All those characters are very influential and also everyone knows about them. Because even though it is a war movie, it also has a pretty strong message of anti-war. Red Cliff the location of the final, monumental showdown is pretty straightforward action fare, with susurrating showers of arrows, vast battlefield scenes, lots of military guys in silly hats giving each other that fist-in-palm greeting and huge Tolkienesque rivers full of boats.
At two and a half hours, it's a long haul. The film ends with Zhou Yu lighting his miniaturised battleships on a map based on the battle formation. They're not intended to be submitted as your own work, so we don't waste time removing every error.
And inside there was also a very romantic love story, like Troy. With some of the best battle scenes since Peter Jackson's The Two Towers, a smattering of s love scenes and all the far eastern promise of a Twinings advert, you can't really beat Red Cliff as the classiest and most fabulous blockbuster of the summer.
Sun Quan's forces launch their attack on Cao Cao's navy by ramming smaller boats that are set aflame into Cao's larger battleships.
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The allies launch another offensive on Cao Cao's ground army in his forts and succeed in breaking through using testudo formation despite suffering heavy casualties. You'll be left breathless at the efficacy of the tortoise formation, marvel how straw ships steal the enemy's arrow supply, wonder if the Chinese really invented football - "kickball" looks brilliant - and thrill to Woo's continued collaboration with doves, one of whom supplies a wonderful shot flying over the enemy camp for some avian espionage.
Notable cuts include the background and motivations behind Zhuge Liang's plan to obtainarrows, including the threat to his life, and the early parts of Sun Shangxiang's infiltration, where she befriended a northern soldier Sun Shucai though the scene where she mourns Sun's death was not cut.