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Director:Ronny Yu
Cast:Jet Li, Nakamura Shidou, Sun Li, Dong Yong, Nathan Jones, Collin Chou, Harada Masato
Release Date:2006
Genre:Action, Drama, Martial Arts

By Bret McCabe | Posted 9/27/2006

Jet Li and Ronny Yu update the classic folkloric martial-arts hero epic that originally made Jet Li a kung fu cinema star (see: the Once Upon a Time in China series and The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk). And they do it by bringing high production values to the enterprise, choreographing thrilling fight sequences, and keeping all the sentimental schmaltz of the genre intact. Li--making his supposedly final martial-arts flick--stars as Huo Yuanjia, the son to a famous regional fighter at the tail end of 19th-century China. Huo vows to be the regional champion one day and hones his fighting skills to a sharp weapon but acquires none of the maturity that goes along with it. Inevitably, a tragedy sends Huo wandering off alone, rescued by some villagers in a rural agrarian hamlet, and he returns only after heís found an inner peace and a real reason for fighting: to counter a colonizing foreign presence that deems Chinese as less than human, much less a physical match to the stronger, more cultured rulers. A fabled bout pitting Hou against a British boxer, a Spanish swordsman, a Belgian soldier, and a Japanese karate artist bookends the movie with Liís polished acrobatics, but itís the more cavalier fighting of Houís impetuous youth that gives Fearless its zing.

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