Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Tagline that really should have read Unleashed - He's Barking Mad.
Very clearly told tale of a man brought-up as a dog.

Well, more accurately, as a pitbull.

Danny (Jet Li) wears a collar, lives in a cage, and is even referred to by Bart (Bob Hoskins) as his 'pet'. Bart is a gangland boss, and takes Danny out whenever he needs to call-in a debt from his protection racket. (He's a human pitbull, remember) It's not much of a life, but it's the only one that Danny can remember, having lived this way since a small boy.

The film's key juxtaposition comes when Danny's owners are gunned-down, and he finds himself adopted by a blind Christian piano tuner (Morgan Freeman) and his nutty daughter.

He has his own bedroom, pyjamas, and even gets paid well for helping out his new landlord. It's the total opposite extreme to his old life. Frankly it looks like the film's producers have run out of money and started work on a different movie.

Until, inevitably, it turns out that Danny's old owner didn't die after all...

For a film containing so much violence and swearing, Unleashed has a very clear good vs. evil plot, in which, just for a change, the good guys are not shades of grey. The good guys are very good, and the bad guys are very bad. Like I said, the story (written by Luc Besson) is crystal clear.

Even Jet Li's martial arts sequences are directed excellently by Louis Leterrier, (a fantastic name to have on a film about a human dog) and I don't think there was ever a moment when I wasn't sure what was going on.

There's not much to be learnt here - the film's key statement of good equals happiness while bad equals misery is pretty basic - but the potential extremes of both are expressed very well indeed.


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