Sunday, March 22, 2009

Profile: Hwang Jang-Lee

Hwang Jang-Lee, also known as the "Silver Fox," is one of the most recognizable kung fu villains of the genre. He was born in Japan in 1944, and his family soon left for Korea. Around the age of 14, Jang-Lee took an interest in Taekwondo. After a few years, and becoming proficient in the art, he joined the Korean Army as a Taekwondo instructor. After leaving the army he began acting in Korean cinema, where he was noticed by famed Hong Kong producer/director Ng See-Yuen. In 1976, Hwang Jang-Lee was invited back to Hong Kong by Ng See-Yuen to make films for his new independent Seasonal Films Corporation. That year Hwang Jang-Lee would cement his villainous image in "The Secret Rivals," in which he played the evil Silver Fox, earning him his nickname. Hwang Jang-Lee's trademark fast, hard-kicking style has also garnered him the nickname "King of the Leg Fighters." It is said that while in the Korean Army, Hwang once unintentionally killed a man with one of his lethal kicks. Apparently, the man challenged Jang-Lee with a knife. Hwang refused to fight, but the man lunged at him with the knife. Attempting to only subdue the man, Hwang Jang-Lee underestimated the strength of his own kick, and instantly killed the man in self defense with a shot to the temple. Definitely not a man to be messed with!

Hwang Jang-Lee made many great films from the mid-70's through the early 90's. He left acting in 1991 and returned to South Korea to concentrate on personal business ventures, most notably running a hotel, a bodyguard agency, and manufacturing golf tees. In 2003, Hwang Jang-Lee earned his 9th degree black belt in Taekwondo, achieving the title of Grandmaster.

Although no longer acting, Hwang Jang-Lee's legacy remains in some of the greatest kung fu films of the late 70's and early 80's. If you're ever in the mood to see some classic ass-kicking (literally!) kung fu bad guy action, just pop in a Hwang Jang-Lee flick, and you're sure to get your fix!


The Secret Rivals 1 & 2 (1976/1977)
The Invincible Armor (1977)
The Snuff Bottle Connection (1977)
Drunken Master (1978)
The Hell's Windstaff (1979)

A scene from "The Invincible Armor"

"Buddha bless you..."


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