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John Woo’s Chinese war epic Red Cliff

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on November 28, 2009

By Phil Guie – CinemaSpy.com

Red Cliff is the new war epic by Chinese action-meister John Woo. But this wasn’t the same version that graced Asian theaters prior to its international release: In its home country, Red Cliff was released as two films, the first in mid-2008; the second in early 2009.
Rather than unleash a nearly six-hour magnum opus on audiences worldwide, Woo pared both films down into a single two-and-a-half hour cut. In interviews, he said the deleted scenes mostly placed the film’s events in historical context, which might not have appealed to Westerners unfamiliar with Chinese history. Woo’s movie depicts the famous Battle of Red Cliffs, which was fought around early 200 A.D. between warlords from the northern and southern regions of China.

It’s too early to tell how successful Red Cliff will be with North American viewers (In mainland China, it broke the previous box office record held by Titanic). But when the shorter cut was released in Europe earlier this year, critics mostly seemed impressed, which has not always been the case with movies re-cut for international eyes. Too often, unwieldy running times or a need to make the movie seem more Westernized precipitates breaking out the shears, but frequently, this has led to poorly-received films.

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