Sammo Hung (Traditional Chinese: 洪金寶;
Simplified Chinese: 洪金宝; pinyin: H�ng Jīnbǎo; Cantonese: Hung4 Gam1
Bou2) (born January 7, 1952) is a Chinese actor, producer and director
known for his work in many Kung fu films and Hong Kong action cinema. He
has choreographed fight scenes for Bruce Lee,
Jackie Chan, King Hu, Stephen Chow,
John Woo, amongst others.
Hung was among the pivotal figures who, spearheading the Hong Kong New
Born Hong Jin-bao in Hong Kong, both of
his parents worked in the local film industry and guardianship was
thrust upon his grandparents.
Hung joined the Master Yu Jim Yuen Opera Academy in 1959, after his
grandparents heard about the school from their friends. Hung, who was
known as Yuen Lung in the Seven Little Fortunes (七小福) performing group,
would establish a school rivalry with one of the younger students, Yuen
Lo. Yuen Lo would go on to become none other than international
superstar Jackie Chan. Hung left the Academy after an injury left him
bedridden for an extended time, during which his weight ballooned. After
finding work in the film industry as a stuntman, he was given a nickname
after a well-known Chinese cartoon character, Sam-mo (三毛; Three Hairs).
In 1988, Hung starred in Alex Law's Painted Faces, a dramatic retelling
of his experiences at the Peking Opera School. Among the exercises
featured in the movie are numerous acrobatic backflips, and hours of
handstands performed against a wall. Despite some of the more brutal
exercises and physical punishments shown in Painted Faces, Hung and the
rest of the Seven Little Fortunes consider the movie a toned-down
version of their own experiences.
Hung appeared in several children's
movies in the 1960s, but it was not until the 1970s that his career
began in earnest. Hung began working for Raymond Chow and the Golden
Harvest company and was initially hired to choreograph The Fast Sword
(1970). Hung's popularity soon began to increase, and due to the quality
of his choreography and disciplined approach to his work, he caught the
eye of celebrated Taiwanese director King Hu. Hung choreographed two of
Hu's movies: A Touch Of Zen (1971) and The Fate Of Lee Khan (1973).
Also 1973, he was seen in the ultimate Bruce Lee classic, Enter the
Dragon. Hung was the Shaolin student Bruce faces in the opening
In 1977, Hung made his directorial debut with The Iron Fisted Monk.
After Jackie Chan's success with Drunken Master (1978), Hung was
scheduled to make a similar movie featuring Yuen Siu Tien (aka Simon
Yuen) from Drunken Master. As Jackie's elder, Sammo was supposed to be
able to surpass him in popularity. The movie was called Magnificent
Butcher (1979) and during filming Yuen Siu Tien died of a heart attack.
He was replaced by Hoi San Lee and it is likely that his absence is what
led to the low ticket sales.
Toward the late 1970s, Hong Kong cinema
began to shift away from the Mandarin-language, epic martial arts movies
popularized by directors such as Chang Cheh. In a series of movies,
Hung, along with Jackie Chan, began reinterpreting the genre by making
Cantonese comedy Kung Fu. While these movies still strongly featured
Kung Fu, they also feature a liberal mixture of humour.
As Hung's star began to rise, he used his newly-found influence to
assist his former Opera classmates. Aside from regular collaborations
with Chan, others such as Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah also began to make
appearances in his films.
In 1978 and 1981, Hung made two movies that are considered to contain
the best examples of wing chun. The first, Warriors Two was the biggest
role for Korean superkicker Casanova Wong, who teams with Hung in the
The second film, The Prodigal Son, shot fellow Opera schoolmate
Yuen Biao to stardom. It also featured
what is considered to be some of the best wing chun caught on film,
performed by Lam Ching-Ying.
Hung's martial arts movies of the 1980s helped reconfigure how martial
arts were presented on screen. While the martial arts movies of the
1970s generally featured highly-stylized fighting sequences in fantasy
settings, Hung's choreography, set in urban areas, was more realistic
and frenetic - featuring long one-on-one fight scenes. The fight
sequences from several of these movies, such as Winners And Sinners
(1982) and Wheels On Meals (1985) came to define 1980s martial arts
In 1983, the collaboration between Hung, Jackie Chan, and Yuen Biao
began with Jackie Chan's Project A. Hung, Chan and Yuen were known as
the 'Three Dragons'. Their alliance lasted 5 years, with Dragons Forever
being their final film to date.
Hung also created the hopping vampire genre with two landmark movies -
Close Encounters Of The Spooky Kind (1981) and The Dead And The Deadly
(1983). Both movies feature vampires who, as stiffened corpses, move by
hopping, and Taoist priests who are able to quell these vampires (and at
times, each other) through magical spells and charms. These films meld
Chinese folk beliefs with special effects and breathtaking kung fu to
create a genre that is uniquely Chinese. Hung's movie would later pave
the way for movies such as the highly popular Mr. Vampire (1985).
In the mid-1980s Hung started Bo Ho, a film company that operated under
Golden Harvest. The movies made by Bo Ho include the aforementioned Mr.
Vampire (1985), and also On The Run (1989).
Hung was also part of the popular Lucky Stars, a group who made a series
of comedy kung fu movies.
In the late 1990s, Hung starred in an
American television series by CBS called Martial Law (1998�2000), with
Arsenio Hall as his costar. Reportedly he recited his English dialogue
Hung is one of the celebrities honoured
on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars.
Hung is known for his distinctive (large) frame. Despite this, he is a
surprisingly agile and formidable martial artist.
He had two daughters and two sons, Jimmy, Kimmy (some site Sammy),
Timmy, and Stephanie, with Jo Yuen Ok whom he grew up with in martial
arts training school. He later divorced Ok to marry actress Joyce
Godenzi Timmy Hung also works as an actor with TVB and appeared in the
film Osaka Wrestling Restaurant.
He is a grandchild of archetypal martial-arts actress Zhi-Gong Chen.
Sammo Hung Videos
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Sammo Hung web site.