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

7.4
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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

Credited cast:
...
Biao Yuen ...
Rosamund Kwan ...
Jacky Cheung ...
Steve Tartalia ...
Tiger
Kent Cheng ...
Jonathan Isgar ...
Jackson
Shi-Kwan Yen ...
Iron Robe Yim (as Yee Kwan Yan)
Mark King ...
British general
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bruce Fontaine ...
Policeman
Shun Lau ...
Naval Commander
Kien Shih ...
Old man who gives advise (Cameo)
Yuan-fa Tsao
Chien-Po Tsen
Chi Yeung Wong ...
Commander Man
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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

Country:

Language:

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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

Wong Fei-hung was a famous practitioner of hung gar kung fu, although the techniques Jet Li uses are mostly of the long fist method and tai chi. See more »

Goofs

When Aunt Yee is fitting Fei-hung for a suit, she sees his shadow on the wall. Standing a few inches behind him, she traces his silhouette with her finger, obviously without touching him. However, when she touches his shadow ear, it flickers, meaning she actually touched his real ear. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Mulan (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
the best martial arts film ever made
25 July 2003 | by (essex,england) – See all my reviews

The first time i saw this movie i hated it it was only with repeated viewing that i grew to love it. I think the reason why i initially didn't enjoy it was because i was expecting light entertainment and i just wasn't prepared for a multi layered film such as this. This film marks for director Tsui Hark the peak of his creative genius when he was making this film there was a lot of worry in Hong Kong regarding the 1997 hand over to China Tsui manages to transfer this tension and uncertainty into the film terrificly and he injects each shot with a passion for his nationality and his love for the chinese heros such as Wong Fei-Hung. The next element of this film that is truly magnificent is the cast each character is given sufficient screen time for complete character arcs Jet Li's acting is done with a level of honour and intensity that has been lacking in every performance he has done since. Yuen Biao has perfected playing these king of roles because he has played many similar roles in the past yet he still manages to bring something new to the role and gives it a fresh twist that is lacking in Max Mok's performance in the sequels. there are also strong performances by Jackie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan and Kent Cheng. overall the character that steals the show is master yim i would say he is better than the rest of the cast combined. Now to the point that most people watch kung fu films for the fights the great thing about the fights in this film is that each fight improves on the one before it so there is a visible progression before the end ladder fight which i consider to be the best wire enhanced fight ever put on film.

overall i would recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a great movie but if you are looking for realistic fighting i would point you in the direction of Bruce Lee's films and the Prodigal Son . please note to get the most out of this film it must be seen in its original language and in its original Widescreen format and it must be seen no less than five times to get an idea of its multi layered complexities


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