Yen grew up in Boston and studied martial arts at a young age like his mother Bow-sim Mark, a renowned martial artist. He began his film career in 1984 starring in “Drunken Tai Chi”, directed by Yuen Woo-ping. He then went on to star in a number of TV series and made his directorial debut “Legend of the Wolf” (1997).
He returned to the U.S. and began taking up action choreography for Hollywood features including “Highlander: Endgame” (2000) and “Blade II” (2002). Yen co-starred in action films with Jet Li and Jackie Chan and continued to play the leading role in many martial arts and action films including Tsui Hark’s “Seven Swords” (2005) and crime thriller “SPL: Sha Po Lang” (2005) directed by Wilson Yip. His action choreography for “Flash Point” (2007) won him the best action choreography at the Golden Horse Film Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards.
In 2008, Yen starred in “Ip Man”, the biopic of Yip Man, who was the Wing Chun master for Bruce Lee. In 2014, Yen was named Asian Outstanding Actor at the 8th Asian Film Awards. He teamed up with Yuen again and played the lead in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” (2016), which was released on Netflix worldwide. Yen is one of the ensemble cast of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016).