Tuesday, June 20

I've watched plenty of dodgy movies in my time (not that kind) (ok maybe a few) (ok a bit more than that) (just guess a number and then double it), from American Ninja to Suburban Commando to every single generic 80's action movie ever. The first movie I remember seeing is Robocop when I was about 6, thanks to my brother insisting I get a healthy dose of ultra-violence to counteract all the Care Bears I was watching.

However, I'm not exactly a movie buff. I've never seen The Godfather II, or the second half of Pulp Fiction, or Casablanca, or the Lord Of The Rings, or Titanic, or You Got Served. But like everyone else, I've seen hundreds of movies. And that's the only requirement you need for my next blog.

Wasn't That The Guy In The Thing?

Tommy's Guide To Those Guys In Movies All The Time That You Don't Know The Names Of But Man I Swear I've Seen Him Someplace Before... Maybe He's The Guy From Terminator 2?

Everyone has favourite actors. Some people even have favourite actresses if you ask them to really think. But there is a breed of actors who don't get their names on movie posters, who don't get their own action figures or signing bonuses. They are the character actors, the people who make the stars look like stars. Their faces are instantly recognisable, yet... You don't know what from. They are the Joint Chiefs in military thrillers, the bad guy mobsters, the evil martial arts bad guy, the crooked businessman, or the wise old guy.

They're not Jean Reno, or Brian Denehey, they're the guys who work for Jean Reno and Brian Denehey. But, there was a time when a well-known supporting actor like Jean Reno was one of these men, these chosen few, this... Band of Brothers.

Now, I could drop some names, but as I said - you wouldn't know them. Nobody does. That's the gimmick. Instead, take a look at these guys.

I'll tell you their names, just in case the curiosity is getting to you. In the top row, the first guy you might know because he has a unique name. That's Rip Torn. Next to him is Bob Gunton. The last guy on the top row is Charles Napier. In the bottom row, that's James Rebhorn, Michael Rooker and David Paymer.

Now, let's try that again. The top row is, from left to right

  • The Guy From Men In Black And Artie From The Larry Sanders Show
  • Wasn't He The Evil Sick Dude From Desperate Housewives and HOLY SHIT THAT'S THE WARDEN FROM SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION!@
  • The Lead 'Good Old Boy' from The Blues Brothers and... Wait, He Wasn't In Rambo Was He?

And the second row
  • That Guy Who Always Plays Crooked Politicians and Generals
  • The Bad Ass Guy Who Is Always A Cop Or The Henchman That Goes After The Good Guy
  • Not Even This Guy Knows What We Remember Him From
Now, these guys are all terrific actors. Especially Charles Napier, who based on that photo has looked exactly the same for the last thirty years. If they didn't look like bad guys, cops and smarmy lawyers, they probably would have made it huge because of their ability. There's still a chance for them too, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who just a few years ago was That Dicky Guy From Patch Adams won an OSCAR.

But there is a character actor who surpasses every single one of them. He is in a field of his own. You will know him as The Guy Who Always Plays The Bad Asian Guy. But now you will know and respect him for his real name. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...

James Hong.

Hah, Foolish American. You dare try to escape?

He was in Hero with Jet Li, The Art Of War with Wesley Snipes, Blade Runner, Tango and Cash and he was General Trau in the Chuck Norris masterpiece Missing In Action. He's acted in pretty much every successful television series ever - The X-Files, Taxi, Alias, Hawaii Five-O, The West Wing, Friends, even shows you've never heard of like Airwolf, Manimal and The Wackiest Ship In The Army.

Basically, he's the guy who Hollywood calls when they need an Asian. To prove this point, Hong was in four episodes of the series MacGyver, playing THREE different characters - Chu, Lee and Kuang. He played EIGHT different characters in the 70's action series Kung Fu.

You think Morgan Freeman can get away with that?

You think Brad Pitt, or Joaquin Phoenix has that range?

You think Marlon Brando could have played an Asian?

Hell no.

James Hong is a legend. He is exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the title to this blog. Come award season, this guy should get an honourary Oscar for his work.

So next time you watch a film, don't think of the pooncy star getting paid millions to pretend to run away from an explosion, think of the guys who truly make the movie. The character actor. James Hong, Bruce Davison, Michael O'Neill, The Dicky Guy From Ghostbusters With The Red Beard Who Shuts Down Their Ghost Containment Machine, for they are the true stars of Hollywood.

And none of them have vaginas.


magnoliafan01 said...

david paymer was excellent in crazy people with daryl hannah and dudley moore

Mitch said...

aiden is ROFLing

golckarock said...

socko be rollin on 20s yo

JoeD said...

James Hing also was in a very funny episode of Seinfeld. He even does comedy!!
(He was the maitre d of the chinese restaurant episode)