Sunday, 14 September 2008

No.71 : Wasabi



IMDb Link : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0281364/



Jean Reno plays super cop Hubert Fiorintini in the Japanese/French comedy thriller written by Luc Besson.



Hubert is a kick ass style of police man and his carefree style puts him at loggerheads with the Chief, especially when the Chief’s son gets a kicking during one of Hubert’s raids. When his efforts to apologise to the boy results in his being electrocuted Hubert is told to take a couple of months of overdue leave. The timing of course is perfect as he soon learns that his lost love has died in Japan and he is the father of her daughter.



Hubert goes to Japan after a 19 year absence and hooks up with his former partner, Momo, who keeps him fully armed and informed. Hubert meets the girl but hides his identity as her father, as her mother spoke badly of him. We quickly learn that the woman was in fact murdered and has left the girl $200 million which she’ll collect on her 20th birthday in 2 days. Mum it seems was working undercover for the police and had to sever links with Hubert to preserve her identity.



The money was pilfered from the Yakuza and they are keen to collect. What follows are several elaborate shootouts interspersed with some buddy cop moments and culture clashes. Can Hubert reconcile his relationship with his newly found daughter and ease his own overdraft at the same time?



This is a strange film. It looks like it has been shot in French but has been dubbed by the crew at ‘Eurotrash‘. The dubbing is so funny it has to be a deliberate move to make the film seem more eccentric and wacky. Reno appears to have done his own English translation but the rest of the cast sound like leftovers from a 1970s kung-fu flick. Once you get over the voices, which are a bit distracting, there is a lot to like. The film is similar in style to the ‘Rush Hour’ series with lots of gun play but no blood and little danger to the leads.



The culture clash gags are well done and Tokyo looked great. There are funny scenes in the shops and especially in the amusement arcade where Reno shows his dance moves before playing the video shoot out game for real. The bad guys are cut out villains with black suits and sun glasses and I don’t think they get one bullet on target in the whole film.



The detection angle was very slight with barely a breath caught between each puzzle and its solution, but the fast paced action more than made up for that. Overall I enjoyed the film with the action set pieces such as the driving range fight well executed and pretty funny to boot.



I hadn’t heard of this film before despite its great pedigree, and if you fancy a bit of action and a few laughs you could do a lot worse than ‘Wasabi’.



Best Bit : Driving range fight


‘W’ Score 17/23

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