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Tsui Hark

Tsui Hark (born January 2, 1951) is a New Wave film director in Hong Kong who is also a highly influential producer, often likened to Steven Spielberg for a similar galvanizing effect on his country's cinematic scene.

Born in Vietnam, he took his secondary education in Hong Kong, then studied at a Texas university. He also edited a Chinatown newspaper in New York City, developed a community theatre group and was active in a Chinatown cable TV program.

He returned to Hong Kong in 1977 and immediately found work in TV. He made his first feature, The Butterfly Murders/Die Bian, in 1979. His first notable film is Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983).

As a director and producer Tsui resurrected several film genres: the murder mystery in The Butterfly Murders; the hardboiled gangster film in A Better Tomorrow (1986); the wuxia film in Zu Warriors and Swordsman (1990); and the period romance in The Lovers (1994). As producer he has the uncanny knack of trend-setting: most of his films turn out to be major box-office hits in Hong Kong and around Asia. Tsui's films are well-known for their adventurousness, their broad commercial appeal, and hectic camerawork and pace.

Perhaps his most successful work to date is the Once Upon a Time in China series where he revived the martial arts folk hero Wong Fei Hung, played in the first three instalments by Jet Li.

Tsui has made two US films in Hollywood, both starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. They were Double Team (1997) and Knock Off (1998). Both were lambasted by critics, and later even by Tsui Hark himself. In 2001 he returned to China to direct Time and Tide, which is among his best films.

Notable works:

  • A Chinese Ghost Story (as producer) /Qiann├╝ Youhun
  • A Better Tomorrow (as producer)/Yingxiong Bense
  • Once Upon a Time in China /Huang Feihong
  • and assorted sequels

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Tsui Hark Facts

BirthdayJanuary 2, 1951 (72)

Selected Filmography

Sword Master
Seven Swords
Butterfly Murders
Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon
Zu Warriors
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon
The Raid
The Taking of Tiger Mountain
Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame
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