red_cliff-3So we are in third century China and the Prime Minister (bad guy) persuades the Emperor (weak, ineffectual guy) to allow him to go to war with the other Two Kingdoms (led by the good guys) which existed at the time. Lots and lots of strategic shenanigans and significant battles with very big armies and navies follow.

My grasp of Chinese history falters around about this point (actually it falters quite a way before this point…), but I understand that the film is based on The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, apparently the most beloved and famous novel in Asia.

Well, I will be honest, the reason I went to see this film was as a birthday treat for the Book God so I was prepared to endure rather than enjoy the two and a half hour running time, and it does have a slow start which didn’t bode well. I noticed pretty quickly, however, that a couple of the leading actors were seriously handsome so if nothing else I had someone aesthetically pleasing to look at throughout the movie. But I was to be pleasantly surprised…

What I loved about this movie = apart from aforementioned handsomeness (see illustration), this is a gorgeous, sweeping epic of a film with huge set pieces; a lot of fighting (as you would expect, it’s a war movie after all); comedy generals, beautiful scenery and a couple of really good female roles, which was unexpected.

What I didn’t like about the movie = actually this was pretty OK all things considered, but some of the scenes with falling horses were a bit hard to watch

Rating stuff  = 15 for strong battle violence (and a 3 second cut for one of the horse falls mentioned above)

Tissue count = none

Safety Cushion = not required

I am so not the target audience for this movie but it is really well made. I can’t see me going out of my way to watch the whole thing again, but I could be drawn in if I came across it on TV. And it is good to see significant female roles in a story which is essentially about military strategy and, lets face it, a lot of men beating, stabbing and shooting each other (albeit with arrows rather than guns).

The Book God absolutely loved it, and wished we had access to the full two-part version which I suspect goes on forever. 

But I don’t regret the experience…..