The transcript below is from the video “Bolo Yeung | Where is the Chinese Hercules Now” by MixShow English.

MixShow English:

Bolo Yeung is a Chinese actor, bodybuilder, director, and producer. The audience often remembers the good guys, but Bolo managed to win the love of fans by playing mostly bad characters.

Bolo Yeung – Where is the Chinese Hercules now.

Yang Sze, better known as Bolo Yeung, was born on July 3, 1946, in the Chinese city of Guangzhou into the family of a local entrepreneur and housewife. At the age of 4, the boy became interested in Kung Fu, and at the age of 10, he began to study martial arts with local masters. He also attended acrobatics training and became interested in weight lifting. He successfully combined martial arts with power loads, which allowed him to become the Chinese champion in powerlifting. Contrary to popular belief, Bolo wasn’t a Shotokan Karate champion and never practiced this kind of martial arts.

MixShow English:

In the mid-60s, the young man fled from communist China to Hong Kong. More precisely, he swam there. It was one of the few escape routes with the least likelihood of meeting the border patrol. In Hong Kong, Yang Sze became a coach and opened his own bodybuilding school. Soon he came to the attention of an agent of the largest Hong Kong film company, Shaw Brothers Studio, who invited him to star in a movie. In 1970, the 23-year-old athlete made his motion picture debut in The Wandering Swordsman in a supporting role and won the Mr. Hong Kong title in the bodybuilding tournament, which he continued to confirm for 9 consecutive years.

After playing brutal villains in 14 more films, including the action movie Five Fingers of Death, the aspiring actor decided to leave the studio. The turning point in Yang Sze’s career was meeting Bruce Lee. At the time, Bruce was filming his movie, Path of the Dragon, which was sponsored by Winston cigarette company. In cinemas, before the screening, it was planned to launch a short master class from Bruce Lee and a cigarette advertisement, in which Yang Sze was invited to star.

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A friendship struck up between them, and in 1973, Bruce invited his friend to play a bodyguard of his main on-screen opponent in the movie Enter the Dragon. It was in this film that Yang Sze played a character named Bolo, which he later chose for his stage name. In this movie, Bolo Yeung didn’t fight Bruce Lee. He promised to put up a fight in the next film, which was to be Game of Death, but Bruce Lee died six days before the premiere of Enter the Dragon. The release of the action movie Chinese Hercules followed. Even though Bolo didn’t play the main role in it, the nickname Chinese Hercules got firmly entrenched for him, like another nickname, The Beast from the East. Working with the legendary Bruce Lee made it easier for Bolo to get roles in movies, but his friend’s death had closed his way to American cinema for many years. Left unsupported, he continued to play villains in local action films such as the 1974’s The Young Dragons and the two parts of Bruce and Shaolin Kung Fu.

MixShow English:

We know about the actor’s wife, but their eldest son David was born on July 3, 1974, and he followed in his father’s footsteps. From childhood, he practiced martial arts, and at the age of 14, together with Bolo, he appeared on the stage of a bodybuilding tournament for the first time. In addition, he starred in several films and is now engaged in coaching. Later, the couple had a daughter called Deborah, who was practicing bodybuilding under the guidance of the older brother, and a younger son, Danny, who also linked his life with sports and practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

MixShow English:

In 1978, Bruce Lee’s picture Game of Death was completed with the use of stunt doubles and was released in cinemas. Bolo Yeung also appeared in it. The actor also tried his hand at directing. In 1979, the comedy thriller Bolo and the film Wen da were released. Among the actor’s subsequent works are the action movie The Ninja Strikes Back, the horror movie The Boxer’s Omen, the action comedies Millionaires’ Express, Lucky Stars Go Places, Where’s Officer Tuba? and My Lucky Stars. In 1986, Bolo worked with Bruce Lee’s son Brandon on the set of Legacy of Rage. He not only played the main character’s antagonist but also prepared Brandon for fights. Yeung booked the gym for 9 a.m., but Lee only showed up at noon. Lee was reluctant to exercise. He only did it because the producers asked him to. While acting in movies, Bolo Yeung repeatedly became the champion of Southeast Asia in kempo from the late 70s to the late 80s. Even in the 90s, he still successfully participated in competitions.

MixShow English:

Bolo Yeung became world-famous by the action movie Bloodsport, released in 1988, in which he played the main villain named Chong Lee. On the set, he met the young actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, who had always been a fan of Bolo. Although critics gave the film negative reviews, the audience received it well, and the career of the 42-year-old actor got a second wind. Bloodsport gave the actor access to the roles of the main negative characters in action films Bloodfight, Breathing Fire, Tiger Claws, Fearless Tiger, and Ironheart. In 1991, Van Damme invited Yeung to play his rival in the film Double Impact, offering a fee of $25,000.

20 years later, Jean-Claude’s son surprised his father by inviting Bolo to dinner, and they gladly revisited the times when they worked on the set together 15 hours a day. Bolo constantly mentioned in interviews that the role of a villain entrenched in him doesn’t embarrass him. Nevertheless, there are several roles of good guys in the actor’s filmography. In 1993, he played in the fantastic action movie TC 2000, and also appeared as Master Shingo in the films Shootfighter: Fight to the Death (released in 1993) and Shootfighter II (1996). Also in 1996, Yeung starred in another action movie Tiger Claws 2, after which he had a career break.

MixShow English:

In 2006, Yahoo conducted a survey asking users who is the best actor in Kung Fu films, and Bolo took second place right after Bruce Lee. In 2007, he was invited to star in The Ultimate Fighter co-produced by the United States and Kazakhstan. Due to legal issues, the film never made it to the cinemas. It was limited to screenings at several festivals until it went online more than 4 years later. In 2008, Bolo officially announced that he was leaving his work in cinema, but after that, he nevertheless starred in two more films made in Kazakhstan.

In 2011, Bolo Yeung came to Russia at the invitation of a fitness club. He had visited Moscow earlier, in the 90s, and announced work on a joint picture, but the project was never implemented. Bolo also appeared in an episode of the documentary project Jean-Claude Van Dam Behind Closed Doors. It is worth noting that Yeung has also appeared in several documentaries about Bruce Lee. In 2016, the actor played a cameo role in Diamond Cartel and appeared in the action-adventure movie The Whole World at Our Feet a year earlier.

MixShow English:

Bolo is currently the chairman of the Hong Kong Gym Business Association, and the Team Manager of the Taipei international Bodybuilders Squad. He also conducts master classes, celebrity stakeouts and autograph sessions. He begins every morning with a two-hour workout, doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol. The fortune of 74-year-old Bolo Yeung is estimated at $1.5 million and mainly accounts for real estate. Since 2018, the actor has been living in Monterey Park, California, in a two-story house with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. On the ground floor, there is a dining room with an elegant chandelier and a large open kitchen with a dining area leading to a living room with a fireplace, and also, one bedroom. There are three more bedrooms on the second floor, and there is a seating area in the backyard with a gazebo and a fountain. The garage has space for 4 cars, but only one of Bolo’s cars is known to the public, It’s the $49,000 Audi A3 convertible.

MixShow English:

Amiable and calm in life, Bolo Yeung always knew how to bring the feeling of a real threat on the other side of the screen. He tried to make people see martial arts as something more than just a circus and once said that a real professional should make one move, which will be watched breathlessly.

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