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Jet Li's Fearless
Jet Li 2006.jpg
Jet Li ved premieren på Fearless
Originaltitel Huo Yuan Jia
Genre Action
Instrueret af Ronny Yu
Produceret af William Kong
Medvirkende Jet Li
Distributør United International Pictures i Europa, Rogue Pictures i USA
Udgivelsesdato 26. januar 2006 i Kina
Længde 105 min.
Sprog Primært mandarin
DVD ja
på IMDb
på CinemaZone

Fearless, known in Chinese as Huo Yuanjia is a 2006 film directed by Ronny Yu and starring Jet Li. It is loosely based on the life of Huo Yuanjia, a legendary Chinese martial artist who challenged foreign fighters in highly publicised events, restoring pride and nationalism to China at a time when Western Imperialism and Japanese manipulation were eroding the country. Jet Li stated in an interview that this film is his last wushu martial arts epic, a point also made in the movie's television promotions and other publicity. Fearless was released on June 23, 2006 in the United Kingdom, and on September 22, 2006 in the United States.

  • Tagline: "Fate made him a warrior, courage made him a hero"

Plot[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Jet Li loosely portrays the life of martial arts master Huo Yuanjia. The plot differs greatly from the actual life of Huo Yuanjia.

The movie starts off with Huo Yuanjia fighting 3 Westerners: a boxer, a spearfighter and a fencer. Huo Yuanjia beats them all, and makes it his habit to bow to the opponent. Just as he is about to fight Anno Tanaka, the final contestant, Huo Yuanjia has a flashback.

The story flashes back to when Huo Yuanjia was a small boy. His father, Huo Endi, was a great fighter but did not want his asthmatic son to follow in his footsteps, and hence refused to teach Yuanjia martial arts. Huo secretly watched his father's training and taught himself how to fight.

The young Yuanjia then witnesses his father "losing" a Lei tai match; in actuality, his father struck the winning blow of the match, because he delivered a fatal technique which he mercifully pulled short so that his opponent would not be killed. However, his opponent dishonorably struck back after Huo Endi's winning blow, causing Huo Endi to "lose" the match when he is knocked off the stage. Yuanjia is taunted by the son of the man who defeated his father and he steps up to defend the Huo family name. Yuanjia gets beaten up by the boy and he swears never to lose again.

As the years pass, Yuanjia grows into a powerful fighter, winning fight after fight on the Lei tai until he becomes known as one of the greatest fighters in Tianjin, China. However, as his success grows, he becomes arrogant and increasingly ruthless, unlike his late father. When a rival martial arts master named Qin Lei (Master Chin in the US version) apparently injures one of Huo's followers, Huo forces Qin to fight him to the death during Qin's birthday celebration. Yuanjia's businessman friend, Nong Jinsun, urges him to settle the matter later, but Yuanjia refuses, insulting Nong. After much effort, during which the fighters demolish a restaurant, Huo—unlike his father who had previously held off during the Lei tai match—kills Qin with a fatal blow. However, when he returns home, he realizes that his mother and daughter (Jade in the US version) have been killed in revenge. Guided by fury, he goes to Qin's home and finds Qin's Godson, who admits to slaughtering Huo's family, and that he alone was responsible. Qin's Godson then commits suicide before Huo can kill him.As he leaves, his pupils approach, and force the pupil that was injured by Qin to tell Huo that the reason Qin attacked his pupil was because the pupil had slept with Qin's concubine (in the American version he insults Qin's mistress). Crazed with grief and shame, Huo flees Tianjin and wanders aimlessly for many miles, no longer caring about himself. A disheveled, greying wanderer, he nearly drowns in a river, but is saved by Granny Sun (Grandma in the US version) and her blind granddaughter, Yueci (Moon in the US version). They bring him back to their village and guided by their simple acts of kindness, Huo begins to learn the value of kindness and mercy.

In 1907, Huo Yuanjia returns to a very different Tianjin than the one he had left. No longer a comfortable rural village, it is now a bustling city, crowded with foreign troops and merchants. There, he makes peace with his past—visiting the graves of his family and apologizing for his faults, and paying his respects to the family of Master Qin.

He then reconciles with Nong Jinsun and challenges the American fighter, Hercules O'Brien, who was making headlines defeating Chinese fighters and dismissing them as the 'Weak men of the East'. To the astonishment of the foreigners, Huo not only wins the fight, but the admiration of O'Brien in the process by saving O'Brien's life. Huo Yuanjia's fame begins to spread with successive challenges with other foreign fighters, and with funding from Nong Jinsun, he sets up Jing Wu Men, a martial arts school in Shanghai.

The members of the foreign Chambers of Commerce fear that Huo Yuanjia's victory will fan anti-western sentiments in the Chinese people and lead to revolts, so they seek to humiliate him. They challenge him to a match in which he will take on four foreign champions in a single evening: a British boxer, a German lancer, a Spanish fencer, and a Japanese martial artist. Though Jinsun urges Huo to refuse such an unfair challenge, Huo decides to accept, adding that afterwards, he intends to take a break and visit Granny and Yueci. He also accepts an invitation to join the Japanese challenger, Anno Tanaka, for tea. While there, they have an important debate about the value of the martial arts. Tanaka believes the goal of a martial artist is to defeat his opponent, but Huo impresses Tanaka by successfully arguing that the goal of studying martial arts is self-improvement, and that challenge matches are important not because of who wins or loses but because they provide a way for a practitioner to gauge his progress and can act as a focal point in his training. The two fighters leave with a friendly respect for each other, looking almost as if the two were actually friends.

The match was now found to have taken place on September 14, 1910. The flashback is over. Huo Yuanjia faces Tanaka in a titanic battle. In the first round, they fight with their weapons of choice. Yuanjia uses a Three section staff and Tanaka uses a Katana.The fight is extraordinarily close and ends in a draw. At this point, both Huo and Tanaka have also formed a silent friendship based on mutual respect.

Before the second round, Huo drinks from a teacup that was switched unseen with his teacup, while he was fighting in the first round. In the second round, to be fought without weapons, Huo has difficulty breathing, loses his strength, and starts vomiting blood (the teacup he drank from was poisoned with arsenic). Tanaka and Huo's students immediately demand that the fight be stopped, but Huo replies that they might as well finish it since he will die regardless.

In his weakened state, Huo is no match for Tanaka but sees an opening to seize victory by delivering the same fatal technique that he had used to defeat and kill Master Qin. However, at the last second, he pulls the strike, letting it land without any power behind it, just like his father did in the start of the movie. As Huo collapses, Tanaka realizes both Huo's mastery and his mercy and helps Huo back to his feet, raises his arm and declares him the victor. The crowd from all sides cheer as they call out Huo's name.

When the furious Japanese diplomat confronts Tanaka and accuses him of throwing their victory away, Tanaka, perhaps knowing that he was the one who was behind the poisoning, angrily slams him against a pillar and calls the diplomat a disgrace to Japan.

The movie ends with a scene of Huo practising his Wushu on a hill, while Yueci observes him from a distance.

Characters[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Note: Chinese names order the family name before the given name.

  • Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲; Hanyu Pinyin: Huò Yuánjiǎ) – The main character, who starts as a talented fighter.
  • Nong Jinsun – Huo's childhood friend, who finances Huo's forays into fighting.
  • Yueci (Moon in the U.S. versions) – A peasant girl who nurses Huo back to health.
  • Hercules O'Brien - A beefy American champion whom Huo challenges.
  • Anno Tanaka (田中安野 Tanaka An'no) – The Japanese challenger to Huo.

Cast[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Production[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Alternate versions[redigér | redigér wikikode]

The film was originally approximately 140 minutes long, but to fit market demand, it was cut to 105 minutes, and scenes by Michelle Yeoh and a fight between Jet Li and a Thai boxer, portrayed by Somluck Kamsing, were removed. A special release of the film in Thailand in March 2006 reinserted the scenes with Somluck (but not Michelle Yeoh), making its new running time approximately 110 minutes. In January of 2007, Ronny Yu's original 140 minute Director's Cut was given an official DVD release in Hong Kong, featuring the full Michelle Yeoh sub plot as well as the fight with Somluck Kamsing.

Other names[redigér | redigér wikikode]

  • Some promotions, including television and AMC Theatres billed the film as Jet Li's Fearless.
  • The film is also known as Spirit in Japan.

Connections with other films[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Comparisons can be drawn between this film and one of Jet Li's earlier films, Fist of Legend. The character of Huo Yuanjia is the master of Jet Li's character in Fist of Legend, Chen Zhen; in the earlier movie, Chen Zhen returns to China from Japan to avenge the murder of Huo Yuanjia, which is depicted in Fearless. The films also explore similar thematic material: in Fearless, Huo Yuanjia eventually learns that the true purpose of martial arts is self-improvement and self-development, while combat with others is useful only as a means of testing one's progress, and he teaches this lesson to his Japanese opponent. In Fist of Legend, Chen Zhen is told the same lesson by his own samurai opponent, who claims that martial arts are a means of improving one's physical health, but if one wants to kill a man, then the best way is to use a gun.

In an earlier film Fist of Fury (formerly known as The Chinese Connection), Bruce Lee portrayed Huo Yuanjia's student Chen Zhen, who seeks revenge for his poisoning. This film was the archetype of Fist of Legend.

Nakamura Shido (Anno Tanaka) appears as an extra on Fist of Legend. Near the beginning of the movie, after Chen Zhen and Funakochi Fumio leave the school, they walk down a crowded street behind a line of soldiers. The last soldier seen in that line is a very young Nakamura Shido.

The 1982 Hong Kong film Legend of a Fighter is also based on the life of Huo Yuanjia.

The weapon fight between Jet Li's Huo Yuanjia, armed with a three-section staff, and Nakamura Shido's Anno Tanaka, armed with a katana, is meant to evoke the final showdown in Fist Of Fury, where Bruce Lee counters a katana-wielding Riki Hashimoto with a nunchaku.

Controversy[redigér | redigér wikikode]

In February 2006, a great grandson of Huo Yuanjia demanded an apology for the inaccuracy portrayed in Fearless. In the film, Huo did not have any offspring as his only child was killed. Huo in real life has 7 grandsons and 11 great grandsons. No apology was offered, and the complaint came to nothing. This was because the great grandson was advised that a court case was unlikely to succeed, because the producers had not stated that the film was intended to be historically accurate. [1]

Soundtrack[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Asian pop superstar and actor Jay Chou wrote and sang the theme song to this movie, also named "Huo Yuanjia". In the song Jay Chou sings in a soprano voice for a few segments. Although the song became a huge hit on Chinese download charts, it was heavily criticized for its repetitiveness and the inaudible nature of its lyrics. The "Huo" surname is repeated a total of 128 times in the song.

The film's soundtrack was composed by Shigeru Umebayashi.

Box office[redigér | redigér wikikode]

Fearless opened in Hong Kong on January 26, 2006. The film played to blockbuster business, eventually grossed an exceptional $HK $30,201,600 HKD by the end of its run.[1]

On September 22, 2006, Fearless was released in 1,806 North American cinemas under the title Jet Li's Fearless. In its opening weekend, it placed 2nd at the box office to the sequel to Jackass, grossing $10,590,244 USD ($5,863 per screen). It was Jet Li's seventh film in a row to open to over $10 million.[2] The film went on to gross a meek $24,633,730 USD by the end of its North American run.[3]

The film's total worldwide gross is $67,129,516 USD.[4]

References[redigér | redigér wikikode]

External links[redigér | redigér wikikode]