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The Axe Gang

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A particular Gang Of Hats seen in martial arts media.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Larkmarn on Aug 1st 2013 at 10:27:00 AM
Last Edited By:
Larkmarn on Jan 12th 2017 at 6:15:54 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Need a group of mooks for your Martial Arts Movie? Look no further than the Axe Gang! Naturally, they tend to be a Gang of Hats whose primary hats are being well dressed in black suits, and of course their weapon of choice being axes. Because of the brutality associated with their primary weapon, they're invariably an incredibly vicious group.

In real-life, the Axe Gang did exist in Shanghai during the time of Japanese occupation. Interestingly, the real-life Axe Gang was at one point led by a fifteen year old, which is surprisingly untouched by movies featuring the gang.

More information at The Other Wiki:

Compare Triads and Tongs, the other common Chinese gang.



  • The first fictional example in kung fu cinema comes from Boxer from Shantung, though the gang went unnamed they fit the profile (axes, black outfits, Shanghai).
  • Ip Man: The gang shows up after the Time Skip, now being led by Rival Turned Evil Jin who sells Ip Man's location to the Japanese occupiers. They lack the black suits of most incarnations, and are instead more like a group of bandits than formal gang.
  • The most famous example is from Kung Fu Hustle, which takes place in a slum in Shanghai. The Axe Gang makes up the primary antagonists.
  • Prior to Kung Fu Hustle, the most prominent example was Jackie Chan's Drunken Master II (known as Legend of Drunken Master in the US), where their services are bought by the Corrupt Politician.
  • Donnie Yen's first run in with the Axe Gang was in Shanghai Affairs, where the gang is trying to run all the residents out of a village to build a casino.
  • Referred to as the Axe Fraternity in Once Upon A Time In Shanghai.

Live-Action Television

  • The Axe Gang shows up as a minor group of villains in the TV series Fist of Fury, based off of Fist of Fury, the Bruce Lee movie of the same name.
  • Danny Rand fights a gang of axe-wielding mooks in Iron Fist (2017). Given how much the original comic was inspired by kung fu movies of old, this is clearly inspired by the Axe Gang.

Web Comics

  • While not named as such (yet), the original gang of Mooks under Roman Torchwich's control in RWBY is modeled after the Axe Gang, being well dressed in black suits and often wielding red axes with Chinese lettering.

Feedback: 6 replies

Aug 1st 2013 at 10:49:15 AM

There are more examples listed on the Wikipedia page, but I haven't seen the movies so I don't want to add them. Please add them if you can give them context.

Feb 28th 2014 at 6:44:10 AM

Good trope. I wonder if they turn up in Axe Cop.

Jan 4th 2016 at 6:32:54 PM

I'm pretty sure that Ranma One Half has at least a few examples like this, since a huge point of the show is "anthing-combat". There was a gang about kids that looked like Chinese pasties... and some more but I can't recall anything specific. Better ask my sister.

Jan 12th 2017 at 6:16:42 PM

This is a reference, not a trope. The description is simply listing the tropes that cover this, and a Wikipedia link. That's not how tropes are made. This needs bombs, badly.