2020 / 113m - Japan
New Interpretation Records of the Three Kingdoms poster


January 11, 2022


Fukuda used to be somewhat of a renegade comedy director, nowadays, he's part of the commercial establishment. His budgets are clearly higher, and he has access to bigger and more famous actors, but his comedies have also lost an edge. The very edge that made his earlier work stand out.

As the title already explains, the film is a fictional (and obviously comedic) retelling of the Three Kingdoms story. While I'm somewhat familiar with the story through various films and games, I never actually read the source material, and I'm sketchy on chronology and characters, which is somewhat of a disadvantage as I'm quite certain I didn't get all the references and jokes.

The comedy is pretty typical for a Japanese film. Some hard to translate puns, lots of awkward pauses and odd reactions (the manzai roots are clearly there), funny reimaginings of established lore (like the Red Cliff battle) and some random weirdness (but not enough of the latter). It's a pretty amusing film, just a bit too long and not quite weird or edgy enough to be up there with the best.