Aroview: A gargantuan Han Dynasty epic from Hong Kong's action movie grandmaster, John Woo, in which two kingdoms must form an unlikely alliance to stave off a warmongering general and his enormous army.
Leaving much of the pageantry and costume dramatics that filled out the original, two-part Asian release, the ‘International’ version cuts to the chase as a lean, mean historical spectacle, with its focus narrowing on the battle of wits between the power-hungry Prime Minister Cao Cao, and the kingdom’s rebel leaders (whose allied armies are commanded by Chinese stars Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro). Through all of the mass warfare, dir. Woo’s stylistic trademarks are never overwhelmed, and he turns in some of the best and most exhilarating combat sequences seen on this scale. If no more than an over-sized action movie, a great one at that.
Both the condensed 'International' cut and full-length Asian version are available.
4 stars (Very Good) Impressive martial arts epic, with huge battles to behold, this is the 1-part edition of the Battle of Red Cliff. Possibly even better for being cut down, this leaves much of the drama to one side, focussing on the epic battle.~Tom H