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).
Ranked 183 out of 6174 movies on my Flickchart.
Widely regarded as one of the best kung-fu films of the 90s, Once Upon a Time in China features exhilarating fights and marvellous set pieces. Rarely, if ever, did someone impress me more with his fighting skills than Jet Li - though I'm not exactly what you'd call an expert. However, I've watched my fair share of Asian brawling flicks and in regards to the action, I could not recommend this more.
Taking a closer look at the story, one realizes that the characters are mostly just one-dimensional and lack depth, but not charm - and that, I think, can be a bigger virtue, especially in action films. Now, the problem for many is that this does also apply to…
[...] „Ihre Waffen werden immer stärker als unsere Fäuste sein“, heißt es – leider wahr und ein Satz, der dazu animiert über den Lauf der Zeit zu sinnieren. Die Kampfkünstler hält er dennoch nicht davon ab, es wenigstens zu versuchen: was der Film in diesen (häufigen) Kampfszenen für ein Feuerwerk der Körperlichkeit los lässt, ist schier unglaublich und eigentlich nicht in Worte zu fassen. Technik und Choreografien beeindrucken bis auf ein Level hinauf, das körperliche Erstarrung und stockenden Atem hervor ruft – nicht selten will das Hirn nicht glauben, was das Auge da gerade gesehen hat – und auch die Einbindung von Sets und Utensilien sprengen jegliche denkbare Grenze der Kreativität. Kämpfe voller Plateau-Wechsel auf wippenden Leitern, Regenschirme als Waffe,…
A complete mess: dull, unfocused, incoherent, and — not unusual for this drama — indulging in the cheapest of xenophobic stereotypes.
The ladder-fight is neat, but all of the praise for this movie must have been meant for its much better sequel.
It took some work get get in sync with the Hong Kong kung fu film's tone and with its historical context (a quick pause-wiki-the-history break), but by the time you reach the finale, a 30 minute action set piece between four or five factions, you see the genius of the film. Jet Li's battle with the opposing kung-fu master while on ladders is one of the best fight scenes I've seen. I see it influencing other kung fu films, as well as big hollywood action films like the first Pirates film between Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.
I always assumed Jet Li was the self-serious Jackie Chan, and I'm glad to report my assumption was absolutely incorrect. I've seen my…
As great as the premise of this film is, it has a few flaws that are hard to overlook.
The positives- While in some strange middle realm of just slightly unrealistic, the action was exciting and mostly well done. Most of the characters were likable.
The negatives- The syncing, awkward camera shots/movements, awkward acting (mostly from the white actors). Slows down quite a bit getting into the third act.
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…
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