Red Cliff: DVD Review
The Battle of Red Cliff
Cast: Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro
Released by Warner Home Video
Director John Woo returns to Chinese soil with millions of dollars in Red Cliff, a historical epic about Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi), and the scheming Prime Minister to the Han dynasty Emperor.
The Prime Minister is leading a massive Northern army to quell the rebel warlords of the South.
Filled with sumptuous battle scenes and brutal recreations of the battles which dominated Chinese history, Red Cliff is in places a visual treat. Don't get me wrong, while it looks gorgeous - it is probably a dream film for those who want to study how wars were conducted in years gone by.
But it's ever so slightly hollow - I wasn't quite sure whether some of the close ups of the evil Prime Minister laughing sinisterly were ironic - because if not, they certainly verge on the hammy.
The Battle of Red Cliff is a good story which appears to have been told with a set formula in mind and that hasn't helped.
That said, the battle scenes are quite stunning in places (even if it does come with Woo's trademark slow mo shots)- Red Cliff is an interesting film which doesn't quite engage 100% but as a spectacle it looks fabulous.
Extras: Interview with director John Woo, and a behind the scenes doco