It’s always fun to watch some solid martial art battles. The choreography tends to be quite excellent and the battles are fast paced. This one is also going for a fairly realistic style so you won’t see a whole lot of flying through the air like in some other titles. I don’t doubt that some parts are a bit exaggerated in this cinematic retelling of Huo Yuannija’s life but I’d say it gets the themes across. He makes his share of mistakes but ultimately does well in the end. It’s a satisfying movie to check out all the way through.

The film starts off with Huo taking on the world’s strongest fighters and easily defeating them all. It’s a 4 on 1 gauntlet although each match is one on one, it’s just that they’re all back to back which puts Huo at a bit of a disadvantage there. He is about to start the final match when we flashback to Huo as a kid and the rest of the film follows his story chronologically until we finally get back to the ending. Huo always wanted to be a great fighter but his father didn’t allow this because Huo had asthma and so it was dangerous. Well, Huo ends up learning anyway and becomes the best fighter in the land. The problem is that the fame gets to him and he allows himself to attract a rather large crowd of people who aren’t the best of individuals.

Ultimately this leads to him being manipulated and his family pays the price. He needs to find his way once more while at a village on the outskirts of society and a blind lady named Yueci but can he really return to his days of fighting or is it all over? This is all happening amidst a backdrop of his city being taken over by foreigners and so things have gotten rather rough over there. The people need their champion if they are to have any chance of fighting back.

This isn’t a war film though, but it helps to show why the fights were very important. If Huo didn’t make a move then the rest of the land would surely suffer as a result. His inaction would ultimately be a big negative to the world at large. Huo definitely has a lot of real skill and you have to imagine that he must have trained for hours and hours to reach this level. He was absolutely one of the best fighters in the world based on this film and even by the end nobody could really touch him. I’m sure fans of the guy would be pleased with how he looks here since the guy seems all but invincible based on this.

He definitely made a big mistake in attacking his rival so quickly though. It was a shame to see even as it was happening because you just knew he was being played the whole time. Honestly even if his pupil had been attacked you definitely need to know the full story first. He also wrecked things for his friend Jinsun which is hard to turn back. Huo ultimately learns a lot from the experience but it’s the definition of learning things the hard way.

The film isn’t afraid to get rather violent at times and the tragedy that happened to Huo is pretty brutal. On the whole the film isn’t very violent beyond that which is part of why the scene sticks out. They weren’t pulling any punches there and I suppose if it happened in real life then it needed to be adapted but otherwise I’d say they should have skipped that part. It’s also tough because his family really had nothing to do with his skirmish and the villains just took the easy way out in going after them.

Meanwhile the rival Qin seemed like a decent guy. If not for being framed I don’t think the two main characters would have really come to serious blows. The guy had his share of trash talk to be sure but otherwise he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would be using cheap shots or anything like that. It would have been a very intense fight but a fair one across the board. It’s just too bad that he didn’t get that proper fight. Huo likely would have won but at least Qin would have been able to still be alive and train some more.

Yueci is a nice heroine throughout the film and it always seems like it has to be really tough to survive while you’re blind. Every action just feels a million times harder but she never complains and does her best. She’s instrumental in helping Huo reach the next level without a doubt. It’s why you’re glad that she gets a happy ending at least. It’s nice to think of the ending as quite literal because then in a way two really good things happened to her back to back. You can’t ask for much more of a good ending than that.

Huo’s friend Jinsun also gets a lot of credit for sticking by the lead all those years. Even when Huo was making a lot of mistakes and not being grateful, Jinsun took care of his family in the background. That’s not something that just anyone would do and it shows that his loyalty was true all the way. I was also glad that the opponents in the final tournament weren’t just made to be nameless throwaways and had real character. This even goes back to the first opponent before the tournament. In the exhibition fight O’Brien turns out to be a very reasonable guy who wants a clean fight and isn’t looking to get dirty. When he realizes that he would have lost, he gladly gives Huo the credit.

We see something similar with Tanaka at the end who was really a class act. Often times you’d see these opponents just be as corrupt as the officials but that wasn’t the case here. I appreciated the nuance and Tanaka ended up being my favorite character. He just seemed like a really nice guy who was confident in his abilities but wanted to win in a fair way. That’s the kind of guy you want to have as your opponent and the final fight was definitely a lot of fun. Some annoying circumstances prevented it from being quite as great as it should have been but it was really solid regardless.

Overall, The writing in this film was really good and I definitely enjoyed the fights. It was a well balanced movie all around and one that I could easily recommend to anyone wanting to check out a solid film. It’s got a satisfying conclusion which is always important in these things and you should be on the edge of your seat the whole time. Additionally as was not familiar with the man the film is based on, it helps the film keep its suspense as I don’t really know what will happen next. In general it always helps when you don’t know the original material since everything is more of a surprise. So you should check out this film sooner than later in case you learn about this guy at some point and so you can enjoy the film experience first.

2 thoughts on “Fearless

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