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Once Upon a Time in China II
   |     review    |     awards     |     availability     |     also see      |

Jet Li prepares for action in Once Upon a Time in China II
Chinese: 黃飛鴻二之男兒當自強
Year: 1992
Director: Tsui Hark
Action: Yuen Woo-Ping
Cast: Jet Li Lian-Jie, Max Mok Siu-Chung, Rosamund Kwan Chi-Lam, Donnie Yen Ji-Dan, David Chiang, Xiong Xin-Xin, Zhang Tie Lin, Yen Shi-Kwan, Paul Fonoroff
The Skinny: The best in the series. Really.
by Kozo:

The sequel to Tsui Hark's epic Once Upon a Time in China features Wong Fei-Hong (Jet Li) battling the White Lotus Cult, who are bent on expelling foreigners from China. While at a medical convention in Canton, Wong meets and befriends Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (Zhang Tie Lin). However, this puts him at odds with the local magistrate (led by Donnie Yen), who are trying to squish the growing rebellion led by Dr. Sun. Ever the champion of justice, Wong teams with Sun to help the rebellion, but can only do so by stopping the evil White Lotus Cult from doing evil White Lotus Cult things.

The series' famed political overtones prove surprisingly effective in this film, giving the plot an affecting resonance. The history and fiction combine more seamlessly in this film, though historically the film is far from accurate. Still, the story is relatively easy to follow for a Once Upon a Time in China film, and Jet Li shows great presence as Wong Fei-Hong. Max Mok replaces Yuen Biao as comedy-relief sidekick Leung Fu, and proves more fitting for the role. Rosamund Kwan reprises her role as Aunt Yee. 

The film is better balanced than the original, too. Director Tsui Hark handles all the disparate elements well. History, comedy, pathos and action are blended together to make Once Upon a Time in China II the best in the series. Yuen Woo-Ping's excellent choreography won a Hong Kong Film award, and the knock-down battle between Jet Li and Donnie Yen ranks as one of Hong Kong Cinema's absolute best. If you must see any Once Upon a Time in China movie, make it this one. (Kozo 1996)

Awards: 12th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best Action Choreography (Yuen Woo-Ping)
• Winner - Best Music (Richard Yuen, Johnny Njo, James Wong Jim)
• Nomination - Best Picture
• Nomination - Best Director (Tsui Hark)
• Nomination - Best Supporting Actor (Donnie Yen Ji-Dan)
• Nomination - Best New Artist (Xiong Xin-Xin)
• Nomination - Best Cinematography (Arthur Wong Ngok-Tai)
• Nomination - Best Editing (Marco Mak Chi-Sin)
• Nomination - Best Art Direction (Eddie Ma Poon-Chiu)
• Nomination - Best Original Score (Richard Yuen, Johnny Njo)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Intercontinental Video
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Original Cantonese Language Track
Remixed Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1
Remixed Cantonese DTS 5.1
Remixed Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
"Legend of Wong Fei-Hong" featurette, trailers, photos
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Also see:

Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
Once Upon a Time in China III (1993)
Once Upon a Time in China IV (1993)
Once Upon a Time in China V (1994)
Once Upon a Time in China & America (1997)
Last Hero in China (1993)

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image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen