Movie Title: Fearless
Genre: Martial Arts, Action, Drama
Writer: Chris Chow, Christine To, Wang Bin, Li Feng
Starring: Jet Li, Dong Yong, Nakamura Shido II, Collin Chou, Betty Sun, Nathan Jones, Paw Hee-ching
Review: After a terrible tragedy, martial arts master Huo Yuanjia (Jet Li) retreats to a remote village to gain a new appreciation for the important things in life, but when he returns to the city to reconcile his past with the present, he gets caught up in a duel to the death defending China's honor.
Fearless is another epic Jet Li martial arts film that stems from the infamous deceased master in Fist of Legend. Coincidentally, Li plays Huo Yuanjia, the same master he seeks to avenge as Huo's apprentice Chen Zhen in Fist of Legend. As a result, it's very east to compare these two films being that they are loosely connected, both feature Jet Li, and both display a wide array of incredible martial arts action sequences. Fearless hits the ground running with a fantastic opening scenes, as Huo takes on a barrage of opponents in a tournament-style martial arts spectacle. Each opponent offers different fighting styles and different weapons of choice. Each opponent also offers a different weakness for Huo to ultimately exploit. Eventually, Huo has to face the Japanese champion, Tanaka (Nakamura Shido II). The rest of the film plays out before we eventually circle back to this climactic battle. The battle with Tanaka is epic, as he is Huo's most formidable challenger yet, while also being highly honorable and appreciative of Huo's talents. Where I think this film falls short is its portrayal of Huo. There was some controversy around this film where the real life family of Huo felt that this film inaccurately depicted the character; showing him to be a reckless, cocky individual until ultimately finding peace and having a change of philosophy. I thought at times those criticisms were valid, as there are instances where Huo comes of as kind of unlikable. In Fist of Legend, Chen Zhen is a beloved hero, and I also enjoyed the story a little bit more. Despite that, Fearless is still a perfectly entertaining martial arts flick, and one that all fans of Jet Li and the martial arts genre should definitely catch!
Fun Fact: During a scene where Nathan Jones was to pick up one of the extras and toss him to the floor, the 6'10" Jones got a little too into the spirit of the scene. The extra ended up going to the hospital with cracked ribs.