Once Upon a Time in China
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Though generally unknown to Western audiences, Tsui Hark is considered a giant among Asian filmmakers and this exceptional epic, combining hard-hitting martial-arts action with romance, comedy, history, genuine poignance, and sharp insight into the effects of the century-long encroachment of Western civilization in Asia more than amply demonstrates why. The story centers on the exploits of Master Wong Fei-hung (a familiar figure in Hong Kong cinema) a 19th-century doctor, Confucian, and exceptional martial artist. As the film begins, he has just opened a new clinic in Canton Province. To help… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Its real strengths are its choreography, its flashes of wit, and its all-round exuberance."
‑ , Time Out
"A truly dazzling achievement, even measured against Tsui's own considerable accomplishments..."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"It is not believable, but it is fun to watch."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"Successfully pays homage to ancient tradition and history by making it entertaining and interesting to non-Chinese audiences."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"A kind of splendid mishmash of crude history, action-movie cliches and stunning photography, editing and fight choreography."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
"A witty, extravagantly picturesque homage to Sergio Leone."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Beautiful Hong Kong movie. Wonderful story about the technological invasion, and outstanding fight scenes."
‑ Fred Topel, About.com
"Not an outstanding example of the genre."
‑ Jean Lowerison, San Diego Metropolitan
"Tsui's camera lurches, pinwheels and whirligigs all over the place to catch every move perfectly."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
"The fight scenes are the main attraction, of course, and the film delivers the goods again and again."
‑ Edward Johnson-Ott, NUVO Newsweekly
"Gets better as it goes along, building up to a prolonged shipboard finale."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"Brilliant commentary elevates entertaining Hong Kong action flick to must-see status."
‑ James Rocchi, Netflix
"Not perfect in an objective critical sense, but it's a masterpiece of the genre."
‑ Kevin N. Laforest, Montreal Film Journal
"The editing here is far from good, and the continuity is constantly thrown off from one shot to the next; we're talking about different positioning of objects, object-size changes, characters disappearing and re-appearing."
‑ Greg Muskewitz, eFilmCritic.com
"Raises the bar for a genre often thought of as meaningless dribble, showing that a Kung Fu movie can be more than just spectacular fight sequences."
‑ James Brundage, Filmcritic.com
More reviews for Once Upon a Time in China on Rotten Tomatoes