Director: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins,
Kerry Condon, Vincent Regan, Tamer Hassan, Dylan Brown
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Festive Films & Shaw
Released Date: 2 June 2005
Ever since Bart tore Danny from the streets, at the age of
4 years old, he had treated Danny shabbily, training him literally
to attack. Today, Danny is his secret weapon, capable of attacking
anyone as soon as he’s ordered to, without leaving his
target the slightest chance of survival.
Cut off from the world, Danny has no other choice than to
accept this beastly existence, until the day when by accident,
he meets Sam, a blind man who makes his living as a piano
tuner. Sam and his stepdaughter, Victoria, introduce Danny
to humanity that he has never known and was even prohibited
to him until now. His entire perception of life as he knows
was thus, shaken to the core.
Now, up against Bart and his gang who would rather see him
dead than liberated, Danny will try to become himself finally
and to penetrate into the secrets of his past.
To escape his condition, Danny will have to break away while
still protecting those who now constitute his family. This
will be his last fight, by far the most dangerous…
as “The Long Awaited Jet Li’s Action Masterpiece,”
Unleashed fails to live up to its expectations. Luc Besson
could have taken a longer time in making it; truly, a far
cry from what one would deem a masterpiece.
(Jet Li) is a boy trapped in a man’s body, searching
for love. Taken in by Uncle Bart (Bob Hoskins) at a young
age, Danny has been trained (and that’s putting it gently)
to serve his master’s bidding. Controlled by a collar,
Uncle Bart holds the power to unleash Danny to whomever stands
in his way, and in turn, the latter has the ability to kill
anyone who does such. Forced to live in the confines of an
underground cage, his life is a bitter plight of moral degradation.
But, a twist of fate changes Danny’s life and he finds
comfort in the form of a blind piano tuner, Sam (Morgan Freeman)
and his step-daughter, Victoria (Kerry Condon). Both of them
welcome him into the family, treating him like one and they
teach him the finer aspects of life; cooking, shopping and
playing a piano. As Danny discovers love, a family and how
sweet a kiss can be, his past returns to haunt him and he
is forced to make a decision that could make or break his
Li does what he does best when it comes to the action sequences.
While these scenes would register on the high notes of a piano
scale, the same cannot be said for his dramatic acting. The
guy puts in the effort though, trying to fulfill a wide-eyed
puppy-like wonderment while trying to bare and grit his teeth
through Yuen Wo Ping’s choreography. Sadly, Yuen’s
action sequences are pretty much lackluster as compared to
his work on memorable movies like The Matrix Trilogy and Kill
Bill Volume 2.
veteran, Bob Hoskins, an actor of great versatility plays
his most nefarious character yet as Uncle Bart who just happens
to reek of viciousness. In all honesty, Uncle Bart would fit
right at home in a Guy Ritchie movie, lock, stock and all.
He epitomizes the son of a gun who would perch on Danny’s
left shoulder, spouting venom at every opportunity. Meanwhile,
Sam, the blind piano tuner played by Academy Award winning
actor, Morgan Freeman, brings a balance to the equation by
being a real father figure to Danny and his step-daughter
Victoria who shows Danny the innocence of love; his angels.
Morgan Freeman’s Sam will remind one of his award winning
turn in Million Dollar Baby, the wise and witty character
with an old school charm.
film has moments which urge the audience to reflect upon moral
values of love and family while trying to deal with issues
of humanity. What right does one have to control another person’s
life when God created us as equals who walk on his Earth?
The question is not answered though, as it remains an enigma,
just like the film.
has learnt from the onslaught of recent action movies that
sometimes it pays to be different. Too much action becomes
overkill, so, Unleashed is fitted with an emotional core.
However, in a fusion of fast-paced action and tender old-fashioned
drama, the result is a rigid and choppy product that made
the film unnerving. It just goes to show that an old dog cannot
be taught new tricks after all.
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri