Victor Rebikoff Welcome to the movies at PS News.
   Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
   At the movies now includes reviews of Warner Bros DVDs that are yet to be released.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
   Director Gavin Hood, 20th Century Fox, Rated M, 103 Minutes

It is apparent that Hugh Jackman was born to play the character of Wolverine.  This is evidenced in the much anticipated blockbuster prequel to the X Men franchise, which blasted into the cinemas not long ago.
   X-Men Origins: Wolverine begins in the 1850s, with two young brothers on the run - both possessing mutant wolf-like claws.
   Their story continues through to adulthood and shows a montage of battles and World Wars they fought in over their long lifespan.
   Finally, in the present-day Logan (later to become Wolverine) and his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) are recruited by a scheming military scientist ‘Stryker’ (Danny Huston) to form part of a special mutants unit which turns out to be a hardcore government team of assassins.
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   Soon after joining, Logan tires of all the killing and vanishes, reappearing a few years later as a Canadian lumberjack living in a shack with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins).
   That is, until Victor kills her, forcing Logan to accept Stryker’s offer to make him indestructible so he can avenge the death of his lover.  And thus Wolverine is born.
   The following scenes surround the love/hate relationship between the two brothers and make for both fascinating and interesting viewing.
   The movie also brings together the right mix of ingredients in appropriate doses for a good story - incorporating action, betrayal, power, romance, vengeance-and a degree of immortality, throughout the script (which is written for the screenplay by writers David Benioff and Skip Woods).
   There is plenty of action too. Most of it is amazing due to the use of some mind-blowing visual effects which are complimented by some wonderful cinematic settings (thanks to Australian cinematographer, Don McAlpine Patriot Games), which besides Sydney, included locations in Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
   Of course what would this movie be without the presence of its two main actors, Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber – they were incredible.
   Even though Gavin Hood (who won best foreign language Oscar for Tsotsi) has a different style to the directors of the earlier X-Men movies, his approach to X-Men Origins: Wolverine provided some background and insight into the development of the Wolverine character.
   The movie is well made, exciting and surprisingly enjoyable.
   Hood manages to ensure his production fits appropriately within this superhero franchise.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps


DVD releases
Kickin it Old Skool
(DVD release date: May 2009)
   Director Harvey Glazer, Rated PG, 104 Mins

Justin (Jamie Kennedy) is a break-dancing child of the 1980s.
   During a talent contest, he suffers a serious accident that sends him into a coma.
   Waking up twenty years later, Justin is a child trapped in a man's body.
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   He is keen to renew his relationship with his childhood sweetheart Jennifer (Maria Menounos) - who is now engaged to his childhood rival, Kip (played by Smallville actor Michael Rosenbaum).
   Together with Jennifer and his ‘whacky’ parents (who are bankrupt after paying for Justin’s medical bills), Justin attempts to revive his break-dancing group.
   At the same time, he seizes the opportunity to rescue the dire financial situation facing his parents by entering a break-dancing contest being hosted by Kip – offering the winner a prize of $100,000.
   This movie comes from first-time director Harvey Glazer, and despite a similar theme reminiscent of the movie Big (starring Tom Hanks), there is no comparison, with Jamie Kennedy playing a ‘geek’ in the main role, with some saving grace coming from actors Maria Menounos and Michael Rosenbaum.
   It is therefore not surprising that this movie went straight to DVD.
VIC'S VERDICT:       2 Rubber Stamps

TKO
(DVD release date: May 2009)
   Director Declan Mulvey, Rated MA, 87 Mins

TKO is another Bloodsport/Kickboxer-type movie that essentially focuses on two men involved with the same criminal syndicate – Mick (Daz Crawford), a fixer of unlicensed fight tournaments and Martin (Paul Green), a corrupt cop who arranges for discredited fighters to participate.
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   While Mick and Martin are arranging such a fight, Zendo (Andre McCoy), a mysterious warrior priest returns to avenge the death of his brother (brutally killed by two of Martin’s men), as well as claim back the title that should have been his to begin with.
   As fight time closes in, Zendo comes closer to the truth about his murdered brother, while Martin has set up a double-cross to ensure his fighter, a psychotic killer ‘borrowed’ from a prison wins the competition.
   Unfortunately for first time director, Declan Mulvey, his lack of experience shows through his editing and post-production techniques.
  The movie is somewhat salvaged by casting Daz Crawford as Mick and Andre McCoy as Zendo, although there was some poor acting from Samantha Alarcon, who plays the boss’s daughter, Skyler.
   TKO will therefore only appeal only to a limited audience that is prepared to watch a corny dialogue and even cornier fight sequences, and is probably the reason that this movie went direct to DVD.
VIC'S VERDICT:       2 Rubber Stamps

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