Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Red Cliff opens as power hungry Prime Minister-turned-General Cao Cao seeks permission from the Han dynasty Emperor to organize a southward-bound mission designed to crush the two troublesome warlords who stand in his way, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. As the expedition gets underway, Cao Cao's troops rain destruction on Liu Bei's army, forcing him into retreat. Liu Bei's military strategist Zhuge Liang knows that the rebels’ only hope for survival is to form an alliance with rival warlord Sun Quan, and reaches out to Sun Quan’s trusted advisor, war hero Zhou Yu. Vastly outnumbered by Cao Cao’s brutal, fast-approaching army, the warlords band together to mount a heroic campaign – unrivaled in history – that changes the face of China forever. A massive hit in Asia and the most expensive Asian film production of all time, Red Cliff is a breathtaking war epic that marks the triumphant return of John Woo. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
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. This is magnificent filmmaking, and a magnificent film.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. 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. Expand
  2. Nov 7, 2014
    Having watched quite a few epic battle films. I can safely say this, has the best, and I can't really see anything topping it. It rises above films like Gladiator, Lord of the rings, and Troy, because of the sheer creativity of the battle scenes. Expand
  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! Expand
  4. 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! Expand
  5. RogerJ
    Nov 18, 2009
    Over exaggerated martial art. didn't stick to the history as we know from costume to item.