When you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup, when you pour it into vase, it becomes the vase. Now water can either creep, flow, drip or crash, so in life one strives to be water. Robin's essence has been shaped by immigrating to America, growing up in California working at his family's Chinese restaurant, speaking with a funny accent until mastering English, was a fan of Chinese martial arts films and was inspired by Bruce Lee to practice martial arts, then pursue martial arts into competition and finally in film. Peculiarly, Robin was living the Chinese stereotype. But as he proudly points out, martial arts is an important part of not only his life but also in Chinese culture and history and it is these things that have made him the man he is today. So things are often not what they seem.
Robin graduated from California State University with a degree in Electrical Computer Engineering. A year into his career, he was restless...and bored. Convinced he needed a different career, Robin traveled to Hong Kong for a long vacation and to think. This vacation lead Robin to a major career change, as he stumbled into film. Due to his physique and stature, he was asked if he'd be interested in appearing in a kung-fu film. Armed with martial arts and the iconic shadow of Bruce Lee, Robin decided to give it a shot. It didn't require too many takes for the martial arts film industry to realize a new kung-fu star was born.
After appearing in over 20 Hong Kong films, Robin started becoming despondent with the repetitive cookie cutter nature of Hong Kong movies and the characters he was portraying. He returned to America with plans to start an imports business, but, with the egging on of a friend, decided to audition for the role of Liu Kang in a new film called, "Mortal Kombat." It was after this film that Robin became known to American audiences. This led to a starring role in “Beverly Hills Ninja” portraying the late Chris Farley’s adopted brother, and then reprising his Liu Kang character in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
However, Robin's growth as an actor and a martial artist seemed to be waning. He'd question the Asian-American stereotypical roles he would audition for, and chose cultural pride and dignity over the mighty buck. Yet there was still something deeper missing in his psyche, something that took him several years to realize and come to grips with. The death of his mother hit Robin hard, and, as with any traumatic experience, soul searching took time. Critics say that his career suffered, but it was during this introspective growth period that the renewed Robin realized that any film he got involved in must be about passion, something that was lost but had now returned with the same fire that made him a successful martial artist.
As with any path, it's not that you reach the top of mountain that is important but the pursuit of climbing the path and knowing there is more than one path up. Robin's career has had many paths, paths that have changed, crossed, even dead ends, but as he strives forward to climb the next path, perhaps his road can inspire others to become like water and find their own flow. His next challenge was producing and directing.