Glamorous actress Charlie Yeung (her name occasionally anglicized as Charlie Young) checked in as one of Hong Kong's most bankable and iconic female stars during the 1990s and 2000s, which led to a string of leads in Asian productions; as such, she demonstrated great versatility, deftly handling both action-oriented material and more sensitive, often romantically tinged dramas with equal aplomb. Yeung received one of her earliest roles in 1994, when cast as a young girl in Wong Kar-Wai's hypnotic martial arts epic Ashes of Time. Given Wong's reputation, it marked a prestigious beginning; Yeung re-teamed with the great director, and ascended to higher billing, with her supporting role as an ex-convict's emotionally troubled girlfriend in the 1995 Fallen Angels. A portrayal of a WWII-era lesbian in Jacob C.L. Cheung's 1997 Chi So evinced Yeung's courage and challenged those who dared to typecast her, but following a lead in the 1998 action comedy/crime thriller Task Force, Yeung temporarily withdrew from the spotlight, retiring from the screen for several years to pursue a career in image consulting along with her then-boyfriend.
She stepped back in front of the camera in 2004, as the female lead of Jackie Chan in the action thriller New Police Story, then signed for additional leads in Seven Swords (2005), After This Our Exile (2006), and Bangkok Dangerous (2008). The latter, which enlisted her as the romantic lead of Nicolas Cage, represented Yeung's premier Hollywood bow.