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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Biopic > Foreign > China > Jet Liís Fearless (HD-DVD Combo Format + DVD-Video versions)

Jet Liís Fearless (HD-DVD Combo Format + DVD-Video versions)

 

Picture: B/B-†††† Sound: B/B-†††† Extras: C†††† Film: B-

 

 

If it was not enough that Jet Li has not managed to have a good or great Hollywood film, he announced that Ronny Yuís Fearless (2006) would be his last Martial Arts spectacular.He has done so many and though fans will are likely still very upset about it, it may be the only thing that will allow him to grow as an actor and film artist into new roles and opportunities.Playing Huo Yuanjia, the founder of The Jingwu Sports Federation, it is a biopic of a sort.

 

It does not totally follow that formula or the usual Martial Arts formula; it does not just compromise in the middle.Instead, the Chris Chow/Christine To screenplay makes an interesting effort to get into the psyche of Yuanjia and Li has the charm, grace and actual acting talent to bring him to life in a warm, believable way.The story is told well, though we still do not learn enough about the school, Yuanjia and a bit more about the history.Despite minor shortcomings, it is a beautiful and enjoyable film, including down to the visual costumes and production values, as well as what the film wants to say about character.

 

As for Li, his star is far from dimming and goes out in top form and high style with this sign-off role.No wonder he picked this one to stop on.

 

The 2.35 X 1 image is beautifully shot by Poon Hang Sang, H.K.S.C., with colors pulling through the sometimes dim imaging and the clearer shots more so.The two formats the film is being issued on are regular standard DVD and the HD-DVD/DVD Combo format with a DVD side that is virtually identical in this case to the stand alone DVD.

 

Both DVDs of the image are anamorphically enhanced, with detail and Video Black limits, but the 1080p digital High Definition side of the Combo disc is more like it, with richer Blacks, more detail and more depth.It still has limits from the intentional darkening of the image and the fact that it is also stylized and shot in Super 35mm, but this version best represents the way it was intended to be seen.

 

The regular DVDs have virtually identical Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes in Mandarin and English, with the Mandarin more naturalistic.Both have issues with sound effects and some other moments where location recording seems compressed.That is also the case in the HD sideís Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus versions of the same soundtracks, but they tend to be fuller and the music score by Shigeru Umebayashi (House Of The Flying Daggers, In The Mood For Love, Curse Of The Golden Flower) benefits from the higher bitrate as well.

 

Extras include both versions of the film, a featurette about the film & Liís career decision and deleted footage from the film worth seeing.Outside of that, whichever version you get, here is the link to the new on-line viral game you may find of interest, but donít miss the film:

 

http://www.jetlisfearless.com/game

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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