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Film Studies 101
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Jet Li
Morgan Freeman
Kerry Condon
Bob Hoskins
Scott Adkins.
Louis Leterrier.
Luc Besson.
Running Time
TBC minutes

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Danny (Li) has lived most of his life as the slave of crime boss Bart (Hoskins), kept in a cage and forced to fight on command. When Danny escapes during a hit attempt on his boss, he’s taken in by blind piano tuner Sam (Freeman), who attempts to give him a normal life.

As screenwriters go, Luc Besson is a great director. Having been clapperboard-shy since 1999’s Joan Of Arc: The Messenger, Besson has filled the gap with a series of action unspectaculars (Kiss Of The Dragon, The Transporter, Taxi 3). Unleashed attempts to reunite the mix of heart and hurt that worked so well in Léon, Besson’s last great writing/directing gig, but with far less success.

Transporter’s Leterrier makes a good fist of the action (a scrap in a cramped toilet is the standout), but his direction in the character-driven scenes fails to match up. The quiet domesticity of the scenes with Sam (Freeman) and his stepdaughter (Condon) attempting to acclimitize terrified, battered Danny (Li) to the real world are completely at odds with the dark violence of the underworld scenes. The acting in the former is restrained, in the latter loud and grating; even in look they’re polar opposites.

Initially it works as a contrast between the two aspects of Danny’s life, but as the second half tries to bring the two together as Danny’s 'owner' (Hoskins, over-acting to the brink of hernia) attempts to reclaim his pet, the two styles clash with the subtlety of a Li-administered kick in the crotch.

A promising idea that never develops beyond that. The original title of Danny The Dog was perhaps more apt.

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Average user rating for Unleashed
Empire Star Rating

What! 2 stars-good thing the reviewer is anonymous!

I think EMPIRE should search for top critics. IMDB rates this as 7.1/10 for 34,776 votes, so who the fuck is writing mumbo-jumbo reviews? Watch it for sure, it Jet Li"s best movie till date! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by batbhai at 04:41, 11 May 2010 | Report This Post

I saw this on the TV. I do love my kung fu movies, but unfortunately, I'm not a Jet Li fan (I find a lot of his characters are overly cocky - in a bad way), but I thought I'd give this film a go. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't have paid for the pleasure, but it was a light brainless fun. I was rather confused as to why everyone in the film who didn't speak with a Chinese or American accent were uber-cockney when it was clearly stated that the action was in Glasgow. Truly weird.... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by eaws1 at 18:12, 12 August 2008 | Report This Post

Love this film! I have more taste in my left nut than Empire has in movies! ... More

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Posted by tallaght24 at 15:51, 18 July 2007 | Report This Post

Love this film! I have more taste in my left nut than Empire has in movies! ... More

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Posted by tallaght24 at 15:51, 18 July 2007 | Report This Post

zzzz...... ... More

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Posted by moviemaniac2 at 19:07, 06 April 2007 | Report This Post


I was really looking forward to this film thanks to the brilliant trailer, but alas the way the story was told was terribly dull, it kept on back-tracking, it lacked any sense of excitement or danger and didn't really know what it wanted to be... which was a huge shame considering the cast and the soundtrack. A much better version of the film can be seen by watching this trailer: hed-tlr_m480.movlus they shouldn't have changed the f... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kingoftheducks at 22:43, 08 December 2006 | Report This Post


I liked the story but being from Glasgow I couldn't help thinking that all these cockney gangsters wouldn't last five seconds up here. ... More

Posted by liviclyde at 22:31, 08 December 2006 | Report This Post


Not as good as most of Jet Li's ngilms, but not bad compared to the rest of his western attempts at the genre! ... More

Posted by BobaJango at 14:28, 04 December 2006 | Report This Post


Actually, Unleashed is one of my favourtie Jet Li films. I think its a charming story that is nice enough to interest my "chick-flick" friends....and the fights are very good! If you actually pay attention and watch them, the detail is great. I think you all expect too much of this film. remember its not supose to be a huge, life-changing, revelation filled film...just good fights and a nice story. I love it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by flyaninnocentlife at 14:04, 04 December 2006 | Report This Post

... More

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Posted by ualsox at 10:33, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post


I didn't notice that it was set in glasgow, but I did notice that it was a half decent film. You people are too harsh. I was wondering to myself wether to give it a three or two out of five, my decision was none of them, Two and a half would suffice. Yeah it was cliche, but damn, give the actors some credit. Bob Hoskins you wanted to hate, and that's what his role was for. Jet Li was brilliant; his body movements at the first scene with the pianos were un-deniabley human. As for cliche, the o... More

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Posted by Spameth at 23:01, 14 June 2006 | Report This Post

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