Sammo Hung in Singapore for Masterclass |

Sammo Hung
Sammo Hung in The Bodyguard (Asian Film Awards Academy)

Hong Kong’s trailblazing kung fu luminary, Sammo Hung will be in town for the 12th Singapore Chinese Film Festival (SCFF) from 26 April to 5 May. He’s slated to participate in the Asian Film Awards Academy’s Masterclass Series on 4 May. SCFF’s “Filmmaker in Focus” will also be screening five of his seminal cinematic works.

Having entered the film industry in the 1960s as a stuntman and extra, Hung’s since appeared in hundreds of movies, either as actor, director, stunt coordinator, or sometimes all three. Here’s an opportunity to immerse in the artistry of one of Asia’s most revered filmmakers.

Sammo and Wing Chun Cinema

Unless you’ve been watching kung fu films of the 80s, the first time you’ve seen Sammo Hung’s work is probably on the first two “Ip Man” films. He won the Best Action Choreography award at the HKFA, and Best Supporting Actor award at the Asian Film Awards for his performance as a Hung Fist master in “Ip Man 2”.

Hung has been in countless classic action films where he’s brought multiple characters to life. However, fans of Hung have always known him as an action comedy icon, much like his fellow classmate Jackie Chan. Movies like “Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog” (1978), “Winners and Sinners” (1983), “My Lucky Stars” (1985), “Eastern Condors” (1987), and “Princess and the Seven Kung Fu Masters” (2013) showcase his uncanny talent.

Throughout his illustrious career, Hung has not only been in front of the camera, but also behind the scenes. While he’s directed over 30 films, it’s his prowess as an action choreographer that is most impressive. His Sammo Hung Stunt Team has nurtured outstanding film talents and greatly strengthened Hong Kong and Asian cinema. You can see his impressive action choreography in films like “Kung Fu Cult Master” (1993), “The Prodigal Son” (1981), and of course, “Ip Man” (2008).

Masterclass and Screening

As part of the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, the masterclass aims to offer valuable insights into Sammo Hung’s creative process. Hung will share over half a century of his experiences, spanning across film directing, martial arts directing, scriptwriting and acting.

It’s a firsthand look at how Hung rose to fame as an international cinema icon from his early days in Hong Kong, to Hollywood. However, all tickets to the free masterclass (to be held at LASALLE College of the Arts on 4 May) were sold out moments after they were released.

Sammo Hung Retrospective Films

If you’ve missed your opportunity to see Hung at the free masterclass, fret not. He’ll also be appearing in person for pre- and post-screenings of some of his films which form the basis for the masterclass.

Location: Golden Village Bugis+
Tickets: GV Cinema box office or GV website
Price: S$15.50 (Public); S$14.50 (Singapore Film Society Member / SUSS Faculty, Students, Alumni / GV Movie Club Member)

Warriors Two (1978) | May 3 | 7:00pm
[Hung will attend the pre-screening greeting]

Warriors Two (Asian Film Awards Academy)

This classic film delves into the roots of Wing Chun, a martial art form popularised through the “Ip Man” franchise. A bank cashier discovers a plot to kill the mayor, but is unable warn the mayor and almost gets killed. A mumbling Shaolin disciple rescues him and takes him to his master to teach him a formidable form of kung fu. Witness the early action styles and techniques employed by Hung and his stunt team to understand the evolution of martial arts cinema and its impact on contemporary action films.

Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980) | May 12 (Sat) | 12pm

Encounters of the Spooky Kind (Asian Film Awards Academy)

Hung plays a carriage driver defending himself from zombie-like corpses who’ve been sent to kill him by his wife’s lover. This film kickstarted Hong Kong-style zombie movies, pioneering a unique blend of psychedelic thriller, comedy, and martial arts. It set the tone for the popular “Mr Vampire” series that Hung produced in the mid-1980s. As the director of this film, Hung will share how he developed an original style of Hong Kong-style comedy.

Winners and Sinners (1983) | May 4 (Sat) | 7pm

Winners and Sinners (Asian Film Awards Academy)

First of the “Lucky Star” series, it’s a masterpiece of contemporary HK comedy about five friends fresh from prison. They try to stay crime-free but inadvertently find themselves caught in a Triad war. In the masterclass, the film is an introduction to Director Hung’s career in the 80s, and his success in Hollywood.

The Bodyguard (2016) | May 5 (Sun) | 11.30am
[Hung will attend the post-screening Q&A]

The Bodyguard (Asian Film Awards Academy)

Hung plays a retired bodyguard with dementia settled into a corner of the world where China, Russia and North Korea meet. He befriends a young girl, and when her life is endangered by her father’s criminal connections, he uses his abandoned skills to save her. This Mainland-Hong Kong project is a testament to his mastery in literature and martial arts. In the masterclass, Hung will offer insights into his journey working in Mainland China during the 2000s.

Painted Faces (1988) | May 5 (Sun) | 7pm

(Asian Film Awards Academy)

Set against the backdrop of Hung’s childhood memories in the Peking Opera school under Master Yu Jim Yuen. This film earned him the Best Actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. In the masterclass, Director Hung will delve into his childhood recollections and the early stages of his career depicted in the film.

Who is Sammo?

Sammo Hung was a prominent figure among the Seven Little Fortunes, a group of talented individuals trained in Peking Opera and martial arts at Hong Kong’s China Drama Academy. Led by master Yu Jim Yuen, this group included notable figures such as Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Corey Yuen.

Under Yuen’s tutelage, Hung laid the groundwork for his future as an action icon. Hung’s relentless work ethic propelled him from actor to action choreographer, director, and producer. In 1982, he achieved dual recognition at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his directorial debut, “Carry On Pickpocket,” and his action choreography in “The Prodigal Son.” Subsequent successes, including “Painted Faces” and the “Ip Man” franchise, solidified his status as a cinematic force.

Honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th Asian Film Awards in 2023, Hung’s enduring legacy and impact on Asian cinema remain unparalleled.