He once made himself immortal with action classics like “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled” and later “Face/Off”. A very special film by John Woo is now available for subscription to Prime Video. But be careful, there are more than 130 minutes missing.
It’s been almost 15 years since “Red Cliff” was released in Chinese cinemas as the most expensive Asian film of all time – as a two-parter. But even the first film was enough to break the ten-year-old box office record of James Cameron’s “Titanic” in his homeland. In Germany and internationally, however, the historical epic was never given too much attention. That “Red Cliff” now included in the subscription to Amazon Prime Video is great news for fans who still have to make big cuts in this country. Both on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as in the stream.
Then while “Red Cliff” originally consisted of two films with a total running time of over 4.5 hours, only a less than 2.5 hour long compilation of the two parts was released in Germany. This means that local fans of visually stunning historical epics only get to see a little more than half of the original version in the German version. If you fancy big pictures and impressive action against a historical background, you can at least get a taste of it without any additional costs with the Prime subscription:
» “Red Cliff” on Amazon Prime Video*
One thing is clear: In terms of action, “Red Cliff” is also convincing in the international version. After all, John Woo directed it – and it is not without reason that many fans of brute entertainment consider him the best action director of all time. However, “Red Cliff” never quite comes close to its milestones in both Hong Kong (“The Killer”, “Hard Boiled”) and Hollywood (“Face/Off – In the Body of the Enemy”). It doesn’t matter which version.
That’s what “Red Cliff” is about
China in 208 AD: The dynasty is about to end. After Prime Minister Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi, “Farewell My Concubine”) managed to persuade the Emperor (Wang Ning, “An Elephant Sitting Still”) to declare war on both the West and the South in order to secure the empire to finally unite, there is only one way for the two hostile peoples to save their skin: an alliance.
And so, enemies finally become allies who do not shy away from any battle, fighting side by side and thus wanting to avert their downfall – until the final confrontation finally occurs at the famous Red Rock…
First the positive: “Red Cliff” not only offers epochal action, but also really strong acting cinema. Hong Kong cinema legend Tony Leung, who you can expect from modern classics such as “Hero”, “Infernal Affairs” and “In The Mood For Love” and of course the Marvel blockbuster “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings”, Takeshi Kaneshiro (“House Of Flying Daggers”) and the leading lady from the 2009 “Mulan” film, Wei Zhao. The negative? Unfortunately, we also get to see much less of them in Germany.
This is missing in the German “Red Cliff” version
In order to make the Chinese epic a little more accessible to Western audiences, it was decided to use the scissors on numerous points. Sequences that viewers from Europe or North America may not be able to relate to were often shortened to a minimum or even removed completely. In addition to the birth of Meng Meng Among other things, entire storylines are missing, so that the international version is hardly comprehensible in some moments – especially not if you know the original version.
The fact that the quite significant story about the two admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun is missing also has an effect on later events, which therefore hardly have any meaning. While even the first meeting of Leung’s Zhou Yu and Kaneshiro’s Kǒngmíng shines in a different light, other major storylines are also missing, such as the one about the soldier Piggy.
In addition to numerous content censorships, the action is also shorter. Like the experts at Cut-Reports.com As we had to ascertain, there were almost 200 (!!) cuts in the course of the battle of San Jiang Kou alone, which are all minimal when viewed individually, but as a whole make for a much less impressive battle.
“Red Cliff”: Our tip
If you only watch films in the German dubbed version anyway and just fancy big pictures and classic John Woo action (including white doves, of course), you can take a look at Prime Video. But if you want to experience “Red Cliff” in all its glory, you would do well to bring the film home as an imported disc. The US Blu-ray, for example, contains the unabridged two-parter with English subtitles.
One of the best war films of all time is running on Amazon Prime – superbly staged & with two “Game Of Thrones” stars!
*The link to the Amazon offer is a so-called affiliate link. If you make a purchase through this link, we will receive a commission.