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CompleteMartialArts.com - Once Upon a Time in China, Vols. 1-3

List Price: $23.96
Our Price: $21.99
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Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Starring: Jet Li, Biao Yuen, Rosamund Kwan, Steve Tartalia, Jacky Cheung
Directed By: Hark Tsui
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Binding: DVD
EAN: 9780767857802
Format: Box set
ISBN: 0767857801
Label: Sony Pictures
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Number Of Items: 3
Publisher: Sony Pictures
Region Code: 99
Release Date: 2001-07-17
Running Time: 359
Studio: Sony Pictures
Theatrical Release Date: 1993-09-01

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Editorial Reviews:

Once Upon a Time in China
The first of a popular series (six in all) starring the charismatic and athletically adept Jet Li. Li plays legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hong, a late 19th century southern Chinese healer and kung fu master. The story begins with Western powers (American, British, and French) encroaching on the city of Canton. Wong is asked by the Black Flag army to safeguard the town by creating his own militia of kung fu experts. His assistants include the butcher "Porky" (Kent Cheng), a Chinese-American named Bucktooth So (Jacky Cheung), and his westernized "Auntie" Yee (Rosamund Kwan), a non-blood-related childhood friend for whom he holds a special affection. But the Westerners aren't the only problem in Canton. The Sha Ho gang terrorizes local businesses and has begun dealing with the Americans in exporting Chinese for slave labor and prostitution. A down-on-his-luck kung fu master named Iron Vest Yim (Yan Yee Kwan) has decided he needs to defeat Wong to open a school and Leung Fu (Jackie Chan contemporary Yuen Biao), a traveling opera troupe groupie, just keeps getting in the way. This epic martial-arts film showcases Li's amazing fighting and acrobatic skills and established Tsui Hark as a top-notch action film director. The final fight scene between Wong and Yim entails a dizzying orchestration of kicks and punches while teeter-tottering on ladders. --Shannon Gee

Once Upon a Time in China 2
Actor and martial arts maestro Jet Li and iconoclastic director Tsui Hark revisit historical China and legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hung in the second installment to the wildly popular Once Upon a Time in China film series (or better yet, "serials"). The main players include Li as Wong Fei Hung, Rosamund Kwan as his beloved but Westernized Auntie 13, and their clumsy sidekick Foon (Max Mok). China is in a period of political unrest. Dr. Sun Yat Sen is beginning to gain momentum behind his Nationalist party. A Qing minister (played with intensity by skilled fighter Donnie Yen) firmly carries out his job as police enforcer and a crazed cult called the White Lotus Sect has decided to take matters into their own hands by bullying citizens and destroying everything foreign. Wong and his crew find themselves at odds with the minister and the Sect, who have more in common than they initially let on. It all leads to some high-octane action scenes, including an all-out table-stacking and airborne brawl with the Sect (in which Wong uncharacteristically goes a little berserk himself) and a one-on-one matchup between Li and Yen. Tsui juggles the multilayered plot while Li juggles his opponents in a perfectly serviceable epic that is perhaps not as significant as the first Once Upon a Time in China but is solid kung fu nourishment for fans. --Shannon Gee

Once Upon a Time in China 3
Set in the era when China was just beginning to establish relations with Europe, Once upon a Time in China 3 is a mixture of politics, intrigue, broad comedy, and kung fu action. Charismatic Jet Li stars once again as Wong Fei-hung, a legendary Chinese hero who is a doctor, a pacifist, and an amazingly skilled martial artist. Like many Hong Kong films, this movie has a woefully complicated plot: in summary, a kung fu competition not only sparks a bitter rivalry between different martial arts associations, it also becomes the linchpin in an assassination plot. But this leaves out Wong Fei-hung's increasingly romantic relationship with his aunt (played by Rosamund Kwan), the rehabilitation of one of the villain's henchmen, and the introduction of a steam engine to a Chinese factory, among other subplots! Once upon a Time in China 3 is not the strongest in the series--the subtitling is unusually clumsy, the editing is rough, the plot is confusing, and the melodrama is more crudely played than in the other films--but there's still a clear, raw authority to the storytelling that is a hallmark of director-producer Hark Tsui (Peking Opera Blues, Green Snake). Though it seems to have been made in a rush, Once upon a Time in China 3 will still reward devotees of Hong Kong films, and the frequent and wild fight scenes will appeal to action fans. --Bret Fetzer

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Worse Video Quality transfer than VHS...
Comment: Be warned that this transfer is so blurry and bad that I couldn't imagine anything being worse. It looks like a bootleg and it was so bad I couldn't even finish watching the first movie...

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Kung Fu movie fan
Comment: This is a classic trilogy for fans of Jet Li and/or period Kung Fu. Jet Li is 'wong fei hong', a legend in China. As is common for this genre, there's quite a bit of slapstick humor in the first movie. The second and third movie may seem better if you're not so into the clowning around. As usual, Jet Li's kung fu is truly impressive, although the wired choreography is a little annoying at times.

All in all, well worthwhile for anyone interested in (period) kung fu movies or simply admiring Jet Li's talent!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Nice action, less wire work would be nice.
Comment: I love the actual real martial arts displayed by Jet Li and others including Donnie Yen in this 3pack. I am not a big fan of the extensive wire use. They make the movies less realistic. Its an enjoyable 3pack if you are a Jet li fan.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Very good, but not funny.
Comment: All three movies in this trilogy, when the martial arts is concerned, are great! Really there are. Jet Li, as usual, performs amazingly.

Alas, the movies also try to integrate some cheap comedy and kitsch romance into the movie, and that doesnt mix well, if you ask me.

But, all in all, worth it's weight in gold. :)

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: make sure you get the TRILOGY. I will explain.
Comment: So I saw on here that people are ripping the OUATIC TRILOGY, and was very dissapointed. So I carefully started looking for all of the reviews and instantly noticed that people are giving bad reviews for the COLLECTION but everybody(except for 1 stupid person)who reviews the TRILOGY has good things to say. So I am here to tell you EXACTLY which version to buy. Most of you will be able to figure out to look at my reviews and see exactly what version I clicked on to review this. The COLLECTION is obviously not the same as this and if you look for the picture for the collection you will see it is different and has chinese characters on it. So look below for my desription on the TRILOGY

OUATIC TRILOGY- this is the version I have. The film print is the only thing to complain about. It looks kinda like movies when you go to the theater, but no real white lines or huge dots so a little better than that. So the picture is not quite as good as say a miramax but the release of the movie in it's original language uncut version is at least a 100 times better. And I am like 99% sure of this but I know that jet li's voice is dubbed in these cause he speaks mandarin btu it is A HELL OF A LOT BETTER than hearing that dumbass from the jet li ollection. And sadly the guy who dub's jet's voice isn't even as bad as the others. But his voice in this one I think may be better than jet's real voice cause it is a lot stronger. But I don't know, it's just that he is the only one where his mouth doesn't always match speech. So the picture and sound in this are VERY VERY good but the main thing is the beautiful widescreen presentation. YOU WILL NOT MISS A THING. And by the way the widescreen, great picture quality, and original language, uncut version is for all 3 of these movies. I honestly could not have been happier with the release of these and actually consider them some of the best ever.

Part 1-----EASILY one of my top 30 or so movies ever. It's funny to look back on this movie now and I like it even more now than when I saw it back in like 1995. And by the time this dvd came out I had studied a lot about the real wong fei-hong, and watching it for the first time in like 8 years I noticed the superb action of course but the story is TRULY EPIC. There is like 8 events that actually happened to wong that Tsui Hark has jet portraying on screen. The real wong's life was a bit more depressing but just like american movies they saved us the trouble of crying through the end and possibly missing an action scene. And it is not like all of these events happened in the same 2 day time frame or whatever it was in the movie, but once again it's a movie and just showing parts of wong's life is easily good enough. Back in the early 40's around 10-20 years after wong's death there were stories written about him in the chinese newspaper. Now people don't buy the newspaper over there for just news but for the continuing stories of their favorite hero's. And since the stories derived from people who actually knew wong, they were a lot more accurate than say a homer piece or stories about the great Julius Caesar. They are not as fantastical but things like his shadowless kick were very popularly known stuff in Canton. And that is very interesting because the fact that he was known for kis kicks shows he is a great martial artist because his style was mainly in fist forms where he was also superior to most. But enough of the wong biography and let's get to the fights. The pre final fight between Iron Robe and wong is one of the best dramatic fight scenes ever. There is so much power being dispayed by these 2 it is truely an unstoppable force. If you can't watch these guys go at it, you need to go watch american nija or something to calm yourself down before you watch this again. Overall I would say that this movie has 4 of THE top 100 fight sces EVER. The kinetic energy of this flick sucks you up to your tv so make sure you strap yourself in and don't get too close or jet li will kick you in the head and you won't even see a shadow it will be so fast! And jet as an actor really showed that he could play this calm and under control healer/MA master to PERFECTION. And I really have to say that Yen Shi-Kwan gives the performace of a lifetime in his portrayal as a man who needs to fight wong to be the best, it's not that he hates him, just to make a living he needs to be the best. Cause even if you are second best which you would think would be good enough, it's not, cause you will still be VERY poor. So iron robe I have seen in fearless hyena and MANY other things, some great some horrible. But Tsui Hark really showcased him and Jet in this movie. Which is kind of a shame in a way which i will get to but after this movie, they have more credibility than ANY chinese star fighting on screen in that time. Now I only have 2 real problems with this film, one certainly bigger than the other.
1.---------If they could have gotten a decent american actor to lead the crappy ones or just showcase him it would have made the film a lot better.
2.---------Yuen Biou was criminally underused in this flick. He has like one flip and gets to throw about 5 punches total. So it is a shame that a guy who is easily in the class and though not as powerful as yen Shi-Kwan, he is certainly just as good of a screen fighter. His athletic skills are shown a little but overall he was not used enough. And obviously Yuen thought this too because he went on to make a Foon movie and it was pretty good. Title is kickboxer(1993). But the showcasing of Kwan and Li comes close to making up for this. So overall a great movie and you are getting the full 134 minute version. And a brief comment on the subtitling job--magnificent!!!!! Easiest I have ever read and very good translations too. Sound quality for this one is average at best, but you can crank it if you want to, it is a must for me cause this is my FAVORITE SONG EVER. And it is pretty difficlt to rival Sabbath, Jethro, Hendrix, Skynard, Zeppilin and the likes. So if these 2 things could have been improved upon, this may be my #1 favorite movie ever.

Part 2-Part 2 is one that gets a A for effort but overall the movie gets like a C. The story is pretty stupid but with a good acting performance by jet and donnie, this is almost acceptable as a movie. But the main thing to watch in this are the 2 matches of donnie and jet(one long one short, both great). The first one is good but leaves you saying NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Which is exactly what the director was tryign to do. I'm not gonna bother with the story because it revloves around the fights and I would be much more inclined to tell you about those. The final fight in thsi is done in around 6 stages. You can count as I go along now. Someone attempts to stab jet, jet beats verybody up, he beats them all down with a pole this time after his umbrella breaks. Jet fights Kung and his entourage(very long fight). Donnie and jet pole fight, both with 2 STICKS AT A TIME. That part is EASILY my favorite scene in the movie, but still ther are 3 others that rival it. Then the cloth fight was pretty good, but would have gone down as one of the greatest if the build up was not so outrageuosly good.
So once again in this you are gettin gthe uncut version and this one has BOOMING sound, far above average. The subs like the other 2 are perfect, but sadly they still don't translate ANY song's and no fraking signs. Though this is a minor glitch, it does affect the movie.
Also, I do have one big problem with this entry into the series. The guy who plays the immortal kung is only able to show off hsi athletic skills and not his hand to hand. But thankfully in part 3 he was not only able to show his fighting skills but also his good acting skills. I just think that fight could have been better if they would have had some real fighting and not just flying. But nobody could have done it any better than woo-ping.
Part 3-this is a really laughable entry into the series, the the bad guy is so stupid that he is actually kind of funny sometimes. That is in a cheesy american dubbed way, but funny none the less. The first fight scene is pretty good and it involves Wong Kei-Ying, but sadly none of the other scenes were better. There is just too many wires and Tsui obviously had a dream to make clubfoot become this weird footmaster who can like fly whenever he is kicking. But he does do a MUCH better job shwcasing him than he did in #2. So if you just have nothing to do for like an hour and 40 minutes, that is the only way I can suggest it.

So make sure you get the TRILOGY. It is 3 movies on 2 discs and right now amazon has it for 18.99 which seems like a very good price. I got mine for 11.99 at the used store but saw it at best buy for 29.99 so definitely get it as cheap as you can cause you will not be dissapinted.

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