Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Let us get this out of the way first. The only difference between a 'Based on a True Story' film and a completely fictional film is the fact that the final disclaimer at the end of the credits ("The character and events in this motion picture bear no resemblance...") is not present in the former. With that out of the way, we come to Fearless, a highly fictionalized account of early 20th century martial artist Huo Yuanjia. The man was a key figure in restoring national pride in China by winning a series of competitions against fighters from other parts of the world. He did this at a time when China was being occupied/influenced to a large degree by three imperial western powers (Russia, France and Britain) and also by Japan.

History lesson aside, director Ronny Yu is very much interested in delivering a mightily fueled martial arts spectacle with some great (and vintage Chinese) melodramatic moments. Jet Li trumpeted this as his last Wushu film, in favour of doing other project in the future, and on evidence here is an improvement in acting which showed promise in (of all places) Danny the Dog (aka Unleashed). He turns in a fine performance of a man finding spirituality to match his particular skill (with several tragedies precipitating the self-awareness). Besides the fine central performance, on display within the film is some very handsome production design and several stellar martial arts set-pieces.

All in all, Fearless adds up to some seriously fine entertainment with no small amount of class. Despite some serious liberties taken with the truth, the message of restoring ones nation by achieving a state of self-respect is one worth listening to. (This is never more apparent than in Li's Chinese/HK films vs. his American ones.)

Come out tonite @ 8pm and sample the 'just-in-time-for-summer' beer selection. Trailers (some really nice new ones!) and Showtime @ 8:30pm.


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