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Hard Paycheck: John Woo’s “Red Cliff”

Hard Paycheck: John Woo's "Red Cliff"

Financed by the state-owned China Film Group Corporation to the tune of $80 million, John Woo’s Red Cliff is the latest “most expensive Chinese film ever made,” following quickly upon such prior contenders as Curse of the Golden Flower and Hero. Woo’s film is of course a massive-scale martial arts epic like its spendy predecessors, both of which were directed by Zhang Yimou. And Woo’s take on the Asian blockbuster is very much like Zhang’s: the cast is packed with innumerable Chinese superstars (Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhao Wei, Chang Chen, etc.) who play heroes that do everything from catching spears in mid-air to ripping arrows out of their own bodies and stabbing others with them. And as in Zhang’s films, the carnage is immeasurable: hundreds of thousands of people are sliced, jabbed, or burned alive over the course of the film’s bloated running time, which has itself been chopped for U.S. distribution. Click here to read the rest of Leo Goldsmith’s review of Red Cliff.

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