UNLEASHED       -          A  Narada Film Review

   JET LI 
   is Danny The Dog -     
   Poster outtake - (Original name)   
Unleashed - 2005    Louis Leterrier -Director     Luc Besson - Producer
            In that I never read other reviews before I write mine, I will be particularly interested in what others have to say about UNLEASHED.   Basically, the film is a cheap Euro production - I don't mean 'inexpensive', I mean 'cheap'.   The cinematography ranged from brilliant to downright crapola.   The story's premiss: Danny The Dog was simplistic and unsupported by the story line.   The dialog was 80 percent fill (understandable, considering the lack of meat on the bone).   As for the English baddies, I haven't seen stereotyping so blatant, so overdone, since the Hong Kong gangster movies of the 1950's, where every gangster was a Chinese duplicate of James Cagney, down to the thin moustache and cigar.      And yet...
         UNLEASHED succeeds, however marginally, with Morgan Freeman leading the parade - which, in the final analysis, shouldn't surprise anyone.   Freeman plays the blind piano tuner and stepdad - and is the single anchor to reality - without him, UNLEASHED would have been a comic book.   Jet Li, tasked with being both madman and innocent was probably the only martial arts star still acting today who could have done it.   It was said that Segal was originally offered the part, but turned it down.   He did the right thing - his much-too-narrow scope of acting skills would have meant failure.   Jacky Chan?   Hardly - first he is getting a little long in the tooth, and secondly, he has a perpetually mischievous a look about him.   25 years ago, yes - but not today.   So the job was left, if perhaps by default, to Jet Li, and he produced in spades.
         In this day and age, when Hollywood special effects, especially CGI, can do everything, it is sad that a martial artist such as Jet Li can be mimicked by the likes of Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz or Drew Barrymore, or for that matter, anyone.   And it would take a keen eye, a student of martial arts to see that Jet Li in UNLEASHED, was doing the things he was doing, so to speak...   The final scene of close-quarters combat is one for the books, conjuring up a spine-chilling flashback of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris locked in mortal combat a generation ago.   This alone being worth the price of the ticket and the overpriced popcorn.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "I think it was the Jesuits who said that."

Copyright 2005,    Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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