nor other Hollywood hype machines. And they’re not reality
show attention whores who are famous for simply being famous…or trying
to be famous. What they are is all too frequently the
unheralded; the people whose solidly consistent work affects and often
delights us. They’re the ones who don’t always get the credit
when the credit is due. We aim to change that.
Name: Albert Leong, aka Al “Ka Bong”
– Date of Birth: September 20, 1952
Wing Kong Hatchet Man, Uli, Endo, Genghis Khan, Minh, Neill, Dellaplane’s Chauffeur, Chinese Thug, Asian Looking Thug, Vietnamese Soldier, Asian Revolutionary, Japanese Fishing Boat Crewman
Career Hiccup(s): Hart To Hart, Beverly Hills Cop III
Notable Quotes: Mr. Leong is a man of action, not words.
Why We’re Saluting: Al Leong is your one-stop shopping destination when you needed an Asian henchman. Period. Nobody else is even in the directory for that role. In fact, Leong should have been litigated for anti-trust laws long ago, because he’s had the monopoly on that particular field for most of our lives. Not a physically imposing presence, rather, he’s one of those smaller martial arts guys that you know can introduce your orbital socket to your sphincter. Identified by his signature Fu Manchu mustache, Al Leong has been in the biggest of the big and the smallest of the small over a nearly 30-year career.
Most of his characters don’t even merit names. He’s simply been just identified as “Thug,” “Man,” “Soldier,” “Bodyguard,” “Chauffeur,” “Laborer,” “Long Hair,” “Asian,” “Gang Leader,” “Triad” and other underlings who very very infrequently get any of the limelight. “Uncredited” is part of his resume so much you’d think it was his last name. If Leong had gotten paid by the word, he’d have been homeless decades ago. There has probably been no actor in history who has done more with a stereotype in Hollywood than Leong.
When Al has gotten the opportunity to step out of the background, he’s made the most of it. He was the Wing Kong Hatchet Man in Big Trouble in Little China. He was Endo, the guy who forgot more about torture than Riggs or Mr. Joshua would ever know; and who gave Riggs the most painful friggin’ shower ever in Lethal Weapon. He was Genghis Khan in Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He was Uli, the thug with a penchant for chocolate in Die Hard. And probably most famously, he was Minh, Tao’s laundry guy who applied an ass whipping rather than extra starch to Bruce’s kid in a memorable fight scene in Rapid Fire. Oddly enough, he also mixed it up with JCVD in abnother laundry fight in Death Warrant. His character name in that film? Bruce.
Equally as impressive as his film and TV credits for Asian utility player is that of stuntman and fight coordinator: Deadwood, Daredevil, The Scorpion King, Ghosts of Mars, Planet of the Apes, Lethal Weapon 4, Godzilla, The Replacement Killers, Escape from L.A., Double Dragon, Beverly Hills Cop III, Last Action Hero, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Whether a stuntman with screen presence or an actor who does his own stunts on the real, Leong has made a career of being that Asian guy with the Fu Manchu. But for fans of his work, he’s been far more than that.
Al Leong Factoids: Has worked with John Carpenter on four of his films: Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, Escape From L.A. and Ghosts of Mars. He also worked with Brandon Lee twice, in Rapid Fire and Showdown in Little Tokyo.
Al Leong Homework: