Yang Sze (Yang Tse) was born
to a local businessman and his wife in the suburbs
of Canton in mainland China. As a young man in Canton, Bolo studied
under many kung fu masters and also learnt acrobatics and
started weight training. He eventually became a
mainland China power-lifting champion. In the 60`s, to escape
Communism and seek a new life and new opportunities,
the young Yang Sze swam from China to Hong Kong!
He then began teaching body-building. He has never
said whether he started body-building because someone
had once kicked sand in his face!
At this time he came to the attention of Sir Run Run Shaw`s 'Shaw
Brothers' organisation and he got several film roles playing burly,
muscular villains, usually foreigners. Of course the bigger he got
'physically' the bigger the roles he was given and the more monstrous
his on-screen persona became. Whilst at Shaw Brothers he continued
to develop his martial arts skills. He continued to build himself up
and in 1970 he won the title of 'Mr. Hong Kong'. He left Shaws in 1971.
In 1973 he was chosen by Bruce Lee to play 'Bolo', the top fighter
of drug baron Master Han (Shih Kien) in the kung-fu classic, ENTER
THE DRAGON. He was pleased to have won this role having once worked
with Bruce on a Winston cigarettes TV advert (!) and found it a positive
experience. Indeed they had become friends who would sometimes get
together to train or discuss kung fu. Bolo was saddened that he had
not been used in a screen battle with Bruce, but it was never planned
that he should. The absence of this fight is, to many, this film's
only disappointment. Bruce reassured Bolo that he would be sure to
kill him in his next film (!) which was to be GAME OF DEATH. Unfortunately,
ten days after that promise was made, before post-production on ENTER
THE DRAGON was even finished, Bruce Lee died. Bolo was wrongly described
in the film's blurb as being the South-East Asian Shotokan Karate champion.
In fact his skills were actually far more advanced than any 'single
discipline' black belt would be expected to be. Yet he humbly says
he felt that in terms of kung-fu he couldn`t compare with Bruce Lee.
He starred in hundreds of kung-fu films through the
70`s and 80`s in which he developed his trademark
'not looking' style and was regularly 'killed' by the likes of Bruce
Le (Huang Kin Lung). His big break didn't come until he co-starred
as Chong Li in BLOODSPORT. To many people, Bolo was the 'real' star
of this film and several others, including DOUBLE IMPACT and TIGER
CLAWS. He was inevitably cast as an invincible monster of almost supernatural
prowess, who dwarfed such contenders as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce
Le in climactic David-vs-Goliath duels which he had to lose because
THEY were the heroes! (Pathetic, huh?) For LEGACY OF RAGE he had to
spend several weeks training Brandon Lee so the young star would appear
to be a worthy opponent. Bolo regularly booked the gym for 9.am sessions
to tie in with his own regime, but often Brandon wouldn`t turn up until
12! Brandon explained that he had been out dancing till the early hours
and was only training, 'under protest', because the producers insisted.
In SHOOTFIGHTER: FIGHT TO THE DEATH and SHOOTFIGHTER 2: KILL OR BE
KILLED, Bolo got a rare chance to be the good guy. Of course in real
life that's what he is! He is devoted father to his two sons, one of
whom, David has been in some movies too! I believe he also has a daughter.
He is the Team Manager of 'The Tapei International Federation Of Body
Builders' squad. He is Chairman of 'The Hong Kong Gym Business Association'.
Bolo begins his day with two hours of weight training, followed by
forms, usually Yang style Tai Chi. He admits that
his 'dream project' is to make a sequel to ENTER
THE DRAGON . . . with of course himself as the hero!