has played the hero in a whopping 25 films in China but his turn as a villain in Lethal Weapon 4
was his first experience with American audiences. He tells TV Guide Online that his naughty role has left a lasting impression. "It was hard on the audience. A lot of people see me on the street and say, 'Oh, you're so mean,' and I need a lot of time to explain to them, 'Look ? in my real life I'm very nice. I'm a normal guy. That's the movie. In the movie the character's very mean, not me.' "
In Romeo Must Die, Li returns to his heroic roots and plays an ex-cop who escapes from prison to track down his brother's killer. As usual, the
martial arts expert has more kicks than a Rockette ? but that's just his day job. Li explains, "I've never kicked somebody's ass. In the 21st century,
people [learn martial arts for four reasons]: to become an actor, to [be] an Olympic champion, to protect yourself and to become healthier. We never want people learning martial arts to kick somebody somewhere. If somebody uses martial arts fighting on the streets, that's low."
Instead of fighting, Li is immersing himself in Americana and sums up
the advantages of a fast-paced culture: "Simple! Easy! Straight! [When the]
Chinese have lunch we have maybe 30 different kinds of food on the
table. It's very complicated. What's that? What's that? American culture is
so easy: Go there. Hamburger. Pay your money. Go back. Eat. Go back." Did
somebody say McDonald's?