Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 8.5
In ancient China to combat the ambitious Prime Minister Cao Cao who wants the entire Southlands for himself, an unlikely alliance of southern warlords forms and history is changed forever in the battle of Red Cliff.
This movie is being touted as making more at the box office than America’s Titanic, and after seeing it, I can certainly see why. Takashi Kaneshiro, of Accuracy of Death and House of Flying Daggers fame, stars in this epic film as the master strategist Zhuge Liang, and boy does he rule! The other actors I don’t know on sight as yet, but they all did a very fine job anyway. Even if this movie didn’t have wonderful thespians, most of whom are quite easy on the eyes, the sheer storyline would be enough to wow anyone. I know them wacky Asians are known for their skill and ingenuity as far as war and battles go, but this movie really takes the cake. Every audacious maneuver Liang suggests works, and not only does it work, his moves are accomplished with considerably less deaths than there would normally be. Okay, yes, it is an Asian movie, which means yes, most of the scenes are completely over the top. Bear in mind though, every move, every fight scene, every crazed maneuver that actually proceeds to work, is completely possible. How cool is that.
Think of Red Cliff as the Asian version of Braveheart, and I do mean that in the kindest and most complimentary way possible. Plenty of emphasis is placed on the battles and the cruelty of the proverbial bad guy, but the movie in no way neglects the finer things, like poetry and music, and how those things can also affect battles. There is a scene between two of the warlords on the good guy side where they’ve met for the first time to discuss an alliance, and are relaxing in a home, playing first dueling, and then combining qins, which is a Chinese stringed musical instrument. And when they combine playing, with the two distinct styles, it sounds almost like an electric guitar rock concert!
And, for those of you who don’t know, Red Cliff is actually a two-part movie series. Part 1 came out in 2008, Part 2 in 2009, much to the chagrin of so many waiting for the beloved sequel. Review of Part 2 to follow soon!
A grand way to get caught up in a fine story with bravery, skill and strategy, Red Cliff deserves every bit of the accords it received!