Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)

Posted in Reviews by - April 15, 2014
Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)

The radical, nationalistic exploits of the feared White Lotus Temple has brought a reign of terror to descend upon turn-of-the-century Canton. Talk of revolution is widespread and the sect’s anti-western hysteria is gathering momentum. Wong Fei-hung (Jet Li), his partner Aunt Yee (Rosamund Kwan) and disciple Fu (Benny Mok) arrive from Foshan and are greeted by scenes of escalating violence, with attacks on the British consulate and a foreign orphanage. Commander Lan (Donnie Yen), head of the local authorities, isn’t much help. His secret tactic of using the White Lotus to flush out revolutionaries leads him into close contact with the venerable Wong, who single-handedly invades the White Lotus lair, confronts the fanatical leader and unmasks him as a fraud. But that’s not quite the end. There’s still the Commander – a deadly exponent of the Cloth-Staff technique which demands the best pole work from our robe-wearing folk hero. There is a fun exuberance to this stonking sequel despite the social-political narrative, and the combat scenes are pure genius – the clashes between Jet Li and Donnie Yen proving to be the absolute best. It’s enjoyable and exciting throughout and betters the original.

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