Movie Review #372: Red Cliff 2 (2009)

Solid and never gets old despite its enduring span

In comparison, Red Cliff 2 is just as good as its predecessor. Without having to set up the back stories of some characters, you’re transported directly towards the middle of the action. But with so many things happening, sometimes it loses the viewer’s interest in the process. Spectacle replaces depth of story, making one feel detached. I didn’t feel enough emotion among the cast that makes me want to root for their victory. And the antagonist ends up being a shallow adversary that doesn’t even have any trick in his sleeve (or in this case, his robes) in moments where there could’ve been plot twists and surprises.

However, there are noteworthy performances, specifically Takeshi Kaneshiro playing Zhu-ge Liang and Tony Leung Chiu Wai (lead protagonist Zhou Yu). Both of them did considerably well, not really high-calibre acting but among the cast they pretty much stole the show. Of course what makes the film fun is its tactical planning and war strategies. But the action scenes were also spectacular and entertaining. Like its predecessor, it’s a solid historical epic that’s quite enjoyable and now I’m curious to see what else Chinese productions have to offer.

GRADE: B

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