Once Upon a Time in China Reviews

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Top Critic

Time Out
January 26, 2006
Its real strengths are its choreography, its flashes of wit, and its all-round exuberance.

TV Guide's Movie Guide
July 30, 2003
A truly dazzling achievement, even measured against Tsui's own considerable accomplishments...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Fred Topel
About.com
July 14, 2003
Beautiful Hong Kong movie. Wonderful story about the technological invasion, and outstanding fight scenes.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
May 20, 2003
A witty, extravagantly picturesque homage to Sergio Leone.
James Rocchi
Netflix
November 7, 2002
Brilliant commentary elevates entertaining Hong Kong action flick to must-see status.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
October 22, 2002
It is not believable, but it is fun to watch.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Jean Lowerison
San Diego Metropolitan
October 21, 2002
Not an outstanding example of the genre.
Kevin N. Laforest
Montreal Film Journal
September 10, 2002
Not perfect in an objective critical sense, but it's a masterpiece of the genre.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Dragan Antulov
rec.arts.movies.reviews
August 20, 2002
Successfully pays homage to ancient tradition and history by making it entertaining and interesting to non-Chinese audiences.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Jeffrey M. Anderson
San Francisco Examiner
October 31, 2001
Tsui's camera lurches, pinwheels and whirligigs all over the place to catch every move perfectly.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Greg Muskewitz
eFilmCritic.com
July 5, 2001
The editing here is far from good, and the continuity is constantly thrown off from one shot to the next; we're talking about different positioning of objects, object-size changes, characters disappearing and re-appearing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Shawn Levy
Oregonian
June 22, 2001
A kind of splendid mishmash of crude history, action-movie cliches and stunning photography, editing and fight choreography.
Edward Johnson-Ott
NUVO Newsweekly
June 1, 2001
The fight scenes are the main attraction, of course, and the film delivers the goods again and again.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
James Brundage
Filmcritic.com
May 29, 2001
Raises the bar for a genre often thought of as meaningless dribble, showing that a Kung Fu movie can be more than just spectacular fight sequences.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Andy Klein
New Times
April 26, 2001
Half political thriller, half martial arts film, the first Once Upon a Time in China is filled with archetypal, yet emotionally layered, characters and moments that make you yell at the screen with excitement.
Bilge Ebiri
Citysearch
April 26, 2001
Aided immeasurably by the acrobatic skills of its brilliant star, Once Upon A Time in China delivers the kinetic goods.
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
April 25, 2001
Gets better as it goes along, building up to a prolonged shipboard finale.
Ryan Cracknell
Apollo Guide
February 13, 2001
A guaranteed favourite for martial arts fans.
Full Review | Original Score: 78/100
Chris Hicks
Deseret News, Salt Lake City
January 1, 2000
The astonishing hook-and-ladder battle alone is worth the ticket price.
Marc Savlov
Austin Chronicle
January 1, 2000
A tumultuous riot of inspired filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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