Donnie Yen is one of the most popular and acclaimed action stars of the modern era; he’s managed to ascend to the top of the ass-kicking hierarchy without appearing in an overabundance of Hollywood projects. He might be one of the biggest names in Hong Kong cinema, with a laundry list of smash hits dating back decades, but he’s kept his stateside excursions to a minimum.
The actor’s American career was slow to start. After appearing in Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II, he starred in the buddy comedy Shanghai Knights and then served as action director on box office bomb Stormbreaker. However, he’s been making up for lost time recently.
After well-received appearances in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, and Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, currently, the 58-year-old is shooting John Wick: Chapter 4. The thought of Yen teaming up with Keanu Reeves has genre fans salivating; in a recent interview, he said that it’s the most fun he’s ever had on a Hollywood movie.
“I have to take this opportunity to express my utmost appreciation for Chad Stahelski and Keanu. They’re just lovely men, gentlemen, they’ve got a big heart. Keanu’s got a good soul, a good man. Chad is also a very good man, very knowledgeable. People think of him as a brilliant action guy; he’s not just that, he understands films. He’s a film librarian, he knows what’s going on. I’m having the best time working with them in this movie, more than any of my previous Hollywood movies, so I wanted to express my appreciation.”
The actor, martial artist, director, producer, action choreographer and accomplished piano player hasn’t yet been awarded a role befitting his extensive and exhaustive list of talents in his Hollywood sabbaticals to date, but looking at the sheer volume of badasses assembled for John Wick: Chapter 4, the latest entry in the blockbuster series is set to show audiences what Donnie Yen is all about.