"It was a kind of miracle for Martial Law to have happened"

Sammo Hung has discussed his 50 year career and Martial Law.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hong Kong film star Sammo Hung reflected on his 50 year career and his role in Martial Law.

The 67-year-old film superstar has had an expansive career in the industry as an actor and director. Hung was also one of the key figures of Hong Kong’s New Wave movement in the 1980s that brought martial arts into the forefront of cinema.

Jackie Chan often used Hung as a fight choreographer and referred to him as ‘da goh’ – meaning ‘big brother’ in Chinese.

He has also won a number of awards for films Painted Faces, Carry On Pickpocket, The Prodigal Son, Paradox and two of the Ip Man films.

Now, Hung is being named the Filmmaker in Focus in this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). In response, Hung said he was surprised but also happy.

“It caught me by surprise, but I’m very happy for this opportunity to let the Hong Kong audience be reminded of this fat old man who risked his life many times on film,” he said. “I don’t want to boast about any contribution, but I was part of the group of people who toiled for the film industry. It makes me happy to know that the audience has a chance to remember the old days.”

However, despite his incredible career, Hung revealed that his fame still not properly hit him. “Even now, I haven’t given much thought to superstardom. I’m still quite surprised by my fame — even now, when I go to, for example, a rural area in Indonesia or India, some people know who I am. I never aspired to be a screen hero; all I ever wanted was for people to respect what I do.”

For 90’s kids, many will know Hung as Sammo Law from CBS action comedy TV series Martial Law. First released in 1998, the show only ran for two years, spanning only two seasons.

Nonetheless, the show was a pivotal moment for the global Asian community as Hung was only East Asian headlining a US prime-time network series at the time. Reflecting on Martial Law, Hung described it as a miracle which only met its demise as a result of a lack of Asian writers.

“It was a kind of miracle for Martial Law to have happened,” he said. “I played a cop from China on the series. But at the end of the day, I realized that American writers weren’t able to write the experience and existence of an immigrant cop from China living and working in the U.S.”