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Stanley Tong
Occupation:Writer • Director • Screenplay • Actor
Born:April 7, 1960
Birthplace:Hong Kong
About
Stanley Tong started out as a stuntman in the film industry and has since then grown into being a successful filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, action choreographer, and philanthropist. Known for directing action movies, Tong, in his almost three-decade-long career has made few but successful films. A few of his notable movies include Police Story 3: Super Cop, Rumble in the Bronx, and Police Story 4: First Strike.

Early life
Born in 1960, he did his primary education in Hong Kong, and also started his secondary education there, but left it halfway and pursued it further in Canada. He then applied for a major in Medicine at Miles MacDonnell College but got rejected due to being a foreign applicant. Even though the college then offered him a Civil Engineering course, Tong did not take it up due of lack of interest in the subject. Meanwhile, Tong`s brother-in-law persuaded him to try for a career in the film industry. This fueled his long-time interest in drama, eventually making him step into the Hong Kong film industry when his brother-in-law got him a job as a stuntman at the Shaw Bros. Studio. His passion for martial arts from a very young age and training in various forms of martial arts, got him to work as the stunt-double for huge Hong Kong stars from Chow Yun-Fat to Ti Lung, Maggie Cheung, and many more.

Movie career
The stuntman-turned-director ventured into the film industry in 1979 and only performed stunts in films until he turned filmmaker with his self-funded movie The Stone Age Warriors in 1991. After being a successful stuntman for a while, his injuries made it tough for him to continue and so he slowly diverted his attention towards direction. His experience and knowledge about stunts got him to become a stunt coordinator and then he eventually ventured into co-directing films in 1987. Tong was successful in creating an impact with action movie The Stone Age Warriors and gained praises from critics. His next movie Police Story 3: Super Cop marked the beginning of his long collaboration with Jackie Chan, who was cast in the lead role of a Hong Kong cop Chan Ka-Kui in the film. Chan, an already established actor at the time, stated factors like Tong`s extensive knowledge of stunt work, his inventiveness to try something new and his fearlessness to demonstrate life-threatening stunts, was what got him to accept Police Story 3: Super Cop. Even though, the director had only helmed a small action movie before, this Chan starrer turned out to be a success.

The director`s next venture was the 1993 movie Once a Cop with Michelle Yeoh in the lead and Chan in a cameo appearance.He then made a martial arts comedy film Rumble in the Bronx that starred Jackie Chan and Anita Mui, which had a successful theater run and received positive reviews. It had a wide theatrical release in North America, but according to critics lacked a good plot and acting, with only Chan`s stunts covering up for the shortcomings. It also won Tong and Chan the Best Action Choreography Award at the 1996 Hong Kong Film Awards. The director`s 1996 release Police Story 4: First Strike was a huge box office success in Hong Kong that saw Chan reprise the role of Chan Ka-Kui, a Hong Kong cop who strategizes to arrest an illegal weapons dealer. The actor also made a music video to promote the film. Chan was again flooded with praises from critics who stated that Chan can never be disappointing with his stunts and always rises above their expectations. For the movie, Tong won the 1997 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Action Choreography, and 1996 Golden Horse Film Festival for Best Action Direction. Tong then came up with Mr. Magoo, a live-action comedy movie, based on the original cartoon of the same name, but it failed to achieve box office success. It got negative reviews from critics and went off the theaters soon.

Two police officers set out on a mission to investigate an international drug alliance and the mystery behind a murder they witnessed, forming the crux of Tong`s 2000 film China Strike Force. Yet another action film starringAaron Kwok and Norika Fujiwara, it was an average success, with praises mainly for the action scenes. After this, Tong went on to direct the martial arts adventure film The Myth, once again starring Jackie Chan, along with Tony Leung Ka-fai, Kim Hee-sun, andMallika Sherawat. With generally positive reviews, the film turned out to be the third-highest-grossing domestic release in Hong Kong that year, adding another successful film in Tong`s career.

Even though Chan and Tong shared a strong bond, they got together only for a handful of movies in their more than 25-year old collaboration, the reason being Tong`s stubbornness to provide Chan with sequences he has never attempted before. He takes a while longer to come up with these ideas but ensures to take his films a notch higher. This holds true in their 2017 film Kung Fu Yoga too, as Chan proposed the idea of putting together Chinese gongfu and Indian yoga, and left the rest to Tong, a director he has complete trust on.

As a producer
Along with being a television and film director, Tong is also a producer whose productions include movies like China Strike Force, Crime of Beast II, DragonBlade, to name a few. He is also the producer for TV series like Love in the City and The Patriot Yue Fei. He also produced the 2012 film CZ12, which was directed, co-produced, written by Chan and also starred him.

As a writer
Tong has written all the movies he has directed, except for Mr. Magoo, Rumble in the Bronx, and Police Story 3: Super Cop.

As an actor
He has also acted in minor roles in movies like Gong gui zai, Tui xiu tan chang, Clash of the Ninjas, Flaming Brothers, and Fighting Madam.

Television career

After establishing a decently successful career in movies, Tong ventured into the television industry by directing a few episodes of the American/Canadian TV action crime drama series Martial Law, which aired on CBS from 1998 to 2000. Starring Sammo Hung as the lead character, the series revolved around a martial arts expert and a Chinese law officer who goes to Los Angeles to look for a colleague. Tong later went on to produce the youth drama Boy & Girl, starring Ruby Lin and Lu Yi. This turned out to be a big success with a huge daily viewership, and it also stood at the 2nd place of highest viewer rating of China in 2003. He then was associated with the TV series The Myth, based on the 2005 Hong Kong film of the same title directed by him, starring Jackie Chan. However, for the series, Chan was credited as the producer and Tong, the creative director. He then was also the producer for the Chinese television series The Patriot Yue Fei, starring Huang Xiaoming and Ruby Lin.

Peers & More
Peter Chan
Director
Cheang Pou-Soi
Director
Popular Movies
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Vanguard
Kung Fu Yoga
Chinese Zodiac
CZ12 (3D)
Police Story V
China Strike Force
Jackie Chan: My Story
Mr. Magoo
Police Story 3 : Super Cop

Did You Know? (2)

  • Kung Fu Yoga`s director Stanley Tong initially offered a role to Tiger Shroff but he declined it due to personal reasons.
  • Tong shares his birth date with the international superstar Jackie Chan.
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