ASIAN AMERICAN ISSUES
IS HOLLYWOOD UNDERMINING CHOW YUN-FAT?
f it's a sin to make ambidexterous mayhem look stylish and virtuous, Chow Yun-Fat was once eternally damned. Blame it on the camera. Its slow-mo infatuation with his every grin and grimace in John Woo classics like A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled had made him the world's most idolized action star long before his 1996 leap to Hollywood.
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:07:38 PM)
Chow's Hollywood projects have undermined rather than enhanced his godlike stature.
Take The Replacement Killers (1996). Its plot was contrived and sterile to a surreal degree. Add to that the look-but-don't-touch romance with leading lady Mira Sorvino and a box office flop was assured.
The Corruptor (1998) did even less for Chow. Not only was he cast as a cop who became corrupted for no good reason, but the action was set in the kind of squalid fleshpot one sees only in the poorest of third-world countries and the Chinatowns of schoolboy fantasies. The coup de grace were jokes casting aspersions on Asian male sexuality. Strike two!
Then came Anna and the King (1999) in which Chow donned embroidered silk buffoonery to play a backward monarch held in thrall by a western schoolteacher. The reworked plot wasn't as ludicrous as the original King and I, but the remake cut Asia's top male superstar to fit the old Hollywood cosmology in which Asians are a quaint race in need of western enlightenment. Strike three!
After that Chow might have been reduced to playing wizened oriental masters dropping metaphysical pearls on young white heroes in training had Taiwanese director Ang Lee not come along to cast him as a legendary swordsman in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Despite its modest production and promotion budgets, the movie slashed all expectations and fairly flew up to become the year's most profitable release.
No coincidence, some suspect, that the role that saved Chow's chestnuts was conceived and written by an Asian and filmed with an all-Asian cast in the world's most pro-Asian nation -- China.
It isn't so much that Hollywood consciously sets out to undermine Asia's top male superstar, argue some. It's just that its imagination has been stewed for so long in its own racist malarkey that it is incapable of letting an Asian leading man play a truly sexy and heroic role. Look how it turned Jackie Chan into a tool (fool?) of Asian-male-bashing comedy in Rush Hour 2. And Hollywood may yet get its apparent wish to deep-six Chow Yun-Fat. In early 2002 Chow starts shooting Bulletproof Monk, a cult comic adaptation, in which he plays an aging master passing on warrior wisdom to a young white hero.
Is Hollywood undermining Chow Yun-Fat's action-superstar stature?
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WHAT YOU SAY
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Chow Yun Fat is my all-time favorite actor! I enjoy his action packed movies but I would prefer him in a romantic role. He is so charming and handsome. I prefer to see him in a romantic-leading role over any other man. With every year, he becomes more and more handsome and charming. There is no younger man that has anything on him. I would see any movie of his three or four times - and then I would buy the video.
DH for CYF
Sunday, March 23, 2003 at 14:00:18 (PST)
To CYF in twilight:
Yes, he is going to be 48 on MAY 18 (not March)and his roles are reflecting that age. Bulletproof Monk playing a wise monk, in the future film Waiting he plays a doctor who ages to somewhere at least in his forties, Men of Destiny he is a doctor, in Walk Like a Dragon he has a fairly old daughter. Those are not character rolls, but leading man rolls. How old do you think Harrison Ford is or Richard Gere? I don't see them only playing character rolls.
As far as his hair...CYF in movies as in life has a variety of hair styles. First 2 American movies over to the side, bangs and side part down over to the side of his forehead Anna and the King straight back and over to the side. CTHD bald. Bulletproof Monk very short and doesn't look like he has any part. If you are only watching him at formal events like award shows, etc. where he is dressed up then he does wear it over to the side which matches his attire the best. If you should see him on the streets of Hong Kong he may have it that way or over to the side hanging down on his forehead or if he is growing it out he may have it combed straight down all around his head. He seems to wear a cap a lot with it either facing forward or backwards. Sound like your dad?
Friday, February 07, 2003 at 08:20:43 (PST)
Anybody that thinks Chow Yun Fat is washed up is washed up themselves and I wish people would stop bringing up the Bruce Lee angle, as if he was the only promiment Asian superstar that ever exsisted.
Ekin Cheng is better than Chow Yun-Fat, you must be kidding, EC although handsome and macho looking cannot act his way out of a paper bag. He just got lucky and got casted in some blockbuster films and that's it, his range is very limited and If you think thats just my opinion, how come he has never been nominated for acting award at the Hong Kong films. I guess all you people that refuse to watch a movie made before 2001, Chow Yun-Fat would have no importance to you. For those of US who are avid fans of Asian cinema, Chow Yun-Fat along with John Woo, helped put Asian films back on the map and CYF showed us that good looks, charisma, and not just kung fu (cuz frankly his martial art aint that great).
He has that quality that truly makes him a world class actor, and what people fail to realize is that it isnt just firing two guns and sliding around that makes u an action star and a lot of directors forget that the first three letters of action have the word act in them and that is what made him a superstar, he can convinclingly portray emotions which adds impact to the action scenes in his action films, when u see him firing those two prop guns you can see his anger, intensity, and fierceness and actually makes u believe he is firing two real guns. He can convey with just his facial expression what it takes lesser actors pages of dialogue to convey and can switch modes from comedic to dramatic to the angry two fisted gunman at the drop of a hat.
He has won numerous awards just for his dramatic roles alone in Asia and is known in Hong Kong for his dramatic and comedic roles in addition to his action films which generally have higher acting standards that Hollywood action films.
His Hollywood films have not been as good as his Hong Kong films, but he manages to make a star turn in even the most lackluster films.
The really amazing thing is that he achieved starring roles in Hollywood without being proficient in the martial arts, which is rare because that's usually the only lead roles Asian males get in Hollywood.
So u can downplay and denigrate CYF all u want and keep pretending that Bruce Lee is the only Asian male movie star that mattered, but you are about 30 years behind the times and have a lot of catching up to do because Asian cinema has come a long way since then
even though hong kong cinema peaked out in about 97, other countries like Korea and Thailand are filling the void with world class cinema and action cinema.
Dont get me wrong, Bruce Lee was one of a kind and there wont be another person like him, and he did pave the way for jackie chan, chow yun-fat, jet li and I'm sure he would be proud to see them following in his footsteps of superstardom.
Thursday, February 06, 2003 at 06:58:12 (PST)
Who's making his movie role decisions?
Why is he making ANOTHER movie showing him old and passing?!
The good news is you are only as hot as your last movie. All CYF needs is a hit film.
So make a good movie already!
get chinese financial backing if hollywood won't bankroll a debonir hero cyf movie!
don't be at their mercy
Wednesday, February 05, 2003 at 21:32:54 (PST)
CYF will be 48 come March 18 of this year. Enough said, pleaseeee... If he wants to play some character roles now, fine, but I think he needs to bow out gracefully from the leading-man type action roles...
Just look at his hair. He's got the standard Baby Boomer neat comb-across just like all our dads. No, he's the old guard. Time for some fresh new talent.
Pin your hopes on the next unknown comin up...
CYF in twilight..
Wednesday, February 05, 2003 at 14:35:57 (PST)
To Where's the next CYF?
Never make the mistake of thinking Chow Yun-Fat is washed-up or too old. He has more lives in him than you can imagine. There is a story of him when he was very young not only putting his application in like others to be a Prince Charming type of participate in a Miss Hong Kong contest, but showing up every morning dressed-up outside of the office. Someone finally noticed him and he got the job. This kind of tenacity, a strong work ethic (I think he still holds the record in HK for making the most films in one year), charisma and talent are the qualities that got CYF to where he is. First,he had a good TV career, then an unsuccessful movie career, then a very successful Hong Kong movie career and now a Hollywood career. What is ahead for CYF in U.S. films is still in transition, but whatever I expect Chow Yun-Fat to be around and working for a long time to come.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003 at 07:24:04 (PST)
Sorry, dudes! But, CYF is over-rated! Personally, I think that Ekin Cheung is the s***! But, I know that he's currently on the decline. That's the way it goes in HK cinema. You're hot one day and you're not the next.
Monday, February 03, 2003 at 06:47:19 (PST)
Bullet Proof Monk and a sidekick named Kar??? ...This one is going to be HOPEFULLY interesting at the Box Office. Question is...Why is Hollywood trying to put Chow in a "Matrix" theme park, where his character is obviously going to be "Mr. Miagi - for a 2003 Karate Kid"? This won't do any good for fans of Chow...but I think audiences and fans will still like to go see Chow's verstile cinematic acting performances. It should be a real eye catcher for anyone that doesn't know how Chow is able to do kung-fu fighting. I agreed that Chow is probably not getting the best screen-written roles...but it's just a job. Until he gets a very fitting and dramatic role in some future movie...stereotyping Asians will only add up on such films...even if it is fictional. If he gets a better role, I would definitely want to go see his performances on screen and see him win some deserving OSCARS...which I don't think many Asians have achieved...but Chow is double-guning for (ONE)...I'm positive on that! I would like to see him in lead roles in high impact actions, or high grossing films with great scripts and big production budget...and "I think the world is ready to see an international super hero to fight terrorists, gangs, crimes, or secretive espionage...and chow is the kick ass man to do it."---That's my quote!
Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 23:54:13 (PST)
Of all the major hong kong stars that play roles from Martial Arts to Gunplay, Heroic and Triad scripts, two stars, cannot be contested & should not be underappreciated for their line of work. These 2 stars, which Hollywood, American Cinema, and fans should recognize are Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat. We have seen American films made by Chow, that could of been published in better form, for instance, with the gunplay activities, action involved, emotional tensions, and the drama of it all. However I believe my actor Chow does not have much say or control over the American cinema or the censorship rights involved, for these types of roles he would like to play and is so superb at. I who is his fan, and many others who have seen his popular, well acted films like "The Killer", "A Better Tomorrow I & II", "God of Gamblers & God of Gamblers Return", "Rich and Famous", "Tragic Hero", and I can go on forever, know that Chow Yun Fat can cover various roles, but of course is best at the Triad, Gunplay given his charisma, dedication, and seriousness to these roles. I am greatful that Hollywood and American Cinema period, has opened the doors for many foreign stars, but I and many others who are true fans, admirers, know that a bit of prejudice still exists, which undermine, and underappreciates Chow Yun Fat and my other favorite actor Jet Li. I do not mean prejudice in the fashion of race, but in ideas, imagery, and letting things play the way the role was well played to begin with, regardless of bloodshed, for mature audience and so forth. We see this in American Film period, and society, why are we banning it or censoring from Hong Kong Cinema. Many should understand all the violence performed or displayed stay in the movies, I understand that is not true, but leave that you the society and people to take responsibility for and appreciate our Hong Kong stars hardwork and performance.
Binh from Los Angeles, Ca
Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 15:18:22 (PST)
I think CYF is just getting too old and washed-up...frankly. I don't think he is "it."
Bruce Lee faced these same virulent prejudices 30 years ago. He was only able to overcome them thru incredible self-realization, talent and achievement - albeit largely post-mortem. It's now 2003...and I guess some things just never change. If you're a Chinese guy, you better overcompensate and fawkin KICK-*SS HARD to get any type of respect.
Where's the next CYF?
Monday, January 27, 2003 at 13:48:11 (PST)
chow yun fat in asia is pronounced jew- yoon- baol.
Friday, November 29, 2002 at 21:36:06 (PST)
Sorry Chow Yun-Fat fans, but Men of Destiny, the film that was to reunite Chow and John Woo, has been shelved and who knows when it will be made. Just another stumbling block for Chow in Hollywood. The road to superstar status was not easy in Hong Kong for Chow, but he overcame it all and went on to be one of the greatest actors there. Somehow I think he will do the same eventually in Hollywood. Jackie Chan is doing well now, but he has been trying to establish himself in Hollywood for much longer than Chow. (Remember him in Canonball Run.) CYF has made four US movies counting Bulletproof Monk, and he has STARRED in each of them. Only in Anna And The King did an award winner like Jodie Foster have top billing with Chow as her co-star. Never has that happened with an Asian actor in Hollywood.
His role as the Bulletproof Monk will use the skills he learned in Crouching Tiger, etc. I don't think just because Asians would like to be thought of in other ways than just Kung Fu artists is any reason to discontinue doing it. Everyone is doing it these days (not just Asians). The Matrix, Charlie's Angels, and on TV such as Alias, etc.
There is an old expression: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. In trying to change the way Asians are viewed in America, don't discontinue doing something that is special and unique that comes from Asia.
I believe Chow understands his career in Hollywood and talks about it in an interview in the Chinese paper The Sun. If you want to read it you can go onto the link:
and click on the news for August 26th.
Wednesday, November 27, 2002 at 07:21:23 (PST)
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