Fearless is a straight up, guy-flick Kung Fu opera - so don't be surprised if it does not wallow in the metaphysical being of personal martial combat the way movies like the Matrix, Hidden Tiger Crouching Dragon, or Hero did. From the opening text crawl - which proclaim a trial-by-combat challenge from four of the best fighters from around the around to the "Sick Men of Asia" (an epithet directed at the Chinese) - you know all you need to know about the plot. The movie's marketing, about Jet Li's "last marital arts film" is of the same vein.
And the movie ROCKS.
Not just that it clips from fight-to-pause-to-fight in a frenetic cycle - though it does slow down before the third act begins to allow us to catch our breath. And not just that the movie is a parable of accepting change, grounded in friendship and loss. And not just that even the standard "revenge" motive for such films is upended (just enough for freshness), as our hero Huo Yuan Jia transforms his battles from a journey of divisiveness, destruction, and strength to one of unity, purpose, and the strength of body, mind, and soul.
Really, the back story (grounded in just enough history and truth to make the movie work) is there only to ensure we're emotionally invested in the combat.
And it works.
And the comabt! Wow. Just: wow.
There are a few moments where you see "cracks" in the cinematographical firmament - where the wire fighting or camera tricks break the framework of disbelief. But those are fleeting execptions. Whereas the other movies (of the metaphysical nature) I referenced above embraced the uncanny valleys their special effects created as a part of their storytelling fabrics (to generally good effect), in Fearless you're seeing astounding fighters in deeply physical, real, painful, solid and astoundingly unbelievable yet believably natural battle.
It's good - very good. Go see it - its a spectable that benefits from the big screen.