In the late '80s, Yam moved into feature films, playing so many gangster roles that he acquired the nickname "The Robert De Niro of Hong Kong." One of his most important early films was John Woo's Vietnam epic A Bullet in the Head (1991), which catapulted Yam to the A-list of Hong Kong actors. Yam teamed with Jet Li in Hitman and scored big successes with Full Contact and Dr. Lamb.
The extremely prolific actor works nonstop in movies and TV and is known for his charitable contributions. Among his 120-plus films is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, a rare Hollywood appearance.