" They over edit the fights and under edit everything else. "
Title: Unleashed by Rogue Pictures
Format: Action flick on DVD
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
The Hype: International superstar Jet Li has, historically, had some trouble enthralling the American market. Though he has made some very respectable showings in recent years, his high-speed wire-work style just hasn't been a hit with the Van Damme loving crowd. His latest effort, Unleashed, is a subtle departure from the normal cookie-cutter style and tries to drift into the realm of actual drama. But can this chop-socky star woo the Academy Award crowd? Read on and find out.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Acting: Despite
the presence of some dramatic heavy hitters, namely in the form of Morgan Freeman
and Bob Hoskins, the heart of the story in Unleashed remains fairly trite. Man
grows up in violence, learns about a life without violence, doesn't want to
go back, is forced to go back, redeems himself in the end. It is, literally,
the plot of several hundred action movies before it.
What separates Unleashed is two things: The first is the rather unusual use of Pavlovian response as Jet's motive for fighting, which keeps him docile and child like normally, but turns him into a raving sociopath when his simple metal collar is removed. The second is a real push to bring the pacifistic aspect of life into the dramatic realm. During the movie Li becomes separated from his "Uncle" (Hoskins) and ends up in the arms of a caring and accepting family helmed by a piano repairman (Freeman).
Surprisingly, both of these elements work out pretty damned well. Li does in fact have some acting ability and Freeman, ever awesome in supporting roles, sells the quiet life as well as possible. That said, it does mean that for an action-flick Unleashed is surprisingly light on the violence and that when the obviously telegraphed ending rears its melodramatic head you will be left with a slightly bitter taste in your mouth. 3.75 out of 5
Visuals and Directing: Visuals and Directing: If you've seen a Hollywood action movie in the last ten years you've seen everything Unleashed has to show. Short, choppy cuts of fights that, while intriguing, should have been shown in wide, cinematic glory. Long, dwelling shots of moments that the director thought was artistic but that's really just boring. And a overall movie that should easily be a half-hour shorter than it is. More of the same. 2.5 out of 5
Value vs. Price: Another in the $29.99 price point DVDs, I'm again struck with the question as to why. This isn't a feature-packed two-disk special edition, nor an obscure foreign flick desperate for distributionůso why can't we stay at 20 bucks? 3 out of 5
|All in all, fans of action flicks with hearts should find Unleashed worth their time. The story is actually quite compelling and the acting is substantially better than you'll find in others of the genre.|
The Good: Nice story and some descent acting.
The Bad: They over edit the fights and under edit everything else.
The Overall Ugly: Worth watching.
What it's Worth: Rental