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LACMA Premieres John Woo’s Complete Red Cliff

LACMA Premieres John Woo's Complete Red Cliff

Thompson on Hollywood

Finally. LACMA concludes its Hard Boiled Hong Kong series with the Los Angeles premiere of John Woo’s full-length third-century wuxia epic Red Cliff in all its glory. The five-hour version has everything–costumes, history, drama, battles, horses, burning armadas, romance–and an ensemble of gorgeous movie stars led by Tony Leung. At $80 million, it’s the most expensive movie ever made in China, and it nearly did in Woo and producer Terence Chang. Magnolia released a shortened two-and-a -half hour version in theaters stateside which did not fare as well as the full-length version did around the world. See the whole thing if you can.

This is a must-see. It was my number one movie last year. Here’s my interview with Woo and the HD trailer, here and on the jump.

November 26 | 7:30 pm Red Cliff: Part I
November 27 | 4 pm Red Cliff, Part I (Repeat Screening)
November 27 | 7:30 pm Red Cliff, Part II

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Tom Brueggemann

The DVD of the full version has been out for some time; unfortunately Netflix only (at least initially) stocked the edited US release. So one might need to purchase this to see it at home.

I have the complete film, need to find five hours to watch it without disruption, which I’ve meant to do for some time (and was able to do with) Carlos.


Magnolia kept RED CLIFF a big secret when they released it last November. Almost no promotion and only showing in two theaters in Manhattan, both tiny theaters in inconvenient locations. This should have had a big HERO-like push and opened at a 42nd Street multiplex with a big opening night crowd. It’s definitely much more of a crowd-pleaser than HERO. Of course, I’m talking about the two-and-a-half-hour version. They did run the long version once in New York, I think at Lincoln Center, but it was on a day I couldn’t make it. But I had seen it on DVD and found the second half tough to get through. I mean, yeah, we’re waiting for the wind to change. Oh, okay, still waitin’. An hour or two later, “Ah, here it comes, just in time!” There are a few scenes that were cut that I missed from the short version. If they’d been put back, it would have made for a very nice 3-hour cut. But, sorry, five hours is way too long.

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