Red Cliff

 

By: He Might Be Giant

 

Red Cliff poster

Red Cliff poster

A few days ago I was listening to some pretty epic power metal, the likes of which can be heard with Blind Guardian or Hammerfall, and I decided that I haven’t watched a good epic film in a long while.  So I went to my film collection and picked out “Red Cliff”, a 2008 John Woo film based off the Battle of Red Cliffs (208 C.E.-209 C.E.). Now with this there were two different releases, the Chinese release that was two parts and runs a total of 288 minutes (over 4 and ½ hours) and the US release which was cut down by two hours.  I happen to own the Chinese release and have yet to watch the US version.

 

 

 

A couple of fun facts about this film:

  1. Woo has gone on the record saying that it is only about 50% historically accurate due to the fact that he wanted audiences to be entertained the whole time.
  2. The first part of the movie beat the box office record held by Titanic in main land China, grossing $124 million US across Asia.

 

This is a screen shot from 'Red Cliff' There's a reason this movie is called epic.

This is a screen shot from ‘Red Cliff’ There’s a reason this movie is called epic.

This film, staring Tony Leung (Grand Master and Hero) and Takeshi Kaneshiro (House of Flying Dagger and The Warlords), is about the pivotal Chinese battle that brought an end to the Han Dynasty and started the Era of the Three Kingdoms.  If this sounds at all familiar, that is because you have probably played any of the Dynasty Warrior games.  Now on that note, “Red Cliff” is a great Dynasty Warrior flick.

 

John Woo on set of the movie 'Red Cliff'

John Woo on set of the movie ‘Red Cliff’

With John Woo at the helm of this blood bath you can assume that action is very stylized and very artful.  And that assumption is very correct, but the nice thing with it is that the fights and battles aren’t mind-numbingly choreographed so it adds a little to the roughness of war.  When the action is lacking the dialogue is very well written and delivered so you never really feel like this movie drags, which is hugely important with an epic film of this length. To top that off every shot in this epic is masterfully thought out (meaning none of the shaking cam induced vomiting crap) all leading up to a beautifully done melee on burning ships.

 

My final verdict on “Red Cliff” is: Buy it on Blu-Ray

 

 

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