Red Cliff is a 2008-09 Chinese epic war film, based on the Battle of Red Cliffs (AD 208–209) and the events at the end of the Han dynasty and immediately prior to the Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. The film was directed by John Woo, and stars Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Wei, Hu Jun and Lin Chi-ling . It is Woo's first major film since 2003's Paycheck and his first Chinese-language feature since 1992's Hard Boiled, also starring Leung.
Directed by:John Woo
Produced by :Terence Chang,Han Sanping,John Woo
Written by:Kuo Cheng,Sheng Heyu,Chan Khan,John Woo
Starring:Tony Leung,Takeshi Kaneshiro,Zhang Fengyi,Chang Chen
Music by:Tar? Iwashiro
Cinematography :Zhang Li,Lü Yue
Edited by:Yang Hongyu,Angie Lam Robert A. Ferretti (Part I) David Wu (Part II)
Production companies:Beijing Film Studio,China Film Group Lion Rock Productions
Distributed by:Chengtian Entertainment
Release dates:10 July 2008 (Part I) 7 January 2009 (Part II)
Running time:Part I:146 minutes Part II:142 minutes Total:288 minutes
Edited version:148 minutes
Country:,China,Hong Kong,Japan,South Korea,Taiwan
In the summer of 208, towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, the Chancellor, Cao Cao, leads the imperial army on a campaign to eliminate the southern warlords Sun Quan and Liu Bei, whom he denounces as "rebels". Emperor Xian reluctantly approves the campaign. Cao Cao's mighty army swiftly conquers Jing Province. The Battle of Changban is ignited when Cao Cao's cavalry starts attacking civilians on an exodus led by Liu Bei. During the battle, Liu Bei's followers, including his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, give an excellent display of their combat skills by holding off the enemy while buying time for the civilians to retreat. The warrior Zhao Yun fights bravely to rescue Liu Bei's entrapped family but only succeeds in rescuing Liu's infant son.
Following the battle, Liu Bei's advisor, Zhuge Liang, goes on a diplomatic mission to Jiangdong to form an alliance between his lord and Sun Quan against Cao Cao. Sun Quan was initially in the midst of a dilemma of whether to surrender or fight back, but his decision to resist Cao Cao hardens after Zhuge Liang's clever persuasion and a subsequent tiger hunt with his viceroy Zhou Yu and his sister Sun Shangxiang. Meanwhile, Cai Mao and Zhang Yun, two naval commanders from Jing Province, pledge allegiance to Cao Cao, who puts them in command of his navy.
After the hasty formation of the Sun–Liu alliance, the forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan call for a meeting to formulate a plan to counter Cao Cao's army, which is rapidly advancing towards their base at Red Cliff from both land and water. The battle begins with Sun Shangxiang leading some riders to lure Cao Cao's vanguard force into the allies' Bagua Formation. The vanguard force is defeated by the allies but Cao Cao shows no disappointment and proceeds to lead his main army to the riverbank directly opposite Red Cliff, where they make camp. While the allies throw a banquet to celebrate their victory, Zhuge Liang conceives a plan to send Sun Shangxiang on an espionage mission to Cao Cao's camp. They maintain contact by sending messages via a pigeon. The film ends with Zhou Yu lighting his miniaturised battleships on a map based on the battle formation.