Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A (Bootleg) (SSSHHHH!) View at the Movies: Unleashed

I saw a bootleg version of Unleashed over a friends' house. No names, I ain't snitchin to the 5-0, cuz! (Excuse the west coast accent and C-walking) Unleashed stars Jet Li as Danny the Dog, Anthony Hopkins as his master, and Morgan Freeman as the blind piano tuner who befriends him. (Yes, I said blind piano tuner. Two things: 1. Build bridge 2. Build bridge to get over previous statement. Thanks, signed, M.Sea)
Okay, a brief synopsis: Jet Li is Danny, a guy who has no memory of his previous life. He has a leash on, like a dog. Bob Hoskins is his master. He runs a protection racket and uses Danny to make sure people pay him their money. When there's trouble, he takes off Danny's collar and he beats the people up. Very badly. I want to make sure you understand me. Broken bones, blood, just an ugly, ugly mess. One job goes badly. Danny is distracted by a piano. Morgan Freeman comes in and teaches him a few piano techniques. Later, a rival faction runs into their car and shoots at them. Danny APPPEARS to be the only survivor. He comes back to the piano man (Freeman) as a bloody mess. Freeman takes him home and we meet his adopted white daughter. Freeman's character married his best friend's widow after his best friend died. Later, his wife died in an accident and he raised her girl as his own. There seems to be a hint of something between Jet Li and Freeman's daughter. Danny learns to be human and how to speak and play piano. He is eventually found by Hoskin's character and is forced to fight people again. Danny eventually had to decide whether to still be the fighting dog or the kinder, gentler Danny that Freeman and his daughter brought out. Danny also learns the truth about his origins. The fight scenes were freakin' awesome! The actual story, however, left me wanting more. The plot seemed pretty formulaic. Also, it seemed like there was something there between Danny and Freeman's daughter. One awkward scene, however, is all we get. I felt cheated. Also, the plot development just seemed weak. I was also beginning to think Bob Hoskin's character had superpowers. He cheats death several times. It's one thing for the athletic, martial arts death machine to beat death-defying odds, but it looks a bit hokey when chubby, old Bob Hoskins does it. Well, okay, great fight scenes and Bob Hoskin's cool British accent and Morgan Freeman's standard cool performance were hampered by a poor, lightweight plot and script. I'll give unleashed 3.5 doggie treats. Get it? Doggie treats? Cause the name of the movie is Unleashed, and...ahhh, forget it. Jet Li needs to step his script selection game up. Be easy.


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