My father Lau Cham was a disciple of Hung Ga martial arts. His master Lam Sai-wing was the student of the legendary Wong Fei-hung, which means I am the fourth-generation descendent of Wong. When these people died, they left me an inheritance, which was king-fu.
(Taken from his acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2010.)
Lau Kar-leung was born in Guangzhou in 1937. He had only four years of formal education before beginning his training in martial arts under his father Lau Cham, who himself studied under a pupil of the legendary master Wong Fei-hung. Lau moved to Hong Kong with his family in 1949, and got work in the film industry through his father, where he started out as an extra and martial arts stuntman. From 1955 onwards he appeared in over a dozen Wong Fei-hung films as villains or minor characters.
He began working as a martial arts choreographer on films in 1963, when he partnered with Tong Kai on South Dragon, North Phoenix (1963). Their work so impressed Run Run Shaw that he invited the pair to join Shaw Brothers. Lau and Tong subsequently did martial arts choreography on Temple of the Red Lotus (1965) and The Twin Swords (1965), both directed by Hsu-Tsenghung. Later on, the pair worked frequently with Chang Cheh, and contributed to such classics as One Armed Swordsman (1967), Golden Swallow (1968), The Heroic Ones (1970), Boxer from Shantung (1972), Heroes Two (1974), Shaolin Martial Arts (1974), Five Shaolin Masters (1974) and Disciples of Shaolin (1975). At the same time, Lau continued to serve as martial arts choreographer on Cantonese films, not working full time at Shaw Brothers until 1971.
Lau made his directorial debut with Spiritual Boxer (1975), and was the first choreographer to rise to the position of director. He went on to direct various films including Challenge of the Masters (1976), The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978), Hero of the East (1978), Dirty Ho (1979), My Young Auntie (1981), Legendary Weapons Of China (1982) and The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984). He won the Best Action Film Award at the Asia Film Festival twice, for The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Hero of the East. The final film he made for Shaw Brothers was Martial Arts of Shaolin (1986), after which Lau worked with Cinema City to make Tiger on Beat (1988) and Aces Go Places V: The Terracotta Hit (1989), and acted in The Thirty Million Dollar Rush (1987) and Evil Cat (1987). After directing Drunken Master II (1994) and Drunken Master III (1994), Lau took a ten-year break before making Drunken Monkey (2003), which turned out to be his last outing as a director. The final film he worked on was Seven Swords (2005), in which he served as martial arts coordinator as well as actor. He won the Best Action Choreography Award at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan and the Hong Kong Film Awards for Drunken Master II, and the Golden Horse Best Action Choreography Award for Seven Swords.
Lau was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2010. He passed away in 2013.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Drunken Master II|
||Drunken Master III|
||Tiger on the Beat 2|
||Aces Go Places V : The Terracotta Hit|
||Tiger on Beat|
||Martial Arts of Shaolin|
||Disciple of the 36th Chamber|
||The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter|
||The Lady is the Boss|
||Legendary Weapons of China|
||Cat vs Rat|
||My Young Auntie|
||Heaven and Hell||CHANG Cheh|
||Return to the 36th Chamber|
||The Shadow Boxing|
||Mad Monkey Kung Fu|
||The 36th Chamber of Shaolin|
||Hero of the East|
||Executioners from Shaolin|
||Challenge of the Masters|