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FEARLESS

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Early in the 20th century, venerable martial-arts expert Huo Yuanjia (Jet Li) formed the Jingwu Sports Federation. He cemented the nascent group's standing during a politically motivated match, in which the fighter took on four international opponents. How Huo Yuanjia finds himself in this real-life decisive martial-arts battle, which occurred in occupied Shanghai in 1910, forms the bulk of Ronny Yu's historical drama. Fearless is reputedly Jet Li's last martial-arts film, and he's retiring that aspect of his career in fine form. The action is sweetened somewhat, but most of the fighting is grounded in martial-arts reality. Indeed, the definitive battle is defined more by heart than by feet or hands. The backstory ... Huo Yuanjia's transformation from arrogant thug to martial-arts statesman ... allows for long stretches with no fighting, but Yu's film is always lovely to look at, and Li has earned bowing out gracefully. In Mandarin, with subtitles. (AH)

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