Influential Hong Kong film director, producer, and screenwriter Ringo Lam died Saturday. He was 63.
Lam was found unconscious and unresponsive in his bed on Saturday, according to the Hong Kong publication Apple Daily. When the officials arrived, he was already dead. No foul play was suspected and no further details were released.
Born Ringo Lam Ling-Tung in Hong Kong in 1955, Lam studied acting and then went on to film school in Canada. His first films were comedies and he found success with Aces Go Places IV in 1983. In 1987, he went on to direct City on Fire starring Chow Yun-fat. The crime film was a breakout success and it earned him his first Hong Kong Film Award. Many have said that City on Fire is the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
Lam went on to make more films that showed the darker side and underbelly of Hong Kong. He followed up City on Fire with two more “On Fire” installments which included Prison On Fire and School On Fire. His foray into Hollywood included the Jean-Claude Van Damme pic Maximum Risk in 1996. He also directed JCVD in In Hell and Replicant.
Van Damme took to Twitter to express his condolences over Lam’s death. “I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Ringo Lam.” he said. “My heart goes out to his family, friends and loved ones.”
After dabbling in Hollywood films, he returned to Hong Kong and released Full Alert in 1997 which became a huge success, earning five Hong Kong Film Award nominations.
Lam would go on to release more Hong King action and crime pics. In 2015, his film Wild City starring Louis Koo, Shawn Yue, Tong Liya, and Joseph Chang. That same year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the New York Asian Film Festival. His final film, Sky on Fire starring Into the Badlands’ Daniel Wu was released in 2016.