Profile of Bolo Yeung

Name: Bolo Yeung (Real name: Yang Sze)
Date of Birth: 3 July 1946
Height: 5’6” (168 m)
Weight: N/A
Birth sign: Cancer
Country: China

Tribute

If you can block the music from this tribute video, you’ll enjoy seeing Bolo in action!

Career retrospective

Bolo Yeung began studying martial arts at age 10 and later developed an interest in bodybuilding. He would eventually become the Mr Hong Kong bodybuilding champion and held the title for ten years. Due to his remarkable physique, Yeung was generally cast as villains in such Shaw Brothers classics like The Heroic Ones (1970) and Deadly Duo (1971).

In 1973, Bolo Yeung gained worldwide recognition for his role in Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee. Lee specifically invited Yeung to play one of the pivotal villains and the two became extremely good friends. Even to this day, Yeung’s admiration towards the kung fu legend remains strong. One of the film’s highlights is Yeung’s merciless slaughter of Han’s guards, cementing his ability as a powerful screen-fighter.

Yeung’s association with Bruce Lee would not end there. In 1986, he was cast again as a villainous heavy in Legacy of Rage; Brandon Lee’s first and only Hong Kong film. A rather small role, but unlike Enter the Dragon, Yeung gets to trade blows with Brandon Lee in a memorable alley fight. This was a rare chance to see eighties Hong Kong style action mixed with a classic throwback dose of the Bruce Lee films.

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Throughout the eighties, Bolo Yeung would appear in a number of Hong Kong action films, particularly those starring Sammo Hung. Notable examples include My Lucky Stars (1985), Millionaire’s Express (1986) and Where’s Officer Tuba? (1986). It was in the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Bloodsport (1988) that Yeung perhaps best immortalized his breakout villain role as Chong Li. His final bout with Van Damme ranks as one of the most memorable fight scenes of the period. Like Lee in Enter the Dragon, Yeung developed a close friendship with the ‘Muscles from Brussels’ and would later work with Van Damme again in Double Impact (1991).

Bolo Yeung has made appearances in heroic roles too. One notable example is Shootfighter: Fight to the Death (1993) in which Yeung plays a calm but powerful Sensei who must save his students from an underground fight competition. The film is unique in that the master role is given the main focus as opposed to the general character-type of the underdog. With Yeung playing against type, he was able to get more good-guy roles such as Iron Heart (1992), TC 2000 (1993) and even reprised his Sensei role in Shootfighter 2.

Bolo Yeung is currently living in Monterey Park, California. He continues to train regularly and is still in magnificent shape. While he has dabbled in many kung fu styles, his main preference is Tai Chi, which he also still trains in today. Bolo Yeung is one of the few hardcore martial artists that genuinely value the soft and defensive side of the fighting arts. Despite being the total opposite to his popular screen-persona he will always be fondly remembered as one of B-cinema’s standout villains.

Trivia

  • Due to his astounding reputation as a bodybuilder, he is often referred as the “Chinese Hercules”.
  • He has two sons (David and Danny Yeung), and a daughter (Debbra Yeung). David was a bodybuilder champion, like his father. They both regularly train together.
  • Bolo met Bruce Lee while filming a Winston cigarettes commercial together – Bey Logan, Hong Kong Action Cinema, 1995.
  • His real name is Yang Sze but adopted ‘Bolo’ after he played the character in Enter the Dragon (1973) – Bey Logan, Dragon Dynasty – Bey’s Blog, 2007.
  • Has dabbled in directing. His first film was Fists of Justice (1977) and his second was Writing Kung Fu (1979).

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY

YEARTITLEROLE
1970The Heroic OnesGeneral Meng Chieh Hai
1971The Deadly DuoThe River Dragon of Jin
1972Five Fingers of Death AKA King BoxerPa Tu-er, Mongolian Fighter
1972The 14 AmazonsHsia Boxing Champion
1972Man of IronJin Xi Fu
1973Enter the DragonBolo
1978Game of DeathYeung See
1985My Lucky StarsMillionaire Chan
1986Where's Officer Tuba?Henchman
1986Millionaire's ExpressCotton Weaver
1988BloodsportChong Li
1991Double ImpactMoon
1992IronheartIce
1993Shootfighter: Fight to the DeathShingo
1993TC 2000Master Sumai
2002Shootfighter 2Shingo

Image Gallery

Wing-Ho Lin is a big cinema fan. His forte is Hong Kong action cinema of the 70s and 80s, but likes to look at undiscovered action films beyond HK. He has trained in Wing Chun and Shaolin (Sanshou), and enjoys writing.

3 Comments
  1. Reply
    shyjuan April 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    There was a movie called “Blizhniy Boy” he was in as well from 2007.

  2. Reply
    Cyberats May 12, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Seems Bolo Yeung had his own Hong Kong cinema, why ashamed ? Bolo Yeung was next in between. After Van Damme ? Jackie Chan & Bruce Li of course, what about Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris and Sho Kusugi ? Now I want to see more Bolo Yeung classics, before Kickboxer.

  3. […] Bolo is not just a bodybuilder, he is also considered as the Marital arts star. […]

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