Saturday, December 7, 2013

826. Wong Fei-hung/Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

Running Time: 134 minutes
Directed By: Hark Tsui
Written By: Yiu Ming Leung, Pik-yin Tang, Hark Tsui, Kai-Chi Yu
Main Cast: Jet Li, Joseph Sayah, Yuen Biao, Jacky Cheung, Rosamund Kwan
Click here to view the trailer


Here I thought the watching my backwards through the 90s films would be a breeze, yet I'll be damned if there hasn't been a fair share of stinkers along the way. Add to that list, "Once Upon a Time in China" - hands down the worst film with the "Once Upon A Time..." prefix ever made.

Look guys, here goes another one where I honestly couldn't even be bothered to pay close enough attention to even really detail the plot here. I tried it for a good thirty - forty minutes, decided that kung fu films STILL weren't my thing and then my mind just sort of wandered while I waited for the minutes to tick down, so that I could check this off in THE BOOK'S built in check-list. In a way, watching these Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies is kind of like watching a porno: You're really only waiting for a select few scenes and everything else is just filler, bridging the gaps from money shot to money shot. Although I'll admit, I'd rather watch Jackie Chan's entire, 100+ film catalog than be forced to sit through this again. At least Chan's films had better action/choreography scenes, better plot and better comedy, while Hark Tsui's feature played out like a poor man's version of a Chan film.

There's some sort of a plot there, but what was actually going on, I have no idea. It had something to do with the Western impact on Chinese culture. A key scene shows a man with a gun challenging the main character, Master Wong Fei, while the Master uses his sick kung fu abilities to stave off death via bullet. Another really fun scene involves a punch & kick showdown while the two combatants balance on various ladders, jumping back and forth, maintaining balance, while trying to maintain the upper hand in the physical altercation. I'm not gonna' lie and I REALLY don't want to sound racist (because I'm not), but telling the characters/actors apart was a bit of a challenge, since they were all sporting the same bald in the front/braid in the back hairstyle.

All in all, I had a rough time with this one and how I finished it in one sitting is beyond me. Probably because I didn't want to have the idea of having to rejoin this one haunting me. It's something that I knew I'd hate before I even popped it into the DVD player and I know that's unfair, but call me predictable - I know what I like and what I don't like and one thing I don't like is kung fu movies, although in hindsight, Chan's weren't awful. This was brutal though and I'm just glad I'm done with it. Skip the Jet Li stuff and stick with Jackie Chan. While not blow away, Chan at least provides an all around better time at the movies.

RATING: 2.5/10  I'll give it a few hits for some of the action sequences, but all in all I just wish the damn thing had been nixed all together from THE BOOK.


December 7, 2013  10:32pm


  1. I'm afraid I have nothing noteworthy to add.. unfortunately I agree.

  2. Yeah, this was a stinker, wasn't it?


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