Unleashed (2005)

Posted in Reviews by - October 18, 2014
Unleashed (2005)

A mismatched film revolving around three very different character actors. Bob Hoskins plays a gruff Del-Boy character in a Lock, Stock setting filmed in grimy Glasgow. Morgan Freeman plays a wise, blind soothsayer in a Shawshank-style sentimental aside. And then there’s Jet Li, who lays down randomly violent splashes of kung fu action and barely strings a single sentence together. Such clashing elements give the film a bizarre, unsettled tone, despite succeeding quite confidently in all three separate departments. Li plays the cooped up property of chief tormentor Hoskins who keeps the fighter on a leash like an animal, utilising him as a rabid assassin to kill off his rivals. When Hoskins’ car is riddled with bullets from a scornful hoodlum seeking revenge, Jet is unleashed and seeks solace in the comfortable abode of Freeman and his chatty stepdaughter. Jet Li uses puppy dog eyes to see the world for the first time, developing life skills and personality before starting to question his past. The sombre moments are quite touching and Li plays the childlike role earnestly in a film that appears to revolve entirely around him – and an English-language one at that. He is very convincing in the lead role, and the quieter moments suggest a new life for Jet Li outside of the martial arts world. Hoskins and Freeman are also excellent, even if this is seemingly just another paycheck.

AKA: Danny the Dog

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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