Born：27 July 1963, Canton, China
Born to a newspaper editor and a martial arts master, Yen began practising tai chi and wushu at the age of four. At 16 he was sent to the Beijing Wushu Academy, where he studied under the master who taught Jet Li. Upon graduating he moved to Hong Kong and was discovered by action director Woo-ping Yen, the man responsible for making Jackie Chan a superstar. Success eluded Yen for a few years, until he made Once Upon A Time in China II in 1992, which paired him with Li in a fight scene that revolutionised the genre and is still widely regarded as one of the best ever committed to film. Less than 10 years later he was making films in Hollywood - Blade II.
What’s he up to now?
Playing Bruce Lee’s mentor Ip Man in the biopic of the same name. Yen being a big fan of Lee’s, it’s a sweet role for him to play. However, it required Yen to learn a whole new martial art, wing chun, the venerable less-is-more fighting style characterised by short, powerful punches.
A US$57-million fantasy movie, The Monkey King (Da Nao Tian Gong) has announced that Cecilia Cheung, Gigi Leung and Kelly Chen will join its star-laden cast.
The film, directed by Pou-Soi Cheang, tells a fairy tale story based on a classic chapter from the ancient Chinese novel, Journey to the West (Xi You Ji).
During the warring period of the three kingdoms, ancient China is in turmoil. To unify the country general CAO CAO, the real power behind the emperor, enlists the aid of the greatest warrior in the land GUAN YUN CHANG (Donnie Yen).However, Guan Yun Chang is a loyal friend of CAO CAO’s enemy LIU BEI. To persuade the peerless warrior to fight, Cao Cao takes his beloved QI LAN (Sun Li).
Ip Man is adapted from the life story of Ip Man, the grand master of the Wing Chun style of kung fu and sifu (master) of legendary kung fu superstar Bruce Lee. Wing Chun has a history of more than 200 years. It was founded by Yim Wing Chun, took root in the hands of Leung Chun, and prospered with Ip Man. The art of Wing Chun has now become very popular with martial arts enthusiasts.
During the Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) protected the dignity of Chinese by his wushu (martial art). As he had beaten the Japanese army and made them mad, he had to escape. After the war, the family lived in Foshan and experienced hardship. Ip therefore went to Hong Kong to start a new page with his family in 1949.
While fighting a war in the desert, Chen Kun, a general of Central Plains, saves a beauty Zhou Xun and brings her home. He doesn't know her true identity - a thousand year fox spirit. In Chen Kun's house, Zhou Xun meets his wife Vicky Zhao. In order to have Chen Kun to herself, not only does she mask her needs for a human heart daily to sustain her beauty.
In the early 1660’s, the Manchurians took over the sovereignty of China and established the Ching Dynasty. With many pro-nationalist revolts occurring, the newly set-up government immediately imposed a ban on the study and practice of the Martial Arts; forbidding them altogether in an attempt to gain effective control and order.
The plot centers on a masked martial artist known as Iron Monkey. Iron Monkey is actually the alter ego of a herbal medicine physician named Yang Tianchun. In the day, he runs his clinic and provides free medical treatment for the poor and overcharges the rich. At night, he dresses in black and travels around town to rob from the rich to help the poor.
Not a sequel to Iron Monkey. But Yen plays the ‘Iron Monkey’ in this one, and he takes on arms dealers. Plentiful fights with Yen going up against Billy Chow. Yen was assured that Yuen Wo-ping was supposed to be either producer or action director, so he signed on out of respect for Yuen, only to later discover that Yuen was not associated with the movie.
Also known as New Dragon Inn. A remake of and homage to King Hu’s 1967 swordplay classic. Produced by Tsui Hark, directed by Raymond Lee Wai-man, with choreography by Ching Siu-tung. It’s an Eastern Western which anticipates Wong Kar-wai’s Ashes of Time, but without the latter’s deliberate slowness. Set in the Ming dynasty during a time when eunuchs vied for power at court.
Derived from a popular Gu Long novel and a remake of an early 1980s Shaw Brothers flick called Killer Clans and originally directed by Chu Yuan. Here Michael Mak Tong-kit directs. It’s both a period piece and fantasy martial arts, courtesy of Ching Siu-tung serving up plentiful portions of wirework...
A drug kingping escapes a raid but takes his revenge on an undercover cop by murdering him on his wedding day to colleague Carol Cheng. Another cop (Jacky Cheung) tries to bring the killer to justice and finds corruption among the force. Donnie Yen plays Terry, a cop who’s partnered with Ng Man-tat;
Although several actors reappear from Tiger Cage, Tiger Cage 2 is not a sequel to the first film, although it is a cop story and it delivers nonstop action. Yen stars as a recalcitrant ex-cop, and he demonstrates a (mostly untapped in other movies) comic flair. In the story, Yen and divorce lawyer Rosamund Kwan witness a robbery gone bad, and as a result.