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Overall Rating
3.64

Awesome: 19.42%
Worth A Look53.4%
Average: 9.71%
Pretty Bad: 6.8%
Total Crap: 10.68%

9 reviews, 49 user ratings


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Unleashed
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by Chris Parry

"When Jet Li tries to emote, my kidney starts to implode. Please stop him."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL: I used to be Jet Li’s biggest fan. Of course, I’ve lost some weight since then, and Li began to stink up the joint in Joel Silver films opposite rap stars, wrapped in wires, so now I’m what could be termed ‘oblivious’ to the guy’s talents. If you look back at his vintage days, when he made films like Once Upon a Time in China and Fist of Legend into cult martial arts masterpieces, it’s distressing to see just how far the guy has fallen. Unleashed is his attempt at going all Ong Bak on our ass, putting on a little hardcore, arm-breaking action as he plays a… dog with a heart of gold. Oy vey.

Bob Hoskins is a nasty gangster somewhere in England, who runs a little loan-sharking operation. When people don’t pay on time, he brings Danny (Li) out of his cage, walks him into the offending party’s office, and threatens to remove his collar. The smarter people pay up. The not-so-smart ones, they find out what happens when the collar is removed; Li breaks every arm in the room, beats people within an inch of their life, and then goes back to a catatonic state so he can be re-collared and put back into his cage.

How did Danny become Bob’s dog? That’s the mystery, and it begins to open up as Danny meets a blind piano tuner (Morgan “slumming” Freeman) with a slightly insane 18-year-old stepdaughter who instantly falls for dog-boy, even though he has the face of a beaten up 40-year-old Asian man, a steel dog collar, and the mental capacity of a sea turtle. They eat ice cream together and bond. But you know how it goes… as soon as the guy who can fight gets close to a girl, he’ll end up having to fight to be with her, or save her, or get vengeance for her death (you can choose the one you think is most likely, because they all end up the same way). That means lots of fighting, and in most Asian martial arts films it would mean plenty of spectacular carnage. Here, sadly, someone had the idea that just because Morgan Freeman’s in the film, it needs to be a long drawn out relationship tale, with the occasional piece of bone splintering thrown in to keep the Martin Lawrence crowd entertained.

Unleashed is spectacularly vanilla. The drama doesn’t work, the concept doesn’t work, Freeman never gets above “he got an Oscar” status, the action is fine for the most part, but is also surprisingly cartoonish in that nobody ever seems to actually stay down, no matter how much they’re beaten on and how nasty the beating is. Ultimately, this is a PG-rated drama that wants to be an R-rated action thriller but ends up a PG-13 rated mess.

To Jet Li, I say this… go home. Your star power needs a recharge. And to the makers of Unleashed, I say this… who did you blow?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11680&reviewer=1
originally posted: 03/14/05 06:25:52
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/02/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Jet Li shows amazing talent as both a fighter and an actor 5 stars
11/01/08 ldavies One of my favorite Jet Li performances 4 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
8/15/08 kariboo Jet Li did a wonderful job acting in this movie. He outshined even Morgan Freeman. 5 stars
6/20/08 PAUL SHORTT AN IRRITATING EXCUSE TO GLORIFY SENSELESS SLAUGHTER 1 stars
2/03/07 AJ Muller Good story, great acting, kickass fights. Jet's best USA flick and #2 after Fist of Legend. 5 stars
10/16/06 anitamich Loved it, loved the acting........... I thought the violence and brutality was too heavy 4 stars
9/08/06 drydock54321 you gotta see him fight 4 stars
8/28/06 Kim Anderson Very Good Movie Action 4 stars
4/21/06 Movie Loon I couldn't disagree more with Paul Bryant's Review. I thought unleashed was a good movie 4 stars
4/02/06 Peter De La Rosa Jet can act.Great Cast.Action.Location.Li's best yet. 5 stars
3/17/06 chris f fantastic movie one of the best action movies of all time 5 stars
1/01/06 metalhead I thought it was a great film, I don't know why everyone hates it... 5 stars
12/23/05 Abraham Lincoln Great stuff. I enjoyed the movie, I'm no movie critic, just enjoyed it. :) 5 stars
12/12/05 gray why did this do so poorly? 4 stars
12/05/05 od no more screenplays for Besson to write 1 stars
11/28/05 ELI When Jet Li is the best actor in a movie that's a bad sign. Didn't know Morgan could SUCK 1 stars
11/25/05 CONSTANTINE AWSOME... Totally Bad-ASS Kung-Fu Fightin' Jet Li Film EVER! 5 stars
10/22/05 othree Great cast, action, simple movie that works, score could have been better 4 stars
10/13/05 John It has some nice moments and a good cast but it turns into predicatble fluff 3 stars
10/11/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME, totally, totally AWESOME... BEST JET LI MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/04/05 Graham All the entertainment comes from how ridiculous the plot is and wondering how they dreamtit 1 stars
8/27/05 Rever_Bear-Trap BEST JET LI FILM TO DATE! 5 stars
8/11/05 ES A decent movie, you new going in it would be terrible of good, happy to say its a positive 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Definitely delivers, no more implausable than the typical martial arts film. 3 stars
6/21/05 Brock Stewart good surprised. The best jet li film 4 stars
6/08/05 Agent Sands Typical Luc Besson fluff, with a wee bit more depth than usual, or ever. 4 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW ONE OF THE BEST ACTION FILMS OF 2005... A JET LI CLASSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/03/05 Christy Schultz Gotta love Jet 4 stars
6/03/05 deadwiz One of Jet Li's best films. 4 stars
5/30/05 Joses Sweet ass-kickery. Doesn't need to be seen in theaters, though. 4 stars
5/26/05 ^ZuLu^ Jet Li's by no means a good actor. Others do good. Fighting is like in other movies. 3 stars
5/26/05 Cobretti Laughably bad sentimentality bookended by a ludicrous action story. Someone stop Besson. 2 stars
5/25/05 u4ea666 Awesome, love every jet li movie! 4 stars
5/23/05 Shao Fu Tzer People who didn't like this need mental help. 5 stars
5/19/05 jeff fun movie, good acting. 5 stars
5/18/05 jcjs fun, no brainer, excellent acting Bob, Morgan 4 stars
5/17/05 KingNeutron Liked it, but the ending was a bit strange. 3 stars
5/17/05 Captain Highcrime Yeah, pure popcorn storyline but Jet Li is absolutely adorable 4 stars
5/16/05 Bobbi good story, excellant acting, but paint by numbers plot, but somewhat enjoyable anyway 4 stars
5/15/05 average dude Chris Parry won't suspend his disbelief for action movies with Asian stars. 4 stars
5/15/05 Alberto Very kool, best Jet Li film ever! 5 stars
5/14/05 REDHT Jet Li kicks ass! 4 stars
5/14/05 Jet Li you sucks 5 stars
5/10/05 Josh You all mut be joking--or else you're industry shils. This sucked ass!! 1 stars
5/09/05 Andy Luca It is so cool, everyone should see it 5 stars
5/09/05 Julie Gastonar It is awesome, and show another aspect of martial art 5 stars
5/08/05 STAR LCGAP Unleashed is spectacular 5 stars
5/08/05 David Smith A little be cheesy, But it is a very good one. Li aimed for young audience to teach a lson 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  13-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 11-Oct-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  18-Aug-2005




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