If you can wade through the fanboyishness...
September 28, 2004 9:28 AM   Subscribe

The incredible Michelle Yeoh. The irresistible Maggie Cheung. And now Zhang Ziyi? Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation...of asskicking Asian action heroines.
posted by adamgreenfield (25 comments total)
Zhang Ziyi isn't a patch on Maggie Cheung. And the idea that Irma Vep attracted a noteworthy amount of mainstream attention is hard for me to wrap my head around.
posted by kenko at 9:44 AM on September 28, 2004

The first thing I said to my companion when we walked out of Hero was "Moon". teh hawt!
posted by jpoulos at 9:46 AM on September 28, 2004

wait until you see Gong Li in Wong Kar wai's episode of Eros
posted by matteo at 9:48 AM on September 28, 2004

House of Flying Daggers (a.k.a Lovers) was also nice eye candy...
posted by gen at 9:52 AM on September 28, 2004

Though she's not an action hero (at least not in real life) I'm a Ming Na-Wen man m'self...
posted by black8 at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2004

I agree with the absolute total babeness of the above (especially Michelle Yeoh -- be still my fangirl heart!), and would like to add Chiaki Kuriyama to the list as part of the next generation. Most of y'all will know her from Kill Bill, but, personally, her role as Chigusa in Battle Royale cinched it for me. Just the look on her face...
posted by Katemonkey at 10:18 AM on September 28, 2004

Isn't Zhang Ziyi the "One with the Attitude" I read about recently - the one whose name was booed at a recent premiere because she decided she had something better to do than show up, and a co-star heckled into silence when he tried to defend her? (Actually, based on these comments, I'm just guessin' you guys don't care if she has a "bad attitude"...?)
posted by JollyWanker at 10:27 AM on September 28, 2004

And there was Joan Chen in Salute of the Jugger.
posted by raygirvan at 10:41 AM on September 28, 2004

Thai gymnast Amornthep Waewsang makes an appearance in this year's remake of Kerd Ma Lui (Born to Fight).

Video footage available here.
posted by the cuban at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2004

There's this difficult quality that you rarely see these days, of eloquent, powerful masculinity that isn't first and foremost about violence -- yet is eminently capable of it, in the pinch. Examples would be Takashi Shimura in Seven Samurai (or Yule Brynner in Mag Seven), Gary Cooper in most of his roles, Steve McQueen....

As I sit here, thinking of Michele Yeoh, I realize it's not masculinity per se: It's something else, some hard to define quality. Confidence, maybe? Open-ness? Menschkeit? The confidence to really not be pushed into anything, maybe. The strength to hold back the strike, until it's necessary.

Whatever it is, she's got it. None of these other women do. Sorry -- they're bitchin and dangerous babes, you bet, but they're no Michele Yeoh. I can't think of another actress that exhibits this quality. Whatever it is.
posted by lodurr at 11:22 AM on September 28, 2004

You left out Anita Mui (R.I.P.).
posted by MegoSteve at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2004

Not to mention amazing Billiards Fu, kicking ass on the green felt...
posted by Shane at 12:01 PM on September 28, 2004

I like Shu Qi from So Close.
posted by muckster at 12:24 PM on September 28, 2004

Add me to the Ming Na Wen fanboy club -- but let's not forget about Linda Park! WAAAAAAY hotter than Jolene Blalock.
posted by davidmsc at 12:26 PM on September 28, 2004

Um, hello? Briggite Lin anybody?
posted by lumpenprole at 12:48 PM on September 28, 2004

We watched Irma Vep this weekend and I was looking for more Maggie Cheung. Thanks.
posted by pieoverdone at 12:51 PM on September 28, 2004

Karen Mok from So Close also deserves a mention. She was very cool in The King of Comedy.
posted by of strange foe at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2004

I agree with the absolute total babeness of the above...

Katemonkey, thanks for saving this thread from "BoyZone" accusations!
posted by Shane at 2:36 PM on September 28, 2004

as a kicking and screaming from on my ass* asian (foot sprain) i nominate mickey rooney in breakfast at tiffanys

is he the only survivor of that movie? is it like how the queen mum & matron kennedy keeps surviving of the steady sacrifice of the young?

*name that quote/filling the blank: "my ass may be japanese but my ___ is international"
posted by ethylene at 2:56 PM on September 28, 2004

While I agree that both Zhang Ziyi and Chiaki Kuriyama are "the new wave" of spicy asian actresses to delight audiences at the local cineplexes by playing the role of "psycho b*tches" (to use the vernacular) to the hilt. Has either of these ladies finished learning English yet? I personally don't care (that's what subtitles are for.) I only ask because it is an advantage that their predecessors possess, and it could hurt their cross-over appeal.
posted by BartFargo at 3:04 PM on September 28, 2004

Now would be an opportune time for hama7 to comment, "Your asian fetish weirdness flat out gives me the creeps." :>
posted by dhoyt at 3:31 PM on September 28, 2004

Setting aside the "babe appeal", I find it difficult to compare actresses like Moon Lee, Michelle Yeoh and even Maggie Cheung to the "new breed" of action star actresses. The process of making movies is so different now that it is difficult for this gaijin/gwailo to know when the stunt double/special effects kick in and the actor bows out.

I have the same issue with a lot of newer action films. The fight choreography is so flash and the cuts so quick it just seems a blur. Compare Yuen Woo Ping's work in Magnificent Butcher to Kill Bill or Matrix. Some of it may be the wuxia pian style, but modern action films make it easy to hide a lack of physical skill, feminine charm and acting ability.

In a lot of the films before the mid 90s you could see the actors doing all that work and that, to me, overrides the babe appeal any day.
posted by infowar at 7:22 PM on September 28, 2004

The Touch
posted by homunculus at 10:11 PM on September 28, 2004

Here's the trailer for House of Flying Daggers.
posted by homunculus at 10:29 PM on September 28, 2004

The fact that someone who told another user that Your Asian-fetish weirdness flat out gives me the creeps. made this front-page post is hilarious.

Anyway, back on topic, related to infowar's comment, I vaguely remember reading some criticism of Zhang Ziyi once because she's not an actual martial artist, like Michelle Yeow or Maggie Cheung. Anyone know more?
posted by GeekAnimator at 1:38 PM on September 29, 2004

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