Once Upon a Time in China Part 2
Once upon a time in ancient China, their lived a martial arts doctor who was called Wong Fei-hung (Jet-Li). Now one day, Wong and his two travelling companions, Siu-kwan and Leung Foon (Rosamund Kwan and Max Mok) found themselves in a rather sticky situation.
You see, a geo-political religious group based in Canton named 'The White Lotus Clan', caused a lot of trouble for Wong and his compatriots as soon as they arrived at this province.
For a start, they attacked Siu as soon as they saw her, because of her western ways. Then, whilst Wong tried to give a lecture at Canton’s place of learning – the reason for his visit in the first place – they attacked this institute with a rain of fired arrows. And finally, when Wong and his companions went to leave Canton, they heard the news that the 'White Lotus Clan' had just attacked another place of learning, thus goading them to investigate matters further.
So what do they find? Distraught children – Children that no one wants to shelter due to the horrors that the White Lotus clan has wrought upon them. Not even police General Nap-lan (Donnie Yen)! Still, thanks to Siu’s curiosity, they do manage to shelter the children in the local British Embassy.
However, at the British Embassy, thing’s do not fare any better for Wong and the children, because of two of the Embassy’s other occupants, Suen Man and Luke Ho-tung. Well, they have been targeted by General Nap for their rebellious tendencies to promote a unified China, and so he aides 'The White Lotus Clan' to penetrate this sanctuary, and try to run amok.
Results? Foon safeguards the children - Siu and Luke flee to safety - and Wong and Suen confront the Nap and the White Lotus Clan once and for all.
Though I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right coming of age tale all in all. As fights are long and hard - reputations will forever be scarred - a mortal fights a God - and learning Kung Fu can be a sod.
In my most humble opinion, 'One Upon a Time in China 2' is a masterful piece of film-making. Honestly, please do not think of this film as being in a same vein as some of the other nth rate Hong Kong productions - as it is not. Heck, just like it’s predecessor, it manages to juggle around the action, the style, and the story line, just perfectly. Heck, if this movie did have a flaw to it, it would have to be that the latter elements derived in the story – notably the whole ‘where is my book’ ploy – because it does seem rather contrived compared to the rest of the tale.
Apart from that, though, this film is perfect.
Well, the action is high-flying and balletic in it’s construction – the music is moving and uplifting in it’s composition – the story, even though mumbled in places, is somewhat simple to follow – and the characterization is just spot on, because you know from the very first time you see someone on screen, who they are and what they are all about.
Even his co-stars in this film do a bang-up job too!
Rosamund Kwan is like a porcelain doll, fluffing about all over the place as if carried around on air. Max Mok, unlike his predecessor in this role – Yuen Biao – is not as flexible in his martial arts savvy, but he is as jovial in the role he plays. And finally, Donnie Yen, what a stone faced b*stard – just perfect to play one of the main baddies in this tale of China's yesterday.
Truly, each frame of film is a work of art, just oozing out of the screen with a buff polish that came with the first couple of installments of this kung-fu movie series. Shame about some of the rest of them, huh? But anyway, the tale that is told in this particular film, is as pertinent today within this turbulent geo-political time’s, than it was then. A classic film, just like this classic clip...
THE RATING: A