Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Anyone who enjoys stylized hyper-violence should be enthralled by this long, sweeping, murderously vivid dramatization of ancient Chinese warfare, circa A.D. 208.
  2. The immensity encompasses such variety, subtlety and intimacy that you may find yourself yearning for more.
  3. This is magnificent filmmaking, and a magnificent film.
  4. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Red Cliff is a dichotomous beast: The computer-generated imagery that makes so much of it possible is served up in heaping, state-of-the-art portions, but the results occasionally border on the cartoonish. At the same time, Red Cliff is a classic tale that gets a classicist's treatment.
  5. The spectacular battle scenes are the engorged heart of the delirious adventure. But Woo also gets maximum romantic value from Tony Leung as a war hero married to Chiling Lin as the tea-pouring beauty.
  6. 83
    Woo's hand is sure and his eye, as ever, finds beauty in everything, even death.
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Camp, over-the-top and entirely unbelievable: in short, the best thing John Woo has made in years.
  8. 80
    It's a movie on the Hollywood scale that has so much of the Asian spirit. It has drawn the Asian audience back to the movie theater.
  9. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Red Cliff exudes a physical grandiosity that few movies of the past 20 years have attempted--no matter that Woo, even at his best, is still more at ease with down-and-dirty action than epic pageantry.
  10. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Balances character, grit, spectacle and visceral action in a meaty, dramatically satisfying pie that delivers on the hype and will surprise many who felt the Hong Kong helmer progressively lost his mojo during his long years stateside.
  11. 75
    A scrumptious war movie.
  12. As expected, it has gaping holes where back stories used to be. Still, it's a historical war movie with impressive sweep, strong characterizations and the kind of idiosyncratic flourishes that made Woo such an irresistible storyteller.
  13. We are reminded: War is hell. But at their best, war movies can be cool and beautiful.
  14. Reviewed by: Maggie Lee
    A prelude that provides the beams and columns for the narrative framework, but with a few decisive and spot-on action spectacles, it sufficiently kindles expectations for the climactic clash in Part 2.
  15. Any war picture in which the heroine stalls the villain with a quiet, painstaking tea ceremony until the wind shifts direction and the good guys can firebomb the bad guys into oblivion is too ineffably Zen not to love.
  16. Returning to his roots after a stint in Hollywood, Woo has made the most expensive film in mainland Chinese history, a pleasantly traditional picture that marks a new direction for one of the world's premier action maestros.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    While handsome and intelligent and perfectly easy to sit through, never really approaches the visceral tug of Mr. Woo’s Hong Kong hits.
  18. 67
    You may have the biggest flat-screen DLP monitor in the city, but Red Cliff will never look half as spectacular as it will on the big – and I mean really big – screen.
  19. 67
    The film is both traditional and modern: austere in its engagement with history, and insistent in its showy action beats.
  20. 63
    Even at 148 minutes (and viewed twice!), you still feel as if you’re watching the longest coming attraction ever for a John Woo movie.
  21. Overlong but ambitious, Woo proves he's as good at tactical maneuvers as he is at close-quarters combat.
  22. For all his brilliance with choreography, Woo is flummoxed by the thousands of actual human extras, though there’s no denying his commitment to the finer points of battle tactics (yawn).
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Apr 4, 2012
    Après son "séjour" hollywoodien (Broken Arrow, Volte/Face, Mission : Impossible 2, Paycheck), John Woo rentre enfin au pays en nous livrant un film chinois. Et ce que l'on peut lui reconnaître après ces années d'exil, c'est bien l'efficacité de chacun de ses films. Pour cause, Les 3 Royaumes est un film pour le moins spectaculaire et grand spectacle (le réalisateur, bien que sa mise en scène peu laisser à désirer par moment avec surdose de ralentis, donne ici un bon effet), avec les moyens du bord (costumes, effets spéciaux, accessoires...). Rajoutons à cela un casting honorable et le tour et jouer! Enfin presque... Un défaut vient pourtant assombrir le tout. Un défaut que l'on doit aux producteurs, qui ont voulu raccourcir le film (de 4h à 2h30). Résultat : un film charcuté (scénario sans âme, trop tourné vers l'action, montage brouillon...)! Bref, il est dommage de voir que le film aurait pu être bien mieux si, une fois de plus, on avait laissé le réalisateur s'amuser jusqu'au bout! Full Review »
  2. LindaC
    Dec 22, 2009
    Bravo John Woo, cast and crew! War can never be made beautiful, romantic though many government and its leaders try to. However, the experience that human beings can have despite war can be beautiful, romantic; John, cast and crew achieve that in a mesmerizing way. Full Review »
  3. TDKinDallas
    Dec 4, 2009
    Major disappointment after waiting for so long for it to come to Dallas! I still recommend seeing it, but it is really only for people who enjoy HK movies. I was expecting a new type of movie by Woo combining the techniques he learned in the US with his HK style. Another notch up in movie making like when he came to the US. Instead, it is as if he changed to someone else HK style devoid of his usual kinetic energy. There was not one moment in this movie that said "John Woo" has been here to me. For a HK movie it is pretty friggin' incredible and I have to admit that my score, instead of being weighted a little higher because it is a HK movie, is weighted a little lower because of my disappointment in the new Woo. Have a Merry Christmas! Full Review »