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黃飛鴻之二男兒當自強 (1992)
Once Upon a Time in China II

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 11/23/2021
Summary: Excellent historically-based sequel...

The second part in the ultra-popular series, Once Upon a Time in China II comes back with a compelling storyline and excellent fight choreography. Although generally judged harshly compared to the classic first part, I thought OUATIC2 was nearly as good as the first. The fight scenes, although very wire-assisted, are easily as good on par with the original, and in some ways surpass. It’s hard to get much better than Jet Li and Donnie Yen squaring off, and their fight amongst the bamboo training poles is one of the best filmed during this time. Both men are in top shape and the speed and weapon-work is impeccable. Li’s fight with the White Lotus Cult masses and then with Xiong Xin-Sin specifically are lots of fun as well. Yuen Wo-ping again demonstrates why he is arguably one of the two best choreographers ever.
Throw into the mix a great plot, involving scenarios based on actual events, namely the Boxer Rebellion. The White Lotus Cult is essentially the Militia United in Righteousness, a real life group in northern China that aimed to remove foreign influences from their country through armed conflict. When Wong Fei-hung (Li) and the rest of the characters are trapped inside the consulate as the Cult member attacked, that again is based on a real-life 55 day siege by the Boxers as foreign missionaries and their Chinese converts were trapped in a diplomatic area in Beijing. I enjoy movies that have ties to real-life events, and Tsui Hark does a good job interweaving the movie characters with actual people, such as Lu Haodong (David Chiang).
Unfortunately, Yuen Biao’s talents are missed as Max Mok takes over the role of Leung Foon, but that isn’t enough to pull the movie down. An enjoyable sequel and worthy of the series.


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 10/30/2010
Summary: Terrible letdown

Reviewer Score: 1

Reviewed by: Beat TG
Date: 12/29/2009
Summary: The best in the series

Compared to the first movie which was so cruel and unforgiving to all the scenes you didn't want to see end up badly and trouble would just happen in any minute, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA II was at times lighthearted (particularly the relationship between Fei-Hung, Aunt Yee and Foon) and somehow less dramatic (most events consisted mostly of anxiety, political views and vandalism than rushed fight scenes that is usually done in Hong Kong movies).

But it was still amazing to see that the story now had twice the depth and was more involving than ever (China's relationship with Great Britain, the White Lotus sect driving out foreigners, Sun Yat-Sen starting a revolutionary era, the government preventing the revolution), although I sense some stuff were exaggerated, as usual with biopics (everyone should know by now). These stuff would probably be the reason why I like the movie so much and consider it a sequel that actually surpasses the first movie. Depth, pacing (plot points smoothly take time to develop and nothing felt rushed at all), complexity (we get treated to little but touchy subplots), and acting (everyone in the cast performs in good form but the movie really belongs to Donnie Yen who was like the only one with real depth and character development).

In terms of action, I thought this was as satisfying (though the choreography in this won me over due to it's precise, consistent, and smooth execution which was something that the first movie didn't worked on completely) as the first movie despite being heavy on weapons. Great choreography by Yuen Woo Ping, full of creativity and imagination that still stand as among the best works he has made in his career. Thanks to the incredible talents in Jet Li and Donnie Yen, Woo Ping's choreography remains among his best works in his career. And let's not to forget the great Tsui Hark himself, who put alot of effort to make this sequel perfect and superior than its' predecessor. Fortunately for me, he did that too.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/01/2005

Another chapter in the story of Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung (Li). This time out, Wong travels to a medical conference accompanied by his sidekick Fu (Mok) and "aunt"/love interest Yee (Kwan). It turns out the city the conference is being held in is home of the White Lotus Cult, a sect dedicated to getting rid of foreigners in China at any price. There's also a group of revolutionaries and the ever-present corrupt official (Yen) in the mix. It's up to Wong to protect the gweilos and a group of kids from the vicious White Lotus without getting arrested or killed first.

Like many sequels, OUATIC2 isn't as good as the original. The plot is pretty much a rehash of the first, the characters really don't develop, the film is slow-moving in parts and it just doesn't look as good as OUATIC1. Not to mention that the majority of the excellent supporting cast from OUATIC1 (such as Yuen Biao) are nowhere to be found. But this movie is still damn good, mostly because the fight scenes are incredible. The last half-hour or so of OUATIC2 is simply phenomenal, with Li taking on the leader of the White Lotus and then Yen. It's highly exaggerated wire-fu; if you don't dig stuff like guys turning sheets into deadly weapons or trampolines, then you might want to look elsewhere. But if you like over-the-top action, this is the film for you. It rivals even Yuen Woo-Ping's Iron Monkey for the craziest fights put on film.

I normally wouldn't rate a movie so high just because of the fight scenes (honestly, some parts of the film are quite boring and depend too much on having seen the first film) but the ones in OUATIC2 are great enough to justify it. Jet Li is in peak form here and this is the role that had many people calling Donnie Yen the "next big thing" in HK action movies (a "promise" that, sadly, he has not fulfilled at all, instead doing mediocre films like Legend of the Wolf). If you're a wire-fu fan, you need to see this film.

[review from]

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/13/2005
Summary: A better and shorter sequel, with plenty of well choreographed action sequences!!!

The follow-up to Once Upon a Time in China features Wong Fei-Hong (again played by Jet Li) battling the White Lotus Cult, bent on expelling all foreigners from China through spreading their provocative rumours and enlisting new members for their ever-growing cult. While at a reputed medical convention in Canton, Wong Fei-Hong meets and befriends Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (Zhang Tie Lin). However, this places him in direct confrontation with the local magistrate (Donnie Yen from ‘Iron Monkey’ and ‘Hero’), who are trying to quash the growing rebellion led by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. In light of these events, Wong Fei-Hong teams with Dr. Sun Yat-Sen to assist the rebellion’s cause, by destroying the troublesome evil White Lotus Cult and its head priest (Xiong Xin-Xin from ‘Once upon a time in China and America’, ‘Double Team’ and ‘The Blade’) under the protection of the local magistrate. This movie also brings back Aunt Yee (Rosamund Kwan from ‘Mighty Baby’ and ‘The scripture with no words’) and Leung Fu (now played by Max Mok Siu-Chung from ‘Pedicab Driver’, ‘Fire Dragon’ and ‘Star Runner’) as the trusty student.

The movie is well thought through and captures the sense of urgency and chaos better than any other part in the series. Furthermore, the atmosphere is very claustrophobic as would be expected in a thriving town like Canton and filled with a settling atmosphere throughout. Moreover, the character development is more limited in this part compared to its predecessor and enables the viewers to focus on the few main actors available on-screen. Also, there is more frequent and better quality martial arts on offer in this movie compared to the earlier part as it was choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping. Furthermore, Tsui Hark invests a lot effort into leaving ample space for confrontations to occur in fight scenes by making it known to everyone from the start who the main villains are and showing-off their fighting skills before the final showdown (especially in the case of Donnie Yen). The role of the main villain suits Donnie Yen because of his emotionless facial expressions and is played very well by him. Unfortunately, he does try to offer some personality for the character (i.e. by forming friendship and trying to reason with the cause of Jet Li’s Wong Fei-Hong) which is unnecessary since the movie already carries heavy overtones of anti-foreign and tragic hero sentiment throughout it.

The length of the movie is correct and leaves enough space for some sub-plots but unfortunately no twists again, as it is a general cliché for most of the movie in the series. This action-adventure has some new elements of comedy and romance included and builds on the first part reasonably well as regards the character development (especially as with new-comer Max Mok Siu-Chung playing Leung Fu). This movie has everything except creativity as it capitalises on the success of other similar movies at its time, i.e. ‘Iron Monkey’ and the ‘Fong Sai Yuk I and II’ series.

Overall, this movie is well-crafted with a lot of painstaking effort invested into it but does not deliver anything new except story progression. Moreover, the villains are always over-the-top and never down to earth to challenge the heroes in an intellectually and double-crossing manner, i.e. they portray too much or too little respect towards Jet Li’s Wong Fei-Hong.

Overall Rating: 7.7/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 12/07/2003
Summary: For some reason I just didn't like this movie

Although many consider this best of the series, I actually think it's the worst. Yes, even worse than "OUATIC and America." I do give it credit for some well-choreographed fight scenes.


Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 05/02/2003
Summary: Good but not a patch on the first film...

More of the same but a little darker in this second installment. Some very good fights but the Jet Li and Donnie Yen end fight is not really that great. I think the choice of weapons was unexciting. Well worth seeing once though.

Reviewed by: Mikestar*
Date: 11/15/2002
Summary: A distinctly HK film.

It's often been noted (and sometimes I agree) that Tsui Hark really reached his cinematic peak in the mid-1980s with 'Peking Opera Blues'.

It wasn't until the first installment of the Wong Fei-hong epics, 'Once Upon a Time in China' that his resurgence was commercially recongised. The sequal to that groundbreaking film is equally impressive and in many ways overcomes the faults of the first.

Whilst the plot itself is entirely fantastical in format, giving much credence to the 'Once Upon a Time' section of the title (it manages to merge Wong Fei-hong, Sun Yat-sen and the White Lotus cult into one period), the narrative remains smooth and involving. This is largely assisted by the superbly choreographed action sequences (from nouveu-action master, Yuen Wo-ping) and the simmering romance between the lead charcters.

The narrative bears strong markers of Tsui's style, specifically his ambivalent attitude to obsession, dominance and paranoia. threatening mechanisms of politics lurk continously in the text's background, where only Wong and Sun Yat-sen emerge as rational and restorative figures.

The focus on anti-foreignism and persecution of differences (specifically through the White Lotus cult which Wong exposes) reflects ambivalence in the lead up to 1997-handover and negotiates a local identity (Wong was a Cantonese folk hero who is strongly embraced and identified by modern Hong Kongese).

The combination of action sequences and Tsui's kinetic style (the use of alleyways and structures is noteworthy) create an intense movie which is both compelling and reflective.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/13/2002
Summary: NOT BAD

No where near as good as the original, but worth watching. Another good story, with a REAL person who started the revolution in China, San Yat Yuen teaming up with WOng Fei Hung (which never happened in real life though!).

Worth watching, more action than the first too if you like that. Don't bother watching parts 3, 4,5 or 6...they are terrible.

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: Ryoga
Date: 12/25/2001

I consider this to be the best of the series but that is just my opinion. Many people disagree with me on this. Anyways, this time Wong Fei Hong (Jet Li) takes on the White Lotus Cult. Action directed by Yuen Woo Ping and also stars Donnie Yen. Rosumand Kwan returns but Max Mox replaces Yuen Biao in the role of Leung Foon.

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 04/04/2001
Summary: Where did the characters go?

I was disappointed. I heard this was the best of the installments. I heard about the pole fights between Jet and Donnie, I heard about the cloth-stick, I heard about the fast intricate choreography.

I didn't hear that the main characters in this movie became bumbly horny guys who fought over Aunt Yee constantly. I didn't hear that Hark Tsui blatantly preached to us shallow patriotic messages "Chinese should stick together...". I didn't hear about the awful fights between Jet and the Chinese KKKs who basically just stood there waiting for Jet's no shadow kicks. I didn't hear about the even shallower symbolism (Hmm, I wonder what the watches symbolize?). I didn't hear about how this movie thought Chinese to be invincible--their herbs and acupunctures showed those gwailos what's up, and their blades could defeat bullets. Nor did I realize this movie had the cheapest laughs--a flying steak on a moving train, little kids pissing...etc.

Nevertheless the pole fights between Jet and Donnie were still cool. Too bad they only added up to about 10 minutes of screen time. At the very end Donnie fought Jet with that cloth-stick thing, and just when it was about to get exciting (spoiler) Jet finished Donnie off with a piece of splinter.

Unbelievable, a kungfu master who could turn a piece of cloth into a deadly assault weapon couldn't see a piece of splinter crawling up to his neck.

(Also there's an unintentional goof late in this movie, right after the namebook's been burnt, when Donnie is about to do his cloth-stick kungfu, he asks Jet for the namebook again! And Jet's desciple, Max Mok, looks at a piece of cloth in his hand and Jet says "don't give him the book!" Did the character forget that they've just burnt it in the previous scene and all Max's holding's just a piece of cloth?)

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/18/2001
Summary: Very good

I think i liked this better than the first because i think Donnie Yen is GREAT!! Though i felt it was a little slow paced to start off with, at least this doesn't run for 2 hours like the first!!

The fight scenes are 1st class and especially when Donnie and Jet first meet!! A must see, if only for the action scenes!!


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The even more spectacular sequel to the adventures and exploits ofone of China's greatest heroes. The year is 1895, a troubled time for Imperial China. At a medical convention in Canton, the legendary Wong Fey Hong befriends Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Witnessing riots stirred up by the White Lotus clan, which is determined to wipe out all foreigners and their influence in China, Wong and Sun Yat Sen intervene. Wong and Sun defeat the Clan, but military troops surround them before they can make good their escape. The climactic final confrontation is one of the most spectacular action scenes ever filmed.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Almost as good as the first film, with a spectacular final fight against Donnie Yen - the actor who plays Wong Fei Hong's _dad_ in Iron Monkey! Wong gets involved with The White Lotus Sect that believes that their magic makes them invulnerable to bullets.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

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

The best film in this series again stars Jet Li as Wong Hey-Kong as he battles a kind of Chinese KKK. Equal measures humor, tragedy, social commentary, and kung fu hi-jinx.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 8