Saturday, April 25, 2009

赤壁 - Red Cliff Part 1

赤壁 (Red Cliff Part 1) is 2008 film directed by John Woo. Starring Chen Chang, Lin Chi-Ling, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, and Wei Zhao. Initially thought of as one film when filming began. It was split up into 2 movies. Having seen both, the split was logical and its better as two movies versus a long condensed version. I had watched it last summer and had a first thoughts post.

Red Cliff is based on the Battle of Red Cliffs. Because the storyline has so many characters and Kingdoms, I'll leave it to you to read up on wikipedia. I'll just be talking about what I thought of the film here.

Red Cliff Part 1 has the job of introducing the cast and their importance to the story. So, there's a lot of character development here versus Part 2. But there's just as much action, if not more than Part 2. Two major battles are shown. One in the beginning where Zhao Yun saves Liu Bei's son. The other being the initial engagement between the allied forced against Cao Cao.

Through it all, characters are popping up and right. You do need to have a general knowledge of that era to understand the movie better. But pop up they do. This film also introduces Lin Chi-Ling's acting debut. Lin's been a top model and spokeperson for over 10 years now. But finally making the turn to acting now. And a good roll it is.

Takeshi Kaneshiro plays the iconic Zhuge Liang. Zhuge is like the "sherlock" of the Chinese world. Known for being an expert strategist and intelligence beyond all those around. Zhuge Liang is a reference in Chiense pop culture all the time.

Tony Leung's character of Zhou Yu does creep to the top of importance and prominence as Part I ends.

In all, I thought Red Cliff Part I was a great introduction to the characters and the eminent battle of Red Cliffs.

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