Jet Li is back with another Wong Fei Hung themed film from part of the Once Upon a Time in China series. Only this time things are a bit more comical!
Jet Li is Wong Fei Hung, no surprise. Wong Fei Hung opens up his own Kung Fu school in Canton, working out a good deal with the owner. But to his disgust, Fei Hung discovers that the house next door to him is actually a brothel! From there his students and some of the women try to play a few tricks and even seduce Fei Hung – but he’s too clued on.
Struggling morally with the idea of teaching kung fu next to a brothel, things get a little tense. But a general in town is smuggling women and wants Fei Hung out. So the usual happens – attempts are made to frame Fei Hung and generally get him out of town.
As he eventually leaves town he goes deaf from trying a medicine he suspected as poison (to prevent someone else from falling victim to it), so he must first cure himself of his deafness before heading back and sorting things out.
Another Wong Fei Hung movie..
The Chinese folk hero has been played many times in many fantastical storylines but you come to expect these fictional stories, so forget the history as it’s pure entertainment. The movie does get a little stale at times (in my opinion) but it does offer some cool scenes like the Lion Dances and fights (of course).
This movie seems to look at the Lion Dancing a bit more than usual though, with Wong Fei Hung’s team being defeated by a centipede dance. Fei Hung of course studies some chickens killing a centipede and returns dressed as a chicken, ready to do battle. It’s not as funny as it sounds though…
Overall its more comedy than the other movies but still has that serious plot and tone to it. Another vehicle for some of Jet Li’s action.
The Action & Martial Arts
There’s some nice, fast fights in this one – especially the one between Jet Li and Gordon Liu – who plays the ‘bad guy’. But I remember mostly the slapstick comedy side of things and as mentioend above – the Chicken vs Centipede battle Fei Hung sets up.
What I really liked was the reference to Drunken Master – another fictional movie based around Wong Fei Hung with Jackie Chan. Jet Li adopts the drunken boxing stance later in the film and one of the fights has someone scolding their opponent yelling “and this is for Beggar So!” before asking who Beggar So – the master of Drunken Boxing in the Jackie Chan film Drunken Master.
But the rest is pretty standard – the wire work and crazy use of the environment – but not as radical as the first Once Upon a Time movie. Whilst the movie does offer some cool fights, there’s nothing that really makes them stand out.
Very much like the other Once Upon a Time in China films which is getting a little repetitive. Not bad but not fantastic, watch it if you’re a big Jet Li fan!
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Last Hero in China
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Last Hero in China [DVD]