Monday, July 28, 2008

Movie Review: Red Cliff

I finally watched Chi Bi (part 1) today. I missed some parts of it due to a late (but delicious) lunch.

The movie is about the events of the Battle of Red Cliffs from the Records of the Three Kingdoms and not Romance of the Three Kingdoms. (Big difference but still bias toward Liu Bei =/)

It was a bloody film. Lots of blood flying around but not explicitly so. I loved the fighting scenes though I think it can be better considering John Woo is directing this. You see all the warriors from Liu Bei's side pawning all the soldiers and Zhuge Liang pawning Cao Cao big time with all his formations.

I liked the comparison of Cao Cao to a tiger which Sun Quan has to kill to prove his courage, and the scenes between Zhou Yu (Tony Leung) and Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro wtf) having manly musical challenges and manly stares with each other.

People snickered when this guy appears lol

In fact, Zhou Yu's wife, Xiao Qiao (Chiling Lin) feels more like a third wheel between the two of them. No chemistry sparks between Zhou Yu and Xiao Qiao. Chiling Lin's acting skills - if any- fails to make her role more than a flower vase; nice to look at but useless.

The other more important female lead, Sun Shang Xiang (Zhao Wei) was so much better as she hit Liu bei. Muahhaha. Teach those sexist men! And she rules by having her own group of female archers and participating in battle. (even though that did not happen in reality. >.>)

As someone who knows shit about the three kingdom I liked the show though I couldn't help but feel that this movie can be so much better. The action is good but not fantastic. I don't feel the urgency like when I watched Dark Knight. It's like something is missing even though this is an epic battle.

In addition, the scenes such as the one where the horse was giving birth does nothing but to slow down the overall pace of the show. There isn't any point in it. I am also rather annoyed that the director has decided to go down the easy path by making Cao Cao a typical villain who lust over Xiao Qiao. Such details bogged down the movie.

Red Cliff is stated to release outside of asia as a single 2.5 hours film for overseas. WTH? This movie has two parts over 4 hours! The one I saw today is part 1. Part 2 has yet to be released. Movie goers outside Asia are getting the short end of the stick with the super condensed version which is likely to be all battles. That itself might just be a good thing as random shots of pigeons will be removed.

My recommendation is: Watch Red Cliff. As a movie about the three kingdom, it's rather enjoyable although not all the scenes are historical correct.

Rating: 7/10


Budi said...


I was disappointed with this film. I'm a huge Romance of The Three Kingdoms fan, and I went to see the film with high expectations(although those expectations were lowered after reading some of the early reviews from Chinese media).
The one that really doesn't make sense is the final battle scene where the bagua formation was used. What's the point in showing each generals fighting over a bunch of enemy's soldiers while your own soldiers do nothing? I never saw anything like this in the book.
The only plus from the film is the visuals.

T__T said...

Yes. haha. The bagua formation seriously does not make sense since it actually came out after that period of time.

As a movie on its own, it's pretty good (if you ignore the flower vase bits).

I should post a disclaimer, this movie is good if you have zero information on Romance of The Three Kingdoms.

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