I started in movies when I was seven. Having been in the movies for several decades, I think the most important thing is that I love movies.
Movies and kung fu are two of the most important aspects of Hong Kong culture. Having been in this business for so many years, it is my sincere wish to cultivate a new generation. Making action film is a high-risk business. The Hong Kong Stuntman Association has never succeeded in acquiring workers’ insurance for its members in the past 30 years but that is about to change soon. Hopefully, this will provide a safety net for fellow stunt performers.
Yuen Bun was born in 1954 to parents who were fans of Peking opera. In 1962, eight-year-old Yuen was sent to Yu Jimyuen’s China Drama Academy and learned the craft along side the likes of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Yuen, Corey Yuen and Yuen Qiu, who were collectively known as The Seven Little Fortunes. In the 1970s, Yuen began his film career as a stunt performer and actor, but it did not take long before he got engaged in action choreography. Along with Brandy Yuen Chun-yeung and Corey Yuen, Yuen Bun was action director for director Yu Chik-lim’s 1974 film The Evil Snake Girl.
By the mid-1980s, Yuen was already an established choreographer, who counted Nam Nai-choi’s The Seventh Curse (1986) and Derek Yee Tung-sing’s The Lunatics (1986) as his most memorable work. In the late 1980s, Yuen joined Tony Ching Siu-tung’s stunt team, which led to his involvement in the design of many classic action sequences in films such as Dragon Inn (1992) and Swordsman 2 (1992), in which he and Ma Yuk-sing served as Ching’s right-hand men. His work deeply impressed director Tsui Hark and producer Ng See-yuen, who hired him to be the action director for Once Upon a Time in China III (1993).
With Tsui and Ng’s encouragement, Yuen became a firsttime director with Once Upon a Time in China IV (1993), which grossed over HK$11 million. Two years later, he co-directed (with John Chui Jong-shinn) and starred in the actioner Tough Beauty and the Sloppy Slop. But tepid results at the box office led Yuen to retreat to action choreography.
Yuen’s ability to construct and stage fights, is lauded by professionals of the craft. In the past dozen years, Yuen became a frequent collaborator of Johnnie To and was tasked with designing many captivating gun fights and action sequences for films released by the latter’s Milkyway Image, including Breaking News (2004), Yesterday Once More (2004), Throw Down (2004) and Sparrow (2008). Recently, Yuen rekindled his partnership with Tsui, designing the action sequences for the latter’s Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010), Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011) and Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2013). In total, Yuen had worked on the action design of almost 100 Hong Kong productions.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Fearful 24 Hours||LAW Kei|
||Tough Beauty and the Sloppy Slop||CHUI Jong Shinn John|
||Once Upon a Time in China IV|