Pai Ying/Pak Ying/Bai Ying
This veteran martial art actor is noteworthy
for both being one of King Hu’s great regulars and also for being the bane
of three successive generations of kung-fu/action female heroines over
four successive decades.
His debut was in Dragon Inn by King Hu back
in 1967 where he played the white-haired evil eunuch and in which he got
to cross swords with Polly Shang Kwan Ling Fong. Other King Hu films
include Touch of Zen (as the faithful general), The Fate of Lee Khan (one
of the conspirators) and The Valiant Ones (the swordsman Wind). Besides
working with Hu, he was a regular in the kung fu films of the period where
his distinct, smug, cool and vaguely menacing look made him into a perfect
Some of these were Invincible Eight, Bandits from
Shantung, The Roaring Lions, Thunderbolts etc. He also crossed fists with
Angela Mao on a couple of occasions: Angry Rivers and Lady Whirlwind. His
career appears to have slowed down somewhat in the eighties and nineties
when the kung fu period came to an end but he still made some great appearances
on occasion to further torment women fighters. The brutal fight in the
shack that he wages with Michelle Yeoh in Royal Warriors (1986) ensures
that Pai Ying’s presence and visage (and ever present mole on his left
chin) will be recognized even by those who have never seen any of his 1970s
filmography. Then one decade later he took on Yukari Oshima in Vengence
is Mine and then in 1998 he made a rare appearance as a good guy in Golden
Nightmare with Yukari and Annie Wu.
(Write-up and information provided from Yves
James Chang sends in this interesting tidbit:
Pai Ying is now running a chain of restaurants
in Taiwan. Pai Ying, Hsu Feng (his co-star in a number of the King Hu films)
and John Woo have been given the responsibility by the King Hu estate to
negotiate the selling of the copyrights of King Hu's films for release
This fellow has done a little bit of everything
– as director (Final Justice - the 1988 one, Unmatchable Match and Red
Shield), as planner (Legend of the Dragon, Dr. Lamb and New Tenant), as
writer (Oh, My Cops, Thank You Sir and Unmatchable Match) and as an occasional
actor in films.
Some of his film roles were in The Law Enforcer,
Vampires Breakfast, Lung Fung’s Restaurant, Organized Crime and Triad Bureau
(As Danny Lee’s intimidating, “take no prisoners” right hand man), Return
to a Better Tomorrow (the cop), Shoot to Kill, Twist, and Man Wanted.
Pat Ha Man-jik
Watch Pat Ha in On the Run and you will be
a fan for life. Her performance as the stylish, very efficient and yet
not totally ruthless professional killer is mesmerizing – one of the more
memorable characters in HK film. In a sense though this seems to have been
the highlight in a fairly short career – 1982 until her retirement in 1989.
I would not classify her as a beautiful woman
– but she has an interesting almost enigmatic face that is quite appealing
– and she is a fine actress. Her debut was in “new wave” director Patrick
Tam’s Nomad (a Category IIIer whose violence and nudity were considered
shocking back in 1982), and over the next eight years she was in a number
of good though not great films. Though she is best known now for her action
role in On the Run – the vast majority of her roles were strictly dramatic.
Some of her films were the controversial An Amorous
Woman of Tang Dynasty (another classic “new wave” film -- this time, directed
by Eddie Fong -- given a Category III rating), Winners and Sinners (as
the bad guy’s daughter), Flaming Brothers (as Chow Yun Fat’s love), Night
Caller (as the female cop), Sister Cupid (as Jacky Cheung’s girlfriend),
Carry on Hotel (as one of the two female psychos), Woman Prison, Vengeance
is Mine (a women’s rape revenge movie which also -- unlikely as it may
seem -- stars Rosamund Kwan and Derek Yee), and I am Sorry. She was quite
a daring risk-taker being one of the rare mainstream actresses willing
to shed her clothes for the sake of art – a move that could have easily
damaged her career when she did this in the art film - An Amorous Woman
of the Tang Dynasty in 1984.
Here is some addition information on Pat Ha
from a post on Mobius written by Christopher Fu
Born in Hong Kong, Pat Ha Man-Jik worked as
a factory worker before becoming an actress. Married (since 1989) with
three daughters, she currently lives in Los Angeles and owns a massage
Prior to her retirement in 1989, Pat Ha's filmography
consists of 27 films (24 HK, 3 Taiwan) and one Taiwanese TV series.
Pat came out of retirement in 1996 for the
Taiwanese TV version of NEW DRAGON INN. Since then she has starred in a
total of 3 Taiwanese TV series and a mainland TV series.
On a personal note, Pat Ha's supporting role
as Huang Rong in a Taiwanese TV version of Louis Cha's wuxia epic SHENDIAO
XIAOLU (starring Richie Ren and Wu Chen-Lien) is one of the few redeeming
features of this disappointing 1998 TV series. (Pat Ha is an avid fan of
Louis Cha novels.)
According to a Pat Ha interview with Ming Pao
last year, Stanley Kwan asked her to act in movies again. Her reply is
she would consider if the script is suitable.
Pat Ha's Nominations (HKFA):
Best Newcomer for role in NOMAD (1982)
Note: Another 'newcomer', Cecilia Yap was
also nominated for her role in NOMAD, but Season Ma won that year (BOAT
Best Actress for role in MY NAME AIN'T SUZIE
(1985) [lost to Pauline Wong]
Patrick Tam Yiu-man
Not to be confused with the director of The
Sword, Nomad, Love Massacre and My Heart is an Eternal Rose with the same
Western name and surname. This other Patrick Tam is one of the new
generation of actors who has impressed me with his ability and willingness
to do a wide breadth of roles, and apparent disinclination to just fall
back on his good looks.
Some of his interesting roles have been as:
An absolutely nasty character in Beast Cops (in 1998); Ekin Cheng’s stuttering
mechanic friend in The Legend of Speed; the suave and amusing photographer
of My Loving Trouble 7; the duplicitous villain of Century of the Dragon;
and the Everynerd looking poisoner in Comeuppance (in 2000).
Patrick Tse Yin
Born in 1936
During the 1950’s and 1960’s Patrick was one
of the most popular leading men in Cantonese film in HK. His matinee looks
and sharp profile made him a star in many dramas and romances over much
of these two decades. He began his acting career in 1954 with Taps Off
and became a star with Dial 999 for Murder later that year. He came to
be known as the “Movie Prince”.
Two films that he was in that I would love to
catch are Black Rose in 1965 ( which 92 Legendary La Rose Noire was a homage
to) and Story of a Discharged Prisoner (which John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow
was based on) in 1967. After appearing in over 100 films in these decades
– many considered Cantonese classics – Tse’s film output began slowing
down in the 1970’s.
He was in a smattering of films in the 1970’s
(The Blade Spares None, The Comet Strikes and The Hurricane among them)
– and has continued working sporadically into the present. He was in the
Cinema City film Life After Life in 1982 (the boss), Flaming Brothers (the
main villain) in 1987, Rouge (1988), Kawashima Yoshiko (1990) and The Accident
in 1999 (the airline pilot). He married Chen Chen, a well-known Taiwanese
actress in 1974, but divorced her in 1978 and soon thereafter married another
actress, Deborah Li - this marriage ended in 1996. To a new generation
of HK movie goers though, he is probably now better known as the father
of actor and idol Nicholas Tse (mother - Deborah Li). His role as the evil
soccer coach in the huge hit Shaolin Soccer (2001) might change that though.
Paul Chu Kong
The classic film The Killer is full of wonderful
melodramatic performances – but certainly one of the most unforgettable
is given by the actor who portrays Sidney – the friend of Chow Yun Fat
who has to betray him and then later sacrifices his life for him. His courageous
beating at the hands of Shing Fui On is one of the most poignant moments
of the film.
It is Paul Chu Kong who plays Sidney – and during
his long career he made a number of very different type of films. He began
acting in films in 1960 – appearing in that decade in films such as The
Elevator Murder Case, Mother and Son, Girl Spy 001, Doomed Love – and made
the transition to some degree to the kung fu films of the 70’s – The Legendary
Strike in which he teams up with Angela Mao and The 18 Jade Arhats with
Polly Shang Kwan.
He didn’t make that many films over the next
two decades – but a few others besides The Killer are quite good – The
Big Heat (in which he played the bad guy), Once a Thief (as the main trio’s
police friend), The Raid and Fong Sai Yuk (Fong Sai Yuk's stern father)
Paul Chun Pui
This man of many roles has been one of the
great supporting actors in HK films over the past three decades. He has
been in more films than most people even see in their lifetime – playing
every kind of character imaginable. His brother is actor/director Derek
Yee and his half brother is David Chiang – and so with this theatrical
bent in his blood he began acting back in the 1960s – first appearing in
the Steve McQueen film The Sand Pebbles (1966). In the seventies he appeared
in such films as Pursuit, Iron Fisted Monks and The Water Margin.
He never achieved leading man status like his
brothers did – but he certainly has never suffered for lack of work.
Although highly versatile, in the course of his career he specialized in
two particular types - the rotten, nasty heavy (ironic considering his
short stature and less than imposing physique) and as a pompous, buffoonish
police authority figure.
Some of his nastier roles were in Double Fattiness,
Wild Search, All for the Winner, The Adventurers, Young and Dangerous V,
Best of the Best and Executioners (the downbeat sequel to The Heroic Trio).
But he was almost unrecognizable as the Diva-ish Peking opera performer,
Fa, in Peking Opera Blues, and also played the bumbling police captain
in The Heroic Trio (N.B. This was not a role he reprised in Executioners),
Hsu Chi’s Sugar Daddy in Viva Erotica!, Cynthia Khan’s uncle -- and reluctant
boss -- in In the Line of Duty III, the police captain in I Love Maria,
and so many others. Often he shows up in a film for little more than a
cameo and other times he has an extensive part – but he seems to be the
consummate professional and always does a fine job. He received a HKFA
Best Supporting Performer nomination for Peking Opera Blues in 1986 and
then was honored in that category for C’est La Vie Mon Cherie -- a surprise
blockbuster and critical hit directed by his brother Derek -- in 1993.
Born in the USA
Movie critic, TV host for a movie cable show,
film historian and movie memorabilia collector, Paul Fonoroff has become
a well-established fixture in Hong Kong since moving there from the United
States. His fluency in both Mandarin and Cantonese has helped him achieve
this status and also to get bit parts from time to time in Hong Kong films.
Fonoroff also has obtained his PhD at Beijing University.
Paul Fonoroff is the man Western fans love
to hate to a large degree. Not for what he does in front of the camera
but for what he does behind it as a movie critic for the South-China Morning
Post. His reviews tend to be overwhelmingly negative to such an extent
that one wonders why he bothers with Hong Kong produced cinema at all.
His pet peeves are inept scripting, shabby productions and what he sees
as an unethical standard of morality specifically homophobic humor, police
brutality, the glorification of the triads and . . . cigarette smoking.
What seems to most infuriate and bewilder his western detractors though
is the frequent sneering pettiness of his comments, his cheap wit and the
astonishing ability he seems to have to totally miss the magic of a movie.
Fonoroff’s list of victims are The Killer, Heroic Trio, Naked Killer and
nearly everything ever done by "artsy poseur" Wong Kar Wai. His listing
of films that he enjoyed could be counted on the fingers on his hands -
some Gordon Chan films, All For the Winner, Queen of Temple Street, The
Yuppie Fantasia, Tri-Star and Once Upon a Time in China II.
Yet the fact remains that Paul Fonoroff has a
solid background in film studies, speaks the local language as well as
the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan, is well in tune with
the culture and mentality of the place and discovered Hong Kong cinema
long before most Westerners were exposed to it. He appears to be a well
liked and respected personality by both the populace in general and the
movie people themselves as shown by his TV show and his continuing cameos
in movies through the years.
Fonoroff has published two books. One is At the
Movies - a collection of his movie reviews done at The South China Morning
Post from 1988 to 1997, while the second Silver Light is an illustrated
deluxe book displaying his own vast collection of movie memorabilia of
pre 1970 Hong Kong cinema. These early films are clearly where Fonoroff’s
true heart lies.
His best-known parts are as the ill-fated English
diplomatic attaché in Once Upon a Time in China II and as the security
superintendent cameo in Gordon Chan's police action classic The Final Option.
For the most part though, Fonoroff usually plays the typical gwailo stooge
with an innate tendency for goofiness and self derisive humor in over a
dozen productions through the years: including Once Upon a Time a Hero
in China, Fight Back to School II, Lawyer Lawyer, Alan and Eric: Between
Hello and Goodbye, Inspector Wears Skirts IV, Summer Lover and What a Wonderful
(Written up by Yves Gendron)
Pauline Chan Bo-lin
Born in Shanghai in 1975
Her very trashy and yet still alluring looks
combined with a willingness to show her unclad body and perform simulated
sex made Pauline one of the leading Cat III actresses of the 1990’s.
She had been in the news quite often for a number of instances of erratic
behavior - causing a ruckus in bars, planes and hotel rooms – and
leading people to wonder whether she has gone a bit nuts. In a press release,
she had blamed her mother for pushing her into Cat III films and the negative
impact it has had on her life. Sadly she committed suicide in July 2002
by jumping to her death from the 17th floor of her apartment and leaving
her 3 week old son behind.
After being in the Miss Asia contest, Pauline
was signed by ATV to host a mahjongg game on TV – even though she had no
idea how to play. The show was popular enough for her to jump into films
in 1991 with Queen of the Underworld (which co-starred Amy Yip). Within
a few years she had made her mark in Cat III films with sexy roles in Behind
the Pink Door, Girls from China, Escape from Brothel, Erotic Ghost Story
III and Whores from the North.
She did manage a few mainstream films – though
often in outlandish roles – such as the S&M prostitute in the 1992
Girls Without Tomorrow (her part in it is most definitely what earned it
a Category III rating), Flying Daggers and the bra wearing - but shirtless
- killer in From Beijing with Love. Even with her recent troubles she is
still making a few Hong Kong films – a number of film personalities offered
to help her out – and she was in Paramount Hotel in 2000.
Pauline Wong Siu-fung
Born in 1962
Pauline Wong is easily one of the best and
yet most unrecognized actresses in Hong Kong. With a face that is more
interesting than beautiful she can still be devilishly sexy if the role
calls for it or fairly plain if that is what is needed. She has also been
asked to be very evil on occasion which she can carry off with her wicked
smile – or funny – or dramatic. She can simply do it all. Unfortunately
though, her film career seems to have come to a halt in the mid-90s.
Pauline is of Shanghainese descent. She dropped
out of school at a young age to work in a fast food restaurant. At the
age of fifteen she went to Canada where she took employment in various
jobs - waitressing, modelling and others. In 1982 she returned to Hong
Kong to take up acting. She is perhaps best known for her supernatural
roles in films – a ghost in Mr. Vampire, Chow Yun Fat's girlfriend in Spiritual
Love and a demoness in Peacock King. Her film debut was in 1984 (Possessed
II - as the mistress) and within a year she had a major role in the classic
Night Caller and won the Best Actress award for Love with the Perfect Stranger.
A couple more of my favorite roles of hers are
– Shing Fui On’s pregnant wife in Blue Jean Monster who has to quickly
give birth to a baby so that she can jump through a window before a time
bomb goes off, the very sweet spinsterish cousin in Four Loves and one
of the gold diggers in The Greatest Lover. She also had an interesting
role in Web of Deception, a minor Tsui Hark film that has been described
as a wanna-be Hitchcock-style thriller. One of her more gut wrenching roles
is as a rape victim seeking bloody revenge in Her Vengeance.
Pauline Yeung Bo-ling
Born on 04/17/67
After winning the Miss HK contest, Pauline
had an auspicious debut in the terrific Three Brothers film Dragons Forever
in which she has come nice comic scenes and also gets involved a bit in
the action. Her appealing girl next door looks were a hit with the HK audiences
– but her film career never took off.
She only made a few more films – City Girl, Happy
Ghost IV, How to be a Millionaire and Holy Virgin vs. The Evil Dead (1991)
before going into an early retirement. I read that recently she has returned
to appear in a few Christian films.