Born to Defense (1986) / A Gyulolet Ara
Born to Defense (1986) / A Gyulolet Ara / Region 2 PAL DVD / Audio: English, Hungarian / Subtitle: Hungarian / Actors: Jet Li, Dean Harrington, Mark King / Director: Jet Li / 95 minutes Region 2 PAL encoding (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada [Region 1]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV.) 5999544151437 The film is set in China following the end of World War II and the liberation of China. It centers on Jet Li's character and his confrontations with navy sailors, who are portrayed as rapacious villains, from China's ally, the United States, primarily in the boxing ring as Li's character is an avid athlete.
- Director : Jet Li
- Media Format : PAL, Import
- Run time : 1 hour and 35 minutes
- Actors : Jet Li, Dean Harrington, Mark King
- Subtitles: : Hungarian
- ASIN : B00835FJWS
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
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The story: Jet Yong (Li, Hero ) returns home after defending his country from Japanese aggressors, only to find the town overrun by rowdy and violent American sailors. Refusing to lay down to their bullying, he defies the blind eye of authorities and takes them on in a fight for honor.
Hong Kong cinema is so different from Hollywood fare that I can't justly compare Li's freshman effort with those of other action-heroes-turned-directors, like Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme , but I can say that I didn't notice any technical snafus in the movie. The opening scene wherein Jet's legion fights off Japanese tanks felt sort of awkwardly staged, although this might simply be a matter of me not being used to seeing Li in any war-related scenes. Technically or aesthetically, the film doesn't really do anything out of the ordinary, but it doesn't need to. With nothing but the fight scenes to distract us (more on those in a moment), we're left to focus on the story, which really goes out of its way to promote Chinese nationalism through western racism. I'm not a WWII expert and I know the movie isn't meant to be taken factually, but the actions of the American antagonists are overblown even by the gweilo standards of Hong Kong. It's not nearly realistic enough to make you feel ashamed of being American, but it makes you wonder whether Dimension Home Video was ever really meant to pick up this one for the US-released Jet Li Collection series.
Of course, if they were going just by the action scenes, it's a little more understandable, since these are pretty unique by Li's standards. Jet is one of the best guys when it comes to fighting on wires and doing acrobatic brawls, but the dude is no slouch when it comes to supplying more grounded encounters. They're not entirely realistic, especially when it comes to portraying just how much damage a 5'6", 130-pound man can absorb, but boy are they fun to watch. Li has two worthy opponents in Paolo Tocha (the cocky muay thai fighter from Bloodsport ) and the Swedish giant Kurt Petersson ("Bruce Lee's Dragons Fight Back"), and the kung fu vs. boxing choreography is pretty fluid between them. Surprisingly, there are only four real fights to be seen, but it doesn't matter much since the Li-Petersson brawls are surprisingly long - I think their initial ring fight reaches the six-minute mark.
The ending is shockingly bitter, featuring a triple murder (two by the Americans, one by Jet) and no real resolution - just a minor moral high ground for the protagonist, who ended up getting beaten up so badly that he (Li) hardly looks like himself anymore at the end of the final showdown. At this point in the movie, you may have been expecting something similar, but again, it's far from typical Jet Li fare. For fans, it's definitely worth checking out if only for comparison or novelty's sake, but casual viewers will almost definitely prefer his more typical output.