You are currently displaying English
中華英雄 (1988)
Born to Defence

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/20/2010

1988's Born to Defence, Jet Li's directorial debut, offers up some great gimmick-free action. But unfortunately, there's not quite enough of it, and the movie's obvious propagandistic overtones and lack of any real style or panache in the technical department take things down a couple of notches.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/05/2008

Jet Li, still a young chipmunk of an upandcomer in the mid-'80s, was so jaded by his experiences with the Shaw Brothers crew on "Martial Arts of Shaolin" (1986) that with only an unrelated trilogy of films under his belt the wu shu champion turned actor threatened to abandon filmmaking forever. Studio executives moved quickly with the promise to sit the actor in the director's chair as well as having writers tailor a script to his liking. The net result: "Born to Defence" an allegorical Chinese boxing film pitting Li against American soldiers running amok in Qingdao who received preferential treatment from the Nationalist Party following the defeat of Japan in World War II. Jet Li later waxed on his first and last time as a credited director:

"But in the final analysis, I don't think that I was a very successful director, because I did not achieve my purpose, namely, to get a lot of people to recognize my ideas or understand my point of view. Nor did I attract a lot of attention for trying to tell this story. No, I don't think of myself as a good director. I made the decision not to direct any more movies. Instead, I decided to direct my energies back into acting."

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 04/02/2005
Summary: Average

I saw a dubbed version and there is nothing interesting about this movie (standard story of americans picking on chinese) apart from the end fight.The end fight has lots going for it with a few stunts and fluid fighting style. There is nothing to recommend apart from this


Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 02/03/2003
Summary: Jet Li at Large

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only film Jet has directed. And its good! Definitly not what I expected, but still an engrossing picture. From its WW2 opening, we know we are in for a rowdy movie. The scene of Jet learning American boxing (the hard way) is awesome. On the downside, there is no really impressive cinemtaography, and its a pretty damn depressing movie. Still, a must-see for Jet Li fans. 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Kncklz2000
Date: 06/27/2001
Summary: Good movie but shitty acting

The acting done by the Americans is just horrible. They are presented as sex crazed animals.

But I don't care about that. Let's talk action. I don't think there was any wire-work during the actual fights. Yes, Jet does some boxing here, but to a certain extent. You still see your fancy Jet kicks - Jet bends in some awkward postion and kicks his opponent.

The first fight is in a bar room. Jet is challenged by an American (the guy that played Paco in "Bloodsport") to a boxing match. Well, Jet doesn't know the rules of boxing. So first off, he starts beating the guy with his legs. Then he starts beating him with his elbows. Then he just throws that motha.

Later on, Jet has to be the guy's sparring partner because he needs money. So the guy beats the living daylights out of Jet. It's get's really brutal.

Later on in the movie, Jet is challenged by teh captain or general (somne tall white guy). The fight lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes. It was really good, with some nice Hong Kong spins in them.

The last fight is pretty aamazing. Once again Jet is faced up against the tall guy. The fight begins with just a basic hand to hand type thing. Then Jet busts out a chain-here we get some see some crazy shit. Just awesome. Then onto more weapons.

This movie doesn't have a GREAT story or GREAT actors, but it has really good fights. Your amazing 80's stuff.

A definite recommendation just for the fights.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Jet Li gets the shit beat out of him, limited wire works and the loveinterest is a little different. Apparently he directed this movie and it'll show you a different side to him than in most of his movies. It's not a great movie but interesting.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The only Jet Li film I don't really like, although if I remember correctly, he had a lot to do with the production. The storyline revolves around the atrocities of US soldiers inhabiting a small village (can't remember where). He indeliberately gets involved in boxing tournaments in a GI bar, where GI's cheat and debauch in order to use our hero as a pint-sized punching bag. As is typical, Jet Li is the only honorable person in the whole film, which climaxes when Jet saves the day in order to avenge a friend. The true value of this film lies in the chance to see Jet Li use an incredibly mean US boxing style. Like I mentioned, worth renting for the boxing, but not the best storyline. It's completely different than Dragon Fight. It uses a completely different fighting style and its definitely not a comedy!

[Reviewed by Rebecca Herbster]