|Park Hui-jin |
Born in 1951 in South Korea, he began his martial arts film career alongside many Korean martial arts movie mainstays (including brothers Hwang Jeong-ri and Hwang Choon-soo) in the films of director Lee Doo-yong, debuting in 1974's Returned Single-Legged Man. He had great kicking skills and was also adept with weapons, making him a popular choice for many of the directors of Korean action films including; Kim Seon-gyung; Lee Hyeok-soo; Kim Shi-hyeon; and Richard Park Woo-sang.
His acting skills were also noticed early in his career and he quickly moved from being a stuntman to playing supporting roles as both heroes and villains. His proven track record helped secure him the lead role in the Korean re-cut of Corey Yuen Kwai's action classic Ninja In The Dragon's Den. Park and several other local actors filmed new scenes in 1985 with director Nam Ki-nam, which replaced the original scenes featuring Japanese superstar Sanada Hiroyuki.
He was groomed to be the next Hwang Jeong-ri, having a lot of the same skills and attributes and working several times on cross-over films with Hong Kong and Taiwan. The plan was for him to travel back and forth between Hong Kong and Korea, in the same manner as Hwang, but due to an unforeseen accident these plans would never come to fruition and he would never quite recover.
His career did continue locally though, with him still making appearances in several kids oriented martial arts films and the gangster movies that became popular in Korea during the late 80s and throughout the 90s. He also had a very steady work load in TV, being a common face in many of the period dramas of KBS, one of South Korea's top stations.
Although his stardom never reached the heights it deserved to, he still had a long and colourful career. His face is one of the most familiar of the Korean martial arts actors for western fans, with many of his performances being available on DVD, and with more films being re-mastered, hopefully his name will become just as familiar, he certainly deserves it.
J.J. Hayden [14-Jun-2023]