Friday, March 13, 2009

Profile: Chiang Sheng


Chiang Sheng, affectionately referred to as "Cutie Pie" by his fans, is primarily known for his work in the Shaw Brothers "Venoms" films. He was born into a large family in 1951, and due to the size of his family, they were unable to give him the proper care and attention he needed. Therefore, he was sent off to Fu Sheng Opera School in Taipei, Taiwan where he learned martial arts and acrobatics. Upon his departure from Opera School, Chiang Sheng worked as a stuntman in Taiwan.

In 1974, director Chang Cheh formed his own production company and went to Taiwan to scout for talent. There he met Chiang Sheng. Impressed by his abilities, he invited him to go to mainland China to work. In 1976, he joined Shaw Brothers and got his first big role in Chang Cheh's "Shaolin Temple." Two years later, he landed his first starring role in the classic "The Five Venoms." This led to the formation of the "Venom Mob" (Chiang Sheng, Lo Meng, Kuo Chui, Sun Chien, Lu Feng, and occasionally Wai Pak) who would go on to star in a string of majorly successful martial arts films for Shaw Brothers Studios. These films were action packed with excellent hand-to-hand fighting, weapons, acrobatics, blood and violence!

In the Venom films, Chiang Sheng primarily played a supporting hero role, usually acting as comic relief. Don't let the comedy fool you though, as his skills were top notch! Being smaller and lithe, his acrobatic skills were uncanny, and a major focal point of many of his characters. His weapons work was also amazing, especially working with dual weapons such as swords or blades. Kuo Chui once stated in an interview that he & Chiang Sheng could perform fighting routines that contained over 200 moves! That's a fitting testament to Chiang Sheng's skills & abilities. Not only was Chiang Sheng active in front of the camera, but he played a big role behind the scenes as well. Besides performing in the Venoms films, Chiang Sheng acted as Chang Cheh's Assistant Director AND Action Director in many of them as well!

After the Venom Mob disbanded in 1982, Chiang Sheng left Shaw Brothers and returned to Taiwan. After appearing in a few more films, he became disheartened as it became harder for him to find work. He drowned his sorrows with alcohol, which took a toll on his body and led to his divorce. Sadly, in 1991, Chiang Sheng died from a heart attack. His memory lives on to this day in his unforgetable films.




RECOMMENDED VIEWING


The Five Venoms (1978)
Invincible Shaolin (1978)
Crippled Avengers (1978)
Shaolin Rescuers (1979)
Ninja In the Deadly Trap (1985)

Chiang Sheng tribute


"Buddha bless you..."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"2 Champions of Shaolin" muthafuckas!!!

Anonymous said...

Sadly to see that a great art martial die 21 years ago.I remenber see him when I was a kids and be impressed bye this Kung-Fu martial art.R.I.P Chiang.REGIS ALAIN

Anonymous said...

I was truly saddened to hear of his passing, he was a truly amazing and talented actor/acrobat. I pray you are resting in peace Cutie Pie...Sincerely just one of your American fans

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