Red Cliff


In the year 208 c.e., China is divided into three kingdoms—the Han in the north, the Wu and East Wu. After General Cao Cao (played by Fengyi Zhang) persuades the weak Han emperor (played by Philip Hersh) to subdue the other two kingdoms, Wu is easily defeated, and refugees pour across the Yangtse to seek refuge with Sun Quan (played by Chang Chen), the ruler of East Wu. Zhuge Liang (played by Takeshi Kaneshiro) military adviser to the Wu warlord, visits Zhou Yu (played by Tony Leong), the East Wu general, to forge an alliance in order to hold back the Han army, which greatly outnumbers the other two. Since Zhou Yu resides on a red cliff overlooking the Yangtse, the victor will be decided in a battle at sea, a venue in which Cao Cao lacks experience. Aside from the subtitled plot of Red Cliff (Chi Bi), which brings history to the screen, the special effects in the battle clearly demonstrate why China at that time was far ahead in strategic thinking and technological sophistication. The military maneuvers, also described in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms by fourteenth century novelist Luo Guanzhong, make textbook military history. The director is Jon Woo.  MH

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