Saturday, September 30, 2006


Jet Li as Huo Yuanjia in Fearless In 1972, Bruce Lee created a masterpiece of Hong Kong cinema with Fist of Fury. In the film he plays a Chen Zhen, a disciple of Jing Wu Athletic Association. Sadly, Bruce Lee died the next year.

In 1994, Jet Li paid homage to Bruce Lee with Fist of Legend, an extension of the Fist of Fury story. Like the original, Fist of Legend is one of the best films of its type, and it helped propel Li and its fight director Yuen Woo Ping (Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Kill Bill, Kung Fu Hustle) to international fame.

Now, Li and Yuen have reunited to create, Fearless (in Mandarin with English subtitles). Fearless traces the life master Huo Yuanjia and the creation of the Jing Wu Athletic Association, a movement to unify the schools of wushu. Loosely based on Huo’s biography, the film features an epic story reminiscent of Crouching Tiger and Li’s own Hero.

Li (official site) has announced that this will be his final wushu film. At 42, perhaps he feels that he can no longer showcase the discipline at the highest levels. If this is the case, Li is certainly retiring on top. The fight sequences are spectacular and beautifully filmed. Li is both graceful and powerful, and he displays his mastery of both weapons and fists. It is not surprising that he won many gold medals as a competing as a teenager, and the aura he projects as Huo Yuanjia is Fearless.

Fearless (official site) opened last weekend and I saw it tonight. Even if you don’t consider yourself a martial arts fan, don’t miss this great movie while it is on the big screen.

View the Fearless trailer