Wasabi | Chicago Reader


Jean Reno stars as a French police detective whose primary mode of relating to people is punching them in the face, ostensibly because the Japanese woman he once loved, an embassy official in Kyoto, cut him off without explanation 19 years earlier. When word arrives that she's died, he flies to the East and discovers that he has a punky teenage daughter (Ryoko Hirosue) and that her mother has bequeathed them both a bank account containing $200 million. Soon they're on the run from yakuza thugs, who make excellent targets of themselves by dressing uniformly in black and wearing shades indoors. Luc Besson, France's premier Hollywood screenwriter, casts this enjoyable action comedy from the Clint Eastwood mold, though the comic elements are more fun than the action. The hangdog Reno makes a wonderfully deadpan foil for the bratty teen, and in one lively set piece he and his police sidekick (Michel Muller) try to inspect their cache of high-tech firearms without revealing them to the girl, who's busy modeling clothes from a shopping spree. The carnage, while abundant and loud, isn't very bloody—which, I suppose, makes this a family picture. Gerard Krawczyk directed; in French with subtitles. 94 min.

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