The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Red Cliff - Chibi - Battle of Red Cliff

I love epic drama, and I adore historical storyline, but when two, hot actors like Tony Leung Chiu-wei and Takeshi Kaneshiro come together for a four-hour, two-part historical piece like RED CLIFF, it can only be described as the stuff of dreams.

Since Lent began, I've only watched Red Cliff on Sunday afternoons, with today being the fourth and final Sunday. When Lent ends on Easter Sunday, I'll go back to watching a Korean, Japanese, or Taiwanese drama per week until next year at around this same time.

Tony Leung Chiu-wai is a big reason why I am so hooked on Asian drama & movies, with Jordan Chan Siu-chun being the MAJOR reason.

At the turn of the century, and most likely when Hong Kong was at it's peak movie/actor power wise, I came across a silly DVD ordered on a whim, called Those Were the Days, starring none other than my all-time favorite, Asian actor, Jordan Chan. Since then, I've only watched a few American movies and HUNDREDS of Asian flicks.

Hero, starring Jet Li and Tony Leung was incredible to behold, with a wonderful soundtrack, brilliant color imagery, and a storyline quite captivating.
House of Flying Daggers, which starred Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau was magnificent, with a romantic yet intriguing storyline, more splendid color imagery, and an even greater soundtrack.

Red Cliff brings Tony and Takeshi together, which in and of itself is glorious to behold. The storyline is an historical reference to a time in early A.D. when the Three Han clashed (again), but with Tony's army in the south emerging victorious this time.

Very little in the way of wire-fu, though a few scenes had me rolling my eyes and groaning with sarcasm. The first part was intense, gray, and desolate, so without Takeshi there, I doubt that Red Cliff would have held my interest.
The second half of the first part brought Takeshi's war strategist character together with Tony's sweet, stoic, and compassionate character, and they worked together to wage a final battle against a powerful warlord hell-bent on merging the three dynasties into one, huge kingdom. It was also the time for John Woo to give us an in-depth study of the main characters, especially Zhao Wei, or Vicki Zhao. She is the younger sister of a southern leader, and she infiltrates the enemy camp, falling in love while recording plenty of information to take back with her to Tony's encampment.

Red Cliff 2, the second half of the four-hour drama was a whirlwind of action, and what intrigued me most was the candle kites. I'm determined to learn how this is done so that I can teach my students how to make them, and the next time we're star gazing, we can send them up into the night sky.

Another scene that will stay with me for awhile was when Takeshi's calm yet brilliant character promises ten thousand arrows in three day's time.
I won't give it away, but it was adorably funny, and I appreciated Mr. Woo's decision to lighten the load, so to speak, with a brief reprieve from the standard and expected, gory outcome of this film.