2009-05-29 / Entertainment/Lifestyles


'X-Men Origins: Wolverene' - Blade Runner
By Robert Snyder

The hugely talented Hugh Jackman once turned down a chance to play James Bond because, he said, he didn't want to be typecast in a lucrative franchise.

Strange. Apparently, he doesn't mind being typecast as a mutant wolfman in the lucrative "X-Men" franchise, as opposed to portraying a suave superspy.

In its opening weekend, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" earned $87 million at the box office. Pretty good in a declining economy. It looks like Jackman is going to be sporting the mutton chops and metal knuckle blades for a long time, while Bond's Daniel Craig gets to bed beauties and beat baddies.

As its title indicates, "X-Men Origins" is a prequel to the three prior hits in the Marvel Comics film series. The story begins in 1845 with James Logan (Jackman) as a sickly boy confused about who his father is and whether buddy, Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), is his brother or just his friend. It turns out Victor is both and they spend decades fighting together through a bunch of wars, their mutantness making them immortal…a good thing for any army for which they fight.

Around Vietnam War time, Logan grows disgruntled with slaughtering people and decides to jump ship to Canada, much to the dismay of evil government guy William Stryker (Danny Huston), who wants to keep Wolverine/ Logan in a covert military team of mutants. Victor (later called, "Sabretooth") enjoys the killing and for a while becomes Wolverine's adversary. This is similar to his role in "Defiance" as the angry Jewish partisan at odds with his brother played by the aforementioned, now-not-Bond Daniel Craig.

Action abounds, building to a climatic battle on Three Mile Island with a lot more mutants, though not the ones previously inhabited by Halle Berry and Anna Paquin. Hunky Ryan Reynolds is here, but you'd never know it, because as Deadpool, he's covered in latex.

Directed by Gavin Hood to resemble the earlier Bryan Singer efforts. "XMen Origins: Wolverine" delivers the goods for the franchise fans, as does Jackman, who will be running with his blades in many more of these movies.

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