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    Fans Of Michelle Yeoh Unite: A Look Back At Her Career

    Whoever doesn't like Yeoh should be fed to a crouching tiger.

    Martial artist, athlete, ballet dancer, pianist, beauty queen (Miss Malaysia 1983), and hardcore action star all rolled into one: Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh is the G.O.A.T.

    A woman in white dress
    Steven Ferdman / WireImage / Getty Images

    There are just a few Asian American artists in Hollywood and even fewer Asian American A-listers. For years, Asian characters in Hollywood movies were reduced to either the genius, bespectacled, nerd sidekick or the naturally gifted at martial arts sidekick of the white guy/girl. It's only now that a major studio is going to launch a superhero movie that Asians can call their own. And heading this movie are several gifted Asian superstars like Tony Leung, Fala Chen, and redoubtable Michelle Yeoh.

    One can imagine the tremendous talent and grit that Yeoh possesses that allowed her to swing, somersault, punch, and kick her way through the forbidding jungle of Hollywood and plant her flag atop various studios. 

    After a crackling performance in Star Trek: Discovery, Michelle Yeoh is back with Gunpowder Milkshake to regale us with her kicks, punches, and emotional portrayal of strong women.

    Reiner Bajo / REINER BAJO/STUDIOCANAL © 2021

    She plays the role of Florence, a "librarian" (an assassin, actually) who is in charge of maintaining order in a library full of books that enclose guns. Her co-librarians are played by the equally wonderful Carla Gugino and Angela Bassett, with Lena Headey and Karen Gillan later joining the party. 

    But first, let's not forget that Michelle Yeoh single-handedly carved out the "girls-with-guns” subgenre in Hong Kong cinema.

    A woman sitting and eating
    Fortune Star Media Limited / Via

    She got her start in the Hong Kong film industry, where she often starred opposite stars like Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Jet Li. She had a supporting role in her first movie, The Owl vs. Bumbo, where one of her co-stars was Sammo Hung. Yeoh was noticed and received top billing in her third film, the police drama Yes, Madam (1985), that was produced by Sammo Hung. 

    She gained international stardom in 1997 when she starred opposite Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies and became the first Asian Bond Girl.

    A man and a woman riding a motorcycle with the woman sitting in front of the man and facing the man.
    Keith Hamshere / Sygma via Getty Images

    She was probably the strongest Bond girl who was even capable of kicking Bond's arse. As the most physically gifted Bond girl, she was an equal partner of Bond in his exploits, rather than being depicted as a beautiful and coy showpiece whose purpose was to warm Bond's bed. Who can forget her motorcycle ride where she was handcuffed with Brosnan? To this day, she remains the only Asian Bond Girl. 

    Further stardom was waiting for her when she starred opposite Chow Yun-fat in Ang Lee's magnum opus, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

    A woman holding swords in both hands
    Sony Pictures / ©Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the chef-d'œuvre of probably everyone involved with the movie. This 2000 wuxia film had the same impact at awards ceremonies that Parasite had. Yeoh was nominated for many prestigious awards including a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Yeoh's position as the unquestioned martial arts queen of international cinema was firmly cemented.  

    Yeoh followed it up with The Touch, Sunshine (directed by Danny Boyle), True Legend, and Memoirs of a Geisha.

    Two women in traditional Japanese dress
    Columbia Pictures

    Yeoh expanded her repertoire and achieved success in dramatic roles that relied more on dialogue delivery and facial expressions rather than speed and power of her fist. Memoirs of a Geisha was one such film. It was produced by Steven Spielberg and reunited Yeoh with her Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon co-star Zhang Ziyi. The movie also won three Academy Awards. 

    Hollywood again fell in love with her when she was cast as a formidable matriarch in Crazy Rich Asians.

    a ladies standing holding an award
    Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

    She played Eleanor, the matriarch of Singapore’s renowned Young family. She puts her combat skills to use against the American girlfriend of her son, except that she's trying to shoo her away not with flying kicks or tai chi moves but with  condescension. 

    Soon we will see her in The Witcher prequel, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and the Avatar sequel.

    Three women, one of them alien, making a gesture of touching their hearts with their right hands.

    Though Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would make Yeoh a prominent face for MCU fans, her MCU debut happened much earlier in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where she played the role of Aleta Ogord (picture above), a Ravager captain. 

    But now, in Gunpowder Milkshake, Yeoh is back to her martial arts zone, where she had always excelled.

    A woman with her left arm up

    Her character in Gunpowder Milkshake is a formidable assassin (a lesbian, too, probably) who enjoys mowing down bad guys with automatic weapons and then fracturing their spine with chain. 

    Yeoh has always done her own stunts in her movies. If there's any actress that's a natural fit to play Black Widow, it's Yeoh.

    A woman holding guns in both her hands.

    Just imagine if Yeoh had been cast as Natasha Romanoff — she would have been a total badass onscreen. 

    Here are some of the fan reactions to Yeoh's latest performance we've seen on Twitter:

    I can never get enough Michelle Yeoh #GunpowderMilkshake

    Twitter: @nancywyuen

    If they had given the 'Green Destiny' to her, she would have ended the fight single-handedly.

    Michelle Yeoh!!!!! I mean Florence ma'am... #GunpowderMilkshake

    Twitter: @Yeoh_ShuLien

    You ought to have peace of mind if you want to be a lethal killer.

    Who needs a therapist when you have Michelle Yeoh? #GunpowderMilkshake

    Twitter: @BridgertonCrane

    Yeoh doesn't get as much screentime as Lena Headey and Karen Gillan, but she makes herself noticed whenever she is onscreen.

    i don’t think there’s enough talking on how magnificent michelle yeoh was in this film #GunpowderMilkshake

    Twitter: @crazycrains

    Ahh! This is a first. Michelle Yeoh in an eyepatch.


    Twitter: @cathrinekeener

    Not only your girl, but James Bond's too.

    Twitter: @BadWolfKaily

    That's quite an ambitious goal, but then who are we to stop?

    when i grow up i wanna be Michelle Yeoh #GunpowderMilkshake

    Twitter: @BridgertonCrane

    Imagine Yeoh saying, "I drink your milkshake." It would not sound as intimidating as Daniel Day-Lewis, but it would have the same scary effect.

    Twitter: @angryasianman

    What's your favorite Michelle Yeoh role? Let us know in the comments.

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