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Why Master Guang Bo In Shang-Chi Looks So Familiar

Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" is finally here, and it's safe to say the MCU may never be the same. Steeped in Asian mythology, boasting fantastical creatures, and showcasing jaw-dropping martial arts sequences, "Shang-Chi" is getting a strong reaction from critics, who are hailing it as game-changing affair for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's also primed to make a major movie star of Simu Liu, whose work in the title role is being praised by one and all (per Rotten Tomatoes).  

As for Liu's co-stars in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," with the familiar faces of Awkwafina ("The Farewell"), Tony Leung ("In the Mood for Love"), Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), and Benedict Wong ("Doctor Strange") in the mix, he's obviously in exceedingly good company. And as it is, many moviegoers will no doubt recognize the face of the actor who portrayed village elder Master Guang Bo in "Shang-Chi," as he's been a regular in the Hong Kong action scene for decades now. His name is Yuen Wah. Here's where you've seen him before.

Yuen Wah is a legend of Hong Kong cinema

Understand that when fans call Yuen Wah a legend of Hong Kong cinema, it's hardly an understatement. He's has actually been a major player on that scene since the 1960s, rising to prominence as Bruce Lee's stunt double in the early 1970s. Yes, that was Yuen Wah standing in for Lee in Hong Kong classics like 1972's "Fist of Fury" and "The Way of the Dragon," as well as Lee's legendary cinematic swan song "Enter the Dragon." And yes, Wah was the man who performed that final film's iconic backflip kick (per Wing Chun News). 

After making his name on those Lee flicks, Yuen Wah continued to work as a stunt man and stunt coordinator through the late-90s. Wah has appeared in nearly 200 films and television series, working alongside screen legends like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, and Sammo Hung, and has become as renowned on the Hong Kong scene as any of his more famous co-stars.

Wah shared the screen with another Hong Kong legend in Supercop

Even with nearly 200 screen credits to his name, it's safe to assume most U.S. viewers have not seen that many of Yuen Wah's films. Even still, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" may not actually be the first time mainstream American audiences are laying eyes on the actor. And if you didn't see him at work in those Bruce Lee classics, you may well have seen him in a somewhat more recent classic starring the one and only Jackie Chan

The flick you might've seen Yuen Wah in is 1992's "Supercop," which is actually the third film in Jackie Chan's beloved "Police Story" franchise. Those movies featured Chan portraying Chan Ka-Kui, a Hong Kong cop with some serious martial arts skills. "Supercop" saw Inspector Ka-Kui going deep undercover to bring down a Hong Kong drug lord. 

In infiltrating the kingpin's crew of underworld baddies, Ka-Kui befriends the man's top lieutenant, a tough-as-nails henchman who goes by the name Panther. That was indeed Yuen Wah throwing down alongside (and eventually against) Jackie Chan as Panther in "Supercop." This movie also gave him the opportnity to share scenes with his future "Shang-Chi" co-star Michelle Yeoh.

Wah was a legit scene-stealer in Kung Fu Hustle

Maybe you saw Yuen Wah at work in "Fist of Fury," or "Enter the Dragon." Perhaps you saw him throwing punches with Jackie Chan in "Supercop." You might even have caught him briefly sharing the screen with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in Baz Luhrman's 2008 misfire "Australia." But it's far more likely that if you did recognize Yuen Wah's face in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," it's because you're a fan of Stephen Chow's 2004 martial arts/slapstick comedy masterpiece "Kung Fu Hustle."

Set in Shanghai circa the 1940s, "Kung Fu Hustle" found Chow (who also wrote and directed the film) portraying Sing, a loser who aspires to little more in life than joining a local gang. His fates change when a brutal beatdown unlocks his inner kung fu master, and he eventually becomes the savior of his neighborhood. 

If you're wondering who Yuen Wah portrayed "Kung Fu Hustle," he was the landlord in the film. And working alongside his hilarious co-star Qiu Yuen, the duo very nearly stole the film from the man who created it.