Jet Li’s Greatest Films, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

Jet Li has thrilled us for a few years with the acrobatic fashion of martial arts that he has dropped at the large display. Li has blended a number of types of Wushu combating strategies. In addition to training Tai Chi and strategies like Tumbline Fist (Fanziquan) and Northern Longfist Model (Changquan). With these and plenty of extra, Li would grow to be a global famous person for the ages. His American success is prevalent, however as you will see on this record, Rotten Tomatoes appears to assume that plenty of his finest movies hail from his native nation of China.

Jet Li is an icon within the style of motion filmmaking. The youngest of 4 youngsters, his skills received him found on the age of eight and helped propel him to the forefront of martial arts motion pictures. This is what Rotten Tomatoes thinks is the most effective of his filmography that you need to search out and watch.

10 The Defender (1994) – 71%

The Defender -1994
Dimension Movies 

Launched in America as The Defender, however elsewhere it is called The Bodyguard from Beijing. Jet Li was by no means actually recognized to play the position of the man who will get the lady. However The Defender does go in that path, as he performs a martial arts knowledgeable who’s employed by a rich businessman to guard his girlfriend from a gang of dangerous guys. The reason being that she witnessed a homicide and may very well be subsequent on successful record. The film got here out a mere 4 years earlier than he reached worldwide fame. The plot does really feel a bit lackluster, however the motion is top-tier for his motion pictures.

It is one in every of Li’s first movies that happened in up to date occasions, as his different roles happened in movies from a extra historic time in China.

9 Mulan (2020) – 72%

Jet Li in Mulan
Walt Disney Studios Releasing

By 2020, it had been a short while since Li was on the large display. Nicely, on this case, Mulan by no means made it onto the large display as a result of theaters being shut down as a result of COVID. However we had not seen him in a big-budget movie in a while. In Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan, Li places down the combating abilities and high-octane motion set items and performs the position of the Emperor. Many followers who watched the movie at residence on Disney+ did a double take upon seeing him on display. It had been awhile, and he was below make-up and a heavy wardrobe; it was laborious to pinpoint who was taking part in the position.

Apparently, Jet Li accepted the position on behalf of his daughter, who urged him to participate in selling Chinese language tradition in an enormous film.

8 Fearless (2006) – 73%

Jet Li Fearless
Edko Movies/ China Movie Group Releasing

Fearless exhibits the true account of legendary martial artist Huo Yuanjia, performed within the movie by Li. Though parts of the film are extremely dramatized, the biographical parts and the battle scenes in it maintain plenty of benefit. Yuanjia was a really full-of-self martial arts champion who, after a tragedy, retreats to the countryside, the place he finds redemption and an appreciation of the extra essential issues in life.

Upon his return, which is led by plenty of reconciliation, Yuanjia is met with an opportunity to make use of his abilities as soon as extra and defend China’s honor in a event. Within the publicity for the movie, Jet Li would point out that this was the final Wushu martial arts epic he would act in.

7 Contract Killer (1998) – 80%

Contract Killer-Jet Li
China Star Leisure Group 

At 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, a movie that additionally goes by the identify Hitman is 1998’s Contract Killer. By this time in his profession, Jet Li had reached American success, as he had crossed over and performed a villain in 1998’s Deadly Weapon 4. Buzz round his success right here within the U.S. has thus made plenty of his Hong Kong motion motion pictures have an effect over right here. Contract Killer is a couple of former soldier who turns into a contract killer, and his first huge gig revolves round going after a Yakuza boss who has an enormous bounty on his head. The film is a gem of the late ’90s Hong Kong motion scene, with superior blends of martial arts and shootouts.

Associated: The ten Most Underrated Hitman Films of All Time

6 Tai Chi Grasp (1993) – 86%

Tai Chi Master
Golden Harvest 

It was solely a matter of time till we reached this level on the record. Two titans of the style in a film collectively. Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh would co-star within the 1993 martial arts epic, Tai Chi Grasp. At 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie that additionally goes by the identify Twin Warriors is about two childhood associates who develop up facet by facet however then ultimately half methods with each other based mostly on stances on the insurrection in opposition to the empire of China on the time.

The 2 should go toe-to-toe in battle now, with one in every of them now educated of the artwork of Tai Chi. It is one other fantastically produced movie that makes you see why Jet Li was a famous person, and simply so as to add a cherry on high, Michelle Yeoh has some nice sword-fighting scenes.

5 The Legend (1993) – 89%

The Legend-1993
Dimension Movies 

The Legend, or Fong Sai-Yuk, or The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk, no matter you wish to name it, is one other wonderful addition to Jet Li’s resume of epic historic martial arts movies. The movie is directed by Corey Yuen, so be ready to ignore a robust plot and character improvement, however in return, be given wonderful choreography and set items that thrill an viewers. The Legend is a story of affection and struggle as an underground insurgent society referred to as the Purple Lotus Flower Society plans to overthrow the Manchu Emperor.

The Legend has a quick tempo to it, and it’s fantastically shot, however could be laborious to comply with at occasions. Being that this was launched in America by Miramax, an organization as soon as recognized for making a number of cuts of its releases, you get to surprise if there may be an easier-to comply with reduce of this film floating round. Regardless, The Legend is plenty of enjoyable when it comes to turning your mind off motion motion pictures.

4 As soon as Upon a Time in China (1991) – 90%

Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
Golden Harvest

The As soon as Upon a Time in China franchise could also be what most followers of Jet Li consider once they consider his movies. The unique is loaded with nice motion, humorous moments, and romance that each one match properly into its runtime. Though the movie’s plot is believed to be fictional, its primary character is just not fiction. Wong Fei-hung was a martial arts grasp in China in the course of the nineteenth century. It is a basic martial arts movie that undoubtedly ranks as one in every of Jet Li’s finest performances. As soon as Upon a Time in China can be only a well-made movie, because it offers nice historic context on China throughout this time of occupation by European and American forces.

3 As soon as Upon a Time in China II (1992) – 93%

Once Upon a Time in China II
Golden Harvest

It is loopy to consider, however some argue that As soon as Upon a Time in China II is best than the primary installment of the franchise. Rotten Tomatoes appears to agree by giving it a 93%, a rating increased than the primary one. Within the sequel, Wong Fei-hung takes on an evil cult referred to as the White Lotus Society. They’re a fanatical group that plans to drive the Europeans out of China by utilizing violence. The movie blurs the traces between proper and incorrect with struggle and political tense occasions inside one’s nation.

One other facet of the franchise that may’t go unnoticed is the contribution of one other martial arts famous person, Donnie Yen, who seems on this movie and the unique one as properly. Yen and Li would go on to co-star in one other mesmerizing epic a decade later.

2 Hero (2002) – 94%

HERO jet li vs donnie yen
Beijing New Image Movie

An all-star solid consists of Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Chen, Tony Leung, and, after all, Jet Li within the anonymous lead position. Hero is directed fantastically by Yi-Mou Zhang and is loosely based mostly on the account of an assassination try by a tyrannical king of the Qin Kingdom. It may very well be argued that Hero has the most effective cinematography of any martial arts movie ever made.

The colour palette, the set design, the wardrobe, and the battle choreography place a robust emphasis on the phrase “arts” when it comes to the style of martial arts. The movie was launched in 2002 however received a 2004 American launch as a result of buzz it had acquired. It’s doubtlessly one of many definitive martial arts movies that’s based mostly on a real story.

Associated: Greatest Donnie Yen Films, Ranked

1 Fist of Legend (1994) – 100%

Japanese Productions

You learn that proper: 100% on rotten tomatoes. 1994’s Fist of Legend is a remake of the 1972 Bruce Lee basic Fist of Fury. Gordon Chan directs the Jet Li-starring movie a couple of character named Chen Zhen who learns of the dying of his grasp. He returns residence to the Japanese-occupied Shanghai to battle the person who defeated his grasp and wins. Thus resulting in phrase getting out to his enemies about him. Fist of Legend is loosely based mostly on reality. Chen Zhen is a fictional character, however his arc is believed to be true.

It is a movie that was one of many defining motion pictures of martial arts cinema on the time it was launched. It is loopy to assume you might pair this remake with its unique, and also you would possibly must flip a coin to resolve which is best. Fist of Legend has unforgettable battle scenes that keep caught in your mind, and though Jet Li has his personal tackle the position, you’ll be able to’t assist however assume Bruce Lee is smiling someplace that this was made.

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