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?