Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Happy Birthday to the Wild Man of Hong Kong Cinema: Anthony Wong


Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, born on this day in 1961, is one of the world's most important character actors, a mix between Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi and Michael Ironside. A versatile actor who can play in any range but who has often favored extreme roles, he has managed to stay very, very busy. IMDB credits him with 192 appearances. In his way he is the heir to character players like Timothy Carey (inasmuch as anyone can be "like" Carey) and Warren Oates. Able to play a bad guy and remain somehow sympathetic, as well as likable (if complicated) heroes.

He is also known as a rebellious loose-cannon in real life, which he alludes to onstage at this year's Hong Kong film awards, where he goes off he rails a little bit, expanding his 30 second presenter slot to three and a half minutes of awkward autobiographical riffing:


Grady Hendrix describes Anthony Wong in this way:
Anthony Wong Chau-sang in any movie—Hong Kong’s greatest character actor is like the Swiss Army knife of delicious bad guys. In Erotic Ghost Story 2 he’s a demon who dresses like a member of the KISS army and flies. In John Woo’s Hard Boiled he’s Johnny, a man whose wardrobe consists solely of eye-searing 90’s suits. In The Heroic Trio he’s a mute martial arts monster who eats his own severed fingers. He’s a normal guy transformed into a homicidal maniac seeking vengeance on all taxi drivers because he had a bad cab ride in Taxi Hunter. In the Young & Dangerous series he’s the legendary Tai Fei, who spends five films demonstrating different ways to pick his nose. In Ebola Syndrome he plays a serial killer who is a carrier of the ebola virus who spreads it to the customers in his restaurant by having sex with mounds of raw ground beef. And in Jiang Hu—The Triad Zone he plays the mythical General Kwan, God of War, who is unlucky in love and confused by remote controls. Truly, Anthony Wong contains multitudes.
In his spare time, Wong is a family man and a singer and composer. His music is generally described as punk, but actually more New Wave/Art Rock. It's not bad. I recommend the track "Let Thunder-God Gash All The Manic Bullies."


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