DVD REVIEWS: Unleashed

Movie ••• Picture/Sound ••••½ Extras •••½
Despite having a plot so silly it makes other action films look studious, Unleashed works because everyone involved seems to be in on the joke. Jet Li plays Danny, an orphan raised by vicious criminal Bob Hoskins - raised as a dog, that is, and taught to attack on command whenever his collar is removed (which doesn't explain why Hoskins is the one chewing the scenery). Fortunately, Danny discovers family values when he meets a kindly, blind piano-tuner (Morgan Freeman, of course). Anyway, it's all just an excuse for martial-arts star Li to kick serious bad-guy butt - and that he does in spades. The picture looks terrific, with consistently fine contrast. The intentionally muted colors lend a sinister edge to the dim, grimy streets of Glasgow, while the tightly choreographed fight sequences have enough detail to jump off the screen. The extended cut that's also included doesn't really work: you get longer fight scenes, but because they lack the powerful 5.1-channel effects that propel the rest of the movie, the flow is ruined and the impact deadened. Extras include deleted scenes, three featurettes, and music videos by Massive Attack and RZA. [R] English, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.