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Red Cliff

So we watched the two halves of Red Cliff this week. We didn’t watch the cut down version that’s on Netflix streaming, we went for the original 2 movie cut.

It’s a good movie, but with limited appeal.

The actions was very good, the characters were well fleshed and individual, the story (such as it was) went along at a fairly even pace, and the actors all did a good job being the sort of people they were expected to be. As I understand it, this story is a bit like the Arthurian collection of knights in that they’ve got the wise one and the funny one and the nice one… so on.

Here are the problems:
1. Chinese people don’t all look the same to me, but their names do. I ended up giving some of the character’s nicknames or referring to them by the actor who played them. That wasn’t a big problem and didn’t distract me because, as I said, my issue was purely with the fact that Asian names all run together for me very quickly.

2. I don’t know Three Kingdoms history. I know a pretty good amount of China’s cinematic history, and I know the legendary history they put in their cinema, but I don’t know about this period of their history. As a result, I was lost at sea. The movie is more or less made with the understanding that you know the history and know who at least some of these people are. The generals are presented without any fanfare or announcement. You’re just expected to know them on sight. Well, in this instance, it worked for half the house. Syd has played Romance of the Three Kingdoms since it was on the NES and even commented that the generals look exactly like the drawings from the games. For once, Syd was telling me about Chinese history, which was an odd place to be in. I did recognize Guan Yu, but that was for different reasons.

3. There isn’t much of a story. It really is just a battle and a siege. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good side plots, because there are, but it isn’t some grand sweeping story. It’s just the story of this one battle that, in the end, didn’t come to very much.

Still it was a good movie although your mileage will vary. It’s nice to see John Woo make something watchable again at any rate.

November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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