Know Your Role: James Lew
Much like the great Al Leong, James Lew has made a name for himself as one of the best actor/stuntmen in the fight game today. He’s been doing it since the late 1970’s but his first big feature role was in the 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China. Much like Leong, James Lew also has close to 100 stunt credits to his name but there is one area in which Lew is superior to Leong in my opinion; his acting ability. Leong was always the first to admit that he was a stuntman who occasionally got a few lines but Lew has been featured in many roles in a ton of awesome action movies and more often than not he has been more than just a random Asian guy fighting. He has actually had a voice and been able to add some character to his role instead of just always being the stereotypical villain. And while this post is usually reserved for actors who have been confined to the background for the length of their careers, James has had some success as the main villain in a few films.
Lew has been in a metric shit-ton of great action movies including Big Trouble in Little China, Action Jackson, The Perfect Weapon, Timecop, The Shadow, Lethal Weapon 4, and the not so great American Ninja V. Many of you will recognize him from not only his fighting style, which incorporates Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, and Tang Soo Do, but also for his flowing locks of hair which seem to have the volume and fullness of a well-groomed lion.
Lew was voted “Favorite Action Star” by fans of Inside Martial Arts magazine. Internet fans also voted him into the Hall of Fame in the Martial Arts History Museum. Inside Kung Fu Magazine inducted him as one of the “Martial Arts Greats” alongside legends such as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Jackie Chan. Lew has been active in Hollywood for the past 30 years and continues with his company “Hong Kong Wire Action Team”. Recently Lew wrote, starred, and directed a movie inspired by his own personal experiences in the business titled 18 Fingers of Death! Be sure to keep your eyes out for James Lew. Wherever someone needs an elite assassin to knock-off a good guy or his family, wherever a villain insists on picking a fight with an underrated martial arts hero; you will see James Lew. Thank you Mr. Lew for providing us with such a bevy of killable bad guys for our heroes to beat the crap out of, we salute you.
Lew taking part in the infamous kitchen split scene from Timecop
Kicking Charlie Sheen’s ass and showing some comedic chops in Hot Shots: Part Deux
Lew looking like a Halloween store vampire in American Ninja V
A young Jimmy in Big Trouble in Little China
“Whatcha doin’?” “Oh, nothing much…JUST KICKING THE F*CKIN SUN!”