Best movie: Fist of Legend (1994)

It’s easy to forget how many solid movies Jet Li has been a part of, but it seems like all you have to do is get him away from Hollywood and he's more than capable of putting out jaw-dropping action flicks like no one else. But no movie on his resume stacks up to Fist of Legend. It's the one that launched Li into the stratosphere of martial arts cinema and helped redefine the way action was filmed in both the East and West.

Fist of Legend goes beyond simple fight scenes, though, because the story is solid enough to exist as more than an obstacle standing in the way of more action. If you want to get into modern martial arts cinema beyond Bruce Lee, Fist of Legend is one of the best examples around.

Runner-up: Hero (2002)

It took a lot of good will and some involvement by Quentin Tarantino to finally get Hero screened in the States, but when it arrived it wowed audiences and critics with a unique blend of kinetic action and beautiful use of color and camera work. The movie perturbed some people who believed it tried to push a pro-totalitarian agenda, but there is no denying that the scope and spectacle are second to none. And Li, once again, delivered a great performance as the unknown warrior and unlikely savior of the piece.