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:: Unleashed

This film definitely has fast and furious action (and superb sequences of it as well). It is a drama, one that switches in tone twice before ending in a basic revenge tale. There is a hard-to-imagine plot device to take in - putting Jet Li in the hands of a crime boss, ruthlessly turning Li's character (Danny) into a lethal killer, much like a dog, and complete with collar. It's hard to believe that for his entire life, Danny was never found, rescued, noticed, or searched for, but once you get past that hurdle, the film takes shape.

Unleashed begins with a brutal fight sequence, and like the rest of them included here, they'll be hard to watch even for seasoned action fans. Li pulls of excruciating (and viciously repeated) manoeuvres when he's on the offensive with a fury and brutality rarely seen in martial arts films. It doesn't feel choreographed - especially an intense battle in the small confines of a bathroom later in the film.

Those sequences are surprisingly rare though. Once the character is established, Danny is allowed to move on, discovered by Morgan Freeman's blind character. What that begins is an oddly touching tale a human being brought up to normal civility, while discovering his past through piano playing.

Those expecting an all-out martial arts action epic will be drawn in, which is assuming they bought the premise in the first place. Li is capable in his role with limited dialogue. That makes Unleashed better than expected even though what you're expecting may be something else. This is a well-written drama, perfectly melding multiple genres.

There is a subtle, techno film score from the trip-hop band 'Massive Attack and it matches appropriately the well-choreographed fight scenes blow for blow with additional music from the RZA. "Unleashed” is unlike any action film you’ve ever seen, in part because the script is almost too smart for something that oozes so much gratuitous violence.

Hoskins is at his despicable best, easy to hate but entertaining nonetheless. Morgan Freeman plays a notch down from his Oscar-winning performance in Million Dollar Baby. But the film naturally belongs to Jet Li.

As the DVD is concerned though, aside from the inclusion of an unrated cut (which doesn't look any different from the theatrical version), the “Unleashed” DVD features a short interview with director Louis Leterrier, a behind-the-scenes fight featurette, and more promotional stuff. There is good video and great audio, but still a lacklustre assortment of features for a DVD package of note. There's a behind the scenes featurette and some brief interviews, which is pretty light on. It could have done with a director’s commentary or some bloopers.

DVD Extras

- SERVE NO MASTER - GET INSIDE THE FIGHT SEQUENCES CREATED BY LEGENDARY ACTION CHOREOGRAPHER YUEN WO PING
- THE COLLAR COMES OFF - GO BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE FILM MAKERS AND THE CAST OF UNLEASHED
- DELETED SCENES
- INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR LOUIS LETERRIER
- MASSIVE ATTACK MUSIC VIDEO
- THE RZA MUSIC VIDEO