Danny the Dog ( Unleashed )
"Unleashed" by Yojimbo
Jet Li plays the son of a Chinese immigrant who is taken in by a London gangster at a young age and brought up as a kind of human attack dog, kept in a cage and trained only to fight. Upon finding himself free for the first time in his life after an attack by a rival mobster, he returns to the only person who ever showed him kindness, blind piano tuner Morgan Freeman; but the past inevitably catches up with him. Actually this rather unpromising and hokey sounding premise is easily the films greatest weakness. If you can look past it, you'll discover an extremely stylish and unusual thriller. The scenes between Li and Freeman's family have a genuine warmth and sincerity which never resorts to schmaltz, Li in particular bringing an innocence and pathos to his role. The direction is much more sophisticated than you would expect from an action film, and the East End gangland setting combined with the bursts of visceral violence is very reminiscent of Guy Ritchie's work. If anything, the fight scenes are amongst the least interesting parts of the film, the arena scene in particular is clumsy and unnecessary but Jet Li's athleticism and skill are always worth watching. A superior action film that's far from the usual dim-witted thuggery you'd expect from Hollywood.