Friday, March 18, 2011

Remembering Al Leong - not that he's dead or anything.

Who is this handsome fellow right here? Well if you grew up in the 80's and the 90's and watched a bunch of mindless action flicks while you were growing up, then you know exactly who this cat is. You might not know his name, but you know the face and you certainty know the Gallagher-esque hair-do. This gentleman is Al Leong and he sports a Fu-manchu.

I don't know in Mr. Leong's long and illustrious career if he got a chance to have a starring role in a movie, in fact if we go over the movies we've seen Al Leong on, he rarely even got the opportunity to speak. And on the rare occasions when we did hear Mr. Leong speak, when he wasn't forced to recite his lines in broken English, his diction was much closer to that of a Harvard Law Professor but alas Harvard Law Professor's tend to make for bad Asian Thugs which is probably why they made him keep his mouth shut.

In fact if you were to peruse Al Leong's filmography a large number of his characters were actually named 'Asian Thug'. If you were making a movie in the 80's or the 90's and you needed an Asian Thug, you either used Al Leong or waited for Al Leong to finish being an Asian Thug in that other movie so he could be an Asian Thug in your movie. Who could forget Al torturing Martin Riggs in Lethal weapon, doing battle with John McClane in Die Hard or his greatest performance, his closing fight with the late Brandon Lee in Rapid Fire. Dolph Lundgren, Jeff Speakman, Van Damme, Kurt Russell, Carl Weathers... big mean dudes who have probably all had to kill, at one point in their careers, an Asian Thug played by Al Leong.

We haven't seen Mr. Leong in a while, his last known credit being listed as Confessions of an Action Star, which of course we have seen, and no one knows where he might be because the real Al Leong is as mysterious and as private as the Asian Thugs that he played back in the day. We hope he is well and we hope to see him again, kicking the asses of a new generation of action stars, before eventually being killed.