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Subject: Red Cliff: now my top combat film of all time. rss

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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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I saw Red Cliff last night at the Milwaukee Film Festival: Winter Edition.

It immediately surpassed any film with battle scenes and combat strategy that I have ever seen. It blew "300" away for me, the most epic battle film I can think of to compare it to in modern history.

It was the most expensive Asian-financed film of all time, and I must admit that I saw the 2.5 hour U.S. version of the film. The version in China was 4 hours in total, shown in two parts. Now I MUST see that.



It had some of the depth of a movie like Roshamon, beauty of House of Flying Daggers, epic battle scenes of 300, and the acting of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I don't know how I will feel about it over time. I need to see it again soon...

But it was an engrossing film with effortlessly readable subtitles. I barely blinked throughout the duration.

TWO THUMBS WAY UP!
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午餐先生
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It is an excellent movie. John Woo may be known as an action director, but he really knows how to make the relationships between comrades-in-arms in a film compelling.

My wife found a couple dvds online so we saw the 4-hour version. I prefer the second half, although the establishing of the heroic personalities in the beginning was very well done. My wife, who grew up with these stories, found them very good, too.
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DK Kemler
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I've seen the full version and agree it was an amazing film.
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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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degamer wrote:
I've seen the full version and agree it was an amazing film.


Wow. Now I need to see the FULL VERSION sooner than later. I can't imagine how much more cohesive the already tight story line would be with the full 4 hours.

It's probably more of an excellent thing than the extended LOTR DVDs are, relatively speaking. I am a fan of those, and they did fill in gaps for me.

But this film would probably more akin to another film I am begging the Milwaukee Film Festival to bring in this year for their full festival this fall--Metropolis, the recently completed version.

It sounds so intriguing to me that the film was chopped down due to the same sort of assumptions, and the full version was lost until a year ago.

I'm really anxious to see that full film as well. *sigh*

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DK Kemler
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The full version is "out there" if you know where to look. And it really is worth it to look. Some of the more entertaining scenes are in part 2.
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CHAPEL
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Thanks for the review, I'm watching it tonight!
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Mark Christopher
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I tried to go see this twice at the local indie theater, but they got two bad copies and as such weren't able to keep it on their schedule. Grrr... angry
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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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MWChapel wrote:
Thanks for the review, I'm watching it tonight!


Oh, where are you going to see it Chapel?

You're a lucky man. I think I might go see the short version again, so I can vote for it for festival awards...


 
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degamer wrote:
The full version is "out there" if you know where to look. And it really is worth it to look. Some of the more entertaining scenes are in part 2.


Yep, I heard that it is available. There's nothing like seeing this one in the theater. I guess I need to get a home theater system which is worthy of a film of this cinematic quality.
 
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CHAPEL
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diehard4life wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Thanks for the review, I'm watching it tonight!


Oh, where are you going to see it Chapel?

You're a lucky man. I think I might go see the short version again, so I can vote for it for festival awards...




Well I could be col and hip and tell you that I'm seeing it at SXSW film festival...but nope, just got it to watch on the home screen.
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Rob Robinson
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Watching the 2.5 hour version tonight. I've clicked through a few sections for a preview, but at this stage I still think 300 has the better fight scenes...
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zombiegod wrote:
Watching the 2.5 hour version tonight. I've clicked through a few sections for a preview, but at this stage I still think 300 has the better fight scenes...


Let me know what you think after you watch it.
 
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Rob Robinson
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I was disappointed by the slow pace. Some scenes just seemed to go on and on.

The fight scenes and their choreography got way too repetitive for my liking. Monotonous, basic spear swipes. Nowhere near as bloody or stylized as 300's.
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Weird! I happened to watch it on the weekend as well. I was ready for an epic film and have played a bit of Dynasty Warriors which features this battle in it. I was underwhelmed by some of the combat scenes, admittedly the "Tortoise formation" scene was impressive, but when they got into the thick of the action some of the attacks and thrusts and things were just ridiculous. I enjoyed bits of the film, but I only thought that it was good and not great.
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CHAPEL
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I hate to say, but it felt like I was watching a 4 hour chinese soap opera. I really like martial arts movies but this was more of a dry 300; all the blood, but none of the passion.
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MWChapel wrote:
I hate to say, but it felt like I was watching a 4 hour chinese soap opera. I really like martial arts movies but this was more of a dry 300; all the blood, but none of the passion.

Well, the book it's based on is more about the characters and the intrigue as opposed to the martial aspect and I think the movie captures that.

I loved the scene where they tricked the opposing army into "giving" them arrows (straight out of the book).
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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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mister lunch wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
I hate to say, but it felt like I was watching a 4 hour chinese soap opera. I really like martial arts movies but this was more of a dry 300; all the blood, but none of the passion.

Well, the book it's based on is more about the characters and the intrigue as opposed to the martial aspect and I think the movie captures that.

I loved the scene where they tricked the opposing army into "giving" them arrows (straight out of the book).


Loved that too.

I am sure the 2.5 hour version increased the pace quite a bit, for those who might not want to see four hours of it.

I thought the battle scenes were beautiful and that they spear work was memorable. It moved rather fast for me to catch all the details, but I do vividly remember a scene where one of the heroes is fighting alone amidst a crowd of attackers and makes several different stylized moves with spears, taking a spear from an attacker and killing someone behind him in the same motion, skewering another, then leaping past them, pulling the spear out the other side and continuing to fight.

And I like drama in the right context. There wasn't so much drama in the 2.5 hour version. I actually wanted to know more of the back story...
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zombiegod wrote:
I was disappointed by the slow pace. Some scenes just seemed to go on and on.

The fight scenes and their choreography got way too repetitive for my liking. Monotonous, basic spear swipes. Nowhere near as bloody or stylized as 300's.


I can see how you'd say that. It was repetitive in many ways.

I felt that way about "300", though. So I guess different films land differently with individuals. Maybe it was that I was more emotionally involved in this film than "300" which seemed overblown and gratuitous.

That said, I have to admit that I didn't find "300" believable. I walked out of the theater somewhat annoyed by the film. It made little impact upon me other than that. I cannot remember a significant scene or battle from the film, but I do hazily remember that I loathed the acting at times.

This film seemed to have more "passion" for me (and better acting). But the subject matter doesn't lend itself to overt expressions of such passions. I mean, you are less likely to see a dude screaming at the top of his lungs in this cultural context. I think the tea ceremony with the enemy exhibited palpable passion and tension. It gripped me.

Anyway, I am seeing it again today at 2:15. I'll see if I can be more objective afterward.

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