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Jet Li Movies

As the third biggest international martial arts movie star of all time, Jet Li (Mandarin: Lee Lian-jie) was also the first actor from Communist China to conquer Hollywood. Jet Li accomplished this feat by excelling in what at the time was cultural contraband in Communist China—martial arts.

For example, Jet Li’s first major cinema production, The Shaolin Temple (1982), was China’s first kung fu film since the 1949 Communist takeover. The movie inspired millions of people to visit the remains of the original Shaolin Temple. The Chinese government responded by warning the public that it was unnecessary for the Chinese people to learn self-defense. Eventually, the Shaolin Temple doors would reopen and the sport of wushu would spread worldwide.

What’s interesting to note is that despite his influence on the martial arts, Jet Li does not consider himself to be a martial artist. Because his training in wushu lacked philosophical teachings and an official code of martial ethics, he generally admits to being an athlete, instead.

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  1. Vintage Jet Li Films: Fearless

    Vintage Jet Li Films: Fearless

    Now that Hollywood has almost ruined the conceptual approach of Hong Kong’s evolution of stylized martial arts fight choreography, there’s one film left this year that’s a welcome sight for fight-film fans. After a four-year absence from the kind of movies that made Jet Li famous, he’s come out of
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  2. Tai-Chi Master Review | Vintage Jet Li Films

    Tai-Chi Master Review | Vintage Jet Li Films

    There are few types of action films that I enjoy more than the historical epic. Drunken Master II, Gladiator and 300—all are sweeping, emotional roller coasters packed with flawed heroes, grandiose visuals and beautiful violence. Sadly, many critics love to complain about historical movies, saying they’re wildly inaccurate and only
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  3. Vintage Jet Lee Movies: The One

    Vintage Jet Lee Movies: The One

    Situated atop a 40-foot-high, rickety-looking catwalk, Jet Li looks like a puppet on a string as he prepares for one of Corey Yuen’s action-directed stunts. Wires protrude from Jet Li’s body in four directions, and as Corey Yuen bellows, “Action,” a menagerie of Chinese stunt guys yank on them by
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  4. Vintage Martial Arts Movies: Chop Socky

    Vintage Martial Arts Movies: Chop Socky

    Finally, a movie featuring Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Sammo Hung and director John Woo on the same screen has arrived.

    While Chop Socky: Cinema Hong Kong isn’t a big-budget blockbuster, it’s an engaging documentary that explores the many facets of kung fu films by showing archival footage, analyzing fight scenes and
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  5. Vintage Martial Arts Movies: Jackie Chan and Jet Li’s The Forbidden Kingdom

    Vintage Martial Arts Movies: Jackie Chan and Jet Li’s The Forbidden Kingdom

    Jackie Chan. Jet Li. In the same movie. ‘Nuff said, right?

    Well, not quite. But fans of “J&J” (Jackie Chan and Jet Li, as the studio calls them) have waited to hear those eight words in the same sentence for 25 years, and all it took was the director of Stuart
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  6. Vintage Jet Li Movies: The Enforcer

    Vintage Jet Li Movies: The Enforcer

    In the 1990s, two superstars ruled the Asian martial arts movie market: Jackie Chan and Jet Li. While the former revolutionized the modern action extravaganza with blockbusters like Rumble in the Bronx, the latter scored box-office gold by resurrecting the “ponytail classics” with epics like Once Upon a Time in
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  7. Top 20 Martial Arts Film Stars of All Time

    Top 20 Martial Arts Film Stars of All Time

    In celebration of the growing popularity of martial arts cinema, Black Belt asked me to devise a list of the top 20 martial arts film stars. In reality, this list could have been different for each decade since the 1970s because in years past, one could reflect only on names
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  8. 11 Movies Every Martial Artist Must See

    11 Movies Every Martial Artist Must See

    I recently finished writing The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s. In one section, I list my 20 favorite films of the ’70s before and after I wrote the book. Why? Because after watching 600-plus movies during an eight-month stretch, my list had 14 changes. That got
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