Unleashed


Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Written by:Luc Besson
Starring: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon, Vincent Regan
Released: August 18, 2005
Grade: C+

This film was originally titled Danny The Dog.  I’m not surprised they changed the title.  What I am surprised about is how unexpectedly poor this film was.  All you need do is watch the first 10 minutes, walk outside for 80 minutes and do some shopping, then come back for the final 10 minutes.  You will have missed very little and have no trouble picking up the storyline.

Martial arts star Jet Li stars as Danny, a man who has been raised as an animal all his life.  His master, Bart (Hoskins), has an unusual way of keeping him under control.  When he has his collar on, Danny is a docile individual who stays in his cage and doesn’t do much.  When the collar comes off, Danny is a remorseless fighting machine who can defeat any challenger.

Bart is in the dirty business of debt collection and Danny is ideal protection.  His debtors always pay when threatened with the prospect of Bart removing Danny’s collar.  They know his reputation.  When a job goes bad however, Bart is shot and Danny flees.  He finds his way to a piano tuner named Sam (Freeman) and his daughter, Victoria (Condon).  They take him into their home and show him the world he has never known.

There isn’t much more to this story.  A solid half-hour is wasted developing Danny’s plight and his growing relationship with Sam and Victoria.  It’s tedious and obvious.  Those expecting action won’t find as much as they’d hope for.  Those expecting drama will be looking beyond the cinema doors.  That said, the above average score from the public on the Internet Movie Database suggests there’s people out there who will disagree with my opinion.

There’s a scene in the film where Bob Hoskins tells Jet Li that the past can’t be changed and instead, one should be more concerned with the future.  How appropriate that comment is.  I can’t change the past and I shouldn’t worry about the two hours wasted.  Ah, but I can influence the future.  I can tell people not to bother with Unleashed and try another movie instead.