"Stunning, Redemptive Chinese Epic"
What You Need To Know:
RED CLIFF is a stunning, inspiring, well-acted historical epic about fighting against tyranny. Its morally uplifting worldview shows how friendship, courage, patriotism, and loyalty working together can defeat the tyranny of Big Government. The movie contains a couple obscenities, a bedroom scene, and some very strong battle violence, so caution for older children is advised.
(BB, C, Pa, FR, L, VVV, S, N, M) Strong moral worldview (with some redemptive elements extolling sacrifice and promoting forgiveness) about friendship, loyalty, courage, and intelligence defeating tyranny, plus one reference to the Eastern, pagan religious/philosophical idea of yin and yang; one obscenity (the “d” word); some very strong battle violence with some blood and very few limbs cut off and lots of strong battle violence involving arrows, spears, sword fights, some martial arts hand-to-hand combat, cavalry charges, war boats deliberately set on fire, men on fire, horses fall in battle, soldiers fall off horses, and evil army leader tries to spread typhus in his enemy’s camp; bedroom scene between husband and wife and villain wants to kill the husband in battle and take his wife, but nothing very salacious; upper male nudity and partial nude back of man’s wife shown; no alcohol; no smoking; and, tyranny and deceit rebuked.
RED CLIFF is a stunning historical epic from China by acclaimed director John Woo, who has also made some Hollywood movies.
Based on a famous Chinese novel, but without most of the novel’s supernatural elements, the movie focuses on historical events in 208 A.D. at the end of the Han Dynasty in China. The Prime Minister is gathering power to eventually overthrow Emperor Han. He convinces the Emperor to wage war on the Kingdoms of Xu (“Chew”) in the West and Wu in the South.
After a heroic stand against the Prime Minister’s one million man army, the army of Xu’s leader, Liu Bei, makes their escape across the Yangtze River, trying to protect the thousands of refugees fleeing for their lives. Liu Bei sends his strategist, Kuongming to the Kingdom of Wu, where he consults with the Viceroy to establish an alliance against the Prime Minister. They agree to the alliance, and a series of battles occurs around the Red Cliffs, where the Viceroy lives in a fort.
Both sides have some tricks up their sleeves as the war continues. But, the biggest trick of all may come from the Viceroy’s beautiful, peace-loving wife, for whom the Prime Minister himself carries a torch.
RED CLIFF is a stunning, inspiring, well acted historical epic about a fight against tyranny. It also shows how friendship, courage, patriotism, and loyalty working together can defeat the tyranny of Big Government. In that sense, though it is somewhat romanticized, the movie clearly has a strong moral worldview. There is only one reference to Eastern religion in this Western subtitled version of John Woo’s two-part Chinese epic. This occurs when the strategist briefly mentions the yin/yang of nature as an explanation for how his expertise at reading changes in the weather can help the good guys develop a winning battle strategy against the evil Prime Minister and his forces.
There are a couple relatively light obscenities, a tasteful bedroom scene between the Viceroy and his beloved wife, and some very strong battle scenes with some blood. The violence does not seem as strong as Mel Gibson’s BRAVEHEART or WE WERE SOLDIERS, however. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.
On the whole, however, RED CLIFF is a redemptive, morally uplifting foreign movie that’s well worth seeing.