Directed by Louis Leterrier, starring Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Kerry Condon and Bob Hoskins.
Seven years on from his English-language debut in 'Lethal Weapon 4', martial arts legend Jet Li is still searching for a film with the same power as the ones he's made in the Far East. 'Unleashed' finds him once again barking up the wrong tree.
Raised as an attack dog, Danny (Li) works for his 'owner', East End gangster Bart (Hoskins). If Bart's debtors or rivals don't behave, he just takes off Danny's collar and mayhem erupts. One such vulgar display of power turns out to have far bloodier consequences than Bart imagined and - with his master apparently dead - Danny escapes. He's taken in by blind piano tuner Sam (Freeman) and his music student stepdaughter Victoria (Condon). In a proper, loving environment for the first time since early childhood, Danny grows - learning how to cook, eating ice cream and moving towards a relationship with Victoria. But the horrors of his past aren't far away and when Bart reappears, Danny must once again turn to violence in order to protect his new family.
While it's an intriguing idea for a film, 'Unleashed's impact is all of the fists-break-teeth variety, with its emotional core dull and underdeveloped. Li's athleticism remains breathtaking, but there's little else for you or him here apart from some well-done fight scenes. The somewhat aptly-named Leterrier has no idea how to keep the film's momentum going when Li isn't in full-on mode and once his character gets house trained, 'Unleashed' becomes a predictable trudge that no amount of his roundhouse kicks can bring back to life. As for his co-stars, Freeman doesn't get half the scenes or lines that he should; Hoskins ends up reheating his character from 'The Long Good Friday' and Condon's left to try and build hers out of someone who plays the piano and has braces.
You'd get more enjoyment walking the dog.