Once Upon a Time in China II
Director: Tsui Hark
Stars: Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Max Mok, Rosamund Kwan
Another chapter in the story of Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung (Li). This time out, Wong travels to a medical conference accompanied by his sidekick Fu (Mok) and "aunt"/love interest Yee (Kwan). It turns out the city the conference is being held in is home of the White Lotus Cult, a sect dedicated to getting rid of foreigners in China at any price. There's also a group of revolutionaries and the ever-present corrupt official (Yen) in the mix. It's up to Wong to protect the gweilos and a group of kids from the vicious White Lotus without getting arrested or killed first.
Like many sequels, OUATIC2 isn't as good as the original. The plot is pretty much a rehash of the first, the characters really don't develop, the film is slow-moving in parts and it just doesn't look as good as OUATIC1. Not to mention that the majority of the excellent supporting cast from OUATIC1 (such as Yuen Biao) are nowhere to be found. But this movie is still damn good, mostly because the fight scenes are incredible. The last half-hour or so of OUATIC2 is simply phenomenal, with Li taking on the leader of the White Lotus and then Yen. It's highly exaggerated wire-fu; if you don't dig stuff like guys turning sheets into deadly weapons or trampolines, then you might want to look elsewhere. But if you like over-the-top action, this is the film for you. It rivals even Yuen Woo-Ping's Iron Monkey for the craziest fights put on film.
I normally wouldn't rate a movie so high just because of the fight scenes (honestly, some parts of the film are quite boring and depend too much on having seen the first film) but the ones in OUATIC2 are great enough to justify it. Jet Li is in peak form here and this is the role that had many people calling Donnie Yen the "next big thing" in HK action movies (a "promise" that, sadly, he has not fulfilled at all, instead doing mediocre films like Legend of the Wolf). If you're a wire-fu fan, you need to see this film.
A review of the DVD for this movie can be found by clicking here
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This DVD is available for purchase at www.hkflix.com