The Unleashed Jet

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Jet Li was born in Beijing, China on April 26, 1963. He began studying the martial arts at eight, and became a national champion in his age bracket less than three years later. He was to win again four more times, before starring in his first film while still in his teens.

The second most famous Asian actor after Jackie Chan, Jet has already made 35 movies in a bi-continental career divided between the East and West. When not making chopsockies over in Hong Kong, Jet has enjoyed impressive outings in such Hollywood flicks as Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, The One and Cradle 2 the Grave. In his latest film, Unleashed, he plays Danny the Dog, a slave kept in a cage and trained in the martial arts to fight anyone to the death.

Away from his work, Mr. Li spends time with his wife, actress Nina Li Chi, a former winner of the Miss Asia beauty pageant. Together they are raising their five year-old daughter, Jane, and his other two kids from his first marriage. Their lives were transformed last December 26th, when the tsunami hit while they happened to be vacationing in the Maldives.

BSN: Tell me about surviving the tsunami.

JL: "I take my family, went to the Maldives for vacation. The next morning, the tsunami comes. I was playing with two of my daughters and their babysitter in the swimming pool. I saw the water come, and, at first, it didn't feel that bad. But after a few seconds, the water come very strong, so I hold my daughters, grabbed the babysitter to head towards the hotel. After just a few steps, the water come to my chest. When I turned back and looked, the swimming pool, gone. The hotel disappeared. So. I'm standing there with my two daughters and the babysitter seeing nothing but ocean."

BSN: How were you able to hold all three of them?

JL: "I tried very hard to go back to the hotel, but at the last moment, the water take the babysitter and my younger daughter. Gone. They were saved by hotel workers. I tried very hard to fight with floating tables and everything to protect my daughter."

BSN:  How scary was it?

JL:: "Very close to death. The water come to my mouth."

BSN: You were lucky to survive. So I guess that makes you appreciate life a little more.

JL: "Yes, it wasn't my time. Not my time. That must mean something. What am I going to do in the future?"

BSN: How has the experience changed you?

JL: "That make me believe that however famous or powerful you are, with Nature, poof, one second you can be gone. I'm 42 years-old. I love life. I love family. I love people. So, what I will do now is pay back to the world."

BSN: How so?

JL: "I will continue to help people. Not just making movies, but by making movies that gives nice messages I believe in. Somebody may say that's B.S., but it doesn't matter. I will do what I believe."

BSN: Like what?

JL: "I already started. I donated money to build a hospital and a school. I donated some money to help children here. I will continue to pay back in the latter half of my life, because everybody supported me. So, what I can do in the future, is the responsibility I feel."

BSN: Are your daughters and babysitter okay?

JL: "Yeah, the little one doesn't understand. The five year-old girl has a lot of bad dreams. She wakes up screaming, 'Swim! Swim! Dad, water come, water come. So, I need to take them to the swimming pool to recover. That's life."

BSN:  Did this ordeal make you more religious?

JL: "I think all the main religions, may have a different road to go, but the deity at top have a similar idea, that love is more powerful than anything. Here's how I look at it. I ask my leg, what's your name? The leg says, 'My name is leg.' It's not Jet Li. My arm is 'arm.' So, if you cut pieces off my body, there's no Jet Li there. But the whole thing is Jet Li. If you pull back and ask, where you from/ Beijing. Pull back farther. China. Pull further. Asia. Pull farther and farther into space, and you see I'm a human being. That's why I think human beings is one family sharing the Earth. So, I love people. And because people love me I need to pay back.

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