Unleashed

  • Review Date: October 10, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Martial arts and melodrama -- not for children.
  • Review Date: October 10, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Gangster keeps Jet Li locked in a cage, with a collar, and beats him savagely.

Violence

Graphic, loud, specific martial arts and weapons.

Sex

Gangster engages in brief, brutal sex with prostitutes.

Language

Many and varied uses of the f-word.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink and smoke.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is extremely violent and isn't meant for kids. The fight scenes include the sounds of bones breaking, with prominent displays of blood, bruising, and limbs twisting. The premise itself is potentially distressing, as it has a young boy imprisoned and trained to fight on command by a loud-mouthed loan shark; he sets the grown-up version (Jet Li) loose on his debtors by growling "Get 'em!", feeds him chunks of food, locks him in a cage, and calls him his "dog." The underclass villains use harsh and colorful language (frequent use of "f--k," in multiple formations). The gangster assaults prostitutes on top of cars. Jet Li fights in an underground betting arena (like dogfights), where contestants use large knives and hammers, though eventually the gangsters become frustrated and use automatic weapons too. Many characters are killed in hand-hand-combat. There is a very disturbing scene where a child sees his mother shot in the head in front of him.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

UNLEASHED centers on reluctant warrior Danny (Jet Li plays), who is imprisoned and abused at the hands of foul-mouthed, lunatic Glasgow gangster Bart (Bob Hoskins). Bart keeps Danny caged and collared until he needs him to persuade debtors to pay up. After Bart's car is shot up by enemies, Danny breaks free and is taken in by blind piano tuner Sam (Morgan Freeman). Living in Glasgow so his strangely childish 18-year-old stepdaughter Victoria (Kerry Condon) can attend music school, he senses Danny's appreciation of music. Danny begins to remember his piano-playing mother, and memories of her traumatic death when he was a child come flooding back. When Sam is threatened by hoodlums, Danny returns to violence to protect his new friend.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

While ferocious, the fight scenes in Unleashed are also frankly awesome, brilliantly choreographed and inventively shot. The film's narrative combines melodrama, martial arts conventions (underdog wins, intelligence overcomes brawn), and sly twists on formula. Though it's not quite satire, the film does show that its makers know their genre history and expect viewers to keep up.

This is a rare action film in that it raises questions concerning identity, memory, and the effects of abuse. Danny's aggression (visceral and brutal in the film's stop- and slow-motion, time lapse speediness) stems from his abuse, not his character. All he has ever known is to attack on command. Once he starts to play music and listen to it carefully, he learns that he doesn't have to hurt people. The film offers a thoughtful (if occasionally battering) meditation on the transcendence of music, and the strength to be gained from family, however ragtag or unusual in structure. Jet Li is excellent, the visual excess is calculated, and the Massive Attack and RZA soundtrack is sharp. Brutal and bizarre, Unleashed is peculiarly moving.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the formation of the good, supportive family, who helps Danny (Jet Li) to resist the terrible fate he thinks is inevitable. How do you know what your options might be, if your horizons seem so limited? How does music help you to get through difficult periods or inspire you to do good work?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 13, 2005
DVD release date:October 11, 2005
Cast:Bob Hoskins, Jet Li, Morgan Freeman
Director:Louis Leterrier
Studio:Rogue Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violent content, language, and some sexuality/nudity

This review of Unleashed was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 18 year old Written byKakarot October 21, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

a sweet and good movie

this time jet li is really unleashed with intense action and superb performance........
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models
Adult Written byuytt2 February 25, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
this movie is an good example how to mix martial arts with a good drama. warning the movie is voilent the fighting is rough and graphic. there is a brief sex scene and some nudity. in a fight scene a naked woman screams in terror as jet li in another guy fight. the language is tipical for a rated r movie lots of f bombs. after all is an entertainig kick ass film with good preformances from jet li and bob hoskin
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models
Adult Written byZarkahn April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

I almost cried....It was so good.

This movie was just so awsome. I[m big on martial arts so I just loved watching Jet Li work. The story was just sweet. I got really close to crying. I never cry on movies by the way. I cant wait to see it again, On DVD. So I can skip through the bad parts, wich theres only 2 really. The first "sex" scene doenst show anything but the second 2 just get worse. The violence was of course as brutal as it could be. But that just made it all the better when the plot came together. You could understand it and apprieciate it more. I cant get over it, It was just beautiful. This is now my favorite movie. Awsome.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools