Ji Zhan (Unbeatable) – ***

Posted: January 25, 2014 in 2013, Action, China, Hong Kong, Social Drama, Sportsdrama, XXX

A welcome surprise on my Singapore Airlines flight, this action drama from Hong Kong tells the story of a former boxing champion who trains a young man to fight in a MMA championship. There is a lot going on in this excellent piece of entertainment. You have the fights of course, which are fascinating for all and a major draw for the lovers of martial arts movies. But there is much more. The social drama element will – or should – attract a total other crowd of moviegoers. There is former boxer who has debts and takes up a job in a gym unworthy of his status. There’s a young man who wants to show his father that he can achieve something after all. And there’s an interesting subplot about a young girl who’s mother is mentally fragile (after the death of her second child) and who finds comfort in the presence of the former boxer who is renting a room in their household.

The scenes between the boxer and the girl are endearing and funny at times. The scenes between the boxer and his MMA pupil as well. This only works because of the great chemistry of the actors. Especially Nick Leung is excellent. His charisma should work everywhere in the world, not only in China. It’s amazing that this movie didn’t get a European release.


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