A living legend in martial arts cinema, my man Sammo Hung turned fifty-eight yesterday, and I would have posted this bit of news on his actual birthday had I but known about it. This badassed fatboy has directed, produced and starred in many classic Hong Kong martial arts flicks of note, including ENTER THE FAT DRAGON (1978), MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER (1979), WHEELS ON MEALS (1984), MILLIONAIRE'S EXPRESS (1985), PAINTED FACES (1987) and many others, as well as being the venerated "elder kung fu brother" of Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao during their days as kids in the famed Peking Opera School. His skill and grace belie his size and it's a joy to watch him work damned near anything he can get his hands on as a weapon, particularly a pair of tennis rackets. But while not as well known in the U.S. as he deserves to be, even after starring as the title character for two seasons on the CBS action show MARTIAL LAW, American martial arts movie fans know exactly who Sammo is, even if they don't know him by name, for one very simple and significant reason: he's that chubby guy who has the misfortune of entering into a match against Bruce Lee at the very beginning of the epochal ENTER THE DRAGON (1973).
Hey, if you're gonna have your ass kicked on the big screen by anybody, Bruce Lee's about as good as it gets.
Anyway, happy birthday, Sammo!