Today was one of those Saturday afternoons with an open couple of hours to kill. I was in the mood for a light movie. Having seen Black Swan back in December, then having watched Natalie Portman walk off with the Oscar for Best Performance by a Female – she was in my thoughts. So I consulted her filmography, running down the list until I had come to The Professional. Portman had appeared in that film about hired assassins back in 1994. She was only a kid in 1994, and her costars were Jean Reno and Gary Oldman.
After Black Swan, I wasn’t about to watch Portman as a kid.
So I headed back to the lists. I had just recently watched and reviewed Rain Fall, a contemporary thriller set in Japan, and Oldman had been in that one too. So after a little bit more research I found Wasabi. This was a French film shot mostly in Japan and it played in the theaters in 2001. In this one, Jean Reno played a Parisian detective who had all of Dirty Harry’s style and none of Inspector Clouseau’s pratfalls.
But despite that pedigree, this was mostly – a comedy. Sure, such genre tags as Action, Drama, Crime, and Thriller were attached to Wasabi according to the IMDB. But trust me – this one was played for laughs.
Reno plays Hubert Fiorentini, a cop who would punch your lights out first just to get your attention, then, he’d ask you his questions. But as expected, his rough house techniques frequently got him in trouble with the suits – otherwise known as his bosses. After his latest dust up in a disco, he’s been commanded to visit his victim, the chief of police’s son, in the hospital, apologize, then go somewhere – as in anywhere – on vacation.