Two men cut off from the world in different ways become unlikely friends and protectors in this offbeat action drama. Danny (Jet Li) is a physically powerful but emotionally stunted man; never given any sort of proper education, Danny has learned little in his lifetime but how to fight, and his minder, Bart (Bob Hoskins), treats him more like a guard dog than anything else, using him in illegal no-holds-barred brawls that earn Bart plenty of money but only reinforce Danny's violent alienation. When Bart is injured in an auto accident, Danny is left to fend for himself, and stumbles upon Sam (Morgan Freeman), an elderly piano tuner who has lost his sight. Sam is the first person to treat Danny with kindness, and the music he plays soothes the troubled soul of the fighter. However, Danny's fighting skills soon come in handy when Sam runs afoul of a pack of small-time crooks who believe he knows too much about their operations.
Raised as a fighting machine by thuggish Glasgow loan sharks, a young man (Jet Li) finds happiness after falling into the care of a kindly old piano teacher (Morgan Freeman) and his musical-protégé granddaughter (Kerry Condon). But Li's past catches up with him, threatening the safety of his newfound family...
Terrific combination of heartfelt drama and bone-crunching action scenes (choreographed by Yuen Wo-ping), anchored by strong performances (including Bob Hoskins as Li's brutal 'mentor') and a finely-tuned script by French action maestro Luc Besson. Grainy filmstock and an excess of closeups (typical of the ghastly Super 35 'widescreen' process) render it less cinematic than it ought to be, and the narrative is predictable, but the movie works on a visceral level whilst simultaneously pulling the heartstrings. Li's best non-HK film since KISS OF THE DRAGON (2001).
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