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Statistics :
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19212 People
1447 Studios
29 Articles
73 Interviews
12 DVD Reviews
32423 Screenshots
3716 Videos
Jimmy Wang Yu

 
 
 
 
Other names : 王羽
Wang Yu
Wang Yue
Wang Zheng Quan
Wong Jing Kuen
Wong Yu Lung
 
Birthdate : 28/3/1943
Nationality : China
Workplace : Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan
Activities : Director (10), Producer (8), Action Director (4), Writer (4), Actor (82), Brief appearance (1), Cameo (1), Planning (2), Presenter (2)

Biography

In the mid-60’s the Shaw Brothers was attempting to broaden their offerings by producing more action films. Their reputation up until then was based primarily on dramas and romances, but the popularity of the Japanese Chambara films seemed to indicate that martial arts/wuxia films had the potential for a strong resurgence. So they began adding actors to their stable of performers in hopes of their becoming possible action stars. One of their hires was a former water polo champion from Shanghai by the name of Jimmy Wang Yu (which translates to "King Youth"). The success of King Hu's Come Drink with Me and then the film Jade Bow reinforced this strategic change.

Wang Yu appeared in a few action films such as Temple of Red Lotus (1965), Twin Swords (1965) and Tiger Boy (1966) before he was to appear in a film called The One Armed Swordsman in 1967 that was to instantly make him a star. Wang Yu had already worked with the director Chang Cheh but this film was to make both of their reputations. Wang Yu by the way was right-handed, but tradition necessitated that he play the character left-handed. Chang Cheh revolutionized the martial arts or wuxia film by dramatically revving up the violence and introducing what could be called anti-heroes. Chang Cheh was also a strong believer in “yanggang” or masculine male – and feeling that it had disappeared to some degree from Chinese film – created tough, stoic male characters in his films. Wang Yu was his first prototype in doing this.

Their collaborations also included the classics Assassin (1967), Golden Swallow (1968) and Return of the One Armed Swordsman (1969). In all these films Wang Yu plays a lonely, tormented, complex swordsman/killer full of anger but still generally an honorable guy deep down - generic roles that he was to copy many times in his film career. These portrayals made him a gigantic star. So much so that he was no longer satisfied with the salary that he was receiving from the Shaw Brothers. As this was happening another phenomenon was in the air in Hong Kong. Everyone was talking about Bruce Lee coming to Hong Kong after his televison success in The Green Hornet in the states. Shaw had refused to outbid Golden Harvest for Lee's services, but they intended to get a kung fu film out to the public first.Trying to keep him happy, The Shaw Brothers allowed Wang Yu to make this film, The Chinese Boxer.

It is The Chinese Boxer (1970) that is generally given the credit as being the first film wholly dedicated to kung fu. Up until this time most martial arts films were based around the sword with some kung fu thrown in from time to time. This film was extremely violent and comprised only of hand to hand combat. This was a year before Bruce Lee made his appearance in HK and in a sense it began the kung fu period of the 70’s. To some degree, it also served as a template for many of the kung fu films to follow - a loner seeking revenge and having to battle seemingly insurmountable odds to get it. It is also strongly anti-Japanese - another thread that was to run through many of Wang Yu's films.

Even with the huge success of this film, Wang Yu broke his contract (though Shaw sued) and began making films on his own in Taiwan and then in partnership with Golden Harvest. Wang Yu produced and starred in a load of films over the next couple of years – One Armed Boxer and Beach of the War Gods are considered classics – but he began to be overshadowed by newer stars – Bruce Lee, Ti Lung, David Chiang and others with better martial arts skills. As important as his films were, Wang Yu was never really an accomplished martial artist - though he used the camera/editing effectively to hide this. His swordsmanship is quite enjoyable, but his kung fu looks clunky and slow compared to many others that came after him.

So his popularity started to dwindle – though he still appeared in two international films – Man from Hong Kong (1975) and A Queens Ransom (1976) – and by the mid to late 70’s he was no longer an essential part of the cinematic landscape. His later 70's films have been termed schlocky, but lots of fun by some - and they still have that Wang Yu feel to them that are different from any other films. There is no doubt that Wang Yu was a vital and extremely important part of the evolution of HK action films and he still has a loyal base of fans.

Off the screen Wang Yu was also legendary - for getting into numerous public brawls, having many affairs and having ties to the triads. This last item was helpful when Jackie Chan was trying to break his contract with Lo Wei in the late 70's (Jackie later appeared in a Wang Yu film (Island of Fire) as a repayment.

Back in the late sixties Wang Yu wooed famous movie actress Jeanette Lin Tsui who was married, with children, and was 12 years his senior. There was no divorce as the husband Qin Jan, a famed director of melodrama, happily obliged by hanging himself. The actress was already pregnant when Wang brought her to the altar. It's hard to imagine a star career surviving such a scandal, but Wang Yu did, although there is a one and a half-year gap in between The Return of the One Armed Swordsman and Chinese Boxer. The couple split-up in the mid-seventies after Lin accused him of beating her up, but Wang later explain that he hit her because she was involved with a lesbian. Their daughter is singer Linda Wang.

Wang remarried with an air hostess named Kai-cheng and she's the one who raised the children born in the previous marriage. The couple separated around 1997 with Kai Cheng asking for divorce and Wang Yu refusing. She eventually started an affair with an up and coming young entrepreneur. Last December Wang Yu invaded the lovers love-nest accompanied by reporters and police. Then having utterly humiliated his wife in the most public of fashion, he was done with her.

Yves Gendron
 
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Filmography
 [ 2010 - 1990 - 1980 - 1970 - 1960 ] 
 Alternate lists by alpha / genre / year
 
Title    ( HK -  All )  Year Activity
 
 Soul 2012 Actor
 Tai Chi 0 2012 Actor
 Let's Go ! 2011 Actor
 Wu Xia 2011 Actor
 Eighteen Springs 1997 Producer
 Stand Behind The Yellow Line 1997 Producer
 Beheaded 1000, The 1994 Producer, Actor
 Drug Connection 1993 Actor
 Requital 1992 Actor
 Shogun And Little Kitchen 1992 Actor
 All For The Gamblers 1991 Presenter
 Island Of Fire 1991 Producer, Actor, Planning
 Once Upon A Time In China 1991 Actor
 Tantana, The 1991 Producer
 Millionaire's Express, The 1986 Actor
 Clash Of The Professionals 1985 Producer, Actor
 Shanghai 13 1985 Actor
 Fantasy Mission Force 1982 Actor, Presenter
 Battle of Guningtou, The 1979 Actor
 Cute Foster Sister 1979 Planning
 Big Leap Forward 1978 Actor
 Brotherly Love 1977 Actor
 Bruce Lee, We Miss You 1977 Brief appearance
 Criminal, The 1977 Actor
 Deadly Silver Spear 1977 Actor
 Lantern Street, The 1977 Actor
 One Arm Chivalry Fights Against One Arm Chivalry 1977 Actor
 Revenge Of Kung Fu Mao 1977 Actor
 Dead Rivalry, A 1976 Producer, Actor
 Killer Meteors, The 1976 Actor
 Master Of The Flying Guillotine 1976 Director, Writer, Actor
 One Armed Swordsman Against Nine Killers 1976 Producer, Actor
 One Armed Swordsmen 1976 Director, Actor
 Queen's Ransom, A 1976 Actor
 Tiger And Crane Fist 1976 Director, Action Director, Actor
 Cookbook Of Birth Control, A 1975 Actor
 Eight Hundred Heroes 1975 Actor
 Great Hunter, The 1975 Actor
 Iron Man 1975 Actor
 Man From Hong Kong, The 1975 Director, Actor
 My Wacky, Wacky World 1975 Cameo
 Return Of The Chinese Boxer 1975 Director, Actor
 Four Real Friends 1974 Director, Actor
 My Father, My Husband, My Son 1974 Actor
 Beach Of The War Gods 1973 Director, Writer, Actor
 Black Friday 1973 Actor
 King Of Boxers 1973 Actor
 Kiss to Remember, A 1973 Actor
 Knight Errant 1973 Actor
 Man Called Tiger, A 1973 Actor
 Seaman No. 7 1973 Actor
 Tattooed Dragon, The 1973 Actor
 Two Cavaliers, The 1973 Actor
 Adventure, The 1972 Actor
 Chow Ken 1972 Actor
 Fatest Fists 1972 Actor
 Furious Slaughter 1972 Actor
 Gallant, The 1972 Actor
 Hero, The 1972 Actor
 Invincible, The 1972 Actor
 Last Duel, The 1972 Actor
 Lion's Heart 1972 Actor
 Ma Su Chen 1972 Actor
 Shogun Saints 1972 Actor
 Showdown 1972 Actor
 Brave And The Evil, The 1971 Director, Action Director, Actor
 Desperate Chase, The 1971 Actor
 Invincible Sword 1971 Actor
 Magnificent Chivalry 1971 Actor
 Morale And Evil 1971 Actor
 One Armed Boxer, The 1971 Director, Action Director, Writer, Actor
 Professional Killer, The 1971 Actor
 Sword, The 1971 Action Director, Actor
 Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman 1971 Actor
 Chinese Boxer, The 1970 Director, Writer, Actor
 My Son 1970 Actor
 Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman 1969 Actor
 Golden Swallow 1968 Actor
 Sword Of Swords, The 1968 Actor
 Asia-Pol 1967 Actor
 Assassin, The 1967 Actor
 Auntie Lan 1967 Actor
 One-Armed Swordsman 1967 Actor
 Sword And The Lute, The 1967 Actor
 Trail Of The Broken Blade, The 1967 Actor
 Magnificent Trio, The 1966 Actor
 Tiger Boy 1966 Actor
 Temple Of The Red Lotus 1965 Actor
 Twin Swords, The 1965 Actor
 

 Article    Review    Poster/Gallery    DVD Captures    Trailer    DVD Captures/Trailer  
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Gallery
 
 Jimmy Wang Yu pictures :  (Hide)
The Beheaded 1000
The Beheaded 1000
Top Fighter
Shogun And Little Kitchen
Island Of Fire
Shanghai 13
Fantasy Mission Force
The Lantern Street
The Lantern Street
Master Of The Flying Guillotine
Master Of The Flying Guillotine
Return Of The Chinese Boxer
The Man From Hong Kong
The Man From Hong Kong
Beach Of The War Gods
King Of Boxers
Knight Errant
Knight Errant
Chow Ken
Fatest Fists
Lion's Heart
Shogun Saints
The Adventure
Invincible Sword
Invincible Sword
The Desperate Chase
The Desperate Chase
Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman
The Chinese Boxer
The Chinese Boxer
Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman
Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman
Golden Swallow
The Sword Of Swords
The Sword Of Swords
The Sword Of Swords
Asia-Pol
Auntie Lan
One-Armed Swordsman
One-Armed Swordsman
The Assassin
The Assassin
The Sword And The Lute
The Trail Of The Broken Blade
The Trail Of The Broken Blade
The Magnificent Trio
 
 Other Jimmy Wang Yu pictures :  (Hide)
Wu Xia (1)
The Beheaded 1000 (3)
Shogun And Little Kitchen (1)
Island Of Fire (2)
Fantasy Mission Force (1)
The Lantern Street (2)
A Dead Rivalry (2)
Master Of The Flying Guillotine (6)
One Armed Swordsman Against Nine Killers (1)
The Killer Meteors (4)
 
More pictures in the gallery
 
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Article Links (French only)
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