Jet Li stars in this action movie/crime drama that in some countries is titled "Danny the Dog." Written by Luc Besson, the film also features Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins. In Glasgow, Bart (Hoskins) is a brutal gangster who has trained Danny (Li) from boyhood to behave like a vicious attack dog. But meeting a blind piano tuner (Freeman) and his stepdaughter changes Danny, and he desires a more normal life. However, Bart wants to continue using Danny, who must fight for his freedom.
"Unleashed" DVD Review:
"Unleashed" has an unusual mix of action and drama that to my mind could have easily gone awry, but didn't. What made the two genres work together as a whole? I think skillful direction and talented actors were key, but also important was that the action scenes in this movie are part of the drama and were essential to understanding Danny's character. They show the extent to which he has lost his humanity and the depth of the psychological horror of being a man who has been trained to kill and maim like an attack dog at the command of his master. The fight scenes add to the drama of what is at stake for Danny and what it means to finally be treated with kindness by blind piano tuner Sam.
The story in "Unleashed" has elements that seem implausible to me, yet the film works. Exactly why is hard to say. Pulling a story like this off is like the magician's art. You either buy into the illusion or you don't. Part of what drew me into the story and made me accept the fantastic elements in "Unleashed" was that the acting in all the key roles was particularly good.
I watched the unrated DVD version of "Unleashed." There is also an R-rated version which cuts some of the violence. I have to warn those who are sensitive to violence that the fightsalthough their dazzling choreography gives them a ballet-like aura of unrealitycan still be hard to take because of their brutality.
You can see a breakdown of the DVD special features below. Although short in length, they held my interest and increased my understanding of the film.
DVD Details for the Unrated Version of "Unleashed"
Release Date: October 11, 2005
Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1), Color
Feature Film Run Time: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
English Captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Video Interview With Director Louis Leterrier (5 min.)
The Fight Sequences: "Serve No Master" (10 min.)
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette: "The Collar Comes Off" (13 min.)
Music Video: "Atta Boy" by Massive Attack (1 min. 45 sec.)
Music Video: "Unleash Me" by RZA (2 min. 42 sec.)