Jet Li is a successful Chinese actor, a king in his own niche in the entertainment industry. He is a household name when it comes to action movies, not just in Asia but around the globe. Li is one of Asia’s best, presenting himself with his classic martial art stunts. In movies, he is often seen as a brave, skillful and sophisticated fighter. Moreso Jet Li movies are loved on-screen and off-screen, many have attested that although he is a hero, the actor is still a gentle and humble person.
He has been seen in quite a number of films since the ’70s, many of which he has been greatly praised for. Have a quick glance at some Jet Lis movies and TV shows ranked from best to worst over the years.
Jet Li Movies and TV Series Listed From Best To Worst
1. Fist of Legend
Fist of Legend brings back to memory the movie entitled Fist of Fury, the 1972 movie that starred Bruce Lee. Jet Li who happens to be the producer of the movie is also seen in a lead role. The movie was directed by Gordon Chan and released in 1994. The storyline follows a martial arts apprentice Chen Zhen – portrayed by Jet Li, who lost his mentor to a battle with Ryuichi Akutagawa played by the actor, Jackson Liu.
Though the movie was a remake of the popular Fist of Fury it was able to score 100% on the Rotten Tomato ranking site. Jet Li’s martial arts skill is best seen in the movie and you haven’t watched the best of martial art movies if you haven’t seen Fist of Legend.
The movie Hero is a 2002 film with a storyline that goes as way back as 227 BC from ancient China and it’s about the assassination attempted by Jing Ke against the King of Qin. In the film, Jet Li plays the role of a heroic Chinese warrior.
It is interesting to know that the movie was hoarded for two years after its release in 2002. This was done by the Miramax film company that purchased the right to distribute it in the American market. In 2004, it was finally released to the American audience and as anticipated, it topped the charts for two consecutive weeks at the American box office after its release. It also marked the first Chinese Language movie to take such a position on the U.S Billboard chart. Hero is one of the highest-grossing movies Jet Li has featured in as it made $177.4 million at the box office on a budget of $31 million.
3. Once Upon A Time In China II
Once Upon a Time in China II is an outstanding movie, it outdid its first edition which did amazingly well both in ratings and box office. The movie was released in 1992 and it is notable for its martial art stunts with Jet Li starring as a martial arts teacher. Though the movie is drawn from events preceding the Sino-Japanese war, it is still appropriate for this period, and the stunts pulled off to make the movie all the more interesting. The movie follows a master in martial arts who saves his students and relatives from a cult that sought to send Europeans packing from China.
One of Jet Li movies to look out for, this film was rated 93% on Tomatometer and it was able to land 10 awards from ceremonies like the 12th Hong Kong Film Awards and the 29th Golden Horse film Awards. It also recorded a whopping HK$30,399,676 at the box office.
4. Once Upon a Time in China
This is a 1991 Chinese movie that starred Jet Li as the hero of the Wong Fei-hung people. It is the first of the Once Upon a Time series as directed and written by Tsui Hark. In the movie, Jet Li’s character seeks to provide protection for his martial art students, as well as Biao Yuen, a woman he greatly cared about. It features mainly Chinese culture, martial art skills, and amazing fight scenes. This film is also recognized as one of the first martial arts movies that ignited martial arts fanaticism which was widely seen in the 1990s. It also boosted Li’s career with its success at the box office where it grossed $29,672,278.
5. The Legend
In The Legend we see an amazing combination of action and comedy which was put together by director Corey Yuen. Once again, Jet Li played a lead role as a hero called Fong Sai Yuk. The film is widely praised for the perfect choreography displayed and its great plot. It follows that Fong joins a fighting competition to win the daughter of the Governor in marriage but for his super warrior mother, he would have been in serious trouble.
The movie got several awards during the 13th Hong Kong Film Award, as well as winning a Golden Horse Award for Best Action Choreography. The movie was able to maintain Li’s outstanding track record at the U.S box office as it grossed $30,666,842.
6. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is a 2008 movie directed by Rob Cohen. It brings to screen, a mix of action, adventure and it’s the last in The Mummy trilogy. The film follows Archaeologist Alex O’Connell who is tricked into awaking the Dragon emperor portrayed by Jet Li. The Dragon who had been buried in clay for years by a ruthless sorceress had an unquenchable fury burning inside him and he intended to unleash it on the world. Alex and his parents sought a way to return the ghoul to the grave before the emperor’s great army is awakened to take charge of the world. However, when compared to the other two series in The Mummy trilogy, the film had a higher budget but its earnings at the box office was lower than the first two.
7. The One
The One is a sci-fi thriller which was directed by James Wong and it brings back to memory the 1994 movie Time Cop. The starring actors in the movie are Jet Li, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham, and Gugino. In the movie’s plot, a system developed called Quantum Energy enables transportation between universes. This technology was abused and an agency was set to combat the criminal abuse of the medium. Gabriel Yulaw contends with these authorities in his bid to kill his parallel selves in the different universes so he could become very powerful and the only one of his type remaining. However, the movie did not get many positive reviews and it was rated as low as 14% on the Rotten Tomatoes ranking site.
Philip G. Atwell directed this 2007 American thriller movie and it featured the likes of Jet Li and Jason Statham. The movie follows an FBI agent – Jason Statham who is driven by his plot to avenge the death of his colleagues and family, who died at the hands of a ruthless assassin, Rogue, portrayed by Jet Li. The FBI agent jumps at the opportunity to revenge when Rogue shows up in a future triad. War, which premiered on August 24, 2007, was not a box office success as many critics see it as a complete waste of time, saying it had no excitement. It eventually grossed about $40.7 million on a budget estimated to be $25 million.
9. Cradle to the Grave
Cradle 2 the Grave is one of the popular Jet Li movies, mainly because of the stars it features. In the movie, Li is seen starring alongside DMX who plays Anthony Fait, a sleek thief. An agent called Su portrayed by Jet Li is on one of his cases involving jewelry theft. His initial intention was to track down this criminal, but a turn of events made him work with Anthony against his rival in a bid to rescue his kidnapped colleague. However, after its release, the movie received a lot of negative reviews from critics. Some people felt that DMX was not the right character for the role and another set found the movie to be boring.
10. Bai She Chuan Shuo (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)
In The Sorcerer and the White Snakes, Chinese film director Ching Siu–Tung brings together a beautiful piece of movie churned out from an ancient Chinese legend – ‘Legend of the White Snake’. In the movie, Jet Li plays the role of a sorcerer who fell in love with a white snake who camouflaged as a pretty young lady. It has a lot of fighting scenes, aimed at attracting lovers of martial arts but that never happened. In spite of all the efforts put in the making of the film, it had a poor appraisal from critics though some critics generally loved the back-to-back action and its combination with romance. However, the overall perception was that the film was too unreal and it was criticized for most of its scenes.