choy lay fut kung fu

Like it or not, the public perception of the martial arts stems in large part from movies and television. Read how these two actors helped shape that view throughout their work.

It seems that every day we’re reminded of how time flies. I can't believe that this month marks the sixth year since the world lost two of its biggest martial arts film stars in two days. Interestingly, both will be remembered in part because of their connection to Bruce Lee. On June 3, 2009, veteran Hong Kong kung fu film star Shih Kien died from kidney failure at age 96. In the West, he was best-known for playing the inscrutable Han in Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon (1973) — specifically, for the battle in which he sliced and diced Lee using his prosthetic hand in the hall of mirrors. When Enter the Dragon came out, most of us had no idea that Shih had already starred in more than 400 films. In most of them, he played villains. It was the result of the typecasting that followed his very first movie role: He portrayed a Japanese spy in Flower in a Sea of Blood (1940). Shih’s skill set was diverse. Not only did he act — frequently starring opposite the famous Kwan Tak-hing in Kwan's early Huang Fei Hung films, among others — but he also served as an action director.

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