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Sunday, October 01, 2006

FEARLESS - Jet Li - 2006

Fearless - Jet Li - 2006
I just saw this film and must give it my highest recommendation. It lacks the flamboyant color drenched cinematography of "Hero" as well as the magic kung fu elements of 100 foot leaps and other impossible choreography. But what it lacks in movie magic it more than makes up for in heart and wisdom. Not to say that there are no good action scenes. The fights are just a bit more realistic, though still typical of your Chinese martial arts flicks. It's a little easier to get absorbed by the storyline for it. All in all a great movie. Go see it soon. (Warning: possible spoilers after the break below)

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Jet Li portrays the life of martial art master Huo Yuanjia. However, it should be noted that the plot differs widely from the actual life of Huo Yuanjia.

The story flashes back to when Huo Yuanjia was a small boy. His father, Huo Endi, was a great fighter but did not want his son to follow in his footsteps and hence, refused to teach Yuanjia martial arts. However, with the help of his friend, Nong Jinsun, Yuanjia stole his father's wushu manual and taught himself how to fight.

The young Yuanjia then witnesses his father losing a Leitai match; his father could have won but was unwilling to deliver the finishing blow because it would have been a fatal one. Yuanjia is taunted by the son of the man who defeated his father and he steps up to defend the Huo family name. Yuanjia is defeated and he swears never to lose again.

As the years pass, Yuanjia grows into a powerful fighter, winning fight after fight on the Leitai until he becomes known as one of the greatest fighters in Tianjin, China. However, as his success grows, he becomes arrogant and increasingly ruthless, unlike his late father. When a rival martial arts master named Qin Lei (Master Chin in the US version) apparently injures one of Huo's young apprentices, Huo forces Qin to fight him to the death during Qin's birthday celebration. After much effort, during which both fighters demolish a restaurant, Huo kills Qin. However, when he returns home, he realises that both his mother and daughter have been killed in revenge. In addition, he finds out that Master Qin attacked his pupil because the pupil had insulted Qin's concubine. Crazed with grief and shame, Huo flees Tianjin and wanders aimlessly for many miles, no longer caring about himself. After he nearly drowns in a river, he is saved by Granny Sun (Grandma in the US version) and her blind grand-daughter, Yueci (Moon in the US version). They bring him back to their village and guided by their simple acts of kindness, Huo begins to learn the meaning of kindness and mercy.



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9/30/2006 8:59 PM  

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