Robert L. (LOKI) from DAVIS, WV Reviewed on 3/24/2009...
A suprising movie to me, liked the action from this movie, tho predidictable in many places. Jean Reno is Professional'isk yet approachable character with more lines. ( better in french than the english translation ) the work overall is a better than avg Action flick. kick your feet up and enjoy a bowl of chips ( popcorn ) loose yourself to the sureal action.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
For those who take their action raw.
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 06/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about films, but in purchasing Wasabi (2001), I had no prior knowledge about the movie other than it was written by Luc Besson and starred Jean Reno, who were both involved in Nikita (1990) and The Professional (1994), two wonderful films worth any action movie fan's time. Given the talent involved in Wasabi, I thought it would be a pretty worth looking into, and I wasn't disappointed.Reno stars a Hubert, a retired secret government operative who is now a no nonsense French cop who seems to follow the guidelines within the Dirty Harry Law Enforcement Manual, that's to say his methods, while extreme, get results. The films dives headfirst into the action as we see Hubert single-handedly bust up a transvestite bank robbery ring. While Hubert is very good at what he does, his superior notes that that is all he does, as Hubert has no life. That, along with pressures from a local politician with regards to Hubert's' old school tactics, forces Hubert's boss to put him on extended vacation, with a recommendation that he basically get a life.Soon Hubert gets word that a Japanese woman he once loved but who left him almost 20 years ago to which he still carried a torch for, has recently passed, and she has named him in her will. He travels from France to Japan to witness the reading of the will, and see his long, lost love, but gets more than he bargained for as he learns the woman had a daughter, Hubert's daughter. Not only that, but the woman has also left a mystery behind not only in why she left him in the first place, but why now the Yakuza is after the daughter. Hubert must learn his now deceased lover's involvement with the Yakuza, protect himself and his daughter, named Yumi, and deal with the fact that he's an instant father, and the complications of having to try and relate to a 19 year old girl.Wasabi mixes a very genuine blend of action, comedy, and a pinch of drama pretty successfully. The action is pretty steady throughout, and is more of the comic book variety, like what you might see in a Jackie Chan film. The comedy comes mostly in the form of Hubert's contact in Japan, a fellow Frenchman named Momo, whom Hubert worked with many years ago when he was a government operative. Momo reminded me of a chubbier version of Rob Schneider, except a bit funnier. The drama, while present but not over done, comes in the form of Hubert and Yumi trying to come to terms with the fact that they are now all they have. While the combination of these three elements doesn't allow for a whole lot of substance within the story, that mattered little as this was just a fun, exciting ride I enjoyed all the way to the end. Certainly one who has seen the Besson/Reno film The Professional will notice similarities, but more or less these two films relate superficially. What's really interesting is how much this French-made film looks like an American actioneer.The quality of the wide screen picture here looks great, and the audio is really excellent. Keep in mind the dialog is in French, with English subtitles available, but there is also a dubbed English track, for those of you who don't care to read while watching a film. I, myself, preferred to allow the original voices to come out, while reading the translation below. The dubbed voices sound a bit weird at times, especially since I am fairly familiar with how Jean Reno's voice sounds like, and the guy hired to dub him is way off. As far as extras go, there are some theatrical trailers available, for this film, and Formula 51 (2001), Swept Away (2002), and Trapped (2002). While Wasabi really isn't a cinematic feast, it's definitely a satisfying appetizer, and sometimes that's all you need.Cookieman108"
Tough Cop Jean Reno Goes to Japan, and Becomes a Dad
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/18/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Wasabi is a very popular green-colored Japanese condiment served with sushi or sashimi, and those who love Japanese food must know its pungent taste. The film takes its title from this wasabi paste (which Jean Reno actually tastes in this film), suggesting the content is sharp and spicy.Jean Reno is a marverick French cop Hubert, whose way of arresting the criminals are so outrageous that he is suspended from the job by the disgruntled police chief. But when a detective like him uses a weapon like fists faster than Jackie Chan's, and golf clubs, who can really hate him? And, hey, he seems to be having a dinner tonight with no other than ever gorgeous ex-Bond girl Carole Bouquet (who appears as a cameo), Hubert has nothing to complain of. But he left a very bitter memory in Japan, which he could never shake off. And Hubert receives a ring from a lawyer telling him that his former Japanese girl-friend is dead. But the news do not end here; it turns out that she left a daughter Yumi, and appointed Hubert as her guardian in her will. Then Hubert flies to Japan, meets his daughter without telling the truth, but soon he finds that Japanese yakuza gangsters are aiming at Yumi for the unknown reasons.OK. The script of Luc Besson (who also produced through his film company Europa) is as thin as you can imagine, and the tone of the film is very light. There are many actions (including that of using games and ... er ... golf balls), but the charm of the film largely comes from understated humor of Jean Reno as laconic Hubert. He is not as cool as the assassin in "The Professional" (aka "Leon"); his relations with Yumi is not as convincing as the one with Natalie Portman. Still, the ride goes pleasantly. The film is good as pure entertainment.Some informantion about the production. Besson obviously made "Wasabi" in French and Japanese film market in mind, and he decided to use fully the potentials. So, French actor Jean Reno is called in, who is very popular in Japan (far more popular in Japan than in USA or UK, I can say) while Japanese popular actress Ryoko Hiroshue is cast as Yumi as his daughter. The director is Gerard Krawczyk, whose previous action-comedy "TAXI 2" was a huge hit in France (more than 10 millions came to the theatre in France, where the population is much smaller than in USA). So, you may call "Wasabi" a unashamed result of market research, or "product." But it is defenitely better to see good product than to watch awful art, isn't it? The film is mostly shot in Japan. You can watch briefly a temple of Kyoto (Kiyomizu Temple) and the streets of Tokyo, and will have a glimpse (just a glimpse) of how teenagers are having fun in this city (such as "game center" as we call it in downtown of Shibuya) though the film is fast enough not to indulge in showing these scenes. The film's location is not as exotic as the title implies, and its camera always focuses on the two leads, both of whom are great. I don't tell you much about super-cool Reno except that he is as good as before, and he shouldn't have been in "Rollerball." About Hirosue, you may feel that her costumes and behaviors are too spanky for a Japanese girl. In fact, some of her costumes, I admit, look too cartoon-ish, directly from Powerpuff Girls, but they are all intentional. And as a teacher in college in Japan, I can tell that her dresses are exaggerated, but not so exceptional in downtown Tokyo. And her frequent use of cell phone is nothing unusual among Japanese teenage girls."Wasabi" is too light-weight, it is true, but it gives fun certainly. Just don't think. Enjoy yourself and that's all you have to do."
Don't bother thinking, just have fun....
Andrew Mendelssohn | Charlotte, NC United States | 04/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Luc Besson has written an action packed comic book of a movie with Wasabi. Jean Reno plays a tough, violent cop but with a lonely heart and a past. Years before, his Japanese girlfriend left him for no obvious reason. Reno hasn't been able to love since.Reno is put on suspension with the police after an especially violent episode, and he is 'encouraged' to return to Japan when he discovers his lost love has just died and left him her heir. Suprise! When Reno arrives in Japan, the action really takes off. To tell you more would spoil the fun...Wasabi takes off with a pulsing electronic beat from the opening scene and keeps moving at a fast pace. Sure, there are plot holes... sure, some things don't make sense. So what? This isn't a film you see to make you think. Quite the opposite... no thinking, just fast paced action with some light comedy mixed in for good measure, all in a sleek technocolor package.Regarding the DVD, sound quality was excellent. The video quality was also VERY good, with no contrast problems or compression errors, etc. Bright colors and a sharp image. Enjoy!!!"
A Great Fun Action Movie with Heart!!!
Timothy D. Taylor | Mesa, AZ | 08/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big fan of Jean Reno, so I guess that I am a bit biased. This is one fun movie, though even if you are not a fan of Reno. This is in part due to the writing credits of Luc Besson, a long-time collaborator of Reno's, famously teaming together for the brilliant Leon aka' The Professional, my all time favorite piece of cinema! While this movie doesn't have the depth and brilliant script of Leon, it is certainly a fine piece of work from both Besson and Reno. Adding to the wonderful spicy flavor of this dish, we have Ryoko Hirosue, who is an absolute gem as Hubert's surprise daughter, and Michael Muller, Hubert's longtime partner, who is hillarious when he takes a big scoop of wasabi and puts it in his mouth, the look on his face....priceless!! We should see more of him in domestic movies, he is quite a card! The cast plays off each other very well and the scene with Hubert's past love, lying in the coffin as Reno looks at her, is very touching and sweet. Bottom line, this is a sweet fun movie, plenty of action, humor and entertains divinely!! The movie also has a wonderful soundtrack, although it is not available here in the states, but definitely worth going to the trouble to get. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a great fun movie and it will be definitely worth the time you spend to watch!!! Hai!"
Kickback tongue-in-cheek entertainment
briw | New York, NY | 05/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's not the greatest, deepest movie ever filmed. But it doesn't aim to be. Luc Besson provides a light, humorous, and easy-on-the-brain flick that leaves a clean taste behind. Great for casual rental or to have in your DVD library to entertain friends when they're looking for something to watch. The pace keeps you engaged, the story is silly but fun, and the actors are more than watchable."