While Donnie Yen made a name for himself on American shores with his breakout hit in 2008, Ip Man, his reputation was established for many martial arts action film fans long before he ever played the Wing Chun grandmaster. I spoke with the multi-talented Yen earlier this year in promotion of his upcoming film, Wu Xia (or Dragon). The period film, set in 1917 China, revolves around an investigation into his character, Liu Jinxi, and the mysterious death of two criminals that were attempting to rob a general store. Some have likened the film to David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, and the careful balance between fighting for what is right even if it doesn’t benefit the greater good is touched on.
While the conversation strayed from touching on Dragon directly, I did get his thoughts on playing a character with a reserved nature, the differences between a period film and a modern film, and his preferences between the two. Additionally, we talked about how he feels he is a martial arts chameleon, his reason for turning down The Expendables 2, how much he trains between films, his love of MMA, and much more. You can find the complete interview after the jump.