Uncle Tak, the old martial-arts master and medicine in normal life has severe problems with his former student Jonny, who wants nothing more than to kill his old master to show everyone who... See full summary »
Two rivaling families live on opposite sides of a river. One of them practices Shaolin kung fu and has only sons, while the other has only daughters and practices the Wu-Tang sword. The ... See full summary »
Jet Li weasels out of the north Shaolin temple to assassinate a despotic ruler at the ruler's extravagant public birthday celebration. Two other men from the south Shaolin temple also set ... See full summary »
A corrupt businessman commits a murder and the only witness is the girlfriend of another businessman with close connections to the Chinese government, so a bodyguard from Beijing is ... See full summary »
An undercover cop struggling to provide for his son and ailing wife, must infiltrate a ruthless gang. But things turn sour when another cop blows his cover and he quickly finds himself battling for his life and the lives of his family.
The Tang emperor is betrayed by one of his generals, who installs himself as emperor in the East Capital. The son of one of his slave workers escapes to the Shaolin Temple, learns kung fu, ... See full summary »
A young father and his infant son are beset by forces of evil and corruption. They wander China, upholding their sense of honor and protecting the weak. When they are forced into combat, ... See full summary »
The story is set in both Hong Kong and the U.S. So goes to the U.S. to open a martial arts school. Around this time, many Chinese people were sold off to U.S. railroad companies, and were ... See full summary »
The Cantonese hero Fong Sai Yuk becomes involved in the secret brotherhood "The Red Flower", who are trying to overthrow the Manchurian emperor and re-establishing the Ming dynasty. The ... See full summary »
With an entirely new set of actors, this movie continues the story from Swordsman (1990). Blademaster and his martial arts school decide to retire to a distant mountain. Before leaving, he ... See full summary »
A disappointing martial arts movie directed by, and starring, Jet Li.
Jet Li directs and stars in Born to Defend, a fight-packed martial arts movie set in China shortly after the end of the second world war. Li plays Jet, a soldier returning from the war who begins working with his pal (and ex-lieutenant), Zhang, helping with his rickshaw business. But when his wartime buddy is hospitalised in a fight with an American, and the rickshaw is trashed by a gang of US Navy bullies, Jet seeks revenge
I love the majority Jet Li's movies, so it is a shame to report that this one is a bit of a letdown action-wise, and also extremely xenophobic; every American is portrayed as a drunken, brawling, womanising, murderous thug without any redeeming features whatsoever, whilst the Chinese are (mostly) seen as hard-working and honourable people. I realise that foreigners are often used as bad-guys in this kind of movie, but the 'racism' in Born to Defend is taken to a ridiculous level which is totally unacceptable (and I'm not even an American).
The fight action, although plentiful, doesn't live up to the standard that fans have come to expect from a Jet Li movie, and the fact that the hero gets his butt kicked for the majority of the running time makes the film even more disappointing. Jet's incredible martial arts skills take a back seat, with most of the early fights being boxing matches (with only a few kung fu kicks thrown in to occasionally spice things up).
The finale sees events improve somewhat with a terrific showdown between Jet and his enemies in a factory, but it is a case of too little, too late.
Jet handles the direction well and it is a shame that he hasn't tried helming a movie since; maybe his debut's lack of business at the box-office knocked his confidencea shame, since he shows promise behind the camera, with an impressive explosive battle at the beginning and some lovely rain drenched scenes later on.
Die hard Jet Li fans will probably want to check this out regardless, but casual viewers bewarethis is not one of his better efforts.
5.5/10 (which I will generously round up to 6 for the IMDb rating).
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