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Wu Ma

 
 
 
 
Other names : 午马
Felix Chan
Feng Wu Ma
Fung Ng Ma
Ng Ma
 
Birthdate : 18/8/1942
Date of death : 4/2/2014
Nationality : China
Workplace : Hong Kong, Taiwan
Activities : Director (46), Assistant Director (7), Producer (2), Writer (2), Actor (229), Brief appearance (16), Cameo (1), Planning (9)

Biography

Wu Ma is one of the most familiar faces of Hong Kong cinema. He was of course the fierce, misanthropic Taoist swordsman in Chinese Ghost Story I and II, but also had countless appearances in cameos, bit parts or supporting roles in a large number of H-K action movies, especially those of Sammo Hung. If you pick up an eighties to early nineties H-K actionner it feels as if there is a one chance out of two that you will have a Wu Ma sighting in it. A character actor of considerable range, as much at ease in goofy comedy as in pathos and even wire-fu action, Wu Ma was also a prolific director, filming 38 movies within a twenty-five year span. He directed martial art flicks, comedy capers and supernatural movies with some of these considered classics, thus making him as much a ubiquitous figure behind the camera as in front of it.

Wu Ma (his real name Fung Wu-ma) was born in Tianjin, a coastal city southeast of Beijing. He worked as a machinist before immigrating to H-K in 1960. In 1963 he enrolled in the Shaw Brothers acting course and became a contract player for them afterwards and had his first screen appearance in The Butterfly Chalice. His stocky physique and round chubby face made him a prolific character actor appearing in around fifteen films throughout the sixties including many noteworthy classics of the time such as: Lady General Hua Mulan (64), Sons And DaughtersH (65), Temple Of The Red Lotus, The Twin Swords (both 65), Golden Swallow (68) and Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman (69).

Wu Ma however had greater ambitions than only acting. He became assistant director for Shaw Brothers' great martial art director Chang Cheh's film Golden Swallow (68). In 1970 he left Shaw and became a fully-fledged director of his own right with the swordplay Wrath of the Sword that was followed in 1971 with one of his most notable works, The Deaf and the Mute Heroine.

Wu Ma spent most of the seventies as a martial art director, while making frequent appearances in his own films - The Young Tiger (73) Wits To Wits (74), The Manchu Boxer or those of others, Naughty ! Naughty ! (74), Iron Monkey (77), Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu (78). The Manchu Boxer saw his first recorded encounter with a young fight choreographer named Sammo Hung and this was the start of a close working relationship that would last over twenty years. Wu Ma made a distinguished cameo in Sammo's directorial debut The Iron Fisted Monk as a brothel visiting boatman and would make token appearances in a large bulk of the big man's films up until his last personal effort Don't Give A Damn ! in 1995.

As a director Wu Ma doesn't appear to have been overly original, picking-up on whatever trend the martial art genre was into, although he often tried to generate greater dramatic relevance, sentimentality and even artfulness than the norm in such types of films. He had begun with female centred swordplay (Wrath Of The Sword, Deaf And Mute Heroine), then came the early seventies Jimmy Wang Yu/Bruce Lee young punk boxer trend (Young Tiger, The Manchu Boxer), followed by Shaolin Kung Fu. His production Wits To Wits, however made in 1974 was deemed a precursor of Kung Fu knockabout comedy which would not truly emerge for a couple of years.

Wu Ma also worked frequently with his mentor Chang Cheh, co-directing with him for a time in Taiwan. The Water Margin (72), The Pirate (73), All Men are Brothers (75), New Shaolin Boxers (76), and Naval Commandos (77) are all collaborations between the two of them. Upon Chang's return to Hong Kong, Wu Ma made a couple of movies (Shaolin Heroes, 1980) for the Shaw Brothers, the studio he had left a decade earlier, as well as movies with such independent kung fu players as Dorian Tan Tao Liang, Don Wong Tao, Chi Kwan Chun and Michael Chan Wai Man : Shaolin Deadly Kicks (77), Along Comes A Tiger, Showdown At the Cotton Mill. While he made a handful of appearances in kung fu comedies directed by others he did not make one himself until 1980 with Kung Fu Of Eight Drunkards.

The late seventies saw him take on more and more on-screen parts. As the martial art trend wound down his output as a director slowed considerably while his character roles increased as he transitioned from kung fu roles to the new genre: caper comedies. His own first non-martial film effort was the Cinema City's production Beware Of Pickpockets (81), a film where he could indulge in his noted fondness for Little Rascal like kids.

Wu Ma continued to make token appearances in Sammo Hung movies, Encounters of the Spooky Kind (80), Prodigal Son (81), Carry on Pickpocket (82). In 1983 their association grew into a true partnership as he directed The Dead and the Deadly a film written by Sammo and which starred both of them. This film is one of the most ingenious variations of the supernatural kung fu comedy theme (and is referred to in a HKIFF publication as a masterpiece of the genre") and earned him a nomination as best director. While continuing as Sammo's token player (in Winners and Sinners (83), Wheels on Meals (84), Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars (85), Millionaire's Express (86), Eastern Condors (87), Spooky Spooky (88), Wu Ma also produced one of Sammo's most personal projects, Heart of Dragon (85). Wu Ma also appeared in many other noteworthy films of the period either produced by Sammo or by some of his close associate such as Project A (83), Pom Pom ! (84), Yes Madam (85) and most films of the Mr Vampire series (85-89). On his own he produced the Yuen Biao/Cynthia Rothrock vehicle Righting Wrongs where he made one of his most touching small parts as a middle aged on the beat cop who discovers his murdered son. He also planned Blonde Fury, another Rothrock vehicle.

Beyond his Sammo related work and his activity as director, Wu Ma continued as a very busy character actor. His now wrinkled face and thin moustache gave him an older look that he could push effortlessly into dignified outrage, goofy comedy or sad melancholia. Among the dozens of roles he performed in at the time his most noteworthy are as the Peking Opera manager and father of Sally Yeh in Peking Opera Blues, and the aforementioned fierce Taoist swordsman of the Chinese Ghost Story series. In all he was nominated three times as best supporting actor over the years, including once for a dramatic part in Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch (88).

As a director Wu Ma went on to make movies in a variety of genres such as comedy caper: Mr Boo Meets Pom Pom (86) or even Heroic Bloodshed with Just Heroes, a benefit movie where many of Chang Cheh's old associates were involved to finance the old master's retirement. For the most part though Wu specialised in ghost/exorcist/supernatural comedies, My Cousin the Ghost (87), Picture of a Nymph (88), Burning Sensation (89), Fox Legend (91), Exorcist Master (92), Chinese Ghostbuster (94), becoming with his frequent co-star Lam Ching Ying the great ubiquitous figure of this genre.

Both Picture of a Nymph and his later Kickboxer (92) were obvious knockoffs of a popular film (Chinese Ghost Story and OUATIC respectively) while his Stage Door Johnny (90) was slightly reminiscent of Peking Opera Blues. As H-K cinema entered into its decline in the early nineties, Wu Ma's directorial career wound down too, his last film being the lacklustre caper Circus Kid starring Yuen Biao and Donnie Yen. His screen acting output also diminished both in quantity and quality. He was even out of movies completly for several years in between 2001 and 2005 but made something of a comeback in recent years co-directing The Insuperable Kid (a Fearless knockoff) while appearing as well in several movies including House of Fury, Battle Of Wits and even Sword Stained With Royal Blood a mainland produced Tv series based on the Jin Wong novel. (having played a supporting part in a movie version of the novel back in the early ninties).

In all Wu Ma performed in nearly 180 movies if not more. Besides those already mentioned, his most notable movie appearances are in By Hook or by Crook (1979, as a legendary Robin hood like hero who turns-out to be a coward), Miracles (90), Magic Cop (90), Swordsman (1990, where he engaged in a memorable duet with Lam Ching Ying to sing : Hero Among Heroes), Chinese Legend (91), Magnificent Scoundrels (1990, where he's part of an ensemble cast lead by nineties comic king Stephen Chow and plays a surgery altered Chow Yun Fat), Kid from Tibet (92), Lover's Tears (92), Painted Skin (92), My American Grandson (92), an Ann Hui directed melodrama, Sword Stained With Royal Blood (93), Deadful Melody (93) and High Risk (94) playing a stand-in of Jackie Chan own father.

Yves Gendron
 
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Filmography
 [ 2010 - 2000 - 1990 - 1980 - 1970 - 1960 ] 
 Alternate lists by alpha / genre / year
 
Title    ( HK -  All )  Year Activity
 
 Fighting 2014 Actor
 Game Of Assassins 2013 Actor
 Mark Of Youth 2013 Actor
 Decrepit Dream 2012 Actor
 If I Were You 2012 Actor
 I Love Hong Kong 2011 Actor
 Legendary Amazons 2011 Actor
 My Own Swordsman 2011 Actor
 What's Under The Bed 2011 Actor
 White Vengeance 2011 Actor
 14 Blades 2010 Actor
 Here Comes Fortune 2010 Actor
 Jeet Kune Do 2010 Actor
 Kung Fu Master 2010 Actor
 Chong Qing Girl 2009 Actor
 Legend of Shaolin Kungfu II : Thirteen Warrior Monks and Prince Li Shimin 2009 Actor
 Ticket 2008 Actor
 Wushu 2008 Actor
 Legend of Shaolin Kungfu I : Heroes in Troubled Times 2007 Actor
 Battle Of Wits 2006 Actor
 Sword Stained With Royal Blood 2006 Actor
 Tripping 2006 Actor
 Ghost In The House 2005 Actor
 House Of Fury 2005 Actor
 Insuperable Kid 2005 Director, Actor
 Two Women 2005 Actor
 Ghost 2001 Actor
 Kingdom Of Mob, The 1999 Actor
 Legendary Heroes 2 - Fist of Fury, The 1999 Actor
 Legendary Heroes, The 1999 Actor
 New Shaolin Temple, The 1998 Actor
 Pathbreaker 1998 Director, Actor
 Return Of Dragon 1998 Actor
 Iron Monkey 2 1996 Actor
 To Be N 1 1996 Actor
 Don't Give A Damn ! 1995 Actor
 High Risk 1995 Actor
 Kam Ping Mui Of Deep Throat 1995 Actor
 Magic Mod 1995 Actor
 Beheaded 1000, The 1994 Actor
 Chinese Ghostbuster, A 1994 Director, Actor, Planning
 Circus Kid 1994 Director, Actor
 Deadful Melody 1994 Actor
 Master Of Zen 1994 Actor
 Shaolin Avengers 1994 Actor
 Switch Over 1994 Actor
 1/3 Lover 1993 Producer, Actor
 All Men Are Brothers : Blood Of The Leopard 1993 Actor
 Beyond The Cop Line 1993 Actor
 Buddhist Spell, The 1993 Actor
 Chez N' Ham Story 1993 Actor
 City On Fire 1993 Actor
 Danger Of The Wedding 1993 Actor
 Drug Tiger 1993 Actor
 Her Judgement Day 1993 Actor
 Kick Boxer 1993 Director, Actor
 Painted Skin 1993 Actor
 Sword Stained With Royal Blood, The 1993 Actor
 China Dolls 1992 Actor
 Chinese Legend, A 1992 Actor
 Devil's Love 1992 Actor
 Direct Line 1992 Actor
 Exorcist Master 1992 Director, Actor
 Famous Prostitute - Sadly Fall, Liu Ru Shih 1992 Actor
 Gambling Ghost Are Ready 1992 Actor
 Gambling Soul 1992 Actor
 Ghost In Me 1992 Actor
 Guys in Ghost Hand 1992 Actor
 Kid From Tibet, A 1992 Actor
 Lover's Tear 1992 Actor
 Raiders Of Losing Treasure 1992 Actor
 Requital 1992 Actor
 Rhythm Of Destiny 1992 Actor
 Second To None 1992 Actor
 Stoneman 1992 Actor
 Twin Dragons, The 1992 Brief appearance
 Dances With The Dragon 1991 Actor
 Devil And Master 1991 Actor
 Devil Gambler 1991 Director, Actor
 Devil's Vendetta 1991 Brief appearance
 Falcon 1991 1991 Actor
 Fox Legend 1991 Director, Actor
 Gambling Ghost, The 1991 Actor
 Ghost Story Of Kam Ping Mui 1991 Actor
 Heroic Brothers 1991 Actor
 Lady Wolf 1991 Actor
 Magnificent Scoundrels, The 1991 Actor
 My American Grandson 1991 Actor
 Off Track 1991 Actor
 Once Upon A Time In China 1991 Brief appearance
 Pretty Woman 1991 Actor
 Rascal's Tale, A 1991 Actor
 Red And Black 1991 Actor
 Retreat Of The Godfather 1991 Actor
 Tantana, The 1991 Actor
 Against All 1990 Actor
 Chinese Ghost Story 2, A 1990 Actor
 Encounters Of The Spooky Kind 2 1990 Actor
 Generation Consultant 1990 Director
 Generation Pendragon 1990 Director, Actor
 Ghost Legend 1990 Actor
 Ghostly Vixen 1990 Actor
 It Takes Two To Mingle 1990 Actor
 Life Is A Bet 1990 Actor
 Little Kids Beat The Boss 1990 Actor
 Magic Cop 1990 Brief appearance
 Revenge Of Angel, The 1990 Actor
 Shanghai, Shanghai 1990 Actor
 Stage Door Johnny 1990 Director, Actor
 Story Of Kennedy Town 1990 Director, Actor
 Swordsman 1990 Actor
 Triad Story 1990 Actor
 All Night Long 1989 Actor
 Bachelor's Swan Song, The 1989 Actor
 Blonde Fury 1989 Actor, Planning
 Burning Sensation 1989 Director, Actor
 Just Heroes 1989 Director, Actor
 Little Cop 1989 Actor
 Lost Souls 1989 Actor
 Miracles 1989 Actor
 Mr Sunshine 1989 Actor
 No Compromise 1989 Actor
 Seven Warriors 1989 Actor
 Three Against The World 1989 Actor, Planning
 18 Times 1988 Actor
 Beloved Son Of God 1988 Actor
 Bet On Fire 1988 Actor
 Couples, Couples, Couples 1988 Actor
 Dragons Forever 1988 Brief appearance
 In The Blood 1988 Actor
 Into The Night, The 1988 Actor
 Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch 1988 Actor, Planning
 Mr Vampire 4 1988 Actor
 Painted Faces 1988 Actor
 Picture Of A Nymph 1988 Director, Writer, Actor
 Police Story 2 1988 Brief appearance
 Return Of The Demon 1988 Actor
 Spooky Spooky 1988 Actor
 Three Wishes 1988 Actor
 Chinese Ghost Story, A 1987 Actor
 City On Fire 1987 Actor
 Eastern Condors 1987 Actor, Planning
 Mr Vampire 3 1987 Brief appearance
 My Cousin The Ghost 1987 Director, Actor
 Promising Young Boy 1987 Producer
 Scared Stiff 1987 Actor
 To Err Is Humane 1987 Actor
 100 Ways To Murder Your Wife 1986 Actor
 Caper 1986 Actor
 From Here To Prosperity 1986 Actor
 Millionaire's Express, The 1986 Actor, Planning
 New Mr. Vampire 1986 Actor
 Peking Opera Blues 1986 Actor
 Pom Pom Strikes Back 1986 Actor
 Righting Wrongs 1986 Actor, Planning
 Shyly Joker 1986 Director
 Vampire's Breakfast 1986 Actor
 Heart Of Dragon 1985 Actor
 It's A Drink, It's A Bomb 1985 Actor
 Mr Boo Meets Pom Pom 1985 Director, Actor
 Mr Vampire 1985 Actor
 Mr Vampire 2 1985 Actor
 Oh, My God 1985 Actor
 Those Merry Souls 1985 Actor
 Yes, Madam 1985 Actor, Planning
 Double Trouble 1984 Actor
 Hong Kong 1941 1984 Actor
 Invitation Of Ghost 1984 Actor
 Owl VS Bumbo, The 1984 Brief appearance, Planning
 Pom Pom ! 1984 Brief appearance
 Wheels On Meals 1984 Actor
 Just For Fun 1983 Writer, Actor
 Project A 1983 Actor
 Winners And Sinners 1983 Brief appearance
 Dead And The Deadly, The 1982 Director, Actor
 Beware Of Pickpockets 1981 Director, Actor
 Crazy Chase, The 1981 Actor
 Gold Hunters, The 1981 Actor
 Laughing Times 1981 Actor
 Prodigal Son, The 1981 Brief appearance
 By Hook Or By Crook 1980 Actor
 Eight Escorts, The 1980 Actor
 Encounters Of The Spooky Kind 1980 Actor
 Heroes, The 1980 Director, Actor
 Kung Fu Of Eight Drunkards 1980 Director, Actor
 Two Toothless Tigers 1980 Brief appearance
 Bloody Treasury Fight 1979 Actor
 Eunuch Of The Western Palace 1979 Director
 Fighting Ace 1979 Actor
 Flying Sword Lee 1979 Director
 Handcuff, The 1979 Director
 Incredible Kung Fu Master, The 1979 Brief appearance
 Iron Fists 1979 Actor
 Of Cooks And Kung Fu 1979 Actor
 Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu 1978 Cameo
 Murder Of Murders, The 1978 Director
 Revenge Of The Shaolin Kid 1978 Actor
 Showdown At the Cotton Mill 1978 Director
 Snake Crane Secret 1978 Director, Actor
 Ways Of Kung Fu 1978 Actor
 Along Comes A Tiger 1977 Director, Actor
 Iron Fisted Monk, The 1977 Brief appearance
 Iron Monkey 1977 Actor
 Magnificent Wanderers 1977 Assistant Director
 Naval Commandos, The 1977 Director
 Shaolin Deadly Kicks 1977 Director
 Wily Match, A 1977 Actor
 New Shaolin Boxers 1976 Director
 Seven Man Army 1976 Director
 Shaolin Avengers, The 1976 Director
 Shaolin Temple 1976 Director
 All Men Are Brothers 1975 Director
 Imposter, The 1975 Actor
 Protectors, The 1975 Director
 Shantung Man In Hong Kong 1975 Actor
 Triangle d'Or, Le 1975 Director
 Dumb Ox, The 1974 Director, Actor
 Mad World Of Fools, A 1974 Actor
 Manchu Boxer, The 1974 Director, Actor
 Naughty ! Naughty ! 1974 Actor
 Wits To Wits 1974 Director, Actor
 Young Lovers On Flying Wheels 1974 Actor
 Devil And Angel 1973 Actor
 Pirate, The 1973 Director
 Tales Of Larceny 1973 Actor
 Young Tiger, The 1973 Director, Actor
 Black Tavern, The 1972 Actor
 Casino, The 1972 Actor
 Delightful Forest 1972 Brief appearance
 Lizard, The 1972 Actor
 Water Margin, The 1972 Director, Actor
 Young People 1972 Actor
 Deaf And Mute Heroine 1971 Director, Actor
 Mad Killer 1971 Actor
 My Son 1970 Actor
 Singing Killer, The 1970 Brief appearance
 Taste Of Cold Steel, A 1970 Actor
 Wandering Swordsman, The 1970 Assistant Director, Actor
 Wrath Of The Sword 1970 Director, Actor
 Dead End 1969 Assistant Director, Actor
 Flying Dagger, The 1969 Actor
 Invincible Fist, The 1969 Assistant Director, Actor
 Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman 1969 Assistant Director, Actor
 Singing Thief, The 1969 Assistant Director
 Torrent Of Desire 1969 Actor
 Twelve Deadly Coins 1969 Actor
 Angel Strikes Again 1968 Actor
 Bells Of Death, The 1968 Actor
 Golden Swallow 1968 Assistant Director, Actor
 Angel With The Iron Fists 1967 Actor
 Black Falcon 1967 Actor
 King Cat 1967 Actor
 Mirror And The Lichee, The 1967 Actor
 Rape Of The Sword 1967 Actor
 Silent Swordsman, The 1967 Actor
 Sweet Is Revenge 1967 Actor
 Sword And The Lute, The 1967 Actor
 Thundering Sword, The 1967 Actor
 Trail Of The Broken Blade, The 1967 Actor
 Golden Buddha, The 1966 Actor
 Knight Of Knights, The 1966 Actor
 Magnificent Trio, The 1966 Actor
 Sons Of Good Earth 1965 Actor
 Temple Of The Red Lotus 1965 Actor
 Twin Swords, The 1965 Actor
 Lady General Hua Mulan 1964 Actor
 

 Article    Review    Poster/Gallery    DVD Captures    Trailer    DVD Captures/Trailer  
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Gallery
 
 Wu Ma pictures :  (Hide)
Battle Of Wits
House Of Fury
Iron Monkey 2
To Be N 1
High Risk
Master Of Zen
Shaolin Avengers
The Beheaded 1000
The Sword Stained With Royal Blood
Exorcist Master
Fox Legend
Red And Black
Red And Black
The Gambling Ghost
A Chinese Ghost Story 2
Ghostly Vixen
Stage Door Johnny
Swordsman
The Revenge Of Angel
The Revenge Of Angel
Blonde Fury
Just Heroes
The Bachelor's Swan Song
Couples, Couples, Couples
Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch
Lai Shi, China's Last Eunuch
Police Story 2
A Chinese Ghost Story
Eastern Condors
My Cousin The Ghost
Scared Stiff
To Err Is Humane
100 Ways To Murder Your Wife
Righting Wrongs
Mr Boo Meets Pom Pom
Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars
Pom Pom !
The Owl VS Bumbo
Wheels On Meals
Just For Fun
Project A
Carry On Pickpocket
The Dead And The Deadly
Laughing Times
By Hook Or By Crook
The Eight Escorts
Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu
Along Comes A Tiger
The Iron Fisted Monk
The Imposter
The Young Tiger
The Black Tavern
The Casino
The Lizard
The Water Margin
Young People
The Singing Killer
The Wandering Swordsman
The Wandering Swordsman
Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman
The Invincible Fist
Twelve Deadly Coins
Twelve Deadly Coins
Golden Swallow
Angel With The Iron Fists
Black Falcon
Sweet Is Revenge
The Silent Swordsman
The Sword And The Lute
The Trail Of The Broken Blade
The Magnificent Trio
 
 Other Wu Ma pictures :  (Hide)
House Of Fury (1)
Iron Monkey 2 (1)
High Risk (3)
Master Of Zen (1)
The Beheaded 1000 (2)
City On Fire (1)
Kick Boxer (2)
A Kid From Tibet (1)
Direct Line (1)
Exorcist Master (3)
 
More pictures in the gallery
 
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