Director: Daniel Lee
Cast: Andy Lau, Maggie Q, Sammo Hung, Andy
On, Vanness Wu, Ti Lung, Yu Rongguan, Pu Cunxin, Jiang Hongbo
RunTime: 1 hr 46 mins
Released By: Shaw & InnoForm Media
Rating: NC-16 (Battle Scenes)
Opening Day: 3 April 2008
His country torned 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 craft to command an army
with liberating the land from an evil warlord.
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 ageing Zhao
embarks on his final and greatest campaign, a road to adventure
that will crown his name in glory for all time.
The Point -
the fast pace of setting up the characters story and very
little chemistry between Andy Lau and Sammo Hung seems to
be an indication that Director Daniel Lee (Dragon Squad) had
produced a half baked tale of the three kingdoms and failed
to impress again. But as the story went on, especially during
the last battle, every pieces that seemly had been hastily
laid, managed to gel together to bring across a message on
the absurdity of war. Some parts of the movie sparks of great
brilliant in capturing the attraction of the Romance of the
Three Kingdom, particularity in the aspect of strategy, loyalty
between brotherhood and the omniscience power of fate.
much not to like about this movie.
poster of Andy Lau and Maggie Q in this movie looked like
a hybrid of Japanese Costume faking it to be a Chinese Period
set. Speaking of Maggie Q, how did someone who received a
top billing beside Andy Lau appears only in the third quarter
of the show? Her character Cao Ying whom played the fictional
granddaughter of Cao Cao definitely raised some eye brow in
such imaginative liberties taken for this tale.
And why did Daniel Lee chose to tell this
story in a hopscotch manner, skipping through the life of
Zhao Zilong (Andy Lau), one of the supposedly great character
in the much loved Romance of the Three Kingdom but only had
bit’s of appearance in the novel. A fast forward manner
that seems to take no pleasure in slowly building Zhao Zhilong’s
character up, specially for viewers who are not well verse
in the classic Chinese Literature. There was even an unnecessary
inclusion of Zhao Zhilong’s love interest that was short
and had made very little impact to the show.
As much as I was going to write this movie
off as a bad take on the Romance of the Three Kingdom initially,
there something in this movie that resonate with me that made
me embrace this movie.
The first that sparkle for this movie was
the brutality and brilliance of warfare strategy. Like a game
of chess, when the situations required, the player must make
necessary sacrificial moves to obtain the goal. While in chess,
it seems like a might seems like a small deal as losing a
Knight or a Bishop but in the game of war, it might be sending
your comrades to a certain doom. It’s not an easy decision
to make and this movie successfully portrays the dilemma of
such necessary viciousness well. In those brief moments, what
really shine was the ultimate understanding among the planners
and the soldiers on what’s necessary and willingness
to sacrifice for the greater good.
Then there were the shrewdness of characters
in well known character such as Zhuge Liang and fictional
one such as Cao Ying. Resurrection of the Dragon comes packed
with interesting warfare that is akin to watching to masterful
chess players playing a hard match. As again, in brief moments,
it demonstrates how knowledge with the Meteorology and geographical
could makes a world of difference in battle. It even showcases
how one needs to be unscrupulous with their own troops in
order to win the battle.
Then the movie offers a certain credible reasoning and answers
to the initial dislike to how the first half of the story
was set up. With the lengthy story of the original Romance
of the Three Kingdom, it was a challenging feat to condense
the tale. The choice of the director was to pick those necessary
elements that were important in to the final arc and even
though the end result was a patchy first half. To some, it
would seems that the director was smart enough to litter seemly
unimportant scenes in this show and when the time is ripe,
the viewers could reflect back on what had happen before in
those scenes and it served as a testament to what the characters,
specially Zhao Zhilong was going through in the finale.
Take for example, the seemly unnecessary
love interest scenes that showed Zhao Zhilong chancing into
a moment of romance would later help build the burden of regret
that he eventually felt at the last battle.
Somehow it felt that director Daniel Lee
had gotten away with the patchy story works due to the fact
that he had a group of fine actors giving fine performance.
Even in minor supporting roles such as Vanness Wu’s
Zhao Biao and Ti Lung’s Guan Yu, it felt that their
real life experience and attitude seemly helped contribute
a natural aura to the character in a short span of screen
time. Vanness Wu’s brand of arrogance and bashfulness
that was ever present in his pop life persona quickly helped
build up the young and inexperience General who is fill his
dad shoes. Ti Lung on the other hand with years of experience
in the movie industry was a natural fit to play the majestic
Guan Yu. His mere appearance on screen with the title of his
character would mostly like gather the general consent among
Then there’s the major players, Maggie
Q, Sammo Hung and Andy Lau whom all did a fine job in carrying
over the patchy story. Maggie Q’s female general who
played a musical instrument in the midst of war would probably
drew the most flakes from critics and audience but personally
I felt that it was one of her most memorable role so far.
She showed a well balance of vulnerability and toughness that
made her one of the most sympathies villains in recent movies.
Her late inclusion although might felt like a marketing lie
to use her name as one of the main cast in this movie, was
essential to the story and personally I agreed that it was
the right time and made the most impact for this movie.
Sammo Hung also initially felt miscast as
Zhao Zhilong’s sworn brother who tried to aim high but
often score low. However as the story progress, Sammo Hung’s
years of experience in the acting field proved that he got
the chops to endear the loser character to the audience and
even gave it a sympathetic aura to him.
Lastly, Andy Lau’s recent records of
film choices had been an impressive one, specially his last
few period movies that had focused on the absurdity of war
and it’s the same for Resurrection of the Dragon. He
got the charisma and natural regal feel that made the jumpy
story telling of his character a little easier to swallow.
His portrayal of the old and determine Zhao Zhilong was one
of his best heart wrenching performance in a period film yet.
There are few actors that I would watched based on their choice
of works and it had been a blast following Andy Lau’s
fine line of recent works.
There you have it; these are the few defenses
that I could provide for Resurrection of the Dragon. It’s
had already drew a few disdain reviews from critics and I
suspect it might not do that well with the Three Kingdom’s
purist but then again, personally there are quite a few elements
that were utterly enjoyable and memorable, specially the question
that I gotten while watching this show,
life is a chess game, are you one of the pawns or the strategist
moving the pieces?”
of the Dragon sparks brief but spectacular essence of capturing
the sophisticated stratagem, vigor, brotherhood loyalty of
the Romance of the Three Kingdom)
Review by Richard Lim Jr