If you are a fan of combat video games, you must’ve heard of titles such as “Mortal Combat”, “Dead or Alive” and “Street Fighter”. Do you know the name of the man who acted in film adaptations of these popular games? How much money has Chinese-American actor Robin Shou earned from his acting endeavors?
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Early life and Education
Shou Wan Por was born on 17 July 1960, in Hong Kong (at the time known as British Hong Kong), the People’s Republic of China.
He is the fourth child of a homemaker and a tailor. When he was 11 years old in 1971, his family moved to Los Angeles, California US, and lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the area that is today known as Koreatown. Little is known about his early education, but it’s disclosed that he didn’t start practicing martial arts until he was 19, which was considered pretty late for the standards. He enrolled at the California State University, while also taking Kenpo (Karate) classes. However, he wasn’t satisfied with Karate so he quickly quit it, then a year later he stumbled across a group of Wu Shu practitioners who had came to Los Angeles from Beijing.
He immediately thought that this was what a ‘real Chinese’ should train in, so he took a break from University just before starting his senior year in 1981, sold his car, and spend the earnings on a flight to China, where he could study Wu Shu for several months. He didn’t even tell his parents where he was going – his aunt had to mail a letter to his mother to let her know Shou was safe in Nanjing, China.
When he was done with Wu Shu classes, he returned to California and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in civil engineering.
He worked in the field for a year and a half when he realized he needed a change of career, as he was bored by electronics and computers. He went back to Hong Kong, hoping to spend some time learning more about martial arts, when he was offered a position of a stuntman in a film. He accepted, and in the end his short vacation turned into two years, during which he was a stuntman in several films. When he returned to the US, he adopted Robin Shou his stage name, as he thought it was more appropriate for the Western audience.
During the last several years of the 1980s, Shou made small appearances in several movies, such as “The Big Brother”, “The Big Heat”, “In the Line of Duty III” and “Long Arm of the Law”.
However, his roles usually portrayed a bodyguard or an assassin, who would get only a few minutes of the screen time.
His real feature film debut happened in 1990, when he co-starred with Melissa Gilbert in the TV drama film “Forbidden Nights”, about a woman who came to China to become a school teacher but who fell in love with one of her students. People immediately noticed Shou, but he decided to return to Hong Kong and work as an actor there.
He appeared in several films, such as “Tiger Cage II”, “Fury in Red”, “Forbidden Arsenal” and “Honor and Glory”, however, in 1994 he returned to the US to pursue a career in Hollywood, his agent calling him to a casting call for the movie “Mortal Combat”, inspired by the famous video game of the same name. Soon after, Robin Shou was cast as the lead character, Liu Kang – the movie premiered in 1995.
In 1997, Shou portrayed Gobei in “Beverly Hills Ninja, and that same year reprised his Liu Kang role in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation”. In 1998, he made an appearance in the TV series “The Outer Limits”, in which he portrayed Major Ronald Neguchi.
Moving along, in 2006 Shou appeared in “DOA: Dead or Alive”, the action movie directed by Corey Yuen. Two years later starred next to Jason Statham, Joan Allen and Tyrese Gibson in the sci-fi film “Death Race”, and reprised that role in the film’s sequels that aired in 2010 and 2014. In 2009, he acted in another video game adaptation, “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li”, in which he portrayed Gen, then the same year appeared in an episode of the TV series “Cold Case”.
Shou starred as Sunny in the action film “Mortal Enemies” in 2011, before in 2012 making his voice acting debut, voicing Conroy and Roland Ho in the video game “Sleeping Dogs”.
He also appeared in the short film “Black Tiger: Hunter Hunted” that aired in 2014.
Shou is announced to portray a character called simply ‘Boss’ in the Lou Pizzaro’s TV film “Way of the Empty Hand” that, as of May 2020, still doesn’t have a release date.
He was the International Forms Champion and a member of the National Wu Shu Team in the 1982-83 season. He won several gold and silver medals in Wu Shu at various competitions held in China, and also won a gold medal in weapons. He won the Traditional Form Grand Championship held in California four times.
Shou trained fellow actress Mila Jovovich for her role in the “Resident Evil” saga.
When he’s not working on films, he loves taking ceramic classes, painting, welding, and even does woodworking!
On 19th September 2009, he married his mysterious, long-term girlfriend known simply as ‘Anne’. It isn’t disclosed whether or not the couple has any children.
According to the Chinese zodiac, he was born in the year of the Rat.
Shou keeps his life private and he isn’t active on any social media platforms.
Robin Shou has earned a lot of money from his successful acting career, as well as from Wu Shu competitions and classes he held. His net worth is estimated at around $8 million, as of mid-2020.
Shou has a height of 6ft (1.83m), and weighs around 165lbs (75kg); he has dark eyes. He takes good care of his long, black hair which is even jokingly said to have some mystical powers and to be able to defy gravity.