The director of Revenge: A Love Story is making a martial arts film!
Set in the 1920s, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai follows a labourer, who moves to Shanghai in the hope of becoming rich. But ends up using his kung fu skills to survive.
Director Wong Ching-po has established himself as a stunning visual stylist, obsessed with aesthetic & meaningful framing. Today in Hong Kong, he’s clearly one of the very few filmmakers to offer cinematic experiences. But, looking at his recent films, it’s also clear that he tends to neglect the narrative. The recipe is simple: basic revenge plots + beautiful shots.
It’s pretty interesting to see Wong Ching-po working on a Kung fu film, especially after Let’s Go!, which he directed in 2011. It’s an action film filled with nostalgia for the 70s/80s Japanese anime series (based on the director’s childhood memories?).
And based on this teaser, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai seems to be the logical move for the director. A film with references/paying homage to Shaw Brothers productions – the video looks like an old school opening credits, with actors demonstrating their Kung Fu abilities – allowing Wong Ching-po to create cinematic action scenes (with Yuen Woo-ping as the choreographer).
It’s too early to know, but let’s hope the filmmaker will manage to make it fun, and less self-obsessed with slow-mo/beautiful visuals (trying to mimic Snyder’s 300 or WKW’s The Grandmasters?).