A couple of decades ago in a galaxy that’s not so far away, Donnie Yen born on July 27, 1963, he hails from Guangzhou, China, moved to Hong Kong when he was two and then to Boston at eleven. His mother, Bow-sim Mark is a Fu Style Wudangquan and Tai Chi grandmaster, while his Father, Klyster Yen, is a newspaper editor and musician.
At a young age, Yen developed an interested in martials due to his mother’s influence. He experimented various styles such as Tai Chi and traditional Chinese marital arts. The interest of martial arts not only allowed him to develop his skill but also, helped him step into Chinese film industry.
I remember watching films such as Tiger Cage 2, New Dragon Gate Inn, and Iron Monkey 1 & 2. At a young age, I just loved how fast he was, he style was different. One of my favorite scenes is the final fight in Tiger Cage 2 between him and Robin Shou. It was a short bout but Yen did perform the Superman punch on Robin Shou, the Superman punch before becoming a signature move in UFC and wrestling.
|Tiger Cage 2 - Superman Punch|
Growing up watching Donnie Yen evolve as an actor, I was hoping, he would breakout in Hollywood. He did star in films like Blade II and Shanghai Knights but those films didn’t really give him the international star status, not till Ip Man. After Ip Man films, he started to become a recognizable face. Some of my non-Asian friends will ask me what other films has Donnie Yen starred in. He’s been a recognizable face in martial arts films, now, he will be in a much bigger universe, Star Wars. I promise no spoilers. Donnie Yen lands a role as Chirrut Imwe, a Force sensitive blind monk (not a Jedi, sorry), but that would've been awesome!!
|Rogue One - Chirrut Imwe|
After watching Rogue One this past week, I want to point out, it was a great heist film and having Donnie Yen be part of the film, makes it, so much sweeter. His role in the film is not just about how he moves around as a blind man knocking down Stormtroopers. Having him being the first Chinese actor to appear in Star Wars is astronomical because it shows how anything is starting to become possible. And sometime later in 2017, he will star as Xiang in XXX: Return of Xander Cage, another Hollywood film.
I must say, been a fan of him since I was young and Star Wars too. I have the tattoos to prove it and no, not Donnie Yen tattoos. Words can’t express how I feel but it’s breathtaking to have someone who grew up in Chinatown, Boston to appear in Star Wars. It's the pride as a Bostonian and someone who grew up in Chinatown could brag about. I would imagine, he is humble and grateful to be part of this universe but honestly, myself and the fans is more humble and grateful for him to be part of this universe. And for that I say thank you.