ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA
WONG FEI HUNG
1991, Golden Harvest, 134 min, Hong Kong, Dir: Tsui Hark

In Tsui Hark’s epic re-imagining of a classical Chinese folk hero, Jet li portrays Wong Fei-hung, a 19th century herbal medicine doctor who also moonlights as the leader of his local militia, training them in traditional martial arts. When the militia protects their village from a brutal gang, Wong gets wrongly blamed for causing the fight. Politics, revolution, and romance all combine across elaborately choreographed fights in a restaurant, at the opera-house, and on a boat to kick off one of the most successful martial arts franchises of all time.