Once Upon a Time in China II

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Once Upon a Time in China II
Japanese film poster
MandarinHuáng Fēihǒng Zhī Èr Nánér Dāng Zìqiáng
CantoneseWong4 Fei1-hung4 Zi1 Ji6 Naam4-ji4 Dong1 Zi6-koeng4
Directed byTsui Hark
Produced byTsui Hark
Ng See-yuen
Raymond Chow
Written byTsui Hark
Chan Tin-suen
Cheung Tan
StarringJet Li
Rosamund Kwan
Max Mok
Donnie Yen
Music byRichard Yuen
Johnny Yeung
Chow Gam-wing
CinematographyArthur Wong
Edited byMarco Mak
Angie Lam
Andy Chan
Film Workshop
Golden Harvest
Paragon Films Ltd.
Distributed byGolden Harvest
Release date
  • 16 April 1992 (1992-04-16)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Box officeHK$30,399,676[1]

Once Upon a Time in China II is a 1992 Hong Kong–Chinese martial arts film written and directed by Tsui Hark, and starring Jet Li as Chinese martial arts master and folk hero of Cantonese ethnicity, Wong Fei-hung.[2] It is the second instalment in the Once Upon a Time in China film series. The iconic theme song, A Man Should Better Himself (男兒當自強), was performed in Cantonese by George Lam at the beginning of the film, and by Jackie Chan in the end credits. (Chan also sang the Mandarin version.)


The film is set in China in 1895 during the Qing dynasty. Wong Fei-hung travels by train from Foshan to Canton; the capital of Guangdong; to attend a seminar on medicine. He is accompanied by his romantic interest 13th Aunt and apprentice Leung Foon. The situation in Canton is rather chaotic. On one hand, there are protests in the streets against the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. On the other hand, the White Lotus Sect, an extreme xenophobic cult, goes around attacking Westerners and destroying everything regarded as alien to Chinese culture. At one point, 13th Aunt is almost captured by the cult when she tries to take a photo of them, but Wong shows up, fights with the cult members, and saves her.

Wong gives a lecture on acupuncture at the seminar while a Western-trained Chinese doctor, Sun Wen, helps him translate for the predominantly non-Chinese audience. The seminar is disrupted when the White Lotus Sect shoot flaming arrows into the building; Wong, Leung and Sun manage to escape safely. Wong feels that Canton is not safe and wants to bring Leung and 13th Aunt with him back to Foshan. However, just as they are about to leave, they learn that the White Lotus Sect is attacking the Tongwen Guan, a school for children to study foreign languages. They head over and save the children. The innkeeper refuses to allow the children to remain in his inn because he is worried about retaliation from the White Lotus Sect.

Wong goes to the yamen to ask if the children can take shelter there. He spars with a military officer, Nap-lan Yun-seut, who is impressed with his skill after a one-on-one fight but does not approve his request. In the meantime, Leung and 13th Aunt bring the children to hide in the British consulate, which is under siege by the White Lotus Sect. At the consulate, Wong meets Sun Wen again and learns that Sun and his friend, Lu Haodong, are part of an underground movement seeking to overthrow the Qing dynasty and establish a republic in China. Nap-lan shows up with his soldiers and tries to enter the consulate to capture Lu but the British consul stops him. That night, Nap-lan orders his men to disguise themselves as White Lotus Sect members after being blessed by them and break into the consulate. After some time, he leads his soldiers into the consulate under the pretext of protecting the consul and arresting the cult members while actually using the opportunity to hunt down Lu. He secretly kills the British consul when the latter sees through his ruse.

Lu disguises himself as Leung and follows Wong out of the consulate, while Leung pretends to be Lu to lure Nap-lan and his soldiers away. Wong and Lu are then forced to travel to the White Lotus Sect's base, "Heavenwards Shrine", to confront Kau-kung a.k.a Priest Gao, the cult leader. After fighting with the cult members and engaging Priest Gao in a one-on-one fight, Wong defeats Priest Gao and accidentally kills him by impaling him onto a statue finger, revealing that he was actually wearing iron body armor. Wong, Leung and Lu then proceed to retrieve a book, which contains the names of the revolutionaries, from a secret location, but they run into Nap-lan and his men. Lu sacrifices himself and reveals he is "the real Lu Haodong" and is shot by Nap-lan's soldiers after one of them shot Leung's leg; whom was mistaken for Lu; but manages to burn the book to prevent Nap-lan from getting it. Wong fights with Nap-lan while Leung helps Lu burn the book. Leung almost burns the cloth used to wrap the book. Before succumbing to his wounds, Lu stops Leung from burning the cloth and tells him to meet Sun Wen at the pier and pass him the cloth and finally died from his injuries.

Wong and Leung try to escape but are cornered by Nap-lan. During a one-on-one fight with Nap-lan, Wong is strangled in Nap-lan's "cloth stick" and struggles to escape but breaks a bamboo stick held in his hands with it during the fight and finally defeats and instantly kills Nap-lan by cutting his throat with a splinter from the broken bamboo stick. As dawn approaches, Wong and Leung arrive at the pier just as the ferry is leaving for Tong Ka Bay, Hong Kong. Wong throws the cloth to Sun Wen, who opens it up to reveal Lu's design of the Blue Sky with a White Sun flag along with his fellow friends and 13th Aunt watching next to him and mourning the loss of Lu Haodong. In the end, Wong shouts to 13th Aunt, "I'm going to really miss you!" and decides to return to Foshan from Canton by train with his apprentice Leung once again.


DVD release date[edit]

On 2 July 2001, DVD was released in Hong Kong Legends at Europe in Region 2.

Two years later, Hong Kong Legends DVD were released on 7 April 2003 at 3 disc set Tsui Hark's Once Upon a Time in China Trilogy.

Three years later, The Donnie Yen Collection DVD were released on 29 May 2006 at 4 disc set including two films they were New Dragon Gate Inn and 2 disc platinum edition Iron Monkey.

Alternative version[edit]

The Taiwanese VHS release distributed by Long Shong opens with a seven-minute-long recap of the first film. It also features some scenes that were cut from the international release.

Box office[edit]

Once Upon a Time in China II was a rare instance where a sequel to a Hong Kong film earned higher at the box office as compared to the previous film. It grossed a total of HK$30,399,676 during its theatrical run[3] and holds a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Outcome
12th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Film Once Upon a Time in China II Won
Best Director Tsui Hark {{}}
Best Supporting Actor Donnie Yen {{}}
Best New Performer Hung Yan-yan {{}}
Best Art Direction Eddie Ma Won
Best Cinematography Arthur Wong Won
Best Film Editing Marco Mak Won
Best Action Choreography Yuen Woo-ping Won
Best Original Film Score Richard Yuen, Johnny Njo Won
29th Golden Horse Film Festival Best Actor Jet Li Won
Best Supporting Actor Max Mok Won
Best Action Choreography Yuen Woo-ping Won
Best Original Film Song James Wong Won


  1. ^ HKMDB
  2. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : 'China II': History in a Martial Arts Fantasy". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/once_upon_a_time_in_china_2/

External links[edit]