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Red Cliff (in English, 2009)

 
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Sandy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:42 pm    Post subject: Red Cliff (in English, 2009) Reply with quote

It’s Good Guys vs. Bad Guys on a China-Size Scale
By MIKE HALE
Published: November 17, 2009
New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/movies/18redcliff.html



In a six-year stretch beginning in 1986, John Woo released a series of balletic, ultraviolent crime thrillers that would rank among the most influential films of the last quarter-century. They took a hyperkinetic, Hong Kong style of action moviemaking out of the grind house and into the art house (and the suburban video store), from which it would eventually become the default mode for any number of big-budget Hollywood directors.

They also set the future course of Hong Kong cinema, taking it away from its martial arts roots and toward the realm of the operatic police procedural.

After “Hard Boiled” in 1992, Mr. Woo became a Hollywood director himself, making fast-moving but largely forgettable movies. (The best was probably the nukes-on-a-train story “Broken Arrow.”) After “Paycheck” in 2003, he went dark as far as feature films were concerned.

Now he’s back, in two senses: back making movies in Asia and back in theaters with “Red Cliff,” a nearly two-and-a-half-hour historical epic set in the third century A.D. that reunites him with Tony Leung, one of the stars of “Hard Boiled.” It would be nice to report that he’s also back on top of his game, but “Red Cliff,” while handsome and intelligent and perfectly easy to sit through, never really approaches the visceral tug of Mr. Woo’s Hong Kong hits.

Loosely based on the 14th-century Chinese novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” which recounts events in the waning Han dynasty more than a millennium earlier, “Red Cliff” has one of the most familiar of war movie or western setups: the outnumbered good guys scheming to defeat a vastly larger force.

In this case, though, the good guys — a pair of small southern China kingdoms whose forces are led by the viceroy Zhou Yu (Mr. Leung) — number in the tens of thousands, and the bad guys, the Han army led by the megalomaniacal general Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi), in the hundreds of thousands.

Mr. Woo, who can make romantic poetry out of a battle among 20 men in the confines of a teahouse, seems defeated, or at least defused, by this increase in scale. The battle scenes, which involve vast fleets of mostly computer-generated ships, sky-darkening volleys of arrows and the heroic, self-sacrificial storming of ramparts, are no better or worse than what any number of competent Hollywood (or Chinese) directors can turn out. And it’s not that this sort of large-scale action can’t be infused with feeling — Akira Kurosawa proved that it can in “Kagemusha” and “Ran” not long before Mr. Woo was making his breakout films.

Watching “Red Cliff,” you realize that Mr. Woo was always best as a miniaturist: the memorable action sequences in movies like “Bullet in the Head” and “Hard Boiled” are a series of tiny, split-second set pieces, a slide down a banister here, a glance between buddies there. “Red Cliff” has a few similar moments, in the byplay between Mr. Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro as a military strategist and in some of Mr. Leung’s (or his stunt double’s) battlefield acrobatics. But they’re just grace notes amid the grinding mechanics of deploying the troops and moving the story along. (That might not be the case in the five-hour version of the film released in Asia.)



One thing that hasn’t changed since 1992 is the reassuring presence of Mr. Leung, one of the world’s last true matinee idols. His combination of Zen-like calm and wild expressiveness, centered in his pixieish eyes, serves equally well whether he is playing the tortured aesthete for Wong Kar-wai, the murderous bureaucrat for Ang Lee or the action hero for Mr. Woo. Not even body armor and an ancient helmet, let alone a cast of thousands, can contain him.

“Red Cliff” is rated R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for death by arrow, lance and sword.

RED CLIFF

Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed by John Woo; written by Mr. Woo, Khan Chan, Kuo Cheng and Sheng Heyu; directors of photography, Lu Yue and Zhang Li; edited by Angie Lam, Yang Hongu and Robert A. Ferretti; music by Taro Iwashiro; production designer, Tim Yip; produced by Terence Chang and Mr. Woo; released by Magnet Releasing. At the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, 143 East Houston Street, between First and Second Avenues, East Village. In Mandarin, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 28 minutes.

WITH: Tony Leung (Zhou Yu), Takeshi Kaneshiro (Kong Ming), Zhang Fengyi (Cao Cao), Chang Chen (Sun Quan), Zhao Wei (Sun Shangxiang), Hu Jun (Zhao Yun, a k a Zhao Zilong), Shidou Nakamura (Gan Xing) and Chiling Lin (Xiao Qiao).


Last edited by Sandy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:01 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Sandy
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Joined: 19 Dec 2002
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Red Cliff: Part I (2008)

http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/360358/Red-Cliff-Part-I/details

Alternate title: Chi bi, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Chek bik, The Battle of Red Cliff, The War of the Red Cliff



Acting Credits

Tony Leung - Zhou Yu
Takeshi Kaneshiro - Zhuge Liang
Zhang Fengyi - Cao Cao
Chang Chen - Sun Quan
Shido Nakamura - Gan Xing
Hu Jun - Zhao Yun
Yao Yung - Liu Bei
Hou Yong - Lu Su
Tong Da-wei - Sun Shucai
Song Jia - Li Ji
Basenzabu - Guan Yu
Zang Jinsheng - Zhang Fei
Zhang Shan - Huang Gai
Xie Gang
Shi Xiaohong - Jiang Gan
Xu Fengnian
Guo Chao
Hu Xiaoguang
Ma Jing
Yi Zhen
Wang Ning - Emperor Xian
Ye Hua
Lin Chi-Ling - Xiao Qiao
Zhao Wei - Sun Shangxiang
Wang Qingxiang - Kong Rong
Sun Chun
Kou Shixun
Li Hong
Menghe Wuliji
Wang Yuzhang
Zhang Yi
Wu Qi
Chen Changhai
Zhao Chengshun
Jia Hongwei
Cui Yugui
Koyuki
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai - Zhou Yu
Takeshi Kaneshiro - Zhuge Liang
Zhang Fengyi - Cao Cao
Chang Chen - Sun Quan
Hu Jun - Zhao Yun
Shidou Nakamura - Gan Xing
Lin Chiling - Xiao Qiao

Production Credits

Director - John Woo
Screenplay - Sheng Heyu
Screenplay - John Woo
Producer - John Woo

Director - John Woo
Producer - Terence Chang
Executive Producer - Han Sanping
Executive Producer - Wu Kebo
Executive Producer - Masato Matsuura
Executive Producer - Ryuhei Chiba
Executive Producer - Huang Chin-wen
Executive Producer - Kim Woo-taek
Executive Producer - Ryu Jeong-Chun
Executive Producer - John Woo
Co-Producer - Anne Wood
Co-Producer - Daxing Zhang
Co-Producer - Yeh Jufeng
Co-Producer - David Tang
Co-Producer - Wang Wei
Co-Producer - cheri yeung
Co-Producer - Yang Shoucheng
Associate Producer - Lori Tilkin
Associate Producer - Todd Weinger
Executive Producer - John Woo
Executive Producer - Ryuhei Chiba
Screenplay - Kuo Cheng
Screenplay - Khan Chan
Source Material - Luo Guanzhong
Production Supervisor - Rick Murken
Line Producer - Rick Nathanson
Assistant Director - Thomas Chow
Assistant Director - Albert Cho
Assistant Director - Richard L. Fox
Director of Photography - Lu Yue
Director of Photography - Zhang Li
Editor - Robert A. Ferretti
Editor - Angie Lam
Music - Taro Iwashiro
Production Designer - Tim Yip
Casting - Cheng Jie
Costume Designer - Tim Yip
Sound - Roger Savage
Sound Designer - Steve Burgess
Production Accountant - Howard Young
Stunt Supervisor - Dion Lam
Stunt Coordinator - Guo Jianyong
Action Director - Corey Yuen
Visual Effects Supervisor - Craig Hayes
Visual Effects Supervisor - Kevin Rafferty
Visual Effects Producer - Marc Sadeghi
Second Unit Director - Zhang Jinzhan
Second Unit Director - Patrick Leung
Producer - John Woo
Screenwriter - John Woo
Second Unit Director - Corey Yuen
Screenwriter - Sheng Heyu
Screenwriter - Kuo Cheng
Second Unit Director - Patrick Leung
Editor - Robert A. Ferretti
Editor - Yang Hongyu
Editor - David Wu
Line Producer - Rick Nathanson
Composer (Music Score) - Taro Iwashiro
Editor - Angie Lam
Cinematographer - Lu Yue
Costume Designer - Tim Yip
Producer - Terence Chang

Company Information

CMC Entertainment Group - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
China Film Group - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
ShowBox Entertainment - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Mei Ah Film Production Company - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Scorpio East Entertainment Pte Ltd - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Toho-Towa Company - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Acme Film - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Bontonfilm - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Icon UK Group - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Monolith Films Sp. z o.o. - Foreign Theatrical Distributor
Magnolia Pictures - Domestic Theatrical Distributor
Summit Entertainment, LLC - Foreign Distribution Sales
Constantin Film Verleih GmbH - Foreign Distribution Rights
Ascot Elite Entertainment Group - Foreign Distribution Rights
Entertainment One Films - Foreign Distribution Rights
Magnolia Home Entertainment - Domestic Video Distributor
Icon UK Group - Theatrical Distributor
Blitz Film & Video - Theatrical Distributor
Entertainment One UK - Theatrical Distributor
Independent Films (IF) - Theatrical Distributor
Gulf Film, LLC - Theatrical Distributor
TriPictures - Theatrical Distributor
Nordisk Film - Theatrical Distributor
20th Century Fox International - Theatrical Distributor
Belga Films - Theatrical Distributor
Hoyts Distribution - Theatrical Distributor
ZON Lusomundo (Portugal) - Theatrical Distributor
Tiglon A.S. - Theatrical Distributor
Nu-Metro - Theatrical Distributor
United Motion Pictures (UMP) - Theatrical Distributor
Tatra Film - Theatrical Distributor
Odeon S.A. - Theatrical Distributor
Tuck - Theatrical Distributor
Metropolitan Filmexport - Theatrical Distributor
Eagle Pictures (Italy) - Theatrical Distributor
Golden Village - Theatrical Distributor
Lion Rock Productions - Production Company
China Film Group - Production Company
CMC Entertainment Group - Production Company
ShowBox Entertainment - Production Company
Chengtian Entertainment - Production Company
Avex Entertainment - Production Company
Taewon Entertainment - Production Company
The Orphanage, Inc. - Production Credit
CafeFX - Production Credit
Hatch Production - Production Credit

Locations

Beijing, China

Awards
Nomination


Film Presented - 2009 Chicago International Film Festival
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