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Jet Li's Fearless
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Jet Li, Nakamura Shidou, Sun Li
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Rogue Pictures
Web Site: www.jetlisfearless.com
Kiddie Movie: The fighting is pretty intense, so keep it to your teens and older.
Date Movie: Only if she's a martial arts fan.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of fighting but little blood.
Action: See "Violence."
Laughs: Not really.
Memorable Scene: The fight scene with the boxer O'Brien.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Ronny Yu
Produced By: William Kong, Jet Li, Ronny Yu, Yang Buting

Jet Li's Fearless
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 1:43 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Going to see "Jet Liís Fearless" I wasnít ready to do a lot of reading, but then again, I forgot that this was going to be a movie in Chinese with English subtitles. Donít worry, though, because there isnít much dialogue for you to trip over reading while you wait for the next fight scene. Hereís the storyÖ

Jet Li plays Huo Yuanjia, who in real life is credited at bringing back respect to China in a time when most westerners were making fun of its culture. He did so by challenging foreign fighters who kept bragging of their superiority, but Huoís true legacy was in his helping establish the Chin Woo Athletic Association which kept martial arts alive in a time when western influence was eroding Chinese culture. This seems to be the parts of the movie that are true to the life of Huo, but thatís not a great movie, is it? Fine, for "Fearless" we are introduced to Huo as a young lad, wanting to learn the art of Wushu, for which his father was famous, but his father not wanting to teach him. But alas, Huo learns on his own, then gets some training, and suddenly he is kicking ass all over his town of Tianjin. He is treated like a rock star, likes to drink and party a lot, but never learned the true lessons of Wushu. When an act of revenge goes horribly wrong, Huo realizes the monster he has become, leaves home, and finds himself recovering and rebirthing his life in a small farming town where Moon (Sun Li) takes Huo under her wing, teaching Huo the lessons in life Huo seemed to have missed.

A changed man, Huo returns to his hometown to find that the corruption of foreigners is ruining the grand traditions he once remembered, and is disgusted at the taunting of foreign fighters calling Huoís countrymen "chickens" and "weak." Getting some cash from an old friend, Huo heads to Shanghai to fight OíBrien (Nathan Jones), a boxer from Europe who was a monster of a man, and of course Huo wins the fight and also teaches OíBrien about honor in the ring by saving OíBrienís life. So now Huo is a hero, he opens up his martial arts school with the funding of his buddy, but the foreign folks who have been working to decimate the psyche of the Chinese people come up with a match to show just how weak the Chinese people are. They would have Huo fight four of the foreignerís best fighters, and only if Huo wins could the Chinese hold their heads high. The final fighter would be Tanaka (Nakamura Shidou), a Japanese martial arts expert. In the days prior to the match Huo meets with Tanaka where they trade philosophies, and in the final match, Tanaka knows Huo was the true champion, and shows it so, much to the dismay of the foreign folks.

Alright, thatís enough of the story.  Is the movie any good?  I hate to say it but the easiest way for me to gauge this movie is that it is only an hour and forty five minutes long, but at times it felt like it was way over two hours, and it wasnít because I had to read. Nope, Iím blaming my not liking the film pretty much on the general pacing of the story. The story is nice enough, showing a boy growing up into a man who craves being the champion, only to learn it isnít always worth being the champion when it conflicts with your morals, and then ending up a true champion in the eyes of those around him. But for too much of the movie this just dragged on and on, I suppose especially when he was learning the lessons of life at the small farming village and developing his feelings for Moon. I get it, Huo has to learn the true meaning of Wushu, it just takes him too damn long.

The fight scenes are well done, but the other problem I had was that you pretty much knew the outcome of each one, that Huo would win (except for his first fight), even in the final match with Tanaka when, honor aside, Tanaka did win.

Jet Li says that this is his last martial arts epic, and he did an okay job, but itís not his best work. I suppose for me this is a 2 stars out of 5 movie. I wanted to like it, I really did, but it just took too long for many of the scenes to develop, and I even enjoyed reading the subtitles.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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