Bruce Lee may seem to be just another uni-dimensional macho hero, but his rise marked an epochal shift for Asian Americans, both as actors and as men. After decades of being demonized as sly yet effeminate “yellow peril” in the post-World War II era, Lee represented a positive, vigorous version of masculinity. And it’s this consolation that actors like Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa cling to when they play similar roles in movies like Mortal Kombat, even when they’re negative. “If the choice is between playing wimpy business men and the bad guy,” Tagawa tells Adachi, “I’d rather play the bad guy. … I want kids to know that Asian men have balls.”

Perpetuating the Yellow Peril -- In These Times

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