When Chow Yun-Fat steps into view, your eyes are immediately drawn to him. He commands the screen with an undeniable charisma and an imitable sense of the cool. For his cool is not detached, it's not ironic or cold or urban... [more]
When Chow Yun-Fat steps into view, your eyes are immediately drawn to him. He commands the screen with an undeniable charisma and an imitable sense of the cool. For his cool is not detached, it's not ironic or cold or urban in any familiar way. No, Chow Yun-Fat's cool is distinctly warm: you trust him, want to be around him. He's the perfect lover -- handsome, considerate, chivalrous, funny -- and he's the best of best friends, loyal to the end, a lot of fun along the way.
And always, he's the warrior, "the Killer" (perhaps his most memorable role, certainly his most famous): a masterful tactician, he moves only as much as he needs, strikes at the propitious moment, kills as the situation demands, is as ruthless as necessary. A certain moral ambiguity surrounds his characters: he's the good-natured outlaw, equally cold-blooded, loyal, and loving.
Like Cary Grant, Chow (his last name, not his first) moves with grace. His clothes hang impeccably on his body, and he never seems far from a smile. While associated with the kinetic violence of John Woo's action films, Chow provides a warmth and charisma which lend Woo's gangster tales a complex morality. Amidst the ballistic balletics -- two guns relentlessly firing as bodies stream this way and that -- Chow offers the assurance that all the mayhem is somehow necessary. It is this charisma which allows him to alternate between tough-guy and lover roles.
It was in Woo's 1986 film "A Better Tomorrow" that Chow made his mark. At the time, Woo was not well known and Chow had been pegged as a TV actor. In fact, after leaving the family farm and drifting from job to job for a time, he had gotten his start as a TV extra. Later he submitted to a year of actor's training and, after graduating, clinched a 14-year contract with a TV station. Since "A Better Tomorrow," he
e's worked exclusively in film, winning three Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actor and appearing in over 70 movies. [show less]