Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fearless


If you can handle subtitles and some movie violence with a great message, then I've got a movie recommendation for you: Jet Li's Fearless.

To some, the name Jet Li will immediately invoke the genre of this film: it's a Chinese martial-arts epic, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. To me, the name Jet Li meant nothing, though I just realized (from the Wikipedia article linked to above) that he starred in one of the few other martial arts films I have seen (and enjoyed more than Crouching Tiger), Hero.

It's a genre hallmarked by highly choreographed fighting filled with grace and beauty, and occasionally defying belief (moments of flying, for example). Of the handful that I have seen, Fearless is my favorite story line. (My favorite fight scene--for sheer beauty--was in Hero.)

Huo Yuanjia, the main character, was a real-life hero in China in a time of national upheaval and threat by surrounding nations. The movie version begins with him as a brash, undefeated, well-known fighter who pridefully and foolishly picks a fight he spends the rest of his life regretting. He spends time in the country, in solitude and penance, before re-entering the arena (a changed man) to start a training center for young athletes. In the midst of a tournament in which he fights to raise money for the school, he is poisoned and dies during the fight (spewing blood from his mouth--the most disturbing scene of the movie), a death which is made most honorable and redemptive by his deeply respectful opponent, who declares the dying man the winner.

I think this is a great character-building movie for older boys (our mature nearly-8 year old loved it). But Blondechick14 and I really enjoyed it too. Do understand the genre--martial arts fighting scenes are a big (and breathtaking) part of the movie!

2 comments:

Randi said...

We love that movie! Jet Li is wonderful to watch--he is a true martial arts master! He has incredible grace.

Kathryn said...

I'll have to let Rinda and her girls know about this - they love Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon!

Happy first day of spring Jeanne!