Unleashed

Unleashed is fully the most confusing film I have seen recently. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it makes perfect sense (mostly), but in terms of who it is aimed at, and where it positions itself in terms of genre – who knows. The premise is fairly simple. Perpetual saaaaf landan wide boy Bob Hoskins plays an asshole loan shark. His secret weapon is Danny, a sort of man child with insane martial arts skills, played by the always brilliant Jet Li. Hoskins has trained Danny to be a sort of human attack dog. Like, literally, he has a collar (largely symbolic, obviously) and is kept in a cage. All is going well in the being a loan shark asshole game until Danny finds his way to the incredibly accepting and brilliantly laid back Sam and Victoria (Morgan Freeman and Kerry Cordon). Here he realizes that, you know, being a human attack dog probably ain’t that cool. Of course various other plot points fill in the minutia of the situation and make it vaguely make sense. That said addressing the plot holes and general “really?” moments would take an awful lot of time, but you know, efihr never had any real issues with films that don’t make a great deal of sense, and the issues here are more in the ‘why is there no one in that car that just got squished’ league. What is completely weird about Unleashed though is the way the film mixes ultra violence with super soppy…family stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, the film does an outstanding job of pulling at the heart strings in some really nice (exceptionally cliche) ways, but it takes the entire second act to get this across, which is immediately followed by a sort of gladiator style death match. It is like two completely separate films were cut together by some sort of maniac. In one hand we have a really quite beautiful story about a young man finding love and happiness with people who will accept him for the beautiful person he is, and on the other we have quite a beautiful story about a young man beating the living shit out of some other people. This is not your standard recipe. I am used to action films with one or two minutes at the beginning of perhaps a family being brutally murdered, you know, for motivation, or … like, not action films where people actually care about each other and have feelings, but where perhaps someone, in one scene, has a fight. Unleashed is just a huge 50/50 mash up of the type I have never seen before. What I am waiting for is a film that does it all in thirds, I want a third rom-com, a third violent revenge horror and a third anime. I shall wait patiently.

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