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Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)

Cast: Jet Li, Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, more...
Director: Sammo Hung, Sammo Hung
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Tai Seng
Genre: Action, Foreign, Hong Kong, Martial Arts, Wuxia
Running Time: 99 min.
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Chinese
    see additional details...

Martial arts master/doctor Wong Fei-hung (a familiar character in Hong Kong cinema) and his gang find adventure amidst the cowboys and Indians of the American West. The sixth in the enormously popular "Once Upon a Time in China" series of Hong Kong action films that was created by director Tsui Hark in 1991, this episode takes an entirely new direction for the series; it features plenty of broad comedy in the first half (though whether or not it was intentional is debatable), eye-popping stunts and excitement. In another unusual turn, it was also shot with scenes in English as well as the standard Cantonese. Wong's adventure's begins when he and his gang sail to San Francisco to oversee the latest branch of their Bo Chi Lam. They find a country where the Chinese are exploited and despised. Soon after arriving, the courageous Wong (Jet Li) loses his memory after the daring rescue of Aunt Yee (Rosamund Kwan), Wong's long-time love, who was just about to fall from a cliff. Separated from his group, the amnesiac Master Wong ends up with a tribe of Native Americans (all of whom are obviously white), who adopt him. Though they too know martial arts (as do the cowboys Wong encounters), but are no match for Wong, who proves his skill by single-handedly braving the spears, kicks and chops of an enemy tribe. Eventually, Wong reconnects with Aunt Yee and his gang; together they go on to have more adventures and battle a number of evil villains. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Not worth it. by kohnfused1 May 17, 2004 - 11:21 AM PDT
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
First off, let me just say, I am a fan of Jet Li. I am also a fan of the ?Once upon a time in China? series. This movie, as a fan, disappointed me. Where to start. The dubbing, the English version was okay, but the timing was off. The two seconds it was off really irritated me. It wasn?t bad enough to ruin the movie as a whole, but bad enough to make it that much more annoying. Now, as for the movie itself, it was horrible. The premise was believable, the plot and execution, however, was terrible. If you?ve ever watched any of the other ?Once a upon a time in China? movies, you will see a commonality. That being, it is in China, hence the title. Here, our hero is invited to America to help (or celebrate the establishing of America?s first ?Chinatown?) the Chinese immigrants in their plight against racism and equality in the ?old West?. As you know, guns was the weapon of choice and Kung Fu or Martial Arts was but a foreign concept. There in lies the plot hole. How do you put a kung fu master in a setting where none of his opponents have any martial arts skills that would even come close his (not to mention his rivals sole reliance on the six shooter)? Jet Li?s style of action had to be watered down immensely to accommodate the baddies (pardon the pun, cowboys and indians). Nowhere was this more evident, then in the ?final battle? scene. Overall, there was some ?alright? action sequences, but not enough to save the movie. It seems whoever financed this project just wanted to squeeze what little money was left in the franchise. Please do not give them yours.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.03)
64 Votes
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