Chingmy Yau Suk-ching/Dou Dou

Born 05/16/68

I just find Chingmy to be absolutely luscious and sexy, but she also brings along an impish sense of humor and a twinkle in her eye that always says to the audience "don't take this image too seriously" lets just have some fun. One friend refers to her looks as "chipmunk sexiness" and I think that captures it nicely. I always enjoy watching her perform no matter how weak the material is because she always gives it her best shot and always seems to be enjoying herself.

She was in the Miss HK contest in the 80's and though she didn't win, she was able to jump into show business. In the late 80's and early 90's she was in many enjoyable but low budget comedies such as My Neighbors were Phantoms, Mr. Fortune and How to Pick Up Girls. She seemed destined to have perhaps a "B" actress career, but her developing friendship with commercial film producer Wong Jing and perhaps a bit of surgical altering made her a huge star in the 90's.
Her biggest break and most famous role was as Kitty in Naked Killer. She just undulates sexuality in this stylish film and her pose on the cover with Carrie Ng has been the stuff of many a male fantasy (N.B. Her Naked Killer performance also earned a HKFA Best Actress nomination). She continued working with Wong Jing and parlayed this into roles in top films and top co-stars: City Hunter (with Jackie Chan), God of Gamblers Returns (with Chow Yun Fat) and a few with Jet Li (Legend of Shaolin, Kung Fu Cult Master and High Risk). A few other enjoyable films which show her at her most appealing are She Starts Fires, Deadly Dream Woman and I'm Your Birthday Cake.
The knock on Chingmy of course was that she couldn't really act - she was all pizzazz but no technique. I've always been of the opinion that being sexy on the screen is not easy to do - not many actresses have the confidence to do it and not many do it well. Still her final film Hold You Tight answered these criticisms with a wonderfully restrained and serious performance (and garnered her the fourth and final one of her HKFA Best Actress nominations).
She married in 1999 - not to Wong Jing - and has apparently retired from the film industry. In August 2001, she had her first child - a daughter

Chiu Cheung Gwan

He has a very good part in "Blade of Fury" (1993) and appears in many mainland martial arts movies like  "Young Hero of Shaolin" (two different roles -  as a fighter, he is also the action director), "Kung Fu  Hero Wang Wu/Kung Fu Hero Wang Wie" (has two very good fights) and as the leading actor in the classic  "Undaunted Wu Tang" (1983). He is the Prince in One Arm Hero and in "White Lotus Cult" he has a short guest appearance.

(Write-up from Michael Kistner)

Chor Yuen

Born in 1934 in Guangzhou

Do you recall the villain from Police Story I and II or Carina Lau's manipulative father in He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father? He was played by Chor Yuen - who I just realized recently was one of the most important HK directors of the 50's and 60's. He was vital in modernizing HK films and as Stephen Teo writes in his book Hong Kong - The Extra Dimension - "Chor formed the link between the old generation of Cantonese directors and the new generation who would make their mark from the mid-70s onwards, from Michael Hui to the new wave directors of the 80's."

Before entering the film business he was a chemistry student at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou - but he was a son of a famous Cantonese actor, Cheung Wood-yau, and so became a script writer in 1956. His first film as director was Grass by the Lake in 1959. In the 60's he was a major director of Cantonese films - Joys and Sorrows of Youth, The Black Rose, The Spy with My Face - and when the popularity of Cantonese films declined he began making Mandarin films for the Shaw Brothers - Magic Blade and Duel for Gold among them. One of his films - House of 72 Tenants (1973) was highly influential in the re-emergence of Cantonese. He continued directing films until 1990 (Diary of a Big Man, Bloodstained Trade Winds) - and in the mid-80s began taking on small parts and sometimes larger ones. Some other films in which he appeared were Seventh Curse, Born to Gamble, Those were the Days (1997) and Millionaire Cop (Sgt. Lai and he does a parody of Black Rose in it).

Chow Fai

A supporting actor for the most part - Bodyguards of the Last Governor, I Have a Date with Spring (the male singer),Girls without Tomorrow - but had a larger role in Stephen Chow's Out of the Dark.

Chow Yun Fat

Born 05/18/55 on Lamma Island

The God of Actors. There really doesn't seem to be much need to add more. He burst onto the HK movie scene in a big way in 1986 and has never slowed down, becoming HK’s most popular actor. He has now gone on to Hollywood to make films (with the intention unfortunately of not returning). He is perhaps the most charismatic male actor of our time.

What needs to be noted perhaps is how long it took him to burst upon the screen. His family moved to HK in 1965 and in 1973 he answered an ad for TVB actors. His tall good looks immediately got him in - but it was a long road to stardom. He appeared in numerous TV series over the years - some of them like The Bund were great successes, but the transition to film was not so easy. In the late 70's a very slim Chow can be seen in a number of low budget exploitation films like Massage Girls that did his career little good.
His first major film break was in the Ann Hui film The Story of Woo Viet (1981) in which he played a Vietnamese refugee. This led to better roles in the next few years - The Occupant (1984) and Hong Kong 1941 (1984) - but stardom seemed to be out of his grasp. Producers thought he didn't have the stuff to be a leading man and it seemed possible that his career was headed for a decline.
Then in 1986 a nearly washed up director (John Woo) cast a former star whose best days were considered to be behind him (Ti Lung), an actor better known for his singing (Leslie Cheung) and Chow Yun Fat. It was a remake of a 60's film and no one had great expectations for it. A Better Tomorrow was of course a huge hit, created bullet ballet, made a success of Woo, resuscitated Ti Lung's career, got Leslie started on his way towards being a film star - and of course began the legend of Chow Yun Fat.
His collaboration with Woo over the next few years produced other classics - A Better Tomorrow II, Once a Thief, Hard Boiled and The Killer - and made Chow the biggest actor not only in HK but also made him into an international star. Though in the West he was primarily known for his action shoot em ups - not only with Woo but also his work with Ringo Lam (City on Fire, Wild Search and Full Contact) - but in HK he was equally popular for his comedies, dramas and romances. Some of these would be: Fractured Follies, Diary of a Big Man, Eighth Happiness, The Greatest Lover and of course the splendid romance An Autumn's Tale.

Christine Ng Wing-mei

This terrific actress generally has classy but strong ensemble roles in a number of films: The Age of Miracles, Love is not a Game, but a Joke, The Group, Magnificent Team, No Risk No Gain and 9413.

A few years back her husband unfortunately died a few months after their marriage. Christine got into a long and messy battle with her husband's family over his will (a big family business), and I think to this day that it's still not settled. It was this that started rumours of her being 'bad-luck', which didn't help at all with her career in ATV. After moving on to the opposing TV station, TVB, they re-packaged her and now she's quite often seen in major roles in drama series. She is even considered a sexy actress after starring in "Feel 100%" as the lethal seductress, and in a provocative music video for The Grasshoppers. She just recently re-married.

(Write-up and information provided from Crayon)

Christy Chung Lai-tai

Born 09/19/70 in Canada

This doey eyed beauty became a favorite of many in the mid-90s with a series of popular films. Her radiant creamy complexion seemed to override the fact that she could not speak Cantonese and that her acting still needed a lot of work.

Brought up in Canada - her official biography states that she is part Chinese, part Vietnamese - but many state that she is in fact 100% Vietnamese, but needed to claim Chinese ancestry in order to enter into certain beauty contests. She won the 1993 Miss Chinatown contest and received a contract from TVB. She soon moved on to film though and immediately found success.
Some of her films: Bride with White Hair II, Love on Delivery, Whatever You Want, Modern Romance, Tai Chi Master II, Red Wolf and perhaps her best known film Bodyguard from Beijing with Jet Li. In the late 90's she married, had a baby girl and took a three-year leave from the film industry. She just recently returned (after dumping the husband) in a Cold War and Conman in Tokyo. In 2001 Christy looked to dramatically change her image by appearing in a Thai film, Jan Dara, in which she revealed her breasts and had some steamy love scenes and then followed this with a revealing pictorial called Feeling Christy Chung. All in all she looks pretty damn good!

She also had a small part in the recent critically ravaged Jackie Chan film, The Medallion, but from where I was sitting she was the one highlight of the film.

Here is an excerpt from a piece on her in a Montreal newspaper by Kristian Gravenor that gives some information on her background:

"Chung’s serendipitous rise to glory started in 1992 when, as a marketing student at École Polytechnique, her boyfriend brought her along on a visit to Miss Chinese Montreal organizer Ruth Koo Lam. The boyfriend was trying to land a singing gig at the upcoming pageant but Lam’s eyes were on Chung, whom she eventually persuaded to enter the contest.   After bagging the crown, Chung was entered into the Miss Chinese International Pageant in Hong Kong. At the time, Chung, who had once failed an audition as a VJ at MusiquePlus for being “too shy,” had just been hired as a TV weather reporter at Radio-Canada. “That was a point in my life—to decide whether to stay in Montreal and be a weather girl or go to Hong Kong and try to make my fame,” she says.  Chung’s wanderlust won out. “It was my first trip away. I had never left Montreal. I was in awe of the buildings, I was just happy to be here,” she says in a phone interview from Hong Kong. And to her surprise, she won the bigger title. “I never thought in a million years I’d win the title because at that time I couldn’t speak Cantonese. When they called my name, I didn’t realize it. The girl sitting next to me had to explain, ‘You just won the title.’”

Although Chung’s film experience consisted of a mere 10-second appearance as a gum-chewing prostitute in Love and Human Remains, she found herself immediately getting top billing in Hong Kong films, a rarity in a system that generally requires actors to apprentice in afternoon soaps. “I was a foreigner, a Westernized woman, and here I was suddenly doing movies. It was pretty awesome considering that I didn’t speak the language at all,” says Chung, who reports that her language skills have improved somewhat since."

Chui Chung San

How does HK manage to come up with so many actors that can play mean and nasty? Chui Chung San has a face that only a triad head could love – pockmarked and scary. He also has one of those maniacal bad guy laughs that would be right at home in your neighborhood insane asylum.

Some of the films he has appeared in are: Angel Terminator (Michiko’s partner), Streets of Fury (one of the main triad bad guys), Kung Fu from Beyond the Grave, Last Hero In China (check out his wicked laugh in this Jet Li film) and was in the recent Prostitute Killer.
Another interesting thing about HK films is that often these actors who look as if they were recruited from the Top Ten Wanted posters are in fact very skilled in film. Chui for example has also been an action director on some solid films such as The Witch from Nepal, A Chinese Ghost Story, Streets of Fury, Leopard Hunting and Inspector Wears Skirts. He also directed one of my favorite low budget action films – Tough Beauty and Sloppy Shop starring Yuen Biao and Cynthia Khan.

Chui Heung Tung

Ralsoong sent in the following information:

Chui Heung Tung had been in a few mainland martial arts movies - he was the wu-shu champion in the early 80's, specializes in the "eagle claw" style. He was in one of my favorite mainland Chinese martial arts movies from 1985-6 called something like "Bodhi-dharma's robe" - I am not sure of the English name of the movie where he played a monk on a mission-to hide the "robe" from the evil Manchus, who sent their heavy weight to take over the Shaolin Temple.  One the run, he battles the evil Manchu/former Shaolin traitor played by Yu Rong Guang (another wu-shu champion).  The fight scenes are fantastic and the final battle is out of hand.

Yves Gendron has more to add:

Like Jet Li, Chui Heung-tung is a Mainland Wu-shu champion (speciality Eagle Claw) who got recruited in the movies in the early eighties. HKMDB credits him with only one production, HOLY ROBE OF SHAOLIN (84) where he plays a young fighting monk in a mission to hide a holy robe from some of the Shaolin Temple enemies including a Wu Tang assassin played by Yu Rong-guang. This superior, bombastic Mainland Wu-shu film showed   Chui as a superb Wu-shu performer, appropriately intense and stoic but somewhat bland except for a nice set of puppy eyes which played well into the movie’s ill-fated romantic sub-plot with Chui’s fighting-maiden co-star.

If Chui made any other Mainland movie it is not known by this reviewer. He did a brief but noticeable appearance in WING CHUN (94), as Master Wong who challenges the titular character to the tofu duel; one of the film’s great moments. Chui looked significantly older and less wooden than in Holy Robe as he was given plenty of goofy faces to do as he is bested by Michelle Yeoh.

Chiu Man Cheuk/Zhao Wen-Zhou

Born 04/10/72 in Heilongjiang China.

Chiu Man Cheuk has incredible martial arts abilities combined with loads of boyish charm, but unfortunately appeared on the stage a bit too late to become the success that he deserves. These are days in HK film where the kung fu period film is out of style and the low film budgets do not allow for the sort of wild action that he is capable of doing. It's a shame that such a talented actor has to make films like Body Weapon, Blacksheep Affair and Fist Power.

To see how misused he often is you need go no further than Tsui Hark's 1995 film The Blade. As a one armed man seeking revenge for the murder of his father, Chiu is simply hypnotic and brilliant and gives one of the greatest physical performances in HK film in recent years. He also took over the reins from Jet Li for the Once Upon a Time in China series and was in parts 4 and 5. Look for him also in Green Snake, Fong Sai Yuk (the bad guy in which he battles Jet Li) and additionally he can be seen in a non-action role in The Chinese Feast.

After being discovered by Tsui Hark in 1992, Chiu was being touted as the next Jet Li. He shares the same innocent charm, fabulous skills, was brought up in Beijing and even trained at the same martial arts school - but unless things change in the HK film landscape, it is unlikely that he will ever achieve Jet's success. These days he is doing much more TV than film.

Chung Fat/Chong Fat

He studied - along with a number of other HK film stuntmen/actors - in Madame Fan Fok Fa's Peking Opera School and then in the 80's he joined Sammo Hung's stunt team. His lean looks and long narrow face generally threw him into the category of being a bad guy, but one of his best roles was as the good wizard in Encounter of the Spooky Kind.

His style led to him being called the "Cat Fighter" and he also appeared in many other films - some of them being: Magnificent Butcher, Two Toothless Tigers, Winners and Sinners, Spooky Family, The Victim (Sammo's first opponent) and Spooky, Spooky. He was also in Yes Madam - the heavily mustachioed villain in the final grand finale - and apparently did some doubling for Michelle in that film. After receiving an injury while doing a stunt he had to cut back on his action roles and began doing more straightforward dramatic roles.

Conan Lee Yuen-ba

Conan Lee grew up in Queens, NY and made a film in the states before jumping into the world of HK film. He has an incredible physical build and was quite a good martial artist, but apparently an oversized ego as well and it brought his career in HK to a halt. As one of the DVD bios states "unavoidably he has Gweilo character"!

Some of his HK films were: Tiger on the Beat I & II, Aces Go Places V, Fury in Red, Dragon Killer, Cyprus Tigers. He recently appeared as Jet Li's brother in the Hollywood film Lethal Weapon 4.

Connie Chan Po-chu

Born in 1947

During the 1960's there were two young actresses in Cantonese films that were especially popular - one was Josephine Siao and the other was Connie Chan. Both were part of a group of seven actresses termed "The Seven Cantonese Princesses". Connie appeared in all types of films in the 60s' - dramas, comedies, action, spy spoofs, martial arts and musicals. Connie was the daughter of Opera stars Chan Fei-nung and Kung Fan-hung and was trained in both the Southern and Northern schools of martial arts. Some of her films were The Wedding Gown, Her Tender Love, Three Young Girls, The Tin-Long Gang, The Goddess of Mercy, Eternal Love, the Iron Lady Battles the One-Eyed Dragon and I'll Get You One Day. As one of the first teen idols, she made nearly 250 films before retiring at the grand old age of 25 in 1972! In 1999 she returned to the stage in the drama Sentimental Journey and in 2000 is appearing on stage with Tony Leung Kar-fai and Carina Lau in Red Boat.

The information and pictures for this bit on Connie was from Paul Fonoroff's terrific book - Silver Light.

Cora Miao

This very fine dramatic actress was in a number of serious films in the 1980's and also appeared in some films directed by her husband Wayne Wang.

Some of her HK films were Boat People, Passion, the classic Love in a Fallen City with Chow Yun Fat, Joy to the World, Dancing Bull.
With Wayne Wang, she appeared in Dim Sum and Eat A Bowl of Rice.

Corey Yuen Kwai

Considered one of the best fight choreographers in HK film, Corey went to the same Peking Opera School as Jackie and Sammo and was one of the Seven Little Fortunes. Like all the others, he began as a stuntman and worked his way up to choreographer and then director. He has often appeared in films but generally doesn't perform any fancy action moves in them.

He directed his first film No Retreat, No Surrender in the USA in 1985 with none other than Jean Claude Van Damme (beginning a sad tradition of HK directors doing his films!). He returned afterwards to work on a little “Girls with Guns” flick called . . . Yes Madam that of course launched the careers of Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock.
Some other films Corey directed were: She Shoots Straight, All for the Winner, Fong Sai Yuk, My Father is a Hero and Saviour of the Soul.
And some of the films in which he has appeared are: Bury Me High, Millionaires Express, Eastern Condors, All for the Winner.

Crystal Kwok Kam Yun

Born 05/13/66

Crystal just recently shocked the HK film establishment by directing one of the most intriguing, stylish and sexually adventurous films ever from HK and is one of the first women to direct a Cat III film. It is called The Mistress and it goes down some mature psychological avenues that few HK films have attempted.

She was a beauty pageant winner (Miss Beauty Queen of Chinatown), is a Masters degree holder from Hong Kong University (her thesis is on the figure of women in cinema as ghosts and takes an analytical look at such as Tsui Hark’s A Chinese Ghost Story, Stanley Kwan’s Rouge and Centre-Stage, plus Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo), has had collections of essays published and also hosts a radio talk show - but is perhaps best known for appearing with Jet Li in his film the Master. She also had a small role in Dragons Forever as the female lawyer, was Michelle Yeoh's roommate in Ah Kam, one of the four girls in Four Loves, one of the three female police interrogators in Police Story II and was in Will of Iron. She was married to Ray Lui at one time and he is the lead actor in her film, The Mistress.
In an interview with the HongKongMovie.Com, she mentioned that her most admired actress has been Josephine Siao. Among her most respected persons in HK movie industry, she points to Leonard Ho & Jackie Chan. She's still in the Cable TV and has helped establish one of HK's first innovative kindergartens for talented kids. She's now working on her second movie.

She has also recently (2004) gone into theater and has produced and written a play ("Fertility Goddess") which was shown at the Fringe Club this month. Marsha Yuan had the lead role but was accompanied by Cheng Pei Pei (her real-life mother) in a supporting part. (thanks to Pete for that info).

(Info provided by Sebastian Tse)

Cynthia Khan/Yeung Lai-ching

This lovely Taiwanese actress grew up wanting to be a dancer, but switched her interest to acting when that didn't work out. Her dance training certainly came in handy though when Dickson Poon was looking to replace the retiring Michelle Yeoh in the Line of Duty films. She had appeared in a few small films in Taiwan, but this break was to launch her career as one of the top female action stars of the 80's and early 90's. The English name given to her was a combination of Michelle Khan (as Michelle Yeoh was billed at the time) and Cynthia Rothrock.

She appeared in a number of girls with guns films - the best probably being her first three In the Line of Duty ones - III, IV and V. Queens High which has the famous image of Cynthia blasting away with a machine gun in her wedding dress is another to look for. Unlike some of the other girls with guns stars, Cynthia broke out of that genre to some degree and appeared in a number of period action films - Blade of Fury, Zen and Sword, Deadend Besiegers, 13 Cold Blooded Eagles. One of my favorite films in which she appears is the film It's Now or Never in which she has a very funny role as a teddy girl full of her kung fu skills when in fact she constantly gets her butt kicked.
With the demise of the “Girls with Guns” and fantasy films, Cynthia is primarily appearing in TV roles these days. In 1999 she lost her house during the horrible earthquake in Taiwan leading to her say "I'm really disappointed. It doesn't matter how much money you make. I don't feel like working. At nights I'm scared of another earthquake and I can't sleep. I'm thinking of going to the United States and finding a man to marry. However, right now, I have no suitors!"

Cynthia Rothrock

Cynthia is one of the few gweilos in HK film who actually was portrayed as a good guy instead of the usually stereotypical gweilo villains. She is also one of the few gweilo action stars that generally receives respect from the often dismissive western HK film fans. Part of this may be because her skills were just so good. Back in the U.S.A. before getting into movies, she won the World Karate Championships for five consecutive years (1981-1985) in the "Forms and Weapons" category (which is not divided into male and female sections). She holds five Black Belts.

Her first acting job was in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial, but Sammo as part of the D&B management was looking for two women to appear in a film that would do the typical buddy cop film but with women in the roles generally taken by men. He cast Michelle Yeoh as one and then spotted Cynthia on TV (probably not the KFC commercial!) and made her an offer to come work in HK.
Yes Madam was a big hit and she went on to appear in some 12 HK films - many low budget type action films - and also in a number of USA productions. In total she has made over 30 films, but to truly appreciate her skills you have to see her HK films (She herself has said that while she may have acted better in her American movies, her best action work has been in Hong Kong productions).  In Yes Madam she is simply amazing to behold.
Some of her other HK films: Millionaires Express (excellent fight with Sammo), Inspectors Wears Skirts and Righting Wrongs were all terrific - but she also made films such as City Cops, Blonde Fury and Magic Crystal that are just passable. According to an article I read recently, Cynthia is writing her autobiography and has just had a baby girl.