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Once Upon A Time In China & America (1997)

Once Upon A Time In China & America (1997)

It's Jet Li! I thought I'd seen all of his older movies, but this was one I missed... and a good one too.

Apparently it's part of the 'Once upon a time in China' series, the stories of Wong Fei Hung (Chinese legend) starring Jet Li... and plenty of other (martial) artists you wouldn't know were martial artists unless you look them up on IMDB! Or know them. Mainly because most don't do much fighting, even if they do run around a lot and jump and stuff.

I thought some of them seemed familiar so I looked them up, and I've probably seen the lot of them in other movies of varied sorts, Hong Hong action mostly. People like Jeff Wolfe, T.J. Storm, Xin Xin Xiong (what a name!), Kwok-Pong Chan and Joseph Sayah. It's always interesting to view an actor's list of merits, to see how long they've been in the business, if they made it, if they gave up, if something unexpected happens. Or if their bio is just a blank and overwhelmingly mysterious page that urges you to Google their fate (and usually become none the wiser... but I did find an informative interview on Michael Woods when I Googled him).

This story is about a journey to the US. It starts on a wagon trail, with Wong Fei Hung in a wagon (with Auntie Yen, Seven and Sol), traveling to a town where Sol's about to open a business, when they stumble upon Billy, an American outlaw (the Kid?) who just made his way through the desert and is in desperate need of water and transport. Wong Fei Hung helps him out, and it later turns out to be one of the wisest thing's he's done... at least in this movie Billy later becomes vice-sheriff and the only one in a town full of Chinaman-hating chimps who's on their side. But that's all much later on.

Shortly after Billy gets picked up, Indians attack, they all end up in the river, Wong Fei Hung bumps his head in a rock and wakes up with no memory... in an Indian settlement. It's a great movie, the story's intriguing, the intrigues are intriguing, the fights are great, there's a mixture of gunfights and hand-to-hand combat... and when Wong- Fei is involved even some hand-to-gun combat for a change. It's well worth the watch, and I've gotta check out all the other Once Upon A Time In China movies too. Later. I mean I'll check those out later. Later.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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