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Posts Tagged ‘Jet Li’

Kiss of the Dragon

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

tn_kissofthedragonAs successful as they may be in their own countries, global superstars always seem to have their eye on the juicy, low-hanging grape of Hollywood. It doesn’t matter how many soldiers have fallen before them, stumbling on a new language, style and approach to filmmaking and bleeding away everything that made them great in the first place. It’s still hard to resist the temptation. They’re still gonna jump and try to bite it.

And so it was that in the late ’90s and early 2000s Jet Li left Hong Kong to make some Hollywood-produced, English language movies. Of course if you have a guy who’s a legendary martial arts champion and iconic star of many of his generation’s most popular movies (the SHAOLIN TEMPLE series, the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA series, the FONG SAI YUK series, and FIST OF LEGEND) what you do in the U.S. is put him in a movie with DMX and Anthony Anderson that’s billed as “an urban Romeo and Juliet.” I mean, what else would you do with him? That’s just obvious.
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The Expendables

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

tn_expendablesMy friends, I write this review with a heavy heart. I know you’ve been waiting patiently for me to review THE EXPENDABLES, but first I had to process it, and what it has done to us. Sometimes a man must go on a journey to find himself before he can rise in the morning and face others. Ever since I was a young (read the rest of this shit…)

Fist of Legend

Friday, August 13th, 2010

tn_fistoflegendcountdownlogoYou know how people are always saying “Man, there really oughta be more kung fu movies set in the Shanghai International Settlement during the Second Sino-Japanese War”? Well in 1994 director Gordon Chan and star Jet Li heard your cries. They love a good Second Sino-Japanese War picture as much as anybody so they came up with FIST OF LEGEND, a remake of Bruce Lee’s FIST OF FURY. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Friday, December 12th, 2008

PROLOGUE: Long ago, a brave warrior (Jet Li) and a graceful dancer turned actress (Michelle Yeoh) did the movie TAI CHI MASTER together. Then both went to Hollywood and did Lethal Weapon and James Bond and shit. But they had not forgotten each other. They were gonna star in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON together. But Jet backed out for the incredibly classy reason that he had promised his wife to take the year off from movies and be with her while she was pregnant. Years later, they had another chance to do a movie together in Ronny Yu’s FEARLESS – but Michelle’s scenes got cut out of the theatrical version. So it was this last summer, 15 years later, that the two were finally reunited on the big screen. BUT IT WAS IN THE FUCKING MUMMY 3! How’s that for a Tales From the Crypt type twist ending?

Okay, I should get a couple disclaimers out of the way. First of all, mummies are not one of my favorite monsters. Off the top of my head the only mummy movie I can think of that I like is BUBBA HO-TEP, but that didn’t really need to be a mummy to be good. It just needed to be a slow moving monster so an elderly Elvis could be a fair match for it. If it was about a giant space slug or mutant sloth it could also be good if it had the same characterization of a sad, lonely Elvis Presley. The Universal MUMMY with Boris Karloff is a great monster at the beginning, then he disappears and it’s just Karloff in a fez for the rest of the movie. It’s no DRACULA, I’ll tell you that. And as you can see above I didn’t think the Hammer version was that great either. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jet Li’s Fearless

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I don’t know if that title means “Jet Li’s” in the sense of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA or as a less formal way of saying Jet Li is Fearless. Neither one makes complete sense because Jet Li is not the director (that would be the great Ronny Yu) and his character is not named Detective Jack Fearless, he is playing a guy named Huo Yuanjia who it turns out is a real life martial artist (1869-1910) who united the various factions of Chinese martial arts to form “wushu.” He’s the guy who is supposed to be the teacher of the fictional character Bruce Lee played in BRUCE LEE’S FIST OF FURY and the one Jet played in JET LI’S FIST OF LEGEND. This new movie is a very mythology-ized version of the guy’s life but does have many elements that are based on actual historical events. But they are honest enough not to say “BASED ON A TRUE STORY” in the ads, despite the continual lowering of the standards for what counts as a true story. (The latest chapter: the prequel to the crappy remake of a completely fictional movie that was vaguely inspired by what Ed Gein did to dead bodies now counts as a true story.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Unleashed

Friday, May 13th, 2005

(or DANNY THE DOG if you’re in Europe)

This is just your typical martial arts vehicle where the star (in this case Jet Li) has been raised like an animal in a cage and wears a collar and he’s trained by Bob Hoskins so that when the collar comes off he goes ape shit and beats the holy living fuck out of people that owe Bob Hoskins money. But then obviously he meets a blind piano tuner played by a respected Oscar winning actor (in this case Morgan Freeman) who teaches him about music and then the piano tuner’s stepdaughter teaches him to eat ice cream and then she gets her braces taken off so he becomes non-violent and refuses to fight in high stakes death matches.

Actually come to think of it this is not a typical martial arts movie at all, it’s pretty fuckin weird and that’s what I liked about it. Despite HERO I’m still pretty skeptical of new Jet Li movies, especially when he’s speaking the english type language. This is a good not great movie, but it’s a great move for Mr. Li because he plays a distinct character, he really gets to act, he fights in a different style and he even gets to put a sincere anti-violence message in there. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hero

Sunday, September 19th, 2004

HERO is no surprise. I knew I was gonna like this movie. I heard enough to know this was gonna be a good one. I mean it’s got that acclaimed director who did all those movies I haven’t seen like THE ROAD HOME. But then instead of doing another movie like that, what he does, he gets Jet Li and Maggie Cheung and Donnie Yen and Zhang Yiyi and he says, let’s do an awesome fucking epic with kung fu and swords and about ten million arrows.

This movie has been making the rounds for years. It got nominated for the foreign film oscar, and it played the seattle international film festival, and it’s been on DVD in Asia forever which is no problem for a worldly dude like me, I’ve been free of the region code shackles for years. Region 2, region 3, bring it on motherfuckers, I go all the way up to region 4, region 5 on a good day. I could do region 10 if they threw it at me, region 11, I don’t give a fuck. Anything. But here in region 1 Miramax was supposed to release HERO in theaters. What they wanted to do was leave it on the shelf for years and finally put it out when there’s less interest. That worked so well with SHAOLIN SOCCER. Unfortunately HERO was sitting on the shelf but then it fell off the shelf and got stuck behind the desk and nobody knew it was there. Then I think Tarantino dropped a pencil back there or something, so he reached back there and he felt HERO. So he pulled it out and dusted it off and he was like, “You guys still have this? You should, like, release it in theaters, where people go to watch movies projected on a screen.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Cradle 2 the Grave

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

From the same director, producer and cast as Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds comes another exciting pile of disparate elements squooshed together into the same basic shape as an action movie. It’s really more of a booger sculpture than a movie, but for a booger sculpture, it’s not that bad, I guess.

Joel Silver originally announced this as Untitled DMX Project, supposedly a remake of Fritz Lang’s M. If that was the case, then I guess Tom Arnold (our generation’s Peter Lorre) would’ve been playing a perverted child killer whose killing spree had caused the police to clamp down so hard that organized crime would be pretty much put out of business. So the leaders of rival gangs (DMX, Jet Li, Mark Dacascos) would pool their resources to catch Tom Arnold so everything could go back to normal. (read the rest of this shit…)

My Father Is a Hero

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

No, my father is not a hero, but that is the name of the movie so in my opinion I had no choice but to write it. The truth is my father was an abusive drunk and a loser* and he is where I get many of my qualities. Maybe that is why this picture starring Jet Li, 1999 Outlaw Award winner for Black Mask, broke my damn heart. True, it is a karate picture, and there are a couple of really great fighting and shooting action type scenes. However what I loved about this movie was the sentimentality in its story of a young boy. It will make you cry.

More than any other karate picture I have ever seen, this is a sad, sad movie. I mean it will grab you by the nuts and pull your heartstrings. You see, this little boy who is a junior martial arts champion idolizes his father, Jet Li, but he hardly ever sees him. Jet is a caring father and has fun with the boy when he sees him, but he’s still a fuck up. He is off getting in spectacular kicking fights and he is always late. He is late for the martial arts tournament, and then after he gets there he gets in a big fight with some criminals. The boy intervenes and gets declared a hero. But then Jet doesn’t even make it on time to see him get a plaque presented for his heroism. But still, the boy forgives him right away. Because to him at this age he will always be dad, the hero. He can be hurt by what dad does but he won’t realize that his dad is a fuck up. (read the rest of this shit…)

Romeo Must Die

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2000

This is the latest Jet Li picture, his last in the US was 1999 Outlaw Award Winner for Best Picture – Karate Black Mask. That was weird type of comic book story where there is karate, masks, lasers and all that sort of garbage, which is why it is good. Jet Li is an amazing type of action star as far as the kicks, the punches and etc. Legend has it that he is so fast they have to ask him to slow down so the camera can pick him up properly. In fact this guy is faster than Superman in my opinion, and he can also fly although only with the help of cables that are removed using high tech electronic computers that they have today. But the real thing about Jet Li is that he is a very charismistic and good looking dude, maybe a little feminine but in a “I’m gonna kick your ass and the girls will still think I’m sensitive, sucker” type of way.

What’s historic about this one is that it’s the first picture ever made in English with Jet Li as the star. The only English language picture he’s done in the past is I believe Beverly Hills Cop 4 or one of those type of movies, where he played the bad guy in a couple scenes and then the good guys make fun of him for being chinese. But he was so much more popular in that movie than the movie itself that now he is being groomed to join the pantheon with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Rudy Ray Moore and other martial arts superstars who have made it big in the states. And what better to story give this motherfucker than one by the bard of writing, Mr. William Shakespeare himself, the genius behind Titus and other hits.

Well, that’s what they WANTED us to think. I’ve been reading about this piece for a long time and every single time they call it an update of Romeo and Juliet. I knew they wouldn’t talk like Shakespeare, and obviously there is gonna be some liberties as well as possibly some karate. But I thought it was gonna be a serious, modern karate type of picture which coincidentally happens to be about the warring capulets and whatsits and how Romeo and Juliet meet and fall passionately in love and then the shit hits the fan if you know what I mean, as far as a bunch of karate scenes happen and what not. Of course that would be totally ludicrous. I think it would be very enjoyable. (read the rest of this shit…)