Red Cliff/Red Cliff IiDirector: John Woo
John Woo's historical drama Red Cliff, Part I re-creates the legendary Chinese battle from 208 A.D. that led directly to the end of the Han Dynasty. The film charts how different factions joined forces to create this turning point in history. Chow Yun-Fat stars in the film that is adapted from part of the beloved Chinese book Romance of the Three Kingdoms.Too epic in scope to be contained in just one film, the historical saga that began in John Woo's Red Cliff heats up as Prime Minister-turned-General Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi) leads the Emperor's army southward to do battle with a small but resolute coalition led by fierce opponent Zhou Yu (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai). Incensed at the rebellion displayed by southern warlords Liu Bei (You Yong) and Sun Quan (Chang Chen), Emperor Xian (Wang Ning) grants his trusted General Cao Cao permission to crush their outspoken opponents. But the journey south isn't easy for Emperor Xian's massive military, and before long, the soldiers are tiring from lack of water and sheer exhaustion. Meanwhile, Zhou Yu's army draws a line in the sand and prepares to defend it with their lives. When typhoid breaks out among Cao Cao's troops, the quick-thinking strategist successfully infects Zhou's army with the disease, causing the latter to realize that psychological warfare has finally come into play. Subsequently deserted by Liu Bei, Zhou prepares to lead an army of approximately 30,000 men against Cao Cao's massive force of several hundred thousand. The battle drawing near, Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro) resorts to some clever tactics in order to undermine Cao Cao, and undercover princess Sun Shangxiang (Vicki Zhao) delivers secret messages from the Cao Cao's camp. As violence erupts on the Yangtze River, Zhou Yu's wife (Lin Chi-Ling) emerges to play an unexpectedly crucial role in the historical proceedings.
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- [Wide Screen]
- [Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
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First, in response to the 3 star rating; this is based on a prewritten text from the 14th century c.e. as well as actual historical events from the 3rd century c.e. So there can only be as many plot twists as would have happened, plus this film is based on history far out-dating William Wallace or Alexander Nevsky. Yes there are many historical flaws, that is not arguable. Second, it is an amazing form of Chinese cinema, which like many other films from the region holds onto the idea of "Film is Poetry" concept seen in works such as Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. To truelly appreciate this type of cinema, you have to view the film as exaggeration, as seen in fight scenes, just as details are exaggerated in poetry. Do not let this make you believe the film is "panssy" full of flowery fights, it has some of the best choreographed fights of any movie made, and has plenty of violence. The quality of Chinese cinema has sky rocketed over the past decade. As such; this movie does not have the 1070's Kung-Fu feel. The picture quality is on par with any major American film, as is the acting, cinematics, and music. The description given from Barnes & Noble states that Chow Yun-Fat is a cast member. He is not, but he, and most of the main actors in this film, are main charecters in the films listed earlier (if you are dying to see them in other works) all of whice I highly recommend if you even find this film but a sliver of enjoyment, which you will. So, this is an amazing film worth everyone of it's stars, made by one of the leading directors and action movie producers in the world, and can easily be enjoyed by anyone, foreign film lovers or not. One final suggestion; watch the film in Mandarin! Too much is lost when you watch it dubbed.
John Woo's epic telling of the famous third-century battle at Red Cliff, the beginning of the end for the Han dynasty. Red Cliff, one of China's historically based wuxia stories, has been retold for centuries John Woo's rendition here has extraordinary production quality and more closely draws from historical research and fact than other renditions. This film was one of John Woo's lifetime ambitions and the quality shows. Chinese cinema has come a long way since the Hong Kong days of The Shaw Brothers. A lesson in how diplomacy, intelligence, an uneasy coallition, and creative military strategy and tactics defeat a vastly superior force and prevail against the unbridled ambitions of an emperor's prime minister while maintaining their loayalty to their emperor.
I tried to like this movie. I really did. What it turned out to be was essentially a Chinese reading of Braveheart or Alexander Nevsky, on a larger canvas-- a very black-and-white bit of historical legend with a thick coating of epic grandeur. I pretty much wrote off the historical accuracy after it became clear that all of the "good guy" leaders were gentle noble souls and champions of the peasantry, as well as unstoppable killing machines who could butcher an entire regiment single-handedly. In the uncut version, things tend to drag a bit. Ten minutes of watching one middle-aged general kill one pikeman after another got a little stale. If you're looking for a big historical epic, this is it-- just don't hope for too much in the way of complex characters or surprise plot twists.