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The Battle Of Red Cliff

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Guest MissDoeEyes

omg why lin zhi ling? urgh

anyway I wanna check this movie out! Haven't ever read the book (what can I say, my reading skills are primary level) but this book is like a friggen classic!

might watch it in a few months time.

I don't blame you for not reading the book it's like 120 chapters long! lol My grandpa has a copy in Chinese but my Chinese reading skills are :unsure:

I'm not a Lin Zhi-Ling either but my friend watched it and she says that Zhi-Ling's basically a vase and she's only in there for like 5 minutes. lol

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Guest Ender's Girl

ohhhhh.... sweet, baby, SWEET!!!

:w00t: :w00t: :w00t:

i hope this goes for wide release. it ain't showing in my corner of the universe as of yet. :unsure:

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Guest mookie

I have couple problems with the movie. It's not bad in general, still enjoyable to most, but I was frustrated watching it. The nicest thing I can say...it's a Monet, masterpiece that should be taken in fr afar....and for Red Cliff....VERY afar.

There may be spoilers in the rant ahead, watch out.

I HATED the score. I have never watched a movie when the music and score soo undermined the dramatic tensions of the scenes. Gosh. There were times I wanna watch it mute, esp during the fighting scenes with no lines. ( and I did later on). The score downgraded the movie into cartoonish kitsch at times, and for some of the really well choreographed fighting scenes (the absolute strength of the movie), which was just that close to perfection, it's a lame shame. Annoyed me to no end.

Lin ChiLing was actually not the most cringing thing in the movie....and I cant believe I'm saying this as a lifelong fan of Tony Leung...*sigh* but his Zhou Yu was out of his elements. There were times when he looked unnecessarily moody/scheming with a shady dark cunningness in his eyes. Other times he's a joking smirk that was contriving to watch, left me scratching me head. And I didnt know if I can blame Lin Chiling for their lack of chemistry as a couple. Other times he reminded me of his terrifying but mesmerizing Mr Yee fr Lust, Caution, and that was wrong on many levels for Zhou Yu in Red Cliff.

And I think I'm going to get some spears/arrows thrown my way, but Tony and Takeshi had a broiling sizzling gay flirty vibe, it's pulsating through almost every scene and I didnt mean it's good chemistry. If John Woo was trying to hint on a lesser known *wink* 'comradery' between these 2 hot brains of their times, he overdid it.

And what was most bugging me were scenes when John Woo tried too hard to wow. He got his recognition, this was a marvelous story to tell, LOTR should be a lesser imitation of 3 kingdoms IF executed perfectly. so he should just put a reign on his ambitions to make this 'bigger' 'better' than it could've been. I didn't like the white dove CGs, I know it's a signature of his, and there's a scene where he just wanna let us peek into Caocao's camp, but it was embarassingly pretentious. He needed a better editing eye for artistry and try harder not to fall into those pitfalls where he had little expertise in ...like that 'guqin' competitive scene btn Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang, Woo didnt have the artistic eye to pick the suitable music to convey the intricate 'battle' these 2 geniuses were fighting through their music, AND he knew that thus added an extra convo later on btn Zhou and Xiao Qiao to STATE the 'obvious'. That should be a pivotal scene in the movie when these 2 greats first 'butt heads' and therefore prelude to their lifelong admiration and competitiveness, but Woo failed, he knew it and told us so in that subsequent convo scene... again *sigh* it's frustrating to watch.

And that fight scene at the climax was dragged out too long, losing all logic. No way in sucha battle when each and every one of the biggies (SIX of them) be posing and 'introduced' out like in WWF boxin , each had a solo showdown to show their 'KO' skills. And I find Tony/Zhou Yu's fighting skills and how he's mystified into this warring hero superior almost to Zhuge Liang's just brainiac...disturbing. One of the major interesting arc in this epic should be the vis a vis btn these 2 equally intelligent schemers. Woo instilled too much of his personal preferences and authoritatively force-fed us who we should root for. <_<

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Guest ripgal

I watched the movie yesterday.. and I thought it was pretty good.

Some of the CGI was a bit off for me tho..but overall, I thought the movie was pretty interesting.. at least it enlightened me about my ancestor's history.. (so shameful not to know anything about it..darn)..

I can't say Tony Leung was brilliant in the movie.. he was good, but his portrayal as Zhou Yu was not his best IMO. The others were alright.. performance-wise, nobody really gave me the WOAH or WOW feeling..(well except for that Takeshi Kaneshiro was quite the convincing one as Zhu Ge Liang. I would never have imagined him to play the legendary intellect). Story was quite interesting tho... I can't wait for the upcoming one? There is one right?


Lin Zhi Ling's pretty.. but her voice.. urhhh.. just couldn't take it..

Actingwise, I don't think it's that difficult a character to portray either.. so nah..

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And I think I'll going to get some spears/arrows thrown my way, but Tony and Takeshi had a broiling sizzling gay flirty vibe, it's pulsating through almost every scene and I didnt mean it's good chemistry. If John Woo was trying to hint on a lesser known *wink* 'comradery' between these 2 hot brains of their times, he overdid it.

LOL, it's funny you should say that, mookie, because apparently in ROTK, Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang did not take to each other at all. In the historical account, Zhou Yu was also the supreme commander for the Battle of the Red Cliffs, Zhuge Liang's role was not too significant. I think people tend to forget that Zhou Yu was a military strategist in his own right, and the movie overplayed Zhuge Liang's intellect. I think the friendship in the movie also was too... rushed, they bonded over one incident at the training ground and then the awful qin duel. I didn't feel they were set to be great friends or that they mutually respected each other's intelligence and achievements. I think it could also be a casting problem - I have no problem seeing Tony Leung as Zhuge Liang, but Takeshi Kaneshiro in that role is a little laughable. Tony as Zhou Yu... adequate, but not spectacular. I hear he came into the movie after Lust, Caution, so perhaps that movie sapped too much of his energy.

Woo's take on the complexities of the Three Kingdoms period is basically a Chinese 101 course - very broad brushstrokes that neglected some of the finer (and more important) details. I feel he did not manage to bring out successfully what a complex and shrewd character Cao Cao is. By dumbing down the man and insinuating he started the war because of Xiao Qiao is just wrong. I respect Zhang Fengyi a lot as an actor, but I felt he lacked a little something in his portrayal of Cao Cao. You're right in saying Woo basically split the good and bad very easily for the audience - but I suppose, given that he meant this film for Western audiences who may not be familiar with Chinese history, it might be an easier dose for them to absorb. Any part of the Three Kingdoms period is just too complex for a movie, even when it's split into two parts. Imagine what a condensed version might become...

The doves were... kinda redundant - this is me not being too familiar with Woo's quirks and preferences.

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Guest mookie

^ Yesyesyes, I have a problem too with Zhang Fengyi as Caocao. It's not the actor's fault per se, it's a miscast (and the script). The commanding conqueror vibe captivating at first glance was nowhere to be found, that was what's feeding his insatiable ambitions and his ultimate downfall, we needed an undeniable contrast between his own commanding leadership qualities verses the weakling of an emperor just coz his surname was Liu. It was a good minute into the scene when I realized he was THE Caocao. John Woo made some very poor choices of whether he wanted to stick with historical accuracy or colorful dramatization (Records vs Romance). Again, I dont mind a terrific adaptation weaving both in. And it's the dagger for me with that fictional arc of the Xiao Qiao lookalike. Caocao was a character that was drenched in drama, he's made by his times yet destructed by his times. He really didnt require that redundant romantic technicolor dreamcoat to add bite into why the powerful Caocao will want to fight the battle of Red Cliff. <_<

So counting other crucial miscasts: Tony Leung as Zhou Yu (*sigh* and I really didnt like the overzealous 'mystique' of not shooting his face for good couple minutes when he's making his entrance'... <_< and

him fighting when it's a clear victory for their camp

...ARGH, hello, is that necessary or just for show?!@# he's supposed to be a smart strategist?!@#!!! <_<<_< ); Takeshi as Zhuge, not sure if it's solely miscast coz some of the lines were again very kitschy to be spoken by this intelligent being. I've never regarded him as a terrific actor, he's not bad here, but he needed a reserved subtlety in this role as a true thinker instead of just a smartypants who can crack a few blatant gags. ( I really dont find the line

'I need to chill' in reference to him always carrying a fan

funny or brilliant... *sigh*) I cant cut him slack just coz he's super gorgeous, Zhuge should charm us with his brain, not the dazzling smiles which left all boys/girls/beasts/fowls defenseless.

And these were all 3 most pivotal roles. In historical epics where it's character driven and with the complexities of all elements at play, there was not much screentime for waste, let alone convincing us of a miscast (let alone 3, major). They do need to look the part first and foremost. The original cast of Chow Yun Fat as Zhou Yu and Tony Leung as Zhuge Liang maybe a better fit in my imagination. I like most of the other castings though, they were brilliant down to Zhao Wei, Nakamura Shido. (edit: no one can really accept Lin Chiling as SQ, and I refuse to acknowledge such a person exists)

I dont mind the story split in parts, but the pacing was not handled well.

Horse in labor scene made me go WTH fr the get go, y would both dump the crucial trainin of the troops for that?! and what's with all that overreaction by the cool resolved Zhou?! Woo's trying to tell us they r vehement animal lovers?! Horses r godly?! Zhou had a passionate irrational side?! Zhuge was so genius he was a vet too?!.

.. :blink:<_< and how drawn out it was, was messing with me.

Aziraphale, (*droolz* at your HB siggy :sweatingbullets: ) John Woo is a devolted Christian and so he's discussed the philosophy behind doves=peace and his use to counteract the brutality of his fighting scenes as if it's an atonement for him to glorify violence. That redundant scene was so far into the movie that I've lost all expectation of it to redeem itself and I was amusing/busying myself thinking maybe that dove was a gadget with a gps+webcam+telepathic to Zhuge to live feed our 2 brainiacs Caocao's camp or else y was Zhuge AND Zhou fanning it to dry the precious feathers with all the tlc he didnt show when

Xiao Qiao told him she's pregant

then just setting it free next?! And that white dove CG was not acceptable in this day and age. I just havent seen a JohnWoo production since his golden HK days, so I wasnt expecting we'll be one foot still stuck in the 90s.

Again, it has an abundance of visual niceties, a lot of thought and dedication were poured into it, it's a pity hardwork doesnt equate to movie magic. The debilitating crucial flaws degraded it to just another wannabe epic.

What frustrated me most was the Chinese 101ness, this was the nth chinese 'period/historical epic' I've sat through. Diluting these characters to straight good and evil wouldnt stimulate interest anymore, it'll only work for Dynasty Warriors 6, 7, 8...enough trials and embarrassing errors to speak it loud and clear. If the movie was executed flawlessly, it'll speak through audiences. Why disregard whole Chinese audience who has a language based on quotes fr three Kingdom warriors in their daily usage just to kiss up some finicky Hollywood crowd?!

All rants aside, I will still watch part 2 if only for the burning navy. But dear Director Woo, can u put more thought into whether u can handle the sensitive intense era of 1949? Again it has a questionable casting already, a nobody like me frustrated again at the movies is trivial. However I felt a looming unease for your credibility in jeopardy (let alone the political+social repercussions).

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^ Yes, the miscast was very unfortunate, because this is the type of story where casting = half the battle won. The other half would have to be the script, but the characterisation of all the major characters was flat. I had a friend suggest Sonny Chiba as Cao Cao, which I thought was quite refreshing - Ken Watanabe was the original choice. Takeshi... he's a nice guy and a pretty good-looking chap, but he really does not have the acting chops, and certainly not enough for such a role. I would have also preferred the original choices of Chow Yun Fatt for Zhou Yu (albeit a tad old), and Tony for Zhuge Liang. Someone on IMDB complained Nakamura Shido over-acted with his eyebrow twitching, lol. Xiao Qiao was a totally redundant character - Woo should have done away with the women roles and focused more on the brotherhood aspect - these were complex times and women obviously more often than not took a backseat to the politics of the era. I think for all the grandness of this "epic", there was neither a lot of historical accuracy nor strong characterisation, which is very disappointing for all the hype it's gotten so far. There was no tension, no military battle of wits, poor characterisation. It was just a long drawn-out war that got tired somewhere in the middle, and it was only part 1. I just know I'll cringe my way through part 2 because of that "romantic" story arc.

The horse part was funny, kinda like comic relief. The doves... eh, far as I'm concerned, his script did not even deal properly with the complexities of both the era and its people, there's no redemption of any kind to speak of -_-

I have huge beef with the dialogue. Again it goes back to this desire to cater to Western audiences, and as you've rightly pointed out, neglected a good chunk of the Chinese-speaking ones. I couldn't believe how modernised the dialogue sounded, it grated on my ears because I was expecting something with more finesse, not this... I dunno. It was very cringe-worthy, especially the part where Sun Shangxiang comforted Sun Quan when he was in one of his inferior moods. That was Chinese 101 in its full glory and I just didn't see the need for it. You can't just make a historical epic without paying attention to something like that. If I wanted a movie with all the trappings of modern society, I'd go watch something else, not a movie about the Three Kingdoms era. I don't want to be attending a Chinese 101 language course as well - I may not be up to reciting classics, but I'm not stupid as to need a dumbed down version of the dialogue.

As for 1949, I already don't like one of the cast members. I don't think Song Hye Kyo can act. I have no issues so far with Chang Chen, though his Sun Quan was a bit... edgy and twitchy. I hope he's better fleshed out in part 2.

A side note: what's the fascination again with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? I thought it was awful.

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Guest mookie

^ haha I'm agreeing with everything down to the miscast in 1949 already. Crouching Tiger was very overrated for me too, I didnt enjoy it, but not the fault of the execution. I can fairly say it was better than the book. The original book by Wang Dou Lo(?) was a dreary read imo, it was one of the pioneer of the whole wuxia romance genre but the style needed tonnes of refinement. Wuxia novels didnt hit gold till Jin Yung, he will forever be THE best. (and please will ALL stay away fr raping his work repeatingly by trippy 'adaptations'.. I'm beggin on all 4s :tears: )

Red Cliff pained me most with John Woo. He was a great in his niche, I enjoyed his HK gangster brotherhood movies though never a fangirl. I can turn a blind understanding eye to his selling out to Hollywood for all those duds btn the years for $ and 'prestige' or whatnots.

But this was freaking 3 Kingdoms!...In production for years, with every Asian talent droolzing and lining up for a role/cameo and burnt truckloads of $ for things we've seen 10, 15 years back in HK cinema. We grew up reading everything about it, it was the best loved Chinese novels across gender for any generation. Then there were Dynasty Warriors 12345xyz... even those densha otokos can name key figures (AND their weapons) and battles abeit questionable historical truth in perfect mando. vid games r not my thing, but if I can be fascinated enough with DW's storytelling of ROTK to sit thro watching my bro playing till no end...that said sth about how massive a failure this movie was. There was zero excuse for it to stink. With seriously no bias of mine, materials fr Records and Romance of the 3 Kingdoms combined beat LOTRs (books) no contest. If it's possible to churn out the quality of LOTRs trilogy (imo r well done, but I slept thro parts 1, 3), I was expecting Red Cliff to be better, I'd already readjusted my expectation after the Chow fiasco AND casting Lin Chiling.

If that's all there is to John Woo when he's tried his very best and went all out fr his bag of tricks with such an epic, terrific a story to tell (heard he's a fanatic of 3 kingdoms, who isnt?! :ph34r: ) and this abundance of top artists at his disposal...and ended up with sth as mediocre, I lost faith in him. I now started to think he has always been overrated. My theory was that his HK cinema circa 80s-90s glory has seeped too deep into his blood. He didnt progress and adapt his vision pertaining to this movie. If he made a satirical comedy 90s HK style, EVERYTHING he poured in down to the cringing modern lines and the boobie-vase-Lin WILL work. This was soo littered with all the wrong judgements and decisions per director that I think he should not attempt another serious ambitious project. To make things worst, I can tell he's so confident in his calculations of how to wow the audiences but ended up with a cringeworthy mess. I bet he'll blatantly tell u he casted Lin Chiling/her boobies for the bedscenes thus will glorify it as putting a feminine stamp in his 'epic' to soften the movie/Zhou.. I hope he had the same excuse for that named actress in 1949. :sweatingbullets:

I was actually pleasantly surprised with Chang Zhen's Sun. Yeah he's twitchy, but Sun in my mind was a fickling thing. Sun was a mediocre character on his own fr the books Chang was not helped by any terrific material in the movie either. But to my annoyance I was paying more attention to him than the gorgeous specimen of Takashi's Zhuge...*sigh* again, Sun Quan + Zhou Yu combined should not steal the show fr Zhuge Liang, that is elementary 3 Kingdoms.... ARGH!!

So I can proudly predict Chang Zhen will save the day for 1949 (if savagable)

Again, was Red Cliff the worst in its genre, most definitely not. But I've forever lost respect for John Woo. (and Chow gained back a drop fr awful Pirates in dropping this.)

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^ I totally agree that there should have been no room for error re a movie about the Three Kingdoms era, and to be honest, when I first heard it was John Woo, I was already hesitant because he's not known for historical epics like this. Just as Zhang Yimou is better off filming social-commentary-like movies instead of wuxia (House of Flying Daggers, anyone? :rolleyes: ), maybe Woo should have left this sort of epic to another director. I think it's always good to try new things, but the intention was wrong to begin with. To have a film with a subject like this catered to Western audiences is, I feel, not quite right. I can understand the desire to introduce a complex part of Chinese history (and literature) to audiences who are not familiar with it, but there has to be some sort of balance and it's clear that there isn't any in the movie.

As for 'softening' the movie... well, that's just plain weird considering Woo is known for strong 'brotherhood' and action movies like A Better Tomorrow. The action scenes in Red Cliff were pretty decent, but nothing really breathtaking as some action scenes can be, which is a pity because Woo should have gone all out in this aspect instead of adding fluff romance that was totally not needed. I am really aghast that he chose Lin Chi Ling to star in such a big-budget production - surely there are enough experienced actresses out there to take on the role, so why did he go for a model who can barely squeak out her lines? It's just as you said, Woo should take a break after Red Cliff and not attempt something of this magnitude, but there's 1949 coming up and I won't hold out too much hope for it (poor Chang Chen!).

The more I think about the movie, the more ridiculous the choice of Takeshi as Zhuge Liang is. He's like a big boy who's just discovered how to win a game of marbles, it's that weird. And it took me a while to realise Liu Bei was... Liu Bei, y'know. The actor was okay, but he looked like a tired grandfather for much of the movie. Maybe it was to bring out his 'humane and benevolent' side? I did like what little dynamics I saw of the Sun Quan & Zhou Yu brotherhood scenes, but from what I read in a magazine about part 2, Xiao Qiao's gonna get captured and we will have Zhou Yu 'saving the damsel in distress'. Can we say YUCK?


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Guest mookie

yeah I was hesitant with John Woo as the director too, but he has his brilliance with actions and I was holding onto my fascination with this material. Records was just in historical text, dry and matter of fact but just the stating of events alone was fascinating enough for a 10 year old. and I have never watched any adaptation of 3 kingdoms in any medium that I cant find some brilliance (of coz I know how to protect my sanity, refusing to watch that Andy Lau vehicle). And he had his strings of embarrassments for YEARS already, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he still has sth up his sleeves, how wrong was I?!@# <_<<_<<_<

At least I have u here to rant with, this is cathartic. I dont even wanna ponder more into the movie, the more I think and read about it, the more ridiculous. Esp after I read this article. If I had read it sooner, I would've steered clear and just forget about it.


Brief trans if anyone is interested in what was said at the premiere (I'm still in shock):

1. HE thought Zhuge should be a cute, lively and humorous character who loves animals. (he REALLY did that horsey AND fanning doves scenes with THAT intention, no joke)

2. He wanna 'modernize', and 'humanize' the historical figures so the audience can feel a closer connection...thus those lines.... (um.......HELLO?! Mr Woo, we were never gangsters in long black raincoats tauting guns or babies but we FELT those lively characters no prob. )

3. Mr. Woo specifically gave Tony Leung directions of showcasing that 'comradery' and 'adorations' btn Zhou and Zhuge just like his trademark brotherly loves. Mr. Woo went on to say he wanted to make this a fun loving pair. (I'm rendered speechless) Tony subtle, snide remark: Yes, director Woo did ask us to showcase a special bond. It's good that we like and respect each other, so there was no embarrassment ensued. ( cant help sneering, and hahaha I'm more than 100% sure Dir Woo didnt get his double entendre)

4. I stopped reading that paragraph with the heading: ' Lin ChiLing: I guarantee no squeaky pitchy voice' (yeah, my behind) And I'm never ever going to forgive Mr. Woo of his lack of judgement should he give more scenes to Miss Lin come next installment. I already cant forgive him dubbing over Tony's voice but NOT Miss Linthevase's.

Chinese directors desperately needed a better critique of themselves. This was the nth disappointing movie of this scope which was hyped to be THE pride *and all I can see was the inferiority complex* and will break this genre once and for all in Hollywood. I was saddened with Hero, Daggers, Banquet and the disaster of all Promise... These movies all shattered my respect for these directors whom I used to enjoyed. They truly take pride in our culture and heritage making this?! REALLY?!@# with all the wrong dedication of efforts in flirting with the Hollywood crowd, did they forget what their recognition stemmed from? What do they see so godly in those Hollywood run of the mill stuff when they USED to be able to make their OWN magic (with acclaims and success) on screen?!@# Mr Woo didnt get one ounce of reverence fr all his Hollywood attempts, the accolades of admiration still was fed fr his HK days. Cant they get a grip?! And just to dumbfound me more.... this will be another $ making machine.

As for Chang Chen, he's slowly and steadily stolen my heart. I've always found him interesting to watch as an actor. But now he was at the best of his game. He had just the right amount of looks, recognition, acclaim and talent but without the baggages of bigger better stars such as Tony. He was not perfection yet, and didnt have that overbearing commanding presence, but in exchange he had the liberty to have a more expansive, almost more free/individual takes on his characters and got away with the entrapments of directors and everything, making his own stamp, and always brilliantly. Now I remember Eros was not enjoyable for me, but his acting was spot on, holding his own against Gong Li. He was able to transcend the trademarks/pitfalls of the directors he's worked with. So I'm not worried about him in 1949, but I'm pretty sure I'll be back for more rants then.

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^ LOL mookie, I think we're the only ones ranting in this thread :P For me at least, the more I think about the movie, the worse it gets. I think it's very well to have some artistic licence, but... this is too much creative licence. I read the entire article you provided and I couldn't help rolling my eyes. Instead of focusing on the important things (plot, hello? characterisation, hello?), he went and showed how "human" Zhuge was. This is going overboard with pigeons. I didn't know before watching the movie that pigeons were John Woo's trademark, but now I just think the whole scene was dumb. And Lin Chi Ling was horrible in the film, what the hell was Woo talking about? Her voice grated on my ears, almost on par with the yuck factor that was Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger.

Btw, I think he didn't dub Tony's voice in the film, or Takeshi's. I cringed everytime Takeshi spoke, it sounded a little off. They should have just dubbed the voices of all the non-mainland actors. To be fair, though, I did find Hu Jun's performance quite good.

I didn't have too much of an issue with Hero, because I thought it was more philosophical than wuxia, and in that, Zhang Yimou pulled it off okay. Daggers sucked, just the last five minutes (dying scene) was enough to show how truly ridiculous it was. I gave Banquet a miss because I refused to watch Zhang Ziyi in yet another duh movie, and I heard Promise was bad from the get-go. I dunno, I guess everyone's out to make THE epic without realising that a movie made with the right attitude, heart and passion is already an epic in its own right. I loved Zhang Yimou's earlier movies, like Red Sorghum, because you could feel his passion for his work and subject, and that's how movies should be made. When a movie is all grandeur and pomp but not much else... well, it won't stand the test of time and that's what Red Cliff will become. I am already dreading part 2.

I do like Chang Chen, but I haven't seen enough of his movies as yet. I do know he's taken on some weird roles and so far no defining one - the crap in Crouching Tiger doesn't count. We'll just have to hope he comes out real good in Red Cliff part 2.

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