Lau Kar-wing was born in Guangdong in 1944. His older brother is renowned kung fu choreographer Lau Kar-leung. The Lau family moved to Hong Kong in 1949 and the younger Lau learned martial arts from his father and older brother at an early age.
Following in his brother’s footsteps, Lau became a martial arts performer in 1963 and then an action choreographer in 1966. King Boxer, his 1972 collaboration with Korean director Walter Chung Chang-hwa, was Lau’s breakthrough hit as action director and one of the first Shaw Brothers films to break into the Western market.
Lau also enjoyed success as an actor, starring or playing second lead in films such as Ninja Killer (1974), The Inheritor of Kung Fu (1974), Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) and Tiger & Crane Fists (1976).
In 1977, Lau directed his first film He Has Nothing But Kung Fu and followed up with Dirty Kung Fu (1978). He also teamed up with actor-producer Karl Maka and superstar Sammo Hung to form Gar Bo Films and christened the new company with the release of the Maka-directed Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog!, featuring Lau and Hung. The two stars shared the screen again for Lau’s third directorial effort, Odd Couple (1979). After Gar Bo dissolved, Lau Kar-wing and Lau Kar-leung formed Lau Brothers, which released the Lau Kar-wing-directed Fists and Guts (1979) and Carry on Wise Guy (1980). Lau directed two ghost-themed comedies—Till Death Do We Scare (1982) and Play Catch (1983)—for Cinema City. Till Death Do We Scare became a HK$14-million hit that elevated Lau to the status of a commercially successful director. He broke the HK$10-million ceiling twice again with 1988’s The Dragon Family (1988) and Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon (1990), the latter a reunion with Maka and Hung. In 1992, his work with Yuen Cheung-yan and Yuen Shun-yee in Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China won Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Lau significantly reduced his workload after writing and directing Innocent Killer (1994). Since then, he had served as second-unit director for the Hung-directed Once Upon a Time in China and America and choreographed the action sequences for Lau Karleung’s Drunken Monkey and Tsui’s Seven Swords. He continues to make occasional film and television appearances.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon|
||The Dragon Family|
||Those Merry Souls|
||Wits Of The Brats||WONG Jing|
||The Fake Ghost Catchers|
||Till Death Do We Scare|
||Carry on Wise Guy|
||Fist and Guts|
||Dirty Kung Fu|
||He Has Nothing But Kung Fu|