Jet Li has long been one of my favorite martial arts stars. His films have provided some of the best demonstrations of filmed martial arts (with and without wires) that I have seen. From his early films like Shaolin Temple and The Legend to the Twin Warriors on through the first three Once Upon a Time in China films, to Fist of Legend which contains some of the most brutal fights I have seen, on through the masterpiece of Hero, Li’s films have always delivered. This makes his latest film all the more sad.
I do not say sad as in it is not a good movie as I haven’t yet seen it; it’s sad because this will be the last of these types of films that Jet Li will make. Fortunately, I believe we will still get action films in the vein of Kiss of the Dragon and Unleashed, films that still display Li’s martial arts ability and his improving acting ability.
Jet Li’s Fearless is a film that holds a special place in Li’s heart, as he has said, “I believe Jet Li’s Fearless is my most personal and important martial arts movie. This film captures the martial arts beliefs and philosophies I have learned and experienced over the past 30 years.”
The movie is inspired by true events that happened nearly a century ago. It is the story of Huo Yuanjia, a martial artist who trained himself and became the best in his region. Unfortunately, his ego and pride lead to a fight that results in the death of another master. In retaliation, members of his family are murdered. Huo leaves, only to return later to deal with his past, restore honor to his family, and fight for his country.
The trailer looks fantastic. I have always been amazed by Jet Li and his effortless ability. Watching the clips in the trailer just make me look more and more forward to seeing this. Teaming with Li on this film are action choreographer legend Yuen Wo Ping, who has been the mastermind of some of the greatest martial arts on screen, and director Ronny Yu, who helmed the excellent Bride With White Hair and more recently Freddy vs Jason and Formula 51. Both of them have strong visual styles, and combined with Li’s talent, this could be fantastic.
One last note. I think the poster looks awful. I much prefer what I believe to be the Hong Kong poster; there are four others on that page that also look better than the US version. There is a lot of elegance and class contained in this poster. The US poster has that garish solid background, and a not terribly flattering image of Jet Li. I also am not a fan of the addition of the “Jet Li’s” possessive to the title.
Jet Li’s Fearless is set for release on September 22, 2006 from Rogue Pictures. The movie is rated PG-13 and is 103 minutes long. Be sure to take a look at the trailer.
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