Movie Review: ‘Red Cliff’ directed by John Woo

Red Cliff, a film directed by John Woo is an epic period piece Warlord movie that displayed a war infested regime during the Han Dynasty in China. The Lord of Mainland China was convinced by one of his henchmen, General Cao Cao to battle against the Empire of Wu in Southern China to become the undisputed Warlord of China! The main protaganist in the film were Liu Bei, & Sun Quan, the leader of the Wu’s. Sun Quan’s brother, Zhou Lou who is played by veteran Hong Kong actor – Tony Leung is one of the Wu’s main generals. Zhu Ghe, a character in the film was also pivotal in convincing the divided Wu Empire to collaborate & go against General Cao Cao & their formidable 100,000 strong arms. Zhu Ghe, also proved to be a great weather forecaster in the film! The heartbeat of this movie is less about the gore & graphics of mindless warfare, but more about strategy & the art of war. Discussions about the ‘outdated bagua,turtle, & eagle wing’ formations,predicting weather patterns,& using the plague for psychological morale busters were a trending topic in this period piece movie. You will also see the ladies in the movie play a big part in the decisive battle @ Red Cliff. One of the woman actors in the film will be a familiar face to you if you’ve seen “Shaolin Soccer”. She played the Tai Chi & bun making master.
I would highly recommend watching this movie in any format you can, either bootleg DVD from your nearest Chinatown,VCD,divx,or http://www.hkflix.com , but to truly appreciate the awesomeness of the costume, sound, story, & the graphics of this movie, catch it in the theatre! I really did not know what to expect from a John Woo period piece because I just envisioned the Woo meister to just tell his tale from the Hong Kong gangster point of view. The 2 films that we fans have tattoed in our minds of John Woo is “The Killer” & “Hardboiled”. Then, after a few minutes of meditation & pondering, my mind drifts back & remembers that Woo was a student of the 60 & 70’s shaw brother films. The Woo meister was a protege of the great Chang Cheh! Oh, also of note, “Red Cliff” that is released in American Theater’s is about 2.5 hours long as opposed to the original chinese version which is in 2 parts totaling over 4 hours long. The 2.5 hour express version was ‘frankensteined’ for a respectable release for us movie goers with attention deficit disorder,but if you truly do get a chance, watch the original version. The original cut takes you on a journey & discovers each nook & cranny of some of the characters in the film! Throw your swords & spears in the air & wave them like you just don’t care! We’ll leave those 9mm pistols alone for another time!

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