Once Upon a Time in China 2 Movie PosterWith the success of the first Once Upon a Time in China, Jet Li has once again put on his Wong Fei Hung shoes to step in for Once Upon a Time in China 2.

The movie picks up after the first.  Wong Fei Hung is travelling with his Aunt to share his knowledge of Acupuncture with with a Western Medical Group.

At the same time the town they’re visiting has a major problem with racism. The entire town seems to hate the Westerners in their town and an evil group called The White Lotus Sect are taking steps to rid their town of these foreigners – even if it means killing them.

Naturally Fei Hung is travelling with his Aunt and Foon. His Aunt is wearing her usual western clothing, and becomes a target of the town’s prejudice and after an attack they choose more ‘Chinese’ clothing for her. From there Fei Hung finds himself getting involved in protecting a lot of the Westerners (aswell as Chinese studying abroad), before eventually fighting against the White Lotus Sect to destroy their group.

A simpler plot than the first.

I found this movie a lot easier to follow than the first.  The first movie seems to have too many parallel stories gong on, while this one sticks pretty much to the one.

The themes of racism are present once again, but is also shown in a simpler fashion.  Where the first movie looks at the ‘evil westerners’ and how their actions are against the best interests of the people in their town, there was this gray area where they kind of demonised westerners while trying to also justify it so it doesn’t come across as racism.

Martial Arts Action

In Once Upon a Time in China 2, there’s no gray.

The town is against the west and those who are with them, but the exclamation mark comes in the form of the White Lotus Sect.  You’ve got a major evil entity that’s trying kill the westerners, and it’s up to the ‘non-racist’ Wong Fei Hung to step in and stop them.

This movie seems to be very much about stopping the old fashioned and stubborn minded towns folk and allow the future of a diverse culture grow, which is kind of a reverse on the themes of the first movie.

The Martial Arts

The fighting in this movie has got a lot of wire work, but it’s miles ahead of the first. Where the first had some completely stupid fight scenes with an extremely unreal sense of complexity (in my humble opinion), this one only touches on it in comparison.

Martial Arts of Once Upon a time in China 2

Jet Li relies more on his physical skill in this movie as opposed to wire work, which I really liked.

The most exciting are the two fights between Jet Li & Donnie Yen, who plays General Nap-lan.

The fights rely more on their skill and vicious pace and involved mostly weapon work.  But the pace as well as the impressive skill of  each martial artists’ movements make for some really exciting fight scenes that I really was not expecting (after the first).

The first wasn’t a bad movie, but this one definitely took the weaknesses of the first and turned them into strengths.  Awesome work.

The Verdict?

Worth a watch.  It doesn’t hit the top of my list but it definitely ranks in there above the average flick.  Check it out!

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Once Upon a Time in China 2 on DVD

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Once Upon A Time In China 2 on DVD

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Once Upon a Time in China 2 on DVD

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