Red Cliff is director John Woo's latest film, a sweeping epic about the historic Battle of Red Cliffs that stars Tony Leung, an actor considered to be Hong Kong's equivalent to Robert De Niro (well, when he was in his prime). It is a film that has been released in lots of markets already over the past ten months or so, with Part I first released in Mainland China last July, and Part II in January this year.
Other places that it has reached are Japan, Singapore and South Korea, with the only non-Asian locations being France (released in March this year). The UK is releasing Red Cliff next month. But up until this point the United States, has been omitted from the release schedule, for reasons unknown. However: finally news comes that the U.S. of A will be getting to see John Woo's Red Cliff!
The US distribution rights were acquired by Magnet Releasing (the genre label of Magnolia Pictures) at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and Red Cliff is planned for release sometime this fall. No official release date has been set, but it is planned to be combined into one two-and-a-half hour movie (instead of two separate parts, as most of the rest of the world got), with plans for an eventual video-on-demand and DVD release.
To expand on the historical events that the movie is based on (thanks to FirstShowing.net) the movie tells, "the sprawling tale of the battle of Red Cliff, in which the imperial army took on warlords throughout the Chinese empire in a period at the end of the Han Dynasty." That certainly sounds like am ambitious film for even someone like Woo to take on.
For a quick taste of the film, check out the goergous poster and the trailer:
I have to say I am not happy with the fact that they're releasing (both in the US and in the UK) a shortened, two-and-a-half hour version of Red Cliff, rather than the original, two-part version that comes to a total of 4 hours and 40 minutes. Do the math: that's over two hours cut out. That's a lot of Woo's vision that people in the US and the UK won't get to see, short of traveling to Asia or importing the DVD.
Aside from the slimmed length, I can't wait to see Woo's latest sure-to-be-stunning piece of cinema. Visually I'm sure it will be a sight to behold. Even with sillier fare, such as Face/Off (which is just a blast to sit through), he still has a penchant for providing good entertainment.
The inclusion of the brilliant Leung doesn't hurt, either.
So are you looking forward to Red Cliff? Are you okay with the fact that we will get the shortened version?
No official release date has been set for Red Cliff as of yet, but a fall 2009 is being aimed for.