Donnie Yen is one of the most popular and acclaimed action stars of the modern era, and he’s managed to ascend to the top of the ass-kicking hierarchy without lending his name to a great deal of Hollywood projects. He’s one of the biggest names in Hong Kong cinema with a laundry list of smash hits under his belt dating back decades, but he’s kept his Stateside excursions to a minimum.
The actor’s Western career has been slow to start, after he appeared in Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II as mute swordsman Snowman, showed up in buddy sequel Shanghai Knights and then randomly served as action director on forgotten box office bomb Stormbreaker, but 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, the 58 year-old is currently shooting John Wick: Chapter 4. The thought of Yen teaming up with Keanu Reeves to lay waste to reams of disposable goons already has genre fans salivating at the prospect, and in a new interview he admitted 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.”
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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.