One Of Jet’s Greatest
This is by far one of Jet Li’s finest films as it left critics with very little negative points to highlight. “Fearless” (2006) may even be one of the best martial arts flicks out there! This movie tells a story of a Chinese martial artist named Huo Yuanjia who is also considered a hero for defeating fighters representing different nations that seek to colonize China during the 1900s. It begins with Huo Yuanjia preparing for a public fight with a Japanese fighter named Tanaka. It then cuts and goes back to 30 years ago when Yuanjia was still a child, who has a small physique with asthma that caused his father to forbid him to learn wushu. But being a great fan of his father and the martial art, he watched students train and practiced it himself out of his father’s sight.
His enthusiasm was amplified after he got bullied and beaten up by another kid, vowing to himself that he would not let anyone defeat him anymore. This promise he kept up until he became an adult and a father. He won every match he entered, gaining a lot of followers who wanted to train under him. Little did he know that this pride was starting to get the best of him. Misfortune came when he decided to avenge the beating of one of his students by a Master Chin, who later died after receiving a fatal blow to his chest. Then Yuanjia came home to discover that his family had been victim of revenge.
Knowing that it was done as revenge, he pursued Master Chin’s godson who admitted to harming his family. After all these deaths did he only learn the reason behind Chin mauling his student. Ashamed and heartbroken he wandered off aimlessly. He was rescued by people from an indigenous community, where he spent years recovering from the tragedy. He eventually came home to live by what he has learned from his great trial. This film is one of the few action movies that managed to keep its audience’s minds from veering off during the entire 100 minutes, as every aspect was executed just the way the viewers would want it in an (epic) action movie. Starting with its main strength, all fight scenes are heart-stopping because of the intense kicks, punches, and swing of the sword. Even in the fight scene between the young Huo Yuanjia and his foe, there is no sense of holding back from the actors making the audience forget that they were all choreographed.
All performances are realistic – with very little use of CGI – that even its audience squint at every blow as if they would feel the pain. Unlike in any other action movie, the fight scenes in “Fearless” aren’t only an exhibition of martial arts but they became the means to communicate the characters’ emotions such as anger, grief, and humiliation. The movie also presented a very appealing 20th century set and wonderful sceneries that contributed in eliciting viewer empathy for the protagonist.
Each location successfully set the mood that each event is trying to convey. Moreover, the script was well written and did not give audience much time to daydream when the characters are not fighting. Although the film was loosely based on Huo Yuanjia’s life – and much of the story is probably just fiction – it was nevertheless able to tell a story that is not too farfetched to happen in real life. Not too dramatic in the sense that there is nothing in the movie that an ordinary person wouldn’t do in reality; different from other action flicks. Like most of what real people in the real world experience, the movie shows that the greatest trials do not need to come from some deep dark emotions or past.
They could come from a very simple misunderstanding, or a spur of the moment kind of decision that one would never have thought could cause a great disaster to people’s lives. While this is an action movie, more so an epic, people will still be able to relate to this story of Huo Yuanjia. This tale tells its audience in a very down-to-earth way how revenge only makes a person the bigger loser, that revenge only results in another revenge, and that most of the time the decision to stop avenging must come from us, for if not the cycle would not stop. It also imparts the value of humility, and of guarding one’s heart. Though the film gained a number of controversies – such as the removal of Michelle Yeoh’s scenes and the disapproval it received from Huo Yuanjia’s family – it cannot be denied that this is one of Jet Li’s best motion pictures, and also one of the best of it’s genre.
It can be considered a success in every aspect- gripping, heart pumping fight scenes with an excellent story line
It was able to narrate a part of China’s history in an interesting manner. It was able to impart a life lesson without being too fancy. Yuen Woo Ping also proved his expertise in making choreographies with the movie’s breathtaking fight scenes. This movie is definitely worth your time. One of the things that I appreciated was that unlike most Chinese Kung Fu movies it did not portray the Japanese in an entirely bad light- the Japanese fighter was a very honorable man and despised his fellow country man for his disgraceful behavior, this movie is definitely one to add to your collection as it not only only has heart but it also has very impressive action scenes!