June 15th, 2009

breaking bad

Red Cliff

Red Cliff is a Chinese-language (Mandarin?) film from John Woo. It's a huge-scale mediaeval warfare epic. That means you know exactly what you will get: a thousand warships sailing up the Yangtze, heroes fighting off dozens of assailants, the imperial palace with massed ranks of kneeling officials, Tony Leung. And that's what you get. 90% of the film is battle, with occasional interludes of calligraphy, music and rainfall. It's completely by the book. Personally I like this kind of thing, and I expect you know whether you do or not.

I have two complaints - one is that it has no hidden depths of any kind*: it's pretty conventional. The second is that it is about half an hour too long, so it gets repetitive and tedious at the end (IMHO). It's like Hero without the sexual complexity, and hallucinatory oddity.

*OK, maybe a wee little bit of sexual subtext with the commander in chief