Film review by: Witney Seibold
I was a bit disoriented by this film, but found myself thoroughly enjoying some of the violent fight scenes. I also really started to get into the groove of it when I realized that it is very similar to the Disney animated feature Lilo & Stitch.
Just go with me for a second: One features a little blue alien grown specially to kill. The other features a kung-fu-fighting wildman (Jet Li, finally showing a small bit of his acting chops in an English-language film, acting shops that have sadly been denied him on this side of the Pacific) trained by a tough-talking Glaswegian loan shark (Bob Hoskins, and God bless him too) to beat people to death whenever his collar is removed. The cartoon features a cute little Hawaiian girl who teaches the blue monster how to live on earth and the meaning of family. This film has an adorable 18-year-old piano student (Kerry Condon whose knee-length socks and braces are so cute as to border on the fetishistic. Or perhaps I’m just a pervert. I haven’t decided which.) who, with her blind stepfather (Morgan Freeman) teaches the wildman how to get around in Glasgow and the meaning of family. The blue alien grows to love Elvis. The wildman grows to love Mozart. They both have big chase scenes at the end, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying the good guys triumph in both.
The main difference is that while I kinda dug Lilo & Stitch and its attempts at quirky humor, I was a little disoriented by the ultra-seriousness of the Euro-action of Unleashed. It was written by Luc Besson who made The Fifth Element, so I know that there should have been a bit more humor involved. But French director Louis Leterrier has chosen a tone that skips alternately from serious tragedy to comic actioner to tragic actioner to heartwarming family drama, and it seriously unravels on the way. It ends up falling somewhere not hideous, but in a place where you get a nice strong whiff of the cheese.
Many, however, will not attend a Let Li for any of the above, but to see him flex his considerable fighting muscles. The fight scenes are raw and gritty and well choreographed and will not disappoint. The rest of the film, well, it just may.