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Red Cliff

R Released Nov 20, 2009 2h 28m History Drama Action Adventure War List
90% Tomatometer 116 Reviews 78% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings In ancient China, the emperor of the Han Dynasty allows General Cao Cao (Fengyi Zhang) to declare war against the rebellious southern provinces, with the intention of unifying the entire country. Cao's large army quickly advances, killing civilians and soldiers alike. To resist Cao, the southern warlords form an alliance led by Viceroy Zhou Yu (Tony Leung). Outnumbered, Zhou relies upon elaborate formations and unorthodox strategies to fight against Cao's overwhelming forces. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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Red Cliff

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Red Cliff

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Critics Consensus

Featuring some impressively grand battlefield action, John Woo returns to Asia and returns to form in the process for this lavish and slick historical epic.

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Critics Reviews

View All (116) Critics Reviews
Hank Sartin Time Out Rated: 3/5 Nov 18, 2011 Full Review Joshua Rothkopf Time Out Rated: 3/5 Nov 17, 2011 Full Review Simon Abrams House Next Door Cleaner and probably more rewatchable than Red Cliff 2. Mar 29, 2011 Full Review Brian Eggert Deep Focus Review The prestige of the story doesn’t forgive the fact that John Woo lost his edge years ago, and that’s fully evident in every frame of this overlong epic. Rated: 2/4 Aug 30, 2023 Full Review Richard Propes TheIndependentCritic.com Tony Leung is powerful and involving as a sort of peaceful, poetic warrior who largely serves as the film's heroic figure. Rated: 3.5/4.0 Sep 21, 2020 Full Review Eileen Jones The eXile The star, Tony Leung, isn't even handsome, but he's got this wonderful, intelligent, melancholy expression that's worth more than all the handsome there is. Oct 30, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (1000+) audience reviews
Good B The panning of the camera every second is distracting. Not only was it hard to be in the moment but it actually made me dizzy. Not to mention , you tripped a horse to get a shot for your terrible movie. John Woo reminds me of the film students at the Art Institute. Worth a skip, how does it have 90%? I really think the people that are writing good reviews are just as pretentious as this film. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 04/16/24 Full Review Alec B There's a lot of set-up for the main action set pieces of the second film but there are still compelling character dynamics and battles. Woo is mythmaking here, so it is best to view the movie in that vein. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/10/24 Full Review Jimmy P this is part one of two but should be seen as a whole. Watch part one and two together and it is a wonderful experience. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review blizzard the blue wizard b Truly majestic. The Tao of the Chinese Civilization like ineffable leave to the wind rustles a the words of a voiceless sound. Shows without revealing the fullness of the empty bellow of a bronzen vase. This poetry sings while the roaring of armies and fires gallops like a well choreographed cacophony. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review William L "He knows how to lead an army, but he has no friends." Okay, I'm sure Cao Cao would be real embarassed if he was hanging out in the high school cafeteria commanding the imperial forces of 3rd century China. Red Cliff feels like John Woo was given a big budget but no real creative freedom; you've got his trademark doves and slow motion but they're each used in such strange ways, almost like they're obligatory to match audience expectations rather than genuinely interesting or fun. An enormous scale, impressive battle scenes, and fun fight choreography are strangely offset by weird character interactions and a plot that you could put on autopilot for long stretches. There are so many scenes intended to give off this sense of impressive military strategy or combat ability (observing changes in the wind, practicing swordplay, lots of strategy maps, whatever), enough that they run into each other and lose all signficance and begin to feel satirical. While the money seems to have flowed like a river on this project, it's massively bloated and uninspired, though there is still plenty of entertainment in the swordplay. This movie ends with a double rainbow for some reason. (2/5) Rated 2 out of 5 stars 05/25/22 Full Review Audience Member A truly epic war movie on par with the best that the west has to offer. There are some pacing problems, especially when entire scenes are filmed in slow motion, Further, the "surprises" are readily telegraphed and easily anticipated. However, for shere scale, this movie cannot be beat. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis In ancient China, the emperor of the Han Dynasty allows General Cao Cao (Fengyi Zhang) to declare war against the rebellious southern provinces, with the intention of unifying the entire country. Cao's large army quickly advances, killing civilians and soldiers alike. To resist Cao, the southern warlords form an alliance led by Viceroy Zhou Yu (Tony Leung). Outnumbered, Zhou relies upon elaborate formations and unorthodox strategies to fight against Cao's overwhelming forces.
Director
John Woo
Producer
Terence Chang, Sanping Han, John Woo
Screenwriter
John Woo, Chan Hon, Cheng Kuo, Heyu Sheng
Distributor
Magnolia Pictures
Production Co
Shanghai Film Group, Beijing Film Studio, Lion Rock Productions, China Film Group Corp., Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG) [hk]
Rating
R (Sequences of Epic Warfare)
Genre
History, Drama, Action, Adventure, War
Original Language
Chinese
Release Date (Theaters)
Nov 20, 2009, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 24, 2011
Box Office (Gross USA)
$626.8K
Runtime
2h 28m
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