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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 12,231 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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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>

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

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jet Li's voice is dubbed in post-production because he is not a Cantonese speaker. In fact, he spoke in Mandarin entirely during filming. See more »

Goofs

During the fight scene at the theater, when Aunt Yee is helping the Jesuit over the railing, the Jesuit's shoes are clearly seen to have a modern tread. See more »

Quotes

Wong Fei Hung: Why so many swords and daggers on the table?
See more »

Connections

Followed by Once Upon a Time in China III (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

a masterpiece of action cinema
23 July 2001 | by (Isle of Man, British Isles) – See all my reviews

The first of the new wave of Chinese movies is a masterpiece of action cinema, and looks gorgeous. Jet Lee plays Wong Fei Hung, a popular Chinese folk hero, although I gather he was doubled a fair bit due to an injury. Regardless, the set-piece fights are impressive and memorable, with imaginative wire work and use of scenery.

This is not to underplay the plot of the movie, which is a poignant view of China's cultural identity being chipped away by western invaders. As always, a lot appears to be lost for those like myself who don't speak Chinese, but the subtitles are clear and well produced. On DVD the option is there to play the movie dubbed, but please resist. Very few kung-fu movies aren't ruined by terrible dubbing, and this is no exception. The DVD I was watching had a very interesting commentary by man-in-the-know Bey Logan, a picture gallery and an interview with Jet. It's certainly worth updating your old VHS copy of this classic movie.


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