Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon
Photos and Video
Based on one of China's founding works of literature, this period epic charts the heroic rise of General Zhao Zilong (Andy Lau, House of Flying Daggers). A conscript into the faceless war among the ancient Three Kingdoms, Zhao quickly earns his stripes in a series of taut and thrillingly stylish fight sequences. His friend and former commander Luo Ping-An watches and narrates from the wings as Zhao marries victory to victory, earning a place among the Five Tiger Generals. Decades later, however, the brutal warring continues unabated, and an elderly Zhao at last meets his match in the sylphlike and cunning Cao Ying (Maggie Q, Mission: Impossible III). This unlikely adversary is the granddaughter of an emperor Zhao helped to vanquish in a long-ago battle, and it's against her superior forces that he must make his last stand. Director Daniel Lee (Black Mask) brings both a frenetic energy and philosophical scruples to Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon. Lee knows to linger when it counts, giving meditative space to his breathtaking frames of soldiers massing on the Chinese badlands, for example, and pausing on Zhao and Luo's traded confessions of a longing for home. These quieter moments gird the otherwise breakneck and dazzling action (choreographed, remarkably, by the stolid-looking Sammo Hung, who also plays Luo). The film takes themes of brotherhood and betrayal, duty and ambition, bravery and vengeance in its quickening stride, building to a climax as ambivalent as it is surprising.
Director's Statement Collapse
The Three Kingdoms era (around A.D. 190-280) in Chinese history was not only a period of constant warfare and chaos, but also the golden epoch of Chinese chivalry, during which individuals with abilities could break through the barriers of class and clan and make their way by nothing but individual might and achievements. Ranked first among China's four greatest classical novels, Luo Guanzhong's vast, 600-year-old, semi-fictional novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which recounts all major events during the Three Kingdoms era, is a masterpiece that has educated and entertained Chinese readers for centuries with its unforgettable exemplar of martial and civil virtues, military tactics and strategies, and stories of loyalty and treachery. The popularity of the novel has extended into other Asian countries, and consequently the rest of the world, through increasing translation of the novel and the highly successful video game series based on stories of the Three Kingdoms.
Influenced by my late father, who was a lifelong fan of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms himself, I took to heart stories of the classical novel ever since my childhood, and I have dreamed of making a film about it for years. It was more than 10 years ago when I started to conceive the story of Resurrection of the Dragon, in which I have chosen to tell the glorious tale of the great hero Zhao Zilong, who epitomizes the spirit of the remarkable Three Kingdoms era. The film is in no way meant to be an exact representation of Luo's novel, which was based largely on oral traditions and fiction itself. Instead it is to explore the character of the legendary Zhao Zilong, both as a warrior and as a man, and through his dramatic life—from his unwavering determination to fight for his country's unity and peace, his successive triumphs in the battles that made him one of Shu's Five Tiger Generals, to his disgruntlement over the futility of his years of battling at the end—to echo the inexorable order of things determined by the immutable law of nature subtly conveyed in the original classic novel.
The biggest challenge lies in obtaining a balance between creativity and adherence to the original novel—should it be the story, the production design, or the action sequences? As numbers of historical relics and documents from the Three Kingdoms era are so scarce, it did leave a lot of room for imaginations. How should Zilong brandish his spear? And how should Guan Yu wield his Green Dragon Blade? These are the kind of questions that I dwelled on every day in the last few years, and it is actually this process of creation that I as a filmmaker enjoy the most. It is not only my wish that Resurrection of the Dragon could help to introduce the Three Kingdoms legend to those who are not familiar with it, but it is also my hope that it can help millions of existing fans to see the extraordinary epic though fresh eyes and make new discoveries.
Film Information Collapse
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Andy Lau, Sammo Hung, Maggie Q, Andy On, Vanesse
Producers Taewon Chung, Susanna Tsang
Action Director Sammo Hung
Cinematographer Tony Cheung Tung Leung
Production Designer Horace Ma Kong Wing
Composer Henry Lai
About the Director(s)Collapse
Daniel Lee (b. Hong Kong) graduated from the University of Windsor in Ontario, where he majored in visual communications. When he returned to Hong Kong in 1984, Daniel got involved in film and television productions. Cited by legendary martial arts film director Master Chang Cheh as the most dynamic action film director of the new generation, Daniel made his directorial film debut with 1994's What Price Survival? He then went on to direct Jet Li's Black Mask, the romantic drama Moonlight Express, A Fighter's Blues, and Dragon Squad, produced by Steven Seagal and starring Sammo Hung, Michael Biehn, and Maggie Q.