We dare you to fight this guy. Kicking serious ass with two major releases—The Man With the Iron Fists and Olympus Has Fallen—Rick Yune is chopping his way into the pantheon of Hollywood action heroes.
The former Wall Street hedge-fund trader first grabbed attention as a falsely accused killer in 1999’s Snow Falling on Cedars. In 2001, Yune nailed his signature role as Vietnamese gang leader Johnny Tran in The Fast and the Furious. One year later he expanded his villain repertoire as Zao, the North Korean henchman who faces off with Pierce Brosnan’s 007 in the Bond hit Die Another Day.
In 2008, Yune upped his game by writing, producing and starring as the lead assassin in The Fifth Commandment. The action thriller was ambitious but took a body slam at the box office.
Yune was down, not out. The following year, Ninja Assassin warmed him up for his latest breakout in The Man With the Iron Fists. The bloody blockbuster showcased a fighting form more dangerous than ever.
Presented by Quentin Tarantino, directed by legendary Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA (who also co-stars), coproduced by Eli Roth and starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu, The Man With the Iron Fists hit screens at the tail end of 2012. It’s set to be an instant classic on DVD.
In RZA’s words, Yune has a “special charisma and is a master of acting.” The director was also impressed by Yune’s ability to “raise his game” in the presence of a Hollywood heavyweight like Crowe. “Yune was tough and rugged in the film,” RZA says, “but he’s a man’s man with an enormous heart. That was what made Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen movie stars that actors with those special skills should aspire to be.”