For TV viewers of a certain age, Sunny Pang is known for playing villains on such Ch 5 and 8 shows as Masters of the Sea, The Price of Peace and Point of Entry. (He’s also a familiar face in homegrown movies, where he’s usually cast as a chee ko pek — see Lang Tong and Siew Lup.) Then came Code of Law, the Joanne Peh-starring spin-off of The Pupil, where the pai kia-looking actor-stuntman, who once worked as a bouncer, crossed over to the good side to play grizzled Inspector Han. When he isn’t acting, Pang runs Ronin Action Group, a stunt team which has worked on Ch 5 dramas 2025, Premonition, and Left Behind; Kollywood flick Parandhu Sella Vaa; and the Sam Willows music video ‘For Love’. Last month, Code of Law returned for its fourth season, after a three-year hiatus. We caught up with 46-year-old stunt director and fight choreographer last month just before he left for Malaysia to work on an action movie. Here, he talks about his morning coffee ritual, his unlikely career in Indonesia, and what it’ll take to make Singapore’s own John Wick.
8 DAYS: Code of Law was off the air for a few years. When did you find out the show was coming back?
SUNNY PANG: I was informed last year. My schedule was tight at that time but it was a pleasant surprise because I thought there might not be a new season. What's more, whenever I leave the country, the Customs officers would recognise my face and suddenly ask me when Season 4 is coming out (laughs). Either that, or where is Fauzie Laily [who plays Inspector Han’s partner, Staff Sergeant Razali Hamzah]. I’d say, “He's probably busy shooting Tanglin right now.” (chuckles)
Your character, Inspector Han, is as grumpy as ever.
This season, everyone got promoted except for my character. It's not that he's bad at his job but because he doesn't play ball. In real life I don't play ball as well (chuckles). So I guess he is based on me.
In the first ep, we learn that Inspector Han drinks ‘kopi gao siu dai’. Is that how you start your day, with ‘strong coffee with less sugar’?
I'm a coffee drinker and I like it black. Sometimes I'll add milk and sugar. Early in the morning I’ll drink a cup of warm water first before the coffee. I need to flush my system, you know?
You do a lot of projects in Indonesia. Do you get recognised there?
All the time (laughs). Indonesia has a thriving action film industry, and the crew and cast respect me here. I also wish that one day I can do an action flick here. Right now I have my own stunt team [Ronin Action Group] which is stationed in Singapore, and maybe we can make a Code of Law movie with the cast involved. But I have to handle the action and design the fight scenes.
You’ve worked with Indonesian action star Iko Uwais a few times.
I love working with him. Right now we are very good friends. Recently he went to Hollywood to do [the Peter Berg-directed thriller] Mile 22, and I'm very happy for him. I want nothing but the best for him. I hope one day we can work together again. We were discussing how in the future Ronin Action Group and his stunt team can collaborate in a film.
Do you think Singapore will ever get to come up with something as mind-blowing as John Wick?
I can tell you that we can do it. I’m not saying that because I'm very patriotic but because I do believe that Singapore has a lot of talent. The important thing is to understand that these talents can thrive if they’re paired with the right people who have a track record of putting out quality productions. I just finished shooting [the Indonesian actioner] The Night Comes For Us, and I think we can achieve the same with the right funding, the right talent, and the right mindset.
What’s stopping us then?
Nowadays, producers tend to hire just pretty faces with no industry experience. What would anyone pay money to watch a movie with these people when they just go to YouTube or Instagram to look at them? I keep asking myself why Korean movies are so good. The Hongkong movies are also making a comeback. Meanwhile, we are not doing anything about it.
After this interview, you’re away for a month for a shoot. Care to share more details?
I’m shooting an action movie in KL called Kill Fist, with Malaysian director James Lee. It's a simple story about this guy fighting to lead a normal life after leaving a gang. He’s one of the best fighters in the underworld, and in the end there's a secret to be revealed. So be sure to watch it and find out what the ending is like!
Code of Law airs Mon, Ch 5, 10pm. It’s also on Toggle. Headshot is now on Netflix, while Mile 22 opens in cinemas Aug 2.