Red Cliff (2008)

Popcorn Ratings: 4 stars

One of the rare oriental movie that I watched. And was it long. Two parts each about a couple of hours.

But then it’s John Woo and he has raised the bar way too high. On a quick trivia that the war scenes are twice the size of those in Lord of the Rings. Now that I got you interested, read further 🙂

What is Red Cliff?
Red Cliff is a battle between two armies. Chinese armies to be more precise.

So what is special about Red Cliff? The story is vanilla about good guys versus the bad ones. But what stands out are three interesting observations.
– the Chinese art of battles
– loyalty, leadership and amazing role assignment
– Chinese ethics and culture


The movie is about the Han Dynasty in ancient China and is adapted from the 14th-century Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The antagonist Prime Minster Cao Cao intends to seal the Empire and the final frontier is the Red Cliff.

What follows is almost like the movie version of that ancient Chinese military philosophy The Art of War.

Also the often quoted wisdom that all warfare is based on deception. Teams spy with pigeon and over football (now that one claim, the Chinese can make citing the movie).

The sea battle and the clever ploy is surreal. Points to one amazing team led by an excellent leader and ably supported by his able and wide minister. If there is one movie on Chinese history you choose to watch, then pick this one by the acclaimed John Woo.


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