Once Upon a Time in China III
Director: Tsui Hark
Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Max Mok, Hung Yan-Yan
Yet another chapter in the story of Wong Fei-Hung (Li). This time, Fei-Hung travels with his sidekick Fu (Mok) and girlfriend Aunt Yee (Kwan) to Bejing to visit his father's medicine shop. The local government has decided to hold a "lion dance" competition to bolster the populace's kung-fu skills in the hope of getting rid of the growing foreign influence. This sets off a gang war as the Triads fight each other for the right to be in the competition. One Triad in particular, a kung-fu master known as Clubfoot (Hung) seems set on also beating Fei-Hung in the process. Things turn even uglier when Aunt Yee uncovers a plot to assassinate the president during the lion dance. Once again, it's up to Fei-Hung to save the day.
The plot in OUATIC3 is a bit more linear than the previous movies and, as such, it may be a better movie for newbies in the genre, though some knowledge of Chinese history would still be helpful in following the political twists and turns. Visually, the film looks phenomenal and there's tons of high-flying wire-fu action. My only real complaint with the film is there's a lack of one-on-one fighting. The huge lion dances/gang fights are great, but there's nothing in the movie to match the intensity of the Jet Li/Donnie Yen battle in OUATIC2. The ending is also unbelievably cheesy, with Li delivering a speech that needlessly hammers in some symbolism. Overall, though, OUATIC3 is a fine movie and a good addition to the series.
Click here to download Jackie Chan's rendition of "The General's Orders" (aka "The Wong Fei-Hung Theme") from this movie
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