Once Upon a Time in China (2001)
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as Wong Fei-hung
as Leung Foon
as Aunt Yee
as Buck Teeth Soh
as Slave from America
as Iron Robe Yim
as Old Man
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Critic Reviews for Once Upon a Time in China
Its real strengths are its choreography, its flashes of wit, and its all-round exuberance.
A witty, extravagantly picturesque homage to Sergio Leone.
Gets better as it goes along, building up to a prolonged shipboard finale.
A truly dazzling achievement, even measured against Tsui's own considerable accomplishments...
Beautiful Hong Kong movie. Wonderful story about the technological invasion, and outstanding fight scenes.
Audience Reviews for Once Upon a Time in China
The iconic theme song of this Wong Fei Hung trilogy defined "heroic" for my generation of Chinese kids. Revisited this childhood staple with my family on New Year's Eve. With the comedy, nonstop action, romance and stirring story of overcoming oppression, this is another all-in-one Hong Kong miracle product from Tsui Hark. Jet Li looked great in this film, that face is just so righteous. And you get to see him in a 3-piece suit at the end! The dialogue was beautiful and rousingly poetic, that's something non-Chinese speaking audiences will lose. The common saying "Ren yi shi feng ping lang jing, tui yi bu hai kuo tian kong" translates to: "Bear it for a while to calm the wind and still the waves, retreat a step to broaden the sea and clear the sky" explains why the Chinese people often swallow their pride to avoid confrontation for the 'greater good'. Until the red-blooded, patriotic Doctor Wong Fei Hung comes along and yells at China to wake up and stand up to their Manchurian and foreign conquerors, to bleed for their motherland. The film is a bit too long at 2+ hours. It won't bore you, but you have to go into it prepared for a LotR-type epic.
While I am still getting used to Hong Kong films, this was a surprisingly good critique of western civilization and the chaos that it breeds. Hark finds clever ways to show how the eastern spirit has been drowned out by the sounds modernity. Also, not being an action fan, I was oddly really enraptured by the Kung fu.
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