During the darkest period of Chinese history, when
the country was torned by civil war and eventually divided
between three rival kingdoms, a new soldier Zhao Zilong befriends
fellow comrades, Luo Pingan. Zhao becomes famous when he saves
the King's son. He continues to fight and win many battles
and eventually is promoted to be one of the Five Tigers warriors.
As time files, Zhao becomes the only surviving Five Tigers
warrior. In his later years, he leads his troop for his final
battle. His opponent is Cao Cao's granddaughter.
A lot of television and movie adaptations are churned out
over the years on the Chinese classic tale, “Romance
of the three kingdoms”. In fact, there’s one more
coming in July helmed none other than international director
Lee’s version is on a much smaller scale, tracing instead
the exploits of the little-known Zhao Zilong, one of the five
famous Tiger warriors leaving bigger names such as Liu Bei
and Guan Yu to the sideline. Andy Lau’s portrayal of
the character Zhao Zilong perhaps is the sole highlight why
you have to watch “Three Kingdoms”. As he ages
in real-life, Lau’s performance on the big screen in
recent times has also significantly improved. Through him,
we can feel the inner struggle of Zhao as he tries hard to
cling on to protect the sovereignty of his beloved country.
whose past directing credits include “Black Mask”
and the boxing dramas, “A Fighter’s Blues”,
“Star Runner” also wrote the script, however Lee
did not fatten up the story with more angles on his leading
character Zhao. There’s the obligatory romance and one
memorable heroic exploit. Given the slim 98 minutes running
time, there isn’t much time to flesh out other supporting
characters such as Zhao’s comrade, Luo Pingan (Sammo
Hung) and Cao Cao’s fictional granddaughter Cao Yin
(Maggie Q) either.
about blink-and-missed, there’s Damien Lau as Cao Cao,
Ti Lung as Guan Yu and a few relatively unknown mainland actors
who puts in short but remarkable performances. If Daniel Lee
could just stretch this a little further, “Three Kingdoms”
might just be a best picture contender in the Asian film awards.
Since spilt milk is not retractable, you just got to make
do with Lau’s absorbing portrayal of Zhao Zilong.
fellow writer on the other hand had a different take on “Three
Kingdoms” which is why he gave it a four stars rating
(apparent on the back of this DVD cover). On my side, I was
not just disappointed by the limp story but also the haphazard
action choreography by Sammo Hung.
in all, “Three Kingdoms” can be taken only as
a quick recap of the character Zhao Zilong. Consider the elements
were there but Lee only manages to scratch the surface at
This Code 3 DVD comes with 3 trailers, a photo gallery and
interviews with Andy Lau, Sammo Hung, director Daniel Lee
and Maggie Q. There’s no voiceover for the 51 minutes
long Behind-the-scene feature but you get to see how the cast
endure the gruelling shoot in the outskirts particularly the
action sequences, Andy getting poked and also despite the
technology today, we still need crew members to manually sweep
up some dust for best effect.
visual transfer here is excellent and it shouldn’t disappoint
if you watched it on your LCD screen. With the original Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix intact, the action sequences are a marvel
to watch. Horses pounding and warriors chanting through the
surround speakers, it’s a pity the original Cantonese
track is not included as an option.
Review by Linus Tee