Friday 10 December 2010

Al Leong: A Life In Henching

Following his brief appearance as Bob Genghis Kahn in this post, I thought it was time to give ass-kicking deliverer and generic Asian henchman Al Leong his very own post to hang on his wall and show to his grandchildren.
Al was born a while ago somewhere or other, and immediately became the go-to-guy for lazy casting directors looking for shifty oriental types. However, his ability to forget more about dispensing pain than you and I will ever know soon earned him roles in all manner of '80s and '90s actiongasms at both ends of the quality spectrum. A glance at some of his character names gives you some idea of the kind of range he could play:
I'm not sure what happened with that last one. It was in a 1983 film called Off The Wall, which was headlined by the box office gold double-whammy of Paul Sorvino and Patrick Cassidy. I haven't seen it but I'm reasonably sure that Al Leong as a cheerleader is the best thing in it.

While Al henched his way through timeless classics like Lethal Weapon, Big Trouble In Little China and Action Jackson, the zenith of his career came in 1988 when he played Die Hard's shifty Asian henchman Uli, described with admiration on the IMDb as a "quiet but efficient terrorist". Like so many of Al's characters, Uli was brutally slain by a wisecracking cop, but not before he brought a touching new dimension of humanity to the oft-misunderstood role of the mindless killer-for-hire by filching a NestlĂ© Crunch Bar while waiting to kill more cops.
At 58 years old, Al is now a little wizened old shifty Asian henchman, but is still rocking the hair / moustache / beard combo that gave him his magical powers back in the day. He lives solely on a diet of Nestlé Crunch Bars, of which he received a lifetime's supply for his work in Die Hard, and is rumoured to be returning to our screens in 2012 in the no-doubt-Oscar-winning thriller Take Back, which will apparently see him team up with '80s ass-kicking, throat-ripping legends Dolph Lundgren, Mr T and Julie Andrews. And that is a film that cannot come soon enough.
This has been a completely random, poorly researched, occasionally incorrect biographical post from The Incredible Suit. Thank you for listening.


  1. actually he reminds me of fist of zen :D

  2. About time he got the respect he deserves. Doesn't he get killed with an ice-cream in Last Action Hero?