7.3/10
17,304
73 user 68 critic

Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

Wong Fei Hung (original title)
Trailer
2:01 | Trailer
Late 1800s Foshan, Guangdong: Wong Fei Hung/Jet Li trains men in martial arts to help defend against foreign powers already holding Hong Kong and Macau. He looks after cute 13th Aunt, who's just returned from England. Lots of fight scenes.

Director:

Hark Tsui

Writers:

Yiu-Ming Leung, Elsa Tang (as Pik-yin Tang) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jet Li ... Wong Fei Hung
Biao Yuen ... Leung Foon
Rosamund Kwan ... 13th Aunt
Jacky Cheung ... Buck Teeth So
Kent Cheng ... Porky Wing
Kam-Fai Yuen Kam-Fai Yuen ... Kai
Shi-Kwan Yen ... Iron Robe Yim (as Yee Kwan Yan)
Shun Lau ... Naval Commander Lau
Wu Ma ... Grand-Uncle Cheung
Jianguo Qiu Jianguo Qiu ... Shaho Gang Leader
Cheung-Yan Yuen ... Yim's Opponent
Chi Yeung Wong ... Commander Man
Shun-Yee Yuen Shun-Yee Yuen ... Honorable Manchu Soldier
Xin Xin Xiong ... Shaho Gang Member
Jonathan Isgar 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

Plot Keywords:

fight | See All (1) »

Taglines:

Never was a Hero needed more...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

(at around 39 mins) 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.
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Alternate Versions

A version distributed by 'Made in Hong Kong' UK has a running time of 140 mins. with a extra 10 minutes previously unreleased on video. See more »

Connections

Followed by Once Upon a Time in China III (1992) See more »

User Reviews

 
Stand-out
15 December 2004 | by GuardiaSee all my reviews

Brilliantly made martial-arts film about legendary Chinaman Wong Fei-hung. One of the only movies in it's genre to really create a cast of meaningful characters that do not merely lay by the way side of the best martial artist (obviously Jet Li).

It is excellently shot and acted with a sensible balance of action and drama - although it does have a tendency to lay things on quite thick, what with excessively dramatic music and over-signified sequences.

Overall it is a very original film, and is set among the interesting clash of the British and Chinese cultures. Slightly "magical" kung-fu sequences may turn Chan fans off, but otherwise it is mostly engaging.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Cantonese | English | French

Release Date:

15 August 1991 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Wong Fei Hung See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,826,459
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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