Donnie Yen: Asians of change

Jet Li. Jackie Chan. Donnie Yen. Quick. Which one of these action film stars grew up in the United States? Or, more appropriately, which one of these stars had to leave the United States before he could make a name for himself in Hollywood? That would be Yen. Sure, while he’s not as famous in the United States as either Li or Chan, he has a loyal following worldwide and an impressive resume of films — the best of which were made in Hong Kong.

Bruce Lee — Urban Legend

Two decades before Jet Li and DMX joined forces for “Cradle 2 the Grave”–which opens Friday–Bruce Lee was kicking it with Jim Kelly in “Enter the Dragon.” Back then, pairing an Asian-American martial arts star (Lee was born in the United States and raised in Hong Kong) with a black karate champ-turned-actor was a novelty. These days, it’s good business to keep faith with the audience that first embraced martial arts films in the United States–African Americans.