(Side note: watch one of my favorites: Dances with Wolves and tell me what you with Michael)
But I guess I was inspired by this to actually sit through the entirety (I already used some fast forwarding) of 55 Days at Peking
Start after the long as credits that were popular at that time.
I couldn't help but feel that Once Upon a Time in China's opening was a direct response to 55 Days at Peking's opening. (It's a good opening!)
(Start at 8:30 which is technically after the opening theme and credits)
In fact much of the 90's Hong Kong films feature a Hong Kong Savior, especially Jackie Chan's movies. This changed in the 2000's though. Where as in the 90's a lot of the movies were saying, "Chinese Men can be international heroes JUST like white men. And also you white guys did some real bad stuff."
Like the terrorists in "Fight Back To School" that Stephen Chow is saving Hong Kong from are American White guys. I love it.
Also to talk more about the two openings... they are sort of saying the same thing, that China had it's thing going on and the foreigners are there messing it up. So far 55 Days at Peking, in spite of White washing, is more Pro China than you would think. And although Once Upon a Time in China seeks to be more pro China.... by part 2 you really see that the directors are part of the environment where they were raised... where modernization equals Christianization... though not necessarily throwing away the traditions.... but in fact China in real life, has managed to surpass the expectations that 90's Hong Kong folks thought were possible.
But in the 2000's China became so powerful that the movies started just not to give a crap about White People in general. They aren't even worth mentioning...
And then I guess China is so comfortable in their power that a Chinese Director would cast Matt Damon in "The Great Wall" Which Michael Tow watched and critiqued and decided was not AS white savior-ish necessarily. My friends (who are Chinese) also did a review that said much the same thing. It was more of just a regular movie. Though the difference in the posters in HK and US were interesting. And Andy Lau's character was not as prominent as the HK movie poster led you to believe.
Whether "The Great Wall" is a white savior movie or not. I think the fact that the director was Chinese says this. China is so freaking powerful that they would produce and not BAN such a movie. It is more Asians in America that would feel that burn of "not again."
Have we gone backward? There was a lot more activist like TV in the 90's that celebrated culture and diversity.