The transcript below is from the video “Remembering Bruce Lee – Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen and Jacky Cheung” by Onionsan.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

I remember the first time I met Bruce Lee. That time he’s doing a study, shooting in Hong Kong. He just come visit Hong Kong you know. He come to my set. I was an action choreographer at that time and somebody introduce him for me, “This is Bruce Lee. This is Sammo Hung, blah, blah, blah…” I said, “Uh huh…,” and then I said, “Are you really fast?” And he asked me, “What do you mean?” I say, “Hm mm, what do you mean? He said, “You want to try it and see?” “Not bad, okay,” and then we tried.

Then we tried and then we’re holding there, and we were standing there. Then I tried to kick him. I tried to start kicking him. My kick went just go to the halfway and he feel already on my face. Swack! Like that and, just like that. Then, “What do you say?” “I say you’re very fast.” He’s very fast, you know and some stuntmen would follow him you know to teach them some. That’s the amazing, before it worked for me you know.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

The same reaction! The same question! Because my friend, the stuntman he says, “He’s like that, too. You’re really powerful. I don’t think so. You try, kill me. Kill me. Okay.” That he really, to him they give two pillows. Really in the hotel, kick him. He really fly to the back! Vakoom!! And then, the stuntman you know… The stuntman you know who is this stuntman? He’s Lam Ching-ying.

This time I met Lam Ching-ying you know, and Lam Ching-ying is just like that. If he trusts you, he would do everything. If he doesn’t trust you, “Show me! Show me the power!” Then you will have power. Salute! Yeah, he’s like that.

Donnie Yen (Hong Kong Actor, Martial Artist):

You got to remember you know, I was always a big fan of Bruce Lee. I believe in that style, believe in that martial art philosophies. I don’t believe… You know I have to say when I used to study some of these, a lot of these Sammo’s and Jacky’s films you know. To me, they were all great and classics. I learned a lot from them but there was a certain soul… there was a certain soul that was missing.

Missing things that I saw in Bruce Lee’s films, certain little bit of personal finesse, flavors. I wanted to bring out the martial arts as a martial art actor like what Bruce Lee did. I want to go full-out in bringing that flavor out. So I was studying all their films and studying you know, “How to bring that flavor?” Obviously, I brought something like Ali [indiscernible] [02:55] and Sugar Ray Leonard and Hans and everything, and the interpretation of the boxings.

Donnie Yen (Hong Kong Actor, Martial Artist):

But actually it was nothing new, it was just I sophisticated it a little bit more as far as the movement and the camera angles. If you look back to Bruce Lee’s time, Bruce Lee was… he was hip. You know he had the soul. When he moved, he wasn’t just boop, boop, block, punch. He was like you know, moving a little bit fake and a little bit here – very rhythmic. You know, very… he had a lot of tempo behind it you know.

I think a lot of Hong Kong guys, after Bruce Lee passed away, didn’t really captivate that. You know they look at Bruce Lee, “Oh, he was great.” But then, they follow, they try to copy his very surface movement like the nose, the screen or strike a pose but look beyond that. It was about rhythm. It was about tempo. The way he shuffled. The way he moved or the way… That made very unique to the eyes and with that in mind, you could take it to any level.

You could use that as a period film interpretation or modern interpretation. If you look at Once Upon a Time and all dragon gate or butterfly or whatever movements… I actually have the same principle you know, having that tempo, that soul and striking different poses. It could be a period of film poses or could be a modern kickboxing poses. To me, they are the same you know. It’s how you interpret it.

Jacky Cheung (Hong Kong singer, songwriter and actor):

Everyone thinks he’s the greatest fighter at the time and his image is so strong. I mean he’s like unbeatable, you know. It’s like no, and there’s… I overheard some story about his fighting some other kung fu master and he will always beat them. So to all of us at that age, we think, “Well, he’s the god and he’s not Bruce Lee, he’s the fighting god.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

Before Enter the Dragon, we have argument. He said, “I can win,” you know. He told me, he said, “Sammo…” Bruce Lee, okay, he says, “Sammo, did you have time to be my Game of Death for one part of the acting?” I say, “No problem.” Okay and then nobody tell me what happened. I waited one year you know and then I take another job. I went to Korea and then he started shooting.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

Then I’m not there, you know. Bruce Lee’s very angry because nobody can contest Sammo and then after, they start… they shoot halfway. They start, shoot Enter the Dragon and that time, he knows me in Bangkok. He called me. I said, “I need you. Come back to shoot, to fight with me. Only one half day or two days, something like that.” I said, “No, how can I come back?” That time, I was actually a choreographer [indiscernible] [06:09] you know, everything.

Maybe I go. I’m limited. Everything is start there.” Then he says, “Ah, but please, blah, blah, blah…” “Then let me go share with the director,” and then I talked to the director. “Okay, go. Two days and then come back. You must come back here the second day.” I said, “Okay, okay,” and then I went to Hong Kong.

Then he told me… We went to his house, then we talking. We talk, “Oh nice of you to come back. Tomorrow I need you to fight with me, blah, blah, blah…like that. Okay, we go in his front yard, the house, you know his house, the front yard. Then we’re talking. We’re just rehearsal real fast. About only half hour or something like that and then we went to his home, inside the room that he showed me, everything machine.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

The muscle machine, everything all like… muscle you know. Then another day we started shooting, we make up and we sit under it and we started talking. Then he says, “Sammo, you know what? I don’t like you.” And, I say, “Why you don’t like me?” He says, “Yeah because you lie to me. You know you promised me, you’ll be the actor but you’re leaving, blah, blah, blah…”

A lot of talking in there but then, “How about you? How about you, you point me?” I said, “I don’t like you either! I don’t know why. You don’t tell me what happened!” Right, I said, “I waited for you one years and nobody tell me what happened. So, what do you want to do? I need a job. I’m hungry. One year, no food! One year, no food! Hungry! So what…? I take another job. So it was not big deal? Nobody tell me what happened.”

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

Okay, there. Here, I understand.” Then one day shooting and then after second day… Again, see the same period, we make up. We’re talking again. We started a very good relationship and then he said, “Oh Sammo, you know I now am really starting to like you.” I said, “Me either! You hate me. I hate you. You like me. I like you. So what…?” Because we don’t know, we don’t understand each other. We must say something to understand, that people understand then what happened.

Then after that, I’m shooting in Hong Kong. He always come to my set you know, talking, talking and go to his room. Go in his room and show something for me and tell me the fighting in the action and the weapon, everything! I think you don’t believe, never before Bruce Lee, whatever… I never touched that kind of weapon, the nunchaku, the nunchaku, right. I never know that.

I remember one time, I’m shooting in Bangkok on a new movie. I don’t know really what the title is about. It was the same as the Game of Death, something like that you know and when I went there, we’re talking. We negotiated the fighting blah, blah, blah, blah… Then I don’t know, when I’m fighting they say… The main cast say it’s like clouded you know, below the belt about four or five times, something like that. So yeah, okay.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer)

The first day on the set, I go there. There are people just coming, bring in some equipment to there you know. Somebody have an idea that the weapon, give me the nunchaku, right. I saw, “Oh my goodness.” I never touched that kind of weapon but since I only know Bruce Lee very well. So I take the nunchaku to the backyard and then by myself like that. Okay, I can’t do like that. I can’t do like that.

Half hour later on the set, I teach the main cast how to fight everything. Three days later, the main cast asked me, “Sammo, how many years did you learn the ninjas?” I said, “What you mean, how many?” “I’ve never seen that. I learn karate so many years, I never know you can use like that, can use like that.” “Sorry, I just learn about it.” He don’t believe it, you know.

Jacky Cheung (Hong Kong singer, songwriter and actor):

I’ve seen every movie of him and the one that I liked is Way of the Dragon, okay. I like it because it’s comic things inside, little romance and it’s talking about China is going overseas. You know at the time, we always think we’re inferior a little bit in a way. In a way, and we always… When we go overseas and then people might look down on you. We have those things in mind. Actually, he’s like our hero.

Donnie Yen (Hong Kong Actor, Martial Artist):

It’s like what Bruce Lee is saying you know. When he first started with kung fu, a punch was just a punch and after a certain period of time, that punch becomes many punch. Then when he reaches that highest level, the punch becomes a punch again but this time, this punch carries all the multiple punches behind it. So if I were to direct another couple films, I would probably try to interpret this whole that case of experience of martial art films and try to find more of an inner emotional approach.

You look at Bruce Lee films, it was just him. The camera was on him all the time. You know it was more like the way he interpreted the movements you know. The audience was fascinated and captivated by Bruce Lee’s gesture, expression, movement. The reason why… I think there’s a certain level of martial art acting, a martial art performance on screen. You can be good and you can be great. Being great, you can’t just come into the picture and just being able to act good and throw one, two movements.

You cannot. I refuse to believe that. I don’t think… I think yes, you know this technology today, you can see gee and have all these special effects but when it comes down to real feeling and emotions, physical abilities is part of an emotion, too. That’s why Bruce Lee is so great.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

Of course, the time everybody is very sad about Bruce passed away you know. Then Raymond Chow, he asked me to finish the Game of Death, the movie. Of course, I loved to do it. I really loved to do it because after he passed away, personally. Hong Kong, I think how, well maybe, not in Hong Kong but Hong Kong needed to be stronger. Everybody very upset. Then it looks like it… nothing to see, his new movie of the new project, the Game of Death on the third.

Then I really wanted to finish the movie. You know let people… Was like the last about Bruce Lee films, you know the Game of Death. So because he’s my hero in my heart already you know of course, every detail, everything. I know that I see the rushes and I see his films and his close-up. How do I use his close-up for when shooting, I use on the moment? I’m really happy to do that and then varies on fast you can make the movie in the theater.

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo (Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer & director, choreographer):

I know this is only 15, 20 days and they must finish and end on the third, say Christmas time in the midnight show. I’m working 15 days, day and night, day and night, day and night, day and night just like that. When my sleeping time, just on the way in the car. You know, sleeping… Then another location to that location, “Dartha, we land. Oh, we arrived.” Then we’re shooting, something like that.

In the middle, I wanted to go back to the studio, editing. You know, 15 days! My eyes, they were like old ping-pong balls in there. Two ping-pongs… Sammo, why you put ping-pong balls in your eyes?” Yeah, it’s true story! In other words, we were happy to finish how things and then the Gold Harvest, “Oh Sammo, we are finished.” He says, “Goodnight Hung! Take it away, relax!”

I said, “Relax? Only me? How to relax only me?” Then, I had so many friends. Four or five friends… “Come on, we go to nightclub.” Drinking, make a good time! Yeah, this is after the movie showed up. Everything is very good. I’m very happy to…very happy. I’m not happy to I’ve got a good job, no. I’m happy to see Bruce Lee, it looks like the last movie. You know, last Bruce Lee’s movies and of course, a lot of memory in my brain… yeah, about Bruce Lee.

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