The first chapter of a two-part story centered on a battle fought in China's Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.).The first chapter of a two-part story centered on a battle fought in China's Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.).The first chapter of a two-part story centered on a battle fought in China's Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.).
The year was 208AD, the Prime Minister Cao Cao (Fengyi Zhang) has taken control of Northern China and made the Emperor a puppet ruler. But the south is defiance. Lord Liu Bei (Yong You) tries to fight and has excellent general, but is hopelessly outnumbered by Cao Cao forces. He sets out to make an alliance with two other Southern Lords, the young Sun Quan (Chen Chang) and military expert Zhou Yu (Tony Leung). Liu Bei uses his chief adviser Kongming (Takeshi Kaneshiro) to negotiate with Lords. Even with this new alliance, Cao Cao still outnumbers the 3 Kingdoms with a force of 800,000 troops. Zhou Yu and Kongming sets out the win the coming battle with strategy, expert military tactics, trickery, the weather and spies. Here the two forces set out for the coming battle.
John Woo is an action director and the martial arts and the battles are well handle, if OTT (but that's what John Woo does). He has flair and the fights are bloody. He has fun with the CGI, from the battles to following arrows and doves when they are in flight. He gets to combine both Asian and Hollywood style of film-making. The music as well combine both Asian and Western styles. The film itself feels like the Chinese Lord of the Rings.
Tony Leung is the strongest link in the film, he is an expert martial artist and a good actor, being in House of Flying Daggers, the Infernal Affiars Trilogy and Lust Caution just to name a few. He offers another good performances. Other actors also offer good performances and they was no one who dragged the film down.
In China and Hong Kong Red Cliff was split into two films and already out on DVD in Hong Kong. The Western version combines the films, and its also the dumbed down version. The English was just weird in context with the rest of film. The film also does change in tone from it beginning. Lets hope that the DVD release in the West will be of both films or an extended edition.
- Jun 16, 2009