Yesterday, I got to see the dubbed rendition of the Chinese Epic Chi Bi (Red Cliff). I had seen the original one (part II to be exact), quite some time ago and was extremely impressed. I can assure you, it's not everyday that you get movies of this caliber! Though the original movie was made into a two part film that spanned a collective 5 hours or so, the English version was cut short to nearly half that time just to fit it all in one movie. Now though it didn't affect the narrative much, I'm afraid it ended up making the characters a little difficult to follow up. And I daresay, my mother who's not as interested in East Asian History as I am, found it a little difficult understanding who was fighting who and who was related to whom.
But that said, I must commend on the marvelous editing and the way the story was told. Not to mention, my favorite character was also in it! How could anyone have seen things to the end had it not been for the genius of Zhuge Liang or otherwise known as Kongming? And Takeshi Kaneshiro played the part with panache. And opposite the calm and composed Kaneshiro, we have Tony Leung playing the viceroy Zhou Yu. Kongming's unsaid thoughts are so perfectly understood by Zhou Yu and needless to say, together, they make a kick-ass team(though Kongming's only a strategist of sorts and doesn't actually fight much!). I mean, Kongming's the kind of guy who's the walking talking Farmer's Almanac! And Zhou Yu is the one who can multi-task all too well!
And we have Cao Cao, the baddie. Though to tell you the truth, I actually liked him just as much as Zhou Yu and Kongming. And the likening of the battle at Red Cliff to the Battle of Troy (minus the wooden horse) is uncanny. Cao Cao waging a war just so he can get another glimpse of Xiao Qiao, the wife of Zhou Yu, is very much like how things in Troy started out. Too bad Xiao Qiao is madly in love with her husband She appears every bit, the perfect foil for her husband who is as level headed as he can get already!
Hmmmm..... What do you know! I've found the perfect guy who could play the part of Hotohori,
the fourth emperor of Khonan! It's either Tony Leung or Takeshi Kaneshiro. I've not problem whoever plays the part but I'm leaning a wee bit (microscopically) towards Kaneshiro. But that's just because he's half Japanese! :P
I'd advice you guys to see the original Chinese version with subtitles if you want to understand everything that's going on. But if you can catch the meaning between the lines out of thin air (or all you care about are the kick-ass battle scenes), the English version will not disappoint you.