know how obvious this choice seems. After all, everyone knows Jackie Chan. What
you might not realise, though, is just how successful his turn back to China
has been. Refocusing his attention from Hollywood in favour of more Mainland
productions (and flattering the Chinese government) has made Chan the
second-highest paid actor in the entire world, with Forbes reporting that he
made an eye-popping $61 million last year.
to watch Nothing
will match his ‘80s and ‘90s Hong Kong action flicks, but Little Big Soldier
is the best of his Mainland output.
Yen has been touted as the future of kung fu for decades now, and while he
never managed to single-handedly usher in another golden age of kung fu cinema,
he did end up becoming China’s best martial arts star. Lately the Boston-raised
actor has been poached by Hollywood for movies like Rogue One: A Star Wars
Story and xXx: Return of Xander Cage as an easy way to appeal to Chinese
to watch More
than anything else, it’s the Ip Man series that made Yen’s name. While
the movies get increasingly sillier, he’s worth catching in any of them.
began his career with a key role in Ann Hui’s The Boat People, and went
on to star in an insane variety of Hong Kong films during the peak of that city’s
film industry. Like occasional co-star Chow Yun-fat, he’s now the kind of actor
who can pack in audiences for crapfests such as the From Vegas to Macau
movies by virtue of his natural charm, lingering good looks and nostalgic
to watch Lau’s
as entertaining a lead as ever in Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame,
directed by fellow Hong Konger Tsui Hark.
are plenty of other established Hong Kong stars who have successfully made the
jump to the Mainland (among them Nicholas Tse and Aaron Kwok) but none of them
have maintained the same output as Koo. As an actor, Koo has distinguished
himself by taking on all kinds of roles, from romantic leads and stoic action
heroes to cartoonishly evil villains.
to watch As
a murderous, convicted drug lord desperate to escape a death sentence, Koo
takes on a completely unsympathetic role in 2013’s excellent Drug War
and somehow makes us root for his character.
Qi is like the Angelina Jolie of Chinese film, a comparison we’re making purely
because both of them have absurdly large lips. Shu’s had a remarkable rise from
starring in cheapo soft-porn flicks to becoming one of the biggest stars in
Asia. There’s a reason for that: much more than just a pretty face, she has a
great screen presence and can expertly ladle on the charm.
to watch Journey
to the West: Conquering the Demons may be pretty up and down, but Shu gives it many of
its high points with a great comic willingness to look ridiculous. To see her
in an entirely different mode, check out If You Are The One or The
Shanghainese, half Hong Konger and a fourth German on her father’s side,
Angelababy is 100 percent unavoidable, appearing in ads for everything from
home-buying services to cooking oil, often alongside hubby Huang Xiaoming. With
her ridiculous name, big eyes and pale skin, Angelababy seems to have mainly
built her fame by looking like a cartoon version of the Chinese female ideal.
to watch Go
outside, look at the first ten ads you can find, and you’re almost certain to
see Angelababy shilling something. You’re also certain to have a better time
doing that than watching a movie like Bride Wars.