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Very American with desi sentiment

Unleashed Danny The Dog

Genre: Action
Cast: Jet Li
Director: Louis Leterrier
Storyline: A man raised as a fighter dog gets a fresh lease of life but his past catches up with him.
Bottomline: Asian sensibility, American packaging

Even if you are not a Jet Li fan, you might actually end up enjoying `Unleashed: Danny The Dog.' For, the sensibility in the narrative is very familiar.

Very mainstream Indian cinema. Luc Besson's screenplay fleshes out what is otherwise a rather regular Asian action film with classic American feel-good sentiments.

Danny the dog is a fighter. Vintage Jet Li. The fight sequences choreographed by Asian stuntmen pack quite a wallop.

Like in many Indian films of the Seventies, he grows up believing that his evil master Bart is his uncle. Bart (Bob Hoskins) has Danny by a metal collar around his neck and unleashes him on to his enemies. When he's not making Danny beat the bones out of his rivals, he's being a Cinderella step-mom ill-treating poor Danny.

Until one day, when Danny discovers freedom after his master's enemies get the better of him. An injured Danny is nursed back to health by a kind-hearted blind musician Sam (Morgan Freeman) who lives with his step-daughter Victoria (Kerry Condon).

Louis Leterrier handles Besson's potent action flick screenplay with classic Hollywood flair and laces it with funny, endearing moments in the fairy tale mould. The lines between good and evil are drawn clearly, with stereotypes galore but the effort to make the movie rise above a routine action flick is what pays off.

Jet Li is surprisingly restrained, very Jackie Chan especially in the funny bits of the movie and does a neat job in a role that does require him to act. He does get into the skin of a fighter mongrel, ensuring that his body language never betrays that of an ill-treated domestic animal.

Morgan Freeman is a delight to watch and lends the movie its feel-good charm. Kerry Condon, as the bubbly, talkative Victoria fits the part as Danny's romantic interest.

With a plot that is comfortably Indian, ``Marana Adi," the Tamil version is sure to win over the masses.

SUDHISH KAMATH

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