Perhaps the most striking thing about "The Wolverine" is how Fox committed to a film that features a largely Asian cast, which much of the film subtitled. That's a fascinating decision that goes completely against the thought process that we see studios utilize much of the time.
I'd say that both Yukio and Mariko benefit from the adaptation process, emerging as more interesting characters in the film than they were on the page. It helps that Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto are playing the parts, and they both seem like they saw this as a huge opportunity.
It makes perfect sense to me that Fukushima is a model, because she's one of those people who is just plain interesting on-camera. I joked about her resemblance to Christina Ricci in my review of "The Wolverine," but like Ricci, she seems to be about 87% eyes. In our chat, we talked about her crash course in swordsmanship, and the fact that she looks as proficient as she does in the film is just a nice reminder of how much illusion is involved in movies.
I think Hiroyuki Sanada is smart casting by James Mangold, because he brings a whole wealth of work to the table. Movies like "The Twilight Samurai" have made him iconic as both an actor and an action star, and he was the first Japanese performer to appear onstage as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I think Shingen has the least fully-formed part in the film, and part of the problem is that I don't think the connective material is in the film. I get what I think he was supposed to do in the film, but there are places where it seems like they just cut out the pieces that would have connected the dots.
Like Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto is making her feature debut in "The Wolverine," and her character has to change the most over the course of the film. As much as this is Logan's journey with Hugh Jackman front and center, but Mariko is the one who moves from reluctant girl to determined woman, with Logan playing a key role in her transformation.
Mangold took some chances with his casting, and I think it paid off handsomely for him. I hope to see Fukushima and Okamoto in more films in the future, and if you're a fan of Sanada's work, you'll also see him later this year in "47 Ronin."
"The Wolverine" opens everywhere tomorrow.
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
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Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
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Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
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Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
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Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
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