Chinese Cinema: Top 7 Popular Asian Martial Arts Actors

Written By Alla Levin
September 23, 2019

Popular Asian Martial Arts Actors in Chinese Cinema

Popular Asian Martial Arts Actors – Chinese cinema has several peculiarities. One of them is engaging professionals in different fields in the shooting. For example, many parts in movies about the kitchen are played by cooks and not actors.

This applies to movies with martial arts. Due to this very approach, many popular Asian martial arts actors who starred in Chinese cinema became true famous Chinese actors. Besides that, many of them also stage fights for other actors and stunt performers. We’ve prepared a list of the most popular martial artists whose art may be seen in popular films.

Bruce Lee (Chinese name – Lee Jun-fan 李振藩)- One of the Most Popular Asian Martial Arts Actors

Bruce Lee

He virtually is a legendary representative of martial arts in cinema. Bruce Lee not only had a very filmable face, but he also demonstrated really incredible things. Of course, 24 shots, which were traditional for those times, weren’t enough for his movements’ speed; many scenes where the artist played included 32 shots.

The critics see the connection between the growing popularity of action films with Bruce Lee’s engagement in cinema. Indeed, he became an example of how a person can change the whole genre in cinema.

Unfortunately, the actor died suddenly in the summer of 1973. According to the official version, Lee died of cerebral edema caused by the painkiller pill, but the rest weren’t carried out, so COD’s accuracy wasn’t verified.

Best movies:

  • Fist of Fury;
  • The Big Boss;
  • Enter the Dragon;
  • Way of the Dragon;
  • Game of Death.

Jackie Chan (Chinese name 陳港生 Chan Kong-sang)Jackie Chan

Despite his popularity in Hollywood, Jackie Chan still plays in films in China. Such loyalty has not gone unnoticed. In China, Jackie Chan is a national hero.

He is one of the most successful martial artists who gained the greatest success in cinema. Jackie Chan has two significant features – acrobatic skits and comic scenes. At this, Jackie Chan perfectly combines them! Despite all positivity and familiar favorable image of Jackie Chan, his filmography includes parts of baddies, for example, in the Fist of Fury.

Jackie Chan’s popularity confirms that he became a prototype of a serial cartoon named Jackie Chan Adventures; all characters of this cartoon are connected with life and the creation of real Jackie Chan.

Best movies:

  • Rush Hour;
  • Armor of God;
  • Project “A”;
  • Wheels on Meals;
  • Rumble in the Bronx.

Sammo Hung (Chinese name 洪金寶 Hung Kam-bo)Sammo Hung

Sammo Hung is one of the most famous kung fu fight choreographers in films. He staged martial art scenes with Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. He was an actor, even though Hung was 168 cm tall and weighs around 100 kg. Since the 80s, he has been engaged in the popularization of kung fu action films while being a producer.

In 2009, he won a prize for fight choreography for the famous film named Yip Man at Hong Kong Film Festival.

Best movies:

  • Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars –series;
  • Dragonheart;
  • Project “A”;
  • Game of Death;
  • Yip Man.

Yuen Qiu (Chinese name 夏令正Cheung Cheun-Nam)Yuen Qiu

Yuen Qui graduated from Peking Opera School and starred in films with Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. Like her colleagues, she is an actress as well as a fight choreographer in movies. In 1979, the film Knockabout came out and made Yuen Qiu famous. In 1983 she won the prize for fight choreography and created her own film studio.

Best movies:

  • Wheels on Meals;
  • Knockabout;
  • A Kid from Tibet;
  • The Legend Is Born: Yip Man.

Donnie Yen (Chinese name 甄子丹Yen Ji-Dan)Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen is a follower of such oriental practice as wushu. His mother opened a wushu school in the USA where Donnie Yen exercised since early childhood.

This actor was continually seeking new combat maneuvers perfecting his level of martial arts. He succeeded in the enhancement of his wushu level after graduating from Beijing Wushu School. He is very popular among Chinese youth.

Best movies:

  • Hero;
  • Yip Man;
  • Yip Man 2.

Dennis To (Chinese name To Yue-Hong 杜宇航)Dennis To

Dennis To never thought of becoming an actor. When To was six, he started learning martial arts; and by 18, he mastered them and gained the youngest winner’s status in a Hong Kong competition.

After this competition, he was noticed by producers of the film named The Legend Is Born: Yip Man. This young Asian Martial Arts Actor was offered to play the part of young Yip Man. Even though he did not play in previous sections of this movie, it was a great success. This is not surprising at all, as the film became really popular.

Best movie:

  • The Legend Is Born: Yip Man.

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