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George At 

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The Wolverine

After the pretty dismal 2009 film "X Men Origins: Wolverine", I pretty much ignored the new 2013 film THE WOLVERINE when it hit theatres in July. What a mistake that was!

Taking a much more serious tone, a commitment to the character and a solid 70 year story arc, this is a terrific movie and one of the best of 2013.

Hugh Jackman takes his Wolverine portrayal to the next level in both action and one-liners, delivering some of the best off the cuff dialogue since the early classic Bond films.

Opening in Hiroshima at the pivotal moment of WW2, the opening sequence is perfectly executed, setting up all the relationships and momentum that follows and featuring some very strong special effects.

Moving to the modern day, Wolverine is summoned to Japan to meet an old friend and is quickly embroiled in a huge war between a leading industrialist, the Japanese Yakuza and his loyalties to friends old and new.

The film is very well written and like "Skyfall" exceeds your expectations for the genre. The action sequences are first rate and Wolverine's fight on the outside of a bullet train in Tokyo is spectacular. It's one of the few times last year I actually said "wow"out loud watching a film, as Jackman and company battled on top of the speeding train.

There are numerous other strong action set pieces, all well designed and flawlessly executed.

Jackman is at the top of his game here and brings a lot of power, wit and brawn to the mix.

He gets strong support from Hiroyuki Sanada as Shinjen, Tao Okamoto as Mariko and Famke Jannsen returning as Jean Grey, haunting Wolverine's dreams every night.

The production is first class, the writing strong and director James Mangold (Walk the Line) does an impressive job bringing class and momentum to the film. He and jackman have already committed to a sequel and that's great news for fans based on their work here.

The wire work, stunt work and production design are great. This is a first class effort, well executed and truly enjoyable.

Not since James Bond visited Japan in 1967's "You Only Live Twice" has a fictional character been so enjoyably immersed in a foreign adventure.

THE WOLVERINE is excellent and gets a sharp A.

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