How a @$$hole can remembered as a hero instead.
Indyfreak - wrote on 01/03/15
Jet Li stars as real-life martial artist Huo Yuanjian who lost everything because of his arrogance including his family and his reputation. But eventually over a self-imposed exile, he returns to the spotlight in 1910 to compete in an international tournament against fighters representing every colonial power of the time in order to help China regain its national pride. My biggest complaint is about its abrupt shift in tone.
I have to admit that the second half really took me by surprise at how dark
and depressing it became. (SPOILERS) So he finds that a student of his was beaten by a rival so he interrupts his rival's birthday celebration and KILLS him during the fight. Afterwards he discovers the rival had a noble reason and in return Huo Yuanjian's family is murdered out of revenge. Dear god, this was awful to sit through.
Jet Li delivers a good performance, His character arc was interesting from when he was a boy to an arrogant young man to an older and wiser person. I'll admit thought that it bothered me that his tale of redemption "absolves" him from straight-up murdering a dude.
But the fight scenes were all very well done and remained interesting. I'll also admit that the nonlinear storytelling (flashbacks and whatnot) did actually confuse me to the point it was over sooner than I thought it would be. I was like "oh that's it?"