Madame Tussauds Bangkok celebrates Chinese New Year with Kung Fu fighter collection
Madame Tussauds Bangkok, the first world-renowned wax attraction in Southeast Asia, celebrates the upcoming Chinese New Year with the introduction of the new ‘Kung Fu’ Set of Asia’s legendary action film heroes – Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Tony Jaa, unveiled at the recent opening ceremony on the 6th floor of Siam Discovery Centre.
Besides the other three internationally-known actors, the life-size wax figure of ‘Donnie Yen’, one of the world’s best-known action stars from Hong Kong portrayed as Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man in the 2008 film Ip Man, is the latest piece that makes Madame Tussauds’ Asian Kung Fu collection complete. They are displayed with the most advanced and interactive setting in the Movie Zone.
The atmosphere surrounding the launch event was electric, with many fans waiting to welcome the wax models of their favourite stars. The event’s highlights included a Kung Fu show by instructors from Thailand’s first Shaolin Wushu Kung Fu School, which originated from the late Grandmaster ‘Tat Moh’, who is also known as Boddhidharma.
Appearing both in the film and television shows, Donnie Yen or Yen Chi Tan, gained local and international recognition as a skilled martial arts actor, film director and action choreographer and received many awards such as the Best Action Choreography at the 2007 Golden Horse Film Awards and the 2008 Hong Kong Film Awards and the 2008 Taurus World Stunt Award in the US for his performance in Flash Point (2007).
Most Thai fans are familiar with his leading role in the martial arts biopic Ip Man (2008), based on the life of one of Bruce Lee’s martial arts teachers, Ip Man which became the biggest box office hit to date. Following its success, the second installment titled Ip Man 2 was released two years later. Yen won the Best Actor award for the first Ip Man at the 2nd Iron Elephant Awards and the Best Ethnic Chinese Actor from Outside Mainland China award at the 13th Huabiao Awards.
Jackie Chan is one of Asia’s best known martial arts stars and has appeared in over 100 films, including the blockbusting Rush Hour franchise, Rumble in the Bronx (1995) and Shanghai Noon (2000). Performing all his own stunts has led Jackie to have many injuries. He has broken and dislocated many parts of his body. His worst injury was a fractured skull which led to some hearing loss in his right ear and unfortunately he is now blacklisted by insurance companies.
Talking about the world’s legendary action film stars, everybody knows Bruce Lee. He was raised in Hong Kong where he began martial arts training at the age of 13. He later returned to the United States to study philosophy at the University of Washington. After he opened martial art schools here, Bruce Lee developed many new ideas and his own unique martial art form ‘Jeet Kune Do’. Appearing in numerous movies including Marlow (1969), Enter The Dragon (1973) and Game of Death (1978), he became the greatest icon of martial arts cinema. Bruce Lee was ranked No.100 in Empire (UK) magazine’s ‘The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time’. He was born in 1940 in California and died in 1973 in Hong Kong.
Growing up watching Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan inspired Tony Jaa, or Jaa Panom Yeeram, to learn martial arts. At the age of 15, he became a protégé of choreographer and director Panna Rittikrai who remains his mentor and collaborator until this day. Tony Jaa had his big break in global show business when his film Ong Bak (2003) debuted in the top 20 of the US box office and became a hit worldwide, making him an international martial arts star. He received the Best Action Actor award in China in 2008.