Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon, 2008
dir: Daniel Lee
I was really not expecting much from this movie. Not another costume period movie, not after watching AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS. But what the hell, since I watch many crap movies anyways and there is nothing much in the cinemas to watch then. So with rather low expactations, a packet of soya bean milk and a pack of nuts sneaked in, I sat down while the lights dimmed.
Actually, one key reason why I wanted to watch this movie is the focus on Zhao Zilong. Stories from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of the greatest literary classics written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, always focussed on the key characters such as Liu Bei, Cao Cao, Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei. But this movie tells the story of Zhao Zilong whose character is much less well explored compared to the others.
What struck me when the movie started was the soundtrack. The combination of modern orchestration with the solo Pei Pa is most fascinating. It is like heaven and hell compared to the Leon Lai-Kelly Chen MTV in AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS (by now, you would have figured that I hated that movie).
Andy Lau’s acting skill is on the rise as well and he managed to steer clear of the “Wah Di” look. Maggie Q is a stunner and exceeded my expectations too. She is very charismatic, very beautiful to look at and at the same time, just by looking at her will inspire fear. Ti Lung is superb as ever as Guan Yu, just that the image of him being Justice Pao keep recurring in my mind. That said, I thought Samo Hung’s effort to be rather below par and given the power of his role, as big brother to Zhao Zilong and the person that seals his fate, that character can be played more powerfully. Also, the one big spoiler is Vanesse Wu. Why the hell is that boy band in this movie? Completely spoils it.
Anyways, this movie is a fairly good tale of Zhao Zilong, and I appreciated this point of view, although it will help to further paint Zhao Zilong’s inner world and how he rose to greatness which was merely hinted at in the movie as it was rushed through (the movie plays at around 100 minutes). This little story, despite some fictional characters invented by the director (e.g. Samo Hung’s and Maggie Q’s character), will be a nice little piece in anticipation of John Woo’s THE BATTLE OF RED CLIFF. Ah, what a treat for us Romance of the Three Kingdom fans eh?