REEL CRITIC:

Comic book fans, action junkies and teenagers looking for a full-speed night of entertainment should be satisfied with the new release “X Men Origins: Wolverine.”

The rest of you will end up like the title character and quickly forget everything that happens during this 107-minute mindless start to the summer film season.

“X Men Origins,” a prequel to the mega-hit “X Men,” tells the complete back story of the popular character Wolverine, played once again by the talented Hugh Jackman. The quick-moving story follows his upbringing as a youth and introduces us to his troubled brother, Sabretooth, played by Liev Schreiber. Along the way, we get to meet other mutant characters who have lesser parts but are important to the big picture.

How did Wolverine get his powerful claws? Why don't the brothers get along? Can a superhero mutant live a normal life in Canada and marry a schoolteacher? When a knife repeatedly slices a bad guy, why don't we see blood? A simple ticket purchase will answer these questions, but waiting for the DVD is probably your best financial option.

Once I heard about the new movie, I was very excited to review it. Unlike the Fox News columnist who illegally downloaded a copy of “X Men Origins” and wrote his review, I braved catching swine flu and watched this movie in a packed house. My audience was 95% male and 100% into the movie when the film started, but most people appeared disappointed when Wolverine made his final kill. On a related note, don't rush out of the theater, because after the last credits roll, a special scene with a major character will give you some insight into the next movie.

Since this is just a comic book flick, it's tough to judge the acting, but the only real standout is Jackman. He should legally change his name to Hugh “Jacked Up” because I haven't seen an actor this ripped since Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky IV.” Wolverine's muscles leap off the screen and persuaded me to renew my gym membership.

Most of the supporting cast seemed out of place except for Wolverine's love interest, the beautiful Lynn Collins. Her performance was noteworthy, but her scenes are few and far between.

My friends and I were not impressed with the technical aspects, and many of the special effects looked like they were from 1999 instead of 2009. Since this a prequel to a movie that debuted in 2000, maybe the producers felt it would be nostalgic to use technology from the previous decade. The entire production didn't feel polished like other similar films, and that was disappointing.

The best part is when the actors leave the digital environment and enter the real world. The location shots are absolutely beautiful and thankfully add some realism to the simplistic plot.

“X Men Origins” is rated PG-13, and there is a lot of watered-down violence that closely resembles a video game. Kids will love the action and the wild, never-ending fight scenes between two feuding brothers. Since Wolverine and Sabretooth can't get hurt, their “Matrix”-style fights become boring after the third repetitive battle, but somehow no blood is spilled.

If you're dating a girl who likes comic books, my suggestion is marry her. If you don't have that option, feel free to bring a date since there is a small romantic angle that drives the story forward and should keep most ladies entertained.

I had a decent time watching “X Men Origins: Wolverine,” but I expected more and received less. That's OK some of the time but not this time. Therefore, my writing claws came out in a bad way, and I can't recommend this movie.


?MATT BELLNER is a comedic actor and freelance writer from Burbank.

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