Ma Wu

Biography

Wu was born Feng Hongyuan in Tianjin. At 16 he moved to Guangzhou and became a machinist before migrating to Hong Kong in 1960. In 1962, Wu enrolled in the Shaw Brothers acting course. Graduating a year later, he became a contract player for the studio and made his first appearance in Lady General Hua Mulan. He then appeared in such films as Temple Of The Red Lotus (1965), The Knight Of Knights (1966) and Trail Of The Broken Blade (1967). He took on the stage name 'Wu Ma' as it reflected the animal in the year of his birth (the horse), and believed it was short enough for audiences to remember. During an interview, Wu explained that he stumbled upon directing when he was offered an unexpected trip to Japan for a movie. The film's original assistant director was unable to clear his visa in time, and Wu was called upon to take his place. After the experience, Wu decided to become a director, and became famed director Chang Cheh's assistant in 1968. Wu assisted Chang in movies such as The Golden Swallow, and also continued to pursue acting. In 1970, Wu became a director in his own right. His directorial debut, Wrath Of The Sword, was released the same year. In 1971, Wu released one of his seminial works, The Deaf And Mute Heroine. Wu mainly concentrated on directing in the 1970s, directing several movies - such as Young Tiger (1973) and Wits To Wits (1974). Wits To Wits has been noted as one of the precursors of the knockabout comedy kung fu genre that was later made famous by Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. Another movie Wu directed, Manchu Boxer (1974), featured Sammo Hung, then a young choreographer and later one of the trend-setters of Hong Kong cinema. This marked the beginning of a strong working relationship between the two, which would become prominent towards the 1980s. He also co-directed with his former mentor Chang in several movies - The Water Margin (1972), The Pirate (1973), All Men Are Brothers (1975) and Naval Commandos (1976). While most of his output during this period was as a director, Wu continued to appear as an actor and appeared both in his own movies and in several others, although his roles were generally limited to small appearances. During the mid-1970s, Wu joined a small exodus who were leaving Shaw Brothers due to corruption within the studio and became an independent director. Despite becoming an independent director, Wu was still able to work closely with some Shaw Brothers stars such as Ti Lung (The Massive (1978)). As the 1970s and the era of the martial arts film wound down, Wu Ma's output as a director also slowed. His acting output, however, increased as he became increasingly well-known as a character actor. While Wu had made appearances in Hung's 1970s movies (such as Iron Fisted Monk), Wu's association with Sammo Hung began in earnest in the early 1980s. Wu appeared in Hung's groundbreaking Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980), a movie widely acknowledged as the precursor of the Hong Kong vampire genre, and directed and appeared in The Dead And The Deadly (1983), a noted classic in its genre which earned Wu a Hong Kong Film Award nomination for Best Director. Throughout the 1980s, Wu and Hung had a close working relationship, often with Wu as the director and Hung as the producer (such as My Cousin The Ghost (1986)). Wu also worked in Hung's production company Bo Ho as the production manager, and made appearances in almost every Hung-directed movie of the 1980s. Amongst the most notable movies were Millionaire's Express (1986) and Wheels on Meals (1984). Wu Ma and Jackie Chan, 'Mr Canton and Lady Rose'. Towards the mid-1980s, Wu became one of the most prolific character actors in Hong Kong, his now-rubbery face able to shift effortlessly across a spectrum of emotions. During the 1980s, he received three Hong Kong Film Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor - for Righting Wrongs (1986), where he played a policeman having to deal with his son's death; A Chinese Ghost Story (1987) as Yin Chek-Ha; and in The Last Eunuch In China (1988), as Lord Ting. Wu also began a working relationship with Tsui Hark, and appeared in several of Hark's movies. Aside from A Chinese Ghost Story, Wu also appeared in the earlier Peking Opera Blues (1986). After A Chinese Ghost Story, said by Wu to be amongst his favourite movies, Wu began to focus on the supernatural genre. Much of his directorial efforts after 1987 were within that genre, such as Portrait Of A Nymph (1988), Burning Sensation (1989) and Fox Legend (1991). Wu continued his working relationship with Hark, and appeared in Once Upon A Time In China (1991) and Swordsman (1991). The early 1990s were an especially prolific period in Wu's career - with Wu appearing in over 14 movies during one year. As the Hong Kong film industry began to slump, Wu's career also slowed considerably. After appearing in High Risk (1995), many of his appearances were either in low-budget movies or in television series. Wu has become an active player in television, and has made several series mainly made for mainland Chinese audiences. Wu stated that working in television is quite a contrast to working in film, as the former takes up far more time. Wu has also appeared in the recent movie House of Fury (2005).

Expand
Person Photo
Known For
Movie Poster

A Chinese Ghost Story

Yin Chek Hsia

Movie Poster

Iron Monkey 2

Ken

Movie Poster

Kickboxer

So

Movie Poster

The Executioner

Guardian of Hell

Movie Poster

Deadful Melody

Fire Master

Movie Poster

Peking Opera Blues

Mr. Wong

Movie Poster

Hong Kong 1941

Chairman Liu Yan-Mau

Movie Poster

Gui meng jiao

Lu Hsien

Movie Poster

A Chinese Ghost Story 2

Yin Chek Hsia / Swordsman

Movie Poster

Shaolin Avengers

Yu Chi

Starring In
Movie Poster

White Vengeance

Grand Tutor

Movie Poster

Legendary Amazons

Imperial Tutor Pang

Movie Poster

14 Blades

Jiao Zhong

Movie Poster

Battle of the Warriors

Royal Tutor of Liang

Movie Poster

House Of Fury

Uncle Chiu

Movie Poster

Iron Monkey 2

Ken

Movie Poster

Meltdown

Frankie's Father

Movie Poster

Shaolin Avengers

Yu Chi

Movie Poster

Kickboxer

So

Movie Poster

Deadful Melody

Fire Master

Movie Poster

The Executioner

Guardian of Hell

Movie Poster

Painted Skin

Zhang's Senior

Movie Poster

A Chinese Ghost Story 2

Yin Chek Hsia / Swordsman

Movie Poster

Police Story 2

Mall Security Guard

Movie Poster

A Chinese Ghost Story

Yin Chek Hsia

Movie Poster

Eastern Condors

Vietnamese Officer

Movie Poster

Gui meng jiao

Lu Hsien

Movie Poster

Above the Law

Uncle Tsai / Joe's Father

Movie Poster

Peking Opera Blues

Mr. Wong

Movie Poster

Yes, Madam!

Beat Cop

Movie Poster

Mr. Vampire

Rice Seller

Movie Poster

Hong Kong 1941

Chairman Liu Yan-Mau

Movie Poster

Wheels on Meals

Metronome-Clock Patient (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Jackie Chan's Project A

Mahjong Player

Movie Poster

The Prodigal Son

Iron Palm

Movie Poster

Spooky Encounters

Fa Kau

Movie Poster

The Wandering Swordsman

'Foxy' Hou Jou

Movie Poster

Return of the One-Armed Swordsman

'White Knight' Kuan Hsien

Movie Poster

The Bells Of Death

Yuan Ke

MobileIcon
app store google play