In this sequel to Red Cliff, Chancellor Cao Cao convinces Emperor Xian of the Han to initiate a battle against the two Kingdoms of Shu and Wu, who have become allied forces, against all ... See full summary »
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung,
It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval. It is based on "The Assassination of Ma," a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) story about ... See full summary »
His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao Zilong, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an ... See full summary »
During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.
Story centers on a battle during China's Warring States Period, a series of civil wars, which spanned from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C. Based on a popular Japanese manga, which was in turn based a Japanese novel inspired by Warring States history in China.
In 208 A.D., in the final days of the Han Dynasty, shrewd Prime Minster Cao Cao convinced the fickle Emperor Han the only way to unite all of China was to declare war on the kingdoms of Xu in the west and East Wu in the south. Thus began a military campaign of unprecedented scale, led by the Prime Minister, himself. Left with no other hope for survival, the kingdoms of Xu and East Wu formed an unlikely alliance. Numerous battles of strength and wit ensued, both on land and on water, eventually culminating in the battle of Red Cliff. During the battle, two thousand ships were burned, and the course of Chinese history was changed forever. Written by
Ken Watanabe was originally selected for the role of Cao Cao. According to a report, some Chinese fans voiced objections over the choice as they felt that it was inappropriate for a Japanese actor to portray an important Chinese historical figure. The report claimed that the protests influenced the decision of John Woo, who eventually chose Fengyi Zhang for the role. See more »
A sleeping baby is shown with blood spattered on his face in one shot, and in the next shot his face is completely clean. See more »
The year is 208 AD. After years of civil war, a deathly calm has fallen of northern China. One by one, the rebel warlords have met their end under the sword of Prime Minister Cao Cao. Now, even the Han Emperor bows before his power. Yet from the south, a challenge is heard. Two leaders arise against Cao Cao's tyranny, the aging Liu Bei, and the inexperienced Sun Quan. So Cao Cao petitions the Emperor to brand these men as traitors, and declare a new war against the peaceful ...
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Surprisingly good mega blockbuster from a seasoned Master
Admittedly, I had my doubts about Red Cliff. John Woo in the chair to make a historical war drama? That hasn't happened since... oh wait, it's never happened before. Then again, if Ang Lee could make a great movie about gay cowboys, I'm willing to see what John Woo can do outside his usual territory. That, and the film's steady high profile publicity over the past several years, made Red Cliff a must-see for me.
For Red Cliff, the biggest divergence from Woo's prime time classics such as The Killer is the subdued emotions. Most of Woo's classics were rather in-your-face in terms of melodrama, but not so in Red Cliff. While I loved his melodramas, I believe Red Cliff reveals a matured Woo with improved craftsmanship. Make no mistake: he has incorporated his signature themes of male bonding, loyalty, and sacrifice in Red Cliff--but in a much more subtle and understated manner.
Unquestionable, some viewers have loved Woo for his badass action sequences. But for me, I've always been a fan because of his memorable characters. To this point, I was pleased with Red Cliff's strong characters. The film has focused on making the central figures appealing by either embellishing them with an edgy factor or giving them some depth, and this is successful for the most part.
For me, the low point of the movie was the weak acting from Zhao Wei and Takeshi Kaneshiro -- not just compared to Tony Leung, but on any scale. Kaneshiro is an odd choice to play the historically glorified Zhuge Liang, while Zhao Wei's character seemed totally inconsequential.
The film also features some annoying cartoonish music, which seemed to be oddly misplaced in intense combat scenes.
Other than those few shortcomings, Red Cliff is a solid film that is both a mega blockbuster and quality film-making.
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