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Three kingdoms is a great Chinese masterpiece that is set in the era of
the three kingdoms that ruled china. The cao, wu and liu dynasties were
trying to unite china each under their own leadership and in a result
it produces wars between the three houses for decades. The story in
this movie is told from the Liu's point of view and my god what a story
I don't know really why people are not giving this high ratings, it should be on the IMDb top 100. I guess most people that watch Chinese movies are in it because of the martial arts and people flying prospective. If you are looking for something like that then go watch house of the flying daggers or The Forbidden Kingdom because this movie is not about massive FX's and stunts. It simply tells a story with some battles shoved in. The movie is quite emotional and the acting was superb. As for the directing it truly is brilliant, the battles were directed with passion and ingeniousness with great sound effects and slowmo shots that makes it even more desirable to watch over and over again.
This is one movie that shouldn't be missed by Chinese history/mythology fans. Its a 10/10 and I don't care what other people might think, its just a masterpiece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sad to say, I've only read the epic Romance of the Three Kingdom novels
once in my lifetime to date, and an abridged English version at that.
My only other contacts with this classic Chinese literature is with the
China television series that I had to struggle with because the initial
episodes came without English subtitles (i.e. akin to watching a
Shakespearean play for the very first time and marvelling at the
richness in language used), and of course, the Koei computer game that
so many peers of my generation would have played at one time or
And of course, one of my favourite general characters, was Zhao Zilong. Outside of the Liu- Bei-Guan-Yu-Zhang-Fei brotherhood together with their unsurpassed military strategist Zhuge Liang at their side, Zhao Yun had qualities like valour which I thought was exemplary, and an episode, though taken on a whole new spin in presentation where he goes rescue the infant son of Liu Bei, to demonstrate that, gets its fair share of airtime in this movie. As I mentioned in an earlier review of An Empress and The Warriors, we're getting plenty of such period war movies coming out in recent months, culminating perhaps with John Woo's highly anticipated Red Cliff, but amongst the recent releases, Three Kingdoms draws first blood.
But I suspect that Red Cliff will probably blow all competition out of the water going by the trailer, though the final product remains to be proved this Summer. Three Kingdoms rode on its star power to carry its relatively bland storyline forward, with Andy Lau as Zilong, Maggie Q as nemesis Cao Ying (who's male in the novel), Sammo Hung as newly created character/narrator Luo Pingan, and a whole host of supporting acts in Vanness Wu, Andy On, and even Ti Lung in a surprisingly nicely presented Guan Yu. You cannot fault the designs of the sets, the costumes (though of course some would complain it looks so Japanese), and I thought the weapons were eye-poppingly beautiful and intricately designed - you just have to take a look at Guan Yu's Green Dragon Crescent Blade!
It's impossible to try and distill the entire classics into a 3-hour long movie, or even a trilogy would do its richness injustice, let alone a 2 hour one. While the runtime for John Woo's movies (in two parts?) is still not finalized, at least his focus is on one key, primary battle. Resurrection of the Dragon's focus is on one man - Zhao Zilong, and in doing so, fairly summarized his tale from beginning to end, with plenty of artistic and dramatic license taken of course, where purist will probably have a field day discussing all the inaccuracies and departure from the source material. However in doing this, we do get to see familiar characters sharing the stage, albeit some given very little screen time.
And I don't think it's me who's feeling quite jaded from the clanging of weapons against armour. Here the one on one action scenes between characters are wonderfully choreographed by Sammo Hung himself, but the quick cuts, close ups, tight shots and dizzying camera work marred it all. The battle sequences were worse, with fake blood splattered all over, and the usual hacking of limbs and demonstration of superhuman strength by its chief characters. It did offer some simple philosophical gems to ponder over in between all the chaotic fighting, but really the feeling you get out of the battle sequences, was that it was like a distant cousin to 300 styled choreography.
Don't expect any depth injected in most characters here too, as you can smell the plot revelation a mile away from the get go. I thought Maggie Q was wasted with a flower vase role that took less than 20 minutes of screen time just to snarl nastily, while Sammo Hung really relegated himself to the backseat choreographing the action. Andy Lau, a real life hero, was probably the top draw here in putting bums in seats, but even he can't save the story from having to insert a needless hint at unattainable romance because of Zilong's sense of duty and obligation to serve his country, putting it first before (the starting of) family.
On the whole, it's aesthetically beautiful but ringing really hollow. Let's hope John Woo's Red Cliff, with the return of some of our beloved characters from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, does some justice in its film adaptation of a key battle, even if we have to contend with flying doves and slow-motion handling and twirling of swords. Keep your fingers crossed!
Andy Lau stars as a general who started as a foot soldier and worked
his way up through the ranks after several acts of heroism.Thirty years
on he's forced to fight one last battle against the daughter of an old
Apparently based on the same source material (The Romance of the Three Kingdoms) that John Woo is using for his 5 hour Red Cliffs (due for release later this year) Here the "epic" story is reduced to around 100 minutes of marching armies and battles. Any sense of plot is cast aside for the fighting and deep pronouncements. To be fair the DVD I watched had barely coherent subtitles, but at the same time they were coherent enough to know that they really didn't have a great deal to translate. The plot lurches from thing to thing with very little explanation- or rather only explanation to carry the emotion. We're told things rather than shown things. The performances of Lau and Sammo Hung provide a great deal of emotion that isn't in the script. The bond between the two men and the emotion that they impart are the reason you watch the film, not for anything else...
...okay maybe the action. As a film of epic action scenes its quite good. its not great but it is is good in a retro old school style. Its pretty pictures of armies fighting and it is entertaining, if rarely engaging (something the films scant dialog and character building prevents from ever happening). Never mind that coming as it does on the heels of the Jet Li masterpiece Warlords the film has a great deal to live up to since that earlier film had real characters and real action, two things this film never manages to achieve. Add to the mix the over use of slow motion and the film really isn't worth the trouble.
Actually its worth looking at if you want to see the fighting and a couple of good performances.
It seems as though it is only a half finished project. A first time
joint venture- a major motion picture project put together by the
Chinese and the Korean production teams, the Chinese took part in
pre-production; from writing up the screen play to directing (a Chinese
guy who made Jet Li's "Black Mask), acting & filming while the Korean
team took care of most of the post production (& funding), the CGI, and
With almost unlimited amount of funding and the pool of world-class production talents in Asia, I cannot help but wonder how an opportunity like this could have gone this wrong. The famous Chinese classic- the three kingdoms - is an epic war story that one could not find its proper match in its scale in any part of the world. The movie deserved more than only a 90 min. duration. Why Why Why did the director and its team decide to cut out anything that resembled a real drama? Who knows. Jhon Woo wanted to give the project a proper attention, so in his upcoming three kingdoms project,'the red cliff' he is devoting 4 hours to tell the story.
The action sequences, camera works, set designs, costumes, and props, and even the score, you name it, they were all top notch. But Why? Why no Drama? Why could't the director decide to use another 30 more minutes to supplement the sheer absence of story-telling and the sufficient characterization of each of the major characters ? It would only have made the film 120 minutes, which is still within the main stream block buster length range. Besides I bet that anyone who came to see the movie must have expected something more of a... "brave heart" type of epic story and heart wrenching human drama and understood appreciatively even if the movie went more than 2 hours.
What a waste...indeed !!! I am a big fan of Three kingdoms and Any Lau, so i will always love any project that has anything to do with those 2 elements, but this one.... oh... a surprisingly disappointing project, indeed. I gave it a 5 out of ten, because as I mentioned, the picture is only a half-finished and at least that half was pretty good.
Well, This is the first time that I came here. Actually, it is because
of this movie made me come here! Because he is a Korean Director, I can
bear and forgive his unknowns about the real and reasonable history of
Three Kingdoms of Ancient China. But there is something I can't bear,
and I am sure nobody had known Ancient China can bear.
The costumes(or Amor), I am sure they are all Japannese Style! I am not want to cause any racism arguments, but it is Chinese History, what's hell you give the worries Japannese Amors? Can I shoot a movie about Civil War of US but give them Ancient European Amors? And also there are many many unreasonable details about the story. Our Forums have discussed how bad and how stupid about this story~~~~Well, I know most of u guys can't understand what I am saying. Overall, it is not a good story, but it may be a good WAR FILM which made people excited.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think this movie is about heroes that doesn't get a step back from no enemy. It has his moments where like a metaphor try to show that a courage of one man can make much more to bow to him and be defeated. Zilong is a true hero a idealistic soldier who fight for peace, his village, his lord and a dream of a family in a safe world. Andy Lau does a very good role here in the first part is young and fearless and doesn't seem so wise but when he look much older after 32 years he is just great a general who is like a rock unmovable, undefeated and named The Invicible General.I really like the epic moments when he is facing a army alone and he is going to freely give his life on the battlefield. Samo Hung as Luo Ping-An he plays also good giving life to a character who is invisible to the others and not a hero like Zilong wanting to be much more then the destiny has in mind for him. And not the last Maggie Q is a strong feminine touch to the movie being a great strategist and a good warrior. The overall of the movie is don't miss it if u like war movies with heroes that doesn't fear death you will not be disappointed. The only drawback of the movie is the time much to less to present a truly epic feeling. He doesn't give enough time to all of the characters in the movie with much more potential. If it had like 160 minutes to show you each character as a great personality who fights for honor and strives to reach their goals it will really be a great movie.
Another Chinese epic film filled with heroes, enormous battle scenes,
amazing panoramas and some great actors. Sounds cool and like a sure
winner yet its an enormous waste of money and talent.
The battle scenes are a big disappointment. It would be fine if the writers/director/producers created a film that was small on battle scenes big on character development, plot development and dialog. Yet, the battle scenes are the majority of the film and there is no character development, very limited plot development and the dialog is boring and thankfully there's not much of it.
The battle scenes are filled with short cuts which are extremely hard to follow. One cut will have mounted units charging from left to right on the screen and then the next cut will show mounted units charging from right to left. Logically the viewer is led to believe that there are two opposing mounted units charging each other. A few cuts later it becomes apparent that all the mounted units are on the same side and chasing one guy.
The film spends 30-45 minutes on two battle sequences featuring a young Zilong, then 5-7 minutes on an elaborate ceremony featuring a middle aged Zilong and the rest of the film time is spent on the old Zilong.
The cinematography is typical of recent Chinese epics overly beautiful (death never looked so pretty) and big on ceremony. The problem is that it was chopped up like almond-fried chicken. The cinematography could have been the saving grace of this film however it was edited by someone on crack. The result is that it is beautifully confusing.
If you are looking for another great or at least entertaining Chinese epic film look elsewhere. There really is no reason to watch this film unless you are curious to the point of being masochistic as I often am.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As usual, Chinese war movie is good. The action and the fighting of
this movie is good. The dialog is also cool and the acting is awesome.
You'll be easily satisfied by watching the action without thinking the
But there is something that makes feel that this movie is not outstanding. It is the duration. Vaness Wu, the second Liu Dynasty King and some others play too short. You can even skip them and not losing the story line. The girl is also play too short. I might think that she is only a refreshing 'image' due to the dominating men scene.
The ending is quite disappointing. The ending is that the dynasty was reunited by Jin Dynasty. The question is, who the hell is Jin? There are no dialog about it. Must we read the history book first to get the point? I'm sure that 90 minutes are too short for this movie. Additional important scenes are truly needed to make this movie as a depth movie, not just a cool bloody kick-ass.
Overall, it's a worth-enough movie to be watched. Not bad compared to Andy Lau previous Warlord and a good addition to colossal war movie, especially when that kind of movie is rare recently.
To be brief, this movie was a disappointment.
The reasons are simple - it lacks any characterization, the whole story feels like a synopsis, not a full story. Scenes and images flashed by as if we are scanning (selected) pages of a novel, with no real details given.
I thought Andy Lau was good for the role and I didn't even mind Maggie Q's role; the samurai-like armor; the Wei forces' helmets resembling Stahlhelms (Nazi helmets) and the Shu's are like British soldiers being so obvious. These are cosmetic and artistic choices and didn't pose as a serious distraction. (The brief appearances of some other main ROTK characters were done just right and did provide a nice glimpse into what might have been part of a more romantic epic.) But still, give more meat to the story and characters, make it a real movie, not a hundred minutes long trailer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is not a bad movie. While the plot line and story is simplistic
the action scenes are OK.
I likened it to watching the game Dynasty warriors. Thats how the action scenes look. Armies charging at each other, individual battles with ONE person killing everything in sight, one swipe of the spear taking out everyone within reach, bodies flying and one person being able to defeat an army.
The 3 Kingdoms is used as a back drop for this movie. It is only used to set the characters and the time period. At no point is there any plot concerning the 3 kingdoms. The story is base on the military life of ZiLong. His enlistment as a recruit, how he won fame and became a general then it fast forwards to his last battle. No character development or even a story. This is strictly an action movie.
There have been many negative comments regarding costuming, especially how the armour look Japanese. I would say that most ancient armour look alike but in this case the producers have taken artistic license to up the "cool" factor for the armour. The 1st thing i noticed were the helmets, British "Tommy" Helmets and German "Fritz" helmets. Also noticed how the more peaceful guys had the Tommy helmets and the invading hordes the Fritz helmets.
My main complain, not only with this movie but the made in China "historical" epics is how it reeks of government propaganda. Divided nation/people and how sacrifices must be made of one self or of the people to achieve unity. Trust the leaders, the sacrifice is for the good of the nation.
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