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UNLEASHED

2005, dir. Louis Leterrier
102 min, Rated R.
Starring: Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, Morgan Freeman, Kerry Condon.

Review by Beth Van Dusen

After seeing Revenge of the Sith two Sundays in a row I decided it was time to see something a little different this weekend. Being a Jet Li fan I chose Unleashed for this weekís outing. His movies donít have much in the way of a plot, and throwing in a rapper or the r&b girl du jour doesnít exactly coerce me into the theater. But that man can kick ass like no one else, and thatís what his movies are all about- watching Jet Li be a badass, and beating the hell out of anyone he can find. The visually beautiful Hero was an exception to this rule of action over style and substance, but was so slow that I almost fell asleep watching it.

You're the man now, dog!

Iíd been seeing previews of Unleashed for months now, and it looked like someone had finally managed to find the right balance for a Jet Li vehicle. The story seemed interesting and they actually cast actors instead of rappers. I was not disappointed.

Li plays a man raised as an attack dog by the very sinister Bob Hoskins. Heís apparently some sort of British gangster type, but they donít delve too deeply into his business dealings. Mostly we get to see what happens to the various goons who try to mess with him. He removes Liís collar, and all hell breaks loose. Of course, Li eventually escapes and is taken in by a kindly piano tuner played by Morgan Freeman (thatís right, heís not playing a cop here) and his awkward teenage stepdaughter. They draw him out of his shell, teach him to trust, and blah blah blah. You know, the sort of things you can see coming from twenty miles away. But unlike most Jet Li movies the story parts of the movie arenít boring. The acting is good, and you do care about what happens to him. The fight scenes were really what this movie was all about though. They donít have to use lots of cheesy effects to make his fights look cool because you can tell that he really could kill anyone he wanted to with just his little finger. Even if youíre just a fan of action movies who couldnít give a damn about a story youíll still want to check this one out. I donít have to tell you how it all turns out in the end because who could Bob Hoskins really take in a fight anyway? Well, maybe Roger Rabbit, but this ainít that kind of movie. Besides, itís still a Jet Li vehicle. You donít think theyíre going to let him lose do you? Iím not saying itís going to win any awards or anything, but it has the best story, best acting, and the best fight scenes I can remember seeing in a martial arts type movie in years.

And the best part: getting to see the Land of the Dead trailer before the movie. Itís zombie time again!

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