Mystery Recapped:

Hi, Mystery Recapped here. Today I am going to explain a martial arts film called Fearless. Spoilers ahead! Watch out and take care!

10-year-old Huo Yuanjia is the son of a martial arts master named Endi. Endi never allows Huo to take part in training, concerned about his asthma. The kid, however, has a passion for Kung Fu. He tries his best to sneak into his father’s classes to learn the basics of it. Huo’s only friend is a nerdy kid named Jinsun. He does all of Huo’s calligraphy homework, allowing him to train instead.

Endi is the second-best in martial arts in their town which is soon about to change because he has been challenged by the best, Zhao. Huo is excited about the fight and confident that the victory will fall to his father’s lap. Endi has the upper hand in the match and is about to land a fatal blow on Zhao. But his beliefs and fair gameplay stop him from doing so. Taking advantage of his niceness, Zhao retaliates and wins the match dishonorably. Huo is heartbroken by the incident.

Mystery Recapped:

Zhao’s son challenges him to a fight when only the kids are together. Huo confidently takes up the challenge but is defeated in no time. At this moment, he vows to restore his family’s name and be the best martial artist in Tianjin. He and Jinsun go to his father’s library and steal his book about martial arts. Then, using the book, he trains day and night without rest. When Huo finally thinks he is ready, he challenges Zhao to a fight again. Zhao accepts the challenge confidently but is instantly proven weak against a trained Huo.

Several years later, Huo has grown up to become even better in martial arts. His father passed away long ago, along with his wife, who left him with a little daughter. Huo spoils her since she is his joy and pride in life. Since his last fight with Zhao, Huo has remained undefeated. He has fought several opponents, but none of them were good enough to give him a hard time.

Huo has also gathered a lot of fans and followers over the years. But along the way, he has developed pride and is starting to forget his father’s principles. He drinks and parties all the time and lets his disciples focus on having fun more than practicing. Some days he drinks so much that he forgets to return home to his daughter. He has spent all of his family’s money and has gone into debt but has no care in the world.

Mystery Recapped:

One evening, he goes to his best friend Jinsun who is now a wealthy businessman and the owner of a famous restaurant. As usual, Huo drinks till midnight and treats his followers to unlimited food. Jinsun’s assistant reminds him that Huo has not paid his bills for over a year and they have been piling up. Later that night, Jinsun tries putting some sense into Huo. Jinsun knows that Huo’s disciples only like him because he treats them to free food and drinks. He wants Huo to stay careful of his spending habits but Huo thinks Jinsun is just being stingy.

The following day, he bumps into his biggest rival, Qin. He is the only man who hasn’t fought with Huo yet. Since he has also defeated every opponent, Qin is considered the best in martial arts by many. They get into a slight altercation which hurts Huo’s pride. He takes his anger out on his disciples, beating them up while they train.

At night, one of his followers has to be brought to him in a stretcher. It turns out that Qin beat him up for some reason. Huo assumes that he did it out of spite and is filled with anger. In Jinsun’s restaurant, Qin and his family are celebrating his birthday. Suddenly, Huo barges in with his people and starts drinking at a nearby table. Qin asks him to keep their rivalry aside for the night because he doesn’t want to fight. But Huo is in no mood to back down. Jinsun also tries to stop him but is, in turn, insulted. In a fit of rage, he breaks up their lifelong friendship.

Mystery Recapped:

Now even angrier, Huo challenges Qin to a fight and asks him to kneel down if he doesn’t want to accept. Everyone gets out of the restaurant for their safety, leaving the fighters alone. They get into an intense battle, both matching in skill and strength. But when anger takes over Huo, he doesn’t play fair. He beats Qin up till he is exhausted and lands a life-threatening punch on his chest. It causes him to die instantly.

Huo returns home in the morning to see his mother’s dead body on her bed. Qin’s followers had killed her to take revenge on him. He cries, mourning her death before suddenly realizing his daughter is also in the house. Upon walking into her room, he is met with the biggest surprise of his life. She is lying on her bed, covered in blood. In her hand is a little pouch that she promised to give him when he returned home.. He boards the first ship and lies down in a corner, willing to go wherever it takes him.

Mystery Recapped:

Broken by the deaths he caused, Huo steps out of the house when his disciples inform him that the man who was beaten up by Qin had insulted his wife. Qin did not beat him out of spite but for his wife’s honor. Filled with guilt, regret, and sorrow, Huo doesn’t see a reason for him to keep living. He boards the first ship and lies down in a corner, willing to go wherever it takes him.

After living in the streets for six months, Huo has enough of life. He tries to commit the unthinkable but is soon saved by a group of people by the river. They bring him to their tribe and take great care of him. But even after gaining consciousness, Huo goes into depression and doesn’t talk to anyone. A blind woman named Moon takes care of him and is worried that he will never get up from the bed. Her experienced grandmother is confident that he will be fine with time.

Mystery Recapped:

One day, Moon feels Huo’s hair and offers to cut it. He walks for the first time in a month and goes to a river with her where she helps him cut his hair. Starting that day, he becomes a member of their community. He helps them cook, farm, and do household work. As a year passes, Moon and Huo start falling for each other. Then, one day, a kid from their tribe is found stealing a cow from a neighboring community. The grandmother and Moon beg for forgiveness from the rival leader. But according to their tradition, someone who makes a mistake should be beaten till an incense burns out.

Huo speaks up for the tribe and offers to take the beating in the kid’s place. For adults, the punishment is a bit different, which means Huo will have to fight against the leader. Although Huo can finish him in no time, he doesn’t want to use his knowledge to hurt anyone anymore.

Mystery Recapped:

Initially, he doesn’t even defend himself but after a little motivation from the grandmother, he starts to dodge the attacks. The incense burns off but the leader is not able to land a single blow on him. He accepts his defeat and praises Huo.

The next day, Huo, Moon, and the children of the tribe are in the field. The children want to learn Kung Fu from Huo but he refuses to teach them. He knows what great power does to people and wants the peaceful village to remain the same. The children also innocently mention that Huo and Moon are the closest to each other but the adults ignore the comment.

One day, Moon goes to see her parents’ grave. This reminds Huo of his parents and daughter who he abandoned after her death. Now that he is in a better mental condition, he wants to return home to visit their graves. He tells Moon about the plan and she happily encourages him. Huo promises to return as soon as he can and asks her to wait for him.

Mystery Recapped:

In the following scene, we see him enter his home town Tianjin which is now an entirely different place. After the fall of the Qing dynasty, several strong nations attacked China and took over. Tianjin became partially colonized, which caused several foreign residents to reside in the city and influence their culture. Huo goes to his childhood house, which is now an old shabby place. The family servant Laifu welcomes him in. He has tried his best to keep things as they were, but after Huo’s departure, a bunch of creditors flipped the entire house to look for money. Huo goes to his family’s grave and apologizes to his father. He finally understands why he didn’t land the punch years ago when he could have won the title of the best player. After that, he goes to apologize to Qui’s family and bows down in front of his shrine.

As he wanders around the city, he sees that a wrestler named Hercules O’Brien is challenging Chinese people in a fight. He has remained undefeated in every fight and is confident of his next victory. To conserve Chinese heritage, Huo wants to challenge him, but he will need some money for it. For his next stop, he goes to Jinsun’s place and apologizes for what happened years ago. He promises to have learned from his actions. When Jinsun finds out what he needs the money for, he doesn’t waste time before handing it to him through an assistant.

Mystery Recapped:

Then, in the 1909 race club, Shanghai, Hercules goes against Huo. At first glance, someone petite like Huo could never beat Hercules who is double the size of him. Before the match begins, Huo requests that he and Hercules fight with honor and civility. Taking advantage of the language barrier, the announcer mistranslates Huo’s request to “He wants to kick your butt,” making Hercules laugh. The fight starts, and Huo instantly gains the upper hand.

As the match gets intense, Huo saves the opponent from being impaled to nails on the side of the ring. As a good sportsman, Hercules accepts his defeat, making Huo the victor. Huo gains fame from the single fight and is called to Shanghai. He meets Jinsun there, who proposes they form Chin Woo Athletic Association. A place where they teach Chinese students the art of Kung Fu. That way, even with the constant foreign pressure, they can preserve their heritage.

Meanwhile, a group of officials from the foreign chamber is not fond of Huo’s growing popularity among the Chinese public. They fear that his wins against the foreign fighters may trigger anti-foreign sentiments among the Chinese people. Hence, to make sure he loses in the ring the next time, they propose a match between Huo and four foreign champions consecutively in a single day. The Japanese representative, Mr. Mita, promises to end Huo once and for all this time. Even though the challenge is difficult and is obviously a tactic to make him lose, Huo agrees to take part.

Mystery Recapped:

One day before the big fight, he meets his rival, the Japanese champion Tanaka. They talk over tea and befriend each other. Tanaka is a fair and respectable sportsman like Huo but unlike the people who are sponsoring him.

Cut to the day of the fight. Huo is made to go against three fighters from around the world but none of them last in the ring for more than two minutes. Huo manages to defeat all three without breaking a sweat.

Lastly, he goes against Tanaka who apologizes for the unfair match and asks him if they should reschedule. Huo says it’s fine and the first round starts. They fight using weapons of their choice, Huo uses a sanjiegun and Tanaka uses a katana. Amidst the intense battle, they accidentally exchange weapons. Tanaka is not very good at handling a sanjiegun, so to make it a fair fight, Huo offers to exchange weapons. The first round ends in a draw because of the hold-up.

While resting before the next round, Huo drinks tea that is poisoned by Mr. Mita, who wants to see him lose one way or the other. The round starts, but Huo collapses and starts coughing blood almost immediately. Tanaka demands that the match be halted for the safety of the fighter. But when Huo registers he has been poisoned, he wishes to continue as he is going to die anyway.

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