"Fearless" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 04/29/12
Fearless is based on the life of Huo Yuanjia, a martial artist who became the figurehead of Chinese national pride at the turn of the century. The format is all very familiar; a famous fighter becomes drunk on his own success until his arrogance results in tragedy leading to his downfall. He learns what is important in life and overcomes adversity to fight a final battle to restore the pride of his country. Yes, Rocky, The Karate Kid and a hundred others have followed this formula, but the fact that this is in fact based on a true story gives it much greater credibility. I would also have to say that, although I may be biased, the way the Chinese approach the subject matter is something akin to comparing a piece of artful, moving poetry to Hollywood's ham-fisted and tacky greetings card rhyme. Full of the kind of beautiful imagery you'd expect from a nouveau martial arts film, and typical of the kind of superb action sequences you'd expect from Jet Li and Yuen Wo Ping (fight choreographer for The Matrix amongst others) it's yet another example of Asian cinema at it's finest.
Addendum: I would have to recommend the Blu Ray edition of this film as not only does it look fantastic, but the director's cut restores 40 minutes of material cut from the centre section which although virtually action free, forms the heart and soul of the story.