Jet-Li toning down the action?

Has Jet-Li given up his kungfu movies?

3 Sep - It seemed like a match made in cinematic heaven when upcoming Hollywood production "The Forbidden Kingdom" was announced to pair Jet-Li and Jackie Chan for the first time - but word is that Jet-Li has told fans to keep expections low, as to the fighting scenes. The two contemporary Chinese action heroes had never featured in the same film and it seems quite ironic that a chance has come so late in their careers.

"When Jackie Chan and I first wanted to work together 15 years ago, our passion was at its peak and our desire to succeed was very strong," the 44-year-old Li told The Associated Press. "Now we joke that when we watch the 'The Forbidden Kingdom', our combined age is almost 100." Jackie Chan is 53.

It was late last year when "The Forbidden Kingdom" was first announced, not long before Li's martial arts epic "Fearless" was set to premiere. Then, the wushu-trained star came out with a statement about "Fearless" being his last Chinese martial arts film, the intention understandably being that he is done with the kungfu epics and wants to be a more complete actor now.

A scene from "Rogue Assassin"

The effects of this reported decision may not be obvious yet but Cinema Online notes that his latest film currently on Malaysian screens is "Rogue Assassin" – a Hollywood actioner with Jason Statham, which is underperforming at the international box office. Our reviewers observe the marked absence of real, 'hands-on' movements by Li in the film and much of the hard-hitting action we have come to expect from Jet-Li is substituted with gunfights and simulated action sequences.

However, according to a representative from its local distributor Tayangan Unggul, "Rogue Assassin" is doing reasonably well at the local cinemas, with a surprising 20% increase in collection from its first week of release instead of a drop. The film suffered 25 cuts at the censors but Li's trademark martial arts action scenes are not noted to be among them.

"Rogue Assassin" is currently showing at cinemas nationwide. "The Forbidden Kingdom" is expected to open late next year.