That One Asian Bad Guy From All Our Favorite 80’s Flicks. You know… That Guy.

In light of all the Dogs of Chinatown commenting, I decided to write a post on “that Asian action film bad guy”. You know “that guy”. It took me awhile to find him. But I did. I searched for every single word I could think of on Google. The word string that finally led to the 15th hit that was his wiki profile? “long haired chinese bad guy movie”. And BAM. I found Al Leong: 

al-leong

He is a legendary Hollywood actor. Really. You may or may not recognize him. If you were like me, though, sneaking up late at night to watch sh!tty action flicks on KBHK or renting Steven Seagal films, then you definitely know Al. What movies has he been in? Well, some of the greatest of all time: 

Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Big Trouble in Little China, The Scorpion King, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Godzilla, The Replacement Killers, Escape from L.A, Beverly Hills Cop III, Double Dragon, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Last Action Hero, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Black Rain, and Action Jackson.

And some of the best TV shows of all time: 

Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., The Twilight Zone, T.J. Hooker, MacGyver, That 70’s Show, Deadwood, and 24. 

What? You don’t recognize him? He played such legendary roles as: 

Asian training master, nameless monk, shadow warrior, villain’s right-hand man, thug, Chinese gunman #9, henchman, Minh, guard #2, luggage salesman, chauffeur, resistance member, villainous torturer, and Wing Kong hatchet man.

And to you, Al Leong, for all your hard work from the early 1980’s until now, I salute you. Hollywood definitely typecasted you as “Asian bad guy”. Cause, well, you look damn evil: 

al

Your career spans several decades, and the roles you played are a commentary on what its like to be an Asian American actor in Hollywood. You’re not a warm and cuddly Jackie Chan with a cute accent. Or a badass kung fu machine like Jet Li. Or the suave and charming Chow Yun Fat. You’re the “Chinese dude with the long hair, receding hairline and creepy goatee” that the good guy needs to kill prior to getting to the real bad guy.  Al “Ka Bong”, thanks for the memories and you are second on my list of favorite “Asian dude, you know, that one, from Big Trouble Little China” right alongside the equally as talented, James Hong: 

ballsoffury_jameshong

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7 thoughts on “That One Asian Bad Guy From All Our Favorite 80’s Flicks. You know… That Guy.

  1. Theres something really sad but also beautiful about reading his career list of movies and the roles his played. I mean his wholecareer has been acting out the racist stereotypes of the evil asian/yellow peril/fu manchu type characters, and yet he took what was there and tried to make it his own.

    I remember reading an interview given by an asian american actor in the early 1990s, when asked “why did u you always accept the role of an asian criminal?” and he said something like “because i wanted to show that asians can be badass too, i wanted to show we can be strong”

    So i guess its all a matter of perspective. Al leong was there from the begining, and whether we agree or not, he represented the second/third generation of Asian American actors. Just like how the second and third generation of Black American actors had to originally play negative bamboozled type characters to get a foothold in hollywood, Al leong was the same for Asian Americans,

    He was a pioneer, making the best at what was offered at the time.

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  2. He’s one of the only Asian dudes in Hollywood whose appearance in a movie is not simply to fulfill a quota. He’s in the movie because, well, he looks like a badass motherfucker.

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  3. Pingback: National Film Society Presents Awesome Asian Bad Guys « BicoastalBitchin's Weblog

  4. Well to me Martial Arts means respect and discipline. I have trained in different
    Martial arts now for well above 21 years. I have seen various people appear and disappear but one thing that I have noticed is clearly the respect and discipline having changed those peoples perception of life.

    Children that have started that are now on the wrong side of the tracks, always in
    trouble and no idea how to respect other kids. Place them in a controlled environment with
    discipline and fighting and they soon start to understand.

    Martial arts is a terrific way for infants and adults to get rid of their aggression without hurting or bullying anyone.

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  5. Thought about him and looked him up. To my friends and I he was known as Hung Fu Lee. Just a name we gave him. Every time we saw him we would yell. Hay it’s HungFuLee!!! Meant we were watching a great movie!!!!

    Like

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