Fai, once a world champion in boxing, escapes to Macau from the loan sharks and unexpectedly encounters Qi, a young chap who is determined to win a boxing match. Fai becomes Qi's mentor and...
See full summary »
Policeman Don Lee often works with informants but numerous too-close calls and failed missions cause him to see the world as one betrayal after another - then he meets Guy, and is given a new chance to change his views.
A traffic accident changed their lives forever. In capturing wanted criminal Zhang Yidong, Sergeant Tang Fei (Nicholas Tse) was involved in a gunfight and car accident that put the criminal... See full summary »
A storm is heading to the city, and with it comes another occurrence so destructive, it vows to bring down everything it touches. A crew of seasoned criminals led by the notorious Nam (Hu ... See full summary »
International Security Affairs agent Jon is on a dangerous mission to escort a criminal scientist to another country. En route, a member of his team, Sean, turns out to be a traitor and ... See full summary »
A cop is forced into early retirement due to retinal damage. But after witnessing a bank robbery along with a female inspector - who believes he has acute senses - they team up in hope to solve the case.
Fai, once a world champion in boxing, escapes to Macau from the loan sharks and unexpectedly encounters Qi, a young chap who is determined to win a boxing match. Fai becomes Qi's mentor and rediscovers his passion to fight not only in the ring but for his life and ones he cares. Written by
Unbeatable sells itself as a mixed martial arts film, but it's actually a drama that splits its story between three downtrodden characters: the old boxer seeking redemption from bad life choices, a suffering single mother with a plucky daughter and a rich kid trying to take care of his father. In a typical movie, the latter two story lines would be subplots that would feed into the main story, but instead director Dante Lam spreads them evenly throughout the story. This turns two supporting characters into two main characters, which unfortunately compromises the impact of the A story, namely Nick Cheung's redemption story as the old boxer. The mother and daughter subplot, while well-acted, ends up hogging a lot of the screen time away from Nick Cheung. There were many scenes where Cheung's character wasn't developing because it was focused on the mother and daughter.
Eddie Peng is serviceable as the young rich kid-turned-boxer Siqi. I don't find his character interesting, it's like when Daniel Wu played the villain in New Police Story - a spoiled trust fund baby. Siqi is so naive it is head scratching. It's hard to buy a novice thinking they can learn mixed martial arts within two-and-a-half months to enter a professional competition. Amateur boxing tournaments exist for a reason. To play devil's advocate against myself, one can say that the film's point is his character has an unbeatable spirit (pun intended), and that he's competing to go the distance as a statement to his rich father. I see that's what the film is telegraphing but it's not interesting or compelling. It's almost downright disrespectful to the integrity of the sport itself. On the contrary, I enjoyed watching this would-be trust fund baby being pummeled by truly unbeatable fighters that were level-headed and took the proper time to train. It's depressing that Peng is playing Wong Fei Hong in an upcoming remake.
Nick Cheung is the heart of the film and gives a great performance. Fai is a character with a lot depth and emotional range, but the script keeps cutting him short by having Cheung do comedy. The comedy is funny, but the problem is it's funny to the point of being detrimental to the drama. An emotional scene is quickly followed by a funny scene. The audience is shifted to laughing and immediately relieved from contemplating Fai's emotional struggle. I found it taxing to follow because the Fai character was the only character I cared about. Nick Cheung's media-hyped muscled body is hidden for a huge majority of the film. I remember reading an interview with Christian Bale for American Psycho in which he indicated that the Patrick Bateman's muscled body were intentionally sculpted to be 'narcissistic muscles', not functional muscles. There is a case of that going on here with Nick Cheung's body, because most mixed martial artist aren't sculpted like Greek statues. When Cheung fights, I was pumped. But there was too little of it.
The fight choreography is tough and brutal but it's ruined by odd camera placements and choppy editing. The glossy arena didn't help either. If the actors really did train for the film, they should theoretically be able to do 1-3 moves before a editorial cut. Andy On shows up to play what he plays best, a cocky video game boss. When On arrived, the fights started to feel more choreographed. Overall I've seen MMA action done better in other films and ended up enjoying the training montages more.
Huang Bao Qiang shows up in a cameo role because he's popular from the success of Lost in Thailand. How is his presence relevant to the story? Nothing, and here's my point. There is a lot of box ticking going on in this film, like an investor trying to craft the perfect combination of an award-winning drama and a box-office hit. You have the award-winning body-transformation lead performance, the pretty boy to secure the young crowd and the single mother storyline to make sure everybody squeezes a tear. Unbeatable has already won 2 acting awards at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and good for it. For the rest of us who are not looking to win, I refer you to Gavin O'Connor's Warrior, a MMA film that had a better story and bigger heart. Lastly, Unbeatable could have been a great film. But by a lack of balance of its multiple story strands, a great film was only telegraphed, not delivered. It could have used more punch.
For more reviews, please subscribe to my film blog at http://hkauteur.wordpress.com/
7 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?