Once Upon a Time in China 黃飛鴻 (1991) – Hong Kong

[NeoFilmShop.com] Once Upon a Time in China 黃飛鴻 (1991) – Hong Kong

One of Hong Kong cinematic gem and the film that launched the career of future superstar Jet Li and legendary director Tsui Hark. This film clicking at just over two hours is a historical martial arts epic that refined the genre convention and inspire many classic early 90s period martial arts flicks. Jet Li’s Wong Fei Hung is as iconic as Donnie Yen’s Ip Man fame back then. Despite being only 27 when the film was made, Li manages to hold his own with a steady fast calm and charming onscreen charisma as the much famed hero with massive shoes to fill. OUATIC is very much the kind of film that you introduce to your friends as a first time experience. The martial arts choreography is top notch and whilst Yuen Biao’s kung fu skills is critically underused, we get to witness plenty of impressive set pieces, including the final ladders and ropes fight between the two masters, Li and Yen Shi-kwan. Jacky Cheung does well in the buck-a-tooth role and Rosamund Kwan is a lovely presence as Li’s love interest and the duo will later continue to couple in many other films. Kent Cheng is fitting as Porky Wing. However, the star of the show is Jet Li and there is no denying that Shaolin Temple introduces the young kid to the silver screen and the OUATIC series simply established Li to the world stage. The film manages to strike a balance between Chinese patriotic pride, the unjustified opium war, oppression of the Chinese people and a period of internal turmoil. In dire times like these, we need a hero to stand up and Wong Fei Hung is a proud moment in our cinematic history.
I rated it 5/5

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