Yuanjia is kept from learning martial arts as a young boy by his Father but he trains in secret. As a young man he becomes skilled and arrogant and after defeating all challengers he is named the local champion fighter.
Yuanjia takes to drinking and partying and due to events that are partly his fault a serious tragedy strikes his family. Devastated, he leaves his home town and disappears to the Chinese countryside, living as a simple farmer. Here he learns the value of hard work, humility and the respect of human life and returns to his hometown years later. What he finds is not the town he left; the people are poor and foreigners are controlling the economy. The Chinese people are belittled here and all over their country by foreigners. Eventually Yuanjia answers a challenge to take on fighters in different styles from all over the world to disprove the reputation of the Chinese as the "weak men of the east."
I went in to this movie with low expectations and truly enjoyed it. I don't typically enjoy martial arts movies that have little more than fancy fighting in them. (see 'Ong-Bak' review below) This movie provided more than martial arts as it goes through the maturing and learning stages of Yuanjia after his family tragedy.
Jet Li plays Yuanjia and though his acting is not what has made him famous, he does an affective and convincing job in Fearless.
The fights in this movie are impressive and though I am thankful that they are not all there was to it, they are choreographed well and are a huge part of why I enjoyed this movie. The cinematography was surprisingly impressive as well as the movie maker took great pains to make this movie about more than just martial arts.
This movie will not blow you away but as I said it was a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed it.
I put Fearless on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $7.
October 12, 2006
Fearless - $7
Fearless is the true story Huo Yuanjia, or at the very least it is the telling of his legend. Yuanjia was an early 20th century Chinese martial arts master who is credited with uniting China and bringing it respectability in a time when China was short of both.