Michelle Yeoh is having a while, and we’re all doing better. Yeoh is the star of the new “multiverse masterpiece” Everything everywhere all at onceand recently brought his movie-star charisma and considerable bona fides into action films in new roles in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, boobies rich asianand Star Trek: Discovery. To be continued: the sequels to James Cameron’s Avatar and Origin of blood, Netflix’s Witcher prequel series. It’s the perfect time to be a fan of one of the world’s most captivating movie stars.
Before Everywherebefore his other recent successes, even before Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and tomorrow never dies, Yeoh was one of the best action stars in the world. She starred in classic action films from the best era in the genre’s history: the 1980s to 1990s in Hong Kong.
After representing Malaysia in the 1983 Miss World Pageant, Yeoh first caught the eye of the Hong Kong film industry when she starred in a Guy Laroche commercial with Jackie Chan. She went on to star in a dozen Hong Kong action movies as Michelle Khan, performing many of her own stunts and generally kicking all kinds of ass, using her skills as a former ballet dancer to become one of the best screens in the world. fighters.
With Everything everywhere all at once with a wider theatrical release this weekend, what better time to revisit some of the early classics from one of our great screen presences?
What it is: Yeoh’s first opportunity as a leader is also one of the most notable action films of the 1980s. Yeoh teams up with world champion martial artist Cynthia Rothrock as a co-star in this film which is often cited as the launch of the “girls with guns” subgenre in Hong Kong action cinema. Yeoh stars as a Hong Kong detective who teams up with Scotland Yard detective Rothrock to shed light on a murder and recover a stolen microfilm.
Why should you watch: Yeoh and Rothrock are two of the best martial arts stars we’ve ever had, and while it’s a shame they couldn’t do a dozen more movies together, it’s a gift we have this one. -this. The film is also directed by Corey Yuen, who as a child was one of the “Seven Little Fortunes” at Peking Opera School along with Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, and later rose to fame. for his numerous collaborations with Jet Li and his work as an action director on x-men.
Where you can watch: Yes Madam is available for rental or digital purchase on Amazon
What it is: An Indiana Jones-style adventure through Hong Kong’s martial arts movie boom of the 1980s, Yeoh plays an ace pilot who works with a con man (Richard Ng) to thwart the Japanese occupation of China in the 1980s. 1930.
Why should you watch: Did you read the description? It’s Michelle Yeoh as Indiana Jones in 1930s China. She amazes with several tricky weapons in the film, including the rope dart in the scene above, and carries this action-adventure with her only screen presence.
Where you can watch: Magnificent Warriors is available to watch for free with ads on Crackle and Asian Crush (both are English dubs), and is available for digital rental or purchase on Amazon
What it is: The third film in Jackie Chan’s Police Story series features Yeoh’s Detective Yang, who ended up taking over the franchise in Supercop 2. When Chan’s self-serving “super cop” is assigned a tough undercover case, he teams up with nonsense Yang to save the day.
Why should you watch: Once it passed a complicated configuration, Supercop really picks up, relying on the chemistry of its stars and the audacity of its set pieces. Yeoh is excellent as the stern inspector juxtaposed with Chan’s reckless officer, giving the lead couple a dynamic similar to many goofy comedies. There are also the stellar fight scenes and jaw-dropping stunts that epitomize a Chan film from this era, including the scene above near the end where Yeoh jumps a motorbike off a small hill and lands on top of a mountain. ‘a moving train (there is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of this and other stunts in the end credits). In fight scenes, his kicks stand out, especially his overhead scorpion kicks in several fight sequences. She spoke about this movie and others in a recent GQ interview, saying “I’ll never be crazy enough to do those stunts again.”
Where you can watch: Supercop is available for digital rental or purchase on Apple, Amazon and other VOD platforms. A Spanish dub is available to watch for free with ads on Pluto TV. Unfortunately, Supercop 2 isn’t available for streaming, rental, or digital purchase at this time, but there are plenty of clips on YouTube.
The heroic trio
What it is: Legendary director Johnnie To’s 1993 superhero movie stars are Yeoh, Maggie Cheung and Cantopop superstar Anita Mui. A supervillain named Evil Master steals babies, in a sinister plot to choose the next emperor and use the rest to create an army of mindless super soldiers. His plot is enacted by The Invisible Woman (Yeoh), a brainwashed woman with an invisibility cloak who grew up as part of the cult of the Evil Master. But when two women, including the Invisible Woman’s childhood “martial sister,” try to stop the plot, the Invisible Woman must decide where her loyalties lie.
Why should you watch: The heroic trio excels on the unparalleled power of its three protagonists, as well as the fun it is ready to have with the superhero genre. The film is filled with life and color, and is wacky, with genre-appropriate costumes and set design. An illustrative example: Maggie Cheung is The Thief Catcher, a super mercenary for hire who whistles “London Bridge is Falling Down” while doing justice. In one scene, a leather-clad Cheung carrying a shotgun rides a dynamite-powered barrel into a hostage situation, easily dispatching the thugs before driving off on her motorbike. And another example, for flavor: Anthony Wong plays Kau, the Evil Master’s super soldier henchman who uses a flying guillotine – essentially a birdcage attached to a steel rope with blades at the bottom – to decapitate people. A word of warning before we dive in: this movie is absolutely filled with babies in peril.
Where you can watch: The heroic trio is available for digital rental or purchase on Alamo on Demand, but a promise Janus Films Restoration hopefully means more availability in the future. The following, Executionersis also available on Alamo on Demand.
What it is: A perfect marriage between martial arts and romantic comedy, wing chun is the story of three women who use their bodies in very different ways to survive and thrive in a male-dominated world. (One with her fighting skills, one with her sex appeal, and one with her stink. Yeah, really). When a young widow arrives, loyal city defender Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh, playing the legendary character after whom the martial art is named) and her aunt (Kingdom Yuen) welcome her as their newest employee. their tofu stand. When Wing-Chun’s childhood sweetheart, Leung Pok To (Donnie Yen), shows up, he mistakes the young widow for his former flame and Wing Chun (who wears men’s clothes) for his suitor. When the young widow is kidnapped, the two unite to save her.
Why should you watch: Yeoh plays the “small town defender” archetype, and does it perfectly. It’s one of her best roles and a showcase for everything she excels at on screen, combining her natural charm and charisma with her on-screen combat prowess. This film features more of the latter than most, and it’s entirely choreographed and shot by one of the greatest to ever do so (iconic martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, who directed the film). For these reasons and many more, wing chun rules. One FYI, though: There’s a brief, awkward sex scene near the middle of the film (not involving Yeoh or Yen), and a later scene where a group of men threaten a woman with threats of sexual violence.
Where you can watch: wing chun is available to rent or buy on Amazon (English dub).