Why They're Expendable: Jet Li

The Expendables Group picture

Man, the testosterone levels on this site just keep getting higher and higher everyday and it's all thanks to tomorrow's release of The Expendables.

Everyday this week - which we are calling Expendables Week - on Screen Rant, we have been focusing on a couple of cast members from the film. If you're just joining us then feel free to check out the previous articles on: Randy Couture, Steve Austin and Terry Crews; Dolph Lundgren and Eric Roberts; Mickey Rourke and Jason Statham.


Jet Li - Ying Yang

The Expendables with Jet Li

Today we are focusing on someone so badass that we had no choice but to dedicate an entire article just to his work. This pint-sized ball of martial arts energy is so indestructible that even a friggin tsunami couldn't wipe him out. As outrageous as that story sounds, it's 100% true.

Back in 2004, when an earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a massive tsunami that devastated much of Indonesia, Li and his family were vacationing in the Maldives, which were also hit by extreme flooding. Just like a true badass, Li survived with only a minor injury while getting his daughter to safety.

Now combine that information with the fact that he also holds fifteen gold medals in the Chinese Wushu Championships and what you have is one awesome martial arts expert that shouldn't be taken lightly (I'm talking to all the people who are down on Wushu because it's a non-sparring sport).

So, without further ado, I give you our top 10 movies that qualify Jet Li to be an Expendable.


#10 - Kiss of the Dragon

Jet Li in Kiss of the Dragon

Most people would start with Romeo Must Die when listing Li’s films because it was his first American leading role. Not me though - I consider Lethal Weapon 4 to be his first American film; plus I really like Kiss of the Dragon and at the time Bridgette Fonda was a hot whore (seriously, she played a drug addict prostitute in the film). Li's English was still choppy in this film, so he didn't have very many lines, but he whooped all sorts of butt in it and dispatches the bad guy with acupuncture needles. Pretty sick.


#9 - Cradle 2 the Grave

Jet Li in Cradle 2 the Gave

Just ignore the fact that this movie has DMX, Anthony "Barely Funny" Anderson, Kelly Hu and Tom "Why'd I Marry Roseanne" Arnold and focus on the fight scene between Jet Li and Mark Dacasos. That one scene is worth all the extra worthless scenes in the movie and I could put it on a loop and watch it for 90 minutes straight.



#8 - The One

Jet Li in The One

There are only two movies that I can recall where the lead character fights himself - The Evil Dead and The One. Li wasn't originally attached to be the lead in this film, but Dwayne Johnson had scheduling conflicts and the role fell into Li's lap. After watching the film, it's hard to see anyone else being able to do completely different styles of martial arts when playing themselves as two different but identical-looking characters.


#7 - Black Mask

Jet Li in Black Mask

Black Mask was one of Li's first American released films that was filmed in Hong Kong and was only attempted after the success Jackie Chan's Rumble in the Bronx the year before. Hollywood studios were testing the waters to see if American audiences would be willing to watch an actor who was a star in his own country but had never been heard of in the States. Black Mask was a great first film to introduce us to Li, even though the entire film is dubbed - even the English actors!



#6 - The Legend

Jet Li in The Legend

Jet Li cut his cinematic teeth back in the '80s doing epic period tales set in China. He continued this trend into the '90s and one of the best examples of this is The Legend. Audiences in mainland China eat this type of film up and it's too bad that Western audiences never too took to it, because some of the best story telling comes from these type of films. Throw in the fact that the martial arts action scenes are exciting and enjoyable and you've got the main reason why these movies are made.



Continue to the top 5 Jet Li roles...

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