In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult seeking to drive the Europeans out of China through violence, even attacking Chinese ...
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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 »
The story is set in both Hong Kong and the U.S. So goes to the U.S. to open a martial arts school. Around this time, many Chinese people were sold off to U.S. railroad companies, and were ... See full summary »
This Hong Kong martial-arts extravaganza tells of evil emperors and true love. The secret Red Lotus Flower Society is committed to the overthrow of the evil Manchu Emperor and his minions. ... See full summary »
Brand new epic adventure set during a tumultuous time in China, when left without a leader, the cavalry is attacked by the powerful allies and pirate bands. A martial arts master, Wong ... See full summary »
With an entirely new set of actors, this movie continues the story from Swordsman (1990). Blademaster and his martial arts school decide to retire to a distant mountain. Before leaving, he ... See full summary »
The Cantonese hero Fong Sai Yuk becomes involved in the secret brotherhood "The Red Flower", who are trying to overthrow the Manchurian emperor and re-establishing the Ming dynasty. The ... See full summary »
Uncle Tak, the old martial-arts master and medicine in normal life has severe problems with his former student Jonny, who wants nothing more than to kill his old master to show everyone who... See full summary »
Two friends, ex Shaolin monks, part ways as they brush with the ongoing rebellion against the government. The ambitious one rises up to be a powerful military commander, while his betrayed friend resorts to learn the calm ways of Tai Chi.
In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult seeking to drive the Europeans out of China through violence, even attacking Chinese who follow Western ways. Wong must also defend Dr. Sun Yat Sen, a revolutionary, from the military. With his friends, loved ones, and the future of China itself at stake, Wong must once again use his martial arts skills to defend the innocent. Written by
When we last saw Wong Fei Hung (Jet Li), he emerged as a hero to his people in fighting against the invading foreign forces that were wreaking havoc in his hometown. By part 1's conclusion, he has also come to realize that his country is going through inevitable changes and that acceptance to western cultures is the best possible answer to the dilemmas.
Like Wong's change in view, part II shifts from its predecessor's themes of nationalism and self-strengthening to an exploration of cultural and ideological tolerance. With all that said, Once upon a time in China II is one of those rare sequels that manages to cast a shadow over its original and brings the franchise to a new height.
Li once again delivers a towering performance reprising his role as Wong. Although there's very little development to the character since the last time we met him, we are immediately won over the second he raises his first kick to the sound of the beautifully familiar score. Accompanied by Aunt 13 (Rosamund Kwan) and his mischievous student Leung Foon (Max Mok replacing Yuen Biu of the original), the trio travels to Canton only to find a town ravaged by chaos and violence. Instead of foreigners being the chief baddie this time, the White Lotus Sect and its zealous leader priest Kung (played wonderfully by Xiong Xin Xin) takes over as the story's primary antagonists. First introduced by a breathtaking prologue, they are portrayed as a fanatical cult bent on eradicating all foreigners and those that follow foreign ways, even going as far as murdering little children.
One of the film's most refreshing features, however, was the inclusion of a complex villain in the form of Donnie Yen's Charismatic Manchu military commander/imperial guard General Lan. Despite being pitted against our heroes, he is a man that is hard for the audience to despise when he's telling his men not to hurt civilians or having a brief heart to heart with Wong on their country's chaotic state.
Once upon a Time in China II is without a doubt the pinnacle of the series and quite possibly the career peak of everyone involved especially for one Tsui Hark. After this, it is the slow decline for the former new wave auteur who would attempt to dip his hands into mainstream Hollywood (only to stink up his CV with Double Team and Knock Off) before taking a stab at the recent trend of big budget wuxia epic only to come up with the woeful Seven Swords. If any of you were unfortunate enough to have seen those movies I've just mentioned, I can guarantee that Once upon a Time in China 2 is the perfect antidote for you.
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