The difficulty in picking out the best movies when it comes to martial arts films is that there are literally too many of them to really appease everyone. In selecting Jet Li movies one has to be extraordinarily selective since some folks tend to love the work he’s done in America and others would swear by his earlier films when it comes to how authentic everything feels and how great the story is.
Martial arts movie enthusiasts have their biases just like anyone else, but honestly and truly one has to look at the story along with the fight sequences to really determine just how good a movie really is. If all you do is skip around the plot to get to the fighting then it kind of argues the point that the story isn’t that great.
With that in mind here are a few of Jet Li’s best movies.
- Once Upon A Time in China
Li plays the legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hong in this flick about the encroaching west. Wong is asked to protect the town by creating his own group of kung fu experts. But the west isn’t the only problem that he and his group encounters. Lots of action in this one.
- Fist of Legend
This remake of Bruce Lee’s The Chinese Connection has Li starring as Chen Zhen, a man that returns to Shanghai for revenge. Let’s put it this way, would you want to take on Li in a movie where he’s looking for the person that poisoned his master? He does Lee justice in this one, and that’s a tall order when you consider the company.
Honor and integrity mean a great deal in this movie since Huo Yuanjia was bound and determined to restore his family’s good name after his father lost in a match right after showing mercy to a downed opponent. Unfortunately Huo took his quest too far and became vain and quite cruel. Only when he lost everything did he realize the need for compassion, mercy, and civility. When he returned to his hometown he was a changed man, and this was shown in his desire to fight with a measure of humility and respect towards his opponents. But of course politics isn’t always a game that’s played fairly, or with a shred of civility.
- The Forbidden Kingdom
In reality, this is a children’s movie. Still, anytime a movie stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li, it’s worth taking notice of.
- The Enforcer
My Father is a Hero was the original title of this film, but it was changed to The Enforcer when it was brought to America. The whole idea behind the film is that Li is an undercover cop that has infiltrated a gang and is set to bring them down. Unfortunately when the gang leader figures out that he’s a plant it becomes open season on his family and things start to heat up in a big way until the finale when he and the gang leader finally go toe to toe. Among his many movies this seems to be one that’s been remembered the most given that people will talk about it at length and will even agree it’s one of his best.
Also worthy of mention are;
- Romeo must die
- Black mask
- The One
- Lethal Weapon
- The Tai Chi Master