Fearless

Fearless: Jet Li kicks ass in this movie, in the respective arenas of body and mind. His character is a wushu fighter who has a trophy wall in his house covered with slips of publicly signed death waivers. He is an antagonistic protagonist and this is evident about half-way through the movie where Jet Li, a broken shell of a man, embarks on a journey of the spirit that lasted many years and ended where he started.

A beautiful movie in which Jet Li attempts to re-define the art of wushu as a means of reaching peace, running against the grain of popular misconceptions of wushu. This plot strives to keep the martial arts as an aspect of the character, to color his motives and intentions, as opposed to being the central objective of a movie, and does so successfully. The viewer is carried on an emotional journey along with our fallen hero.   This movie has brilliant fight sequences, the best I’ve seen in a martial arts film. Ten bucks the whole production was a logistics nightmare. I would not be surprised that Fearless becomes a milestone film of martial arts, like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon.

Jet Li has announced this movie will be his last wushu flick: a fitting death knell to a remarkable career, Fearless becomes more meaningful when one realizes it traces out Jet Li’s ambitions and core belief systems. Be sure to check out the special features. I had a completely different conception of the movie after doing so.

Is there still a future in movies for Jet Li when he’s not using his fists of fury? Sure. I’d like to see him try his hand at a drama. In Fearless and Unleashed he exhibits an emotional versatility one doesn’t expect from a brute to the bones fighter.

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