Recently I was a guest on the podcast Postcards From a Dying World, and the topic of the episode was the films of Jet Li. I’d actually been meaning to rewatch some of Li’s movies, and this pushed me to fill in a few of the ones I hadn’t seen.
BORN TO DEFENCE seemed like an important one, because it’s the only movie Li has directed. It was released in 1986, when he was in his early twenties, only his fourth movie and first without SHAOLIN in the title. Credited as “Jet Lee,” he plays Jet, a hero of WWII who opens the movie flipping and flying through tanks, explosions and machine gun fire. It’s cool but it made me think “Oh shit, I hope this isn’t a war movie.”
Never fear! The war ends and he comes home to Qingdao. Things have changed (there are orphan children for sale on the street – uncool) and his fellow vets are disgusted to find that nobody gives a shit about what they did, giving all the glory to the American sailors who are still stationed there and lording over everybody. (read the rest of this shit…)