Once Upon a
Time in China 2


Dir: Tsui Hark
Starring: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Donnie Yen

Wong Fei-Hung's back, and still treading the line between the colonial invaders and his nationalist brothers. Concerns about the then-looming 1997 Chinese takeover are even more apparent in this film than the first installment, most pointedly with a supporting role given to Sun Yat-Sen, the "father" of China, and also in the ambivalent governor played by Donnie Yen. Against them is the rabidly xenophobic White Lotus Clan, and also returning is Rosamund Kwan as Aunt Yee. While there's a lot of interesting story going on here, and the Westerners are thankfully much less stereotyped than in the original, the only truly outstanding battle is the final climax between Yen and Li; the other fights, most notably the confrontation with the White Lotus priest, have little to offer - I almost dozed off! Not quite sure what Tsui is trying to say here, as the attitude changes from scene to scene: is the moral, "Chinese should stick together, no matter the cost", or something more pragmatic? Regardless, when you find yourself thinking about the plot and philosophy of a Jet Li movie during the action, there's something more than a little wrong.

D+


Old school!
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