Despite his place as the second highest paid Chinese movie stars, save for #1 Jackie Chan, Jet Li gets surprisingly little buzz here in the States. To coincide with the release of his 2002 hit in Asia Hero finally making it to our screens, the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens presents a series devoted to Li's movies, "Fist & Sword: A Tribute to Jet Li" running through next Thursday, Aug. 26.
If like Gothamist, you've been resisting seeing Hero on a cheap Chinatown DVD dupe, we suggest catching AMMI's preview screening on Friday at 7:30 pm. Li gets top billing in this martial arts epic directed by Chinese director Zhang Yimou which also stars Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi and Donnie Yen. He plays Nameless, an assassin from the provinces who has killed the king's potential killers and is rewarded with a special audience at the palace. Told mostly in flashback, it's a stunning picture with sweeping emotions and almost eye-aching visual palate.
The other films in the series include Fist of Legend (Aug. 24), Twin Warriors (Aug. 25) and The Defender (Aug. 26). If you're in an irrepressible Jet Li mood, might we also suggest a rental of Tsui Hark's Once Upon A Time In China I, II, III and/or IV? Jet Li with a queue is just too cute. Or enter the Gothamist/Miramax Hero contest for free Jet Li swag. [Shameless plug]: A fuller review of Hero by this correspondent at Cinecultist. Limited release of Hero begins Aug. 27.