10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™




Jet LI 
Written by: on April 17th, 2004
Jet Li

Li Lian Jie (Jet Li) was born on April 26th, 1963 in Beijing, China. At a young age his father passed away and he was placed in China’s compulsory fitness program in the Wushu class. Naturally gifted in Wushu and through hard work he quickly rose to become a top student and soon found himself competing in national contests and representing China all over the world. Li decided to make martial art movies, while on tour fans would ask when they could see him in kung fu films. His big break came in 1981 when he cast in the film Shaolin Temple.

Overnight Li’s success would make him a legend in his own country. In 1986 Li decided to diversify himself by trying his hand in directing Born to defend (1986). The unpolished movie didn’t fare well at the box office. In the late 1980’s unhappy making films in China settled in San Francisco with a Chinese actress who would briefly become his wife. After two years Li instead of moving back to China he moved to Hong Kong in an attempt to resurrect his sagging career by signing with Golden Harvest.

Li’s breakthrough role Once Upon a Time in China (1991), was a huge success worldwide and critically acclaimed, and Li went on to star in two sequels. With each new movie Li popularity was on the rise and producers were desperate to get Li in their film. Li’s personal manager was gunned down in Kowloon and the reason was not clear, but talk in film circles said he had refused to let jet star in some unscrupulous Triad (a studio) production. Feeling financially underappreciated Li parted ways with Golden Harvest.

1993 would be Jet Li’s biggest year and he set up his own production company Jing Tung. Over the five year period 1992-1997 Jet Li appeared in over two dozen films of varying quality. Despite numerous offers from Hollywood like, Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino, Jet Li took his time following fellow HK actors Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung and Chow Yun-Fat to Hollywood. Jet Li would make his Hollywood crossover with Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), playing the martial artist villain. Romeo Must Die (1999) would mark Li’s first English-speaking role. Recently Li has found even more fame with several modern day action movies and even the film’s story left much to be desired. The fight scenes would leave American audiences dazed and begging for more.

Filmography:

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
Warlords (2007)
War (2007)
Fearless (2006)
Danny the Dog (2005)
Rise to Honor (2003)
Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)
Hero (2003)
The One (2001)
Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
Romeo Must Die (2000)
The Contract Killer (2002)
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)
Black Mask (1996)
Dr. Wai and the Scripture Without Words (1996)
The Enforcer (1995)
High Risk (1995)
The New Legend of Shaolin (1994)
Fist of Legend (1994)
The Defender (1994)
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk 2 (1993)
Twin Warriors (1993)
Last Hero in China (1993)
Once Upon a Time in China III (1993)
Lord of the Wu Tang (1993)
The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk (1993)
Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)
Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
Swordsman II (1991)
The Master (1989)
Dragon Kickboxer (1988)
Abbot Hai Teng of Shaolin (1988)
This Is Kung Fu (1987)
Shaolin Temple 3: Martial Arts of Shaolin (1986)

Born to Defend (1986)
Shaolin Temple 2: Kids from Shaolin (1983)
The Shaolin Temple (1981)

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