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Unleashed (Danny the Dog) (2005)

Unleashed (Danny the Dog)


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 130
Fresh: 85
Rotten: 45

Critics Consensus: Jet Li gets to emote in some emotionally awkward scenes, but the gritty fight sequences come through in what is Li's best English language film.

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 16

Critics Consensus: Jet Li gets to emote in some emotionally awkward scenes, but the gritty fight sequences come through in what is Li's best English language film.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 92,213


Movie Info

Two men cut off from the world in different ways become unlikely friends and protectors in this offbeat action drama. Danny (Jet Li) is a physically powerful but emotionally stunted man; never given any sort of proper education, Danny has learned little in his lifetime but how to fight, and his minder, Bart (Bob Hoskins), treats him more like a guard dog than anything else, using him in illegal no-holds-barred brawls that earn Bart plenty of money but only reinforce Danny's violent alienation. … More

R (for strong violent content, language and some sexuality/nudity)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Robert Mark Kamen , Luc Besson
In Theaters:
Oct 11, 2005
Box Office:
Focus Features - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Unleashed (Danny the Dog)

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (45) | DVD (33)

Li's dramatic turn is no match for his fists of fury.

Full Review… | August 17, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

An intriguing little action thriller, a half-and-half story divided between sequences of vicious violence and quiet, wryly comic scenes of newfound domesticity.

Full Review… | January 7, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

It's the same stuff that as we always get where like the henchman come up to him one by one.

Full Review… | May 16, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

The film contains enough quiet, reflective moments for us to become aware how preposterous the central conceit is, and that keeps us at arm's length. For a movie that strives to be in-your-face, that's too far away.

Full Review… | May 14, 2005
Top Critic

A nice, violent little film about the redemptive powers of art and love.

Full Review… | May 13, 2005
Top Critic

A film that could use a little less conversation, a lot more action.

Full Review… | May 13, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

This is by far Jet Li's best English language film, and one of the finest of his career, not because of the thrillingly choreographed fight sequences but because of its well constructed story and Li's riveting performance.

Full Review… | March 21, 2011

Li's fighting sequences are unique for their street fighting style of realism and brutality...

Full Review… | June 20, 2009

a dog of a movie, better not unleashed on any discerning viewer.

Full Review… | August 10, 2007
Eye for Film

We're treated to some impressively percussive fights.

Full Review… | July 25, 2007

Unfortunately, the fight scenes (and there are several) are very frontloaded.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

An irritating excuse to glorify senseless slaughter!

Full Review… | June 20, 2007
Princeton Town Topics

Has a "been there, done that" feel, as if writer/co-producer Besson has returned to this concept one time too many.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

Freeman is better than his role, and Hoskins is a powerful presence. Li almost pulls off a psychologically complex role. But in the end, Unleashed is a muddled film.

November 10, 2006
Christianity Today

Para cada bom filme que escreve, produz ou dirige, Luc Besson realiza outras dez porcarias. Esta é uma delas (e nem mesmo as boas seqüências de luta podem salvar um roteiro absurdo, esquemático e com personagens unidimensionais).

May 30, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Unleashed is a must-see for Jet Li fans -- he's so good in it, in the end he even prevails over the movie's boldly improbable and distracting plot.

Full Review… | February 7, 2006

A promising idea that never develops beyond that.

Full Review… | January 7, 2006
Empire Magazine

If a movie is only as good as its villain, then Unleashed is a very good movie indeed.

Full Review… | November 3, 2005
Combustible Celluloid

Benefits from an unabashedly sentimental heart.

Full Review… | November 3, 2005
Lessons of Darkness

Although silly, the premise is engaging enough to let viewers invest in the characters, giving them an emotional stake in the frequent, and spectacular, fight sequences.

Full Review… | October 14, 2005

There's a lot to enjoy in Unleashed.

Full Review… | September 27, 2005

Anyone bold enough to meld various elements of Fight Club, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, A Clockwork Orange and Douglas Sirk melodrama deserves a nod for trying something new

Full Review… | August 30, 2005
Urban Cinefile

A pretty weird flick. But it's got some good stuff in it.

Full Review… | August 25, 2005

An enjoyable, off-beat action thriller that has 'Future Cult Movie' written all over it.

Full Review… | August 20, 2005

Audience Reviews for Unleashed (Danny the Dog)


Jet Li plays the son of a Chinese immigrant who is taken in by a London gangster at a young age and brought up as a kind of human attack dog, kept in a cage and trained only to fight. Upon finding himself free for the first time in his life after an attack by a rival mobster, he returns to the only person who ever showed him kindness, blind piano tuner Morgan Freeman; but the past inevitably catches up with him. Actually this rather unpromising and hokey sounding premise is easily the films greatest weakness. If you can look past it, you'll discover an extremely stylish and unusual thriller. The scenes between Li and Freeman's family have a genuine warmth and sincerity which never resorts to schmaltz, Li in particular bringing an innocence and pathos to his role. The direction is much more sophisticated than you would expect from an action film, and the East End gangland setting combined with the bursts of visceral violence is very reminiscent of Guy Ritchie's work. If anything, the fight scenes are amongst the least interesting parts of the film, the arena scene in particular is clumsy and unnecessary but Jet Li's athleticism and skill are always worth watching. A superior action film that's far from the usual dim-witted thuggery you'd expect from Hollywood.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

"Unleashed" is definitely Jet Li's best English film. Man, are there some pretty awkward moments in this. The follow up to most of the fight scenes is very drab and very rarely does the drama actually have an impact, but the action fight sequences are incredibly satisfying. I liked the gritty cinematography also. Only one thing: why was there nudity in this movie? It was so unnecessary.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer


an excellent action film with solid fight sequences and a touching although bizarre story.

danny d

Super Reviewer


Ignoring the absolutely ridiculous premise...

Is it just me, or is it a little disturbing that Li "performs best" as a socially awkward man-child who has less lines than the entire supporting cast?

Honestly, I'd rather be thrown into another adrenaline pumping "brainless" action flick than watching a humble blind Freeman steal the show as Li tries so painfully to feint innocence in this contrive attempt at "emotional depth"

But hey, the actions still there and grittier than ever. Unfortunately, it happens to explode without the consistency and balance you wish it did throughout the downtime and that? That's just bad storytelling/directing.

Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer

Unleashed (Danny the Dog) Quotes

There's nothing like self-discovery for turning a boy into a man.
– Submitted by Frances H (3 months ago)

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