ALTHOUGH it may seem like just another action-packed let Li martial arts period
flick, Fearless seems more
significant than even his ground-breaking Once upon a Time in China
movies. This is not because it may be the last time we see Li in that trademark
period costume martial arts role, but because it is a more mature movie than his
previous ones. While the role of Huo Yuanjia, founder of the martial arts school
Jing Wu Men, may seem like yet another rehash
of his Wong Fei Hong and Fong Sai Yuk roles, he is in his element here,
especially when it comes to the fight sequences.
Using minimal wirework, the fight scenes awesomely choreographed by Yuen Wo
Ping, bring out the best of Li's martial arts skills. Be warned that there are
some brutal scenes of bones being broken.
The plot may be relatively predictable - weak child grows up to become
arrogant kung fu master, who then experiences heart-breaking tragedy that drives
him into exile, and leads to him achieving enlightenment in a farming village
before returning home to become an honourable kung fu legend. But it is very
much worth a watch mostly because it manages to deliver its message of honour,
respect and patriotism in a very butt-kicking kind of way.
It may not be perfect, but all things considered, Fearless manages to
bring Li's long filmography of martial arts movies to a fitting and