What do Chow Yun-fat and Johnny Depp both have in common, besides getting to kiss Keira Knightly in a Pirates film? Their characters were both dubbed one of the top 100 movie characters of all time in a poll conducted by British Empire movie magazine.
Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was as expected on the list, but Chow Yunfat’s role in the Pirates trilogy was not. Of course…would an Asian character in a Hollywood film ever be considered one for the books? Instead Tequila, Chow’s character in Hard Boiled, the cult John Woo classic, was what planted him at a respectable number 33 and has essentially made Chow Yunfat not only iconic for the non Asians but also the Asians. Due to Tequila, and also his role in Shanghai Tan (the Bund) Male directors like Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou have given him choice roles in their movies, because he embodies the ultimate cool and manly persona, or “Nan Zhi Han”, one that even the artiest of directors would mind seeing themselves as. The movie also led to a rather long dabbling in Hollywood for director John Woo with his pigeons and his guns before he decided on dominating Asian box offices with Red Cliff, also full of manly men.
Topping the list was Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden of Fight Club. You can check out their description of Chow’s Tequila here, along with the other 100 characters that were obviously picked by men. Otherwise Elizabeth Darcy’d be on it.