Darren Shahlavi (Darren Majian Shahlavi)

Darren Shahlavi

Darren Shahlavi was born to Iranian immigrant parents at Stockport, Cheshire, England on 5 August 1972. At the age of 7, Shahlavi started studying Judo in a rented acting theatre, and would arrive early to peek at the actors performing, after discovering Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan films he dreamed of being in action films and continued to train in Shotokan Karate at the age of 14 under Sensei Dave Morris and Horace Harvey, and later boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai at Master Toddy’s gym in Manchester. At the age of 16, Darren Shahlavi started to pursue a career in film and got the attention Hong Kong action cinema expert Bey Logan in the early 1990s, and according to Bey Logan’s commentary on the Tai Chi Boxer DVD, Shahlavi would spend time at Logan’s home watching and studying and copying martial art films from Logan’s personal collection. In an interview with the Persian Mirror, he mentioned that Logan wrote a script for him to star in, and off he went to Malaysia. However, upon arrival it became apparent there was no money in place, and Logan’s partner Mark Houghton put Shahlavi to work as a stuntman. Shahlavi later moved to Hong Kong to pursue his acting career. After moving to Hong Kong in the mid-1990s to pursue a career in action cinema Shahlavi was discovered by famed martial arts choreographer and director Yuen Woo-ping, who signed him to play the bad guy opposite Jacky Wu in Tai Chi Boxer, at the time he was working as a nightclub bouncer and a bodyguard for visiting celebrities. After Tai Chi Boxer was released in Hong Kong cinemas, Seasonal Films Corporation boss Ng See-yuen and director Tony Leung Siu-hung saw potential in Shahlavi and signed him for their Hong Kong and United States film Bloodmoon (1997), what the film lacks it more than makes up for in the action scenes with Shahlavi as the villain and stars Gary Daniels and Chuck Jeffreys, and remains a favourite with hardcore martial arts film fans.

Towards the end of his career, Darren Shahlavi has moved into the horror genre working with cult German gore master and splatter filmmaker Olaf Ittenbach whose films are often banned for their extreme and graphic violence, Shahlavi starred in and choreographed fights in the films Legion of the Dead and Beyond the Limits. These films are difficult to get in uncut form. Shahlavi had done stunts in studio films such as Universal Studios The Chronicles of Riddick, 20th Century Fox’s Night at the Museum and Warner Bros’ 300 often making an on-screen cameo as an inside joke such as the sleeping guard who can’t fight in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale in which he was the stunt double for Ray Liotta for the fighting scenes with Jason Statham which were choreographed by Ching Siu-tung. In an interview, Shahlavi had expressed a desire to get back to making martial arts films after completing work on a film with action star Mark Dacascos, and also appeared on Intelligence, and as a guest star on the American series Reaper. In 2010, Shahlavi landed a major role in the film Ip Man 2 starring Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Lynn Hung, and Huang Xiaoming as the villain Taylor “The Twister” Milos. Although he only appeared in the latter part of the film, his boxing fights with Hung and eventually defeat by Yen form the climax of the film and eventually serves as the film’s main antagonist. Shahlavi appeared in the psychological dark tale thriller film Red Riding Hood. Shahlavi appears in Mortal Kombat: Legacy as Kano. Shahlavi played Devon in the 2013 film The Package alongside Dolph Lundgren and WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin. Shahlavi played Cazel in the 2013 film The Marine 3: Homefront, along with Neal McDonough and WWE star Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. Shahlavi appears in his final film in the 2015 film Kickboxer as Eric Sloane, remake of the 1989 film of the same name, along with MMA fighter Alain Moussi, former WWE superstar Dave Bautista and original Kickboxer film star Jean-Claude Van Damme. On 14 January 2015, Darren Shahlavi died in his sleep at the age of 42. The cause of death was a fatal heart attack caused by atherosclerosis.

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  • August, 05, 1972
  • United Kingdom
  • Stockport, Cheshire, England


  • January, 14, 2015
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

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