Jimmy Wang Yu (王羽; born Wang Zhengquan; March 28, 1943 in Shanghai, China) is a Taiwanese actor, director and film producer, most popular in the west for his role as the eponymous character in the One-Armed Swordsman movies as well as Master of the Flying Guillotine.
Born in a rich family, Wang-yu had a long and colorful life, on and off-screen. Prior to landing his career as an actor, he served in the National Revolutionary Army and was a champion swimmer and athlete. At age 24, Wang-yu landed his Star-Making Role, The One Armed Swordsman, and quickly made himself a popular name amongst the various mega-stars in Shaw Brothers' roster of action icons, most prominently in Wuxia films.
Wang-yu made his directorial debut with The Chinese Boxer, which is often cited as the defining martial arts film responsible for launching the unarmed combat genre, notably involving overpowered main characters (since in the film, Wang-yu is frequently shown killing people with his bare hands just by punching and kicking), and initiating a phenomenon that filled the ranks of many Chinese martial arts associations across Southeast Asia. But due to Wang-yu's rising popularity, he decided to jump ship from Shaw Brothers, causing said studios to completely blacklist him from making films in Hong Kong. At which point Golden Harvest studios sees this as an opportunity to hire Wang-yu into their ranks, with Wang-yu's first film he made for Golden Harvest, One Armed Boxer combining elements from both One Armed Swordsman and The Chinese Boxer.
Once the highest paid martial arts film actor prior to Bruce Lee, Wang-yu's many controversies and celebrity scandals made him a media sensation, from his lawsuit with Shaw Brothers, to him allegedly killing a man in a nightclub brawl (Wang-yu was was acquitted on all counts due to lack of evidence) and his affair with actress Jeanette Lin Chui, who was nine years his senior and resulting in Lin-Chia's husband committing suicide.
Nowadays retired from the action film industry, Wang-yu occasionally made public appearances in the news media only for interviews or talks.
Jimmy Wang-yu is married twice and had three daughters, the eldest, Linda Wong whom is a singer.
According to Screen Rant, Jimmy Wang-yu is currently the deadliest film actor of all time, whose onscreen bodycount reaches up to 2477 victims. The accuracy of its source still remains to be confirmed. note
Tropes related to this performer
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Some of his films set in contemporary era will have him in a tux.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Three of Jimmy's movies are titled The Invincible, The Sword, and The Invincible Sword. No, he didn't play the same character in either film.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Uses his fists often in ass-kicking roles.
- One-Man Army: In 9 out of 10 of his films, Jimmy Wang-yu gets to butcher his way through waves and waves of faceless mooks. This happens in Trail Of The Broken Blade, The Assassin, Golden Swallow, The Sword Of Swords, Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman, The Chinese Boxer, The Professional Killer, The Desperate Chase, Rage Of The Tiger, Boxers Of Loyalty And Righteousness, Invincible Sword (he killed 286 people... onscreen), Bloody Struggle, Fury Of King Boxer, The Brave And The Evil... we could spend the whole day makiing this list, but let's just move on.
- Remake Cameo: In Swordsman starring Donnie Yen, a remake of One-Armed Swordsman.
- Wuxia: Most of the films he made with Shaw Brothers.
Jimmy Wang-yu's selected filmography
- Temple Of The Red Lotus - a trilogy of martial arts movies made by Shaw Brothers, with Wang-yu starring in all three of them
- One-Armed Swordsman - Star-Making Role
- The Assassin (1967)
- Asia Pol
- Golden Swallow
- Trail of the Broken Blade
- The Sword Of Swords
- Zatoichi - starred in the Crossover, Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman, but NOT reprising his role from The One Armed Swordsman
- A Man Called Tiger
- The Chinese Boxer - also director
- One Armed Boxer - also director
- Master of the Flying Guillotine - also director
- Tiger And Crane Fists - also director
- The Invincible
- The Sword
- The Invincible Sword
- The Deadly Silver Spear
- Blood Of The Dragon - also known as The Desperate Chase
- The Brave And The Evil - also director
- Boxers Of Loyalty And Righteousness - also known as Shogun Saints
- Beach Of The War Gods - also director
- The Gallant Duo - a Wuxia with similarities to The Killer, where an assassin (Wang-yu) and an Imperial inspector joins forces to take down a common enemy
- Fury Of The King Boxer
- Furious Slaughter and its sequel, Bloody Struggle
- One Armed Swordsmen - yes, men. Plural. There's an apparent abundance of one-armed warriors in ancient China, it seems
- One Armed Swordsman Vs Nine Killers - see? Told you.
- One Armed Chivalry - yes, this is a genre in Wuxia. Being a hero means you risk losing your arm, it seems.
- The Professional Killer
- Rage of the Master - the climax of this film may have inspired Kill Bill, with Wang-yu fighting a hundred mooks simultaneously in a setting that resembles House of Blue Leaves
- Royal Fist
- One Body Spells Courage - an Anthology Film consisting of three mini-stories set in different time periods (1970s Shanghai, the Ming Dynasty and 1930s China during the revolution). Wang-yu gets to play all three roles.
- The Man from Hong Kong
- Once Upon a Time in China
- Island Of Fire
- Beheaded 1000
- A Queens Ransom - from the same studios that made The Man from Hong Kong above, reuniting Wang-yu with George Lazenby
- Fantasy Mission Force
- Millionaires Express
- Swordsmen - a remake of One Armed Swordsman, with Wang-yu's role as a Remake Cameo