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Danny The Dog / Unleashed (2005)

Director : Louis Leterrier
Costume Designer : Olivier Beriot
Martial Arts Choreographer : Yuen Woo Ping
Wire Technology : Circle Crew Ltd Philippe Guegan
Production Manager : Thierry Guilmard
Line Producer : Bernard Grenet
Re-recording Mixers :  L Cyril & Francois Joseph Hors
Sound Designer : Vincent Tulli
Music : Massive Attack
Editor : Nicholas Trebasiewicz
Creative Consultant : Robert Mark Kamen
Production Designer : Jacques Burnoir
Cinematographer : Pierre Morel
Co-Producer : Pierre Spengler
Producers : Luc Besson, Jet Li, Steven Chasman
Writer : Luc Besson
Cast : Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon, Vincent Regan, Dylan Brown, Tamer Hassan ,Michael Jenn

Danny was raised as a dog, and when is collar is taken off, he turns into a killing machine. After finding a new way of life from a friendly piano tuner and his adopted daughter, Danny learns that life is more than what he has known for his entire life. He learns of his mother’s fate and is hunted by his former master.

by Edward Tang

I haven’t been a big fan of Jet Li’s work outside of his native Hong Kong. To be honest I tuned out when I heard that he was working with shit holes named DMX and Tom Arnold (Bleh). But Danny the Dog, or also known as Unleashed is the first step in the right direction since he left. Jet actually stretches his acting ability to a key and wins over the audience with his innocent mind and his curious nature. I wasn’t sure if he would be able to act over the talents such as Freeman or Hoskins, but he does a great job. The action doesn’t cease to impress me either, every scene looks good and is easily cut into what is otherwise a very nice story. Expecting an action bonanza or something that will match up to Jet’s earlier fighting scenes probably will leave you dry. But everything in between is solid and makes for a good experience that should leave you satisfied if you look into the picture of simple humanity. 

Jet stars as Danny, who basically has no intelligence and is very innocent when the collar is on. When the collar is taken off, he turns into a vicious killer, prompted by heinous mob boss Bart (Hoskins). Bart takes him around and destroys anyone in his way with Danny’s fierce no-holds barred fighting skill. One day however, Danny finds a blind piano tuner (Freeman) who teaches him a song, and distracts Danny from accomplishing is goal. Before long, Bart is betrayed by an enemy and his car is destroyed, which lets Danny escape. He meets up with the piano tuner and his daughter, a musician of course. Then basically you see Danny and the family react to new experiences that he has yet to feel. Then Bart comes back into the picture and fucks everything up, but Danny learns a lesson about being human, and must decide whether to kill Bart or let him live.

The story has about three chapter, in which I noticed. The first dealt with Danny destroying the shit out of everyone. The second involved Danny reacting in his new environment and learning new human skills. The third involves Danny using his skills and trying to cope with what he had done and trying not to fall back into his former life cycle. It moves in a very interesting pace, I thought the story was given to you very quickly and not really explained in detail (not a problem for a fucker like me). More of the better scenes in this were Danny reacting to things that he had not occurred. Such as eating ice cream or sleeping in actual clothes rather than a pile of rags. But the way the story is told seems to have such a meaning of human life that shows that anyone can be saved from a horrible life. 

Jet Li is at his best here, he looks good physically and can actually act a circle around these established veterans. He brings a simplicity to the character that makes you want him to escape, and learn a new life. He looks awesome in his fighting sequences as well and always tends to make you smile when he does something that seems too basic for me and you. Bob Hoskins plays one hell of a villain, always playing Danny with his persuasive talk and his harsh nature. I haven’t seen Hoskins in a role lately and hopefully he gets some mention for his role, that plays the true scum of this Earth. Morgan Freeman is the final person I will mention, whom more or less reprises something he has done in the past. But don’t get me wrong, his presence is always welcome in a film such as this. The actors that carry this film belong to Li and Hoskins, they have good chemistry and save this film from possibly being a bad acted spectacle (Jet in pajamas and getting brain freeze alone chomps on my machismo)

Finally the action sequences do save this film from being just another love fest of kisses and crap. I can’t say they pass up such Fist of Legend greatness, but they are definitely worth the price of admission. One in particular with a guy in a white suit, whom looks like a karate master of some type, they just have an all out brawl that looks good and has frequently shots of beauty. The only things that this film lacks in is a good story telling base, basically they give you everything on the poster. But not to fear, the film has a bulk of goodness that Jet’s other Hollywood flicks wish they could steal and bastardize. 

This is definitely a good film that is worth a view. Being a different Jet Li film that actually has a good character base and a worthy base for a story, this film can not be passed up. It isn’t the best film of the year, but in everything it gives you, you should enjoy the fruits that finally have happened when Jet finally grasped the type of film he should have been doing, rather than fighting with Mel Gibson.

Plot : 3/5
Acting : 4/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 4/5

Notable Scenes
- The fight scenes and the reveal of Danny’s true past..

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Danny The Dog / Unleashed

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