Once upon a Time in ChinaDirector: Tsui Hark
Though generally unknown to Western audiences, Tsui Hark is considered a giant among Asian filmmakers and this exceptional epic, combining hard-hitting martial-arts action with romance, comedy, history, genuine poignance, and sharp insight into the effects of the century-long encroachment of Western civilization in Asia more than amply demonstrates why. The story centers on the exploits of Master Wong Fei-hung (a familiar figure in Hong Kong cinema) a 19th-century doctor, Confucian, and exceptional martial artist. As the film begins, he has just opened a new clinic in Canton Province. To help him with patients, he hires a few apprentices including Porky Lang (the comic relief) and Buck Teeth Sol, who was raised outside China and barely can speak the language. Wong is platonically involved with the lovely, worldly Aunt Yee, who has been abroad most of her life. Wong soon gets in trouble when he begins using his skills to protect and assist the poor and helpless in his community. As a result, someone torches his clinic, forcing Wong and his compadres to set off and get spectacularly staged revenge. They also try vainly to stop Western culture from changing traditional Chinese ways, but they soon find that they may as well be shoveling sand against a rising tide.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Sony Pictures
Cast & Crew
|Jet Li||Wong Fei-hung|
|Yuen Biao||Leung Foon|
|Jacky Cheung||Buck Teeth Sol|
|Rosamund Kwan||Aunt Yee|
|Kent Cheng||Porky Lang|
|Jimmy Wang Yu||Slave from America|
|Qiu Jian Guo||Actor|
|Chi Wong Yeung||Actor|
|Yee Chung-man||Art Director|
|Romeo Diaz||Score Composer|
|James Wong||Score Composer|
|Yu Ka-on||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Lau Man-hung||Production Designer|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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was definitely in the mood for Jet Li, and thus I grabbed "Once Upon a Time in China." The movie is about Wong Fei-Hung (Jet Li) a Chinese martial arts expert who protects the Chinese people from the foreignors (British and Americans) invading his land. Fei-Hung starts a militia to help protect the people, and they wind up getting in trouble by fighting with a local mob group. Fei-Hung also runs afoul with the local Magistrate who is kowtowing to the foreignors. Fei-Hung later fights with another martial arts expert, Iron Vest Yim, who wants to start his own Martial Arts school. All the plots come to a climax on the American base, where the Americans shoot at the British and Chinese, while trying to steal Chinese women to bring back to America. Yes, the plot is a bit out there, but the martial arts scenes are outstanding. Especially the final fight scene between Fei-Hung and Iron Vest! There is alot of comedy intermixed in the storyline also. One of the funniest scenes, is where a Western camera is brought to Fei-Hungs house, and a picture is to be taken of him, another person and a bird. The camera goes off with a boom, and the bird inside the cage is turned to fried chicken! Pretty hilarious. The picture quality is not the greatest for a DVD, but still very watchable. How can you not love the martial arts scenes in this movie? There are some extras on the DVD: * There is a commentary from martial arts reviewer Ric Meyers. * 5 movie trailers, including one for "Once upon a time in china" * Talent files for Tsui Hark, Jet Li, and Rosamund Kwan. The files were a bit underwhelming, and they did not have a full bio for all of Jet Li's movies. The DVD also has 2 versions. The original Theatrical version and the English dubbed version. I watched the cantonese version, with English subtitles which was fine!
Even though I thought I would not like this movie when it started, I patiently stuck through it and I was rewarded. It was a nice movie, good visuals, nice moves, a classic. The script was more complicated than I would expect for this type of movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.