China’s greatest literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms comes to the big screen in the period epic Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon. Though big-budget Chinese epics have become a mighty familiar sight in recent years, the Three Kingdoms era and its fabled lore is rarely tackled in cinema, making this latest blockbuster from Daniel Lee (Dragon Squad, A Fighter’s Blues) a groundbreaking effort. Deftly hitting screens before John Woo’s Three Kingdoms adaptation Red Cliff, Resurrection of the Dragon is based on Luo Guangzhong’s 14th-century novel which romanticizes the heroic exploits of Shu King Liu Bei and his larger-than-life generals and advisor.
Maintaining his Mandarin period blockbuster streak after A Battle of Wits and The Warlords, Andy Lau stars as legendary general Zhao Zilong (better known as Zhao Yun), immortalized in both Luo’s novel and in popular culture as the paragon of courage, charisma, and strength. Starting off as a foot soldier, Zhao rises quickly in the ranks to become the top general under Liu Bei (Ngok Wah). He becomes a living legend in his time with his undefeated record and staggering feats, including single-handedly rescuing Liu’s infant son from the grips of Wei King Cao Cao (Damian Lau). Through the many years of war, tides rise and ebb for the Kingdom of Shu and comrades fall one by one, leaving Zhao alone as the invincible general. With his legacy at stake, Zhao leads his final expedition against a Wei army now headed by Cao Cao’s granddaughter Cao Ying (Maggie Q).
Other than leading man Andy Lau and pan-Asian beauty Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III), Resurrection of the Dragon features a stunning line-up of veteran actors including some of Hong Kong’s greatest stars of yesteryear. Producer Sammo Hung serves as the narrator of the film in the role of Pingan, Zhao’s ambitious friend of humble achievements. Damian Lau, Iron Monkey’s Yu Rong Guang, and Shaw Brothers heroes Ngok Wah and Ti Lung light up the screen in welcome supporting appearances, while rising action stars Andy On and Vanness Wu lead the way for a new generation. Though it takes some liberal departures from history and the original novel, Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon hits the mark with its epic story, sweeping images, and fierce characterization, gallantly capturing the life and times of Three Kingdoms hero Zhao Zilong.
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