His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army ... See full summary »
It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval. It is based on "The Assassination of Ma," a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) story about ... See full summary »
In this sequel to Red Cliff, first minister Cao Cao convinces Emperor Han to initiate a battle against the two Kingdoms of Xu and Wu, who have become allied forces, against all expectations... See full summary »
Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
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His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army charged with liberating the land from an evil warlord. Inspiring by action, honor and a dream of unifying his divided nation, Zhao's heroism becomes legend, but as the years pass and the throne changes hands the war still rages on. When a newly enthroned king decides peace can only be achieved by defeating the warlords once and for all, the aging Zhao embarks on his final and greatest campaign, a road to adventure that will crown his name in glory for all time. Written by
Based on the classical "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms" Daniel Lee ventures back to one of the most important eras of Chinese history - the time of the titular Three Kingdoms, of ever-lasting conflict and battles, which formed many a legend. Here focus is directed to the famed and glorified general Zhao Zilong (an ever-pleasing Andy Lau), a supposedly undefeated warrior, who brought glory to the the kingdom of Liu Bei. Backed by the military genius of Zhuge Liang (Cunxin Pu) and the remaining Five Tiger Generals, the heroes bathed in glory.
Opulent, radiant the settings, scenery, cinematography, lighting and general art direction borders on perfection with each shot nurtured and tended too is this lavish epic. With appropriate heroic pathos to accompany the story-telling Zhao Zilong is presented as a chaste and immaculate warrior, as if almost striving towards a Buddhist transcendence. Unrivalled in battle, loved by all men and glorified even by contemporaries, Zhao shines even when riding out by himself against an entire army. Naturally such a directorial choice can't be criticised, similarly as chanson de geste type poems are what they are: glorified monuments of heroic deeds, unabashedly singing praise to the main protagonist. In a take it or leave it deal, Zhao Zilong is a hero, unfailing and relentless in pursuit of unification of the kingdoms, even in tragedy a man suit for tall tales of glory.
However "Three Kingdoms" falters due to one rather overbearing glitch: lack of middle story. The depiction of Zhao Zilong's life basically limits itself to an extravagant presentation of two moments of his story: the beginning and the end of his legend. Unfortunately Daniel Lee fails to even trouble himself with building any back-story to the character (who was he? where did he come from? what motivated him?) or worse yet fails to build any backbone to Zilong, instead fast-forwarding us from his initial feat of bravery as a young man, straight into the time of him being an elderly general, the sole remaining of the Five Tiger Generals, right before what was to be his final battle.
The whole context of in between is forfeited, thus never even truly affording the audience an understanding as to the prominence of his battle achievements or allowing him to build an emotional connection with viewers. Such a thinly presented story is however aptly summarised in the fading line of the movie itself "How many things before and after fade into gossip and laughter."
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