Profile of Gary Daniels

Name: Gary Edward Daniels
Date of Birth: 9 May 1963
Birth sign: Taurus
Height: 5’11” (1.8 m)
Weight: 80kg
Country: UK

To get you warmed up here’s a Gary Daniels tribute video we found on YouTube!


  • Started martial arts when he was 8 years old at his local kung fu school.
  • Trained in taekwondo, channelling his ability into kicks and developing flexibility. Earned his black belt at age 15.
  • Decided to move into kickboxing, and fought under the P.K.A. banner (Professional Kickboxing Association). Was coached under Mickey Byrne.
  • His debut as a fighter was in 1979 and developed a boxing record 12 wins (all by knockouts) and 3 defeats.
  • Ended his kickboxing career in 1993, with 22 wins (21 of these were by knockouts) and 5 defeats.
  • Moved to the States and trained at the ‘Jet Center’ with Benny Urquidez.
  • Studied ninjitsu under Mark Russo for a year.
  • Became a student of Siu Lum Wong Gar Kuen under Sifu Winston Omega.

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Main influences

  • As a child, Daniels had a strong admiration for superheroes, particularly those in Marvel Comics. This changed when he was introduced to Bruce Lee, specifically the trailer for Enter the Dragon (1973). According to Daniels, Lee was the closest thing to a real life superhero and thus ignited his passion to further his martial arts journey.
  • Grew up admiring Jackie Chan and would write letters to Golden Harvest, saying he would love to work with Jackie.
  • Developed a close friendship with his P.K.A. instructor Mickey Byrne.
  • Considers his Sifu, Winston Omega to be the most amazing martial artist he’s ever met.


Gary Daniels’ philosophy

  • [On his career] “I always believed in myself, that things were going to happen… I’m not yet where I want to be but I still believe I’m going to get there” (taken from Video Star by David Hughs for Empire, March 1999).
  • [On martial arts] “I’m a huge believer in Bruce Lee’s philosophy… you really hate the word ‘style’, you really want to get away from that word and the confines of what that word represents. You develop your own way of fighting, you don’t need to give it a name. You just do what you do” (taken from City Hunter DVD, Hong Kong Legends, 2001).

Trailer for Game of Death (2010)


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Career retrospective

Gary Daniels is best known for his direct-to-video (DTV) action affairs and has developed a very strong following amongst martial arts film fans. He has played a variety of characters, but is probably more recognised as villains such as in City Hunter (1993) and The Expendables (2010). When you see him on screen, you’re guaranteed to see a great fight scene involving ‘Danger man’ one of his other affectionately bestowed names!

Daniels first broke into films when he was signed to Solar Films, a company in the Philippines. He debuted with Final Reprisal (1988) and was followed by The Secret of King Mahis Island (1988). Daniels quickly left the company when they wanted him to do soft core pornography.

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Career highlights include City Hunter (1993) opposite Jackie Chan. Daniels has two standout scenes, one involving an incredibly intricate fight with Jackie and another where he plays Ken from the Street Fighter games. He also tackled the manga character, Kenshiro in Fist of the North Star (1995), in which he is plays a strong, silent Bruce Lee-type warrior who can literally make heads explode by hitting various pressure points on the human body. Daniels shines as the main star and does a surprisingly good job in bringing the animated character to life, a difficult feat for most actors.

Gary Daniels has also shown to be a versatile screen fighter and is able to adapt to Hong Kong-style fight choreography as seen in Bloodmoon (1997). The latter in particular, is one of the best Hong Kong/American crossover projects that delivers high standards of kinetic, blistering action in an English speaking film.

Daniels still works, appearing mainly as villains in movies like like Hunt to Kill (2010) opposite Steve Austin and Game of Death (2010) opposite Wesley Snipes. Another notable role was when he played Bryan Fury in Tekken (2010). Like in City Hunter (1993), he was able to bring a video game character to life, his presence and physical skill being among the film’s high points. He has returned to the odd heroic role such as in Forced to Fight (2011) and will soon star in the highly anticipated actioner Skin Traffik (2014).

Trailer for Forced to Fight


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1988Final ReprisalDavid Callahan
1988The Secret of King Mahis IslandChuck
1993City HunterMacDonald's Main Henchman
1993FirepowerNick Sledge
1995Fist of the North StarKenshiro
1995RageAlex Gainer
1996RiotShane Alcott
2004RetrogradeKen O'Hara
2010TekkenBryan Fury
2010The ExpendablesThe Brit
2010The Legend of Bruce Lee (TV Series)Elliot
2010Hunt to KillJensen
2010Game of DeathZander
2011Forced to FightShane
2012The MarkJoseph Pike
2013A Stranger In ParadiseDerek
2013The Mark: RedemptionJoseph Pike
2014Skin TraffikBradley
Wing-Ho Lin

Wing-Ho Lin is a big cinema fan. His forte is Hong Kong action cinema of the 70s and 80s, but likes to look at undiscovered action films beyond HK. He has trained in Wing Chun and Shaolin (Sanshou), and enjoys writing.

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