Wasabi (2001)

Director:Gerard Krawczyk.
Starring. Jean Reno, Ryoko Hirosue, Michel Muller, Yoshi Oida. Writer: Luc Besson.France/USA/Japan. 1h 34m.

This film is so cute and annoying! There’s so much I really adore about it but in equal parts it really grates on my nerves. I get the bigger picture of it being a charming heartwarming comedy action film but some of the characters and sets up are just too gross and I find myself not being able to cope with the overload.

The film opens with some harsh french humor, and this is where it should have excelled, it opens with Reno, as detective Hubert Fiorentini, he’s been pulled over by his captain for his outrageous violent behaviour, the recounting transitions from the office to a glitz club night where Hubert manages to beat a drag queen within an inch of her life and batter the chief of police’s son, that’s it, he needs a holiday, or as professionals call it, 2 months suspension to think about all the bad things he’s done. Before he’s even had time to let his hair down he gets word that an old flame he has back in Japan 19 years ago has passed away, time to fly out and pay his respects, although within days he finds himself knee deep in a teenage daughter issues and being chased by the Yakuza.

Quite possibly the greatest French language English-subtitled Japanese action comedy of all time.

It’s bright and wonderful once the movie sets down in Japan, but the young daughter is just a stroppy mess and I really couldn’t deal with the needy and silly little girl character, I was in it for the action, but in terms of action comedy then it’s a fairly successful movie. Jean Reno is a craggy dad/cop who is adjusting in usual ways, the character is confounded buy a lot of history, the realisation that his ex kept the daughter a secret and the fact he has a daughter is overwhelming but with a bit of back up from his best friend lovingly known as Momo (Muller) the two manage to get back into their detective shoes and pressure bad guys.

There are moments of high octane action, but Reno tries to keep all this from his 19 year old daughter which acts and is treated more like a 9 year old. She cries a lot and is a pouty spoilt brat for the rest, I can see why he has to protect her from the bad guys, the girl needs a full time carer. But it does lead to come “clever” dynamic scenes where Jean is killing bad guys and hiding the fact from the girl and her friends, but the film just isn’t as clever as it thinks. There is a place for action drama romances, and I do enjoy the movie for what it is, but

Rating 4/10

RCrimson Rivers (2000)
5s – Jean Reno

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