Jet Li (also Jet Lee) is a male martial arts master and actor of Chinese origin, born in 1963. In China he is the national martial arts champion. He is also a practictioner of wushu, and a keen proponent of eliminating the misconceptions of kung-fu. At age 9 he won the first chinese martial arts youth competition since the Cultural Revolution, and continued to consecutively win the adult bracket from 1974 to 1979.

He is most well known for his acting career, having been in a number of chop suey martial arts videos from Hong Kong, among them (in no particular order) the Once Upon A Time in China series (1, 2 and 3), Tai Chi Master, the Fong Sai Yuk series (1, 2 and 3), Dr Wai in the Scripture With No Words, The Bodyguard from Beijing, Black Mask, The Master, Hitman, Fist of Legend, My Father is a Hero, and a plentitude of others.

Generally Jet's popularity in the Western World has been limited to a cult following, however his recent Western movie debut as bad guy/supporting role in Lethal Weapon 4, served to make him extremely popular. Regrettably, he turned down the lead role as Li Mu Bai in the megahit Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon to star instead in the early-2000 Romeo must die - in hindsight it appears to be a very bad choice, and a great disappointment to many of his fans. He is also reported to be starring in a sequel to The Matrix. This is a good thing - if you thought the Matrix fight scenes were good, Jet Li will own you. He is the one.

Regrettably, in a defining element in his movies is that generally they have pathetic storylines but enough action to blow any multimillion dollar western production through the roof. The sad thing is for many fight scenes are few and far between. The fact that he doesn't speak english isn't a help. On that note I recommend you to The Bodyguard from Beijing, Black Mask, and Fist of Legend.

Jet's style of fighting is outstanding - fluid, fast, sharp, gravity defying, unreal. He is an exponential mix of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. I cannot stress how cool he looks fighting. If you watch anime and appreciate the cool moves of the characters, Jet Li can do this for real. Well, some of them. I suggest you see it for yourself . Surprisingly, he began his martial arts training by sheer luck. It turns out that when in primary school he was selected to take part in the martial arts extracurricular activity to fill the quota. Today, he has residences in the United States, China and Hong Kong.

Jet Li about the role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:

"I've been asked: why didn't you do Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

Ang Lee did ask me back in 1997 if I would be interested in doing his movie. At the time, I didn't make a commitment either way, but I did recommend that he hire Yuen Woo-ping. I told him: if you're going to make a period martial arts movie, you've got to have Yuen Woo ping choreographing the action. And if you're going to shoot the film in China, you've got to get Chui Po-chu, the best producer in Hong Kong, on your team. These two production members have proved to be wonderful colleagues in my own career. I worked with them on several projects in Hong Kong. They're brilliant at what they do.

But there was a reason why I couldn't do Crouching Tiger, and it dates back to ten years ago.

When I first met Nina in 1989, on the set of Dragon Fight, we fell in love right away. Our feelings for each other were very strong. People wondered how long it would last.

We wondered about this as well. One day, when we were talking, I said to Nina: "Let's not rush into anything. What I mean is, if we still feel this way about each other ten years from now, I think we should get married then."

And she replied: "Alright. If you ask me then, I promise that the answer will be yes."

"Well, if that's the case," I said, "then let me make another promise to you. If we ever decide to start a family, I will take a break from my career. Through every month of your pregnancy I give my word that I will not make any movies, until the child is born. I plan to be by your side the whole time." It was a man's promise.

1999 rolled around. And we were still as much in love with each other as we had been in the very beginning! Ten years had passed like a single day. We started planning the wedding. As chance would have it, we had more good news. Nina had "good fortune," as we say in Chinese. She was carrying our child!

In order to keep my promise to her, I had to turn down the role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Naturally, I told Ang Lee about my situation--why I couldn't do his movie. He was very understanding.

So I didn't make that movie. In fact, starting from the time that Romeo Must Die wrapped production, I didn't work on any films for about 12 months, a whole year, because I was at home with my wife.

Many reporters have asked me, "Given the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, do you have any regrets that you didn't do the movie?"

To this day, I have only one answer: "None whatsoever."

My film career is only one aspect of my life. Relationships are more important. And I believe that keeping one's word is one of the most basic principles of human conduct".



And as an addition, Jet Li will not be seen in the sequels of Matrix. Too bad though.

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