying I enjoyed somewhat the first half of the film. It isn’t bad fluff and as a fan of the book over years it was cool seeing certain characters. The last half of the film pretty much from when Logan gets his adamantium on is weak and gets weaker in terms of story and forced character moments.

    SPOILERS Below**

    Ryan Renolds has a small part in the beginning and as you mention is clearly a stunt double in the end. I mean, why would a major actors be disfigured and have no mouth unless he didn’t sign on to do the whole movie. They should have sprung the money for more Ryan because it would have been better if he was cracking jokes during the fight scene in the end.

    The whole Gambit thing was forced. In fact SPOILER *****, Gambit ruins it for Logan just as Logan was about to put away Victor in the middle. I don’t really know how they became pals other than Gambit seems cool and likes the idea of Logan attacking the base that houses captured mutants. He sort of pulls of a Han Solo, STAR WARS, move where we forget about him and his lack of desire in getting involved only to have him appear out of nowhere in the end helping Logan ( not sure if he needed it really).

    The Victor/Logan relationship wasn’t bad until midway either. I thought it was kind of cool when they show them fighting side by side through a bunch of wars which I gotta believe the government would have been onto them being something special long before they catch on. Imagine serving in a fox hole with one of these guys in WW2? Then I can’t understand but Victor wants him dead, then likes him enough to fight side by side, then hates him. The twists are all bad writing. Like let’s make Logan indestructable, then immediately we have to kill him. Why didn’t they whip his memory away to begin with before putting the adamantium in?

    The badass mutant fight in the end was beyond weak. So this Deadpool ripoff has the sum of dozens of mutants powers. He only uses about 3. Sabretooth and Logan are formidible in any fight but their powers are close range and limited. Until the last second, the badguy just fights their fight even though he teleports. He has access to Cyclops powers (which he uses eventually) but also diamond skin (he doesn’t use) and a variety of other powers such as superspeed and electricity which he never uses (at least I don’t think he does). The fight was weak is all I can say. They made an almost unstoppable villain who would be able to take an entire X-Men team and possibly even the Avengers into a street level threat that could be handled through brotherly teamwork.

    Oh, and the whole bullet mindwhip thing was odd. As Vern said if it was a side effect of the wound it would be cool, but who shoots to create amnesia?

    And lastly I think Logan’s girlfriend in the movie has been seen before too many times in cinema. A woman placed by the hero to keep tabs on him. Her power -Tactile Hyponosis – was underused. I thought she should be handling her own situation (kidnapped sister) better with her ability not be a pawn herself.

    The beginning had an 80’s action feel but then slipped into a new, throw everything at the wall and see-what-sticks, no substance 2009 feel.

  8. Oh and… SPOILERS… You’d think their dad (Victor & Logan’s) might have some powers also giving that he had 2 fast healing animal kids, but other than sideburns he was regular I guess or maybe he healed after little baby Logan gutted him.

  9. Love that Scott Adkins vid. Especially the shot of him walking towards the camera at the very end. What the hell was that all about? Now I’m looking forward to Ninja more than anything else.

  10. And did you notice that this is the least 70’s looking film to take place during the 70’s, ever? Idon’t think they made a single attempt to make it feel like it was in that period, everything about the movie feels modern, but it clearly happens right after Vietnam. So strange.

  11. Ha ha, Chris you’re so right about the 70’s after Nam lack of feel! I kept doing the math in my head and it didn’t compute historically with what I was seeing.

  12. I discovered the Wolverine character when I was a kid , but not in the X-men comics. I think it was his solo comic book or some kind of special annual , I dont remember , but I remember it was drawn by the late great John Buscema and Wolverine was fighting a bunch of ninjas in Japan or something.No silly costumes or mutant powers ( well , except Logan himself ),and a great plot for a move too, almost like the Octagon.The first and second movies introduced , for me , the undertones and race issues that separated them from other comic book movies at the time , and I liked the character even more.When I first heard that they were shooting an origin movie , I crossed my fingers for a mix of elements : Wolverine fighting ninjas with mutant and social issues , or possibly just ninja issues.Now I’m very disappointed : no undertones at ALL , more characters with wacky powers , weak story and weak action. I was looking forward to this , but now I will wait for the dvd.Maybe they will throw a couple of ninjas in the extras.

  13. “COMMANDO with claws”, hell yeah they should have went there. I thought they did, too, after the scene where Stryker tells Logan that it seems like “someone’s hunting down our old team”, just like that early scene in COMMANDO where General Kirby goes up to Matrix’ shack in the mountains to tell him exactly the same thing.

    Alas, it wasn’t meant to be…

  14. Yeah, I would’ve dug some more ’70s vibe. But I figured they were intentionally making it non-time specific so as not to fuck with whatever timelines they got going in the other X-Men movies. So they put him out in the mountains, you don’t have to see many clothes or buildings or cars. At least he’s driving an El Camino I guess.

    And I don’t know what the fuck is up with that last shot in the Scott Adkins video either. Or the one where he smiles at the lady. My favorite part is when he kicks that guy with the training shield and the guy flies like ten feet across the gym. That’s on another youtube video in context with a bunch of lead up where he’s doing a demonstration for a class. I think it’s real.

  15. saw it. same impressions. cringed a few times. meh.

  16. Great review, and I haven’t finished reding yet! When I got out of the theather I said to my wife the same ting about the bullet thing: “Wouldn’t it be cooler and more believable if he shot him in the head trying to hurt or kill him, and the memory loss was a side effect?”. The movie was a little soulles, but I enjoyed. However it’s really important that the producers up their game in the next one, or else we’ll probably have a reboot. You know how it is.

  17. Finished it. Agree with everything except the best power award.

    It does seem that the real problem of this movie is not the plot, not even the script, but the directing and editing. Everything happens too fast and it’s hard to get inside the movie. Also some of the acting, specially from Stryker, do not help.

    About the movie not being in the 70s or 80s, I’d like to think that it’s because of the other X-Men movies that are set in the future.

  18. I want to see Star Trek more than this…Star Trek? It doesn’t make sense. Also, I know it pisses people off and it’s wrong and whatever but I much prefer it when you announce a spoiler after you’ve said it. That is genius. Great review, rock on

  19. Still haven’t seen it… probably won”t. Just don”t feel like any more mediocre x-men after loving X2 so much. Thanks for the great review Vern. And you”re right. Mystique was the best character by far.

  20. It’s my least favorite of the Marvel movies next to GHOST RIDER, ELEKTRA and FANTASTIC FOUR.

    I don’t want any more X-MEN movies until they’re rebooted/remade like BATMAN BEGINS.

    This just felt neutered in every way. No grit, no bite, no flow.

    And is there anything worse than a movie that cost $130 mil+ that looks like it costs a third of that???

  21. That’s the problem with Wolverine. He’s the sort of character who belongs in a very subdued or even supporting role. Throwing him into a full-on Arnie role can work, somewhat, but the character could be so much better on-screen with something costing a fraction of $130 mil.

    Wolvie belongs in They Live! not True Lies.

  22. “Stryker sends a Korean soap opera star after him”…

    Ain’t that always the way with these action films!?

  23. Actually I got no problem with the guy, his name is Daniel Henney, I happened to have read that he was a Korean soap opera star. Also I saw a picture of that other guy, Rain, holding two swords and covered in blood in NINJA ASSASSIN, so as of now I got nothing against Korean soap opera stars.

  24. Speaking of Ninja Assassin , there’s a training video like the one above , but with this Rain guy and the stunt crew working on the movie , that is way more action packed than anything I’ve seen from , say , michael bay…….

  25. I second that boss Ninja Assassin video. Actually, here it is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maRMPXxNRBQ

  26. Hey, speaking of training videos, I just read a story on Kung Fu Cinema with the great news that Marko Zaror is joining Scott Adkins in UNDISPUTED 3. Zaror was The Rock’s stunt double in THE RUNDOWN and then starred in the Chilean movies KILTRO and MIRAGEMAN. I don’t know if he’s the main opponent but if so that’s smart because maybe they can continue the series tradition of having the antagonist return as the protagonist in the next sequel.

    Anyway the article is here:

    http://www.kungfucinema.com/marko-zaror-confirmed-in-undisputed-3-plus-new-scott-adkins-training-video-6922

    and at the bottom there is a Zaror demo video plus a video of Adkins training for UNDISPUTED 3 which is actually more impressive than the “tribute” video I posted here.

    This should be good shit with Isaac Florentine directing. I really believe one of these days that guy’s gonna do a theatrical movie and do something really great. Hopefully starring Adkins. But for now he’ll just have to be the king of DTV.

  27. Finally checked this out. I didn’t think it was that bad. The CGI effects were absolute shit though.

    I thought William was going to bug me more than he did, but he was okay. I thought Deadpool was pretty sweet. I really like Ryan Reynolds though. Ever since I saw him in Waiting, I just love watching him on screen. Give him a few swords and I love him even more.

    Overall, this is one that I might pick up on DVD once it hits the five dollar bin and watch once or twice after that.

    After the credits, I got a pretty lame ending. Wolvering is being fed shots by some vietnamese chick who asks him if he’s drinking to forget. Jim “Wolverine” Logan responds, “I’m drinking to remember.” What the fuck is that about? Since when does alcohol improve memory?

  28. Can’t there be a special dispensation for those of us who are totally on board with gay rights but are tired of it being a subtext for every show on TV and every movie made? I know it’s the big civil rights issue until we get that gay president (maybe elect Hillary and get a two-fer) but for those of us who are already on board with gay marriage, and gay adoption, and gay people at work asking us who got eliminated from American Idol, and gay people ahead of us in line at the store annoying us because they have 15 items in the 10 item or less line, or gay people asking us what time it is on the street, until who the fuck cares? I don’t care but the gay sub-text thing is so booooorrrrrrring. Maybe create a new subtext about people who are trying to fit into society but who secretly have antisocial, even sociopathic tendencies and are ultimately nihilistic and anarchistic. Like talkbackers.

  29. i almost laughed out loud when the helicopter blew up, then blew up again, then one more time…

  30. Great review Vern. I really appreciate the fact that you can find the positive in any movie……… well except Domino I guess. Anyway I have to disagree with you about teleporting being one of the least cinematic super powers because the opening fight in X-men 2 between Nightcrawler and the Secret Service has to be one of the best in the whole series.

  31. They had a teleport fight thing in Matrix Reloaded too, the twin guys.

  32. I saw this one yesterday, and I feel pretty similar to Vern on it. Not very good, but I’m not upset that I spent a couple hours watching it. Lots of missed opportunities, though, and if they had a more competent action director orchestrating things it might have been decent.

  33. The Mongrel Tarant

    May 12th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    The other post-credits ending I think was worse, Vern. It had nothing to do with Deadpool but rather a hypnotized Stryker being arrested miles down the road, holes in his shoes. That was it. Big fucking surprise.

  34. The Stryker scene is during the credits on all prints, then after the credits you either get Wolverine drinking or Deadpool still alive.

    I guess they’re serious about the Deadpool movie. But then again I think they were serious about Ryan Reynolds spinning off from Blade 3. Some day he’ll get his spinoff.

  35. I just finished the video game (PS3) adaptation of the film. I think this may be the first time in history that a video game adaptation is better than it’s cinematic equivalent. It’s violent and bloody (what I imagine an Aja version of the film would be like) and you get to fight one of those giant robots from the comics. It’s not a great game…it’s extremely linear and kind of glitchy at times…but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. It follows the plot from the movie pretty well, with some minor deviations.

    I still don’t understand the inclusion of that Gambit character in the movie. He served no purpose it seems other than to satisfy the yearnings of some of the comic book crowd. I also think it would have been a much better film if the opening war montage played out over the first half of the movie. Oh well.

  36. Why did Vern never review Watchmen?

  37. I dunno how old you guys are, but i remember xmen when i was a kid, that show tended to get a little deep and serious for a saturday morning cartoon show(or maybe i was just a kid) but i never read xmen comics or really any comics. But from just remembering the show made me respect and enjoy these movies so much more..They changed some things,(or maybe they were in different xmen series comics) but for the most part they were going along with the exact same plot and events that i watched in the show. They even had a episode or 2 about wolverine(well isnt that ironic) where they explained his past, about he was in a team called weapon x, and how he was betrayed, his girl dies, and he gets his adamantium skeleton from them, then goes berserk( dont remember what order it was in but the movie pretty much goes in the same order of events)…Also in the show his girl who he lost was japanese and is actually another mutants daughter, but she comes back later as an enemy( who i think also has adamantium in her)…but anyways a lot of reviews tend to say the same thing, and honestly it just seems like no one has ever experienced any xmen stuff except the movies… and this is the show i was talking about, i dont even remember what year it was from but its old…

  38. @Anon

    If you are referring to Wolverine Origins comic series that came out a little while back then no, the Wolverine movie didn’t follow it at all! In fact, if the movie could’ve simply used that for script, it’d have been so much better!

    Talking of canon-ity though, Wolverine loses his memory when he is adamantiumized and is brainwashed and made part of whatever team it was supposed to be; then later he runs away to Japan and what not till the point of Xmen-1 movie. So, the movie, in addition to being absolutely stupid, was way off! Such a shame, that they for some reason decided to throw away the excellent storyline that was already there!

  39. That is a very original user name Mr. Xmen Origins: Wolverine Video Game Final Trailer. Kudos. Comment is a wee bit obscure for me though, but then I haven’t seen the movie yet.

  40. Am I the only one who thought the action scenes were the best of the summer, and definitely the entire Xmen Series? The motorcycle chase, the gunkata, the swordkata, and the final handicap match were dare I say jawdropping. Maybe because I saw it on Bluray instead of the the big screen? (I still maintain the bigger the screen, the harder it is for me to see WTF is going on) Anyways, yeah, like Vern said, the plot is totally crippled by us knowing Sabretooth/Stryker both live, and Wolverine has to lose his memory, but it’s a good dumb action movie.

    Three points – 1) I like how Adamantium is from space and is hard to find and involves massacre-ing entire African villages to get, but in X2 they have tanks and tubes of it just lying around to fill Lady Deathstrike with. 2) I actually kinda found it charming that this movie never mentions the time frame and has all these anachronisms. (It’s supposed to take place during the 3 Mile Island Disaster in the 70s, yet they’re running around in Hummers and shit.) It’s like Pulp Fiction/Napoleon Dynamite or a Wes Anderson movie. Some obscure 70s hipster music would have sealed the deal. 3) Anyone notice on the credits one song is by Herman Beeftink? Anyone who watches late-night Skinemax must have scratched their heads at that one.

  41. I’ll give you the awesomeness of the whole Hummer/motorcycle/helicopter chase, but it still doesn’t come close to Nightcrawler’s attack on the White House in X2. That one was pure action poetry.

  42. They gave away all the best action beats in the trailer, and then didn’t put in any really good, smaller moves to compensate. I hate this movie, and I don’t even read X-Men comics.

  43. I think it would have been a lot cooler if they’d actually shown Wolverine being the best at what he does before he started bragging about it.

  44. I saw it last week. And because I am a lifelong Wolverine fan who would not be spoiled by any spoilers, I watched it with virginwhite preknowledge. That is: unprepared. Found out the PG13 when I opened the DVD-case.

    Boy, what a dissapointment.

    The possitive thing is that I like Jackman as Logan so much, that just watching him do that was nice. The trailer-giveaway of him breaking out of the adamantiumfyer was nice.

    The downside was the movie, the story. Like CallMeKermit I read the comic(s) in the eighties that where only about Wolverine in Japan and stuff. Cimbing mountains, rocks and ice with his claws. When I saw Batman Begins it reminded me of that. When I read that Wolverine got his own movie I somehow expected Wolverine Begins.

    No such thing.

    Irony is that I had a DVD of Terminator: Salvation with me as a backup for that video evening with my friend. He pointed out that T4 has the same PG13. (As a real Terminator fan I blocked all info about that one too.) Returned it without having watched it.

    Sorry for my this guys, but typing this is a sort of closure for me. Now it’s out. Thanks.

    Liked the review, Vern. Made me a little bit less dissapointed for a moment.

  45. Caught THE WOLVERINE last night. Pretty solid, engaging actioneer that mostly works as a Clint Eastwood movie (to a degree like JACK REACHER) just about a guy with claws. Zack Snyder could take pacing lessons from this movie. I do agree with critics who say the movie sorta jumps off the rails with the big action climax that feels like the genre obligation or to make it more like a quote on quote “X-Men” movie. (Which is unfortunate because the best thing about those films are their characters, not necessarily the action.) Up to then, everything in that movie feels like organic and in sync with each other. Even that absurd (and absurdly entertaining) train sequence doesn’t stick out as WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM like that sequence did. At least the world’s safety isn’t at stake in the climax, just the hero’s life.

    So yeah, this year’s DREDD.

  46. Dredd was way better. And I can’t tell you how sick I am of the Snyder hate…nobody has ever convincingly argued why he is a poor fit for the comic book genre. He’s just the go-to guy to bash for creating gorgeous visuals-for-gorgeous visuals’ sake when Michael Bsy doesn’t have a new movie out to criticize.

  47. If Vern ever reviews “The Wolverine” I will take to the mat anyone who tries to weakly argue that it is somehow a better, more imaginative film than Man of Steel. Also I take issue with people who put it in the same sentence as Jack Reacher…just because it features marginally less CGI than your average superhero flick, that makes it “gritty”? Hugh Jackman continues to be brilliant in the role, but seriously dude – he’s the only one concerned with quality control in this series.

  48. I never said TW was “gritty.” Look at my post again, notice that particular word isn’t there again. Strike 1.

    Nor in that post did I say TW was more “imaginative.” I thought it was more engaging, which is a different word all together. Strike 2.

    I compared TW to JR because of the obvious (to me at least) Eastwood movie influence that both shared, which I thought I made quite clear. Strike 3. You’re out Bub!

    If it might make you feel any better (because you’re clearly very upset by that one swipe at the pacing), MOS had higher ambitions while TW had more modest, less bolder goals. Two different films. I thought one of them succeeded (mostly) as a decent afternoon killer, the other I was left indifferent. Let’s agree to disagree.

    Also funny you bring up Michael Bay, but this year he actually gave us his best movie yet. Yeah I had quabbles with the picture, but PAIN & GAIN did actually kinda impressed me. Bay this supervillain in my cinemaphile life for many years, I was kinda stunned to see him be actually thoughtful, arty, and entertaining. (That chainsaw exchange scene was hilarious.) True I still think his worst enemy is himself and it rears its ugly head in P&G which keeps it back* for me, but I actually respect what Bay tried to do there. I actually hope he keeps trying. I think I gave it the same grade as I did MOS.

    RRA kinda enjoying a Michael Bay movie is something I never would’ve expected to happen.

    *=Mr. Majestyk liked P&G much more than me, but I do know we both were put off by that scene of The Rock beating up that Gay priest for hitting on him.

  49. And for the record, I do agree that DREDD is better. No jumping the shark in the 3rd act (plus badass fitting ending) and I generally admired the production design and cinematography.

  50. You’re a smart man RRA…lets get into the nitty gritty on the proper thread.

  51. Why do I feel like we’re in COMMANDO and you’re Arnold and I’m Sully?

  52. Knox Harrington

    July 28th, 2013 at 2:57 am

    I’m actually quite keen to watch The Wolverine, but it’s only in 3D at all my local theatres and I’m so sick of that shit. I love the cinema; I attend the movie theatre about once a week, but I can’t believe how many movies I’ve missed on the big screen this year because they’re only screened in 3D. I missed Star Trek Into Darkness, The Lone Ranger, World War Z and many more, all because I hate being forced to pay extra just to watch a movie through blurry dark glasses.

    It’s like paying someone to kick you in the balls.

  53. I can recommend you these 2D glasses: http://www.2d-glasses.com/
    They really work! You will believe that you are watching a 2D print. Downside: You still have to pay for the extra 3D fee at the box office. But at least you are actually able to focus on the movie!

  54. Knox Harrington

    July 28th, 2013 at 5:08 am

    2D glasses for 3D movies. Hilarious.

    It’s like that freak show in The Simpsons. “Behold, the rarest of the rare, the mythological two-headed hound… born with only one head!”

  55. Yeah, I know, but if your friends drag you to a 3D movie and you really must see a certain movie, that isn’t available in 2d NOW, they are very helpful.

  56. Knox Harrington

    July 28th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I guess. I don’t think I could ever pay extra for a 3D movie only to watch it in 2D with my special bought anti-3D glasses, though.

    I’d feel like even more of a chump than I already do.

  57. James Mangold actually corrected me on a tweet I sent him, saying the “samurai robot” wasn’t actually a robot.

    Even though he (aptly) dodged the question I asked him, I feel honored.

    Knox – Sorry to hear about that mate. Do you have a local dollar/2nd run theater? You might want to wait for that.

    (Really 3-D is a fucking scam. JURASSIC PARK earlier this year was the first time I paid to see a 3-D movie since I guess HUGO.)

  58. Knox Harrington

    July 28th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    South Africa doesn’t really have a lot of independent cinemas. Cape Town only has one, The Labia. They show good stuff now and then, but mostly stay away from the big blockbusters, God bless ’em.

    Tell me, what’s it like in the States? Do you get the option to watch any new blockbuster in either 3D or 2D? That would be cool, because it allows the consumer to choose, which in turn will make it very clear to the theatres and studios whether or not 3D is still worth pursuing.

  59. In my neck of the woods, usually each theater has both 2D and 3D screenings. There’s one theater which shows only 2D films. JURASSIC PARK was the rare recent exception where the only screenings were in 3-D.

  60. RRA – Does James Mangold strike you as cool? I can’t really get a heat signature off him based on the movies of his that I’ve watched. Obviously, the one I liked the best was Walk the Line – having the actors sing and play those songs themselves did wonders for the immersion.

    I’ll say this for “The Wolverine”…it is at least somewhat respectful of Japanese culture. Logan is the stand-in for us “gaijin”, and unlike a lot of America’s embarrassing icons of action cinema (e.g. Chris Tucker) he is neither condescending nor overly reverential towards the Japanese. It’s just one more place in life that deserves to be respected and understood.

  61. P.S. I think Chris Tucker can be great, especially in Jackie Brown, there’s just no arguing that his Det. Carter is racist as hell.

  62. “Logan is the stand-in for us “gaijin”, and unlike a lot of America’s embarrassing icons of action cinema (e.g. Chris Tucker) he is neither condescending nor overly reverential towards the Japanese.”
    Well that’s the benefit of having a Canadian as lead character. He’s so darn polite.

  63. Gee Stu, your cleverness overwhelms me.

  64. “Does James Mangold strike you as cool?”

    Patrick – Well it was cool of him to tweet me back.

    Was Tobe Hopper inspired by WTL to follow that same idea but take it to an extreme for his LES MISERABLES?

    As for your Japanese point, I know what you mean. (BLACK RAIN annoyed me on that point.) Then again I thought it added to the movie’s charm, an action hero trapped in a country he knows nothing about which is to his disadvantage.

  65. Once again, I am reminded of my sincere disappointment that TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE auteur Tobe Hooper did not direct THE MISERABLES.

  66. Mr. Majestyk – Maybe I agree with you. Otherwise I don’t know why I made that Freudian slip.

  67. Knox Harrington

    July 29th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Has anyone ever made a slasher sequel that was a musical? You know, once a famous slasher icon starts getting self-referential and goofy, might as well make one of those sequels a musical.

    Okay, maybe it’s a bad idea.

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