A Rising Star
Anyone who knows Jon Foo can agree to the idea that he was indeed born to be a martial artist. Jonathan Patrick Foo, currently residing in Los Angeles, was born on October 30, 1982 in London. His mother is Irish from England and his father is Chinese from Singapore. So you might say he is ‘Eurasian’.
He has a younger sister and two elder half-sisters from his father side. What’s interesting about his parents is that both of them practiced martial arts – judo and karate, respectively. Now we all know how Jon got into martial arts in the first place. It is said that if one wants to become an expert in something, he or she must spend 10,000 hours in learning and practicing it. Watching Jon do those mesmerizing circular fighting moves in hs films would tell us that he didn’t just start a month ago learning the art to effectively give us some good action.
Indeed, his life has prepared him for it. He already had experience in martial arts when he was just eight years old. At 15 years old he started serious training in Wushu. At the same time, he joined the circus and performed as a martial artist and acrobat. He worked in many different shows, incorporating what he does best. Safe to say that almost everything he did involved a lot of flying kicks and breathtaking acrobatics.
Aside from being a good martial artist at a young age, Jon wouldn’t be where he is now if it wasn’t for a major decision he made – to quit school. Yes he gave it up in his early twenties when he decided he was going to be a stuntman. Jon obviously knows what he wants, what he is. And he really loves what he does. We can learn a thing from him in this instance – one would have to be very clear and confident with his or her vision in life to be prudent and successful, even though some of decisions may seem very foolish or risky to others. But of course, most people would probably do the same if they were in the position of Jon – being invited to be part of the Jackie Chan stunt team.
This was the start of his career in the film industry, though being a stuntman doesn’t really get attention. But here, he was able to hone his skills even more and work with the best people in the field, such as Yuen Woo Ping who is a world renowned action choreographer. Some of the movies he was less known to be a part of as a stunt performer were Batman Begins (2005), House of Fury (2005), and The Myth (2005).
He went to Thailand to play a role in “The Protector” where the lead was Tony Jaa, a great martial artist and actor himself. Jon also signed a three-year contract with the film company there, “Baa Ram Ewe.” In 2008, he was called to audition for the movie “Tekken” where he got his first lead role, Jin Kazama. With just a look at his build, one would think that he was really destined to be the real life Jin.
In one of his interviews, he said that the most challenging thing he had to do during their three-month shoot was to watch what he eats and get enough sleep – and do them in just the right time of the day – to be able to give his best performance for the fight scene
The year 2010 can be considered as Jon’s year in terms of career. Alongside “Tekken,” Capcom’s “Street Fighter Legacy” came out as well where he played a major role as Ryu. He was definitely the best fit for the said characters. Just look at the pictures! What is note-worthy about this is that he doesn’t even give some serious time at the gym nor plan a strict diet to prepare for the screen tests or maintain his build. He was also in the movie “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” (2010) where he had the opportunity to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren.
He took part as a first generation soldier who died in the early part of the film. Within the same year, he started shooting a Thai movie where he was the lead actor entitled “Bangkok Revenge”, also known as “Rebirth.” It was released in 2012. Jon’s career so far has been full of adventures. He performed here and there, travelled to one country after another. And he appears to be just enjoying every moment of it – probably influenced by the fact that his family frequently moved around London, seemingly not bothered much by the challenges that may come their way as a consequence of resettling.
Luck was with him when he started getting bigger roles one by one, and he is very grateful for the opportunities given to him. In one of his interviews during his visit to the Philippines for the promotion of “Tekken,” he said that he does enjoy acting.
He also added that he has “always been fascinated by art and creativity.” We can see that he is happy he found a place where he can practice both at the same time. There’s no doubt that he has come a long way, but there’s still a lot to prove to his fans and critics as well as an actor. Anybody who’s seen him in movies can agree that he does make impressive fighting scenes. He can manage to go well alongside Tony Jaa or maybe even Jackie Chan as martial artist.
However, his films and performance as an actor doesn’t receive much positive reviews as it does get negative comments. People have been a little disappointed with a number of his movies, some saying that he is far from being as good as Tony Jaa. In his movie “Rebirth” one made a review stating that “Given that his character is expressionless and bereft of emotions, Foo has no trouble looking blank.” In his defence he excels in action scenes given that he has trained for years and years in martial arts but his experience as an actor is not quite as lengthy but he does have the ‘movie star looks’ that will earn him a big fan base with the female audience!
On a candid note, his real challenge is to improve his acting skills, put some attitude while fighting. His movies could gain more applause if he puts a little more effort in internalizing his character. In another interview also in the Philippines, on the topic of the movie Rebirth, he hinted that he wasn’t much thrilled about the plot saying that it is “interesting which is kind of ridiculous.” He even mentioned the word “nonsense.” There are instances in a films plot can be really lame, even for the actors in it. But part of an actor’s job is to do his best in portraying his role effectively – no matter how much he or she dislikes the story.
After all, acting is a profession and you gotta do what you gotta do. Last but not the least – and probably the more relevant issue Jon must focus on – is that he needs to express a little bit more of himself in his movies. Now that would come off as a difficult thing to do, considering that actors should think like the characters they are playing. But the really successful actors do it. To “express yourself” in this context means to do the character, and to do it in your own way. It is similar to putting your signature in your masterpiece, so as not to be labelled for having a “blank” product. For instance, Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield were both successful as Spiderman, but they have different styles or approach to the role. Also, he needs to put some attitude in his fight moves – his own style.
But of course we can’t blame it all on him – not his fault that some stories come close to being upsetting or even embarrassing. Maybe he has yet to get the right project for him. Not to be mistaken, Jon is one great martial artist and he looks good on screen. People can also see that he takes his job seriously. But if he really wants to continue making it big in the industry, he has to show more of himself. Don’t be shy, Jon. The girls loved you already since the day they first saw you on screen, and they will always do. So show em all what you got.
Date Of Birth: 30 october 1982 Real name: Jonathan Patrick Foo Height: 5′ 9¾” (1.77 m) Weight: 180 lb (82 kg)