Hong Kong martial arts star dies aged 79 – The Hollywood Reporter

Jimmy Wang Yu, famous martial arts star who starred in classic Hong Kong movies Golden Swallow, One-handed Swordsman and Chinese martial artist and paved the way for people like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, to pass away. He was 79 years old.

Ms. Wang passed away at a hospital in Taipei on Tuesday, his daughter, Linda Wang, revealed on Instagram. He had been chronically ill for a number of years.

On Facebook, Jackie Chan wrote, “Another martial arts hero has left us… The contributions you have made to kung fu movies, as well as the support and wisdom you have given the younger generations. will always be remembered in the industry. And his films will always remain in the hearts of fans. We will miss you!”

Wang Cheng-chuan was born in Shanghai in 1943 and immigrated to Hong Kong with his family. Wang started acting in the early 1960s and made a splash with the fledgling Hong Kong branch of Shanghai-based Shaw Brothers Studios, which began to expand his production with films. action and spin-off movies.

As a contract player at the start of his career, Wang’s early career was indelibly linked with the Shaw Brothers, for better and for worse, and he would become the main star in martial arts films. The studio’s most famous art includes One-handed Swordsman (1967) broke box office records in Hong Kong, Golden Swallow (1968), Return of a Swordsman (1969) and groundbreaking kung fu film Chinese martial artist (1970).

Chinese martial artist, which saw Wang’s character stand alone against a gang of Japanese karate thugs, proved to be a huge hit and found an audience outside of Hong Kong and Asia. Written, directed, and starring Wang, the film is said to have set a new template for Hong Kong action movies, giving birth to the kung fu genre, with a plot that eschews swords and other elements. fantasy elements and more focus on hand-controlled combat scenes- hand-to-hand combat. It also creates a common story used in countless kung fu movies, that of a loner seeking revenge but facing a seemingly impossible ratio/number of enemies.

A popular Hong Kong action star of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wang’s career was derailed by a very messy and public legal battle with Shaw Brothers after he broke contract with the studio in 1970. The studio sued the star, winning after a public trial. Also weighing on Wang’s celebrity is a series of scandals in his private life, including sex scandals, alleged involvement in organized crime and numerous public scuffles.

In an interview with East KicksWang calls himself a “street fighter” and says that between 1964 and 1968, he often appeared in the press for fighting, typically with paparazzi and even police. .

Finding work harder in Hong Kong, Wang will move to Taiwan to work with Shaw Brothers rival Golden Harvest.

In Taiwan, and now producing his own features, Wang was prolific and among the many kung fu films he did during this period, One-armed martial artist (1972), A man called a tiger (1972) and Beach of the Gods of War (1973) achieved cult status.

With the rise of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, and the success of Shaw Brothers stars Ti Lung and David Chiang, Wang’s popularity began to decline in the mid-1970s. Self-identified as a ruffian. A street fighter rather than a trained fighter, Wang’s lack of skill, concealed to a degree by editing, began to show when compared to his fully trained opponents. he.

However, Wang remains in demand in international productions, as manufacturers in the West are looking to cash in on the kung fu craze. In 1975, Wang starred in the first Hong Kong-Australia co-production, Man from Hong Kong. Next year he plays the lead role The Queen’s Ransom. Both films feature a falling George Lazenby.

Another notable Wang film from this period is Master of the Flying Slitter (1976), which Quentin Tarantino would rank as one of his favorite films and which would later influence RZA The Man with the Iron Fists.

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From left: ‘The Chinese Professionals’ or ‘One-Armed Boxer’ (1971), ‘The Man From Hong Kong’ (1975), ‘A Man Called Tiger’ (1973)
All courtesy of the Everett . Collection

By the 1980s, Wang’s career began to falter and he became more known for his private life scandals. There were multiple reports of domestic abuse, there continued to be reports of his alleged links to the Triads, and in Taiwan he was charged with murder in 1981, but the charge was dropped. canceled due to lack of evidence.

During the 1990s, Wang’s films gained a new audience following his work, especially Chinese martial artistchampioned by the likes of Tarantino.

In the last years of his life, Wang appeared in Peter Chan’s 2011 film Wu Xia, starring Donnie Yen and Tang Wei. The film is a tribute to One-handed Swordsman and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. His last film appeared in 2013, in the Taiwanese horror film soul. In 2019, Wang was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards.

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