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Thread: Once Upon a Time in Shanghai

  1. #16
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    Watched this tonight, and it's a good film. The entire movie is shot sepia-toned to give it an old-timey look. It's basically a retelling of The Boxer from Shantung (1972), the Shaw Bros classic which starred Chen Kuan-Tai as Ma Yungzhen. Ma is a poor country bumpkin who comes to Shanghai with the hopes of making it big. In doing so, he becomes involved in the city's underworld, including an ax gang. That's about all the two films have in common.

    In Once Upon a Time in Shanghai, Phillip Ng bears a resemblance to Bruce Lee's Chen Zhen in Fist of Fury, undoubtedly a nod to that film, which was also set in Shanghai. Also like Fist of Fury (and unlike The Boxer from Shantung), the main antagonists are the Japanese. I would have preferred the main antagonists remained the triad gangs, just to make it different from most other MA films coming out of China now. With the Japanese as villains, it makes things very predictable.

    Possibly in a nod to The Boxer from Shantung, Chen Kuan-Tai has a role as one of the bosses competing for turf against Long Qi, well-played by Andy On. Other well-known old-school names seen include Sammo Hung (of course), Fung Hark-On, and Yuen Cheung-Yan.

    The fights are nicely-done. There is some undercranking to speed up the action, interspersed with slow-mo, with some wire work and CGI, but overall it looks quite good for this film. IMO, this is probably the best choreography that Yuen Woo-Ping has done in the past few years.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 01-14-2015 at 12:06 AM.

  2. #17
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    Our winners are announced

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #18
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    Completely off topic, but how do you pronounce the name Ng? Always wondered lol
    It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. - Apache Proverb

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesC View Post
    Completely off topic, but how do you pronounce the name Ng? Always wondered lol
    Ng = "ing"

  5. #20
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    I finally saw this.

    I feel badly as I know Phillip personally and wrote a cover story on Chan Koon Tai, an actor who I greatly respect (see our JAN+FEB 2012). And Sammo is in it too. It's great but clearly I'm biased. I place it in my top 5 2014 martial arts flicks.

    It's got style - filmed in sepia tones with highlight spot colors for things like jade bracelets or qipaos - akin to Schindler's List. It's also like a non-comic version of Kung Fu Hustle Director Wong Jing must like to poach from filmmakers named 'steven'. And like Jimbo said above, a remake of CKT's Boxer from Shantung. Phillip does his best Chen Zhen from Fist of Fury, and manages to get away with it quite well as I believed he was a country bumpkin Kung Fu master, and know he is anything but a country bumpkin in real life. In an early scene, he takes out a double-nunchuk wielding foe, an amusing nod to Lee, given how the character is such an homage, even down to sticking his finger in his wounds when shirtless. The choreography is fun - a mix of wirework, CGI and some nice long single-shot sequences. It's over-the-top Yuen Woo Ping, akin to Rise of the Legend, but it works. There's also some Bollywood-esque scenes that work extraordinarily well - the first music number totally nails what it sets out to do which really surprised me as I seldom have that reaction to music in Chinese films. Not much sword work - some short swords (or long daggers) and lots of axes because it's Shanghai in the 1930s under the rule of the Axe gang.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #21
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    Thumbs up Thanks for the support! :)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    I feel badly as I know Phillip personally and wrote a cover story on Chan Koon Tai, an actor who I greatly respect (see our JAN+FEB 2012). And Sammo is in it too. It's great but clearly I'm biased. I place it in my top 5 2014 martial arts flicks.

    It's got style - filmed in sepia tones with highlight spot colors for things like jade bracelets or qipaos - akin to Schindler's List. It's also like a non-comic version of Kung Fu Hustle Director Wong Jing must like to poach from filmmakers named 'steven'. And like Jimbo said above, a remake of CKT's Boxer from Shantung. Phillip does his best Chen Zhen from Fist of Fury, and manages to get away with it quite well as I believed he was a country bumpkin Kung Fu master, and know he is anything but a country bumpkin in real life. In an early scene, he takes out a double-nunchuk wielding foe, an amusing nod to Lee, given how the character is such an homage, even down to sticking his finger in his wounds when shirtless. The choreography is fun - a mix of wirework, CGI and some nice long single-shot sequences. It's over-the-top Yuen Woo Ping, akin to Rise of the Legend, but it works. There's also some Bollywood-esque scenes that work extraordinarily well - the first music number totally nails what it sets out to do which really surprised me as I seldom have that reaction to music in Chinese films. Not much sword work - some short swords (or long daggers) and lots of axes because it's Shanghai in the 1930s under the rule of the Axe gang.
    Thanks a lot for the kind words. We worked hard on this film and everyone involved placed in above and beyond effort and was very satisfied with the resulting product. Here's a light-hearted but pretty in depth English review of the film -

    Thanks again for everyone's support, we're currently in the process of having more action/martial arts movies produced for everybody to enjoy soon! Happy New Year of the Goat everyone!

    -Phil
    Last edited by straightblast5; 02-18-2015 at 02:21 AM.

  7. #22
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    Nominated for best Action Choreography at this year's (2015) Hong Kong Film Awards

    "Once Upon A Time In Shanghai" has recently been nominated for best Action Choreography at this year's (2015) Hong Kong Film Awards. Whatever happens, I am already extremely grateful that the film got nominated.

    Here's a list of this year's nominees - http://www.yesasia.com/global/yumcha...lm-awards.html

    -Phil

  8. #23
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    We saw that Phil - Congratulations!

    We've been following the Hong Kong Film Awards here. When it comes down to it, a nomination for 'Best Action Choreography' at HKFA is the highest praise any film can get in the world. No other award ceremony this prestigious even has such a category. Got my fingers crossed for ya.

    And great to hear from you. We have more than a few members move on to stardom, but it's really nice to have them check back in here. That's what I've always admired about you. You got roots.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by straightblast5 View Post
    Thanks again for everyone's support, we're currently in the process of having more action/martial arts movies produced for everybody to enjoy soon! Happy New Year of the Goat everyone!

    -Phil
    Phil:
    Looking forward to seeing what's next for you! It's great to see you achieving your dreams, and to see the rise of the next MA superstar in HK/Chinese cinema.

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