Jet Li broke into mainstream America after his role in Lethal Weapon 4 as a great adversary to Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover). He’s known for his incredible fighting techniques with a very raw and no B.S. approach to taking out his enemies. Before his big break in Hollywood, he became well known in Hong Kong cinema. He specialized in epic, more fantasy type of films with daring stunts and complex wire work influenced by the Shaw Brothers. Let’s take a look at some of these insane moments:
1. Freestyle vs. Traditional
This was a pretty great scene in Fist of Legend because you saw Jet Li and Chin Siu-Hou go at it punch for punch in this well choreographed scene. It’s the classic tale of old and new. From Jet Li’s side you see more of freestyle footwork, boxing approach to movement (reminiscent a bit of Bruce Lee), and Chin Siu-Hou has more of traditional, textbook based style. This is beautiful scene with a great story, expression, and some really interesting fighting tactics displayed by both characters.
2. Witness the Chi
In Tai Chi Master, Jet Li plays a character named Junbao who uses the positive force of Tai Chi to combat his former friend and rival, Tien Bo (Chin Siu Hou). While Tien Bo focuses on rage, dirty tactics, and flash to take it to Junbao, Junbao has a great solution: life force and balance. This is yet another well choreographed fight.
3. Close Quarters
This elaborate scene in Unleashed shows Jet Li in his rawest form. He was called Danny the Dog because he was put on a leash that kept his rage under control. In this final scene, we see an epic chase, and a close quarter combat sequence that starts in a bathroom of all places. This is definitely a bit of a departure from wire work and more of a street style combat approach.
4. The Battle with 100 Swordsmen
In Fong Sai Yuk 2, Jet Li takes out over 100 swordsmen. He’s armed with nothing but some swords around his waist and he also uses a blindfold to add to the impact of the scene. He relies on his combat skills and intuition to come out on top. Take a look at this awesome scene:
5. Fearless Fighter
This is another good scene in Jet Li’s Fearless. In this clip, Jet Li shows off his diversity by using open handed tactics, swords, spears, and a myriad of ways to prove he is fearless. There’s great fighting and expertise in wielding weapons and a bit of wire work. Enjoy!
6. Jet Li vs. Jackie Chan
Now this is the dream fight we were waiting for a while! We have Jackie Chan bringing back his Drunken Boxing from The Legend of Drunken Master and Jet Li bringing a more traditional Shaolin style. The Forbidden Kingdom was a fun movie to watch with great trade-offs in fighting and character displayed by both fighters. Take a look at the scene below:
7. Courtyard Combat
This is a beautiful scene displayed in Hero. Jet Li and Donnie Yen displayed excellent sword and staff technique all the while playing a sort of mind game. I love the black and white backdrop and the lighting makes this scene look like a pure work of art. Both fighters are truly showcasing some of their best weapon work here.
8. Romeo and Juliet
This scene is pretty cool by showing how well Jet Li and the late Aaliyah really had on screen chemistry. In this scene of Romeo Must Die, there’s a car chase leading to a fight with a female protagonist. Jet Li being the guy he is does not want to fight her. Aaliyah steps in as Jet Li helps to guide her movements in a way to help her defeat the enemy. Very cool display of team work and grace.
9. Two Cops and One Bad Apple
I have to say… as serious as this fight seems, I definitely got a laugh at how Jet Li was handling both Gibson and Glover. This was a good introduction to the U.S. of the type of fighter and physical actor Jet Li was in this type of gun-slinging film. Lethal Weapon 4 was definitely an awesome film.
10. Pots and Pans
Jet Li holds his own in a cast full of action film vets and macho men such as Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger to name a few. He takes out his opponents with some pots like a boss. Expendables 2 is definitely your go to movie if you love classic American action films.
What are some of your favorite Jet Li moments? Drop a comment below: