Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Fantastic follow-up. Soo many great fight sequences, even more than the first. Adding Donnie Yen will do that. A lot darker of a story too.
Jet Li and Donnie Yen go mano a mano in the second Once Upon a Time in China movie, plopping Wong Fei Hung into the middle of the Boxer Rebellion. Characters aren't as developed as the first one, and neither are the fight scenes, but it is still a quality and entertaining wire-fu movie.
Jet Li plays Huang Fei Hung. He goes to a medical session seminar. Some clan attacks the foreigners, later leads to a military group led by Nap-lan played by Donnie Yen which goes to a good build up to a duel to the death kung fu at the end.
The kung fu of Jet Li is as superb as his other classic Hong Kong films with a well written script for the non-fictional character. It definitely has the edge over the first film's fight scenes.
Need some martial arts action? This is one I recommend.
La barre était haute pour le deuxième opus des aventures de Wong Fei Hung surtout en l'absence de Yuen Biao dans le rôle du sidekick de WFH, remplacé par Max Mok. Cela n'empêche tout de même pas Tsui Hark de réaliser un très grand film d'arts martiaux, toujours avec ce mélange savant de tragicomédie et de séquences ahurissantes et irracontables. Jet Li et Rosamund Kwan sont toujours aussi bons et charismatiques, Donnie Yen est un méchant un peu éteint mais virevoltant comme jamais et les autres seconds rôles plutôt bons. On retrouve aussi le thème iconique de la série, répété à l'envi à chaque grosse scène de combat (et il y en a énormément), pour le plus grand plaisir des fans. La Secte du Lotus Blanc est une suite tout à fait digne de son aîné.
Though Once Upon a Time in China may not have been the most entertaining vehicle, its action sequences and priduction values were enough to warrant my attention for the sequel.
Immediately upon starting Once Upon a Time in China II I found myself in a state of confusion over the narrative. Uneducated on the life of Wong Fei-hung or familiar with the stories people tell of him, I'm quickly plagued with uncertainty as to whether the story is one of fact or fiction; if the story is meant to be historical or legend. There is no direct clarity in all this, and attempting to decipher it while trying to figure out where the sequel left audiences while taking in the foreign language of this film was really a lot of effort for my mind and it wore me down rather fast. I gave up rather qickly and just focused on finding what I could enjoy about Once Upon a Time in China II.
Though I struggled to ascertain the contextual relevance of the story, I did find that the film was a more enjoyable experience than its predecessor. It was easier to decipher what was happning this time around, and since the film focused centrally on Wong Fei-hung and his involvement in the battle between the White Lotus Sect and the rebels attempting to establish the Republic of China, the story is constantly in pursuit of building intensity to unleash in the action scenes. There is very much a sense that the story structure of Once Upon a Time in China II follows that of its predecessor very closely for better and for worse, and the extensive periods of dialogue reinforce this. They also prevent the film from maintaining the most thrilling atmosphere alongside the touch of comedy. However, there is a less scattered narrative focus this time around because there are less characters and more to care about. This allows more humanity to seep its way into the feature, providing compelling dramatic material for the cast to work with. As a result the story is of more value. And those who embrace the cultural elements of the film's Chinese nativity are likely to enjoy the film far more. It did exceed my grasp in parts, but I loved the visual experience and also the musical score which was simple and yet so serene and contextually appropriate.
The action in Once Upon a Time in China II is as enjoyable as ever. In a testament to the remarkable skills of Jet Li, Yuen Woo-ping wrings some powerful fight choreography out of the man and guides him through an endless barrage of foes and weapons over the course of the story. The action quotient is sufficient enough to deliver the entertainment to action junkies who couldn't care less about the surro unding story, and the quality of it is as brilliant as ever. Audiences get to witness the graceful technique of dedicated martial artists facing off in a wide variety of situations and settings which brings out a strong feeling of versatility to the film. As far as the standard for Tsui Hark films go, Once Upon a Time in China II is another testament to the director's keen eye for action. The manner in which he captures it all utilizes the effects of well-placed cinematography and the use of many long shots to emphasize the skills of his cast while manipulating the atmosphere with dutch angles makes for a strong visual experience. Given that the film makes use of a powerfully convincing costume and production design along with the scenery, there is already a lot of visual gusto to the credibility of the film even without the addition of its action scenes. All in all, Once Upon a Time in China II has no problem being a wonderful visual splendour which ups the ante established by its predecessor even though it decreases the scale of story to do so.
The cast of Once Upon a Time in China II also deliver a powerful effort to keep the spirit of the drama alive all throughout.
Jet Li makes an effective return to the role of folk hero Wong Fei-hung once again. With an endless barrage of physical energy at his helm, Jet Li relays his brilliant array of martial arts skills to the enemies he faces off with and the audience caught up in admiration of his abilities. He confidently takes on multiple enemies at once with a tenacious collection of swift techniques and movements that bolster his merits as a martial artist in the most artistic manner. Yet Jet Li's passion for the project does not stop at his fighting skills. He genuinely embraces the role with charismatic ambition and consistently maintains a concerned look on his face to reflect the serious manner in which he approaches the role. He never loses focus and intergrates his entire spirit into his physical performance, ensuring that he grasps the serious nature of his role on the inside and the outside. His chemistry with everyone around him proves his ability to convey both intense heroism against his enemies and gentle sympathy with his friends. Essentially, Jet Li does an effective job of capturing the legendary status of Wong Fei-hung with plenty of glory to boot.
Donnie Yen also makes an active presence in Once Upon a Time in China II. WhileJet Li steals the screen, he is not the sole dominator of audience interest because Donnie Yen puts up a fight to ensure that audiences know of his capabilities as a martial artist, and it is difficult to deny the man's talents. He has his own swift array of skills to show off throughout the fights depicted in the story, and he does it with genuine passion and real emotion to it. Donnie Yen makes a powerful screen duo with Jet Li and adds a large boost of credibility to his name.
Once Upon a Time in China II may blur the lines of historical relevance and Western narrative appeal, but with a more focused story combined with plenty of brilliant martial arts and a strong central effort from Jet Li, it proves an improvement over its predecessor.
A nice sequel to a historical drama and martial arts film staring Jet Li as Master Wong Fei-hung.
And I had watched this one.
Simpler plot lines made it way way much better.
I didn't think that this movie was in the same class as the first movie. I missed his trusty sidekicks and the script lacked wit and entertainment. The helper that he has in this movie was a bit poor and the action scenes wasn't as great as the first movie. As for the storyline, Dr. Wong is now helping the foreigners against some radical mercenaries who want rid of them. The radicals also have the help from the police who come toe to toe with Jet Li and his companions. The storyline didn't really grip me and the showdown at the end was quite disappointing. On the plus side, there isn't any fighting on strings or flying in the air so the action scenes looked real. The thing that really let the movie down was the poor storyline and the dull characters. I just hope that the 3rd one is better. Disappointing!
This is the problem with making sequels! If you give your all in the first movie, you really find it hard to replicate that success. That's exactly what has happened with this film. There was so much going on in the first movie but in this film there just seemed like there was something missing. Maybe it's because I watched part one and two, back to back. Anyway, although I found the movie disappointing, it's still a watchable movie which is better than some martial are movies I have seen recently.
Worldwide Gross: HK$30.4million
I recommend this movie to people who are into their Jet Li movies about a doctor who is trying to save the foreigners from radical mercenaries. 4/10
Great movie with incredible fight scenes. I personally preferred the first one, but for a sequel this was amazing!
(*** 1/2): [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]