Thanks to tropical storm Edouard, I got to spend the day yesterday away from the office. I was hoping for a storm of epic proportions, but it ended up just being lots of rain..what a a letdown! However, I was able to watch Red Cliff. I have always been a fan of the Three Kingdoms periods and overall, I think John Woo did a good job with Red Cliff. Here are my general impressions of how each of the characters was played and how they matched my "vision" of what they were supposed to be like.
Liu Bei: Decent, the movie portrayed him as little more than a peasant. He had no martial abilities, no general vision for his future, and primary Musou attack was "fix straw shoes for everyone." They did emphasize his deeply righteous beliefs on how a ruler should act.
Zhuge Liang: Totally did not match the impression in my head. He doesn't speak eloquently, seems insecure all the time, and generally just frowns a lot. Also has Brokeback scene involving zithers with Zhou Yu which totally didn't work for me. He also fondles horse uterus.
Zhang Fei: Pretty good, they toned down his drinking, but kept his general profile to what I envisioned. Loud, obnoxious, always looking to pick a fight, and having strength of 100 men.
Guan Yu: Dynasty Warrior. Face not Red enough, no Red Hare, but they obviously paid tribute to Dynasty Warriors with this incarnation of Guan Yu. Speaks little but absolutely slaughters legions of troops with a single stroke of his halberd. It's almost as if troops were just walking up and impaling themselves since no matter where he swung, heads rolled. I could totally see the body-count counter rolling up every time he appeared. I think the best scene in the film to illustrate this is when Zhang Fei is trying to hold Chang Ban against overwhelming odds, Zhuge Liang rides in and Zhang Fei asks him "Where are the reinforcements???!!!" Zhuge Liang simply points, and you see Guan Yu mysteriously emerging from the fog of war and then proceeds to slay about 40 soldiers with 1 swipe of his halberd
Zhao Yun: A good portrayal. Loyal and fearless. The movie actually featured the battle of Changban bridge and I thought his charge was a lot more realistic in the number of enemies he slew.
Sun Quan: For some reason, all the leaders were portrayed as these frail little things that had no other abilities other than sitting there. Basically does nothing the whole movie except frown and make fun of Sun Shang Xiang (SSX).
Zhou Yu: Wow, he was portrayed really well. He's basically the perfect commander. Brilliant military tactics, superior martial abilities, and exceptional love-making skills. He demonstrates all three to a high degree in the film. In fact, I think his sexiness is so powerful that Zhuge Liang could not resist.
Gan Ning (Named Gan Xing in movie for some odd reason): Same attitude, same elite fighting abilities, no bells. Pretty good portrayal
Xiao Qiao: Token female. Passes the days petting horses and passing wanting glazes toward Zhou Yu. Her lines sucked, "Cao Cao has army of death bringing and will surely destroy all of us, but he lacks one thing that you have....friends!" all in that super high pitched annoying voice. This is one character that I wish matched its Dynasty Warriors counterpart. Give her some fans, and watch her run amok.
Sun Shang Xiang: My favorite character from the movie. This was the best portrayal and basically matches my impression of her perfectly. Sassy, sarcastic, me-against-world mentality, and total self confidence. Even though she has a relatively small role in the film, her scenes were always the ones I enjoyed.
Cao Cao: A little too conniving, backstabbing, plotting, and generally evil for me. In history, he was a very charismatic leader with many good traits. In the movie, he is basically portrayed as obsessed with bedding Xiao Qiao. They did perfectly portray his rashness and arrogance as a military strategist.
Zhang Liao??: Can't remember which general it was, but he is the only named general I remember on Wei who does anything significant. Basically gets his army destroyed, and runs away.
Various other Wei Generals: Only job is to provide the other generals with stat power-ups and morale boosts. They slay a few foot soldiers or peasants, then immediately gets cut down by a Shu or Wu general.