Movie Review #370: Red Cliff (2008)

A historical epic that stays true to its description

John Woo’s retelling of the last days of the Han Dynasty is powerful, masterfully-shot, and well-directed. The only problem is the plot’s tendency to create situations that reduce its believability. Whether it was his intention to present history in hyperbolic fashion I’m not sure, but overlooking the film’s tendency to stray towards fantasy I was delightfully pleased by its grandness and dedication to present the war in an artistic manner.

The battle scenes were just as good as the ones from American classics such as Gladiator. Asians have a different style in terms of choreography in action sequences, but both know how to please whoever is watching. I particularly enjoyed the planning of the war like it was a game of chess, with some references to Sun Tzu occasionally. I also liked the intricacy of the weapons used, as well as how it were used in battle. The climax leading to the beginning of the sequel truly was epic in scale and execution no matter how ridiculous it may seem. There could’ve been more focus in other key characters, but suffice to say nearly all of the cast were likeable and performed well. Simply put, it was a solid war movie that can challenge other international offerings in visual splendor and execution.

GRADE: B

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