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February 12, 2007

Jet Li's Fearless - 5

In what is called Jet Li's last Martial Arts film, he plays a historical figure Huo Yuanjia who came to be a national hero at the beginning of the 20th century. The beginning and end are full of great fights, while the middle of the film attempts to give the film a story to explain Huo's reason for being. He is a cocky youngster who wants to fight to show his power and to be feared. This eventually leads to some revenge by a rival, and the loss of Huo's mother and daughter. At this point Huo recognizes his vulnerability, and grieves in a rural community where he befriends a blind women. It is during this time that he realizes that he must first be able to respect himself before others will. And that beating people is not enough to fulfill his longings. He eventually leaves to start a school (Jingwu Sports Federation, which is still around today) and fights for national pride against foreign heavyweights from US, Europe and Japan. He never again fights to the death, but shows his opponents his fearlessness by restraining the fatal blow. "Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself makes you fearless." - Lao Tzu

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