Robin Shou (Chinese: 仇雲波, born July 17, 1960
in Hong Kong), is most known for his portrayal of Liu Kang in the
blockbuster movie Mortal Kombat.
Robin Shou was the fourth son of a
Shanghai tailor and a homemaker. His family moved to the United States
in 1971. Their first home in Los Angeles was a 2-bedroom apartment near
Olympic and Vermont, now known as Koreatown.
Shou did not start attending martial arts
classes until he was 19. He took Kenpo (Karate) while attending
California State University. He soon realized that Karate did nothing
for him so he decided to quit. A year and a half later, he saw a
demonstration by a group of Wu Shu practitioners from Beijing. He said,
"This is Chinese!" He was so inspired to train in this discipline that
in 1981, just before starting his senior year at California State
University, he sold his car and used the money to spend a quarter
studying Wu Shu in China. His parents did not know his true whereabouts
until his aunt wrote Robin's mother telling her that her son was in
Shou returned to California State
University and obtained his B.S. in civil engineering. He spent a year
and a half in this field and he was convinced he needed a different
career. He found computer and electronics boring. He was always trying
to follow the ideal; finishing school, getting a job, getting married…
He was unhappy and the only thing that kept him going was martial arts.
He soon took off to Hong Kong, planning
to vacation and think. Soon after his arrival, however, he was offered a
chance to appear in a movie as a stuntman. He was offered job after job,
and for his first two years in Hong Kong, he played bit parts in action
films. He lived in a little Kowloon rooftop apartment for $250 a month.
When Shou is not making films he takes
ceramic classes, paints, welds and does woodworking. He likes to do
anything that involves working with his hands.
Shou's first real dramatic role was in
Forbidden Nights in 1990, where he played opposite Melissa Gilbert.
Though only a TV film, this was his first American debut and surely a
catapult for Hollywood. However, Shou went back to Hong Kong and
continued making movies there. By this time, he was more choosy about
the roles he would play. He wanted other roles besides that of a
bodyguard or a stuntman. He began turning down roles and after nine
years he was bored and ready to quit acting.
In 1994, Shou returned to Los Angeles to
start an import/export business. Then he got the call from his agent,
ranting about a perfect role for him in a movie called Mortal Kombat.
Robin was uninterested, assuming he would be playing a villain who gets
killed in the end. His agent begged him to audition. He did, along with
other top contenders; Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story),
Russell Wong (The Joy Luck Club), and Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street).
Seven auditions later, he was Mortal Kombat's Liu Kang.
The role of Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat was
a unique one for Robin. This movie was uncommon at the time in that the
hero and villain were both Asian.
Shou will also appear in a supporting
role in another fighting video game adaptation, DOA: Dead or Alive,
based on the Dead or Alive series.
Although primarily a Martial arts actor,
he ironically had Tony Jaa the new
Martial arts superstar as his stuntman on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
Robin Shou Official Website