Film and TV

Hot Stuff

A tough Paris cop (Jean Reno) flies to Tokyo for the funeral of his great lost love, only to find out that she has left him in charge of the rebellious teen-age daughter (Ryoko Hirosue) whose existence she had kept a secret from him. When the girl turns out to be the target of yakuza thugs, he enlists an enthusiastic if bumbling old friend (Michel Muller) to help him protect her without tipping her off to the jeopardy she's in. Wasabi is the first of two Luc Besson productions this season: The Transporter may have a bigger budget and a higher profile, but Wasabi is handily the better of the two. Besson wrote and produced, but director Gérard Krawczyk brings a much lighter touch than Besson himself has ever displayed. Krawczyk deserves a huge amount of the credit for the film's thoroughly winning tone. He gets delightful performances from all three of the principal players and manages to put together some action scenes that are straight out of the Hong Kong comedy/action tradition.
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Andy Klein