Once Upon a Time in China (Movie)
With Chinese folk hero of Cantonese ethnicity, Wong Fei-hung, as the main character, the films deal with the positive and negative effects of Western imperialism in China during the late Qing Dynasty. The second film features as a supporting character Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary leader and founding father of the Chinese republic. Unlike the majority of Hong Kong action films, the Once Upon a Time in China series is clearly politicised. However, even with its clear showcase of Chinese nationalism, it also displays the inevitable nature of accepting western cultures, and the progression of China into the “modern” century. This theme is repeated through various actions of the characters, but prominently displayed through the character Master Yim in the first movie. He is a Kung-Fu master, but the likes of him are dwindling and barely making a livelihood. Once, he boasts that his Kung-Fu can even withstand bullets. In irony, he is killed by the onslaught of bullets fired by American soldiers. In his last words, he tells Wong Fei-Hung, “Martial arts cannot win against guns…” His character represents the dying of old traditions, and the begrudging abandonment of hand-to-hand combat.