Michael Wong's success in the Hong Kong film industry as an outsider--from America, no less--is owed to his fantastic screen presence, his talent, and his good looks. Raised in Troy, New York, Wong took off for Hong Kong to make it as a movie star with no acting training, not speaking Cantonese, and knowing no one in the near-impenetrable industry there. He found a way into the biz through bit parts in kung fu films throughout the late 1980s, such as the Brandon Lee movie "Long zai jiang hu", but Wong truly established himself as a tough presence playing the third lead in Woo-ping Yuen's '89 detective movie, "In the Line of Duty 4". With a reputation in Hong Kong at last established, he began to work alongside some of the industry's major stars, including Jackie Chan in the 1995 speed-racing flick "Thunderbolt" and with the acclaimed director Gordon Chan on "Yeshou xingjing", a brutal 1998 police morality play; the latter won Best Picture that year at the Hong Kong film awards. Wong's stock rose steadily throughout the 2000s as he worked within the wildly popular police and kung fu genres, on such films as the secret-agent thriller "House of Fury" and the police-surveillance drama "Overheard".