Critical Consensus: Jet Li Gets Fresh with "Unleashed"

by | May 13, 2005 | Comments

"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" will dominate headlines next week, but this week, it’s all about kicking and screaming in one form or another. First off, Jet Li does a lot of kicking and screaming, as well as punching, in the action drama "Unleashed," co-starring recent Oscar winner Morgan Freeman. Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda do their fair share of screaming and baring their claws at each other as potential in-laws in the comedy "Monster-in-Law." There’s also a lot of screaming in "Mindhunters," a thriller starring Val Kilmer, LL Cool J and Christian Slater. Last, but not least, there’s the soccer comedy where Will Ferrell and elementary school kids do a lot of "Kicking and Screaming." Let’s see which of these films critics will be kicking around and screaming at.

Will Ferrell has become a highly bankable star after the enormous success of the family comedy "Elf." He returns to the big screen, this week, targeting the same demographic with "Kicking and Screaming," a soccer comedy in which he plays a father who tries to coach his son’s little league soccer team to the championship. Oscar winner Robert Duvall co-stars as his competitive father who coaches an opposing team. "Elf" was not only a surprising box office hit, but it was also a surprisingly well-reviewed film, scoring an outstanding 84% on the Tomatometer. "Kicking and Screaming," unfortunately, isn’t able to achieve that level of adoration with critics. While it’s likable enough, they think it’s a formulaic family film with only intermittent laughs. As of this writing, it scores a mixed 44% on the Tomatometer, which just happens to be Ferrell’s average Tomatometer.

Fresh from the commercial success of "Shall We Dance," J-Lo (a.k.a. Jennifer Lopez) will do battle with Jane Fonda (a.k.a. J-Fo to certain critics) in "Monster-in-Law," a comedy about an ex-news anchor (Fonda) who tries to scare off her son’s fiancé (Lopez) by being the mother-in-law from hell. You’ll have to watch the film to see whether or not Fonda’s character is successful, but the film is doing quite well at scaring off the critics. Stale, silly, and stupid are just a few of the adjectives used by critics to describe the film. It scored a moldy 17% on the Tomatometer, significantly lower than Lopez’s average of 37%. She hasn’t had a Fresh movie since 1998’s "Out of Sight."

A group of fallen stars no longer able to open movies by themselves – Val Kilmer, LL Cool J, and Christian Slater – hopes that their combined drawing power can attract audiences to "Mindhunters." Directed by Renny Harlin, well known for mindless action films like "Cliffhanger," "Mindhunters" is about a group of eight endangered FBI profilers who must find the serial killer amongst themselves. Despite being promoted as a psychological thriller, critics say it didn’t take long for the mindless action movie typical of Harlin to rear its ugly head. It scored 34% on the Tomatometer. That’s 10% lower than Harlin’s average Tomatometer of 45%.

Critics have a better reaction to Jet Li’s newest actioner "Unleashed," co-starring Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins and Kerry Condon. Li plays a man who was raised in captivity and trained to be a killing machine by a ruthless mobster (Hoskins) since childhood. When a turf war between two rival mob families left him under the care of a kind family (Freeman and Condon), he slowly regains his humanity. Freeman and Hoskins add credibility and respect to the film, something sorely lacking in previous American productions headlined by Li. The result is Li’s best reviewed American film. In addition to the spectacularly choreographed and bone-crunching fight scenes, critics applaud the filmmakers’ effort to tell an interesting story, even if the emotional scenes are not entirely successful. "Unleashed" scores a marginally Fresh 61% on the Tomatometer. Jet Li’s previous five American productions have averaged only 37%.

Before "Star Wars" opens next week, check out "Unleashed" if you’re in the mood for an action film with a fascinating premise – it’s the only new wide release critics are not kicking around or screaming at.

Tag Cloud

Horror Video Games Comic-Con@Home 2021 Walt Disney Pictures cartoon Apple FX on Hulu Disney+ Disney Plus king arthur Pop TV MSNBC Hallmark TBS Creative Arts Emmys adventure pirates of the caribbean Superheroes 007 Vudu Emmy Nominations Interview aliens legend toy story action-comedy reviews Heroines Broadway critics Infographic independent Trophy Talk Kids & Family Cartoon Network live event Turner Classic Movies political drama Disney streaming service superhero free movies GLAAD sopranos Universal unscripted Classic Film indie travel Quiz Television Critics Association Holiday 4/20 Reality 90s The Walking Dead National Geographic spanish cancelled television 72 Emmy Awards E! DGA Alien ID book movies psychological thriller Epix batman ESPN latino comic Chernobyl Family APB finale TV movies Captain marvel deadpool children's TV Freeform anime transformers TV Land History Martial Arts AMC Plus olympics TCA Winter 2020 Mystery Columbia Pictures Black Mirror new zealand LGBTQ tv talk BAFTA Polls and Games hispanic dogs posters Rocky Warner Bros. women golden globes mcc FOX Sneak Peek mission: impossible animated directors debate cancelled TV series AMC RT21 vs. Star Wars cults disaster dark 73rd Emmy Awards TIFF Hulu 2021 Disney Plus spain comic book movie 2019 rt labs critics edition NYCC Mary poppins films GoT hist Thanksgiving BBC Britbox art house PBS El Rey classics OneApp twilight Awards WGN what to watch australia archives Comedy Central TNT Film Festival child's play VOD binge MTV comiccon DC Comics Oscars First Look MCU green book teaser Avengers Emmys king kong Certified Fresh a nightmare on elm street Disney Channel Food Network Super Bowl elevated horror CBS All Access Disney television Holidays remakes rt archives die hard Anna Paquin Image Comics james bond name the review Trailer dexter Musicals TCA 2017 singing competition Discovery Channel dreamworks royal family YouTube Red docudrama Superheroe Sundance 93rd Oscars anthology ABC crime thriller blaxploitation medical drama slasher 99% reboot franchise IFC Films Adult Swim cancelled TV shows DC streaming service streaming movies Television Academy nfl cancelled serial killer nbcuniversal Cosplay Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt boxoffice Box Office japanese Binge Guide Baby Yoda 45 E3 Showtime Set visit Nominations toronto Legendary Brie Larson DC Universe TV One true crime thriller HBO Go streaming target Star Trek GIFs Lucasfilm Universal Pictures harry potter Tubi christmas movies Comics on TV popular sag awards Summer New York Comic Con dc HBO Max Comic Book Teen romance PlayStation Apple TV+ book adaptation series 2018 comic books X-Men Western Ellie Kemper Paramount jamie lee curtis Ovation Peacock Stephen King Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel Television saw Sci-Fi cops Podcast Paramount Plus The Walt Disney Company social media Tumblr adaptation Premiere Dates Sundance TV stoner ratings strong female leads ghosts stop motion historical drama robots 24 frames foreign spinoff VH1 Calendar TV renewals Pacific Islander First Reviews 1990s sequels Marvel french Marvel Studios 2020 USA The Purge mutant Logo italian Red Carpet CBS San Diego Comic-Con Character Guide laika YouTube Photos werewolf PaleyFest Endgame monster movies American Society of Cinematographers Pride Month genre documentaries know your critic Trivia Election black comedy scary movies Esquire basketball witnail game show romantic comedy IMDb TV Rock rom-coms Apple TV Plus space technology 2017 Netflix FXX new star wars movies President YA sitcom cinemax BBC One award winner SDCC Amazon asian-american hidden camera A24 Acorn TV natural history scorecard Toys CMT high school See It Skip It renewed TV shows wonder woman chucky emmy awards cars 2016 feel good Amazon Prime Video golden globe awards dceu mob comedies DirecTV WarnerMedia Sony Pictures 20th Century Fox Black History Month black Writers Guild of America Amazon Studios fresh TCM lord of the rings richard e. Grant Valentine's Day Reality Competition football Bravo Wes Anderson ABC Signature TCA Awards supernatural crossover movie vampires telelvision LGBT spider-verse Winter TV BBC America Lionsgate live action boxing Mary Tyler Moore Academy Awards Starz facebook Amazon Prime documentary NBC young adult game of thrones based on movie SundanceTV Syfy Fox Searchlight Pop Song of Ice and Fire HBO marvel comics Sundance Now Nat Geo obituary Funimation prank Shudder critic resources halloween TCA crime drama Spring TV mockumentary razzies joker Fox News Winners zero dark thirty ITV Nickelodeon adenture TruTV blockbusters OWN universal monsters Action Opinion police drama video scary scene in color kong Mudbound Tomatazos Music festival blockbuster 2015 Christmas revenge TLC hollywood Grammys Pet Sematary Turner Drama doctor who RT History biography Countdown Hear Us Out Travel Channel CW Seed festivals rt labs composers Cannes CNN south america Shondaland spider-man worst talk show Country Netflix Christmas movies breaking bad Tarantino versus comics VICE Crackle The CW gangster nature sports Fall TV Pirates criterion 71st Emmy Awards trailers Extras indiana jones video on demand all-time sequel kaiju satire rotten movies we love A&E Hallmark Christmas movies Comedy Women's History Month new york heist movie Crunchyroll USA Network venice Rocketman Animation japan Year in Review dramedy Tokyo Olympics suspense zombies Dark Horse Comics spanish language hispanic heritage month marvel cinematic universe Ghostbusters godzilla Masterpiece Fantasy Lifetime Pixar diversity international Best and Worst theme song worst movies halloween tv news Elton John superman Biopics YouTube Premium zombie spy thriller jurassic park miniseries Arrowverse Chilling Adventures of Sabrina best TV Neflix 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 21st Century Fox stand-up comedy discovery Mary Poppins Returns canceled kids Watching Series parents slashers IFC Schedule docuseries politics screen actors guild Musical NBA The Arrangement quibi SXSW Awards Tour fast and furious Marathons justice league science fiction FX BET Awards Exclusive Video biopic The Academy casting period drama aapi Film cats Spike rotten dragons psycho screenings BET Mindy Kaling comic book movies Instagram Live ABC Family cooking ViacomCBS crime concert The Witch Spectrum Originals Rom-Com Paramount Network canceled TV shows war