Chingmy Yau Suk-ching/Dou Dou
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)
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
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).
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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 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