Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Jean Reno has the weary eyes and unshaven mug of a French Peter Falk, and some of the same sardonic humor, too. He sighs and smokes and slouches his way through thrillers where he sadly kills those who would kill him, and balefully regards women who want to make intimate demands on his time. In good movies ("The Crimson Rivers") and bad ("Rollerball"), in the ambitious (Antonioni's "Beyond the Clouds") and the avaricious ("Godzilla"), in comedies ("Just Visiting") and thrillers ("Ronin"), he shares with Robert Mitchum the unmistakable quality of having seen it all.
"Wasabi" is not his worst movie, and is far from his best. It is a thriller trapped inside a pop comedy set in Japan, and gives Reno a chirpy young co-star who bounces around him like a puppy on visiting day at the drunk tank. She plays his daughter, and he's supposed to like her, but sometimes he looks like he hopes she will turn into an aspirin.
The movie begins in Paris, where Reno plays Hubert Fiorentini, a Dirty Harry type who doesn't merely beat up suspects, but beats up people on the chance that he may suspect them later. During a raid on a nightclub, he makes the mistake of socking the police chief's son so hard the lad flies down a flight of stairs and ends up in a full-body cast. Hubert is ordered to take a vacation.
He shrugs, and thinks to look up an old girlfriend (Carole Bouquet), but then his life takes a dramatic turn. He learns of the death in Japan of a woman he loved years earlier. Arriving for her funeral, he finds that she has left him a mysterious key, a daughter he knew nothing about, and $200 million stashed in the bank.