Film Review: Dynasty Warriors 真‧三國無雙 (2021) - Hong Kong / China
Reviewed by Andrew CHAN (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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There is a lot of problems with the latest video game adaptation of the action extravaganza effects filled blockbuster in Roy Chow directed “Dynasty Warriors”. From the atrocious acting to the ridiculous fight sequences, the awful enhanced special effects to the non existent plot-line and irrelevance of the character developments, this film almost hit rock bottom in terms of shattering expectations. The vastly popular video game adaptation always proved to be problematic from the very beginning. Putting the actors in an insane situation can be a hit and miss. When done well, the story of the three kingdoms can be as successful as John Woo’s “Red Cliff”, but this one is easily more like a lesser “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon” instead. It’s a shame as the obvious sequel-like ending plays out with the second film unlikely to be green-lighted being the only hope for its ill fated franchise starter.
Louis Koo plays the key villain hero character general and oozes with plenty of charisma despite his typical grin and cheese. Lam Suet is excellent as the womaniser “emperor in disguise” as he is both menacing and cunning, in fact he easily steals the show. Hong Kong 90s star Ray Lui make uses of his lavish costume as a key leader of the rebellion. Carina Lau makes good use of her limited screen time as the mystical master of swords. However the biggest challenge issue lies in the casting of the four key leading roles, including Cao Cao played by Wang Kai and Tony Yang as Liu Bei. Not to mention the terrible makeup and miscast of Justin Cheung as Zhang Fei and Han Geng as Guan Yu.
All in all, “Dynasty Warriors” looks terribly expensive and understandably lavish in its depiction. However, more money and budget does not equate to better storytelling and character development. In fact all characters are so empty that it feels like going through different stages and levels of a video game. If that is what Roy Chow is aiming for, it’s a big disappointment as so much more can be done and expressed with far more involving emotions. This isn’t entirely a bad film and remains entertaining at times, especially during the numerous innate action set pieces. Still, as a big budget blockbuster it leaves a lot to be desired.
I rated it 5/10