If Unleashed isn’t the first film I’ve seen Jet Li act in I don’t know what is. Jet Li plays a human dog, trained to be vicious when a heavy-duty collar is taken off to attack anything that the master says. With the collar on he is like a little boy with a small vocabulary and hardly any guile. Yet, with the collar off he is nothing short of a killing machine.
When his gang masters get gunned down by rival criminals, Li gets an opportunity to leave his squalid conditions, stumbling onto the father and daughter family of a blind piano tuner played by Morgan Freeman. Li slowly rediscovers his humanity and begins to awaken.
There’s enough action here for any other action film but Li does a really masterful job playing a human dog. The act fits him just right, probably because it doesn’t require much proper English dialogue. This is actually good as it highlights his acting talent (and he is a good actor as long as he’s speaking Chinese).
It’s a really grim, complex but ultimately touching film that I would recommend without hesitation.