Upset by the depiction of kung-fu master Huo Yuanjia in Fearless, his great-grandson Huo Zizheng is now threatening to sue.
At the Sunday news conference in Tianjin, Huo's lawyer, Yang Zhongkai, said stopping the damage done by Fearless meant stopping the screening.
The box-office hit on the mainland stars kung-fu actor Jet Li, in what Li says is a tribute to the kung-fu master and his own final appearance in a kung-fu film.
Huo says his objections are: "In the movie, Huo Yuanjia was described as a man who killed many innocent people. Also, according to the movie, his offsprings were all killed and he left no descendants, which was definitely untrue. This is malevolent slander."
Huo does not accept the film's statement that the plot is fiction, and his lawyer has suggested that if the lawsuit goes to trial both Jet Li and the producer of Fearless will be defendants.
"If the producer of Fearless could make an apology, clear up the mistakes and stop the damage, there would be a chance for us to sit together to reach an amicable settlement," Huo said. The family is not asking for financial compensation.
Getting into the legal niceties, Yang said: "To say the movie has damaged Huo Yuanjia's reputation is a bit complicated since he died about 100 years ago. But his descendants still have the right to protect his reputation."
Weighing in for Fearless, a lawyer surnamed Chen said the movie eulogizes Huo Yuanjia as a national hero, and that works of art can diverge from real life.
(Shenzhen Daily February 22, 2006)