Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Jet Li's Fearless (Unrated Edition)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Jet Li as Huo Yuanjia
Shido Nakamura as Anno Tanaka
Betty Sun as Moon
Yong Dong as Nong Jinsun
Hee Ching Paw as Yuanjia's Mother
Yun Qu as Grandma
Nathan Jones as Hercules O'Brien
Brandon Rhea as German Fighter
Anthony De Longis as Spanish Fighter
Jean Claude Leuyer as English Boxer
Mike Leeder as Fight Referee
Jon T. Benn as American Businessman
John Paisley as English Businessman
Collin Chou as Yuanjia's Father
Masato Harada as Mita

Special Features:
A Fearless Journey Join Jet Li as he explains the making of this definitive martial arts epic
Deleted Scene
Includes Original Theatrical Version

Other Info:
Anamorphic Widescreen (2.40:1)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"Inspired by the story of a real-life hero, 'Fearless' is a thrilling masterpiece from action superstar Jet Li. When an ill-advised fight destroys the reputation of a renowned martial arts champion (Li) and his family, his difficult path to redemption will bring him face-to-face with the most ferocious fighters in the world. Orchestrated by Yuen Wo Ping, the legendary choreographer of 'The Matrix' and 'Kill Bill,' this sensational, riveting epic is being described as 'astounding' and 'visually stunning with brilliantly executed fight sequences' (Pete Hammond, Maxim)."

"Jet Li's Fearless (Unrated Edition)" is unrated. The theatrical version is rated PG-13 for violence and martial arts action throughout.

Mini-Review:
This is Jet Li's pet project as well as his final martial arts film. Unfortunately, like many pet projects of stars, it has some flaws. Well, at least in the eyes of Western audiences. "Fearless" is a philosophical film first, a biopic second, and a martial arts film last. It dwells less on the action and more on the mental and spiritual aspects of martial arts. This means that there are a lot of slow emotional scenes that won't mean much to Westerners who want to see Jet Li kick butt. This would normally be perfectly fine, but those scenes don't translate particularly well into English and they lose a lot of impact. Throw in scenes of Chinese pride and morality tales of honor and you have a film that many Westerners won't be interested in. If it weren't a somewhat true story it would lose even more appeal since the story appears a bit unlikely on the surface.

All that being said, the film does have a few good action scenes. Jet Li as Huo Yuanjia battles four foreign fighters in a tournament. He uses a variety of styles which spices things up. They include swords, hand to hand combat, and a variety of other weapons. Another scene midway through the film features a battle with another master in a restaurant. The two combatants battle with swords and utterly destroy the place. I found something odd while watching the action scenes, though. The wire work and gravity defying stunts that were cool in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "The Matrix" don't seem quite so cool anymore. The more impressive moves are those that are within the realm of reality.

Overall, though, this is required viewing for fans of Jet Li or martial arts. The fact that it's Li's final martial arts picture alone is reason enough to forgive its flaws and check it out.

The bonus features are rather light on this DVD. There's a brief featurette where Li talks about how this film is important to him and how it reflects his personal morality. The second bonus feature is a deleted scene. In it, Li's character gets into a fight with a rival villager. Rather than unleashing his full martial arts fury, he holds back and takes a vicious beating. I was surprised the action scene was cut from the film, but it's here for your viewing pleasure.

You can create a custom action-packed Jet Li highlight reel here!

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