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Once Upon a Time in China IV
   |     review    |     availability     |     also see      |

Zhao Wen-Zhou replaces Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China IV.
Chinese: 黃飛鴻之四 王者之風
Year: 1993
Director: Yuen Bun
Producer: Tsui Hark
Cast: Zhao Wen-Zhou, Jean Wang Ching-Ying, Lau Shun, Max Mok Siu-Chung, Xiong Xin-Xin, Billy Chow Bei-Lei, Chin Kar-Lok, Wang Zhiwen
The Skinny: Zhao Wen-Zhou replaces Jet Li in this entertaining, but lesser entry in the series. Tsui Hark didn't actually direct this one, either.
by Kozo:

Jet Li and Tsui Hark part ways for the fourth installment in the Once Upon a Time in China series. Li gets replaced by Tsui Hark fave Zhao Wen-Zhou in this action-packed sequel that features even more wacky lion dancing than the lion-dance-o-rama called Once Upon a Time in China III.

Plot: Wong Fei-Hong (Zhao Wen-Zhou), Leung Fu (Max Mok), Club Foot (Xiong Xin-Xin) and dad Wong Kei-Ying (Lau Shun) run afoul of separate factions all trying to take advantage of China's domestic disputes. The players include the Red Lantern Society (yet another group that wants foreigners out) and evil Germans bent on taking over China. Also, they meet up with Aunt May (Jean Wong), who subs for Aunt Yee (the missing Rosamund Kwan) as the love interest/scenery. Then someone looks at someone else incorrectly and fighting ensues.

Lots of lion dancing and paper dragons appear in this picture, as well as a papier-mâché centipede, dragon, and other assorted creatures. Like the last sequel,  Wong enters a lion dance martial arts contest to triumph over the imperialist enemies of China. However, this time the lion/dragon/centipede dancing takes up even more screen time and seems to go on forever. Eventually our heroes ditch the paper creatures, and hopefully you'll still be awake for that.

As Wong Fei-Hong, Zhao Wen-Zhou substitutes grace for Jet Li’s power. Thanks to the standard-issue kung-fu and the martial arts lion dancing, Once Upon a Time in China IV is practically non-stop action. The kinetic aspects of the film offset the inherently confusing political shenanigans, but after Once Upon a Time in China III, we’ve seen enough lion dancing. Thankfully, Once Upon a Time China 5 manages to settle its conflicts the old-fashioned way: kung-fu action. (Kozo 1996)

Availability: This film was previously available on a Chinastar DVD but has since gone out of press. No word on a possible re-release.
Also see:

Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)
Once Upon a Time in China III (1993)
Once Upon a Time in China V (1994)
Once Upon a Time in China & America (1997)
Last Hero in China (1993)

image courtesy of Chinastar Entertainment Group Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen