Film & Television

God took Bruce Lee from us too early. As an apology he gave us… Jet Li

By Steven O’Connor

In 1998, director Richard Donner released the fourth and final installment of his hugely successful Lethal Weapon movie series. In this movie, our favourite buddy-cop duo ofMartin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are feeling their age and must contend with that feeling of ‘getting too old for this shit’. The gang is all back and is causing more mayhem and chaos than ever or as Riggs put it – ‘gun fights, explosions, sharks, the usual’. The lead villain in the movie would be played by Jet Li as leader of the evil Chinese Triads in his first American-produced movie. This would also be the first time he ever played a villain. Jet Li was already a star from his many successes in Chinese and Hong Kong cinema, most notably his Shaolin Temple series and also the Once upon a Time in China series. He also starred in Fist of Legend, a remake of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury. In his first English-speaking role, albeit only one line, Jet Li (real name Li Lianjie) impressed critics and viewers with his dazzling and highly impressive martial arts skills. Riggs and Murtaugh would see these skills up close as they try to stop Jet’s character Wah Sing Ku. This proved to be a very difficult task.

“The guy’s too damn good!” – Murtaugh

He was damn good! Good enough that Richard Donner had to ask Jet to slow down during action sequences because he was moving faster than the camera shutter speed and therefore wasn’t registering on film. It’s also worth mentioning that Li was named Jet after the aircraft which likewise “takes-off” as quickly. If you have never watched this man before, please do so as his skills are a sight to behold. I now present to you a clip of Jet-Li in action in a scene from Lethal Weapon 4 with dubbed-over audio of the audience at an American theatre in 1998. They were clearly impressed…

You can follow Steven on Twitter @St3ven91 and feel free to chat about wrestling, The American Office and his obsession with the Chicago Bulls.

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