Once Upon a Time in China III Poster

Once Upon a Time in China III (1992)

Action | Biography 
Rayting:   6.8/10 6.5K votes
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese | Russian
Release date: 11 February 1993

Master Wong and his disciples enroll in the 'Dancing Lion Competition' to stop an assassination plot and to battle an arrogant, deceitful opponent.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

paul_haakonsen 24 December 2015

While the third movie in the "Once Upon a Time in China" series were better than part one, but wasn't up to part two story-wise, then this third installment did manage to hold its own. While it was very weak in storyline, it more than made up for the shortcoming in action and Chinese lion sequences.

It seemed like the storyline was rushed through and that most of the movie had a script that was just made up as director Tsui Hark went along with shooting the film. But luckily the impressive action and martial arts were more than making up for it. It should also be said that there is a lot of scenes and fighting sequences with Chinese lions. So take that into consideration if you might have a problem with that.

Jet Li delivers quite well once again, despite not having much of a solid and proper script to work with. So "Once Upon a Time in China 3" (aka "Wong Fei Hung III: Si wong jaang ba") seems mostly like a showcase for Jet Li's martial arts skills.

This is not one of the brightest moments in Hong Kong cinema, nor in Tsui Hark's directing career.

"Once Upon a Time in China 3" is a movie mostly appealing only to fans of Jet Li.

Tweekums 21 March 2019

This sequel is set in Beijing; the Dowager Empress has decided to stage a lion dance festival to show off Chinese martial arts and encourage more people to take up kung fu. As preparations are getting underway Wong Fei-hung, along with 'Aunt' Yee and Foon, arrive in Beijing to visit Wong's father. He is the head of one of the martial arts schools hoping to compete in the festival... however the leader of one school is trying to bully all of the others into backing out of the competition. Inevitably Wong gets involved as he tries to encourage peaceful behaviour. In the background to this Wong is jealous after Aunt Yee meets up with a Russian friend she first met while studying in Britain. As the festival approaches tensions rise further and there are more intense fights.

This film is a fun addition to the 'Once Upon a Time in China' series of films; it has a decent, if simply, story, plenty of laughs and a lot of brilliantly choreographed martial arts. The three main characters are back, although for some reason 'Aunt' Yee becomes 'Cousin' in the subtitles of the version I saw. There are also good new characters, notable Clubfoot (renamed Iron Foot), the villain Chiu Tin-bak and the Russian Tomanovsky. As said before there is lots of impressive martial arts action; some of this includes obvious wire-work but that didn't bother me; much of it also takes place while the characters are in their lion costumes which looks pretty cool. The romantic subplot provides a few decent laughs without distracting from the main plot. The acting is pretty solid throughout; most notably from Jet Li and Rosamund Kwan as Wong and Aunt Yee. Overall I really enjoyed this and suspect most fans of less brutal martial arts films will enjoy it too.

These comments are based on watching the film in Cantonese with English subtitles.

Grahame-2 3 February 1999

An extremely enjoyable and fun film. Xin Xin Xiong, Jet Lee and the other actors perform incredible martial arts stunts, including the obligatory fighting scenes with Lee looking startled at his weapon's rapid disintegration.

Overall, a reasonably good plot and a very interesting and fun film to watch.

bob the moo 26 June 2003

In order to demonstrate a show of strength to the foreigners, the Empress decrees a Lion King competition between the various martial arts schools. Wong Fei-hung returns home at this time to visit his father's school to find that the Tai-Ping school have set out to destroy the other schools before the competition itself. Fei-hung tries to bring peace between the schools but fails to stop the contest. Meanwhile Cousin suspects something more sinister going on around the contest.

I feel like I'm under pressure here to say this isn't as good as the previous two films, simply because that seems to be the consensus of opinion on among reviewers here and also conventional wisdom says that a series will lose quality as it goes along. I settled to watch this expecting to be a drop from parts I & II (both of which I enjoyed), however I must say I found it to be every bit as enjoyable as part II (which I considered a more enjoyable film than part I). I do, however, recognise that it has weaknesses over the other two films.

First off, the plot is significantly weaker and even needs a last minute conspiratorial shot in the arm to help up the drama and give the characters something extra to do. That said I still felt the film moved along well and wasn't too bothered by the lack of a real strong structure. The fights are free flowing and enjoyable (even if they have weak reasons for occurring sometimes). There is no one fight that really competes with the climax of part I but that doesn't mean they're bad. Certainly fans of Matrix and Crouching Tiger (who think this stuff is all a new invention!) will be impressed as indeed was I. The Lion King contest has been criticised for hiding the skills of the actors but I think it made for a different show of skill that did involve their martial arts skills and showed them in a big way. There are some scenes that are too clearly wire-work (although it is all wire work) but the majority of it flows very well.

The main reason this film worked well for me was the way that it kept the humour from part II. The gentle comic touches all through are laugh-out-loud funny and really binds the whole film together. I've always felt that part II's humour made it better than part I, and part III continues that well. The romance between Fei-hung and cousin is also played well for both laughs and romance.

The main reason the comedy works so well is the cast who all show a real skill for it. Mok's Yoon is the main reason for this and his little touches are great fun to watch. Jet Li also shows a real ability in comic acting that Hollywood has spectacularly failed to utilise (thus far). His interaction with the excellent Kwan brings a real spark to the film in the quieter scenes. His real skill of course is the martial arts and he is a real presence in every action scene. The addition of Iron Foot (Xiong) works well and he is a good character who is developed past the bad guy character he is first presented as.

Overall I can understand why many would feel that this is a lesser film but I must say that I find it hard to put a wedge between any of the first three in the series (I have only seen these thus far). However, I enjoyed the action and felt that the comic touches worked very well and made this a very enjoyable film that was very easy to watch. The plot may be weaker than the previous films but it has other strengths that are used well. I can't comment on the rest of the series but this film made parts I-III a

drngor 23 June 2001

In order to unite the people of China and strengthen their spirit, the Qing government decides to hold a lion dance competition to promote the study of kung fu. This only leads to violence and conflict. Wong Fei Hung, who is visiting Beijing, sees this and is disgusted by the way it's being handled. However, his efforts to get through to the government are futile. He finds himself having to join the competition when he discovers a plot by the Russians to assassinate President Li Hung Chang.

This was the first movie in the OUATIC series that I saw. I was actually quite disappointed when I first saw it. I thought the fighting lacked intensity and the end seemed anti-climatic. It's not that the choreography is bad. Jet looks fit and is in great fighting shape for the film. However, there are no good one-on-one battles for him. His duel with Xiong Xin Xin in the street is short and disappointing, as is the finale against the head of the oil factory. The lion dance scenes are cool.

The story on the other hand, is really good. It has just the right amount of romance, humor, and historical background to sustain itself between the fight scenes. This would be the last of the truly historically relevant entries of the series, as the following films were either over-the-top or would not even focus on historical matters.

Overall, this is good watching. This is not one of Jet's greatest performances fighting-wise. The story makes up for it. Oh, and let me add that Rosamund Kwan is cuter than ever in this movie.

megadoomer 10 March 2004

As far as the fighting is concerned, I thought that this one was a little unimpressive. It's pretty slow, overall. I'd really only recommend it to big fans of the first two. There are some good bits of humor and we see some actual romance between Wong Fei-Hung and Aunt 13, but I don't think that that sort of thing is the main reason we watch this sort of movie. And even if it were, there's just too little of it.

I really think that Jet Li's talents are wasted when you try to use goofy camera angles to make it look like he's doing superhuman feats. The man is practically superhuman already. I think you're better off showing off the amazing things that he can do rather than focusing on trying to make him look like a cartoon. I'm sure that his work in the movie was very demanding, but it just didn't come off as too impressive on the screen in my opinion.

And way too much lion dancing.

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