December 28th, 2010

FEARLESS (2006) ***

Jet Li is always one of those guys who constantly deliver solidly entertaining action flicks.  From his early work (like Fist of Legend) to his Hollywood fare (like The Forbidden Kingdom), this guy rarely, if ever makes a misstep.  (I guess the notable exception is the awful The Mummy:  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.)  Fearless is by no means flawless, but it is yet another worthy addition to the man’s long and winding career. 


You know this is going to be one of those Historically Important kinds of Kung Fu flicks because you have to read a lot of text over a bunch of black and white footage at the very beginning of the movie.  It’s also got all of the clichés you’d expect from a chopsocky movie like this one.  There’s a lot of My-Kung-Fu-is-Better-Than-Yours sequences, revenge subplots, and an unrequited love interest with a blind girl.  And like any good Kung Fu flick, the dubbing is terrible.


Which is kind of a moot point, when you really think about it.  You know, I’m sorta over reading reviews of Kung Fu movies (including my own) that mention the terrible dubbing.  It’s just one of those things you’ve got to take for granted when you watch these things.  If a Kung Fu movie had GOOD dubbing, well that would be noteworthy (not to mention extremely disappointing). 


Because the film was directed by Ronny Yu, the guy who did Freddy vs. Jason, you know that the fight scenes are going to be good.  In fact, the best fight is a montage of Jet mopping the floor with various challengers.  (He beats the snot out of two acrobats, fights in the rain while holding an umbrella, etc.)  The opening scene is quite good too as Jet duels with another dude with some spears.  This part would’ve been awesome in 3-D because they’re always jabbing those suckers out into the audience.  Since this came out before the resurrection of 3-D, alas it was not meant to be.


Halfway through the movie though, Jet gives up fighting and Fearless’ momentum blows a tire.  And although the finale is well done (even though it borrows heavily from Diggstown), the flick never quite recovers from the lapse in the action.  Still, there’s enough Kung Fu goodness in it’s first hour to make Fearless wholly worthwhile.


AKA:  Legend of a Fighter.  AKA:  Spirit.