Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

9Aug/080

Red Cliff (2008)

Red Cliff

A.K.A.: The Battle of Red Cliff
Chinese Title: 赤壁 (Chi Bi)
Vietnamese Title: Tran Chien Xich Bich
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Period, Historical
Starring: Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Jona Chin, Chang Chen, Zhao Wei
Screenwriter: John Woo, Chen Han, Sheng Heyu
Director: John Woo
MPAA: R

Synopsis
Based on Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms--Battle of Red Cliffs and events during the End of Han Dynasty and immediately prior to the period of the Three Kingdoms in ancient China. Red Cliff is to be released in two parts totaling over four hours in length, with the first part premiering in July 2008 and the second in January 2009.

In 208 A.D., in the final days of the Han Dynasty, shrewd Prime Minster Cao Cao convinced the fickle Emperor Han the only way to unite all of China was to declare war on the kingdoms of Xu in the west and East Wu in the south. Thus began a military campaign of unprecedented scale, led by the Prime Minister, himself. Left with no other hope for survival, the kingdoms of Xu and East Wu formed an unlikely alliance. Numerous battles of strength and wit ensued, both on land and on water, eventually culminating in the battle of Red Cliff. During the battle, two thousand ships were burned, and the course of Chinese history was changed forever.
Source: IMDb

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: A much anticipated movie from the critically acclaimed Chinese film director and producer, John Woo, that does live up to the hype. Being a fan of the history of the Three Kingdoms and the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (RTK), I was awaiting to watch this movie with caution as I am afraid that it will be butchered in some way. Fortunately, I can safely said now that this movie pretty much live up to my expectation. The cast that was selected for the most part fitted very well in the characters that they played (Takeshi makes a dashing Zhuge Liang), the script was well written, and the movie was beautifully directed. Many RTK fans will find that the movie does not follow closely the story from the novel, nevertheless, it stays true with the overall gist of the Three Kingdom story. Also, fans of RTK and action fans alike will be very satisfied with the movie as they watched many of the epic battles being brought to live in front of their eyes.

If you are looking for that one epic war film to see, don't pass out on Red Cliff--you will not be disappointed. Even if you are not an RTK fan, you too will enjoy the movie and most likely to become one after the movie.

Hopefully, the second part of Red Cliff will be on the same par with the first part, if not better.

24Jun/070

The Myth (2005)

The Myth

Chinese Title: 神话 (Shenhua)
Genre: Drama, Period, Romance
Starring: Jackie Chan, Kim Hee Sun, Tony Leung
Screenwriter: Stanley Tong
Director: Stanley Tong
MPAA: R

Synopsis: Jack (Jackie Chan) often dreams that he is an ancient Qin dynasty General rescuing a princess from danger. At first, he thought that these were simply dreams from his imagination. However, on his expedition to India with his best friend Tony in order to find rare materials for research, he encountered a painting of the princess in his dream inside a tomb. He ultimately realizes that his dream may be real after all, and that his dreams might be fragments of his past life, and begins to find the answer behind those recurring dreams.
Source: Eversky.org

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: The Myth is one of those rare epic films that ties past to present together so nicely. Throughout the film, the transition between present and past are done nicely. At first, the viewer may be taken aback at these sudden transitions, but the viewer will be able to follow through the movie with ease. The idea behind the movie is original in the sense that plays on real history and weaves a story from there. The fighting scenes were especially choreographed well, and that is one of the highlights of the movie. Viewers will find themselves appreciating the bit of romance portrayed in the movie, one that can never come to fruition however. The ending in the movie may seem like it's lacking since the beginning and the middle were so great, but if a person thinks about, the ending was suitable and reasonable for such a movie. There were also minor details in the movie that a person should be aware of because they simply add more to beauty of the movie and its epic storyline. I personally feel that this is an excellent movie with a suitable ending. My only warning for people who plans to watch this movie, is that the ending might not be what they expect it to be.

6Jan/070

Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Curse of the Golden Flower

A.K.A. The City of Golden Armor
Chinese Title: 满城尽带黄金甲, 滿城盡帶黃金甲 (Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia)
Vietnamese Title: Hoang Kim Giap
Genre: Action, Drama, Period, Historical, Adventure
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Jay Chou
Screenwriters: Yimou Zhang and Yu Cao
Director: Yimou Zhang
MPAA: PG-13

Synopsis
China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century.
On the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai (Jay Chou). His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress (Gong Li), this seems disingenuous.
For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan (Li Man), the Imperial Doctor's daughter.
Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress's health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path?
Source: Tribute

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: I watched "The Banquet" first before I watched "Curse of the Golden Flower". Thus, this movie reminds me a lot of "The Banquet", essentially both of these movies focus on the same tale that is a tale of love and betrayal. However, "Curse of the Golden Flower" leaves a deeper impression on my mind than "The Banquet". First, the sceneries, costumes, and decorations in this movie are all much grander and more elaborate than "The Banquet". I was informed that the battle scene alone took about two months and a thousand real soldiers to complete and with a budget of $45 million it is the most expensive Chinese film up to date. Perhaps, with all of those special attentions to the backgrounds and sceneries that make this movie so powerful. Throughout the movie I felt I was sucked in another world. Secondly, unlike "The Banquet" I did make an emotional connection with the major characters of this movie. I sympathized with the Empress and earnestly rooting for Prince Jai. Thirdly, this is a well directed movie. Every scenes has a smooth transition into another scene, thus I didn't experience the "lost" feeling and was able to keep track of the storyline. Finally, this movie has great cast. Chow Yun-Fat is convincing as the powerful and ruthless Emperor. Gong Li is captivating as a strong but fragile Empress while Jay Chou effortless pull-off the role of the loyal prince. All in all, this is a must-see epic historical film.