EKG (1993)
Last Hero in China


Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: a very enjoyable light-hearted take on a wong fei-hung tale...

nothing particularly ground-breaking or startling. but plenty of good, if not slightly over the top, action care of yuen woo ping, a good few laughs and a pretty engaging plot. good stuff.

oh, and jet li's chicken dance is a winner!


Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/26/2006

“Last Hero in China” is Wong Jing at his best. Many of the comedy scenes are actually funny, the comic relief characters don’t wear out their welcome after 90 seconds and there are plenty of beautiful women and a legion of rapacious monks—although these monks are actually Boxers in disguise. There isn’t any onscreen vomiting/defecation/urination or at least none that I can recall. The Wong Jing portion of the movie, the part that features bucktoothed sidekicks, hot mamasans and a pimp looking for respect hang together quite well.

There are a few difficulties with the collaboration among Gordon Liu, Jet Li and Yuen Wo-Ping, due almost completely to the undercranking of many of Jet Li’s fight scenes. The speeded up action is unnecessary and intrusive. We watched a lot of the fights at half speed which showed much of the detail very well. It is one thing to help out Sharla Cheung by shooting her kung fu battles at less than 24 frames per second and quite another when Jet Li and Gordon Liu are fighting. More importantly, though, are the action scenes that work, especially a terrific Lion Dance that is interrupted by an invading Centipede, the last battle between Jet Li and Gordon Liu in which Li resorts to drunken boxing and the scene in which Dicky Chen (Ah So) and Leung Kar-Yan (Leung Fu) finally perfect their Crane/Flying Tiger move.

The two Lion Dances were joys to watch. The main one had the Wong Fei Hung’s entire school collaborating in a pyramid dance with Wong in the main lion jumping on the backs of his student lions to grab the bait. Things where going well until a very well constructed and lethal centipede invaded the grounds, slashing with sharp knives protruding from each segment, surrounding the hapless lions and finally seizing the bait. Wong Fei Hung while in self-imposed exile in the country watched a rooster dispatch a centipede using its claws and beak and returned to the fray in a rooster suit, complete with metal beak and claws. It sounds more stupid than it looked although at first glance it was a real “What the f***” moment. Thank goodness that the Funky Chicken Kung Fu didn’t catch on. Everyone in this town has a lion costume and everyone dances. There is a lighthearted and funny confrontation between the Wong’s students practicing with their lion costume and the one that the prostitutes in the house next door bring out—“A girl lion” to everyone’s shock and delight.

LHiC is full of references to the “Once Upon a Time in China” franchise—Aunt Yee sends her regrets to Wong Fei Hung in the very first scene for example. There are a few Wong Jing touches, such as Nat Chan as the seemingly indestructible pimp Mass Tar (!). At one point Mass Tar who has been beaten almost to death and is being dragged to where Wong Fei Hong is hiding is told not to divulge the secret he has overheard because in the movies the guy always dies after he tells the important secret.

At first glance this movie has everything necessary for a schlockfest. Wong both wrote the script and directed it, a combination that has had unfortunate results in the past. He was making a sequel/prequel to work done by someone he was feuding with and while settling scores can be fun, especially when you have the money and power to do it onscreen, it generally doesn’t make for riveting cinema. The movie itself is an amalgam of action, low comedy, heroic tales and Chinese nationalism—something for just about everyone which often means it is unsatisfying in any of its aspects. One of the main reasons that “Last Hero in China” worked was that Jet Li played everything quite straight. He had a few funny lines, such as when the pimp kept pleading with Wong Fei Hung to take him as a student he finally said at one point, “And what should I call you—Master (Mass Tar)?” and some good reactions when the prostitutes from the nearby brothel came on to him. Generally, though, he took himself out of the picture when it was time for the comedy to begin. In one Wong told Ah So and Leung Fu to lock up because he was going out for several hours, which would be like modern day parents leaving the car keys and a couple of six packs for their teenaged sons.

Wong Jing is obviously a skilled filmmaker who has directed, produced or acted in more movies than most people have seen. He is always capable to getting things just right but often seems too busy or just not sufficiently interested to nail down the details. In this case he made either a comedy with some excellent actions scenes or an action movie with some funny comedy scenes but in either case it is worth seeing.

One detail that he dealt with in the script but that makes no sense at all from the point of view of the characters involved is the Yin Er’s abandonment of her sister. She and her father have searched unceasingly for a two and one half years to find the unfortunate girl who had been carried away by the phony monks. They have endured privation and torture and have come close to being killed several times. But at one point Yin Er embraces Miss Nine and says it is like hugging her sister and then a bit later says that the world is too wide to continue searching—that she has found a substitute sibling. It makes everything Yen Er and her father have done so far meaningless and probably would have been better done if it was simply left up in the air and not resolved. But that is a minor quibble.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/16/2006

Wong Jing thrives on exploiting the current trends in HK cinema, and in LHIC he gets his hands on Jet Li to produce his own spin on the new Wong Fei-Hung craze. Besides the lead actor/character, the film shares a visual style, some music and and a martial art choreographer with the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA series - but mixes it up with an altogether more low-brow humour and irreverence. The overall story is actually rather good, though it takes numerous diversions into the silly and sordid... which is actually rather amusing more often than not.

The action scenes from Yuen Wo-Ping are often excellently choreographed and innovative, but there's far too much undercranking (especially if you're watching the film on a PAL format!). And then there's the whole chicken suit business, which I'm sure Jet would rather we don't mention :p

LAST HERO IN CHINA is an irreverent addition to the Jet Li/Wong Fei Hung series that may offend those don't want to see this folk hero made fun of... but it does deliver plenty of entertainment if you're OK with Wong Jing's version of such :)

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/29/2005

After a series of disputes with director Tsui Hark during the filming of the Once Upon a Time in China films, star Jet Li left the series. He teamed with Wong Jing (who was having his own problems with Tsui, who called Wong's films "no good") to create this unique take on the life of folk hero Wong Fei-Hung. Last Hero in China follows the basic plot of many of the OUATIC movies. Basically, Wong runs afoul of the local government and faces opposition from a resistance group -- this time, it's the Boxers. However, since this is a Wong Jing movie, things don't always go by the book, so to speak.

The movie goes something like this: after losing his hospital/school Po Chi Lam to a greedy landlord, Wong moves in with a kindly businessman (Ng) who just happens to be Canton's "no. 1 pimp." Of course, all the girls (among them the lovely Anita Yuen) think Wong is dreamy and try to snare him. This kind of silliness goes on for some time until a group of "renegade pervert monks" begin to kidnap the girls, at which point Wong hops in to help and beats the hell out of the monks (who are led by Gordon Liu). The monks manage to fool the authorities into letting them go and then further humiliate Wong by beating him in a Lion Dance using a giant fire-breathing centipede. Disgraced (and for some reason, deaf) Wong heads out to a house in the country, where he meets up with a jobless man and his daughter (Chueng Man) who nurse him back to health. While at the house, he notices a rooster killing a centipede and realizes the way to defeat the monks. After heading off some corrupt government troops, Wong and his band head back to Canton, where they beat the hell out of the monks, the Boxers and the corrupt troops.

If you haven't seen this film before, then you may have heard about Jet Li dressing up as a rooster. Yes, he does do that, but it's really not all that bad. I was expecting him to be dressed up like Big Bird, but aside from an oversized helmet and some annoying clucking sounds, the scene isn't all that silly. It's actually pretty entertaining. In fact, the movie as a whole is quite good -- I had a better time with Last Hero in China than the last three OUATIC films. The fight sequences aren't stellar, but they definitely get the job done, especially the finale which has Wong adopting the "drunken fist" style (made popular by Jackie Chan's version of the Wong Fei-Hung story, Drunken Master). And the comedic bits (which include jabs at the characterization of Wong Fei-Hung present in the OUATIC movies) actually work for the most part. If you don't like Wong Jing's films and Yuen Woo-Ping's style of wire-fu, then Last Hero in China is a film you should stay away from. Otherwise, give it a try.

Note: Arena's version Deadly China Hero is heavily edited (most of the bits between Wong and the hookers -- including a musical number -- are cut out) and has a horrid picture.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/15/2005
Summary: Last Hero in China or last movie of Wong Jing......

Master Wong Fei-Hung and his disciples relocate the respectable Po Chi Lam clinic, only to unwittingly become neighbours with a local brothel. Further on, they break up a prostitution racket run by evil monks, with the help of a local government official (Nat Chan Bak-Cheung from ‘Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars’ and ‘The Conman in Vegas’), prostitutes (headed by Yuen King-Tan from ‘Haunted Office’), a beautiful street performer (Cheung Man from ‘Kung Fu Cult Master’) and her father who are skilled in the martial arts. Meanwhile, Wong Fei-Hung strives to battle deafness from accidental poisoning by his own medicine and participates in a lion dancing spectacle to prevent a scheme of abducting a British official by the Boxer's Association, which is master-minded by one of the government’s high officials.

This movie has no plot whatsoever and is all over the place. The emotional scenes are embarrassing to say the least for both the director, Wong Jing and the rest of the participating actors. Also, the action is a disappointment from Yuen Woo-Ping and never features any originality since it usually looks like it has being choreographed by a completely unknown and inexperienced action director. Moreover, the locations are selected and set-up in the inspiration of the ‘Once Upon a Time in China’ series and are not very polished. The prostitutes are also sometimes teasing the Po Chi Lam Clinic’s students using useless time-crunching songs (definitely worth fast-forwarding) and they seem to have more involvement in the clinic than acceptable in realistic terms by a respected martial arts master would allow. The lion dance at the end is also once of the silliest performances that I have ever seen (excelling the stupidity of the various types of dragons and creatures used in ‘Once Upon a Time in China IV’). All in All, this is a movie for laughs with a touch of romance and countless subplots which are never actually heading anywhere in particular. The main reason why this movie is so awful is probably explained by its attempts to capitalise on the successes of the ‘Once Upon a Time in China’ series without the presence of influential actors like Rosamund Kwan (as ‘Aunt Yee’), Max Mok Siu-Chung (as ‘Leung Fu’) and Xiong Xin-Xin (as ‘clubfoot’) and only explains the reason behind Aunt Yee’s absence in a rush and via an absolutely useless reason. It also never really gives any idea for the period relative to the series in which it is based.

None of the actors also are given any opportunity to act since the movie is short and packed with so many characters on-screen at once. Also the movie lacks focus and jumps from one idea to the next without ever getting serious. The costumes are not very well done and are completely unrealistic for the characters since the prostitutes are usually covered in ladies clothing (for the turn-of the-century). As again, Wong Jing deserves credit for spinning a nonsense storyline with prostitutes, attempted rapes and evil monks (the guy is a true genius!). The main nemesis is also so fictional that even fantasy or science-fiction does not tolerate such characters or actors in books or movies!

Overall, this movie contains numerous flaws and is not the worst or most irritating that I have ever seen but certainly deserves the credit for pushing to get there. This movie must have been a flop in its time of release and if it not I would be very surprised. The last fight, consists of Jet Li dressed up in a Chicken outfit and the bad guy dressed up in a caterpillar costume, some more crap from Wong Jing or what!!!

Overall Rating: 5.5/10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: kenjirro
Date: 04/18/2003
Summary: Not jet's greatest movie but it's still very cool

I bought this movie to see another
'once upon a time in china '-style movie. But this movie is total different. We have the same hero, the same music only a total different director.

First of all I want to say that Wong Jing isn't a bad director at all. Some of his movies are very entertaining and original. Last hero in china is one of his finest movies.

Last hero in china has really cool fightscenes. In many fights the use of wires was overused only the fights were still very good. Yuen wo ping did also in this movie an excellent job. There was a lot of comedy in this movie. And I liked it. Many times I laughed. The story is quite intersting too. it is about Wong fei hung who fights againts perversed monks, who kidnap women for prostitution. At the end we see Jet Li fighting as a chicken. Only don't worry because he only fights once as a chicken in this movie. If you like Jet Li, kung fu and very weard (but funny) comedy you will like this movie.

****/*****

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 01/27/2003

Following three successful Wong Fei-hung pictures that helped revitalize Hong Kong's gung fu cinema output Jet Li walked away from the "Once Upon a Time in China" series over professional disputes with writer/producer/director Tsui Hark. Not surprisingly, Wong Jing lay in wait.

Here, Wong plays almost anything he can for laughs, even women abducted by members of The Boxer Rebellion and sold into prostitution.

Wong hired sibling action choreographers Yuen Wo-ping and Yuen Cheung-yan to ramp up the wirework and under-cranking to add an extra touch of lunacy before risking Li's career by having him appear in a rooster costume, which to this day is a sore subject with Li's minions.

Truthfully, as a parody of the immensely popular "Once Upon a Time in China" series that sees Jet Li poking fun at the role that made him a star "Last Hero in China" works.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 01/16/2003
Summary: Wong Jing Strikes Again

I guess most people either love or hate Wong Jing, but I've always been pretty neutrel towards his movies. Sometimes his stuff is too lowbrow; generally it's in bad taste but not bad in itself. This is no exception, and with Yuen Woo Ping and Jet Li aboard, you could do a lot worse.
Action scenes are great, if played for laughs at times. And Jet Li could do with some more screentime. But it's a SPOOF, not a sequel of the "Once Upon a Time in China" series, and should be taken as such. Provided people know what to expext from Wong Jing, I thought this was a pretty good flick. 6/10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 07/05/2002

Believe me, there is nothing more ridiculous than seeing Jet Li as Wong Fei Hung in a cheap chicken custom. But hear me out, you don't have to witness this horror throughout the entire film. In fact, WFH doesn't dress up like a chicken until the very end. In the mean time, there are plenty of things to enjoy.

As a true fan of the martial arts genre, you have to like this film. It has excellent fight scenes, but then again this is a Jet Li movie with action choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping and Yuen Cheung Yan, so what else can you expect besides some more of the best choreographed action ever. Of course, being a Wong Jing-directed effort, the movie inevetably contains some crude humor and mindless gags, which in this case was really stupid. Nevertheless, if you want to see superb action, get the hell over here. Leung Kar Yan throws up some old school moves for maybe 5 seconds, but that's still better than nothing. Jet Li is great as usual. Dicky Cheung looks like he can really fight, and it's always a delight to get Gordon Liu on screen. He actually does more than Leung Kar Yan (and the 2 old timers have a fight together), but it's no Master Killer time either. Action-wise, this is a winner.

[7/10]

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: jasonlau128
Date: 06/06/2002
Summary: absolute and utter

"this is lame."

"this is poo."

"that was gay."

"so shit".

"sai cheen".

"hum ga chan" (angery tone whilst screwing up ticket)

Those are just some of the more polite words i heard uttered as i left the cinema.

Wong fei Hung (like donkey) moves his school next to a whore house. And he invents Chicken style (chinese in-joke). The part with the centepede is beyond ridicule. Completely atrocious.

Absolute shit. Jet li should do what he does best. Go to america and serve buggers. Yes buggers.

Surprisingly 2 gwailo's liked the film. One came out the cinema with a blind stick and the other had his head up his arse.

The film was so boring that this girl started talking to me during the film. Nice voice and i promised i would meet up with her. But when the film ended and the lights came on, i saw what she really looked like. She had 2 arms and 6 legs. What a freak. I ran off screaming.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/21/2002
Summary: Once Upon A Theif Called Wong Jing

Well, once again another rip off from Wong Jing. This time starring Jet Li again as Wong Fei Hung based on a rip off movie from Once Upon A Time In China. It's complete garbage in my opinion.

Rating [1.5/5]

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: A spin off of Once upon a time

Well this is a standard Jet Li movie, meaning it's gOOD!! Some funny scenes and good action fights but i wonder why they didn't make this a Once upon a time movie..........

7.5/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: David Harris
Date: 06/09/2000

Review courtesy of Jet Li UK - The Official Jet Li UK Fan Club (www.jet-fans.co.uk)

Reviewing this film was a joy as it is one of my all-time favourite Jet films. The combination of comedy and action in this film is seamless and it ranks as one of Wong Jing's finest hours.

If you do not take your Kung Fu films too seriously then you just have to give this a try. This was the first ever Jet Li film to get a official UK video release a few years back.

The storyline is in this case there to act as a framework on which to hang the numerous comedic and action set pieces. This isn't meant to sound dismissive as the script has a solidity that isn't that common in Hong Kong films and it serves its purpose admirably.

The film tells the tale of Wong Fei Hung's conflicts with the Boxer Society and kicks off with a cracking three-on-one fight in the local train station. Each side has their "stars" - Po Chi Lam (Wong's medical / kung fu facility) has Ah So & Liang Kuan (Leung Kar Yan) and their opponents have Lui Fai - their leader - and Hong Hung (Gordon Liu).

Central to the plot is Hong Hung's scheme to kidnap young women and sell them overseas. Naturally this outrages Fei Hung and so the battle is on.....

There a number of great fight scenes not least of all the intense and exciting aerial duel between Fei Hung & Hong Hung. It's seems a little odd at first seeing an inter-generational martial battle as Jet Li and Gordon Lui square off against each other but their wonderful talents soon made me forget my slight reservation !

Then there's the Lion / Centipede clash which is terrific fun before Fei Hung then breaks into chicken beak style to take out the Centipede and have a one-on-one with Boxer Society leader Lui Fai in which he finishes him off with a great display of drunken boxing.

Several things worth noting from the film are an early role for Anita Yuen , a hilarious comic turn from Nat Chan as the goofy pimp who wants to learn kung fu from Wong and an all-"bitchy" version of the famous Wong Fei Hung theme which is sung to the accompaniment of rib tickling poses from Wong's students in the building directly next door !

Jet's Wong Fei Hung in this film differs from that in "Once Upon A Time In China" in that it is more comic in style. The other performances are in the regulation Wong Jing style which isn't meant to sound as critical as it does - it is just that it is a style that grates badly if the script isn't of sufficient quality which thankfully isn't the case in this film as I mentioned earlier.

Director Wong Jing is for me anyway an inconsistent talent but when he gets things right like he does here his work is a joy to watch. Recommended without reservation !
























Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Jet Li as Wong Fei Hong; how original. Actually, the story was more original than I thought it would be, but the silliness of seeing Wong Fei Hong dressed as a giant chicken to fight a giant centipede in lion dance style was almost too much. Once the silly stuff is put away, Jet Li does some great Drunken style fighting. Not his best (by a long shot), but pretty entertaining.

(8.5/10)



[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]


Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Jet Li again plays the Wong Fey-Hong character, but with asatirical bent. The Boxers are selling young girls to southeast-Asia as they plot to overthrow British interests; Wong and his assistants Ah-Fu and Ah-So stand in their way. It's the set-pieces that make this special. In the lion-dance climax, he single-handedly battles a fire-breathing centipede while dressed as a leaping, scratching chicken.

(3/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7