|Donnie Yen Stuntman Association members: Hao Zhenjie, Mu Ning, Li Qijie, Yu Kang, Yan Hua, Zhuang Yuanzhang, Li Jie, Zhang Chao|
courtesy of mingpao.com
Action film production is very difficult work. Stunt workers absolutely risk their lives, which is not easy at all. However stunt people who toil silently behind the scene and give their blood and sweat are often overlooked. Today when everyone has certain recognition of Donnie Yen Chi Tan's films, here I have to thank a group of brothers that has been through life and death behind me and with me, the Donnie Yen Stuntman Association.
The Donnie Yen Stuntman Association has members from Hong Kong, the Mainland, Japan and overseas. They leave their homes and work all over, they would be very lonely around the holidays when they are not around family. Sometimes I would take them to dinner and invite them to parties so they can experience some warmth. Last year I signed some Donnie Yen Stuntman Association members in hopes of bringing a sense of belonging to this group of brothers. From the Mainland Yu Kang has worked with me shoulder to shoulder since THE TWINS EFFECT (CHIN GEI BIN). In recent years he gradually steps out from behind the scene to in front of the camera. In DRAGON TIGER GATE he played Shibumi, in WU XIAO the wanted fugitive Yan Dong-Sheng, most recently he even worked on the films THE ICEMAN 3D (3D BING FUNG HUP) and KUNG FU KILLER (YUT GOR YUN DIK MO LUM). Also from the Mainland Yan Hua once was the chain whip and Tai Ji champion, taking parts in films like THE LOST BLADESMAN (GUAN WON CHEUNG) and WU XIA.
At its peak the Donnie Yen Stuntman Association had over 20 people. Some have already become action directors who can hold their own and even have their own disciples. For example Japan's Kenji Tanigaki can speak fluent Cantonese. He now is a very popular action director in Japan, having worked on the box office hit RUROUNI KENSHIN. Also from Japan, Yuji Shimomura has worked on action films like VERSUS and SHINOBI, as well as the action director for famous action video games like the DEVIL MAY CRY series and SAMURAI WARRIORS.
As an action director I of course pay a lot of attention to safety, but ultimately it is an action film. Accidents and injuries are frequent. As long as they are not serious, no one would think much of them. The most memorable was when we checked out a location on a cliff while making WU XIA. Suddenly we could not see Kenji. Everyone looked for very long time but still could not find him. I was very worried. When Kenji appeared again he was covered in blood. Actually he fell off the cliff, which was surrounded in rapids and waterfalls. If he fell off the waterfall he definitely would have lost his life. Luckily he held onto a big rock in time and slowly climbed back up to save his own life. Looking back now, I am still a little shaken.
- DONNIE YEN CHI TAN