Friday, July 25, 2008

Red Cliff Movie

Mandarin movie.

red cliff movie, (赤壁 - Chìbì)/ The Battle of Red Cliff

Red Cliff (赤壁 - Chìbì)/ The Battle of Red Cliff is a Chinese epic movie that comes in 2 parts. It is set during the events during the End of Han Dynasty. Just like many other epic Chinese movies, the Red Cliff Part 1, sees 2 groups teaming up & collaborating to fight against their enemies.

The 'good team' is lead by Zhou Yu (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) and Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro). And together with the mighty spirit & tomboyish princess of Sun Shangxiang (Zao Wei), they managed to pull off the first attack despite their lack in army numbers.

In between, the 2 strategists show their war strategies & ideas which allow them to win rather effortlessly.

Why You Should Watch This Movie
1. The war strategies were superb. Unlike most battlefield movies that head to shoot/ kill with the usual attack plan, this movie introduces the Chinese war styles that is rather uncommon and good in trapping the enemies. This makes some of the war scenes very interesting & 'new'.

2. Beautiful sceneries & backdrop location in China, makes this a breathtaking movie journey.

3. There is some impart of lessons on life & Chinese culture which is done very subtly.

Why Not
1. The first 45 minutes was just a lil too complicated & without much direction. The war battlefield right at the start of the movie didn't help and in fact was a lil boring, especially when there weren't much clue yet.

2. This movie seems at times a lil loose and just a lil too much focus on the expressions of the actors faces. In some ways, it just seems like it is a big budget art film because of its rather long pauses.

Conclusion & Movie Rating
John Woo's attempt in making a Chinese epic is much desirable in bringing Asian movies to a new level. It is an ambitious attempt, which he has succeeded. He would have done much better if the script was tighter & the beginning a lil more clearer.

This movie should appeal to a wide audience including the non Asians for its Oriental appeal (script & philosophies). Definitely one of the better Chinese epic war movies and for that matter, one of the better war movies.

3.5 stars.

Red Cliff Trailer

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kung Fu Panda Movie

Synopsis (with info from Kung Fu Panda Official Site).

kung fu panda movie poster

The Kung Fu Panda movie revolves around Po (Jack Black), the 'son' of a bird noodle seller in a small village.

His father has plans for Po to take over the business someday soon. However, Po seems disinterested in it, and has dreams of becoming a kung fu warrior, despite having near zero experience in kung fu fighting.

But, true to animation style, there was an opportunity - when Master Oogway holds a competition to find the new hero to beat his old student-turned-bad, Tai Lung (Ian McShane),who is believed to be soon escaping from the tightly controlled dungeon.

Of course, the clumsy & inexperienced Po somehow managed to land himself this role, envied by the fellow kung fu mates, the Furious Five — Master Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Master Monkey (Jackie Chan), Master Mantis (Seth Rogen), Master Viper (Lucy Liu), and Master Crane (David Cross).

They were rather hostile towards him at first & do not believe in him being the savour, and especially so because they have been much more well trained in kung fu.

But, as the story unfolds, Po learnt a lesson that 'there is no secret' and that believing in oneself is the way to succeed. And so, with training, supervision & belief by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Po finally saves the day & beats Tai Lung.

kung fu panda movie, master shifu

Why You Should Watch This Movie
1. This is a movie for both family (kids) & adults. The storyline is tight & yet it manages to have the right humour at the right time.

kung fu panda movie, master tiger

The Master Tiger

2. Wonderful animation. The kung fu fighting & kung fu forms are comparable to that of real life.
3. For its beautiful China backdrop throughout the movie from mountain views to the village.
4. Animation fans will be glad to see the great details that went behind to make this Kung Fu Panda movie so real.
5. Apart from the teachings of good triumphs over evil, the belief one has within is imparted as well. This seems to be the key message here.

Why Not
Though this animation movie still lacks behind some of the all time favourites, but it's hard not to like this movie. Can't think of bad points, but maybe that it may seem a lil weird a Chinese backdrop movie with Chinese characters all in English.

Conclusion & Movie Rating
A must watch for all animation buffs & movie goers who want authenticity, humour & action.

4 stars.

Kung Fu Panda Trailer