Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

Donnie Yen as Hong Kong ambassador after John Wick 4 – make it happen

Donnie Yen as Hong Kong ambassador after John Wick 4 – make it happen

Donnie Yen’s stand-out appearance in John Wick: Chapter 4 is an excellent opportunity to raise Hong Kong’s global prominence, and the city’s government must step up to take it.

Current Hollywood blockbuster John Wick: Chapter 4 features Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen playing “Caine”, a foul-mouthed, blind assassin. His role catapults the city back into the international spotlight and is no doubt a significant moment for the Cantonese language, too.

It has been many years since I last heard an entire cinema audience burst out in spontaneous laughter but when Yen uttered one particular profanity, and Keanu Reeves – who plays the titular role – copied it in his well-known minimalist style, that was exactly what happened.

It will be interesting to see how far Yen’s swearing will take the Cantonese language in terms of global visibility, but so far it has certainly drawn a welcome bit of attention.  

The exact line Yen uses – ham gaa caan – is one of the most common swear phrases in Hong Kong, and translates as “May your entire family be bulldozed”. While the curse is not particularly vulgar, its intention – to send your loved ones to the grave – can be considered rather mean-spirited.

(From left) Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen and Scott Adkins in John Wick: Chapter 4.

While the use of profanity in movies is a risky move, it can be effective if executed correctly. In the case of John Wick 4, Yen’s use of a moderate Cantonese expletive has added value to the movie, lending a sense of realism and honesty to the character he portrays through the authenticity of language.  

Yen’s appearance in John Wick 4 – and Reeves’ replication of Yen’s Cantonese dialogue – also serves as an excellent opportunity for Hong Kong to capitalise on its international fame, leverage the tourism and business sectors during the current drive to attract tourists, and hopefully lead to a surge in Hong Kong’s global prominence.

I feel there is merit in Yen becoming a global ambassador for Hong Kong. His versatility in acting, reputation as a martial artist, and fluency in multiple languages position him ideally for the role.

Ambassadorship would be a major commitment for the actor, who would also need to satisfy certain expectations from the industry and business to fulfil this job.

Given Yen’s prominence in the film, it may even lead to Hong Kong being chosen as a location for the next John Wick sequel. Having Reeves on the streets of Hong Kong would present the perfect opportunity to showcase the city’s most iconic sights, and its unique culture, to a potentially vast worldwide audience.  

The idea of leveraging Yen’s fame in John Wick 4 to promote Hong Kong internationally is a compelling one, but it must be pursued with some caution, and it will be interesting to see how the government uses the phenomenon to increase the city’s visibility.

Yen’s portrayal of a complex and compelling character in the film is undoubtedly a source of pride for Hong Kong cinema and its legion of international fans.

It showcases his talent and abilities as an actor, as well as highlighting the role of Hong Kong cinema in nurturing promising performers and filmmakers – something that has earned the local industry a leading global reputation in the action film genre.

Yen’s role in John Wick 4 boosts Hong Kong’s visibility in the world, tickling people’s curiosity about the city, its language, history and culture, and promoting our home – and Cantonese – in a positive light on a prominent stage.

As such, there is no better time than the present to showcase Hong Kong’s many attributes. And the launch of Hong Kong’s first Pop Culture Festival, in April, aims to do just this, in an immersive and engaging fashion.

The festival, running from April to November, kicks off with a tribute to late Hong Kong superstar Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, who helped shape the identity of Cantopop during his illustrious 26-year career. This year marks the 20th anniversary of his untimely passing.

I hope Cantonese-speaking artists from the fields of music, movies and television will be invited to perform and interact with fans so as to provide a platform for the promotion of Cantonese language and customs through the lens of pop culture.

Leslie Cheung in the Wong Kar-wai 1990 movie “Days of Being Wild”.

I also hope there will be unofficial panel sessions that feature language experts and cultural scholars discussing the history, usage and evolution of Cantonese, and its cultural significance. And there should be community activities organised to highlight the rich heritage of Cantonese cuisine, lion dance and even the art of mahjong.

On the interactive side, the festival should offer opportunities for interested attendees from across the region, and the world, to pick up basic Cantonese phrases – along with principles of the language – and maybe even learn the backstories to certain popular profanities.  

If these are not already in the programme, there is still time to include them or they can be staged in the community during the festival period by local leaders in related fields.

The power of social media should be used to draw in younger audiences by posting Cantonese-language content, short video clips, and snippets from panel discussions and performances to generate buzz in the wider international community.  

Thus, the comedic effect of Yen’s Cantonese profanity in John Wick 4 has drawn the eyes of the world to Hong Kong. Now it is time for the city government to step up and show some swift and slick moves to the world.

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
The driver has been described by authorities as a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee
Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation
America's Got Talent…
Elon Musk has been showered with praise by the Chinese public during his trip to China
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
Elon Musk Meets Chinese Finance Minister in Beijing
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. Air Force spy plane over South China Sea
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Ukrainian Intelligence Official Admits to Assassination Attempts on Putin
WATCH THIS: democracy in Russia is so bad!
Ed Davey: It is possible for a woman to have a penis
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Steve Jobs introducing Apple's iPhone, exactly 16 years ago.
Banking Behemoth vs Ex-Boss: The PMorgan-Epstein Entanglement
China overtakes Japan as world's top car exporter
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
The official tapes of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll battery (rape) and defamation case have been released.
King Charles III being crowned.
Newly released video of Donald Trump’s rape trial deposition:
Video: Ukraine MP Punches Russian Representative At Global Meet
El Paso mayor has declared a state of emergency
Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to kill Putin
Dutch court orders man who fathered 550 kids to stop donating sperm
Kim Kardashian Lookalike Christina Ashten Dies Of Cardiac Arrest, Hours After Plastic Surgery
Samsung has banned employees from using generative AI services such as ChatGPT
'Godfather Of AI' Geoffrey Hinton Quits Google To Warn Of The Tech's Dangers
A Real woman
Vermont Man Charged with Stalking After Secretly Tracking Woman with Apple AirTag
Elon Musk Statements About Tesla Autopilot Could Be 'Deepfakes,' Lawyers Claim. Judge Evette Pennypacker Does Not Understand How Far and Advanced This Technology Became