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Rated R · 2005
It's hard to imagine that Jet Li really thought Unleashed was his ticket to more serious American roles. The premise -- Li is raised by loan shark Bob Hoskins to think that he's a kung-fu-fighting dog -- is so stupid that one would have to play it slightly tongue-in-cheek for the film to be any fun at all, and director Louis Leterrier (the superior The Transporter) goes way in the opposite direction. The fights at the beginning of the film are fun, but then there are some 40 minutes in which Li bonds with blind pianist Morgan Freeman, learns how to shop for fruit and vegetables, play the piano, and eat ice cream. This kind of ersatz Tarzan crapola simply doesn't make sense, though -- he wasn't raised by dogs but by men, who presumably taught him his fighting skills. Why didn't he learn how to talk and act from them? Only Kerry Condon, as Freeman's geeky adopted daughter, plays anything approaching a realistic character.

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