Once Upon a Time in China Review
"Once Upon a Time in China" is the title for the foreign cinemas. In China, the title of the film is "Wong Fei Hung." The residents of China honor their heroes very much. The names of people who contributed to the history of China are known from the kindergarten. As an example of the good folk memory, a film dedicated to the master of kung fu, a fighter against Western influence Wong Fei Hung, played by an expert in martial arts Jet Li. This is one of the first modern Chinese films about history, which reflects national struggle and heroic actions of Wong Fei Hung accompanied with Chinese cinema features.
The film is filled with Chinese characteristics: extremely high jumps and techniques, oriental aphorisms, clear division into good and evil. That division into good and evil characters, one of the main features of Chinese films. At first glance, it is a simple story: a girl is kidnapped and a hero tries to return his beloved. However, it was the legend of Wong, originally composed of ordinary people. Another interesting aspect is manifested in what is called a clash of civilizations. West is West, East is East. These two sides are close, but a strong friendship and understanding cannot exist between them. This is reflected in the legend of Wong Fei Hung: the elite and the wealthy traders actively adopt a Western lifestyle, receive gifts from the so-called American and British "businessmen," and neglect the slavery in factories owned by the foreign capital. They seem not to see that the Chinese girls are sold into brothels. Moreover, local gangsters are depicted ready to perform any task for money of wealthy businessmen.
Nevertheless, evil cannot exist forever. The national hero armed with an ancient martial art will save everyone. He hates injustice and embarks on an unequal battle with the hostile forces. Certainly, the exploits of real Fei Hung eventually became the legends which have gained many fantastic details. However, in the memory of the Chinese people, he is a symbol of the national spirit with an ability to stand up and protect others.
Once Upon a Time in China 2 is a follow-up of the film where Wong Fei Hung (Jet Li), his aunt (Rosamund Kwan), and disciple Leung Foon (Siu Mok) continue to practice herbal medicine and tinctures, paying homage to the one martial arts learner. This time, they have too many obstacles to overcome: Lotus sect, affecting the minds of the population, foreigners, entering into an agreement with the authorities, and two super fighters. Wong Fei Hung, in addition to these problems, helps Luke (David Chiang), the representative of the rebels, fighting for the liberation of China from the yoke of foreign invaders, to protect the book.
The second part is better developed, but the plot is more complex. Too many characters appear on the screen, and, frankly, some might distract the audience. The action is sometimes uneventful while sometimes it unexpectedly links one storyline to another introducing an element of confusion in the perception. The films will be interesting for those who watch them solely for the sake of fighting because the battles are shot at very high standard with some touch of plagiarism. Thus, the fight between Wong Fei Hung and the leader of Lotus suspiciously resembles a fight in the final scene of the first part. It should be mentioned that two actors were involved in the production of the film. First of all, it is Donnie Yen who invented the rope as a weapon for his character. In this role, he began his ascent to the top of the Hong Kong film industry.
Both of the films are about the fight against evil, essentially about the fight against the Western occupation and betrayal. The fact that the Chinese themselves betrayed their own people has become a moment of national drama and led to the need of representing national heroes, such as Wong Fei Hung. These films are also about love and struggle, which can be regarded as the Asian Iliad because of its epic scenes and historical weight. Wong Fei Hung remains the incarnation of the savior of the Chinese people. He shows that evil is powerless against justice.
The article was prepared by professional writer - Eshley Durst, you can find her essays, simply following the cheap papers online service.