Uncle Tak, owner of the Po Chi Lum herbal shop was on his way home when bad-boy ex-student Jonny shows up challenging him to a match. Jonny has defeated and killed every master there is and is now trying to prove he is the best to his street-gang disciples by killing his own master in unarmed combat. A fight begins (with the shop getting halfway demolished in the process) and Tak is badly beaten and wounded. Anna, a young college student on vacation shows up and rescues Tak and takes him to her home to get better. Enter Jet, Tak's disciple, who remained in China because he was afraid to come to America. Finally getting the courage, Jet comes to L.A. where he tries to understand American customs and ways of life and to reunite with his master. But he gets sidetracked when the Barrio Boyz (Rolando, Chui and Fernando) take his bag after he gets off the bus and Jet chases after them (using gymnastic skills along the way). The Barrio Boyz are amazed with Jet's skill and ask him to be their teacher. Jet refuses and then he meets up with them again and helps them when a rival gang torches their home and bullies them. Jet decides to look after the Barrio Boyz and they in turn help him search for Uncle Tak. Things get even more hectic when he meets May Hong, a woman who Uncle Tak pays his rent money to at the bank so his shop can stay open. May is having problems of her own with her sleazy boss, Paul Lee and the fact that Jet is around the shop that she was suppose to foreclose on doesn't help matters either. May and Jet get off on the wrong foot twice when they meet each other, but they eventually learn to get along. When Tak and Jet are finally reunited, Jet teaches the Barrio Boyz some of his fighting techniques and together, the group prepares for battle when Jonny sets deadly sites not only on finishing Tak, but Jet as well. And pretty soon, Jet is forced to turn from student to teacher and the City of Angels will never be the same!
Jet Li broke his right wrist during filming, necessitating some very creative fight choreography in the climactic battle.
[May has Jet arrested for trespassing in Uncle Tak's shop but gets him out on bail and tries to talk to him] Jet! I went through a lot of trouble to bail your out of there. Some thanks would be appreciated.
So why you lock me up then?
[dryly] Well look, you asked for it.
Look, it's my job to look after the shop, okay?
[Jet's not listening to May, he's trying to concentrate on what happened to Master Tak] I worried that... Master Tak got hurt in a fight.
[frustrated] You Chinese men and all your stupid fighting! It's what ruins our reputation here in America!
[irritated] You don't even know what you're talking about. You've got problems, don't blame me! You're too worried about... about your reputation, right? Goodbye!
[Jet storms off and the Barrio Boyz, follow him]
Crew or equipment visible: Near the beginning of the movie, when the muscular man has been treated and is receiving pills, you can clearly see the hand of somebody pushing him sideways to stand better in the shot.