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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 October 2009
I am not exactly sure what problem people have with this release. I saw the "Theatrical Cut" in the cinema, a version that combined the two films together with a patronising american voice over, and it was amazing, now having the chance to see it in its original form is even better, not only are we introduced to a new series of plot lines, but new characters and a film that deserves to sit up there on your shelves.

This is not a random martial arts film, this is John Woo's Epic. It is not simply about two armies beating the hell out of each other, but a multi layered narrative about friendships, warfare and philosophy. The use of the tea making ceremony is incredibly important.

I'm not quite sure what problem people have with the subtitles, I can read them on a 32" HD TV, and if you want to skip the trailers, just fast forward, it's not complicated.

My only problem with the discs is that I would have liked a few more special features, but thats personal taste and holds nothing against the film.

If you don't want to think, and just want to watch bad martial arts, go and watch a film with Jason Statham, if you want something that is entertaining and beautiful, I recommend this film.
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on 23 December 2009
This is the best Blu-ray disc I have bought so far as the quality of both the picture and audio I feel is better than Kingdom of Heaven or Troy. Some scenes gave the impression that they were 3D it is that detailed.
The story is good and will keep you entertained - even though it is about four and a half hours spread over 2 discs. Don't get the other version of this film as I understand that it is only 2 and a half hours long, so you will miss a lot.
This is a John Woo film so plenty of action and all done on a grand scale - some of the overview shots are amazing.
Ok the extras are lacking and the subtitles are burnt on, no dubbed English version, but don't let that put you off, if you enjoy epic films like this then don't hesitate - JUST BUY IT. Brilliant.
I can only hope John Woo will make another film like this soon.
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on 16 October 2009
Make no bones about it, this movie is phenomenal and that is no exaggeration. Introduced to you in a short English narrative, the movie is an epic to rival any other modern war movie. It is typical of most movies of this type, two clashing dynasties, one oppressive the others are humble, modest and outnumbered. However, you cannot consider that a let-down, the story branches out from just another heroic war epic to a gloriously written and filmed masterpiece. The cinematography, as with all John Woo movies is incredible, something he especially excels in in Asian cinema, moreso than Hollywood.

This movie is a war movie like few others, it was not scripted to just excite you with a war-mongering gorefest. It mesmerises with military strategy and the tactical nous you would expect out of a Sun Tzu manual. The story develops to much more than just a battle of two dynasties, it engrosses you and you will enjoy it if you already love the genre.

All you need from the synopsis is written above, but the main characters a military geniuses- unlikely heroes. As the characters are introduced, some in shoddy make-up and costume, the focus will centre around the strategists but noone is left withstanding.

Like I sadi, this movie is phenomenal. I would quite easily rank it up there with Cult Classics such as Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now. THey may very well be of a different era, but war movies do not get much better than this.
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on 2 January 2010
I originally bought the cut down 2hr 30min. version of this film (big mistake), even though I knew that the full film was nearly 5hrs. long, thinking that it would still be a good movie (and it is). But the editing left so much out that as to be seen, the shorter version tends to be more confusing because of it. I now have this version and I'm glad I have, it is a true masterpiece of cinema. If you regard yourself as a film buff and a fan of epic cinema then there are certain movies that should be in your collection,Lawrence Of Arabia, Spartacus, Braveheart, Gladiator,(to name just four) and Red Cliff (special edition).
I have only one criticism of the film, and that is the subtitles. I'm not a great fan of subtitles and so a lot of good foriegn language movies have passed me by (my loss). On this film the subtitles are rather small and hard to read, depending on the background, and sometimes the dialogue between characters is quite fast so they change quickly. But don't let that put you off, this film is truly awesome and on blu-ray looks and sounds superb.

Highly Recommended. A Must Own.
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on 5 August 2011
It is probably due to the editing done to this European version (that I have mistakenly purchased ) that I think that the movie was kind of broken there is a quite a few jumps in narration. I will recommend to get the Red Cliff [Special Edition][Blu-ray] [2008]Red Cliff [Special Edition][Blu-ray] [2008] which contains the full movie. The photography is stunning tough and sometimes the scenes are over the top but you have to be fan of the genre.
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on 7 August 2011
Having seen the cut-down version in the cinema (which I actually enjoyed thoroughly) I was curious as to how I'd find the full-length version. It certainly did not disappoint, even better than I remembered it. The cinematography and score are stunning, the battle scenes are breathtaking (although sometimes confusing), and the characters are thoroughly engaging. Hollywood has a thing or two to learn about making good films. This just blows away almost every Hollywood production of a similar theme.

The Blu-ray version is extremely crisp and detailed - I'd say almost reference quality. A word of warning though: do NOT get the UK version as it contains cuts (even the "special edition") and worse than that, it's distributed by Entertainment in Video who have a habit of ruining just about every DVD and Bluray release. Get the full US version instead.
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There are several different versions of this product, and since Amazon are lumping reviews of all of them into one, a word of explanation. This is a review of the single disc dvd edition of this movie that was released in 2009. It is not a review of the two disc special edition, which came later. Nor of the blu ray. Thus apologies if you're reading this on the special edition or the blu ray page, but there's nothing I can do about it. Take it up with Amazon.

This is a movie made by chinese Director John Woo, who went to hollywood after a lot of success in Asia. And had varying successes with movies whilst in the USA.

He then returned to his native land to produce a very long tv mini series all about a famous battle from chinese history.

That runs nigh on five hours. And was cut to two hours twenty seven minutes for it's release in the west.

This is that version.

The full version can be found on Red Cliff [Special Edition DVD] [2008]

Red cliff sees a nasty Prime Minister having seized control of most of the country via military victories. And via treating the emperor like a puppet. Some in the south are holding out against him. And he sets out to defeat them on the field of battle.

Those on opposite sides of this battle have a few vested personal interests, though.

And even though those in the south are greatly outnumbered, they have a very skilled strategist on their side. They won't go down without a fight.

An epic conflict is about to begin, and China will never be the same again....

This was clearly a very expensive production, and the attention to historical detail and costumes is excellent. The battle scenes don't pull their punches and also try hard to be realistic, almost all of them never defying the laws of physics.

It also considers the cost of war, as seen via an early scene involving refugees.

When there's spectacle on screen it is compelling viewing, thanks to a couple of big set pieces. But there are a lot of characters most of whom don't get much of an introduction. So you may not focus on them as much as you might want to.

It offers good entertainment all in all if you like this kind of thing, but hearing of the longer edition makes you feel that that is the one to really watch.

This disc also has a couple of problems in that it begins with fifteen minutes worth of trailers for other movies. And there is absolutely no way to get past them. Pressing stop then menu. Or pressing next. Or menu on it's own. None of those work. Nor does does fast forward. You have to wait through the lot.

The movie is presented in Chinese - save for a couple of early bits of scene setting narration which are in English - with English subtitles. Which is fine, and probably the way most who watch this kind of thing would prefer it. But the subtitles cannot be turned on or off. They are embedded into the film. And they are in a slightly smaller typeface than usual for things like this. Reading them can be tricky at times early on. Although you do get used to them in the end.
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This version is the one to buy dvd or bluray but must be the special edition the film is great the cinema photography is amazing the story is heart warming and heart breaking in one. The dvd comes with two discs of pure entertainment the battle scenes are strong powerful and so graphical the struggle of a true heroic leader with few men against two armies of tens of thousands but the heroic leader has a tactician of war who has never lost a battle can this one man and a few thousand warriors rise and destroy all danger in theyer path to a life of freedom and hope of a new nation.
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on 10 November 2009
I haven't enjoy a John Woo film since Hard Boiled. He is finally going to Hong Kong Where he can do what he wants in a brilliant way. The Blu-ray quality (image and sound) is nearly perfect. Just a bit disappointed by the burnt-in-english subtitles. The Documentary is a bit of a let-down as it looks like a Press Kit than anything else.
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on 4 May 2012
John Woo's epic Chinese tale is presented in full (bar some censored horse falls) on this two disc DVD. It's a lavish film, beautifully made with a stirring score and some stunning cinematography. So why only three stars? The film is almost impossible to follow at times because of the subtitling. Whoever passed this in quality control (if there was any) must have been sitting right in front of a massive screen, because that's the only way they could possibly have read them. The font used for the subtitling is so small as to be virtually unreadable, and to add to this they are also frequently lost in the background as they are white, and often presented against a light background. The subtitles should be half as big again, at least, and overlaid onto a translucent darker panel in my opinion as too often they are completely lost in the background image. They also fly by in places, so I found it a real struggle to make sense of some sections of the film.

It's a great film, but the DVD presentation is pretty poor. There's not a lot of point to presenting this film in full if you're going to make such a hash of the subtitling!
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