Director: Louis Leterrier | 103 minutes | action, drama | Actors: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon, Scott Adkins, Andy Beckwith, Christian Gazio, Michael Jenn, Vincent Regan, Silvio Simac, Carole Ann Wilson
It looks like Luc Besson was looking forward to an easy fight movie. Although the story still follows a certain line, the film has a moderately thought-out script and everything leads to as many fight scenes as possible. The fight choreography was done by none other than Yuen Wo Ping who also coordinated the fights in ‘The Matrix’ (1999). Someone who wants to renovate his bathroom in a few minutes soon can pick out a number of useful tips. Yet the fighting types don’t really get their money’s worth with this film. The swipes are mostly very fast, losing the beauty of a martial art. The few slow motion scenes that are occasionally edited in between cannot rectify this.
Cheap and unrealistic is the Pavlovian effect Danny gets when loosening his belt. And that applies to several data in this film. Everything revolves around rescuing an innocent boy from the big evil underworld and the fantasy is sometimes hard to find. For example, an obvious association with Ray Charles immediately arises at the entrance of the ‘piano man’ Sam (Morgan Freeman), who wears dark sunglasses because he is blind. Although this idea came from Morgan Freeman himself, who gave his character a very individual interpretation than Leterrier had in mind for him. Sam’s daughter Victoria is the innocent eighteen-year-old girl with the underwire mouth who talks just a little too much. She also plays the piano, Mozart’s most devastated piece of music.
Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman are actually the only two factors that keep the film going. They are not the least of players and subsequently provide an oppressive and charismatic character setting. The music appropriately enhances the atmosphere and was composed especially for this film by the British band Massive Attack. Something they never did before. Jet Li is also a well-known name in the fight film industry and shows more emotions than ever in this film. There may even be a few jokes, but it is not really tangible. The big names who worked on this project can hardly save the lackluster story and mediocre fight scenes.