Friday, January 30, 2009

Red Cliff II

Battle of Red Cliff II/ Chi Bi

What better way to start my first day of Chinese New Year celebration than to watch the continuation of the Battle of Red Cliff in the cinema!

The first part of the 'most expensive Asian movie to date' Red Cliff was mostly on introducing key characters from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the alliance of Shu with Wu to battle against the Wei faction comandeered by Cao Cao. The first part was good, but I was more looking forward to the second part of the movie. Maybe I did feel a bit envious about US having to watch the condensed version of the movie with both parts in it.

Red Cliff II wouldn't have come at a better time on CNY. I was so satisfied after waiting for months to catch up with the second episode of the movie. And I wouldn't be more satisfied about the cast chosen to act in this movie.

It was fortunate Chow Yun Fatt jumps off 'Red Cliff' from acting as Wu strategist Zhou Yu, because I feel that he could not bring much justice to his assigned character (Zhou Yu). Tony Leung, famed for his role in Lust, Caution actually did a perfect job playing his role as Zhou Yu, and again, it is fortunate again for Tony to turn down the role of Zhuge Liang, because he somehow fits Zhou Yu's character much better.

In fact, I couldn't agree more with Takeshi Kaneshiro's marvellous portrayal of Shu strategist Zhuge Liang. Maybe he's more destined for that role as well. I also applauded Zhang Fengyi for acting as Cao Cao, he certainly fits in his character snuggly. Zhao Wei, who acted in Painted Skin last year, and makes a comeback acting as Sun Shang Xiang, was not bad either. Although I question about Lin Chi Ling's portrayal of Zhou Yu's wife Xiao Qiao as Red Cliff makes it the first movie she acts in her career. But none the less, the movie was awesome with their chemistry mixed in together.

The second movie finally gets on to the real thing, continuing from the first episode and moving on to the naval battle in Chi Bi. It's a no-nonsense movie about battle of wits between the Shu-Wu alliance and Wei, and I'm awestruck with the intellect and careful minds of Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu (I still adore Takeshi Kaneshiro because of that =D )

The battle was intense, with help from action director John Woo, it gets even more enticing! He has done a lot for his ambitious Mandarin movie - with rich stories of brotherhood, valor, bravery, and courage, it's no wonder Red Cliff deserves a nomination, sorry, make that three nominations in the Asian Film Awards.

Here's a bit of a spoiler - If you have read the novel, you would have known Cao Cao will lose in this battle because of his mistake of eliminating his most important naval generals. I don't remember Xiao Qiao actually went to Cao Cao's side and drinks tea with him, heck I don't even have the slighest clue how Cao Cao actually has a lustful desire for Xiao Qiao in the first place when he never actually knew about her in reality. Well, all for the sake of fan-service! =3

But there's one line Cao Cao spoke that actually made me laugh -

"I lost the war to a cup of tea!"

Overall, I suggest everyone, regardless of whether you read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel or not, to watch this movie when you have the chance. If you're a Malay or an Indian, no fret, there's English subtitles to cater to non-Chinese audiences.

Now, I should get my hand on a copy of Red Cliff I from my cousin!

1 comment:

  1. the movie is nice. im waiting for DVD version for this movie coz i dont have the time for TGV visit! hehe but i did manage to watch the first part last year.