Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ode to Bolo Yeung

If you haven't seen Bloodsport, perhaps you should. It's a Jean-Claude Van Damme* film, essentially--debuted 1988. No, it's not particularly good, but maintains a respectable cult following. I suppose I can include myself, casually, within this cult. It is perhaps Bolo Yeung's second major American showing and the first time I would recognize him, by face, as the quintessential martial arts villain. His first major American appearance, arguably, was "Enter the Dragon"--Bruce Lee's magnum opus. 

Not much has been said of Bolo in public forums. He is content to play the villain and appears to be a man of few words. The details of his life seem to be shrouded in mystery and myth. But behind the hardened villain is a long devoted tai-chi practitioner and a deeply philosophical man. 

Here's a mini-biography from IMDB:

Bolo Yeung was born in China. He began his martial arts training at the age of 10. Growing up he took an interest in bodybuilding. Later he became know as Chinese Hercules after becoming Mr. Hong Kong bodybuilding champion. He held the title for ten years. Because of his impressively muscular physique he was chosen for several bad guy movie roles, with which his first big break came alongside the legendary Bruce Lee in the 1973 movie Enter the Dragon, where he played the role of 'Bolo'. They were really close friends.

Since then Bolo Yeung has appeared in countless martial arts movies, to date, also working on two movies with "The Muscles from Brussels"-Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport and Double Impact.

Now Bolo still looks great and still regularly trains at his local gym. Martial Arts and Bodybuilding is an integral part of his life and career.

from Double Impact


Among those people who have religion, there are small proportions of people who do good things but conditionally. They are opportunists. The reason why they do good things is the fear of the hell and the desire for the heaven. This kind of person may not necessarily still do good things if there is no heaven or hell. This kind of person made the meaning of people into data. A lot of things are screwy now. Confucianism nearly disappeared. Taoism became the tool to tell geomantic omen. Even the Buddhism temple [has become] a profiting organization. There are even more. But I don't think I would like to talk about it anymore.

A tad sensational, but here Bolo is headlined by his Chinese name: Yeung Si

The very odd thing about this video is how real it is. How JCVD (51) and Bolo Yeung (65) have come so far, have made careers for themselves and still--their silences in this brief clip are remarkable. Mastery is an evasive distinction. These men are masters because after their limelight moments have passed, they continue to find meaning and reason in daily life, in the joy of family and friends, in the prospect of good things to come. 

Not to mention, the question: Why has there been no martial arts movie star to replace Jean Claude Van Damme? Maybe Bolo was just being nice...

*Van Damme's latest film "JCVD" (recognize the initials on his hat in the above clip) is a bit odd, but a worthwhile film. 

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