Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Martial-arts superstar Jet Li delivers a breakout performance in Unleashed - the gripping, action-packed story about a man raised from childhood by a ruthless crime boss (Academy Award nominee Bob Hoskins) who becomes a violent killing machine. When a blind piano tuner (Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman) takes him in, Danny (Li) tries to start a new life, but his brutal past follows him, forcing him to fight back. Featuring breathtaking fight choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix and Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2), Unleashed is a non-stop showcase of “sensational martial-arts sequences” (Roger Ebert, Ebert & Roeper).
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story: Danny (Li) is a human wrecking machine controlled from childhood by the manipulative loan shark Bart (Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa) to do his bidding. When opportunity allows him to escape his life of violence, he finds a new home in the care of a blind pianist (Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption) and his adopted daughter (Kerry Condon, Intermission), whom he will need to protect when his old life catches up with him.
What immediately sets this movie apart from all of the other Li films is its dramatic content. Most anything that Luc Besson writes is worth checking out, but rarely has a separate director interpreting his screenplays done such a good job of giving a movie his trademark feel. Serious credit also goes to the two performers who bookend Li and support him dramatically: again, Li may have experienced the Asian equivalent of them when he was working in the east, but in the case of Europe and Hollywood, Freeman and Hoskins are hands-down the most talented and acclaimed actors he's ever worked with (with the possible exception of Mel Gibson, but drama wasn't the focus of that one). These aren't the outright best performances of their respective careers, especially Freeman's, but it's nevertheless nothing short of amazing how easily they can project and interact with a performer who's not really known for his dramatics and plays the majority of this role through body language. Their output elevates the movie by default, and I personally think their experience motivated Lee to give better-than-average performances of his own in future flicks, like The Warlords.
And the fight content? Woof, I say. Ong-Bak - The Thai Warrior was released in America the same year, and while Tony Jaa might have had Jet Li's number when it came to stuntwork, the quality and intensity of their respective fight scenes are pretty even. You wouldn't think Li could fight like a real brawler, rather than the wushu guy he usually is, but jeez is he ferocious here: five or six lengthy brawls (among them a one-on-one encounter with Silvio Simac) reaffirm Li's status as one of the top fist-to-fist guys in the business by playing a surprisingly gritty fight game while still maintain the fluidity and violent grace of his classical work. It's one thing to see the 5'6" Li spinning and twirling on wires, but it's another to see him literally beat his opponents to the ground and repeatedly drive his fist and elbows into their upper torsos. Sometimes he bites opponents, and the exchange he has with Mike Lambert in a bathroom easily matches the Bourne movies for close-quarters brutality. Choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping would promptly return to fancier wire-fu following this one, but "Unleashed" proves that he's as capable of staging an outright brawl as he is a martial arts duel.
The one possible fault I can find with the movie is that its switches from its action portions to its dramatic ones a bit too starkly: its middle half-hour is almost devoid of action and kind of feels like it belongs to a separate movie. Other than that, I really consider this one almost perfect, and beyond compare to anything else Li had produced in the last decade. Fans of everyone involved should be sure to pick this one up.
However, certain glaring problems arose. Being raised in that cage from boyhood, who taught him to fight? I suppose he can't read and write since all he had was the ABC book. And I can't see how someone who has grown up with such violence could suddenly develop a conscience. Or if one had a conscience, would not have shown signs of resistance in some passive aggressive way against their captors. When he was taken in by the family, it was like he returned to where he left off as a boy.
I think this movie was not meant to be analyzed. It was entertaining. The collar thing was interesting. Of course, the fight scene was fun. The family was enduring. A good movie to watch when you want to unwind.
Okay, because the preview sucked, I'll give you a brief synopsis. Jet Li's character is a person, trained to fight for his master. Forced to live in conditions that you wouldn't allow your own pet to live in, this goes on until his master pisses the wrong people off. After the accident Li's character finds himself with Morgan Freeman's character, yes, that is right, even though you didn't see him in most of the previews, he has a stong part in this movie. Freeman will spend most of the rest of the movie teaching Li to be human again.
It's not what you thought, give it a view.
Not for children as this is adult theme movie, not PG-13 by any means, would be hesitant to allow pre-teens to watch.