Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|THREE KINGDOMS |
Import only Blu-Ray Region A pressing. Regarded as one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, the 14th century semi-fictional historical novel was written by Luo Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms,... more »
Disappointingly cookie-cutter, but a good attempt with nice
afz81 | 01/18/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"For those unfamiliar, 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' is one of the four pillars of Chinese literature. It's a massive and rich piece of work spanning over a hundred years of turbulent history, and making a single movie out of it is no easy task.
The directors of Resurrection of the Dragon choose to center the story around one of the greatest generals of the day: Zhao Yun "Zilong". Unfortunately, they botch his background, don't bother telling his actual story, and decide to fit everything in a measly 100 minutes. A note here: you may want to check out Red Cliff , which is another Three Kingdoms movie but actually has a sense of scope.
What 'Dragon' does is rush at breakneck pace through a couple (well, one, really) of the important military accomplishments in Zilong's career, before spinning headfirst into pure fantasy and making an embarrassingly half-hearted attempt at being "deep". Ouch! This is a richer and more complex legend than to have to rely on hackneyed Hollywood formulas.
Exhibit A: Cao Ying. I'm positively baffled that with as many well-known heroes and villains as 'Romance' provides, the scriptwriters felt a need to create one of their own. Ying is the daughter of the enemy king Cao Cao, who looks like a delicate princess but packs a lethal punch. (What a novel character concept?...) Additionally, I can not accept that a cheaply fabricated character such as Ying manages to outsmart Zhuge Liang, the most brilliant military strategist of his time, as easily as she does. A cookie-cutter role with no depth and ridiculous powers? You've got to make the villains compelling!
Exhibit B: the pudgy Luo Pingan, the story's narrator. A foot soldier who gets to know Zilong from the start of his career who plays a big role in the beginning, drops out completely, and makes a big comeback at the end, with a suddenly acquired complexity because he's bitter for not having achieved success through all these years. Sorry - it doesn't work. Tip to the directors: no shortcuts. You cannot just write in a scene where a character cries and decide, "well, that's really deep right there."
The end result is a movie that has zero depth to it. None of the great personas around Zilong - Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Cao Cao - are given more than a passing introduction. Sure, Zilong is great, but the story is not without a compelling surrounding cast.
I don't understand. The directors have some really knock-out material to work with, but choose to ignore it. Zhao Yun was but one player in a centuries-long saga that started before him and ended (much) after him. The directors need to realize it's OK to accept that they can't tell the whole story in one movie. But they insist on trying. You can chronicle an entire history, or you can paint a single picture in beautiful detail, but you can't do both.
I will give credit where credit is due: visually, it's stunning. I'll even forgive them for deciding to use World War 1-era helmets for AD200. The cinematography is excellent, and the combat scenes are definitely well done.
Unfortunately, a real telling of Zilong's remarkable legend needed to be 3 solid hours of epic story-weaving. Instead, what we have is a poorly scraped-together highlight reel that tries more to send a message ("war is harsh") than portray this legendary man. But hey, neat swordplay."
Bad DVD Quality - Looks like pirating from Theater
Y. Ho | Budd Lake, NJ United States | 09/06/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered this DVD from Amazon. Paid over $20 more dollar. The quality of the DVD BOX and DVD Disk print are blurt that it actually looks like pirate DVD. When I look at the DVD movie, there are frame that has some strange object on the screen. It made me think that this DVD was duplicated by filming the movie in the theater."
3 ½ Stars: Entertaining and Beautifully Shot, A Little Cold
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 01/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Review of the Uncut HK version.
Amid the beloved historical epic tales of the "Battle or Romance of the Three Kingdoms", arose three movies in 2008. The very mediocre "Empress and the Warriors" with Donnie Yen, and late last year came the first chapter of John Woo's "Red Cliff". Daniel Lee's (Dragon Squad) "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon" was released a few months earlier in Asia than Woo's star-studded film (which I will review later), and has Hong Kong's Andy Lau (Running on Karma) in the lead as the famous General Zhao Zhilong--yes the same guy in the video game named Zhao Yun in "Dynasty Warriors". The film has massive commercial appeal, and the film is beautifully shot. However, purists of the tales of the Three Kingdoms will be annoyed and repulsed, as the film does feel a little empty in regards to an intricate storyline and full of historical inaccuracies. (Hint: John Woo's overly exaggerated film about the three kingdoms isn't much better)
228 A.D, before the rise of the Jin Dynasty. The kingdoms of Shu, Wei and Wu are divided. Zhilong (Andy Lau) is a simple soldier from Changsan who becomes a legendary warrior under the employ of Liu (Yueh Huah) who rises from the ranks of the Shu forces to become one of the "Five Tiger Generals". Zhilong becomes famous for his many campaigns against Cao and the last surviving general of the "Five Tigers". Now, after many years of war, Zhilong is set to make his last stand against Cho's granddaughter--who has become a beautiful, cold and stoic warrior woman; Cao Ling (Maggie Q, Live Free and Die Hard).
The film is narrated by Pingan (Sammo Hung), Zhilong's oldest friend who joined the Liu army with him many years ago. The film is supposed to cover thirty years, Zhilong was a simple soldier who ascends to become a simple general and so the film feels a little too short. There are a lot of plot holes and several important parts missing, but then as a tale being narrated by Pingan who remained a simple soldier in the ranks, I can accept its shortcomings. Pingan never became a part of Zhilong's military unit until his final campaign. The viewer is privy to Zhilong's achievements through the musings of humble Pingan and it is rather hard for Sammo Hung to carry this burden, and purists will undoubtedly become disconnected. Zhilong is a renowned general in the Shu kingdom, he may be remembered as the "Spartan" of the Liu army--truly legendary and whose name struck fear in the hearts of his enemies.
Thankfully, Andy Lau does turn in a great performance and I am happy to say he isn't miscast. This may well be his best performance since his role in "The Warlords" with Jet Li. The plot may be a little too simple and doesn't reach Zhilong's epic grandeur, but Lau does the best of what he's got; Lau is playing a larger-than-life character and despite the simple plot, he manages to project the character competently. Maggie Q. is alluring as Cao Ling, and despite her limited screen time, she was exciting and enchanting to watch. The rest of the supporting cast isn't so bad, but we all have to remember that this is a film with Zhilong as its central focus.
Aside from the Pingan narrations, the real problems begin when the film has some "add-on" characters played by two lesser known performers in the persona of Vanness Wu, and Andy On; they seem to be mere attempts to give the young stars some exposure. (Maggie Q. is just so hot, I don`t mind her at all) A lot of folks would be interested to see this film because of truly iconic characters played by accomplished actors such as Sammo Hung, Yueh Hua, Ti Lung, Chen Zhihui; but sadly the film does nothing with them. Zhilong may be the center of the film but all others, disappear after the first half. This film definitely needed to be longer and the significance of the other four "Tiger Generals" to Zhilong a little more fleshed out.
The action sequences have the usual style of Chinese epics and reminiscent of other films of this kind. The choreography by Yuen Tak is fairly good, although it looked too flashy for my tastes. (as with Woo's "Red Cliff') The shots are cool and well-choreographed, a blend of the usual wire-fu, wild slow-mo and blood and some gore. Highlights include Zhilong rescuing Liu's son, (which was fairly exciting) and the fight between Cao Ling and Zhilong were very cool to watch. The fights provide great eye candy, but that's all they were; pure eye candy. The film does have a lot of action, it feels more like an action drama and abandons the contemplative nature of the horrors of war.(although it does touch on this idea a little in the final act) Writer/director Daniel Lee does an average job in mixing in emotions and action, but it felt that it reduced its visceral effect. The film has colorful, elaborate costumes and some beautiful cinematography that it will no doubt attract mainstream audiences.
"Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon" isn't a bad film, and I rather thought that this may be Daniel Lee's best work. It is a lot better than the abysmal "Empress and the Warriors" and I've seen John Woo's "Red Cliff" and believe me, Woo's first take on the "Three Kingdoms" period was better but only by a tad. The lore and legend of the Three Kingdoms isn't fully fleshed out, and the film does resort to flashy camera tricks and choreographed action sequences. While this may not be exactly be a bad thing, and will no doubt give the non-meticulous viewer a good diversion, purists of its historical significance will be very disappointed since it isn`t as intricately compelling as I wished it to be. The film never does delve into wartime strategy that much and falls to the usual epic trappings of honor, betrayal and fate. This film has massive commercial appeal but quite respectable in its quality. "Three Kingdoms" is indeed an entertaining experience, but not outstanding and manages to exude coolness throughout--but isn't war supposed to be "un-cool"?
Another one for the overindulgent International audience for beautiful Chinese epics.
Recommended! [3 ½ Stars]
Too far away from facts + The acting and directing are not e
Cestmoi | 06/10/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There are two things I don't like about this movie.
1. There are many major details that are not true to history. Fitstly, Zi Long or Zhao Yun did not die in the battle. He died of old age (1). Secondly, at the battle of Chanban, Liu Bei's wife, Lady Gan was not killed. She's rescued by Zhao Yun. Thirdly, Zhao Yun never fought with Cao Cao's niece according to history!
You can verify all the details by visiting wikipedia dot org. Sorry, I can't embed the link here. It seems Amazon is blocking that feature. If you find any other reliable website talking about the 3 kingdoms period in China, please put that information here. I'd appreciate that.
2. The acting and directing are not engaging as in other movies of the same genes such as the Warlords. The fighting scenes are so so but they're not good as the ones in the Warlords either.