Red Cliff (15)

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I know the Chinese invented gunpowder, but did they really play football as early as AD 208?

That's how the warriors of evil Prime Minister Cao Cao spend their time when they're not conquering great swathes of land and putting their enemies to the sword. John Woo's massively-scaled epic recounts the true story of an allied resistance led by Viceroy Zhou Yu (Tony Leung) and Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro), the former a natural leader, the latter a shrewd strategist whose study of weather patterns gave them a crucial advantage over the enemy. The battle choreography is superb, and Woo's Peckinpah-style slo-mo violence ensures that every lopping and skewering gets our full attention. The film could do with some lopping itself – at least half an hour – but the effect is dizzyingly grand.

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