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By Gus Bode

‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston


Directed by: Gavin Hood

Runtime: 107 min.

Rating: C

Summer blockbuster season has arrived.

It is the time to seek air-conditioned comfort in the confines of the theater, avoiding the sweat-inducing outdoors.

‘Wolverine’ is the first big summer tent pole release and the film does not shoot for the higher brow as last summer’s winners did successfully (‘Iron Man’, ‘The Dark Knight’).

Instead, the, until now consistent, Gavin Hood has delivered a hollow look at a superhero who is, at his core, really not all that interesting.


Wolverine cannot be killed unless his head gets cut off. This is information to which only a few villains are privy, and he really has no depth to his character as evidenced by previous ‘X-Men’ films and this, his big coming out party.

It is a lot to ask for summer blockbusters to try and replicate the greatness of, say, ‘Spiderman 2’ or the two previously mentioned films. But with a talent like Hood in the director’s chair, this could have been so much more.

The film begins with a young Wolverine and his brother, Victor (Sabretooth), in 1840s Canada where they are involved in the murder of their father. The two brothers fight in basically every war America is involved in from the time of their birth (despite the fact the two would be Canadian citizens). They both have supernatural healing abilities and serious claws. They are ultimately recruited by U.S. Army Colonel Stryker (Huston) to be part of a mutant task force doing the secret bidding of the U.S. government. When Victor gets a little too into the killing and pillaging during Vietnam, Wolverine has had enough and sets off to a chill life of cutting down trees and living with a hot schoolteacher.

Naturally, Stryker and Victor come calling again and the heavy action finally starts in the last third of the film.

Seriously, with a plot and dialogue as thin as it is here, there need to be some nasty action sequences. There are just not enough to hold up the film.

Although the action is slim until the end, the cast is there; Jackman, Schreiber and Huston are all supreme talents. The only one who comes out unscathed after this one, though, is Huston. The man is a near-perfect villain, just the epitome of creepy.

The one casting beef standing is the underutilization of Taylor Kitsch, who plays Gambit. This is a character who was clamored for every time an ‘X-Men’ film was released and they do little with him here. Kitsch is wonderful as the smug Tim Riggins on TV’s ‘Friday Night Lights’ and this script offers the young talent no place to let his understated humor flow through. Also, where’s Gambit’s Bayou accent from the 90s ‘X-Men’ cartoon? This oversight might have been the biggest detractor to the character.

Right now, you could do much worse with a trip to the local multiplex as ‘Wolverine’ does have some redeeming qualities (Huston, a couple intense action sequences) and is certainly better than the final ‘X-Men’ installment.

However, it looks like this film will be just a flicker in the eye of summer blockbuster fans at the end of August.

Luke McCormick can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275