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Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
"Wong Fei Hung" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  15 August 1991 (Hong Kong)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,666 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 51 critic

Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and ... See full summary »

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, (as Pik-yin Tang) , 2 more credits »
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Title: Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Biao Yuen ...
Rosamund Kwan ...
Jacky Cheung ...
Kent Cheng ...
Kam-Fai Yuen ...
Kai
Shi-Kwan Yen ...
Iron Robe Yim (as Yee Kwan Yan)
Shun Lau ...
Naval Commander Lau
Ma Wu ...
Jian-Guo Chiu ...
Shaho Gang Leader
Cheung-Yan Yuen ...
Yim's Opponent
Chi Yeung Wong ...
Commander Man
Shun-Yee Yuen ...
Honorable Manchu Soldier
Xin Xin Xiong ...
Shaho Gang Member
Jonathan Isgar ...
Jackson
Edit

Storyline

Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and American) plundering of China. When Aunt Yee arrives back from America totally westernised, Wong Fei-Hung assumes the role of her protector. This proves to be difficult when his martial arts school and local militia become involved in fierce battles with foreign and local government. As violence escalates even Aunt Yee has to question her new western ideals, but is it possible to fight guns with Kung Fu? Written by Michele Wilkinson, University of Cambridge Language Centre, <mw125@cus.cam.ac.uk>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

15 August 1991 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in China  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jet Li badly damaged his knee when Wong Fei Hung jumps out of the tea shop using his umbrella. For this reason a lot of the final fight was performed while Li was in plaster, meaning he had to be doubled for some of the moves. A lot of the shots are from the waist and above, to hide his plaster. See more »

Goofs

When Wong Fei-Hung jumps off the tea-house, while kicking the Shaho gang leader, it is quite clearly another actor (Xiong Xin Xin). See more »

Quotes

Yim: No matter how good our kung-fu is, it will never defeat guns.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Musketeer (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Didn't live up to my expectations.
13 June 2007 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

A traditional kung fu movie with elements of the Wuxia sub-genre, Once Upon A Time In China is considered by many to be one of the finest martial arts movies of all time; I don't rate it so highly, preferring my action to be a little more realistic and a tad more 'bone-crunching'.

Set in a troubled 19th century China, where centuries of tradition is being threatened by an influx of foreigners, this historical epic is directed by Tsui Hark and stars the incredible Jet Li, ably supported by Rosamund Kwan, Biao Yuen, Jacky Cheung and Kent Cheng. With a pedigree like that, I was expecting something truly astounding, but what I got was an overlong, over-stylised and definitely over-rated film. Saddled with a dreadfully dull story and some particularly poor comedic moments, it does not entertain as much as I had hoped.

Li plays Wong Fei Hung, martial arts master and all round good guy, who, along with his students, battles the foreign invaders who are plundering China. Kwan plays his love interest, Aunt Yee, who has recently returned from America, and who tries to educate Hung about the wonders of the Western world. As the troubles mount, Aunt Yee becomes the target of unscrupulous traders who try to sell her into prostitution, leaving Hung and his men no option but to pit their fighting skill against guns in a daring rescue attempt.

Although the movie admittedly features some well choreographed fight scenes which will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (as will the breath-taking cinematography), the action relies too much on clever wire-work and skillful editing for its impact, and the whole affair left this particular viewer rather disappointed.


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