LOGAN Review - A High Octane, Hard Charging, Tough and Tender, Thrill Ride

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LOGAN, from Twentieth Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment, presents the last installment of the X-Men series bringing to the screen a hard charging, hard living, uncompromising, take no prisoners, fight to the death finale.

Directed and co-written by James Mangold, LOGAN stars Hugh Jackman with Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Charles Xavier/Professor X and Stephen Merchant as CalibanLOGAN also stars Boyd Holbrook, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse, Doris Morgado, Richard E. Grant, and introducing Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney. LOGAN was also co-written by Michael Green and Scott Frank. 

Billed as the last of the Wolverine series, the film begins on a lonely El Paso highway as a few Mexican gang-bangers are trying to jack the tires of the Cadillac limo where Logan, played by Hugh Jackman, is sleeping another drunk off. When he confronts the gringos, they waste no time and in seconds Logan is blasted with a sawed-off.

The first element one ascertains from LOGAN, and this is in the first three minutes or less, is that this is not the Logan of yesteryear, this is Logan, 2029, angry, distrusting, seething rage, on a short fuse and not afraid to express his very aggressive emotions in colorful, mostly four letter words, as he is stuck in the fight to stay alive and keep the storm clouds and shadows away.

The next scenes solidify Logan's funding employment: Limo driver, keeps the dream alive, and even in 2029, prom boys and bachelorette girls have pretty much remained the same.

Wolverine's life suddenly gets a little more complicated with the entrance of Pierce, played by Boyd Holbrook, who jumps into the limo as Logan/Wolvie has just picked up a drug supply from the local drug dealer/hospital orderly.

After a moment of brief fan introduction, Pierce explains his enhancement, an operating robotic hand, and of course the reason he's sitting in the limo.

Shaking off the approaching apocalyptic F5 that whispers his name, Logan heads across the border to an old, worn down, abandoned oil field, where Caliban, the mutant tracking albino, played by Stephen Merchant and Charles Xavier/Professor X played by Sir Patrick Stewart are hold up waiting to escape.

Caliban is suffering from cabin fever and the uncertainty of the future as Logan is loyal to Charles, and hasn't really factored into the upcoming escape plan just how Caliban, with his special needs will fit in. Charles is suffering from seizures, and when the man whose mind has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction is having a seizure those around him are affected, deeply.

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Charles is rambling about new mutants, they're waiting at the Statue of Liberty, and there are more, the old man barely coherent explains. Caliban and Logan agree it is evidence of the continued signs of mental deterioration.

Logan is trying to calm the fears of the Caliban, keep Charles sedated, earn the money to buy the escape which they are about 45K short when he receives a call. Taking the job, he ends up at the Liberty Hotel, which has a Statue of Liberty as its signage.

As Logan is still a mutant his senses become heightened, waiting in the room, the loon from one of the limo jobs called him with an employment proposition. Take herself and Laura, played by newcomer, Dafne Keen, to safety.

Just as he was about to dismiss it she offered the sealer, 20K now the rest on delivery. Accepting the money, he returns to Charles letting him know he'll be gone for a few days. Heading back to pick up the women and girl, he sees the door busted in and the woman, Gabriela, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, dead.

Logan picks up the cellphone, closes the door and heads back to the compound. The girl, disappeared or so it seemed. Back at the compound, with an almost slight-of-hand, Caliban is trying to determine who the backpack in the trunk belongs to, when Charles comes around the corner with Laura beside him, and Logan, feeling like the only sane person alive, trying to figure out how to get away from the F5 that can't be far behind.

Suddenly Hell is approaching and has an army with him.

I think it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. LOGAN, is an unbelievable roller coaster ride, with a rough and scruffy Hugh Jackman, as the Wolverine/Logan.

Set in 2029, Logan is living hard in the fight to stay alive. Hugh Jackman is commanding especially in this state of disarray, down and out, living simply to outlive his enemies. Building the character, Wolverine/Logan has been the subject of torture, mental, physical and emotional, which is limited only by the imagination and as the previous installments have established.

Wolverine is often subject to the brutalities of others who wish only to kill him or those he cares about, as a healer, with the ability to regenerate, to heal physically, the toll the years of violence are taking its toll. 

Hugh Jackson, like his character LOGAN, has aged and even as the character has him rough, bearded, grey, and jaded, he is tough and tender with that bad ass, don't fuck with me, vulnerability. He takes on the establishment and like all those who ultimately fight evil for good, even if it the good of escape, evil always has a way of hanging on to the very end.

REAL STEEL, from DreamWorks SKG, Delivers Championship Entertainment

Dafne Keen is a powerhouse. She gives a standout performance nailing every scene, not simply the very difficult violent ones. Her character is equally tough and tender, and has no choice to kill or be killed. There are moments of exact perfection, I want to add watch for the car door lock scene. Very funny and the perfect response.

If there were hiccups at all, and for the general audience, I'm going to venture they won't catch it and maybe it's just me. It seems out of character for someone who remembers her "brothers and sisters" and continues to recite their names allowing each sequence to breathe new life into her quest to forget the only picture that has their faces. Also, as Laura speaks Spanish, and it is her first language, when she finally talks and speak her heart, instead of calling Logan "poppy" or "papa," before she calls him "daddy" which seemed a bit odd.

Eriq LaSalle appears as Will Munson, a local farmer and Elise Neal and Quincy Fouse his wife and son, looking to hold onto their land, crops and beliefs even in the bleak modern mid-west world where the residue of poor leadership, runoff of too much impersonal technology and the loss of personal interactions, friendships, compadres, has hit the local farmer and family especially hard.

Sir Patrick Stewart is back as Charles Xavier, whom Logan remains faithful, a care-giving son to someone who took him in and cared for him when he needed.

Without spoiling the ending for anyone, I will say my first reaction to the entire last sequences was "it's a gamble." And of course, as film executives know, given a new, realistic script even the X-Men can rise.

LOGAN presents a more personal portrait and brings the loose emotional ends together. The story is solid. The action is high tech, tight and advanced with the director mixing it up with a combination of hand to hand, state of the art weaponry, mutant/wolverine, kick boxing and down in the dirt roadhouse fighting.

LOGAN is a power packed, dramatic, unpredictable thrill ride from the opening credits to the end.

LOGAN explodes into theaters March 3, 2017. 

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