5 Greatest Sammo Hung action roles

5 Greatest Sammo Hung action roles

Sammo Hung takes on a small army of thugs in "The Bodyguard".

The last time Sammo Hung directed a movie was for "Once Upon A Time In China And America" in 1997, and the last time Sammo Hung handled double duties as a lead actor and director was in the 1995 movie, "Don't Give A Damn".

These days, he is more active in supporting roles ("SPL", "Ip Man 2") and responsible as an action choreographer for movies like "Kung Fu Hustle" and the first two "Ip Man". However, this year Sammo Hung makes a major comeback to play a leading role and also to direct "The Bodyguard".

To coincide with the upcoming release of "The Bodyguard", let's take a look at his five greatest action roles through the decades of his career.

1. "The Magnificent Butcher" (1979)

Sammo Hung as the titular character in "The Magnificent Butcher".

You may remember Wong Fei-Hung's (Jet Li) portly disciple, played by Kent Cheng in the first "Once Upon A Time In China" movie, but before him, there was Sammo Hung who made a lasting impression playing a memorable role as Lam Sai Wing a.k.a. "Butcher" Wing. A beloved kung fu comedy classic of the '70s directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, "The Magnificent Butcher" featured some of the most amazing one-on-one fights ever choreographed in a Hong Kong production. One of them, of course, was the elaborate final showdown between Hung and Lee Hoi-San's character Master Ko.

2. "Eastern Condors" (1987)

Sammo Hung as one of the convicts in "Eastern Condors".

Hailed as the Hong Kong version of "The Dirty Dozen", this '80s action classic involved a group of convicts; Tung Ming-Sun (Sammo Hung), Szeto (Charlie Chin), Yun (Yuen Woo-Ping), Yu (Corey Yuen) and others; being enlisted by their lieutenant (Lam Ching-Ying) to infiltrate deep into the jungles of Vietnam on a top-secret mission. Instead of playing his usual humorous self in "Eastern Condors", Sammo Hung, who also directed the movie, opted for a more straight-laced action role. It worked well for him, as he displayed a great deal of intensity in his performance for a change. Of course, "Eastern Condors" was better known for its numerous fighting scenes that featured some of the top fighters in Hong Kong cinema including Yuen Biao, Billy Chow, Dick Wei and Yasuaki Kurata.

3. "Pedicab Driver" (1989)

"Pedicab Driver" sees Sammo Hung engaging in a fight against Billy Chow.

Highly regarded by many fans as Sammo Hung's finest action movie of all-time, "Pedicab Driver" was a quintessential Hong Kong movie of the '80s that blended action, comedy, romance and drama. To describe the synopsis of this movie would be long-winded, but here's the general outline anyway; Sammo Hung played Fat Tung, a 1930s pedicab driver who goes out to avenge the death of his friend against a vile pimp, Master 5 (John Shum) and his group of thugs.

The story was both episodic and haphazard, but the action scenes were particularly top-notch. Three memorable scenes; a duel between Fat Tung and a casino owner (Lau Kar-Leung), the pedicab chase and the final showdown between Fat Tung and Master 5's top henchman (Billy Chow); sealed the deal for this action classic.

4. "SPL" (2005)

Taking on a bad guy role wasn't so bad for Sammo Hung.

"SPL" may have been a gritty Hong Kong action movie that gave Donnie Yen a career resurgence, but the movie's enduring quality was also indebted to the introduction of two memorable antagonists. One was Wu Jing, who played a knife-wielding henchman Jet, and the other one, of course, was Sammo Hung's rare bad-guy turn as Wong Po. Although many fans and general audiences were more familiar with Sammo Hung playing a good-guy role, he managed to bring an edgy yet no-nonsense persona to his character as Wong Po. Last but not least, who could have forgotten the memorable one-on-one fight between Inspector Ma Kwan (Donnie Yen) and Wong Po towards the end of the movie?

5. "Ip Man 2" (2010)

Sammo Hung (R) takes on Donnie Yen (L) during a memorable duel in "Ip Man 2".

Sammo Hung took on a supporting role in "Ip Man 2" as Master Hung, a martial arts teacher best remembered for challenging Ip Man (Donnie Yen) in a duel atop a flimsy round table. The result was one of the best action set pieces ever choreographed in recent memory, as we got to witness two opposing masters fighting against each other while maintaining their balance on the table at the same time.

"The Bodyguard" opens in cinemas nationwide on 1 April 2016.

Related Movies:
The Bodyguard (Cantonese) (01 Apr 2016)
IP MAN 2 (Cantonese) (29 Apr 2010)

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