What can us viewers do to change your mine?...O well I got to say that director Ronny Yu has made the right choice of casting Jet Li as Huo Yuan Jia, after Jet portrays Huang Fei Hong in his remarkable `Once Upon A Time Trilogy.' This has once again strengthened the image of Jet Li as the Chinese hero among the Chinese around the world. This is a glorified tribute to the famous Shanghai martial arts master, Huo Yuanjia. The above subject has also been visited by Jet himself in `Fist of the Legend.'
The movie starts with Huo Yuanjia's famous tournament against the champions of the Sphere of Influence nations. We get to the Japanese challenger and then are sent into a flashback to Huo's youth. We are given the details of Huo's early life, his trials and tribulations. How he was, what he became and how he got there. This section is full of all the other parts of martial arts that have nothing to do with fighting (at this point I'm thinking fondly of Bruce's `Circle of Iron.'All the fight scenes through out the film are choreographed well and are quite exciting. 'Fearless' does carry the message not to resort violence to settle any problem, where we can see how violence did to Huo's loved ones. The showdown between Huo and other foreign fighters also promotes the idea of sparing your enemy a chance, no matter how deadly they could be. This, somehow, reflects on part of the idea and philosophy Jet Li understands and promotes from his one year Buddhism studies. As this is a semi-bio-pic, it runs into the same inherent problems in the genre; namely that you must have something invested in the person already. The person must be someone you know something or care something about. Rarely does a movie in this genre make you care about the character if you are not interested.Read more ›
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Though i have seen the movie before and enjoyed it very much. I bought the blu ray because of the picture i saw on the web site, which when i received the movie was very dissapointed. I am a bit o c d and like to purchase only blu ray movie's with sleeve covers. So because of the picture i thought that the movie came with a sleeve, and hence the purchase. now i have this collection of blu rays all with sleeves except for the one movie. So the movie is great but the purchase was an upset.
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98 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Martial Arts Action with Soul: Jet Li's Best in YearsMay 2 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
[The following review refers to the 104 minute version of `Fearless' released in Japan in March, 2006, starring Jet Li.]
`Fearless" is inspired by the life of Huo Yuan Jia, real-life Chinese martial arts master. Jet Li plays this legendary figure, whose martial arts style and fearless fight helped the people in China regain their pride in the early 20th century when China was intimidated and humiliated by the growing Western and Japanese powers.
Well, so much for the history. Now, let's talk about actions. In `Fearless' Jet Li has shown his best performance since the days he did `Once Upon A Time In China' playing the role of Wong Fei Hung, another legendary hero in China, and the fight scenes (choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping) are all fantastic, sometimes visceral, and sometimes graceful, and always powerful. Good and smooth editing and gorgeous production designs also help greatly to create the background.
[JET LI'S PHILOSOPHY] After the opening martial arts competition sequences in Shanghai, 1910, the film begins to follow the life of Huo Yuan Jia from the days he was a boy in a flashback section. Jet Li and director Ronny Yu (yes, the guy who did `Bride of Chucky' and `Freddy vs. Jason') made a wise decision in showing Collin Chou as Father of young Huo Yuan Jia because the image of charismatic Chou (previously seen in two `Matrix' sequels as body guard Seraph) as the stern father who forbids his son to fight well-represents Li's philosophy about martial arts.
Yes, `Fearless' is a first-rate martial arts action film, but the film is more than that. The film, which was released under the title of `Spirit' in Japan, has Li's message about martial arts, which impresses without being obtrusive.
Besides splendid Collin Chou, the film has assembled interesting names from in and outside of Asia: Nathan Jones as `Hercules' one of Huo Yuan Jia's opponents: Anthony De Longis as Spanish fighter: Brandon Rhea as German fighter: Masato Harada (seen in `The Last Samurai') as Mr. Mita. Debuting actress Sun Li (Betty Li) is impressive as a blind girl, and so is Dong Yong who steals the show as Huo Yuan Jia's old friend. But probably to the Western viewers the real find is the Japanese rising star Shidou Nakamura as Anno Tanaka samurai fighter. Nakamura, who will be seen Clint Eastwood's `Red Sun, Black Sand,' is already known as a talented actor in Japan, and he shows it with the brilliant fight scenes.
But the film is of course a Jet Li film, with the genuine actions that no one but he can do, and Li also succeeds in bringing life and dignity into the character of Huo Yuan Jia. As you know, it is said that `Fearless' will be the last martial arts film for Jet Li. I don't know if it is really true, but I know this is his best film in years.
125 of 140 people found the following review helpful
This version of the film is a travesty.June 23 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
When I first saw this movie (the 104 minute version we have here) in the theatre I enjoyed it very much, but I left with the nagging feeling that something wasn't right about it. A minor quibble was that a good part of the film's main climactic scene took place right at the beginning, but more bothersome to me was the fact that the film didn't seem sure of itself-- like it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a run-of-the mill martial arts picture, or a telling of a historical tale with an underlying philosophical message. Structurally it came across primarily as the former, but watching this in the theatre I had the nagging feeling that something much deeper was inside longing to emerge. For one thing, the 104 minute version contains very choppy editing. Great spans of history pass along in a flash. For example, during the scene where Huo is living in the village, years are supposed to have passed for him there, however one gets the feeling watching this that it has only been a few weeks. Furthermore, one simply doesn't buy, in this version of the movie, that he has really learned the lessons he is supposed to have learned-- or even that the film itself has much awareness of what those lessons were. The narrative seems very rushed, as though the filmmakers simply couldn't be bothered to tell their own story and were eager for the next fight scene to come along. I remember leaving the theatre thinking that it was a good movie, but also that a better, more fulfilling story, was waiting to be told about this fascinating character. Little did I know!
Fast forward a few months to the release of this DVD. I bought it, as I said I enjoyed the movie, but when I watched it I noticed something different about the subtitles-- they seemed to lack the same penetrating subtlety of perception that were found within the best scenes of the theatrical version. The two most glaring examples were during the "Tea" scene, where a very profound exchange between Huo and Tanaka gets reduced to a bunch of gibberish, and at the end, when Tanaka's manager asks him how he could say that Huo won and (in the theatrical version) he says "I know it in my heart" whereas in this version he simply mutters a threat. Again, it's still a good movie on some level, but watching this version one can't help the feeling that there is something much better within it waiting to come out.
AND THERE MOST CERTAINLY IS.
Surfing around online one night I discovered that there exists a "Director's Cut" of this movie that was released early this year (only in China though) that contained a whopping /40 minutes/ of extra footage. 40 minutes? How do you add 40 minutes to a 100 minute movie without basically making a whole new movie? This I had to find out. Fortunately I had previously hacked my DVD player to play all regions so I didn't hesitate to order the movie (which is presently only available in a region 3 compatible format). When I eventually watched the film, I came to a number of realizations.
1) This was the movie that was originally intended. It is not one of those "Director's Cuts" where loads of extra unnecessary crap is tacked on. This was the movie that was made to be seen, and it was butchered for its North American release.
2) The movie is an absolute masterpiece and currently resides in my top 5 movies of all time. I do not say this lightly. All my uneasiness about the 104 minute version evaporated entirely with this one. For one thing the structure of the narrative is greatly improved-- the climactic fight scene takes place at the end (where it was always supposed to and where it feels much more natural). For another, the movie actually feels like a story now-- told completely and deliberately. The bulk of the footage that was reinserted was from the movie's middle (and most important) act, where Huo is on his self-imposed exile. This version actually takes the time to flesh out Huo's relationship with Moon, and to show us exactly how the cosmic forces conspired to show him the error in his previous mode of life. One really gets the feeling watching this version, that Li's character is evolving, and the transition is very believable-- we are right there beside him, taking notes. Compare this to the shorter version where everything seemed disjointed and rushed. Furthermore, the Director's Cut contains more footage of Huo as a precocious child, which does much to give us a full picture of his life and spiritual evolution. An added bonus is that the Director's Cut contains the original, vastly superior subtitles, which actually seem to have been translated by someone who understood the story, and the subtlety of the philosophy it was trying to convey.
3) Lastly, whoever edited this movie for American theatres wanted to do away with the philosophical soul of this wonderful film, and leave us with a stereotypical "Kung Fu" flick. The result was that one of the greatest movies ever made was almost totally lost. If you just want to see Jet Li dominate, watch Fist of Legend. If you want to see the spirit and essence of the martial arts captured on screen, a wonderfully told story of a very fascinating character, and a beautiful portrait of how the forces of Nature are constantly conspiring to push us ahead in our spiritual advancement-- watch the Director's Cut of this film. Anything less is a waste of time.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
How to Fix the Problem with the Directors Cut...July 15 2008
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Don't miss out on a great movie because of Universal Studios mistake!
It has been confirmed that JET LI'S FEARLESS: DIRECTOR'S CUT, Universal's highly anticipated re-release of Ronny Yu's Huo Yuanjia biopic promising nearly 40 minutes of additional footage is missing the director's cut. Released July 8th, it promised three versions of the movie, one of which was supposed to be the complete two hour and 21 minute director's cut. However, upon inspecting the two-disc release purchased from Walmart today both discs contain only 103-minute international and theatrical versions. Other readers have been e-mailing and posting messages on this site stating the same problem which suggests this defect is widespread.
Additionally, both discs appear to function erratically in my player. Disc two displays nothing but pixels and disc one periodically will not start up. I was only able to confirm the contents of disc two by using a disc burning tool. Both discs appear to be identical and the director's cut is no where to be found despite what the back cover clearly states.
Universal was unavailable for comment at the time of writing and an e-mail sent Thursday has so far gone unanswered.
At this point I would suggest that anyone who is considering buying this release to not do so until Universal releases corrected discs and issues a statement, preferably along with a recall.
For those who have already purchased the defective FEARLESS discs and are unable to return them to the store, try contacting Universal direct during normal, weekday business hours. You may also want to notify your local retailer.
Universal Home Entertainment Phone: 818-777-1000 E-mail: [...]
!!Attention!! !!Attention!! !!Attention!! !!Attention!! Universal Studios Writes: Thank you for contacting Universal Studios Home Entertainment. We strive to provide the highest standard in product quality and customer care.
Please let us know your shipping address and daytime telephone number, and we will send you a postage paid envelope in which to return your "Jet Li's Fearless Director's Cut" disc #1 for replacement. In the envelope, please send the original disc #1 only, along with a copy of this correspondence.
Please allow 1 - 4 weeks to receive your replacement.
We appreciate your patronage and hope that you will continue to enjoy this and future Universal releases.
Consumer Relations UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
The prequel to Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection!Dec 10 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Let me just say that I cannot wait to own this movie. It was not until after watching it, when reviewing my copy of Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection, that I realized that Jet Li's Fearless is actually the prequel to Chinese Connection. Remember in the beginning of Chinese Connection, when they're talking about their master dying from poison? Well this movie shows you what happened to their master as he grew up and learned to be one of the greatest fighters in the world.
I have seen over a hundred "kung fu" movies. Most of them were "B" movies at best, but I watched them because of the fascinating martial arts battles which took place in them.
Jet Li's Fearless is by far the greatest martial arts film I have ever seen. The story, screenplay, fight coreography, acting and action are all top of the line.
The fight scenes demonstrate a realism which pays great attention to detail and the authenticity of actual martial arts styles and limitations. They depict characters dishing out and taking a lot of punishment, which was characteristic of practitioners of the Iron Fist, Iron Palm and Iron Body disciplines of Kung Fu.
Taking place in colonial China, it is the true story of a man who stands up for his country against an oppressive regime which is bent upon their humiliation and dehumanization. After defeating a champion British boxer in a boxing ring using amazing Kung Fu techniques, the main character, played by Jet Li, is challenged to partake in a special tournament. Within this tournament, he must defeat four of the world's greatest fighters. They include both masters of weapons and bare handed fighting techniques. Let's just say that the battles between them are epic and amazingly done.
If you enjoy martial arts films, this is a must see. If you know someone who likes them, this movie will not disapoint them. Buy it today, you won't regret it. The flashy fight scenes guarantee much replay value.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Director's Cut arrives to U.S. DVD; Re-cut, Re-Edited and Restored to All its Glory! Jet Li's Last Wu Shu Film?May 21 2008
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FEARLESS is one of the BEST Kung Fu films I've seen in a long time. The film is based on the real-life tale of the legendary Huo Yuan Jia, founder of the Jin Wu Martial Arts Federation. Up to this day, is still considered to be one of best established Kung Fu schools. "Fearless" is among Jet Li's best; right up there with his most memorable roles as Wong Fei Hung and Fong Sai Yuk. Some may say that "Fearless" is a prequel (of sorts) to Bruce Lee's "Fist of Fury" (aka. Chinese Connection) and Jet Li's "Fist of Legend", where the two renowned stars play Huo's greatest student.
The story may be a bit simple, but delivers a strong message NOT to be ignored. It explores the consequences of revenge and the sin of hubris. Arrogance is a strong taint in one's soul and vengeance darkens it. The message is that tolerance and understanding is the way of a TRUE master, humility his tool and above all, honor is the true goal. Huo learned quite a lot in his experiences, and what is more important is that he learned from his mistakes.
The theatrical cut of "Fearless" was very good, but it did suffer a bit in pacing. Now, with this Director's cut, we see why. The theatrical release was edited in a way that action films were cut, now, re-cut and re-edited; Fearless is better than ever. It now feels more of a dramatization and re-edited in a way a TRUE Martial Arts Epic should be...
There are major differences in the director's cut, with 40 minutes more footage. This version is even better than the recent unrated version. It includes the opening sequence with Michelle Yeoh and while the previous release started in the middle of the action, this cut begins the story with Huo in a boat. I will outline the scenes because I can still remember (I saw this version in 2006) since this film gave me such impact with its message and emotional action sequences.
1. Opening sequence with Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese diplomat, in the bid to consider Wu Shu in the Olympics.
2. This cut shows more of Huo's childhood. From his determination to study Wu Shu that he stole his father's notebooks that leads up to his second encounter with the boy who had beaten him after Huo's father was beaten in a match. Huo also has a rematch with the same boy before he fought him again as an adult.
3. Huo's arrogance is explored, he is often in a disagreement with his best friend.
4. After he had fled the town and found by farmers. There are additional scenes where he mends. He learns more of the farmers' lifestyle and becomes puzzled how these simple people can be so gentle and humble in their ways. He admires how they care for an old ailing bull. Huo's blossoming relationship with the blind girl is more explored.
5. Now, this is the keeper; this scene was included in the theatrical release in Thailand. Huo defends the honor of a child who is accused of stealing an animal, he offers himself for punishment while an "incense" still burns. He engages a Muay Thai fighter in combat but instead of fighting back, he only defends himself and ends up saving his opponent's life.
Now, for the question; is the director's cut worth owning? A RESOUNDING YES...in spades!! Jet Li is in his absolute best in this film. Not only do we see him in excellent fights (choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo-Ping), in this cut we also see his skills as an actor. The renowned action star can indeed perform in a very emotion-driven role. The extra 40 minutes of footage is worth every penny that this release even outshines the previous unrated release.
Jet Li claims that this will be his last WU SHU film. ( I hope not). Li has won Best Actor in the recent Hong Kong film awards for his role in the historical epic; "The Warlords". Director Ronny Yu has definitely redeemed himself with "Fearless" after his abysmal "Bride of Chucky". (Freddy vs. Jason, anyone?)
HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!! [5- stars]
VIDEO/AUDIO: 2.40 Anamorphic Widescreen. The picture is flawless, strong blacks, radiant colors and nary a speck of dirt or compression artifacts are visible. It has not been clarified if this region-1 release will carry the awesome 6.1 DTS Mandarin Language track. It is expected to also carry the unrated Theatrical release.
Note: Parts of this review was originally posted under the region-3 release.