Unleashed (地下拳) (2020) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
It’s about time that martial arts star Ken Lo gets a leading role treatment after years of playing supporting roles in Jackie Chan’s movies. Lo gets to show his acting potential in the first time filmmakers Kwok Ka-hei and Kwok Yat-Choi’s action packed “Unleashed”. Unfortunately, the film remains an unremarkable experience despite the best intentions of real life martial artist Sun Zhenfeng and nemesis Zheng Ziping. Hong Kong’s Venus Wong also makes a good account of herself in an against type role as a struggling actress looking for a big break. The story leaves a lot to be desired as the romance remains far-fetched as the audience drift into the better fight scenes one after another directed by Chris Collins. The effect is snippets of a far superior film when it comes to fight sequences where everything else goes per say.
Ken Lo plays the Kung fu master and mentor struggling to keep his dojo afloat. Sun Zhenfeng makes a good account of himself during most of the fight scenes and his numerous battles with nemesis played by Zhang Ziping lifts the film above its genre cliches. Likewise, Venus Wong tries hard and trained well to convince and probably ends up the best acting out of the lot. Sam Lee is given a pointless and small role as former student taking revenge on Lo. Lee has good presence, but the lack of focus is startling.
All in all, “Unleashed” provides good entertainment during all the fight sequence, but simply drags on dramatic scenes a the result is a clear lack of emotions during crucial underdog fighting moments that worked so well in better crafted films like “Unbeatable”. Luckily it is not as bad as “Invincible Dragon”, but as a rounded film, it lifts a lot to desire.
I rated it 6/10
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