Jet Li facts for kids
Jet Li at the premiere of Fearless
|Born||April 26, 1963
|Nationality||Singaporean (since 2009)
Chinese (until 2003)
(m. 1987; div. 1990)
Nina Li Chi (m. 1999)
Li Lianjie (born 26 April 1963), better known by his stage name Jet Li, is a Chinese film actor, film producer, martial artist, and retired Wushu champion who was born in Beijing. He is a naturalized Singaporean citizen.
After three years of training with Wu Bin, Li won his first national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team. After retiring from Wushu at age 19, he went on to win great acclaim in China as an actor making his debut with the film Shaolin Temple (1982). He went on to star in many critically acclaimed martial arts epic films, most notably as the lead in director Zhang Yimou's 2002 Hero, Fist of Legend which is the best acclaimed Li movie by Rotten Tomatoes, and the Once Upon a Time in China series, in which he portrayed folk hero Wong Fei-hung.
Li's first role in a non-Chinese film was as a villain in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), and his first leading role in a Hollywood film was as Han Sing in Romeo Must Die (2000). He has gone on to star in many action films, including in French cinema with the Luc Besson-produced films Kiss of the Dragon (2001) and Unleashed (2005). He co-starred in The One (2001) and War (2007) with Jason Statham, The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) with Jackie Chan, all three of The Expendables films with Sylvester Stallone, and as the title character villain in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008).
Early life and martial arts career
Li was born in Beijing, China and was the youngest of two boys and two girls. When he was two years old, his father died and his family then lived in poverty.
Li was eight when his talent for Wushu was noticed as he practiced at a school summer course. He then attended a non-sparring wushu event, followed by joining the Beijing Wushu Team which did a martial art display at the All China Games. Renowned coaches Li Junfeng and Wu Bin, made extra efforts to help the talented boy develop. Wu Bin even bought food for Li's family because they could not afford to buy meat, which was essential for an athletes physical condition. A very young Li competed against adults, in the Chinese Wushu Championships and won fifteen gold medals and one silver medal.
According to Li, once, as a child, when the Chinese National Wushu Team went to perform for President Richard Nixon in the United States, he was asked by Nixon to be his personal bodyguard. Li replied, "I don't want to protect any individual. When I grow up, I want to defend my one billion Chinese countrymen!"
Li is a master of several styles of wushu, especially Chángquán (Northern Longfist Style) and Fānziquán (Tumbling fist). He has also studied other arts including Baguazhang (Eight trigram palm), Taijiquan (Supreme ultimate fist), Xing Yi Quan (Shape intent fist), Zui Quan (Drunken fist), Ying Zhao Quan (Eagle claw fist) and Tanglangquan (Praying mantis fist). He has also mastered wushu's main weapons, such as Sanjiegun (Three Section Staff), Gùn, Dao (Broadsword), Jian (Straight Sword).
The fame gained by his sports winnings led to a career as a martial arts film star, beginning in mainland China and then continuing into Hong Kong. Li acquired his screen name in 1982 in the Philippines when a publicity company thought his real name was too hard to pronounce. They likened his career to an aircraft, which likewise "takes-off" as quickly, so they placed the name Jet Li on the movie posters. Soon everybody was calling him by this new name, which was also based on the nickname, "Jet," given to him as a young student, due to his speed and grace when training with the Beijing Wushu team. He made his debut with the 1982 film Shaolin Temple.
Considering US box office statistics, the most successful Jet Li American film as of August 2010 is Lethal Weapon 4, which grossed over 130 million dollars domestically, while the second is The Expendables with over 103 million dollars. Hero is the third most successful foreign language film in the US, and one of the best critically acclaimed Li movies. Fearless is the sixth most successful foreign language film of all times in the US.
|Year||English Title||Chinese Title||Role||Notes|
|1982||Shaolin Temple||少林寺||Jueh Yuan|
|1984||Kids From Shaolin||少林小子||San Lung|
|1986||Born to Defense||中華英雄||Jet||Jet Li's directorial debut
a.k.a. Born to Defend (Australia)
a.k.a. Born to Defense (USA)
|Martial Arts of Shaolin||南北少林||Zhi-ming||a.k.a. Shaolin Temple 3: Martial Arts of Shaolin|
|1989||Dragon Fight||龍在天涯||Jimmy Lee||a.k.a. Defector|
|1991||Once Upon a Time in China||黃飛鴻||Wong Fei-hung|
|1992||Once Upon a Time in China II||黃飛鴻之二男兒當自强||Wong Fei-hung|
|Swordsman II||笑傲江湖之東方不敗||Ling-wu Chung||a.k.a. The Legend of the Swordsman (USA)|
|1993||Tai Chi Master||太極張三豐||Zhang Sanfeng||a.k.a. Twin Warriors (USA)
|Fong Sai-yuk||方世玉||Fong Sai-yuk||a.k.a. The Legend
|Fong Sai-yuk II||方世玉續集||Fong Sai-yuk
|a.k.a. The Legend II|
|Kung Fu Cult Master||倚天屠龍記之魔教教主||Cheung Mo-kei||a.k.a. The Evil Cult (USA)
a.k.a. Lord of the Wu Tang
a.k.a. Kung Fu Master
|Last Hero in China||黃飛鴻之鐵雞斗蜈蚣||Wong Fei-hung||a.k.a. Claws of Steel
a.k.a. Deadly China Hero
|Once Upon a Time in China III||黃飛鴻之三：獅王争霸||Wong Fei-hung||a.k.a. The Invincible Shaolin|
|1994||The Bodyguard from Beijing||中南海保鑣||Allan Hui Ching-yeung / John Chang||a.k.a. The Defender
a.k.a. Zhong Nan Hai bao biao
|Fist of Legend||精武英雄||Chen Zhen||Also producer|
|The New Legend of Shaolin||洪熙官之少林五祖||Hung Hei-kwun||a.k.a. Legend of the Red Dragon
|1995||High Risk||鼠胆龍威||Kit Li||a.k.a. Meltdown|
|My Father Is a Hero||給爸爸的信||Kung Wei||a.k.a. The Enforcer
a.k.a. Letter to Daddy
|1996||Black Mask||黑俠||Michael / Simon / Tsui Chik / Black Mask||Released in 1999 in the United States|
|Dr. Wai in "The Scripture with No Words"||冒險王||Chow Si-kit||a.k.a. Adventure King
a.k.a. The Scripture With No Words
|1997||Once Upon a Time in China and America||黃飛鴻之西域雄獅||Wong Fei-hung||a.k.a. Once Upon a Time in China IV|
|1998||Hitman||殺手之王||Fu||a.k.a. The Hitman
a.k.a. The Contract Killer
|Lethal Weapon 4||致命武器4||Wah Sing-ku|
|2000||Romeo Must Die||致命羅密歐||Han Sing|
|2001||The One||最後一強||Gabe Law / Gabriel Yulaw / Lawless|
|Kiss of the Dragon||龍之吻||Liu Jian||Also associate producer|
|2002||Hero||英雄||Nameless||Released in 2004 in the United States|
|2003||Cradle 2 the Grave||同盜一擊||Su|
|2005||Unleashed||Danny||a.k.a. Danny the Dog
|2006||Fearless||霍元甲||Huo Yuanjia||a.k.a. Legend of a Fighter (Hong Kong)
Also producer and presenter
|2007||The Warlords||投名狀||Pang Qingyun|
|War||Rogue, a.k.a. Victor Shaw||a.k.a. Rogue Assassin or Rogue|
|2008||The Forbidden Kingdom||功夫之王||Sun Wukong the Monkey King / Silent Monk|
|The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor||Emperor Han|
|2009||The Founding of a Republic||建國大業||Chen Shaokuan||a.k.a. Jian Guo Da Ye (lit. The Great Cause of China's Foundation)
a.k.a. Founding of the Nation
a.k.a. Lofty Ambitions of Nation Building
|2010||Ocean Heaven||海洋天堂||Sam Wong|
|The Expendables||Yin Yang|
|2011||The Sorcerer and the White Snake||白蛇傳說之法海||Reverend Fahai|
|Flying Swords of Dragon Gate||龍門飛甲||Chow Wai-on|
|2012||The Expendables 2||Yin Yang|
|2013||Badges of Fury||不二神探||Huang Feihong|
|2014||The Expendables 3||Yin Yang||Fifth time partnered with Jason Statham, second time opposite Mel Gibson since Lethal Weapon 4|
|2016||League of Gods||封神榜||Jiang Ziya|
|2017||Gong Shou Dao||功守道||Old Monk||Producer|
Images for kids
Li (right) with Mark Zuckerberg
Jet Li Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.