Wasabi, Gérard Krawczyk (2001)

You want to know who’s creepy? I’ll tell you who’s creepy. Luc Besson is creepy. Nikita, about a gorgeous and feral girl assassin, I liked against my own better judgment, but The Professional, featuring Natalie Portman as a highly sexualized twelve-year-old assassin (Portman was thirteen at the time) started to make the whole Besson project seem just a little too French for me. I mean, I have my weaknesses, but there are limits, a fact Besson seems not to recognize, since he continued his jailbait-warrior motif through The Fifth Element and then–it’s really just too good–reached a climax with his gooey homage to France’s original Lolita-avec-épée.

Might it also be relevant to mention that Besson married both Nikita and the aforementioned Lolita-for-Jesus, which last is sixteen years his junior?

In short, this guy’s got a real thing for scenarios where wild and beautiful (very) young girls are taught to murder by a taciturn man three times their age. Or, in the case of Joan of Arc, a taciturn God even older than that.

All that to say that when I saw this in the store, with Besson’s go-to grizzled mec Jean Reno on the cover of the box with Japanese nymph Ryoko Hirosue hanging on him, I had to check it out. Besson’s not the director, but he did produce, and you can tell Krawczyk is basically sticking to the formula, the main difference being that–because this is set in Asia rather than Europe?–the tone is bright and Jackie Chan-ish (jokes, pratfalls, etc.) rather than brooding mist n’ grit, as in Nikita and The Professional. An utterly forgettable movie, but interesting in the context of Besson’s twisted career.

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