Donnie Yen is simply one of the coolest surprises of the latest Star Wars film.
As most critics pointed out, Disney and Lucasfilm did so many things right for Rogue One, satisfying both the casual action buffs, die-hard Star Wars fans and everybody else in between.
The Hollywood blockbuster, currently a Certified Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes with an impressive 84% rating, undeniably delivered with its amazing story, great special effects, and a well thought out cast.
Among the many things that stood out, many would agree that Donnie Yen’s performance as the mysterious blind warrior Chirrut Imwe, was particularly badass. He didn’t even need a lightsaber to pummel down baddies either, with just a wooden staff he was able to take down an entire group of stormtroopers by himself. He simply kicked major stormtrooper butt every time he gets the chance.
What makes it all the more special, is that at age 53, Donnie Yen finally gets his chance to showcase his mad martial arts skills before a wider global audience. And he certainly delivered, especially in playing a pivotal role in Rogue One’s climactic battle scenes.
In an interview with Collider, Yen revealed how he was able to flesh out his complex character:
“Certainly, as an actor, I was responsible [for crafting] my character, but at the same time, it takes very clear direction from all my producers and certainly Gareth [Edwards] and they gave me this whole platform for me to explore.”
The veteran action superstar, who has 70 acting credits over his 32-year career, has made several Western films in the past, including 2002’s Blade II, the Ip Man trilogy and the recent Netflix original sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.
Could his Rogue One performance bring in more American mainstream roles for him even at this stage in his career? We certainly hope so, as Hollywood certainly deserves more of his badassery.
His next big-screen appearance will be in January 2017, opposite Vin Diesel in the film “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.”
Yen, who was born in China, spent his childhood in Hong Kong until he was 11. He then moved to the US with his family where he began learning martial arts, including Tai chi and Taekwondo. He now describes himself as a mixed martial arts (MMA) specialist, a learned fighter who employs a variety of fighting styles and techniques.