David Chiang Da-wei (姜大衛, born John Chiang Wei-nien, 29 June 1947 in Shanghai) is a martial arts actor, director and producer massively popular in the 1970s, ever since his appearance in Vengeance! (1970) and multiple martial arts films released afterwards, mostly in the Wuxia genre.
Born in Shanghai to a family of movie stars, David Chiang's parents are Hong Kong-based actors. His brother, Paul Chun, is another major star, although more well-known for villainous roles, while his half-brother Derek Yee is a film director.
Starting his career as a child actor at age four, David Chiang have been on the silver screen ever since Chinese movies are still in black-and-white. Spending most of his time lingering in the background note , he finally gains the attention of director Chang Cheh through his performance in Vengeance! which earns him the Best Actor award at the 16th Asian Film Festival. The studios, then seeking a suitable replacement for Jimmy Wang Yu (their previous megastar from the One-Armed Swordsman films) who is about to jump ship, realize that David Chiang's charisma, humour, snarky personality and generally handsome looks can draw an audience, and begin grooming him to be their next martial arts icon.
David Chiang would find a lifelong best friend with fellow Shaw Brothers actor, Ti Lung, then a protege roughly at the same level as him, where the actors played brothers onscreen in Vengeance!. From there on, comes a series of martial arts-themed period pieces where Ti Lung and David Chiang would co-star with each other, which populates the Shaw Brothers' catalogue of films throughout the early 70s, including The Heroic Ones, Duel Of The Iron Fist, The Anonymous Heroes, The Deadly Duo, The Water Margin, just to name a handful. note
Onscreen and off, David Chiang and Ti Lung remains the closest of friends, even sharing their lunches together from the same bowl.
In the later years of the 1970s, Chiang would leave Shaw Brothers to start his own studio, Chang's Scope Company. Unlike Jimmy Wang-yu, however, Chiang's departure with the studios are on amicable terms, and he was in fact assisted and encouraged by Shaw Brothers' prominent producer Run Run Shaw on running his own business.
In 2004, Chiang was inducted into The Avenue of Stars on Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, honouring celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry.
Tropes relating to this performer:
- Adorkable: Especially in Dead End, The Generation Gap and Friends.
- Badass Adorable
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Several of his roles.
- Bash Brothers: With Ti Lung.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Many of his non-wuxia, contemporary films would portray him as a seemingly average and mild-mannered regular guy, until he gets pushed too far and begins beating the snot out of whomever pissed him off.
- Chronically Killed Actor: Dies in a lot of his wuxia films.
- Combat Parkour: In most of his films, especially if its from the Wuxia genre. Given Chiang's smaller size and stature, seeing him summersaulting and back-flipping through the use of Wire Fu is actually a lot more believable than most other actors.
- Deadpan Snarker: Some of his roles.
- Former Child Star: Averted, despite starting his acting career since age four.
- Fragile Speedster
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Many of his onscreen deaths involves impalement, including The Wandering Swordsman, Duel of the Iron Fist, Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, The Loot, One-Armed Swordsman '94 and a few others.
- One-Man Army: In most of his films, especially in The New One-Armed Swordsman where he carves a bloody path through an army in a massive bridge battle, leaving at least 70 dead bodies in his rampage. He was 24 when he filmed this movie, by the way.
- He actually does this in several of his films. By age 30, David Chiang's onscreen kill-tally would easily reach at least 400 due to his frequent participation in death-heavy wuxia films.
- Those Two Actors: With Ti Lung.
- White Shirt of Death: If Chiang portrays a character clad all in white, he's not going to outlive the credits. Averted in The New One Armed Swordsman though.
David Chiang's notable films:
- Golden Swallow (extra)
- The Invincible Fist
- Have Sword Will Travel
- The Wandering Swordsman
- Vengeance! (1970) - Star-Making Role
- The Heroic Ones
- Duel of the Ironfist
- One-Armed Swordsman - he have a small role in Return of the One-Armed Swordsman before a leading role in The New One-Armed Swordsman
- The Anonymous Heroes
- The Deadly Duo
- Boxer From Shantung
- The Water Margin and its sequel, All Men Are Brothers
- The Singing Killer
- The Young Rebel
- The Generation Gap
- Death Duel
- The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
- Five Shaolin Masters
- Four Riders
- Judgement Of An Assassin
- Legend Of The Owl (martial arts comedy spoof)
- The Naval Commandos
- 7 Man Army
- Shanghai 13
- Shaolin Mantis
- Return Of The Deadly Blade
- Iron Angels - only in the first movie
- Just Heroes
- Yes, Madam (Cameo)
- My Lucky Stars (Cameo in Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars)
- Twin Dragons (Cameo)
- Tiger on Beat (Cameo)
- Once Upon a Time in China (he stars in the second movie)
- One Armed Swordsman 94 (Remake Cameo)