Many fans of Chinese martial arts films have become sentimental after learning that Donnie Yen-one of the best action stars of his era-will no longer do action roles.
During a promotional event for his upcoming film, Ip Man 4: The Finale, in Beijing on Nov 27, the 56-year-old revealed this will be his last time showcasing his dazzling punches and kicks on the silver screen.
“As an actor and a filmmaker, I have made so many movies-some that people love watching and some that people don’t. I think that’s enough for me,” says Yen.
Yen was born in Guangdong province in 1963 and moved to Hong Kong with his parents when he was 2 years old. His family relocated to the United States when he was 11. Later the young Yen showed strong interest in kung fu under the influence of his mother, a martial arts teacher, and was sent to Beijing to learn it.
He landed his first starring role in the 1984 film Drunken Tai Chi. Yen has accumulated recognition for many action movies, including the Oscar-nominated Hero, but it was the 2008 film Ip Man-the first in the biographical series-that propelled him to stardom.
The previous Ip Man films respectively earned 82.8 million yuan ($11.8 million) in 2008, 231 million yuan in 2010 and 769 million yuan in 2016, making the films about the titular Wing Chun grandmaster one of the highest-grossing kung fu franchises in China.
“I have been part of the Ip Man franchise for 11 years. I appreciate fans who have always been with us,” says Yen.
“The four Ip Man films have written a valuable chapter in the history of Chinese cinema. And after the fourth film, I will continue to explore my growth as an actor but will draw a full stop on action movies,” says Yen.