21 March 2019 | Tweekums
Once Upon a Time in China 3
This sequel is set in Beijing; the Dowager Empress has decided to stage a lion dance festival to show off Chinese martial arts and encourage more people to take up kung fu. As preparations are getting underway Wong Fei-hung, along with 'Aunt' Yee and Foon, arrive in Beijing to visit Wong's father. He is the head of one of the martial arts schools hoping to compete in the festival... however the leader of one school is trying to bully all of the others into backing out of the competition. Inevitably Wong gets involved as he tries to encourage peaceful behaviour. In the background to this Wong is jealous after Aunt Yee meets up with a Russian friend she first met while studying in Britain. As the festival approaches tensions rise further and there are more intense fights.
This film is a fun addition to the 'Once Upon a Time in China' series of films; it has a decent, if simply, story, plenty of laughs and a lot of brilliantly choreographed martial arts. The three main characters are back, although for some reason 'Aunt' Yee becomes 'Cousin' in the subtitles of the version I saw. There are also good new characters, notable Clubfoot (renamed Iron Foot), the villain Chiu Tin-bak and the Russian Tomanovsky. As said before there is lots of impressive martial arts action; some of this includes obvious wire-work but that didn't bother me; much of it also takes place while the characters are in their lion costumes which looks pretty cool. The romantic subplot provides a few decent laughs without distracting from the main plot. The acting is pretty solid throughout; most notably from Jet Li and Rosamund Kwan as Wong and Aunt Yee. Overall I really enjoyed this and suspect most fans of less brutal martial arts films will enjoy it too.
These comments are based on watching the film in Cantonese with English subtitles.