Once Upon a Time in China 3 (Wong Fei Hung ji saam: Si wong jaang ba) Reviews
Wong (Jet Li) steps in to protect his old man, gets in a few scraps, and eventually becomes involved in foiling an assassination attempt on a high ranking governor, whilst at the same time trying to make sure that the ex-boyfriend of his sweetheart stays his distance.
As a big fan of Jet Li, I really have tried my utmost to enjoy the OUATIC movies, but, even with the incredible cinematography, lavish sets and costumes, powerful score, and welcome appearances from industry greats such as Yuen Baio and Donnie Yen, the series has left me rather unimpressed.
And Part 3 does nothing to change that.
This chapter moves the action from Canton to Beijing, but almost everything else stays the same. We get more xenophobia, more silly wire-work enhanced fight scenes, more playful romance between Wong and his girl (the gorgeous Rosamund Kwan), more lame comedy, and not enough memorable martial arts action from Li. And this time round we also get lion dances. Lots and lots of lion dances.
If the sight of men dancing and leaping about in brightly coloured lion costumes doesn't sound like fun to you, then I strongly suggest you do not watch this film (lion dance fetishists, however, will have a field day!).
I had always found the traditional Chinese lion dance rather interesting to watch, but this film has dampened my enthusiasm for them more than just a tad. OUATIC 3 starts with lion dances, has a few lion dances throughout, and end with lots of... you guessed it.... lion dances!!! Sure, some of the lions have booby trapped mouths which fire arrows, and another has blades attached to it, and there's a humongous lion at the end to spice things up, but there's only so much wiggling of lion bodies, jiggling of lion heads, snapping of lion mouths and fluttering of big lion eyes that I can take.
In fact, only the presence of the delightful Miss Kwan as Aunt (or is it cousin?) Yee kept me sane. Once again, she is a joy to behold and makes the whole lion-infested film worth enduring.