A GRIPPING ACTION-PACKED STORY ABOUT A MAN RAISED FROM CHILDHOOD BY A RUTHLESS CRIME BOSS. WHEN A BLIND PIANO TUNER TAKES HIM IN, DANNY TRIES TO START A NEW LIFE, BUT HIS BRUTAL PAST FOLLOWS HIM, FORCING HIM TO FIGHT BACK.
"This was a very good action flick. Decent storyline, fast paced. Easily one of Jet Li's best performances, with excellent support from Morgan Freeman. There is a good bit of humor as "Danny" becomes acclimated to living as a normal human being.
However, this film is BRUTALLY VIOLENT! The fight scenes are not your typical martial arts kicking and punching. Danny breaks bones, breaks necks, rips people apart and the sound effects can be disturbing. The R-rated version was definitely not for the under-sixteen crowd, and I'm sure the unrated cut will be even more so. Cautiously recommended."
Great Action Film
Ron | Jersey | 09/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you love Jet Li and his incredible acrobatic martial art skills, then this one is for you. Being an English speaking picture they had to work around Jet's limited English. The story however is perfect for that. Jet is a killing machine that has literally been raised like a dog by a cruel master who uses him to enforce his extortion racket as well as using him to fight in an illegal combat arena where victory only comes with your opponents death. Li escapes his lifelong captures and takes up with a blind piano tuner(Morgan Freeman) and his daughter who teach him that there is something more to life than killing. But of course his former master wants him back and all hell breaks lose. This is a great action picture with a pretty good story if you suspend a little belief. For example there are no police around despite daylight street fights and gun battles, and no one ever questions why a rag tag Jet Li is walking around with a dog collar on. But don't let that ruin a good picture for you."
Raw and Brutal, but wait...a sad drama as well.
KDA | Minnesota | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you go beyond Amazon's reviews, you'll find the majority of the public and the "critics" giving Unleashed above par to high rankings. I read a bulk of critic reviews and was amazed to find all of them actually enjoying aspects, if not the entire movie. Well, the movie does speak for itself.
Danny (Jet) is raised similar to an abused dog by Bart (Hoskins) somewhere in Scotland. Danny basically lives in a cage with a few possessions: punching bag, blanket, A-B-C book, and a stuffed animal. He knows no social skills, only to obey Bart. His world changes when he comes in contact with a piano which triggers some memory. Eventually, the piano links Danny to Morgan Freeman's character. This is where the movie shifts gears and we get to witness Jet Li's best performance in an English dialogue movie. Without giving too much away, you literally watch Danny's new life unfold as he discovers humanity; tasting ice-cream, going to the supermarket, wearing pajamas, etc. There is actually sweet humor due to the innocence played by Jet.
There is so much complaints about how children are being desensitized to violence; However, Unleashed just may resensitize one. I'm not recommending parents to allow their children to watch this, because it isn't even close to being suitable for them. What I mean is this movie shows us how violence is definitely not the answer and I actually found myself rooting for Danny(Jet)to no longer fight. You want him to just take all what he has learned in the months he has spent w/ his new family (there also is a 18 yr. old daughter in the mix) and apply it to the situations. Well, he does try, but ... it is a Jet Li movie and therefore it will have Jet Li action.
The fights are pretty brutal and harsh. There is no sweet wushu fluidness that Jet has so often displayed in the past. He basically goes ape nuts while applying some martial arts. This movie displays the 2nd most punishment fighting scenes I've witnessed; still a far cry from what you can view in "Ong Bak."
Having said all that, we all know Morgan Freeman can act, Bob Hoskins (who is normally connected to Roger Rabbit and Super Mario Brothers) does a fantastic job as a cruel slime, but surprising is Jet Li. He may have few lines, which fits his character's mentality, but he sure does make it up with body posture and well trained eyes. If you ever felt sorry for a broken down dog being abused and neglected then you'll truly be able to identify with Jet Li's portrayal. If he wasn't considered an action star...he would win an oscar.
P.S. There were a few sniffles in the audience at the end. I heard the European version, "Danny the Dog," has a little different ending...w/ tears.
4 1/2 really, because perfection is an impossibility
Maximus Odeathius | Limbo | 02/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ugh, you people who are giving bad reviews to this movie with such childish and unsympathetic and narrow-minded reasons make me sick. you're all the typical "mindless violence, no emotion" movie-goers. how about you try to be a little empathic for once in your lives? you think that entertainment should just be non-stop action with no human emotion or thought. well, i have news for you: deep emotion and understanding is what makes you, me, and all the world human. so maybe the next time you watch this movie you should be a little more open-minded and caring about the human condition and the effects of such extreme circumstances. and there actually have been extreme cases where young children have been raised as dogs... by dogs. children who act just as any stray dog might. even, literally, growling and barking, without the ability to speak. so, you see, it's not so far-fetched as you so many of you seem to think. the human mind is flexible and multi-tiered, which is what this movie is trying to portray. but you obviously didn't understand the movie or Jet Li's character, saying that he changes in the blink of an eye. which, to even the casually intelligent and perceptive observer, is quite untrue. from the very beginning of the movie i could see that deep down Danny did not want to be what he was. he always had that desire for something more (emotionally) and at the same time, something less bellicose and noisome. he had this readily evident passion and inclination for music, apparent due to his fascination with the pianos in the antiques shop basement. music was his soft side, his human side; and it's what he yearned for at all times until his collar was taken off. then his base, violent animal side took over his whole self. and he became the killer dog he was trained to be. so when Sam came into his life and brought with him the music that he craved so much it *brought out* his soft, human side. it wasn't just magically there and it wasn't an instant transformation either. seeing as how he beats and kills a few more guys after that before he really becomes human again. and even after he regains his humanity he beats the hell out of a bunch of guys. if you watch the behind the scenes, Morgan Freeman speaks of the "juxtaposition of the violence and non-violence." and it is this theme, of the truly violent but at the same time loving and kind nature that exists within all of us, that i think attracted Freeman to this film. and in my opinion this juxtaposition is beautifully done. i love movies and stories where human nature is pushed to such extremes, especially when they're filled with such love and compassion, and such anger and violence; such opposing emotions that co-mingle and blend and fight one another and then ultimately co-exist to form, not a well-rounded individual, but more of a bumpy elliptical human being. because who in all the world is truly well-rounded? we all have our ups and our downs and our shadow-selves that must be delt with. so please view this movie as what it is: a tour through the human soul. and not what it definitely isn't: your merely typical, mindless "feux-uber-American/British-Kung Fu" movie entertainment. but i agree, it did end a bit abruptly. (not as abruptly, though, as The Goblet of Fire) and i would've liked to see a little more development and delving of Danny's life and hardships and personality before he met Sam and his daughter. but i understand that movies have time constraints and budgets so i'll forgive them. i also think there was some wonderful acting in this movie. Morgan Freeman was great, of course. (even though his character did seem like a Ray Charles wannabe, as previously stated, but that wasn't his fault) Jet Li, in my opinion, was absolutely magnificent. this is the most (and best) *acting* i've ever seen him do. he wonderfully portrayed a stray dog in human form, living with new, unknown people who are family, *not* owners. he was shy, skiddish, terrified, and warm and eager for knowledge and new things all in the right places and with remarkably convincing acting. i haven't seen a lot of his movies, but i've seen a few. and this has to be one of his best. one random thing: to the person who spoke poorly of the fact that the daughter accepted him right off even though he acted like a thief who's just been caught. if you had paid attention it was mentioned that Danny had been there unconscious for two days. meaning that she would have already known he was there and Sam definitely would have described what kind of person he was. so she knew what to expect, really, when she first came into contact with him. Bob Hoskins also did a wonderful job as your quintessential slimy, evil petty thug Boss. a man who's in the lower-middle ranks of the organized crime world and trying to scrape his way higher. and to all of you who say you didn't like the martial arts in the movie. well, that's because there isn't really any martial arts. because as Danny is essentially a dog, he essentially fights like a dog: savage and brutal and unorganized, attacking whoever is closest first and sticking with them (for the most part) until they're out of the fight, then switching his focus to the next closest opponent. overall, i found this to be a marvelously enjoyable film and will be recommending it to all my movie enthusiast friends and family. i am liking ROGUE Pictures very much after Shaun of the Dead and Unleashed. thank you to all who read this whole thing and kindly listen to what i have to say."
Matt | NJ | 12/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a solid action film. The fight scenes are amazingly choreographed and the locales used for shooting the movie are gritty and grimey and add to the "doglike" existence that Danny has been confined to.
This movie really allowed Jet Li to display his acting skills. He gives a heartfelt performance as a man who has been conditioned to hurt people on command by a wannabe Godfather-type gangster. He shares some very touching scenes with Sam (Morgan Freeman) and his step-daughter, played by Kerry Condon. Good action, good drama and solid acting makes this a worthwhile movie.
The Bonus Material includes a few featurettes, a video by Massive Attack and a miserable video by the RZA. Other than the RZA's weak contribution, the bonus features are very entertaining, providing extensive insight into the development of the film."