* Wasabi – Surprise, surprise.
Yes, we were surprised, but really shouldn’t have been, after seeing Wasabi to learn that a Tamil movie ‘released’ last year was based on this 2001 French film.
Jean Reno (Léon, Les rivières pourpres, Ronin et al) is the saving grace of this average film. Reno plays Hubert Florentini, a violent Paris cop pining for a Japanese lover Miko who abruptly disappeared from his life 19 years earlier.
Hubert’s life is upended after getting a call about Miko’s death and discovers a 19-year-old daughter Yumi (Ryōko Hirosue) he never knew existed. The action shifts from Paris to Tokyo but the story is mediocre at best. Ryōko Hirosue acts like a complete retard. Do all Japanese teenagers behave like that?
For the curious, Gérard Krawczyk is the director.
* Sabah – Yet another cross-cultural romance with all its attendant problems.
Set in Toronto, Sabah, the eponymous 40-year-old Muslim heroine of this love story, comes from a very conservative Syrian immigrant family. When Sabah falls in love with a Canadian Christian divorcee Steven, who makes wooden crosses for the churches as a living, you can be certain that complications and family fights are coming your way soon.
Arsinée Khanjian plays Sabah.
The acting isn’t bad but the story itself has a deja vu feeling. Given all that came before, the abrupt happy ending left us feeling shortchanged.
Ruba Nadda is the writer and director.
Both Sabah and Wasabi are available on Netflix Instant Play.