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View All Once Upon A Time In China II News
All Critics (14)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (13)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (4)
This is the best action-adventure-comedy that Tsui has ever made, hence one of the year's most exhilarating entertainments.
A splendid if frankly fake-looking spectacle.
More concentrated and svelte than its precursor, Once Upon a Time II also has the benefit of fights staged by Master Yuen Wo-Ping that show Jet Li-another camera-age hero-to even greater advantage.
Giving it a title that suggests an Eastern version of a Sergio Leone epic raises expectations that can't be fulfilled.
For sheer excitement, virtuoso fight sequences and extravagant special effects, Hark's film is hard to beat.
Much more than just another martial arts movie.
Great follow-up to OUATIC. More of a political conspiracy plot than a cultural one, but still has great fight scenes.
It is a great-looking film with top-notch martial arts sequences and high production values.
With its ability to maintain a balance between a high standard of intense action and thought-provoking storytelling, Once Upon a Time in China II accomplishes something very few sequels achieve: it outshines the original.
...a more controlled, skillfully woven film overflowing with a talented cast and crew.
...this sequel has some of the most astounding action you've ever seen, proving that when Tsui is compared to Steven Spielberg it's no exaggeration.
Hark is back to take on the encroachment of foreigners. This time he focuses on a radical faction in China called the White Locust who want to see the death of all foreigners so their country can live in peace. Where as the message got a bit muddled in the first one, I think it is clearly and smartly driven home in this film. The civil wars that have sprung up due to Western imperialism wrecks havoc on the land, even when the rival faction may be driven by good intentions. They symbolism and the action is rich and are very captivating to watch. I'm surprised at how culturally different this film is for me, yet how involved I became with these characters. It has certainly changed my mind on Hong Kong cinema and the depth of this film is something to be enjoyed by all. It is hard to sum up my experience, and even though I fear I am doing a terrible job, I urge you to sit down with this series. It is certainly worth your time.
the epic story of master wong continues with a very strong middle piece to the trilogy. compared to the original, the fight scenes are a bit less memorable, the supporting characters not as good, and there are more failed attempts at humor. despite that, the story was almost as good as the original, and saying the fighting wasnt as good isnt a knock as the fighting in the original is some of the best ever and the fighting in this film is still great as compared to a lot of other kung fu movies. overall this is a solid sequel and a great stand alone kung fu movie in its own right.
Taking up where the first part left off, this is effectively more of the same ? which is no bad thing. Li and Rosamund Kwan return, but Yuen Biao elects not to reprise his role of Foon. His replacement Max Mok does a great job in the role.
Most of the wire work action is left for the climax, giving Li a chance to demonstrate just how good he is at stylish (and FAST) kung fu earlier in the movie, when he takes on a mob intent on lynching his beloved 13th aunt armed only with a fan, and faces off against Donnie Yen in a great pole fight.
As for the plot, this time us dopey westerners are the ones in danger, rather than being the outright villains. After a raid on an embassy, Wong Fei Hung decides enough is enough and takes on the White Lotus cult, who are intent on rubbing out all western influences from China. Cue high-flying kicks, punches and leaps, and a crazy fight atop a construction of tables.
The climax, a memorable fight with Donnie Yen, is an absolute classic, with both giving their all. The speed and technique shown during the double-pole fight is staggering, and Yen's moves with his cloth staff are gob-smacking. It's a real treat to see kung-fu cinema of this quality.
Continuing the story of Wong Fei Hung, Tsui Hark's Once Upon In China 2 is more of Jet Li's amazing martial arts prowess punctuated by some decidedly suspect historical accuracy. In fact this second installment is so absurdly divorced from reality it makes Braveheart look like a documentary! It essentially attempts to bodge together two plots; one involving a fanatically xenophobic cult and another concerning two revolutionary intellectuals trying to evade capture. Both are completely half baked and essentially have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The scenes involving the cult are basically just an excuse for fancy costumes, fireworks and gimmicky fight scenes. It does contain a well meaning but extremely naive message about religious intolerance but the characters and dialogue are cartoonish and silly. The revolutionaries are a little more interesting but it's still overly melodramatic and simplistic and the plot haphazardly veers between the two elements with little thought for logic or narrative progression. The attempts at humour are also puerile, making the heroic and revered figure of the first film appear like a childish buffoon here. But of course the one saving grace of the film is the action; Jet Li is as superb as always and I found myself tolerating the nonsense in between in anticipation of the next remarkable fight scene. But if it's historical accuracy or a well written (or even vaguely believable) plot you're looking for, I'd skip it.
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