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Box Front Director: Gerard Krawczyk
Original Release Year: 2001
Running Time: 94 minutes

DVD Released By: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: French 5.1, English 5.1
Extras: Trailers
Subtitles: English
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 28
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $14.94
UPC #: 043396007987
Catalog #: 00798
Status: Available


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The Film: Jean Reno (Godzilla 1998) stars as Hubert Fiorentini, a former French secret agent working as a Paris cop.  When his violent tactics get him suspended from the force, he decides to finally devote some time to his personal life.  He learns that Miko, the only woman he has ever truly loved, has recently passed away.  She was a Japanese agent whom Hubert met while on assignment in Tokyo.  He has been put in charge of her estate, and looking after Yumi, the nineteen-year-old daughter he never knew he had.

Yumi is a headstrong, energetic girl whose life takes place in a constant whirlwind of colorful Japanese pop culture.  When she isnít dancing, sheís shopping.  She would be enough of a handful for Hubert as is, but the $200 million dollar inheritance from her mother has now made her a target of the yakuza!  Hubert will have to use all of his skills to keep Yumi safe and solve the mystery of Mikoís death.

Wasabi is an action comedy made in France, set in Japan, and produced by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element).  Itís just as crazy as that sounds.  Jean Reno brings a nice understated quality to his role as Hubert, a man who prefers to let his actions speak for him.  Ryoko Hirosue is radiant and energetic as Yumi.  She lights up the screen in much the way Chiharu Niiyama does in GMKMichel Muller plays Hubertís sidekick, who thankfully doesn't become obnoxious or overstay his welcome.  The action sequences are over-the-top, and work as a parody of the Hong Kong-style so prevalent nowadays.  All in all, Wasabi is great fun and easy to recommend.  Grade:  B+

Video: Wasabi is presented in anamorphic widescreen.  The picture is sharp and clear throughout.  All of the crazy colors of the techno clubs, Japanese arcades, and Yumiís day-glow wardrobe are well represented.  Grade:  A

Audio: The French 5.1 track presents the filmís original language.  All of the sound effects, dialogue, and bouncing techno music sound good.  The music and sound effects are fine on the English 5.1 dub track, but the dialogue is spoken quick and low, in faux French accents, and is sometimes hard to understand.  Stick with the French option.  Grade:  A-

Extras / Menus: The only extras are four theatrical trailers.  They are for Wasabi, Formula 51 (with Samuel L. Jackson), the Madonna bomb Swept Away, and Trapped (a kidnapping thriller starring Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, and Kevin Bacon).  All of the menus are still images with no sound or music.  Grade:  C-

Final Analysis: A fun action comedy on a disc with good audio and video, but little in the way of extras.  Final Grade:  B
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