Sammo Hung reflects on Donnie Yen, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan

Sammo Hung reflects on Donnie Yen, Bruce Lee and Jackie ChanSammo Hung reflects on Donnie Yen, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan
image via Kung Fu Fight (left), Lee movies (right)
Ryan General
April 16, 2024
Martial arts film icon Sammo Hung recently shared insights on fellow industry giants in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
Key points:
  • Hung, 72, reflected on his childhood in Peking opera training under Peking opera master Yu Jim-yuen. 
  • Hung discussed his encounter with Bruce Lee, his role in shaping Jackie Chan‘s career and his collaboration with Donnie Yen.
  • As a young actor, Hung sparred with Lee on set and later acted with him in “Enter the Dragon.”
  • Hung and Chan were fellow Peking opera apprentices. Hung directed many of Chan’s breakout films and nurtured talents like Michelle Yeoh.
The details:
  • Hung revealed that a significant stunt injury during his Peking opera training left him bedridden for an extended period. This, along with a growth spurt, contributed to his distinctive physique. “I didn’t mean to keep my body shape like this, I just let it develop as it pleased,” he joked.
  • Hung detailed a friendly sparring match with Lee after meeting him on the set of “Thunderbolt.” “I said, ‘He’s awesome.’ Lee must have heard and misunderstood, because he immediately went, ‘And so? Wanna fight?’ I was like, ‘OK.’ Before I’d raised my leg to waist level, Lee’s foot was already in my face. So I said, ‘Well done.'” This friendly match eventually led to a rematch in the iconic opening fight in “Enter the Dragon.”
  • He acknowledged his collaboration with Yen in “Ip Man 2” as a memorable highlight. Reflecting on the star’s career, Hung humorously quipped, “There’s no point evaluating his career now – are you even allowed to say anything bad about him? Yen is such a big star. There’s no need to say anything more.” 
  • Hung also fondly recalled his partnership with Chan, stating, “It’s related to our personality… But it’s also down to the martial arts abilities we learned from our training days, the skills we knew, the moves we could do – these were all parts of our arsenal. Not everyone could do what we did.” Their collaborative work in innovative action comedies reshaped Hong Kong cinema.
What’s next:
  • His illustrious career spans over 200 films, in which he served as an actor, director, producer and martial arts choreographer. Hung’s lifetime achievement recognition from the Hong Kong Film Awards is a testament to his enduring legacy and contributions to martial arts cinema.
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