黃飛鴻之四王者之風
Once Upon a Time in China IV (1993)


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/01/2005

After winning the "Lion King" competition in part 3, Wong Fei-Hung (Zhao) is invited to participate in another competition. This time, the different foreign powers making a stake in China will be taking on Wong and his team -- which includes his sidekicks Fu (Mok) and Clubfoot (Hung) -- in a thinly veiled sort of "war game" designed to scare the Chinese into submission. While training for the competition, Wong runs afoul of the Red Lantern Sect, a vicious group of women who are determined to get the foreigners out of China at any cost. Wong's love life also takes a strange turn when Aunt Yee's sister, May (Wang) falls for him.

The first three OUATIC movies raised the bar for the modern "traditional" martial arts movie. Unfortunately, OUATIC4 falls short of its predecessors. Compared to the other films, the story is quite weak. In fact, it's more of a rehashing of elements in parts 2 and 3 than anything else. This might have been forgivable if the action sequences could compensate, but they don't. While Zhao Wen-Zhuo is good enough as Wong Fei-Hung, he's certainly no Jet Li (who left the series after a dispute with director/producer Tsui Hark). That may be an unfair comparision, but if you're changing stars in a series, you'd better make sure your new guy can do the job. OUATIC4 also just looks a lot poorer compared to its predecessors. Yuen Bun does an okay job of creating some good fight scenes, but they -- like the movie as a whole -- lack the polish of the previous films.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/18/2005
Summary: Too much covered in too little time, but very enjoyable non-the-less....

The fourth addition to the spectacular ‘Once Upon a Time in China’ series with Zhao Wen-Zhou replacing ‘Jet Li’ as Wong Fei Hung. This time Wong Fei Hung, Leung Fu (Max Mok Sui-Chung), Club foot (Xiong Xin-Xin) and Wong Fei Hung’s Father Wong Kei-Ying (Lau Shun, as in ‘Once Upon a Time in China 3’) get tangled in with all sorts of minor factions that are trying to take advantage of china’s domestic disputes. Among them include the ‘Red Lantern Society’, which consist of an all-women gang that uses rope-type weapons and ether-containing lanterns to sedate their foes. During a festive parade, which is hosted by the ‘Red Lantern Society’, they attack a German church, which leads to the death of several innocent foreign bystanders. But lucky Wong Fei Hung jumps in, on queue, and stops the ‘Red Lantern Society’ before things get out of hand. Another faction includes the notorious German’s hell-bent on taking over China. Helping the Germans are two men supporting the German army, also seeking to destroy the reigning Chinese dynasty, played by Billy Chow Bei-Lei (From other roles in ‘Tai Chi 2’) and Chin Kar-Lok (from other roles in ‘Swordsman 2’ and ‘Full Alert’).

Also Aunt May (played by ‘Jean Wong’, from other memorable roles in ‘Iron Monkey’ and ‘Swordsman 3: East is Red’) replaces Aunt Yee (Rosamund Kwan) as the new love interest of Wong Fei Hung, although there is very little evidence to prove this during the course of the film. Eventually, the Wong family is invited to compete in a Lion contest, China V’s Foreigners (ie. Japan, Germany, USA, France, UK and so on….), where we witness another grand assembly of Lion Heads (as in Once Upon a Time in China 3). But this time the foreigners use different much improved versions, including Flying Eagle Model, Centipede Model, Dragon and other assorted creatures. The last fight is too long and assertive, with Wong Fei Hung and his team of no-goods eventually ditching the Lion Heads and using their martial arts to overcome the imperialist enemies. There is little, if any, to explain the motive for the foreigners challenge to the Chinese in a Lion Dance Contest and eventually things escalade when the German’s break into the Forbidden City of China, with the obvious Wong Fei Hung going after the German General to stop his dictatorship once and for all. Little emphasis is also given on the 2 men, joining with the Germans, and their reason for doing so.

Tsui Hark takes a smaller role, as the producer for this movie and lets Yuen Bun take the role of the director. Yuen Bun has also action choreographed / directed other previous movies like ‘Swordsman 2’, ‘Dragon Inn’ and ‘Green Snake’, which explains the excellent action-choreography displayed in this film. The only disappointment is that, Tsui Hark and Yuen Bun tried to cover far too much in one movie, and so very less went into character development and storyline structure. The whole ambiance of period, where the film was set in, was spectacular and very little needed to be done to improve it. As Wong Fei Hung, Zhao Wen Zhou, substitute’s grace and wisdom for Jet Li’s Power and sometimes insecurity. Thanks to the standard Kung-Fu Choreography and martial arts lion dancing, Once Upon a Time in China 4, is practically non-stop action.

Overall there is very little that could have been done to improve this movie in terms of action and acting. But in regards to length of the movie, it clocks in at just under 120 minutes, but should really have been divided into two movies, since too much was covered in too little time. On the plus side, there are more positive points about this movie than there are negative, so all in all the movie is very entertaining and worthwhile watching.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10


Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 01/25/2002
Summary: Exciting

This follow-up in the OUATIC series starring Zhao Wen Zhou is very much connected with the 3rd installment. Unfortunately, I don't think that should have been the case because Jet Li starred in the last one, and a direct transition to another lead actor should have involved a somewhat different approach in some elements. The plot has Wong Fei Hung's father receiving congrats from friends and gov officials for Fei Hung's winning the Golden Lion Medal at the end of part 3. Then from there the plot gets rather complex and promising, and lion dancing looks like the main theme. However, Zhao Wen Zhou was not yet prepared to take on the lead of such a legendary hero previously played by Jet Li. Nevertheless, Zheo tries his best and succeeds for the most part, making this my second favorite installment in the series.

The 2 Chinese villains in this film (one plays fencing-sword and the other a powerhouse played by Billy Chow) are ultra cool. One look at them and you'll want to see them duel with Wong Fei Hung. However, the grand duel was not satisfactory, which leads to the only thing I will complain about the movie - the average fight scenes. They're not mediocore, but they certainly are the laziest in the series. Zhao Wen Zhou obviously relies on wire way too much (wire was not extensively used, but Zhao never offers solid action like Jet Li does). In addition, the fight scenes are mostly extremely brief or contain excessive much slow motion. In fact, more than 50% of the fight scenes are presented in the unconvincing slow motion. Other than that and the underused music, the plot is complex and profound - like the original OUATIC; humor and the sentimental moments are welcome. And if you like to get a little emotional, this is really good stuff. One issue it brings up is the question of redemption (I just read several stories by Flannery O'Connor, so now is a good time to get into the subject). Is there really good outcome for good deeds? Not according to what happened to the senior maiden of the Female Boxers Cult, who was massacred after attempting to save Aunt 14 and the Germans. Her death was truly tragic, and it was great to see Zhao Wen Zhou kick some serious butt at that time. Also, it's great to see bad guys VS bad guys. The end sets the passage to part 5, which is equally as good. This movie is one of my favorites, but it doesn't feel like a Wong Fei Hung movie, and I'm not sure why.

[9/10]


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/17/2002
Summary: Getting a bit much

After the rather disapointing part 3, it was descided to make another OUATIC movie, this time Wong Fei Hung being played by Vincent Zhao. The main point I would like to make, is that although I do not like this much, it is nothing to do with the character change, because Vincent Zhao plays the character very well, maybe even slightly better than Jet Li did. Still, it gets very boring, and with still another 2 movies after this, it all came too much.

Worth watching, but certainly nothing special.

Rating: 2/5

(This rating is based on the year of release & genre; not compared to other movies made before or after the year.)


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/29/2001
Summary: ummm.....

I can't remember much about this movie but i do know that NONE of the OUAT series was BAD!! I remember watching this and thinking the villians seem less and less powerful!! Anyway i remember it was pretty good and worth watching but i can't give this a rating since i can't remember it that well!!


Reviewed by: tcooc
Date: 12/15/2000
Summary: Nobody can play 'Wong Fei Hung' , but Jet Li.

Sorry, but no one can play 'Wong Fei Hung' as good as the master Jet Li. I have to say that Jackie Chan's profromance in Drunken Master II as young 'Wong Fei Hung' was excellent but that totally different.
By the way should Jet's surname be 'LE' and not 'LI'.

S**T FILM


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The weakest of this particular string of movies, which is a shame considering it has the same Wong Fei Hong as my favorite (so far) in the series, Once Upon A Time in China V. This one, like part III, features some pretty ridiculous lion dance sequences, except this time, instead of having about 500 different lions, it has a team of about 10 lions going up against a giant crab, dragon, flying thing, centipede, all sorts of crazy looking things. If that's not enough, once they get to the prize, if they step wrong, a gun starts shooting in their direction. Pretty silly stuff, and the actual fight scenes are not too inspired.

(7/10)



[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]


Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Fitted with a satisfactory Jet Li substitute (Zhao Wen Zhou),this Wong Fey-Kong martial arts drama has Brits and Germans vying for control over China amidst domestic strife. Serious and emotionally complex; also not as much fun as earlier installments.

(3/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7