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

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,117 users  
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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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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
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the commentary on the Region 1 DVD, this movie started out as a proposed new film to star Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao. Jackie would have played Wong, (which he'd previously played in Drunken Master), Sammo would have played Butcher Wing (as he did in Lin Shi Rong), and Yuen would be Lueng Foon (who played the role in Lin Shi Rong). This idea fell through and only Yuen Biao made it into the finished film. See more »

Goofs

Wong Fei-hung fights for several minutes under heavy rain, however when he gets kicked into his house, his clothes and hair are dry. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.11 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Not Exactly A Classic but Brilliant Nonetheless
5 March 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Jet Li's done some exceptional work in China. I have not been impressed by anything he did in America. Tsui Hark's 'Wong Fei Hung' has already been stretched into several sequels of which I have only seen the first. 'Wong Fei Hung' has all the ingredients to make it an enjoyable epic movie. There is a story with a heart, some very well crafted choreography, good acting, and enough action and culture. It's set on a historical backdrop of a pre-Communist China. The characters are very well written (with the exception of the non-Chinese who act like caricature villains). Jet Li, Biao Yuen, Rosamund Kwan, Jacky Cheung and Kent Cheng all act well. It also presents some taboo elements such as Wong's affection for his 'aunt' (it was taboo during the time) but this is all skillfully underused which prevents the film from appearing too preachy. The film has several layers but it tries to tackle too many things at once and becomes unnecessarily complicated at some point. The film slightly drags in the first half and the choreography of the action scenes without the main cast looked a little shoddy. Yet, the characters are very likable and the story also offers a lot to enjoy that I am looking forward to its sequels. In my humble opinion, it's certainly one of the better martial arts films and has a lot more substance than pretentious films like 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'. the only other Tsui Hark film I've seen is the magnificent 'Chat gim' and I've liked what I've seen so far.


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