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Once Upon a Time in China--Special Collector's Edition [DVD]

Jet Li , Rosamund Kwan , Tuis Hark    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
Price: 1.19
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Once Upon a Time in China--Special Collector's Edition [DVD] + Once Upon A Time In China 2 [DVD] + Once Upon A Time In China 3 [DVD]
Price For All Three: 7.40

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Product details

  • Actors: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Yuen Biao, Jacky Cheung, Kent Cheng
  • Directors: Tuis Hark
  • Producers: Tuis Hark
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Dutch
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Hong Kong Legends
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Jan 2001
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000050YJZ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,650 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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 westernised "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 ShaHo gang terrorises local businesses and has begun dealing with the Americans in exporting Chinese for slave labour 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 travelling 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. The DVD features star bios, filmographies, trailers and clips from early Wong Fei Hong films that starred veteran actor Kwan Tak Hing. --Shannon Gee

Product Description

Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and American) plundering of China. When Aunt Yee arrives back from America totally westernised, Wong Fei-Hung assumes the role of her protector. This proves to be difficult when his martial arts school and local militia become involved in fierce battles with foreign and local government. As violence escalates even Aunt Yee has to question her new western ideals, but is it possible to fight guns with Kung Fu?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Whilst Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be more familiar to audiences as possibly the most successful foreign-language movie of all time, such people may want to check out this wonderful movie from 1991.
Wong Fei-Hung was a real-life legendary Chinese hero who was not only a master of Hung Gar kung-fu but an accomplished doctor who opened his own clinic, which has been named Po Chi Lam (although sometimes it has been spelt Bo Chi Lam); the name has survived to this day. Fei-Hung has had over 100 movies made that featured someone playing him, although Hong Kong veteran Kwan Tak-Hing was more synonymous with him (he played him in Sammo Hung's MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER movie, for example).
In this movie, which spawned many sequels and a spin-off TV series that starred Chiu Man Cheuk ('The Black Sheep Affair', 'Body Weapon'), Wong Fei-Hung is played by the brilliant Jet Li ('Kiss Of The Dragon', 'Romeo Must Die'). Set in late 19th-Century China, it tells of the story of China seemingly being overrun with foreigners such as Americans and British people, complete with their foreign machines -- in particular one that would potentially jeopardise the effectiveness of kung-fu: the dreaded gun! Fei-Hung, a traditional leader with traditional views, must learn to embrace the rapidly-changing China, but can he do so without compromising his values?
This movie scores on many counts: superb acting, attention to detail and production values (for a Hong Kong movie with the comparatively limited budgets); characters develop brilliantly (a trait that follows into its sequels, particularly the relationship between Fei-Hung and 13th Aunt Peony, played by the beautiful Rosamund Kwan); some stunning camerawork and (of course!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This was Jet Li's breakthrough movie, and it isn't hard to see why. The plot and direction are both stunning, and put other martial arts movies to shame, whilst the fight scenes rank as some of the best ever filmed. In short, this is compulsive viewing for the kung fu fan who thinks (s)he's seen everything.
In terms of cinematic brilliance, this film is surpassed only by its sequel, and the final fight scene is probably the greatest ever filmed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visually and emotionally stunning 10 Mar 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Once Upon A Time In China, is a breath taking epic story, ivolving love, patriotism, brutality, honour, nobility and morals. Tsui Hark directs masterfully and wonderfully creates scenes of passion and intricacies. Set in China at the start of the last century, Hark portrays a country in much confusion, under threat from the outside world, of which little is known, and from within. The people within the story are lost and chaotic. Wong Fei Hung (Jet Li) is a rock in a raging sea, and dispite his best efforts has little control over the ever growing turmoil spewing around him.
Emotions are strained and love is invoked, by the beautiful and charming Rosamund Kwai. The support to Li is impecable, of note Yuen Biao.
Some of the most memorable photographic shots I have seen are contained in this film. I cannot speek high enough of it.
Wong Fei Hung was a 'kung fu' master of great esteem, know famously for developing the 'shadowless kick'. More films have been made about this remarkable man, than any other figure past or present.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breath-taking 27 Feb 2002
If you know anything about Hong Kong films then you'll know that it was this film that started a whole new generation of film making. Once Upon a Time in China started a massive new wave of exhilerating films that came with fantasy style martial arts and fighting.
This film delivers good acting; peak martial arts; an engaging story; and directing from the one and only Tsui Hark whom is also well known for his produceing of other such classics as The Killer and A Better Tomorrow, as well as directing Peking Opera Blues and a whole line of other great films. Jet Li plays by far the best Wong Fei Hong performance that I've ever seen and he is closely followed by Jackie Chan who Played a young Master Wong in Drunken Master 1&2. Li just has the on-screen charisma, magnificent martial arts, and shear grace to his presence. This is a great film.
If your looking for a DVD version that offers both English Laguage and English Dubbing then I would recommend the Hong Kong Legends version, as well as having both versions you'll also have great picture and sound quality and interviews with Jet Li and the Martial Artist that Played the villian Iron-Vest Yin. In addition to the HKL version you also get tarilers for other HKL films and biographies of some of the cast. If your looking for other Hong Kong Cinema films then HKL is the best.
Once Upon A Time in China deserves ten-out-of-ten.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sample of Jet Li's work. 8 Jan 2003
By Mike H
A Classic martial arts movie with great fights and nice camera work. It has a plot as well - which helps.
The opening scene is one of the most dramatic that I have seen on a movie. With the theme tune of the movie in the background you see a large group of men practicing a Kung Fu form on the beach as the sun sets. It has a beauty and structure all of its own. It will ring a chord with anyone who has trained in a martial art that has forms.
I buy these type of movies just for the fight scenes, I like to see a professional at work on his craft. That said, it stands as a movie in it's own right. Not a Chick Flick but definitely worth a look.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent film, Jet Li has to be classed as one of the Hong Kong greats. Always a pleasure to watch.
Published 14 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time in China
This has to be one of Jet Li's best films of all time. Stunning action scenes, brilliant direction from the great Tsui Hark and a fine music score which was used again in many of... Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2009 by A. J. Harrison
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!
Given the ecstatic reviews this film has attracted previously,I am wondering if I have watched a completely different film. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2008 by Mr. T. A. Maurice
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Martial Arts with Turn of the Century Historical Perspective
The martial arts routines and fighting were phenomeonal, extremely well done, a pleasure to watch. The story and plot were so transparent, it was highly predictable and somewhat... Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2006 by Erika Borsos
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring - don't believe the hype
I believed the hype, the box, the review that claims that this film is a masterpiece. I found this one of the most boring films I have ever seen. I turned it off after an hour. Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2005 by N. Frary
4.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time in China
Not the Greatest of the Jet Li collection especially now his work is becoming more amercanised with titles such as 'The One' or 'Kiss of the Dragon'. Read more
Published on 13 May 2003 by Adam
3.0 out of 5 stars good fight scenes but storyline hard to follow
This is my first Jet Li film and had hoped to get parts II & III but I found the film hard to follow and so it seemed did the actors. Read more
Published on 14 April 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!
The Once Upon a Time series is a must buy for any martial arts fan. Each features fantastic camera work and unbelievable fight sequences. Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2001 by J. W. Weegenaar
1.0 out of 5 stars No original language option = bad kung-fu movie experience!
The 1 star rating refers to this particular DVD edition, not to the film itself, which is one of THE best martial arts movies ever made. Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Once of my all time favorites
This is truely a beautiful film. For once there is a martail art film that have substance and depth and a storyline. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2001
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