Once Upon a Time in China III | Chicago Reader

Once Upon a Time in China III

Jet Li stars as 19th-century Cantonese folk hero Wong Fei-hung in this 1993 installment of the Hong Kong martial-arts series, and while he's honed to perfection the upright doctor's expression of nostril-flaring annoyance, his acting isn't exactly the main attraction. Predicated on a Russian plot to assassinate China's prime minister, the film delivers a dazzling fight scene every 15 minutes or so, during which Li kicks, chops, soars, and somersaults with a cool grace. Director Tsui Hark shot in 'Scope and on location in Beijing's Forbidden City, and he plays up the interesting angle of Chinese xenophobia versus progressive Western ideas, but the film is marred by lame slapstick and frantic, choppy editing. With Rosamund Kwan. 112 min.


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