Tuesday 18th January 2022

Fearless (15)
Directed by: Ronny Yu
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

The word on the street is that Jet Li is claiming that this will be his last ever martial arts movie. Well, if all the future ones were going to be as bad as this, then that is a very good thing. About forty minutes in to this movie, you could be forgiven for wondering if a story is ever going to develop, and the answer, unfortunately, is that it already has. The plot is so simplistic, it seems like it was taken from a U-rated Disney film for children under five.

That sword looks broken to me
That sword looks broken to me

We join Jet Li (playing Huo Juan Jia) in Shanghai in 1910, where he is fighting some guys. However, we are quickly whisked back thirty years to see little Li watching his dad fight a battle with some guy, while all the townsfolk look on. It seems the idea back then was for each family to develop their own style of fighting (wushu) and then beat every challenger in their province to become the champion and prove their style is the best. Li's father fails at the last moment to do this, by pulling his final punch and then allowing himself to be defeated.

Little Li decides this is unacceptable and grows up to become champion of the Tianjin province himself, but kills some dude along the way. He feels pretty bad about that, so he goes off to the hills to romance a blind girl (he's not that good-looking so he played to his strengths) and have an epiphany that killing people is bad, mmkay?

When he finally returns home in 1910, he finds that Westerners have invaded China, and so he goes to fight some of them in one-on-one combat in an effort to prove... something. They were a bit hazy on that part in the film, but it probably had something to do with honour and integrity, without really benefiting anyone.

And That's It. No sub-plots, no twists, no secondary characters, no reason to watch the film. I'm a fan of martial arts films and I'm used to them having plots that don't make sense, plots that are downright stupid and loads of awesome fight scenes. This one has a plot that is totally uninteresting and is stretched out and overlong as a result, and the fight scenes are really not that impressive either.

There are also three or four incredibly gory bits (not comic book gore, but actual nasty gore) in this film, that stand out as being either good or disgusting, depending on where you stand. Personally, I thought it was brave to put them in, but really, it takes so much more than that to make a good film. If you're hungering for some kung fu action, I'd recommend Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Enter the Dragon, Shanghai Noon or anything with Jackie Chan in, rather than this panful of loose stool water.

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Length: 104 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 23rd June 2006

Top Five Rating: 30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0%30.0% (30.0%)
User Rating: 0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0% (0.0%)

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