Mortal Kombat Wiki
Mortal Kombat Wiki

Robin Shou as Liu Kang.

Robin Shou (Born July 17, 1960 in Hong Kong) has made a name for himself in the American movie industry. He is most known for his portrayal of Liu Kang in the blockbuster movie Mortal Kombat, and Gobei in the 1997 Chris Farley comedy Beverly Hills Ninja, which starred fellow MK actor Keith Cooke as well. He stands at about 6 feet tall.


Shou was born in Hong Kong, the fourth son of a Shanghai tailor and a homemaker. His family moved to the United States in 1971. Their first home in Los Angeles was a 2-bedroom apartment near Olympic and Vermont, now known as Koreatown. Shou attended high school at Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles. Shou is known to be very good friends of Kamil Kumar & Miguel Luna of Fresno, California. Luna & Kumar basically saved his life and acting career by showing Shou the way of the dragon, which he enforced in the film, Mortal Kombat.

Shou did not start attending martial arts classes until he was 19. He studied Kenpo (Karate) while attending California State University, Los Angeles. He soon realized that Karate did nothing for him so he decided to quit. A year and a half later, he saw a demonstration by a group of Wu Shu practitioners from Beijing. He is purported to have said, "This is Chinese!"[citation needed] He was so inspired to train in this discipline that in 1981, just before starting his senior year at California State University, he sold his car and used the money to spend a quarter studying Wu Shu in China. His parents did not know his true whereabouts until his aunt wrote Robin's mother telling her that her son was in Nanjing.

Shou returned to California State University, Los Angeles and obtained his B.S. in civil engineering. He spent a year and a half in this field and he was convinced he needed a different career. He found computer and electronics boring. He was always trying to follow the ideal; finishing school, getting a job, getting married. He was unhappy and the only thing that kept him going was martial arts.

He soon took off to Hong Kong on vacation. Soon after his arrival, he was offered a chance to appear in a movie as a stuntman. He was offered job after job, and for his first two years in Hong Kong, he played big parts in action films. He lived in a little Kowloon rooftop apartment for $250 a month.

When Shou is not making films, he takes ceramic classes, paints, welds and does woodworking.

Film career[]

Shou's first real dramatic role was in Forbidden Nights in 1990, with Melissa Gilbert. Though only a TV film, this was his first American debut. However, Shou went back to Hong Kong and continued making movies there. By this time, he was more choosy about the roles he would play. He wanted other roles besides that of a bodyguard or a stuntman. He began turning down roles, and after nine years, he was bored and ready to quit acting until his friend Hulk Hogan convinced him otherwise.

In 1994, Shou returned to Los Angeles to start an import/export business. Then he got the call from his agent, ranting about a "perfect role" for him in a movie called Mortal Kombat. Robin was uninterested, assuming he would be playing a villain who gets killed in the end rather than the protagonist, Liu Kang, a monk warrior seeking revenge. His agent begged him to audition, and he did; seven auditions later, he was cast as Liu Kang. He reprised the role in the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

Shou also appears in a minor role in another fighting video game adaptation, DOA: Dead or Alive, based on Tecmo's video game series of the same name, produced by Mortal Kombat director Paul W. S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt. His newest role was Gen in 2009's Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Shou trained Milla Jovovich for her role in Resident Evil, and appeared in the 2008 movie remake Death Race as 14K; also directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.

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