Ringo Lam was a talented action director and producer from Hong Kong. His vast portfolio included projects such as City on Fire, Maximum Risk, and Replicant. His big break into the film business took place in the early 1980s when famed director Po-Chih Leong resigned from Esprit d’Amour after a dispute with the producer. Lam took over the film’s directorial duties and received full recognition for it, despite not being present for the earlier portion of filming. Fans around the world were saddened to hear the news of his death Saturday. According to Slate News, Lam was found unresponsive in his bed by his wife. Upon the arrival of EMTs, the director was pronounced dead at his Hong Kong home.
Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme voiced his response to Lam’s death on Twitter. The pair had worked on a number of the director’s finest pieces together.
“I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Ringo Lam. We worked together on Maximum Risk, In Hell and Replicant. My heart goes out to his family, friends and loved ones,” the actor wrote. He included an old photo of him and Lam on the set of Replicant.
The legend RINGO LAM 林岭东 (63) has died at his home. We'll always remember him as an incredible Hong Kong movie director; known for classics like City On Fire, The Twin Dragons and Maximum Risk. Ringo Lam was one of the most unsung heroes of Hong Kong action, we salute you. pic.twitter.com/4FGJgu7aKy— easternKicks (@easternKicks) December 29, 2018
Despite his takeover of Esprit d’Amour helping him get his foot in the door of the movie industry, Lam later admitted it really wasn’t one of his favorite projects. The supernatural theme didn’t appeal to him much, but he knew that if he didn’t take the opportunity another might never present itself. There was “no choice, I need [sic] food, so I do the best I can,” he said after the film’s release.
It wasn’t long after Esprit d’Amour that Lam begun work on his true passion, City on Fire, a 1987 thriller that propelled the Hong Kong director into the limelight. The film would secure Lam the prestigious Best Director award at the Hong Kong film festival and pave the way for a series of gangster films including 1987’s Prison on Fire, 1988’s School on Fire, and 1991’s Prison on Fire II.
Little information has yet been revealed in regards to the cause of his death. Lam was 63 years old and known to be in good health, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Director Wong Jing, a long time friend and co-worker of Lam expressed his sorrow over his death.
“It is too sudden to feel sad and I am overwhelmed by the memories. We will meet again,” he said.