Over a film career that lasted only from the late 1980's to the mid-90's, Amy Yip was able to turn herself into one of the best known cult stars in HK history. Reminiscent in some ways of Jayne Mansfield, Amy built her career on a voluptuous figure and a willingness to poke fun at it. That is really what I enjoy most about the Yipster. The vast majority of her films are comedies in which she is often the target of jokes regarding her figure. Often her role in a film is no more than a cameo in which she displays some cleavage for good humor and then is gone – always leaving a memorable impression. There is also a certain sweetness about her face and personality that is so in contrast with her over grown proportions.
Her sexy ones are:
Sex and Zen – it was a huge hit in HK and made her famous throughout the world - but I am not all that fond of it.
Erotic Ghost Story - much prefer this film which has great production values and has a fun supernatural tale to go along with the boom de boom.
Robotrix - great cheesy flick in which Amy is actually a robot who wants to know what it feels like to have human sex and also battles Billy Chow in hand to hand combat!
Jail House Eros - bit of a disappointment really - women in jail flick with an evil spirit after everyone.
The comedies that she was in were pretty good:
My Neighbors are Phantoms - shares the stage with Chingmy Yau and Cheung Man but has some nice scenes in yet another supernatural tale.
Ghostly Vixen - cult film - Amy is an evil spirit that has to seduce and kill 101 male virgins to get eternal life or something like that - a great 20 foot tongue duel in this one.
Great Pretenders - she, Tony Leung, Simon Yam and Raymond Wong are all con artists - not bad at all.
Stooges in HK - Amy plays the wife of James Wong - its a satire of TV and Amy spends much of her time playing with vibrators if I recall! It is actually pretty funny at times.
Magnificent Scoundrels – famous for the kiss that is perhaps the funniest and most disgusting scene in a Stephen Chow film - right up there with the snot scene in King of Comedy.
And then there were actually a few dramas in which she was surprisingly decent - To Be Number One, Requital and China Dolls. And not to be missed are her two "girls with guns" films - The Inspector Wears Skirts II and III (a.k.a. Raid on the Royal Casino Marine) in which she plays one of the members of the female cop squad - but rather than using guns she tends to use her unbuttoned blouse as a weapon of distraction.
And finally she has two classic cameos - one in another Stephen Chow film Look Out Officer with Stanley Fung and perhaps her most famous scene is a cameo in Blue Jean Monster in which she plays a prostitute called Death Ray and is hired by Pauline Wong to see if her husband Shing Fui On has gone "gay" - she has to be seen in her bunny costume to be believed and what happens to her breasts is even more amazing!
Born 08/07/69 in Taipei Taiwan
In a recent interview with the HK Film Biweekly, Lin stated that he originally worked as a special effects costume makeup artist in the States before he came to HK in 1996. While doing that he came to be friends with a lot of the local moviemakers, including Tsui Hark.
Lin later travelled to Taiwan and became acquainted with the legendary director, Chu Yen Ping. Lin helped Chu in creating some of the FX custom makeup for his films. Chu's connections won Lin several roles in movies such as The Blacksheep Affair, The Accident, and some others. Lin Hoi recently has moved from the States to HK permanently. His career has yet to take off as I would have expected with his handsome looks and he has only been in a handful of films since 2000 - Naked Weapon (the Japanese yakuza), Love au Zen, Vampire Combat. Some earlier films are Sunshine Cops, 2000 A.D and God.com.
(Information and write-up provided by Sebastian Tse)
Andy is a very popular singer – and has appeared in a few films in which he generally does quite well. He was May Lo's caretaker in Girls without Tomorrow, one of the Wonder Seven, Love Amoeba Style and also in the fine Japanese production Swallowtail Butterfly. Andy started first as one of the winners in the TVB-organized New Talents Singing Contest and in 1996, his album, Andy Hui's Best 17, stayed on the HK Pop Music Top Ten Chart for a consecutive 20 weeks. That record has still to be broken by any others. But to top that, the lucky fellow has been dating Sammi Cheng for a couple of years!
(Information provided by Sebastian Tse)
During the late 80's and the early 90's, Andy was so popular that he was literally making multiple films at the same time. He was sleeping in his car for a few hours before he would rush off to the next production. On top of this, he somehow found the time to develop a huge singing career and is one of the "Four Sky Kings of Cantopop".
Andy began at TVB in 1980 - took their acting and kung fu classes - and made a number of very popular series that made him into a television star. The series that pushed him into the starlight was the 1982 "The Emissary" where he played an undercover cop - one of his co-stars was Tony Leung Chiu-wan. He along with Tony, Felix Wong, Miu Kiu-wai and Ken Tong came to be known as "The Five Tigers"and appeared in a few series together. They later reunited for the film "The Tigers" in 1991. In 1984 Andy ran into contract complications with TVB when they insisted he sign a five year contract and he refused. Other well-known television series that he starred in were "Eagle Hunter", "Return of the Condor Heroes" and "The Duke of Mount Deer" in which he played the King.
During his stay at TVB Andy had slowly begun making films - his first was a supporting role in "Once Upon a Rainbow" in 1982, but it was Ann Hui's film "Boat People" that made people take notice of this baby-faced actor with his baby fat still well in place. Though he continued working at TVB on a project basis, Andy began focusing more on his film career but it wasn't really until 1988 when it began to take on legendary status - that year he made 10 films of which Wong Kar-wai's "As Tears Go By" made him into a real star and solidified his image as the tough rebellious youth with a good heart - a role he was to play in many variations for the next few years - "A Moment of Romance" being perhaps the best display of this persona.
Over the next few years Andy was to make loads of films - 16 in 1989, 11 in 1990, 13 in 1991 and 10 in 1992. No one was bigger at the box office than Andy other than perhaps Chow Yun Fat, but Chow began cutting back on his productions as he became much pickier in his choices. The same perhaps could not be said for Andy who went from terrific film to terrible film in the blink of an eye. In the mid-90's his film numbers decreased dramatically and he had few hits - but it was Wong Jing who brought him back to prominance with "Mob Story", "Con Man", "Fascination Amour" and "Prince Charming" in 1998/1999. Then along came Johnny To - To had never thought much of Andy as an actor but he needed some box office magic and hired Andy for his 1999 film "Running Out of Time" that became a critical and box office success. This partnership was to give Andy some of his best roles in the next few years - the romantic comedies "Needing You" and "Love on a Diet", the assassin in "Fulltime Killer" and in 2003 Andy did perhaps his best work in To's "Running on Karma". Since then he has begun to conquer the Mainland with "House of Flying Daggers " and "A World Without Thieves" - two Mainland productons that were huge hits. In 2001 he completed his 100th film - "A Fighters Blues". With the "Infernal Affairs" trilogy Andy has received the respect as an actor that he has always wanted and he is more popular than ever today and one of the few actors keeping Hong Kong film alive with his sheer charisma.
He has also taken on the role as a producer over the years. In 1992 he formed Teamwork Motion Pictures to primarily make vehicles for himself - some of these being "Saviour of the Soul", "Days of Tomorrow" and "Moon Warriors", but he has also reached out to help with smaller independent films that he was not in like "Made in Hong Kong", "The Longest Summer" and "Runaway Pistol".
Like many stars in Hong Kong, Andy does double duty as a singer - though he went from actor to singer while most of the time the trend is to go from singer to actor. He began singing back in the early 1980's but success came very slowly and it wasn't until the early 90's that his singing career took off and he was labelled as one of the "Four Sky Kings of Canto-pop" along with Aaron Kwok, Jacky Cheung and Leon Lai.
(Much of the information from "Andy Lau, Actor
in Foucs" from HKIFF)
Born 09/20/50 in Taiwan
Before Angela Mao there were certainly other female action stars - Cheng Pei Pei and Polly Shang Kwan to name two of the best - but Angela captured the imagination of the HK film fans around the world unlike any other and to this day she is still held in legendary status. She brought a charisma and an intensity to the screen that few action stars can. She was beautiful with her big wide eyes and lovely features, but never attempted to use her good looks to further her popularity. It was a rare Angela film in which the audience was able to glimpse so much as a bare arm. What she had of course was an incredible athletic prowess that enabled her to perform stunning acrobatics and fights on the screen. Her quick leg kicks and somersaults are a pleasure to watch. I am not a 70's kung fu fan in general, but I love watching Angela on the screen.
My top five Angela Mao films - Broken Oath, Hapkido, Lady Constables, Lady Whirlwind and The Legendary Strike.
Her quirky performance as Jordan Chan's mall girlfriend in Bio - Zombie is a favorite of many. A few of her other films are Juliet in Love, PR Girls and Last Ghost Standing. She also was a spokesperson for a breast enlargement cream which she swears worked for her! Angela was brought up in Montreal and did not come to HK until she was 19 years old. She came to enter the Miss China International Contest, but after no success she returned to Canada. In 1995 though she gave HK one more try - joined TVB and got roles in a few shows - Cold Blood Warm Heart and A Measure of Love. This led to her debut in film in 1997 - F*** Off. Over the past couple of years she has appeared in a number of solid films though her part is often a comic character type - You Shoot, I Shoot, Beauty and the Breast, Fat Choi Spirit and Women from Mars.
Born on January 23rd 1973 in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia.
In these Hong Kong movie doldrums, it is the appearance of young actresses like Angelica that still gives lots of hope for the future of Hong Kong film. Though she has only appeared in a small handful of films – making little effort apparently to capitalize on the worldwide popularity of The Eye – she has shown an enormous amount of acting talent. It is this talent as opposed to an idol status or cutie pie looks that has garnered her so much attention thus far.
(Written up by YTSL)
Angie Cheung Wai-yee
This Malaysian-Chinese actress left Malaysia (who hails from Ipoh -- the same hometown as Michelle Yeoh) to make a career in HK and her curvy build and sexy Carrie Ng like mouth made her a favorite in a few Cat III films - and though she often dresses revealingly, she never appears nude.
When I Look Upon the Stars (1998), Believe it or Not
She was Jade Leung's tough cop partner in Satin Steel and has also appeared in Modern Love as the one night affair woman, Raped by an Angel 6, King of Robbery and Naughty Couples alongside Francis Ng. She and Francis were an item for a while. Anita has been acting in some mainland Chinese movies and TV dramas between 1998-2000. Recently, she's been back in HK, working as a DJ and recently told the press that by doing so she has forfeited a large amount of money.
Born 10/10/63 in the Guangshi Province of China
Her sultry lips, large sad sleepy eyes and a boatload of talent has made Anita Mui a huge star in both the music and the film worlds since the mid-80s. Her father died when she was young and she toured as a young girl with her mother's cabaret group (similar to her character in Who's the Woman, Who's the Man). She often sang on street corners and lounges with her sister Ann as well to earn money. In 1982 she won a singing contest on TV and soon became a popular singing star. Anita's debut album Debts of Love was a huge hit and she was on her way. In 1985 her reputation was bolstered even further and her image set with the huge hit album, Bad Girl. Her stage show in which she wore many outrageously flamboyant costumes and sang suggestive lyrics had people calling her the "Madonna of Asia". For many of us the introduction to her lovely voice was via the theme song in The Heroic Trio. As of 2002 her singing and concert career are still going strong and she has released 38 albums. At one point in 1991 she announced her retirement from singing, but returned three years later - for needed money according to some.
“One day (night) in May 1992, Anita Mui and some friends were giving a birthday party for her assistant in a private room at Take One, a karaoke club in Kowloon. A triad cum movie producer named Wong Long Wai (of the powerful 14k triad and the infamously violent Hunan Gang) was also in the club. Learning of Anita Mui's presence, he "evidently asked her to have a drink with him and sing a song". Anita not only refused, but did so in English -- an act considered to be rather rude and got slapped for her troubles.
Her love life is often the subject of the press - and over the years she has been linked up with a number of men - among them actors Chiu Man Chuk and Ben Lam - but most have said that the press scrutiny of being Anita's boyfriend was too much pressure.
My top five picks for Anita are Rouge, Shanghai Shanghai, Heroic Trio, Saviour of the Soul and My Father is a Hero.
For a number of years during the 1990’s, this former Miss Hong Kong (something which gets mentioned in Comrades, A Love Story) was the "It Girl" of Hong Kong film with a series of comedies that tickled the funny bones of audiences throughout Asia. Her quirky characters, wide-eyed gamine looks and appealing grin captured the hearts of men and women alike. Her unique shorthaired coiffed style was a sensation and it had nearly every teenage girl in Hong Kong asking her local beauty parlor for the “Anita” look.
My five top picks for Anita are Golden Girls, He's a Woman, She's a Man, The Chinese Feast, From Beijing with Love and Whatever You Want.
Ann grew up in Hong Kong and at the age of 13 she won a HK ice skating championship. In 1984, she won a singles competition in Dallas and the Taiwan Cup pairs title. A former classmate of hers from King George V (an English school in HK) wrote me that she is of mixed heritage - always was known as Ann Bridgewater - and spoke perfect British accented English. After her skating successes, she was offered a place at Oxford University, but rejected it in favor of a contract with Cinema City who wanted her to star in "I Do".
In 1994 she got married to a businessman from Vancouver and left the film industry. She also studied pharmacy and is now working as a physiatricist, holding a degree from the University of Hong Kong. She was divorced but remarried and it was reported in one of Sanney's October 2000 reports that she was six months pregnant.
(Partial information provided from Crayon)
Ann Mui was the sister of her much more famous sibling, Anita. She never neared the success of Anita and sadly died of cancer at a very young age in 2000.
This tall somewhat gawky actress has been in a number of supporting roles since 1994 - some being I've Got You Babe, He and She, Mean Street Story, Victory, L...O...V...E Love, Lawyer Lawyer and My Dad is a Jerk.
Annie made her debut in high style in 1996 - co-starring with Jackie Chan in First Strike. Apparently her Cantonese was so bad that Jackie was humorously ragging on her and teaching her Cantonese - that were in fact curse words! Her lop-sided grin has brought her some other good roles - Love Amoeba Style, 18 Springs, Ballistic Kiss (as Donnie's love) and the terrific B horror film Demon's Baby.
Along with Alan Tam, Anthony first gained fame as a member of the rock group, The Wynners - but went into the film world in the early 80's. He was interested not only in acting but also in producing and directing. He formed a film company in 1981 and over the years has produced and sometimes acted in a number of films. Some of them are Mr. Virgin, Happy Bigamist, To Err is Human and one of my favorite films - the sweet A Fishy Story with Maggie Cheung.
Anthony Wong is clearly a man who takes his craft seriously and has become without a doubt one of the very best actors in HK during the 90's. At times though it appears that he has no patience for those of lesser talent and has been known to belittle actors, directors and the HK film industry. In the Mile Wood's book Cine East, Simon Yam calls Wong "a very angry man" and his appearance at one of the HK Film Awards dressed up as Freddy Krueger had people wondering about him. He makes a lot of films - some brilliant and others absolute low-budget garbage. One can generally discern which by judging his performance - in a good film that he believes in he becomes simply mesmerizing on the screen, while in a bad film he looks like he can just barely keep his eyes open. For a few years in the mid-90s he was suffering from some health problems and his weight ballooned – but he is back to top form now.
The top five picks for Anthony Wong films:
The Mission, Beast Cops, Rock N' Roll Cop, Organized Crime and Triad Bureau
and The Untold Story.
One of Hong Kong’s latest hotties to make a splash is this actress/model by way of Taiwan. She has made some waves by way of her appearances in Born to be King (as Chicken’s Japanese wife, Nanako Kusakari), Sharp Guns (the S&M killer, Rain), Runaway (as a mute Thai woman), Cop on a Mission, 2002 (the Fire Ghost), The Era of Vampires (in a rather dull role) and as the sleek assassin in Naked Weapon.
Astrid grew up in Canada and is mainly a TV actress. The few films in which she has appeared have included Night Club, Violent Cop and Sunshine Cops.
Athena is one of the lovelier and freshest faces in HK. She is extremely popular among both males and females and has become a successful singer as well. Her 1992 film debut was in Stephen Chow's Fight Back to School II (and they became involved as well for quite a spell) and her clean wholesome image immediately made her a star. There is constant pressure on her to act in more seductive roles and show more skin, but she has refused to do so. What would you expect from a woman who lists "buying underwear" as the most embarrassing thing she does!
Though others get most of the dazzling scenes in the film The Blade, the strong presence of Austin who plays the head of the sword factory is vital to the film. Just recently I caught him in a totally different type of role - as a masterful and ruthless professional killer in Pom Pom and Hot Hot. He has a quiet charisma and strength that I wish would be utilized more in films.