Frank Dux has spent most his life being trained by Tanaka to participate in the Kumite, the ultimate martial arts tournament, where participants are seriously injured, even killed. Frank ... See full summary »
Jean-Claude Van Damme,
Martial arts legend Huo Yuanjia became the most famous fighter in all of China at the turn of the 20th Century. Huo faced personal tragedy but ultimately fought his way out of darkness and into history, defining the true spirit of martial arts. His self-discovery, and the choices he made, inspired his nation. The son of a great fighter who did not wish for his child to follow in his footsteps, the bullied Huo Yuanjia resolves to teach himself how to fight - and win. Years of training enable him to ace match after match in his home region of Tianjin. But as his fame as a martial arts master grows, so does his pride. After an ill-advised fight leads to another master's death, members of Huo's family are slain in revenge. Grieving and ashamed, Huo wanders the country in shock. Near death, he is rescued by women from an idyllic village, and is offered simple kindness and generosity that help him heal and regain his equilibrium over a period of several years. Huo realizes that the future ... Written by
When Huo Yuanjia and Master Chen fight in the restaurant, Huo slices the top of Chen's head, yet when Chen is brought to his house the cut is gone. See more »
Huo Yuan Jia:
Poison works very quickly. It has worked its way to my heart... Zhensheng, promise me you won't seek revenge. Revenge will only bring us more bloodshed. Please, that's not what I want. We must strive to become triumphant... Nong Jinsun, I only understand wushu. I practiced for many years to understand what Wushu is, what is wushu's real purpose. The competition must continue. One cannot choose how one's life begins. It takes courage to finish the final step.
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Make no mistake about it, Fearless is the best straight-ahead martial arts film since Jackie Chan's seminal Drunken Master 2. Director Ronny Yu crams more bone-jarring, well crafted fight scenes into the first forty minutes of this movie than most films can match in their entire runtime. This is a canny move, as it pulls in the viewer via the blurring action before beginning to develop the film's narrative in the middle third. While the story is a well used one (kung-fu bully comes to realise his skills can be used to educate rather than brutalise), it's a perfect structure on which to hang the film's many excellent confrontations. It's obvious that this film is Li's love letter to his Wu Shu background and martial arts in general. In dramatic terms, Fearless never reaches the heights of recent wuxia movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero and so is unable to feel truly fulfilling as a great movie per se. It is however up there with Jet Li's very best work in the genre, OUATIC & Fist of Legend for example, and if it is (sadly) true that it is to be his last period martial arts picture, it's a hell of a bang to go out on.
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