Nerve.com, which remains one of my favorite places for smart writing on sex, inspired me to compile a list of Chinese men who love Western women in the movies (including those who portrayed Chinese men, such as Daniel Henney) and rank them by sex appeal. Now, some of the sexiest guys on this list (ahem, Daniel Henney) didn’t get the highest ranks — that’s because I considered the kind of sex appeal they conveyed through their characters in specific films (and not just, say, their hot washboard abs).
I file this one under Yangxifu Pride — because who in our community wouldn’t be proud to know we have some seriously sexy studs to watch on film, in relationships just like ours?
6. Ken Leung in Shanghai Kiss
I know, I know — Shanghai Kiss matters as a film because of its exploration of identity issues among Asian Americans, especially the men. Still, I rather hoped that a film with the word “kiss” in its title, a film that bills itself as a romantic comedy, would actually have a sexy leading man to pull it off. Ken Leung, unfortunately, left me “lěng” (that’s “cold” in Mandarin Chinese) in that respect — he lacked any convincing chemistry with his love interests in the film, including Hayden Panettiere. Great movie for anyone interested in Asian-American identity issues, especially American-born Chinese, but a let-down if you’re looking for love…and then some.
5. Daniel Henney in Shanghai Calling
Daniel Henney could easily convince any non-Asian girl to date Asian guys just by taking his shirt off (hence the Google search engine suggesting “Daniel Henney shirtless” on a recent search). That’s why I’m utterly perplexed by his role as Sam, a Chinese-American lawyer in Shanghai Calling, which in my opinion was a waste of some seriously awesome washboard abs. Yes, they have a romantic plotline between Sam and a white American girl (Eliza Coupe), and yes, they have him take his shirt off. But they didn’t seem to think that this rising Asian sex symbol should actually take his shirt off in front of his love interest, let alone do anything more than just kiss her (a kiss, sadly, with less chemistry than I expected). People, if you’re going to cast a sexy Asian guy in your romantic comedy (as Shanghai Calling is), then dammit, let him be sexy.
4. Kelvin Han Yee in A Great Wall
When Kelvin laid with a white girl on the couch and kissed her in this 1986 movie, some dubbed it the “makeout scene heard ‘round the world” because it was one of the first movies to ever feature an Asian guy and non-Asian girl doing just that. Kelvin brings some serious sex appeal to the scene — his sultry eyes, and even the sensual way in which he pulls at her blouse — despite the fact that they never actually “do it” in the movie. Plus, I love that Kelvin is so alpha, which shatters that despicable “all Asian guys are so emasculated” stereotype. He was once a bouncer in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, and considering the muscles on his hot bod (even to this day), I believe it.
3. Chi Cao in Mao’s Last Dancer
Chi Cao, who plays Li Cunxin in this movie (based on a book by the same name), had me before I even saw the film. Blame it on that photo (see top), where he’s cradling the leg and torso of Amanda Schull (who plays Liz), while studying her with eyes that seem to yearn for more than just perfect point technique. Who wouldn’t want a “private lesson” with him? Chi Cao shows incredible sex appeal, even playing a newcomer to the US who stumbles through his first steps into the world of dating and sex, and shines in some stunning dance sequences that will also have your heart racing. Humana, humana.
2. Jason Scott Lee in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
Who says kungfu masters can’t be sexy too? In this fictionalized biopic of one of the greatest martial artists in history, Jason Scott Lee, who plays Bruce Lee, also turns on the passion in this film. That sex scene with Lauren Holly as Linda Lee feels as sweet as it is sultry, the kind of lovemaking we can only hope to enjoy that first time in bed with someone new. And who can resist Jason’s ripped chest, particularly after watching Lauren run her hands across his torso while staring at him with such hungry eyes? Of course, there’s much more to this movie than their relationship, but the sex — and sex appeal of Jason Scott Lee — definitely satisfies.
1. Tony Leung Ka Fai in The Lover
My pulse quickens just thinking about Tony Leung in this movie, based on the book by Marguerite Duras. He may not be the hottest looking guy on this list, but he pulls off some of the most orgasmic sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie, let alone a movie featuring a Chinese man and Western woman together. Let’s put it this way — you’ll probably have to pause the movie every time they visit his “bachelor pad” to reach for one of the following: your partner, a cold shower, or a vibrator.
What do you think? Are there some sexy Chinese men in the movies that I missed on this list? Would you rank them differently?