|Star:||Jean Reno, Ryoko Hirosue, Michel Muller|
|Cert / Year:||15 - R / 2001|
Hubert Fiorentini (Jean Reno) is a cop with anger management problems. While making an arrest in a nightclub he punches out half the customers including the chief inspectors son, and is suspended from duty. His captain suggests that he tries to relax and find time to get over his long lost love who he met while working in Japan. However he discovers that his love has been murdered and that he has a daughter he knew nothing of. His lover’s killers are now after him and his daughter, maybe its time for Hubert’s special brand of policing.
This is another French film from the stable of Luc Besson, and again it is a case of the usual suspects. Besson himself both writes and produces (when is he going to direct again?), while Gérard Krawczyk (director of the Besson written Taxi 2 and Taxi 3) directs. The best news of all however is that Jean Reno is once again working with Besson in a French movie. So with recent hits like the Taxi series and The Transporter from this stable hopes are high for this film.
This film has been described by some as the French Dirty Harry. Well Hubert has the gun and the attitude, but this is definitely an action comedy with real emphasis on the humor. It is much closer to the earlier Lethal Weapon films (without the Danny Glover, Murtaugh character), however whereas the Lethal Weapon films have been become tired and formulaic the addition of the daughter takes the story off in a much more interesting direction.
The action set pieces and are spectacular and cool, and yes the comedy is very funny. Much of the credit for this has to go to the well-polished Luc Besson script and the superb central performance from Jean Reno. His character is a sort of cross between the gruff policeman he played in Crimson Rivers and the comic talent displayed in Les Visiteurs. Luckily his daughter, ably played by Ryoko Hirosue, is that much older so avoiding that annoying kid problem. On the comedy front Michel Muller as Hubert’s old partner steals the show. He ensures that his character displays a superb level of comic ineptitude that never grates like Joe Pesci's character did in Lethal Weapon. Hopefully this will lead to some other larger roles for his promising talent.
Wasabi is a fun filled cop comedy. With the Lethal Weapon films having well and truly run out of creative steam a gap exists in the market which this film more than fills. The action scenes are expertly handled and best of all it is very funny. With such a great cast and fine writing and direction this film is well worth a watch. For those wanting to expand their horizons beyond Hollywood’s Bad Boys 2 Wasabi is the ideal place to start.
By the way Wasabi is a Japanese vegetable delicacy with a very strong flavour, as such it is viewed as somewhat of an acquired taste. What has this got to do with the film? Well, very little. Which makes the films title some what confusingly inapropriate.
For those who take their action raw.
|2.35:1 Anamorphic||Good sharp picture.|
|Dolby Digital 5.1||Great soundtrack both in English dub and orginial French.|
|Great transfer, almost no extras. Disapointing is not the word.|