Sammo Hung is one of the most legendary marital arts movie actors. He is not known to mainstream society, but to those familiar with the Hong Kong film business. Few people have shaped the business as much as he. He is well respected by many of the actors who surpass him in terms of fame – Jackie Chan calls him big brother, even know they are not related. Looking back at his career, he’s not an entirely serious figure. He often played the comedic role of a fool. Many of the best Sammo Hung movies are just spoofs of other martial arts movies. But he has also played impressive roles too, like in Ip Man. Here are the ten best Sammo Hung movies.
Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)
This is one of the less serious movies he appeared in. It’s literally just a comedy parody of the Bruce Lee movie Way Of The Dragon. It really wasn’t a successful film, but it’s quite funny. Sammo Hung plays a useless Bruce Lee fan, who wants to be just like him. While working at hist uncle’s restaurant, a street gang attacked the business. Inspired by Bruce Lee, he decided to confront them.
Dragons Forever (1988)
Jackie Chan stars as the lead role in this movie, but Sammo Hung is the co-lead role. Sammo Hung also directed it, so it’s fair to call it a Sammo Hung movie. It’s easily among the best Sammo Hung movies, and among Jackie Chan’s too. It tells the story of two lawyers who are hired by a company to dig up dirt on a much smaller business who want to take their employer to court. As they get deeper into a world of corruption and greed, they begin to question what they are even doing there. The movie wasn’t exactly a box office success, but critics loved it.
Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)
This may well be the first ever Chinese martial arts comedy horror movie. And I imagine none others have been made since, apart from the sequel. It tells the story of a man who earned the respect of locals through his acts of bravery. But an evil villain wants to steal his wife. So the villain convinces him to spend the night in a mysterious mansion. But the mansion is occupied by a blood-hungry vampire. But he’s not going down without a fight. While in the mansion, he will also encounter witches and magic.
Eastern Condors (1987)
Eastern Condors tells the story of a group of American soldiers convicted of crimes. All of which of Chinese descent, they are sent on a secret mission deep within Vietnam in return for the promise of a full pardon and full citizenship. Their mission is to find a supply of American high-tech weapons that were left behind after the Vietnam war. They must find and destroy the weapons before the Vietnamese forces find them, and put them to deadly use. Their mission is not an easy one. If the Vietnamese realize who they are, they may be executed. In many ways, it was China’s answer to American war films.
Project A (1983)
Project A was written, directed, and featured Jackie Chan as the main role. Sammo Hung was the co-main role. The film tells the story of a group of police in 19th century Hong Kong. The police struggle to defend the city against hoards of pirates who have been sinking ships in the area. It soon comes to light that someone within the police have been working with the pirates in a blatantly corrupt relationship. As they encroach further on the pirates, the pirates get more and more desperate. The movie is remembered for it’s huge and spectacular stunts and fight scenes.
Magnificent Butcher (1979)
This is another comedy movie. It’s easy to to why Jackie Chan calls Sammo Hung big brother, judging by the clear influence on Chan’s comedic style. The plot to this one is that a beautiful young woman is abducted by an evil villain one day. So a band of martial arts students come together with the goal of rescuing her. Magnificent Butcher is often shown as an example of a well made kung fu movie. The stunts and special effects are especially noteworthy, for the 1970s. Although it is difficult to watch unless you’re a hardcore kungfu movie fan.
Warriors Two (1978)
Warriors Two tells the story of a man who teaches Wing Chun. When a gang of barbarians attempt to takeover his town, it’s up to him and his students to defend the area. Each of his students will risk everything to protect their community. Warriors Two is a special movie as the fighters demonstrate a traditional type of Wing Chun kung fu, but most other kung fu movie just mix-and-match. The movie also features genuine historical figures.
The Bodyguard (2016)
In recent years, Sammo Hung has featured in more serious movies. In The Bodyguard, a retired bodyguard makes friends with a young girl. The girl’s situation isn’t exactly a good one. Her father is a reckless gambler, who is unable to repay his debt to a local gang leader. To pressure him into paying off the money, his daughter’s safety is threatened. The retired bodyguard feels a sense of duty to rescue her from the gang leaders, even know he isn’t the man he once was. After she is kidnapped, the bodyguard goes old school on them.
Ip Man 2 (2010)
Anyone who doesn’t list this among the best Sammo Hung movies is just mental. Just like Warriors Two, Ip Man 2 is based on historical Wing Chun practitioners. The main character of the movie was actually the man who taught martial arts to Bruce Lee. Yip Man was the Wing Chun master who defeated a Japanese General during the second world war in a one-on-one fight. This was seen as a great victory for China, and he became an instant here. That story was told in the first Ip Man movie. In this second installment, Ip Man moves to a new area and sets up his own martial arts school. But not everything goes exactly to plan. Not only does he have to deal with the local martial arts Union, led by a character played by Sammo Hung. But he also needs to deal with the ‘evil’ British authorities.
SPL: Kill Zone (2005)
This movie is great. Donnie Yen plays a police officer with a tendency for ignoring the rules. This is normally resented by other police, but now they need him. A local crime boss is ordering the assassination of city officials, and he is the only person who can stop it. The crime boss is played by Sammo Hung. SPL is known as one of the best martial arts movies of the 21st century, partly because of the realistic fight scenes.