Unleashed (2005)

unleashed poster 2005 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Smarter than normal action movie

The good characters are just a bit too good to be realistic

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Unleashed

Studio: Movie Studio

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Martial Arts/Drama

Release Date(s):  February 2, 2005 (France)/May 13, 2005 (US)/August 19, 2005 (UK)

MPAA Rating:  R

unleashed bart bob hoskins

The Dog does what the Master says!

Danny the Dog (Jet Li) is the property of underworld collector Bart (Bob Hoskins).  When Bart takes off his collar, Danny attacks.  He lives like an animal and fights like an animal.  An accident gives Danny the chance at freedom, and he finds himself living with a blind piano teacher named Sam (Morgan Freeman) and his adopted daughter Victoria (Kerry Condon).  Bart doesn’t give up his property easy…and Danny doesn’t have a choice in his freedom.

Directed by Louis Leterrier, Unleashed is an action-adventure martial arts drama.  The movie was written by Luc Besson and released to positive reviews.

I saw Unleashed in the theater and was pretty impressed by it.  It was fast, quick, and it had decent characters and a plot (something that isn’t always present in an action movie).  Despite this, Unleashed never seemed to catch traction like I thought it should have.  While other action movies from the period have caught on, Unleashed seems sadly under-seen.

unleashed jet li morgan freeman kerry condon

Come and play with us, Danny…forever and ever and ever…

The movie isn’t flawed.  The family of Sam and Victoria are too perfect.  The script was largely considered a blending of Soldier (1998) and the Dark Angel TV show, but it feels more like Oliver Twist.  Danny’s got a hidden past and the Fagin like Bart is cruel but provides him with nourishment and a home.  Danny finds a perfect world before the worlds intercept and everyone is in danger.  It is a rather basic story, but it works.

Jet Li works well in this movie.  He can go from mouse to explosive fighter and his more reserve scenes work well since he’s supposed to be a child discovering the world.  Bob Hoskins is always great in his roles but the role was originally intended for Albert Finney (with Billy Connelly also attached to awhile).  Both Morgan Freeman and Kerry Condon are nice, but as mentioned their characters seem a bit too saccharine for any sense of realism.

unleashed fighting punks danny the dog jet li

It’s hard to be a 1980s punk in a 2000s world

The movie is a decent fighting film.  Generally you can see how the action progresses and moves (which is half the challenge).  The film is set in Glasgow which is a bit different than the normal locations, and it is always good to see another city in another area of the world highlighted.

Unleashed is a movie I can recommend if you haven’t seen it and you are a fan of action movies.  I can also recommend it for those who are slightly on the fence about action since the story and characters are worth visiting.  Danny’s story is a different take on action and what makes a man…and Danny the Dog has his day while still cracking heads.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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