7.4/10
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111 user 162 critic

Red Cliff (2008)

Chi bi (original title)
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The first chapter of a two-part story centered on a battle fought in China's Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.).

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Chan Khan) | 3 more credits »
13 wins & 43 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Zhou Yu (as Tony Leung)
...
...
...
...
...
...
Gan Xing (as Shidou Nakamura)
...
Xiao Qiao (as Chi-Ling Lin)
Yong You ...
Yong Hou ...
...
Sun Shucai
...
Li Ji
Baasanjav Mijid ...
Guan Yu
Jinsheng Zang ...
Zhang Fei
Shan Zhang ...
Huang Gai
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Destiny lies in the wind. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sequences of epic warfare | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

Release Date:

4 December 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Red Cliff  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

CNY 553,632,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

KRW 1,064,848 (South Korea), 6 July 2008, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,104, 20 November 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$627,047

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$127,814,609
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(PG)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: 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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Soundtracks

Heart, War
Music by Tarô Iwashiro
Lyrics by Francis Lee
Performed by Alan
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Surprisingly good mega blockbuster from a seasoned Master
12 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

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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