Action / Crime


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July 19, 2012 at 11:15 am


Jet Li as Danny
Bob Hoskins as Bart
Kerry Condon as Victoria
720p 1080p
751.74 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 8 / 46
1.55 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 6 / 20

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Li-1 5 / 10

Surprises never cease, Unleashed is the best action film I've seen in years.

Rating: **** out of ****

If I'm always skeptical of Jet Li's English-speaking films, it's for good reason. They're usually crap. Too often, he's either been put in the hands of incompetent directors who couldn't properly film or edit his impressive martial arts abilities and/or he's teamed alongside a cast that includes one rapper too many. It also didn't help that these movies were poorly written and acted, failing to work as either a showcase for Li's moves or his charisma. So it's all the more satisfying that Unleashed goes through its entire running time without succumbing to any single one of these flaws.

Jet Li stars as Danny, a fully grown man with the mind of a child who is a literal slave/pet to Bart (Bob Hoskins), a Glasgow mob boss who keeps Danny in a cage and uses him as a form of "persusasion" to those who owe him money. Like a dog, Danny wears a collar, shy and seemingly dumb whenever it's clasped around his neck, but a ferocious killer once he's unleashed.

After a mishap with another criminal, Bart and Danny are left for dead, leaving an injured Danny to crawl to a warehouse where he's taken under the wing of kindly blind piano tuner Sam (Morgan Freeman) and his stepdaughter, Victoria (Kerry Condon). Starting over with a clean slate, Danny comes to enjoy his new life and loving family; no longer is violence or cruelty something he must face everyday. But fate hands him an unlucky turn when he's forced to confront Bart, finding no choice but to give in to his violent side one last time.

The film's premise, that of a violent man finding a better life, is nothing new but rarely have I seen the simple but effective premise delivered so well and with such genuine heart. To my immense surprise, it's Jet Li's performance that anchors the film, showing us a side of corrupted innocence and child-like enthusiasm that is sweet, moving, and occasionally even quite humorous. The transformation and natural maturity Danny undergoes is engaging, and it's to no small measure of Li's performance that we hope Danny can entirely shed his former life even when we know it'll inevitably catch up with him.

Li is surrounded by a fantastic cast with great actors Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins pulling their own weight. Freeman delivers as always, playing the kindly authority figure with firm but gentle resolve. Hoskins is over-the-top but suitably so as Bart, whom we're quite sure is complete scum, yet one can't dismiss the fact that he holds Danny in a certain esteem, and that he may actually be the only person in the world Bart cares for, however twisted a manner he chooses to show it. Relative newcomer Kerry Condon is cute and appealing, although she could just as easily have won me over with that great smile of hers.

As a kick-ass action film, Unleashed is superb. The ratio of action to story might be a bit less than hardcore martial arts fans desire, but there's no question every facet of the plot bolsters the fight scenes, giving every battle a palpable and underlying current of emotion that adds to the thrills of the spectacle. And spectacular action this is; every fight scene-most especially the brutal opening sequence and the thrilling, almost emotionally exhausting climax-is brilliantly filmed and edited, wisely emphasizing Li's natural abilities in favor of quick-cuts and wirework. There are a few instances of Matrix-style slow motion, but the spare usage works to the film's advantage. There's even a terrific fight scene inside a tiny bathroom that far outdoes a similar scene in The Matrix.

An absolute winner on almost every conceivable level (the exception being that the title should be changed back to Danny the Dog, but I'm not going to hold that against the movie), Unleashed delivers some of the best action scenes I've seen to go hand-in-hand with memorable characters I adored and a story that riveted me from start to finish. I should also not slight director Louis Leterrier, who puts it all together with the right mix of strong style and natural storytelling. Why can't all action films be this good?

Reviewed by dee.reid 10 / 10

"Unleashed" - Unleashing the dragon on an unsuspecting public

"Unleashed" (formerly titled "Danny the Dog"), the new action flick that was written by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Professional) and directed by Louis Leterrier, aims to be the star-making vehicle its star Jet Li has been looking for, and in many ways, it could be right on target.

I left the theater after seeing "Unleashed" with a cloud of good feeling looming over me. I've been eagerly waiting to see this movie for quite some time, as lately I have watched a number of Li's past films, Asian and American, and have come to realize that since being in the United States, his film career has been quite uneven; but things may be set straight with this new action film.

Ever since making his American debut as the main villain in "Lethal Weapon 4" (1998) and then receiving his first English-speaking leading role alongside late singer/actress Aaliyah in "Romeo Must Die" (2000), Li has quickly become the screen's most electric and sensational martial arts star. (In a few closed quarters, some even dub him as being the new Bruce Lee, but that's a wholly different matter.) His American projects have been wildly unfocused and undisciplined, being that his best effort in the United States so far is 2001's "Kiss of the Dragon," which is where Li first teamed with Besson and their partnership was on that film's screenplay.

As I sat in the darkened theater, I closely observed other people's reactions to the events unfolding on screen, which were for the most part, quite positive. Not only does this film serve the purpose of rocketing Li into American stardom, but it's also a showcase for his acting talents. (He CAN act, you know.) And it was this element that I focused on in the film, aside from the brutal fight sequences.

In "Unleashed," Li plays Danny, the human pitbull for Bart (Bob Hoskins), a particularly cold and ruthless debt collector operating in a rundown section of Glasgow. Danny does not have what we would call a "normal" human life, being that when he's not with Bart collecting debts, he spends his days living in a cage underneath Bart's office reading children's books, eating cold, canned spaghetti, and wondering why he even exists.

Danny is also Bart's #1 enforcer, his only restraint being a metal collar that he wears around his neck as a symbol of the mental prison he's confined to. If a client wishes to pay Bart, the collar stays on; if the client doesn't wish to pay, the collar comes off, and Danny is +unleashed+, attacking any and all with the primal ferocity of any caged animal, which many times leaves a room and its occupants in shambles, and eagerly willing to pay up to Bart.

When Bart is attacked by a group of unnamed thugs and presumed killed in the fray, Danny is left to fend for himself. Lacking normal survival skills, he eventually finds room and board with a kind and blind piano-tuner named Sam (Morgan Freeman) and his musically-talented and young stepdaughter Victoria (Kerry Condon).

Danny is at first afraid of his new surroundings, but given enough time and patience, he eventually warms up to his "family." He finds solace in piano music, and Victoria shows him the side of his personality that was uncorrupted by Bart's greed. But soon enough, Bart comes around looking for his "pet," but by then Danny has grown quite attached to his new family, which he's not leaving without a fight.

Hollywood loves formula; that's a fact. But Hollywood has not seen an action movie quite like "Unleashed" in a long time, especially an action movie with such a masterful blend of good performances, action, drama, and light-hearted humor. Three brutal fights occur within the first 20 minutes, but then we move into lighter territory for a good chunk of the film, which is where Danny begins to open up and understand that there's more to life than just fighting. But we must remember that first and foremost, this is an action movie.

Jet Li puts on a performance that exercises a level of restraint and passiveness that's been noticeably lacking in his past American roles. He's first presented as a mute, possibly handicapped mentally, and unable to function outside a life of violence. But there is a human soul trapped underneath that seemingly calm facade, rugged face, and raggedy clothing.

The supporting roles are excellent, with Morgan Freeman doing what he does best as the blind man Sam, and Kerry Condon is excellent as well, with both performers able to provide a welcome counter to the film's brutal and bleak premise. Bob Hoskins is perfectly vile and sadistic as the brutal hoodlum Bart, who thinks that he may have this "dog" under wraps, but by film's end, is proved dead wrong in his arrogant assumptions about Danny.

Lastly, the fights in this movie are spectacular, if incredibly brutal and realistic. There's wirework here and there, courtesy of Yuen Woo Ping, but like Li's past films such as "Fist of Legend" (1994), it's not that easily noticeable, and some may be disappointed that the RZA/Massive Attack-produced soundtrack doesn't blast away in the background of most of the film's action scenes.

"Unleashed" is the best film of Jet Li's that I've seen yet – of any past movie he's done. This will surely get him the credit he solely deserves since he has been in America and I hope that he gets it.


Reviewed by MasterMogli 9 / 10

What a difference from Li's previous Films!!!

But I mean that in a very good Way. Well first off all of you going into this Movie expecting a Martial arts festival, I have to disappoint you. This Movie focuses More on the dramatic Storyline, then rather on spectacular Fights. Nonetheless very impressive Fights are in the Movie, it is the Storyline between Danny (Li), Bart (Hoskins), Sam (Freeman) and Victoria (Condon) that keeps you in the Movie. This Movie is mainly a Drama/Martial Arts Movie and no Crime/Action/Thriller like IMDb shows you. Honestly I haven't seen much Hosking's movies in the past, but believe me the main Reasons that keep you into the Movie are very fine Performances from Jet Li and Bob Hoskins. Both of em are wonderful. Another plus to this Movie are the Sound effects. They are realistic as Hell. In most of the Fight Movies you hear some weird sounds coming when they hit one another; well this one were so brutally real that I thought wow they are killing each other out there. The Fights are few but very spectacular and somewhat brutal. The first two Fights are excellent because they are shot very realistic and with a fast paced camera, the last Fights are more graphical and slowly filmed. But as I watched the first two Fights I was impressed how everybody involved in the Fight Sequences, did such a wonderful Job on letting them look brutal and realistic. Every time Li hits somebody I sat there feeling the brutalized Hits, which let's you get the feeling that you're in the Fights (Not Literally but it lets you feel the Hits). Louis Leterrier did a very good Job filming this Movie. The Fight Scenes are not too quick, so that you can see everything and the Dramatic Scenes are shot with the right Amount of Heart to keep the Spectator engaged in the Movie. But be Aware after the first two Fights, is a great Hole which is filled with 40-50 Mins of Storyline, which didn't bother me, but I can imagine that People will go into this Movie expecting something like Romeo must die, Twin Warriors or Fist of Legend they will be heavily disappointed, because this Movie focuses more on it's engaging Storyline. So please enter the Theater with this in Mind and you will LOVE this Movie. One Thing actually bothers me that is the American way of promoting the Movie. As always they will promote the Movie as one of Li's new Martial Arts Festival, with non-stop ass kicking from Li but Please always keep in Mind, Li is more acting than fighting in this Movie!! It is a Drama with Martial Arts Elements in it. Don't be fooled by American Distributors!!!!!!!!

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