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Wasabi
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Reviews & Ratings for
Wasabi More at IMDbPro »

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98 out of 109 people found the following review useful:

Why Be Negative?

9/10
Author: Quicksand from United States
23 October 2004

Negative comments sort of miss the point, as this movie wasn't designed to be anything more than harmlessly amusing. To say anything bad about it is rather like kicking a puppy. You wouldn't kick a puppy, would you?

I needn't go into the plot, which you can click a few links to find, but I sought this movie out because Jean Reno is fun in anything he's in, and oh lookit that, Luc Besson wrote the screenplay-- can't go wrong with that, can you? (unless it's an American remake, which luckily this is not).

This movie is FUNNY, at times a little cheesy (which we can also call FRENCH), and the action is over-the-top enough to be cartoonish (when Hubert punches someone, they fly back 20 feet). This is essentially a wacky comedy with some action, something Americans aren't used to seeing, but well worth a look. It's harmless fun, but still more original than your average paint-by-numbers American romantic comedy. Or action film.

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47 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Thoroughly Enjoyed this Drama, Action, Comedy

10/10
Author: mudbug-1 from USA
30 March 2004

I agree with Jordan above... if you don't like it, than you just don't get it. I actually laughed out loud during the scene which depicts the title of this film, and I don't laugh out loud at anything in films.

Someone compared this to Austin Powers? I don't think so... they don't compare at all. It's no Leon (The Professional), then again, what is? As a huge fan of that film, I was skeptical, but quickly let go when I became involved with the characters. It's more of a comedy than anything else, perhaps somewhat satirical, especially in the "night club". Music? You have to respect the culture, the group it represents, the tone it's trying to set, mainly the daughter's generation.

To me this was an interesting example of how you can take the same story and execute it in a different way. Just relax and have fun with this one!

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40 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

THOROUGHLY ENTERTAINING

Author: Nicholas Rhodes from Ile-de-France / Paris Region, France
8 September 2002

I am no Jean Reno fan, but I hired this one on DVD today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although technically a French Film, it was mostly made in Japan and gives some insight into Japanese culture. The film provokes both tears and laughter in successive bouts. I didn't like the beginning with all its techno rubbish, but once that was out of the way and the story got going I really enjoyed myself. Reno was really quite amusing and the storyline, although nothing original, enables the spectator to enjoy him or herself. In addition, the Japanese actress was cute. Although the film cannot be considered a major work of art, it is sure to have international success as its theme is fairly universal and should be appreciated across a wide variety of cultures. There are many things which would make anyone laugh, whatever their culture or origin. There is little typically French about the film and indeed most of the action is in Tokyo. I can say fairely safely that all but the most cynical would get a great deal of fun out of this 90 minute stint. Bravo, and let's hope the film gets known worldwide !

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34 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

not as cool as it wants to be but Reno is wonderful

Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
29 July 2003

`Wasabi' is a high-spirited French action comedy with a Japanese name. This Luc Besson production stars Jean Reno in a wonderful performance as a tough-guy French cop who is as quick to use his tongue as his overeager fists. One day, out of the blue, Detective Fiorentino discovers that he has a 19 year-old daughter by a Japanese woman who left him almost 20 years ago, breaking his heart in the process. The girl, Yumi, turns out to be an orange-haired free spirit who hates cops and has been led to believe that her father raped her mother. Much of the film is spent with Hubert and Yumi getting to know one another, as they uncover secrets about her mother's past that seem to have made the young woman the target of some rather unsavory characters.

The plot is the least of the matter in this film. As directed by Gerard Krawczyk, `Wasabi' is really all about style. Besson's screenplay is fitfully amusing, doling out cleverness and cutesyness in roughly equal measure. Cinematographer Gerard Sterin brings out the colorful richness of the urban Japanese landscape and editor Yanne Herve doesn't linger longer on the jokes and sight gags than is absolutely necessary. These elements help to compensate for the somewhat desperate air that afflicts the screenplay from time to time.

The prime asset of `Wasabi' is Jean Reno's performance. Reno perfectly mines the comic potential inherent in the material through the tone of weary cynicism and superiority to all around him that he conveys throughout. As an actor who has played this type of rogue-cop character many times in his career, Reno obviously relishes this opportunity for a little good-natured self-ribbing. And he does a splendid job.

`Wasabi' is little more than a piffle when all is said and done, but Reno makes it worth seeing.

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28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Great and Very Funny Adventure

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
14 May 2005

In France, Hubert Fiorentini (Jean Reno) is a tough, violent, but very effective detective, who has been missing the great love of his life, a Japanese woman, for nineteen years. While capturing a criminal drag-queen, Hubert hurts the son of his chief and is "licenceed" for a couple of months. Meanwhile, he is called from Tokyo by the lawyer of his former girlfriend, who died and left of her possessions to him. When he arrives in Tokyo, he meets his former partner Momo (Michel Muller) and is informed by the lawyer about his inheritance: 200 millions of Euros and a teenager daughter, Yumi Yoshimido (Ryoko Hirosue). Sooner he realizes that the Yakuza is chasing him, looking for the huge amount of money. "Wasabi" is a great and very funny adventure, recalling the confusions of "Lethal Weapon". Jean Reno is excellent, as usual, in the role of a tough but very sentimental man. Ryoko Hirosue gives charm to the story, and Michel Muller is the clumsy and quite dumb partner of Hubert. This movie made my family and I laugh a lot, being an excellent entertainment. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Wasabi"

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27 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Mission accomplished!

Author: LeRoyMarko from Toronto, Canada
4 April 2006

The goal of this film is to entertain. And it works. Leave your brain at the door and enjoy. The soundtrack is appropriate and good. Jean Reno is at the apex of coolness and Ryoko Hirosue is hip and refreshing. One could say the movie is some kind of techno-cop film that takes some aspects of the traditional French cop movies and push it to the limit during a crazy few days in Tokyo. Great to see the mega-city by the way. The movie is a cross between your typical James Bond and a modern Japanese action flick. Seen at home, in Toronto, on April 4th, 2006.

74/100 (**½)

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21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, with a nice blend of French/Japanese Sensibilities

Author: Gary J. Williams from Los Angeles
10 July 2002

As others have commented, this is certainly light entertainment, not heavy on elaborate plot lines. I actually saw this movie today on a flight from Japan, and found it delightful. It certainly is a film that was pitched to a French Audience, tossing in simplified bits of Japanese pop culture (Witness: I have never encountered so many Japanese that could speak French, as in this movie). Nevertheless this is what I liked about the movie:

1. The interplay between Fiorentino (Jean Reno) and his sidekick Momo (Michel Muller) was consistently humorous throughout, with Muller delivering the punchline, and nearly upstaging Reno throughout. My favorite scene is when Fiorentino is eating generous gobs of Wasabi (hence the name of the film), and Momo, not wanting to be outdone by his mentor, nearly gags to death on the stuff. I was laughing out loud -- maybe because it reminds me too vividly of the first time I ever ate sushi, and nearly died doing the same thing as Momo!!

2. Ryoko Hirosue, who plays Yumi, the previously unknown daughter to Fiorentini, is one of the current hot young faces in Japan, and has appeared in many TV dramas and movies. She certainly provides all the eye candy I could ever wish for in this film. But I must admit a certain new found-respect for her acting abilities, as she pulled off her lines in French flawlessly, while maintaining her trademark cuteness and capturing the carefree attitude of today's Japanese youth. She provided a foil of a different sort for Reno, her bright colors (pink hair, pink everything) offering a striking contrast to Reno's darker, demure look.

The Yakuza were portrayed as mindless goons in this film, and there are certainly better films out there if you want to know more about Yakuza, but it appeared that they played their role, which was to showcase Reno's machismo, in a humorous way, something along the lines of Jackie Chan films -- they are more like props in the film than anything else.

All in all, I was entertained by this film, which is all I was looking for during my 11 hours crossing the Pacific.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Strange, but not unentertaining popcorn film

Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
1 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's hard, maybe impossible to categorize what kind of movie "Wasabi" is. First, it starts off as a kind of parody of Dirty Harry movies. Then it becomes a pretty serious look at the sadness and inability to let go the main character has had for almost 2 decades. Then it becomes a kind of goofy "buddy" movie once in Japan. Then a murder mystery. Then a shoot-up action movie. Then...

While the movie keeps wildly changing tone right up to the end, these constant changes actually didn't bother me at all. In fact, I enjoyed how the movie kept surprising me by this, and I was soon eagerly waiting to see just what direction the movie would change to in the next few minutes. And whatever the tone happened to be at any time, it was pretty well-done - the action was good, the comedy was amusing, and the serious moments were pretty effective.

I won't deny that the movie is pretty weak on plot - it takes a while before any real plot begins, and what remaining plot is barely there. For one thing, the mastermind behind the plot doesn't appear until near the end, and he's dealt with thoroughly in the next scene he appears in. As well, there are some notable holes in this shred of plot (just *how* did the main character's lost love get hold of all that money, even considering where she was working all that time?)

But despite the barest of plots, and with some big holes at that, the movie is never boring, and is constantly entertaining. Though it's certainly not the cream of European cinema, "Wasabi" would be a great introduction of it to someone who may have been avoiding it because of the wrong idea that all European cinema is dull and pretentious drama.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Jean Reno and Ryoko Hirosue make charming team in French action comedy

Author: Brian Camp from Bronx, NY
29 August 2002

WASABI (2001) is a variation on fish-out-of-water action comedies like the RUSH HOUR films, with a nod to more deadly serious Japan-set predecessors like the Michael Douglas starrer, BLACK RAIN (1989). Written by Luc Besson, it tells a tale of a French cop called to Tokyo for the reading of his old girlfriend's will only to learn that the girlfriend died under suspicious circumstances, that a cache of $200 million is involved, and that he's the father of the dead woman's daughter, of whom he's now the legal guardian until she turns 20 in two days. There is plenty of formulaic cartoonish action capitalizing on the no-nonsense cop's tendency to hit or shoot first and ask questions later, but it's balanced by some delightful interaction between Hubert, the gruff, if sentimental, middle-aged cop, played by Jean Reno, and Yumi, the terminally cute, endlessly trendy Japanese daughter, played by pop star/TV-film actress Ryoko Hirosue.

Some scenes manage to combine the action and father-daughter antics seamlessly, as in a department store shopping trip, where Yumi runs ecstatically from one section to the next while Reno quietly ferrets out and knocks unconscious each of nearly a dozen Yakuza thugs tailing them, all, miraculously, without attracting her attention. In a later scene, he has a French Intelligence comic relief sidekick (Michel Muller) show him cases of advanced weaponry while Yumi changes into her purchases in an adjacent room, bursting through the doors in a flamboyant display of each new outfit, while the two men scramble to hide the hardware from her view and tell her how great she looks.

The script is just as contrived and implausible as it would be in the hands of Hong Kong or Hollywood filmmakers, who've all done similar material, but it's handled with a light enough tone and given over sufficiently to the lead performers to make it a pleasant if undemanding experience. It's always a treat to see Reno in a starring role and he's quite believable and charming throughout in a patented movie star role that Bruce Willis might have played in Hollywood or Lau Ching Wan in Hong Kong. The lean and wiry Ryoko Hirosue (all arms, legs, nose, and chin) is `kawaii' to the nth degree--like a saltier, earthier Audrey Hepburn--and steals the film whenever she's on camera (which isn't often enough!). The character is quite volatile and given to wild mood swings punctuated by tears one minute and sly grins or girlish squeals the next. She's quite a fashion plate as well. The actress reportedly learned her French dialogue phonetically, but she handles it like a pro, as if she'd been speaking it much of her life.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Great fun!

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
8 August 2007

This film is about a French man suddenly finding himself having a rebellious Japanese daughter.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The plot is fun and dynamic, it mixes humour, mystery and action all in a film. The soundtrack is great, the music is upbeat, which enhances the youthful and fun atmosphere of the film. Japanese culture is portrayed in the film. It is in fact quite comprehensive in its portrayal of tradition and culture. It shows traditional culture like food, Japanese architecture and ninjas. It also shows modern culture like the cute girls dyeing their hair brown or blonde, clubs, and various video game arcades. Ryoko Hirosue gives a fine performance as a teenage girl, and speaks convincing French. I really enjoyed this film, it is so funny!

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