Jet Li

The earliest experience I have had with Asian American in the media was watching Jet Li. His movies were always amazing to watch and captivated me with the beautiful choreography and the skills that Jet Li possesses. The movie that made me fall in love with Jet Li was “Once Upon In China”. It was about this Chinaman who was a doctor and follows a code to protect the innocent and the weak. He would fight against religious fanatics who were corrupt and fought the changes that were happening in china in the 1930s. These cults were fighting for China’s isolation of foreigners and their ideas. At first, Jet Li was neutral between the foreigner’s way and the cult’s way. When the cults started to attack the innocent and weak foreigners as well as his lover, he started to fight back and brought them down with their leaders. Many Chinese movies in the 90’s did not have a good story background and leaned more towards martial arts choreography to make up for that void in story. After seeing this movie, I saw Jet Li in a light to where I believed his character and feel his presence throughout. This movie represented Jet Li to be an honorable warrior who is humble as well as intelligent. He protects the weak that cannot defend for themselves and rids the evil that torments these innocent lives. The representations of Asian Americans in media are still cursed I feel because many Asian movies that have reached the United States now are always martial arts movie with little to no story. Even when there is a great story such as “Hero” which Jet Li played in, it portrayed Asian Americans as martial artists with vengeance in their blood to rid the tyranny and evil. These new movies also involve a lot of CGI for martial arts effect which cannot be done by a human. They also use strings in fights to exaggerate many fight scenes to captivate more audience. I feel that these effects take away the beauty of the martial arts that has been done through choreography and made it seem like just about any average person could play a role in these movies and do these movies. With this, I just feel that the films feel empty and deprived of any real story rather than a generic background with just anybody being a martial artist with these new effects.


One thought on “Jet Li

  1. Hi Tien, Your description of Jet Li movies really conveys what you like about them, especially in contrast to more recent martial arts movies (I agree with your critique). Beyond the over-use of martial arts, are there other ways these movies reproduce or challenge representations of Asians?


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