Mr Tong Kai



Martial arts director and action actor Tong Kai was born in Zhongshan, Guangdong in 1937. At 15, he apprenticed under master Yuen Siu Tin as a martial artist in Cantonese opera and hit the big screen four years later. His first film as a martial arts choreographer, South Dragon, North Phoenix (1963), saw him teaming up with Lau Kar Leung. The duo continued to work on the “Buddha Palm” series, the “Lady Bond” series, and the “Heroine in Black” series. The duo introduced the use of wirework in Cheung Yam Yim’s The Jade Bow (1966) for enhanced action visuals. Their work impressed Shaw Brothers executives, who hired them as action directors. Tong and Lau designed action sequences for filmmaker Chang Cheh, and after Lau turned director, Tong continued as action choreographer for Chor Yuen and Sun Chung. Tong was celebrated for his creativity in special weaponry design, such as the revolving sword for The Magic Blade (1976) and the double halberds for The Proud Youth (1978). In 1983, he directed Shaolin Prince (1983), Shaolin Intruders (1983) and Opium and the Kung-Fu Master (1984). The action props he designed for Big Blade Formation, Twelve Vajrayana Array and Stool Array remained his signature works. After leaving Shaw Brothers, Tong worked for television and retired not long after, but made a comeback when Tsui Hark invited him to serve as martial arts director on Green Snake (1993).