All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
Once Upon a Time in China
Never was a Hero needed more...
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.
Arguably the best kung fu film ever made. An epic with five sets. Maybe it takes a bit of knowledge about the historical contexts, and familiarity with the character types (especially Wong Fei-hung himself, a real-life legend, some kind of combination of Robin Hood and Abraham Lincoln), but I'm amazed at how many well-realized characters there are (my favorite is the tragedy of Master Yim, the kung fu expert who can't make a living and compromises his sense of right and wrong for what he thinks is the greater good).
Even Tsui's patriotism is more complexly layered than I'd realized. The film is of course stridently pro-Chinese and against the colonization of its cities by European and American powers, and…
No matter how good our kung-fu is, it will never defeat guns.
*Note: watched the original 134 min cut of the film as opposed to the 99 min North American Cut.*
I'm going to make a very broad and general observation about period martial arts films from China and Hong Kong. You have some films that are purposely (I think) very "western audience friendly", they're tone and structure are such that it plays better to an international audience. The advantages of this is fairly obvious. On the flip side you have films that don't take that into account at all and take full advantage of it's Chinese culture. This sometimes includes having goofy humor mixed in with serious drama,…
Deeply impressed with this film!
There is a very, very poignant scene early in the movie. The scene with the yellow flower. It seemed very sad but I didn't quite understand it. I could be totally wrong but I think the flower was a narcissus and in Chinese flower symbolism it is reputed to augment the hard work put into careers.
Having that flower lay in the rain while a kung-fu master was reduced to do tricks for pennies he had to pick up from the floor next to the flower made me incredibly sad.
The story never gets bogged down by the political plot, which does the job in balancing traditional nationalism with an acceptance of changing times plus the frustration with western imperialism.
Tsui Hark delivers some amazing action set pieces (hallo ladders) and one romantic moment that'll send your heart a-flutter. Jet Li is a ridiculously talented man.
Great Kung Fu classic. Typical mix between serious drama and chinese slapstick humour.
It is absolutely worth a watch, even though I enjoyed the sequel more (you don't have to watch this one to understand the second movie).
Amazingly creative fight scenes. Umbrella sword. Rain fight. LADDER MATCH.
I'd somehow never seen legendary Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's most well regarded film. I've only ever really known him as "that guy who did those films with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Seven Swords." Having been on something of a Kung-Fu binge recently, it seemed about time I gave his famous collaboration with Jet Li a go.
The hero depicted here is Wong Fei-Hung, feuding with foreign forces (mainly British) who are plundering China. I do wonder how many martial arts films are actually set in the 19th century with a plot primarily revolving around a Chinese iconic legendary hero standing up for their country against evil foreigns. The Japanese, the English and so on; it must be into the…
Don't understand why this is a classic. Atrocious production values and set design, mostly terrible acting, and a convoluted plot that I could care less about. That being said, Jet Li is insanely good in this. Some of the greatest stunts I've ever seen. Film tries to be too serious too often and it's attempts at humor fall very, very flat. Worth watching I guess.
Every bit the Chinese martial arts epic I expected it to be.
I'm Chinese, but that doesn't mean I don't get tired easily of the usual sloppy tendencies exhibited by your typical Hong Kong movie. I'm talking about dorky humor, overplayed/exaggerated drama, and cartoony, relentless, button-pushing, mustache-twirling villainy. This stuff is more forgivable in a comedy, but in a supposedly serious movie it's really tiresome, and this reportedly seminal martial arts movie isn't immune from them. That said, Once Upon a Time in China has several strong ingredients going for it. First, it has a good backdrop for its exploration of theme -- late 19-century China, when it was being invaded by foreigners and Western philosophy and technology, and the more culture-minded countrymen fought to preserve the Chinese way of life while…
Really quite a stunning film, one that is all the more enjoyable with a little bit of cultural awareness as to what the narrative meant for China circa 1991, and what it still represents twenty plus years later.
The plot is a decent vehicle for the spectacular fights of the best martial arts technician of the 90s
Of the martial arts movies I've seen in the past month, this is the first if not only one where the plot is more than just an excuse for fights, with China at a crossroads between various invaders and modernity and tradition, while the Westerners are for the most part cast in an unflattering light, this is not so clear-cut, with a couple of Chinese characters having accepted Western influence still being shown in a positive light, a line mentioning Manchurian as invaders, or a scene where respect to tradition doesn't necessarily have positive consequences.
The movie looks absolutely gorgeous, with clean crisp colours. The fights are amazingly choreographed (all of them!) and the direction is perfectly balanced between long enough shots to show the action and editing quickly enough to give an even more kinetic feel.
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