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September 26, 2006

JET LI'S FEARLESS

Colesmithey.comHailed as Jet Li’s final martial arts epic, "Jet Li’s Fearless" is a unique story about Chinese historical figure Huo Yuanjia who rose to fame in China before disgracing himself and bringing tragedy upon his family.

Still, he later redeemed himself, and his country, in a national tournament with his phenomenal martial arts skills.

"Fearless" opens on a competition promoted by the Foreign Chamber of Commerce in 1910 in which Yuanjia (Li) must fight four opponents in succession, each representing a different faction of foreign influence in China. The thrilling fight sequence segues to Yuanjia’s backstory. Alas, Li's character was the asthmatic son of a wushu master who attempted to shield his weak son from the fighting skills that he taught others.

Colesmithey.com

Director/producer Ronny Yu ("Bride of Chucky") and action choreographer Yuen Wo Peng ("Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2") pack the film with twice the action of a typical kung fu action movie, and still render a poignant parable of human experience.

Significantly, "Fearless" breaks the standard revenge model of the martial arts film genre to embrace the grace and restraint that underlines the philosophy of wushu (the comprehensive term for martial arts that means "avert fighting" or "stop war." The lesson resonates like a bell in this well crafted Kung Fu movie.

Rated PG-13, 104 mins. (A-) (Four Stars)

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