Review: Wasabi (2001)

From: ,
Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

Another well-named film, because this one will clear your sinuses and melt your nostril hair before you know it. Jean Reno plays Hubert, a cop who just won’t stop, and does so with an aplomb that only he can manage. Other cast members manage to convey their roles and not fall over their feet, but for all we care they could paint themselves blue and skate naked along the bullet train, and our eyes would still be on Reno.

Scenes to watch for include a shopping expedition, in which Hubert accompanies his newly-acquired Japanese daughter (Ryoku Hirosue) on a retail frenzy while casually disabling the numerous “men in black” who are trailing the pair. Absolute poetry in motion. Another scene which is not so poetic is Hubert’s attempt at Dance Dance Revolution, although he subsequently redeems himself by dint of some rapid gunplay. There’s also some golf-fu which almost made me want to take up golf, purely for the havoc that can be wrought with a couple of metal sticks and a handful of balls (fnar fnar).

If I was searching for adjectives to describe this one, I’d go for things like “slick”, “tight”, “fast” and “all-action”. The only alternative is the highly non-literate but fairly descriptive “phwooaarrrr!”. Like a golf club in Hubert’s hands, it whacks you right between the eyes. Like wasabi, it hits you hard and fast with no warning. Unlike wasabi, though, it’s not slushy and green. It’s black and white and coloured all over, it’s shiny things for shiny people, it’ll make you snort with unexpected laughter and duck from the rapid-fire action. It’s Japanese yakuza speaking French, while a Polish director makes ample use of Hong Kong wirework. It’s against the wall, hair on the wall, balls to the wall, then blows up the wall.

8.5 small dishes of wasabi out of 10.
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