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Jet Li's Fearless: Director's Cut

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Violence and Martial Arts Action Throughout), Unrated (Unrated and Director's Cuts)

Running Time: 141 minutes (Director's Cut), 104 minutes (Unrated and Theatrical Cuts)

Starring: Jet Li, Nakamura Shidou, Sun Li, Ding Yong, Nathan Jones, Colli Chou, Harada Masato

Screenplay by: Chris Chow, Christine To

Directed by: Ronny Yu

 

Studio: Universal

Retail Price: $19.99

Features: Deleted Scenes, A Fearless Journey

Specs: 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scenes (20 Scenes), Two-Disc Set

Released: July 15th, 2008

 

 

All the cuts of "Fearless" are presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, and look pretty good. I'll get the flaws out of the way first, though: there is slight edge enhancement to be had, the movie looks a bit grainy, and contrast is up a bit too much - edge halos, noise and even some shimmering show their heads throughout. Also, sometimes the movie's use of filters is a bit too much, as there is some smearing of the colors. 

Otherwise though, these transfers are quite excellent. Fleshtones are accurate, and colors are well-saturated and vibrant for the most part - be it the costumes, or Chinese landscapes. Detail is very good, and overall, the transfers are on the sharp side. Despite the flaws, all the versions of "Fearless" are very pleasing to the eyes.

 

All three versions of "Fearless" also feature Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, which do not disappoint either. The surrounds are very discrete on these tracks, putting you in the middle of the action - the kicks, punches and swooshes of weapons come right at you, or feel like they're hovering above your head. Scenes with crowds, be it the cheers or cries, also make an impression that a swarm of people are around you. Imaging is great with these mixes, and the dyanamic range is stupendous too. 

Deep bass must also be noted, as the subwoofer certainly gets its choice moments to rumble. Also adding to the grand feel is the musical score from Shigeru Umebayashi, which has a powerful yet warm presence through the channels. Dialogue is also very clear and easy to hear. In all, these tracks really capture you and do justice to the movie's action and overall ambience. 

The Unrated and Theatrical versions of "Fearless" also have Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in English. All versions have subtitles in English, French and Spanish - plus English closed captions through your television.

 

You literally get the original DVD - right down to the previews, which are now out of date. There is a Deleted Scene - running nearly 7 minutes (and in anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital to boot). It's a well put together rescue sequence. I suppose the movie (in all its incarnations) run long enough, but this scene isn't that superfluous.

There's also A Fearless Journey, a 16 minute featurette that is an entertaining watch, even if it it's a bit promotional in nature. The piece focuses on this being Jet Li's last martial arts film, but also a bit on the film's production. Li discusses himself and his constant need for challenges, while director Ronny Yu discusses how he wanted to make a movie that showed off Li's martial arts talents at their absolute best. Also featured is the legendary fight choreography Yuen Wo Ping, who discusses his methods and friendship with Li - not to mention how the filmmakers had to shoot at six times the normal film speed to keep up with Li's movements. It's not a comprehensive look at the movie, but fans of Li and this movie should be pleased with what's here. As far as this being Li's last martial arts movie... I guess whatever he does in the new "Mummy" doesn't count. 

 

"Fearless" is a bit epic in nature, but it's really a movie to show off Jet Li's incredible skills as a martial artist - and in that respect it doesn't disappoint. This two-disc set features three different versions of the movie, all of which look and sound great. Fans of the movie might want to double-dip - especially if they're going to see "The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor" in theaters, as a $7.50 movie money coupon is also included.