By a Front Row Features Staff Reporter
HOLLYWOOD—“The Wolverine” Unleashed Extended Edition debuts on Digital HD today and on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 3. It features an extended unrated cut with more intense action than the theatrical release did earlier this year.
Hugh Jackman appears as the iconic Marvel Comics hero he has portrayed in four X-Men movies and in 2009’s solo “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The character is referred to throughout as Logan, and is haunted by guilt over killing his true love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) in “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Jean shows up in Logan’s dreams, urging him to join her in death. Now living in the snowy woods and described by one character as looking like a caveman, Logan has made an anti-violence vow that he doesn’t end up keeping.
Punky redhead Japanese swordswoman Yukio (Rila Fukushima) seeks Logan out to tell him that a man he saved in World War II wants to see him one last time in Tokyo. Knowing that Logan is fed up with living, the terminal patient Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) offers to transfer Logan’s healing power to himself.
Logan declines, but soon realizes he somehow has become all too mortal overnight. In the process of saving Yashida’s beautiful granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from kidnappers at a memorial service, Logan is alarmed to realize he can’t rapidly heal from slashes and gunshots anymore.
That kryptonite-like plot element makes Logan more vulnerable both physically and emotionally, giving him a humanity that Jackman is good at conveying. So battered that he collapses at one point from blood loss and has to be sewn up, Logan also falls for the irresistibly lovely damsel in distress Mariko.
Logan’s on-the-run and hiding-out scenes with Mariko are almost classy in their relative restraint. Director James Mangold (“Walk the Line,” “3:10 to Yuma”), directing from a script by Mark Bomback and Scott Frank, has an elegant unflashy style.
To date, “The Wolverine” has topped over $371 million in worldwide box office, making it the highest grossing film in the franchise internationally.
Mangold credits the success of the film to Jackman, whom he previously directed in the romantic comedy “Kate & Leopold.”
“I think he’s phenomenal in the role,” the director said following a special pre-release screening. “It’s one of those really rare moments where there’s an alignment of the right person for the right job. When that happens—like Sean Connery playing Bond—I don’t see any reason why it should stop.”
Mangold said one of the things he wanted to change about Wolverine’s look in this film is to make his hair look more natural.
“I looked at images of Hugh in previous movies and felt it looked like he was wearing a wig,” he said. “You’re always trying to walk the line between some kind of relationship to the existing comic book art and at the same time you have to make it physically work on human flesh … and I didn’t want Wolverine to look like a Flock of Seagulls.”
The “Wolverine” Blu-ray allows viewers to sync with the Second Screen app where they can immerse themselves in the world of The Wolverine, including a synched viewing experience, concept art and other interactive bonus material.
The Wolverine Unleashed Extended Edition Blu-ray includes 3D Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on four discs, complete with exclusives.