“The Wolverine” (PG-13): Dark, moody, narratively complex, exotic, occasionally tedious, and very violent and bloody for a PG-13, “The Wolverine” will give high-school-age fans of the five earlier “X-Men” films (all PG-13s) a satisfying thrill ride and a lot to chew on. The film may be too violent for some middle-schoolers.
The prologue takes place in a prisoner of war camp near Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of World War II. Logan, aka the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), is in solitary, chained in a deep hole. With his immortal healing powers, he protects a humane young guard, Yashida (Ken Yamamura), from the atomic bomb blast. Cut to the present. A depressed Logan, suffering bad nightmares and dream visits from his lost love Jean Grey, aka Phoenix (Famke Janssen), lives alone in the Yukon. He picks a bar fight with the surviving hunter who killed his favorite grizzly. (The bear got the others – we hear distant screams.)
This reveals Logan to Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a petite martial-arts fighter from Japan. She reminds Logan of the man he saved at Nagasaki and says that the now elderly and wealthy Yashida (now played by Hal Yamanouchi) is dying and wants to say farewell. Logan goes with her to Tokyo and finds Yashida’s family riven by rivalries and threatened by gangsters. Yashida’s beautiful granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) will inherit his business, but her life is in danger. Samurai warriors supposedly protect her, but loyalties are unclear.
The more Logan tries to save Mariko, the more he risks losing his immortality to her grandfather’s strange doctor, Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova).
Very violent for a PG-13, “The Wolverine” shows or strongly implies many impalements on swords, daggers and the claws that deploy from Wolverine’s knuckles. He sustains many bloody injuries when his healing powers falter. In one scene, partly off-camera, he makes an incision into his chest to remove an implant from his heart. Wolverine and Mariko kiss and it’s implied they spend a night together. The script features some fairly mild profanity.
“R.I.P.D.” (PG-13): A loud, blustery bore of a movie, “R.I.P.D.” may send teen audiences straight to sleep.
Even with fine lead actors Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker, the concept behind this expensive 3-D fantasy – cops killed in the line of duty working off their earthly sins from beyond the grave – just feels clunky.
Nick (Reynolds) is a Boston cop whose partner Hayes (Bacon) murders him and makes it look like criminals did it. As Nick dies, he sees the world around him freeze. He’s sucked into a vortex and lands at the bustling R.I.P.D. headquarters, run by Proctor (Parker). Everyone there is a dead cop. Nick was actually crooked in life – he and Hayes stole some gold together – so he’s given a chance to lessen his final judgment by working after death.
He’s teamed with cantankerous 19th-century lawman Roy (Bridges). They go back onto the streets of Boston to capture “Deados” – sin-laden souls disguised as humans and hiding from judgment. Once exposed, Deados morph into monsters with gaping jaws, rotting skin and what Roy calls “soul stank.”
Little or no blood flows in “R.I.P.D.,” but the film has much skull-cracking mayhem, point-blank gunfire and destructive car chases. The dialogue includes frequent use of the S-word, and mild visual sexual innuendo. Roy says “I bought my love by the hour” in his time on Earth, implying brothels. He also uses the slur “no-count Injuns.”