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AlbertV

Once Upon A Time In Shanghai (2013)

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Just watched it.

Andy On and Phillip Ng are excellent but all that fancy camera work, cranking etc does my head in.

Still, it's a good flick with a big budget and most people on here will enjoy it. Plenty of weapons duels as well - sai, pole, double chucks, escrima you name it.

Good effort.

"Double chucks"???! :smile: Oh... why can't this be the epic new kung fu classic I had hoped it would be? Despite all of the bad reviews I'm still anxious to see it. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. :angel:

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"Double chucks"???! :smile: Oh... why can't this be the epic new kung fu classic I had hoped it would be? Despite all of the bad reviews I'm still anxious to see it. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. :angel:

An extra uses them briefly at the beginning. If you dislike it, that won't be the reason for it mate.

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An extra uses them briefly at the beginning. If you dislike it, that won't be the reason for it mate.

Thanks. Yeah, as usual the nunchaku were used as a quick throwaway. When will we finally see them being utilized effectively in a film again? :squigglemouth:

Wow, this movie is a mess! :sad:

There are times when it really rises up, and shows just what all these talented filmmakers are capable of. But then there are just as many instances where it it absolutely terrible! What a schizophrenic film. And not like in the good old days of HK cinema where Sammo could have brutal violence one minute, then hilarious slapstick the next. Here it just makes the film a poorly constructed, totally disjointed mess. Yup, there's that word again. But I keep coming back to it when I try to describe to you kung fu brothers and sisters what I feel about the film... a mess.

The Good:

- It stars a couple of convincing on-screen fighters that occasionally get to look great in parts of some of the fights. About half of the action (interspersed throughout all of the action scenes) is good. Nothing outstanding, and not a single all-around great fight without some nonsense bits.

- Andy On has charisma and skill to burn, and is rapidly becoming a favorite. He's accomplishing what I thought Wu Jing would have done long ago. But he's certainly trying his damnedest to do so. Not like he's an overnight sensation by any means.

- Most of the ambush scene.

- Michelle Hu Ran. Every time she gave Phillip the stink eye I laughed. She was an enjoyable character.

- Seeing Sammo, Fung Hak-On, Chen Kuan-Tai, and Yuen Cheung-Yan. None of them gets to do much action-wise, but what little there is still shines.

- Some devilish weapons, like these big, razor-sharp, tri-bladed throwing stars.

- I move the story of Ma (seen before in many films), and his rise.

- The sets, costumes, and music.

The Bad:

-The washed-out color thing. Look, if you're going to drain this much color out of a print, it may as well be in black and white. The actual lighting and framing of most shots looks quite lush. But you feel like you are either looking at somewhat stained black and white, or the ugliest color film you've ever seen. Either way, it's distracting, ugly, and unpleasant. Pick one filmmakers!

- About half of the action looks like shit. I hate to say it, but is Yuen Woo-Ping just way past his prime and ready for retirement? I'd say definitely "Yes". There's not enough classic kung fu in this period set film, there are way too many modern day take-downs, MMA style moves, and other glaringly inappropriate bits of action. Irritating camera techniques are often used, especially plenty of instances of severely over-cranked action. Road Runner and Coyote fast, like the nonsense cartoonish speed used in Donnie Yen's FIST OF FURY TV series. Some of these out-of-place bits look like they belong in an old Stephen Chow film where they would've been played for laughs. Especially groan-inducing are the "one-long-uncut-take" scenes that are poorly choreographed, performed, and sped up. Which only serves to make them look both sloppy and ridiculous. :tinysmile_angry2_t:

- Star Phillip Ng Wan-Lung's gape-mouthed (We call them "fly-catchers" around here) portrayal of a "country bumpkin" makes the character look like he has just been clubbed like a baby seal, or is stoned, drunk, or mentally challenged. And that haircut? :ooh:

- The wasting of Jiang Lu-Xia's talent.

Another HUGE missed opportunity to make a great kung fu film. Very disappointing. :sad: I give it a 5.5 out of 10.

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As soon as the negative reviews started coming in I knew I'd hate this film and guess what? I was WRONG.

People are being waaaay to harsh on this one. It's a big ol' silly comic book of a movie with Philip Ng playing a very Alexander Fu Heng-esque yokel, complete with jovial idiocy. Antsy On overacts (purposely, I think) as, granted, a pretty tonally confused character but, all in all, it's a solid martial arts film that, unfortunately, sags a little in places.

Yes there are special effects gimmicks galore but it's nowhere near the travesty people are making it out to be. Actually, some of the fight choreography is genuinely GOOD. It just needs less slow motion.

But it knows it's silly. Ng and On's "brotherly shennanigans" are reminiscent of the Venoms crew and it's fun. Over the top but fun.

Hell, I'd go as far as to say the last hour and hour is great! I think you've all been spoiled by "The Raid 2"' and have forgotten how to enjoy a fun little romp like this. Especially one so close to the tone of some older Shaw Brothers films.

Leave your critical mindset at the door and you might really enjoy this one because, despite it's obvious flaws, I certainly did!

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I didn't really like the film. Sure there were a couple of okay fights, but the story sucked, the leading actor sucked big time (acting wise), the almost black white photography got on my nerve and once more the anti-japanese whining bothered me. Andy On on the other hand looked and fought great, the only thing bad about his role was his ridiculous laugh.

Nevertheless a barely average kung fu-movie and by far the worst of the three Ma YongZhen-films of which I liked HERO best.

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does anyone else feel a lot of the choreography was recycled from True Legend?

I feel you on that. But I liked TRUE LEGEND (Which is a bit of a mess in it's own right) much more than this.

I didn't really like the film. Sure there were a couple of okay fights, but the story sucked, the leading actor sucked big time (acting wise), the almost black white photography got on my nerve and once more the anti-japanese whining bothered me. Andy On on the other hand looked and fought great, the only thing bad about his role was his ridiculous laugh.

I agree- the lead's acting, the look of the film and Andy's laugh were all horrible.

Nevertheless a barely average kung fu-movie and by far the worst of the three Ma YongZhen-films of which I liked HERO best.

HERO (the uncut version) is my favorite Ma movie too.

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HERO (the uncut version) is my favorite Ma movie too.

I am happy to hear that since the movie doesn't get much love around here.

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I am happy to hear that since the movie doesn't get much love around here.

I thought that Takeshi Kaneshiro was terrific in the lead, and that Yuen Biao's turn as a gangster was epic! Love this film. :nerd:

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People are being waaaay to harsh on this one. [...]

Leave your critical mindset at the door and you might really enjoy this one because, despite it's obvious flaws, I certainly did!

I was going to write something about this film, but Drunken Monk said it well in his post.

One quibble:

Philip Ng playing a very Alexander Fu Heng-esque yokel, complete with jovial idiocy.
Maybe, but his look was pure Jim Carrey.

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Every now and then in the Kung Fu movie genre, we are are presented with a film so good that 90% of the people on this board ( Curmudgeons excepted) agree that they have watched a "Classic". Most of the time, however, we are presented with popcorn. I may be going against the grain here, but I actually enjoyed this popcorn.

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I have to agree with pretty much everything OAB said, but I also felt Philip Ng, for a lead role debut, was not totally bad. The look he gave at times when he would act concerned or soemthing, why IDK, reminded me of Fu Sheng. I have to admit, I would laugh when I heard Andy On's evil laugh, and interesting enough, while Ng doesn't get to showcase it, he too has a perfect command of English (he is originally from Chicago and moved to Hong Kong over a decade ago, like On did from Rhode Island). With the right projects, I can see On and Ng perhaps in a modern action film either as rivals or even teaming up as the co-leads again.

It is too bad what was supposed to have been Ng's lead role debut, Hands of the Dragon, died due to financial issues

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the low colour/grey feel intentional or was it my copy?

It was intentional to give it sort of a classic feel of the film I believe.

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I got through watching this one recently, and posted a review with my thoughts here -

http://www.cityonfire.com/once-upon-a-time-in-shanghai-2014-review/

Excellent review.

Just got through watching this and although there are a few negative points overall i think most on here would get a lot of enjoyment out of the film. The two leads are good, great to see Sammo, Chen Kuan Tai and others back on the screen, even if they were not given enough to do. Great to see some weapons used, especially the Sai which you don't see often in movies. The Colour palette was annoying but you get used to it after a while. And why were there no guns on show at all, surely that would be the weapon of choice for gangsters of this period. Overall some great action scenes and definitely worth a watch.

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I enjoyed this movie but dislike Andy's laugh and Sammo's dubbed voice. Why does Sammo voice get dubbed so often these days? Really miss his Cantonese voice.

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yeah! he was also dubbed in, what was it? 14 Blades, Three Kingdoms and even Kung Fu Chefs! hopefully he won't be dubbed in Rise of the Legend

He doesn't seem to be dubbed in the "Rise of the Legend" trailer.

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Already got it!!! Well Go USA sent me a copy (and it came in today) of the Blu-Ray to review the picture and extras.

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the low colour/grey feel intentional or was it my copy?

I watched the Well Go USA Blu-Ray and while the color palette was there, I noticed the final fight was more colorful than the rest of the movie...been a while since I seen it. LOL

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I watched the Well Go USA Blu-Ray and while the color palette was there, I noticed the final fight was more colorful than the rest of the movie...been a while since I seen it. LOL

I watched it again a few days ago (on a plane of all places) and I'm certain the colour had been somewhat corrected. The whole film felt like it had far more colours than my DVD version. It was really unusual.

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