February 26, 2006
Written by C.N.
Newsweek Magazine has an article describing Jet Li’s latest movie “Fearless,” a bio-pic of Huo Yuanjia, one of China’s most revered kung fu masters. The article notes that this is likely to be Jet Li’s last kung fu movie:
In an age when talented mainstream actors like Chow Yun Fat and Ziyi Zhang can dance their way through spectacular action scenes with the aid of wire work and computer animation, action stars like Li and Jackie Chan — who made their names through sheer physical prowess — are being crowded out.
Long interested in Buddhism, he was baptized as a monk in 1998 and says his faith compelled him to end his kung fu career. The desire to retire intensified after the 2004 tsunami. With his wife, the actress Li Chi, and their two daughters, he was vacationing in the Maldives when the giant wave struck. As they rushed from the beach, a piece of furniture injured his foot.
They headed inland to another hotel but had no way to contact anyone for several days. “When we came out from hiding, everywhere we went we saw death,” he says. “I realized that life is unpredictable. I want to spend the time I have on things more meaningful.”
I have to admit that I am a fan of these new “wire-fu” movies, but I think it would be a shame if Jet Li quits making kung fu movies because of them. At the same time, I admire his self-determination and sense of personal priorities. It is certainly true that we should always enjoy life in its current moment, since there is never any guarantee of what the future will bring.
Nonetheless, Jet Li has meant a lot to many Asian Americans. Many of us see him as the only genuine heir to Bruce Lee’s legacy. It would be unfortunate if we were to lose out on his talents and inspiration.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Jet Li’s Latest and Last Kung Fu Film" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/02/jet-li-last-kung-fu-film/> ().
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