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Saturday, 11 August 2012

回到三國 Three Kingdoms RPG review

Spoilers alert!

I really enjoyed "A Step Into The Past" so I had been looking forwards to "Three Kingdom RPG". I also like   all of the main leads. It was quite interesting to see how they put in the story of borrowing arrows from Cao Cao and tying Kenneth's character with it, as well as when he found Hua Tuo to save Zhu Ge Liang's wife.

Kenneth Ma as Sze Ma Shun / Wun Shun / 司馬信

At the start, Wun Shun does not understand how to respect others, and thinks little about others in his actions. In Hong Kong, he masters the skill of playing video games revolving characters of the Three Kingdoms. Unfortunately that is all he is good at. No longer a young man, he does not have steady source of income, and only works as an extra for TV series. Even in this job he is lazy and takes every opportunity to do as little as possible.

One day, during work as an extra for an ancient series, Wun Shun is transported back to the Three Kingdoms era (and luckly he is in costume, and even has a wig to fit in with the people of that time). He meets Fan Gan who looks up to him as his saviour, giving him somewhere to live. Not long after, Wun Shun meets his idol, Zhu Ge Liang. When Zhu Ge Liang is approached by Lau Bei to help him with war strategies, Zhu Ge Liang does not choose Wun Shun to help him, and Wun Shun becomes irritated with Zhu Ge Liang vowing that their friendship is over. Wun Shun later works for Hon Leung, who carries the same position as Zhu Ge Liang.

Through texting his sister, Wun Shun plans to return to the present time at a certain date. During his last few days, he sings a love song to Song Yau and Song Yau develops romantic feelings for Wun Shun, even though he feels nothing.

Finally, the day comes where Wun Shun can return to the future. He causes choas at Lau Bei's house before leaving. Unfortunately he goes to the wrong place to be transported back to Hong Kong so is still stranded in the past. Having ran away and caused chaos from Lau Bei's house, he is captured as a criminal and put into jail. It is not only because of Song Yau that he is released. However he is demoted to a servant.
Later he finds out that Hon Shun has a plan to kill Zhu Ge Liang and blame it on himself. He thinks of a plan to show Lau Bei that Hon Shun wants to kill Zhu Ge Liang. He succeeds, and Zhu Ge Liang then asks Wun Shun to help him with his work.

Later, he gets shot by an arrow and experiences a near death experience. It is here where he fully re-evaluates his actions and becomes considerate for other. Since he had mislead Song Yau into thinking they were a pair, he tells her that though she is a great girl, he has no romantic feelings for her.

His actions later causes him to have to leave his area, but he is wanted dead by Zhu Yu. Saved by Song Yau, he finally finds that he does indeed have feelings for her, but by the time he decides to tell her, she had already gone.

He is later captured by Cao Cao's strategist, who once worked for Lau Bei. Wun Shun is forced to help them defeat Lau Bei, and cannot just escape when the opposition also captures Song Yau.

Later he finds out that he still had an opportunity to return to Hong Kong and vows to take Song Yau back with him. Sadly when this opportunity comes, only Wun Shun manages to get back to the future, watching Song Yau being left in the past.

Now back in Hong Kong, Wun Shun is no longer the boy he used to be, and works to open his own successful fast food chain, whilst tying history of the Three Kingdoms in his business. He watches the weather every day to look for an opportunity to return to the Three Kingdoms era. 30 years past, and there has been no opportunity for Wun Shun to go back. He as a large painting of Song Yau in his office and has the same sandwich everyday- one he made with Song Yau before. He suddenly finds that there is another chance for him to go back to Song Yau and goes the the place where he was to go back.

As Wun Sun approaches the blue light to take him back, he gets a heart attack. Only metres away from the portal light, he realises he can't get there in time, and sings the love song he once sung Song Yau as he dies, arm reached out for the blue light.

Kenneth's character really annoyed me at first. I didn't like his attitude how he always thought he as right and how he always acted as he was above all others.  For example at that start of the show when he though that Raymond's character should have taken him as his helper and threw a huge strop when he didn't. The two had not met for long, and Wun Shun had done little to show he had any intelligence.

There were some complaints from viewers, saying that Kenneth was too old to portray such a character. I personally really enjoyed it. He does comedy very well and pulls all the right faces. I remember chuckling after he fell down the cliff and was said "I thought you said that even cliffs wouldn't put you in a difficult position" to the dead warrior. 

His ending was so sad! So there he was, waiting every day for 30 years for a chance to go back to the past to meet Song Yau again. When he does get the opportunity finally comes he dies. As in the finale, Song Yau does come to the future, couldn't they let him see her first to fulfil his wish?

Also I think that he thought that he really belonged to the Three Kingdoms era after he got back to the future, for when he was trying to go back he said "Song Yau, I'm coming back". It just makes everything that little more sad :(

I think Kenneth Ma is great character. Wun Shun differs greatly from his doctor role in The Hippocratic Crush and his evil role in Tiger Cubs or Grace Under Fire. 

Raymond Lam as Zhu Ge Liang

Zhu Ge Liang is a scholar who is seeked by Lau Bei to work as on of his strategists. He has an intelligent mind, helping Lau Bei to solve many different problems. This causes jealousy from others such as Hor Leung and Chow Yu who both plot to murder him. Luckily both of their schemes fail. He meets Wun Shun before becoming Lau Bei's strategist. After getting to know Wun Shun, Zhe Ge Liang thinks of him as a good friend and trusts him greatly. Zhu Ge Liang cares deeply for his wife, a women with poor health but with a good understanding of war strategies and who can help him in developing his own strategies.

He continues to help Lau Bei fight his wars.

Wasn't very fond of Raymond's moustache at the start of the series, but I got used to it! 

I really did like Raymond's portrayal of Zhu Ge Liang. It was different to any other characters he had done, and he came across as a modest, wise and calm person. I liked how his character cared for his wife, and they had great interactions in the series. It did seem like Zhu Ge Liang wouldn't have got very far in his career without his wife though since she was always helping him with war strategies and translated old scripts. 
It was also nice to see him trusting Wun Shun as a close friend. 

His character didn't really get an ending, as in he was still doing what he'd been doing the whole series which is fine. It was lovely to see that his wife could stand up again though.

Tavia Yeung as Song Yau
Song Yau is a housemaid at Lau Bei's house. Having worked there since she was young, Lau Bei and his wives see her as their daughter. Wun Shun affected her life from the start when he told of freestyle loving in Hong Kong, leading her to not accept a marriage proposal from a well-educated, good natured man from a rich family.  She is later mislead into thinking that Wun Shun had romantic feeling for her, and she started to have feelings for him too.
Wun Shun develops guilt after a while, and leaves Song Yau heart-broken when he tells her that he never had feelings for her.

She is later captured, by the opposition of Lau Bei to force the also captured Wun Shun to help them defeat Lau Bei.

Wun Shun tells her that he would take her back to Hong Kong. When the time comes, Song Yau is unable to travel to the future with him, watching him leave her. At the end of the finale, it shows Song Yau arriving in the future 30 years after Wun Shun went back. However, Wun Shun was already dead. Song Yau tears up.

Tavia was the female lead of Three Kingdoms, but I felt that Leung Ka Ki had more screen time for her. I enjoyed Tavia's limited screen time, even though she isn't important in the series apart from being Kenneth's love interest. To be honest, I think she was also there to make watchers feel pain when she and Wun Shun could never get together.

Top notch acting though as usual. This was her first collaboration with Kenneth. They shot The Hippocratic Crush later. I think it certainly helped with their chemistry there!


There wasn't any weak acting here. I loved the acting of Lau Bei and his two brothers. All the interaction between the men was very likeable to me. I've heard some complaining that the relationship between the men seemed homosexual, but I didn't think so. To me, it showed that they were loyal to each other and caring to others as well: if they treated each others with such respect they should also care for other people.

I also really enjoyed Leung Ka Ki, as Zhu Ge Liang's wife. Wearing minimal make up to portray the ugly and ill- healthed wife of Zhu Ge Liang  (personally I thought she was still quite pretty), I thought she gave it all. I look forward to seeing her again in another TVB series!

Fan Gan was a great addition to the series. I got worried about TVB killing his character a few times. I felt sorry for him when Wun Shun kept bossing him about but he wouldn't complain. It was sweet when Wun Shun started to think of him as a good brother of his. I hope that he got promoted to a high rank on the war field and got lots of money!
Fan Gan is a great loyal friend. Great portrayal too! I didn't remember seeing the actor either, but he definitely left a deep impression on me here!

It was nice watching Kenneth's character meeting the ancient people, especially Zhu Ge Liang, who was his idol. It was also funny how he often used Hong Kong Slang and even some English when he was in the past. You'd think that after being in the past for so long he'd get used to talking proper chinese right? Another scene which I remember finding very enjoyable was when he just got transported back, and saw loads of pandas on the mountains (however fake looking they were!). It just seemed to add the cherry on the top for me to show how different things were to be for Wun Shun!

Again with the ending: it just wasn't very nice for me! Even though we only saw Wun Shun missing Song Yau, no doubt she also missed him until she got to the future too. Then she saw an aged and dead Wun Shun. It's going to be awkward for her as she's in the future now, and has no Hong Kong identity, which basically means she'll be thrown out of Hong Kong. Her only hope would be Wun Shun's little sister who only knew of her. So it's a sad sad ending for both characters. As again, it seems like Song Yau's character was to distress the audience watching this series. If she wasn't there, Wun Shun would be happy in the future, whilst still becoming rich and successful.


Suetsuet said... [Reply]

Nice review. Finally someone not bashing this drama.

I actually really like Three Kingdom. The ending is sad but the acting was still good. It is realistic because they do belong to two different era.

miriamfanz said... [Reply]

Hi, it's me from Casual TVB again.

I honestly didn't like the characters because they are so different from history or Romance of the Three Kingdoms. TVB makes them all look stupid, especially Zhuge Liang. Exception is Fan Gun, so adorable.

Everyone will agree the ending was stupid. Don't know what they were smoking when writing the ending.

Full thoughts here"

lynne said... [Reply]

Haha you're one of the few people who weren't full of criticisms for the series, Yian :D Basing it just as a series, I personally enjoyed it because I liked how the characters interacted with each other. Base on history? I don't know much...but still not satisfied with how most of the series were indoor....a pity because I wanted to see more military tactics/battles and such. I understand tvb is not into doing those kind of series I am not so hard on the series as a whole since time traveling and Kenneth was really their main focus.

Haha I agree that some audience overeacted on the guys being homosexual :P I just call that romance...guys friendship :) That was actually one thing I really enjoyed of the series.

Enjoyed reading you review :)

Yian said... [Reply]


Hi again!

I think that because I don't really know Chinese history I can't get annoyed by how TVB portrayed them.

I think it would have been nice to see some more battle scenes too! It could be a good thing though as those scenes in the last episode didn't really look realistic at all! I wonder what it's like for actors to act in front of a green screen :)

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