So Q and I caught Unleashed. I had forgotten just how beautiful well-choreographed fights can be. I am a fight choreography connoisseur. In Unleashed, I noticed a detail that I later realized is common to Jet Li: even his eyes are choreographed. When some fool is throwing a punch at Jet Li, he plays his part well enough to look at it, realize it, and dodge it. I always felt that Jet Li had an edge to fight cinematography that the other big names lacked, and the aforementioned subtlety is a big part of it. This is not to say tham men like Chao Yung Fat aren't bad mother fuckers as well. Chao Yung Fat has an elegance in his fights, as if he's dancing with his opponent - an ability Jet Li has also shown in movies like Hero. However, it is the idiosyncrasy in Jet Li's movement that gave the fights in Unleashed a notable impact.
Morgan Freeman was spectacular and Kerry Condon was annoying. Sam (Freeman) was a blind piano tuner who was without question the best person in the world to have helped Danny (Li) in his particular predicament. Sam was calm, cool and patient - treated Danny like a human but was as cautious as one needs to be when dealing with a wild dog. Victoria (Condon) irritated the crap out of me. She was hyper, slightly pushy and had a little-girl cuteness thing going that verged on obnoxious. Personally, I felt her character WAS in fact someone that Danny would have to deal with, but was NOT a character I would have written into a fictional story. She gave the movie an uncomfortable realism in the same way that forced awkward moments tend to in sit-com's. In the long run, Freeman's performance balanced this out, but Condon was off the mark.
Like porn, however, most viewers do not go to a Kung Fu movie for the plot. The action was everything one should expect from Jet Li. People get hurt badly. Jet Li only gets hurt when he doesn't want to hurt anyone. Two Kung Fu bastards beat the crap of each other in a 4' x 5' toilet stall while being observed by a naked woman who's shower was interrupted. Yes. There was tittie and kung fu at the same god damned time. I'm going to re-write that last sentence in a paragraph all it's own.
There was tittie and kung fu at the same god damned time.
I want to note quickly that I love it when major films take place someplace other then the US. Unleashed takes place in England. This also meant I got to see a few recognizable faces from my beloved Guy Ritchie films. Joy!
In closing, I give Jet Li's Unleashed two espresso shots. High quality kung fu, really cool plot, and excellent piano playing, and damnit, we got to have Jet Li and Morgan Freeman in the same movie. This is a beautiful thing. If you were to combine those two you get Cobra Mansa, the man who taught me Capoeira and quite possibly the coolest human being on the planet.