Johnny Mak was born in 1949 in Hong Kong, and studied at St. Joseph College. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the 5th Actors Training Course at Rediffusion Hong Kong and worked for a time as actor and production assistant. Later, he was promoted to the position of producer. In 1975, he made a name for himself when he produced two episodes of the series Ten Sensational Cases, which were very popular and threatened TVB’s leading position at the ratings. He served as a producer for such series as Big Sister (1976) and Operation Manhunt (1977) as well as Executive Producer on Great White Sharks (1979), Crocodile Tears (1978) and Reincarnated (1979), all of which achieved considerable success. Mak was promoted to the position of Production Manager, and the following year he was further promoted to Head of TV Production.
Rediffusion announced it was seeking buyers in 1981 and Mak took advantage of the rising popularity of local films to join the film industry, forming his own production company. He was the producer and presenter of various films including Lonely Fifteen (1982), Crimson Street (1982), Possessed (1983) and Everlasting Love (1984), of which Lonely Fifteen was a critical and commercial success. With the backing of Golden Harvest, Mak directed the feature Long Arm of the Law (1984), which was both critically acclaimed and a box office hit, and for which he won the Best Director Award at the Golden Horse Awards. That year, Golden Harvest boss Raymond Chow partnered with Mak to form Genesis Films, and thereafter Mak focused exclusively on being an executive producer. He continued to work with Golden Harvest on various productions under the name of different companies, and produced such films as Seven Angels (1985), Midnight Girl (1986), Spiritual Love (1987) and Greatest Lover (1988), Sun, Moon, and Star (1988), The Iceman Cometh (1989) and Sentence to Hang (1989).
In 1991, he produced To Be Number One for Golden Harvest, which grossed HK$38 million at the box office, not only winning Best Film and Best Scriptwriting honors at the Hong Kong Film Awards but also spawning a host of films depicting the lives of Triad bosses collectively known as "Bigtimer films". That same year, Mak’s company presented the hit film Sex And Zen and in 1993, he wrote and executive produced the epics Lord of East China and Lord of East China 2. The last film that Genesis Films produced for Golden Harvest was Train Robbers (1995). With the downturn of the Hong Kong film industry in the 1990s, Mak retreated from film and concentrated on conducting business in China. His last work to date as a writer and producer was Island of Greed (1997), starring Tony Leung Ka-fai and Andy Lau Tak-wah.
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||Long Arm of the Law|