Red Cliffs, part 2 Review

red-cliffsRed Cliffs is based on a historical battle found between the three kingdoms of China during the Han dynasty.  Cao Cao, the most powerful, is portrayed in both part one and two as greedy and unethical.  He covets Sun Quan’s wife as well.    Liu Bei, the other warlord, forms an aliance with Zhou yu and shares his master of strategy with him.  The action shots and special effects are quite good and add to the legend-like quality of this historical action/drama.  It’s John Woo, after all.  The story is romanticized in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, by Luo Guanzhong.

I enjoyed both parts and rate it 4/5 acorns.  No clives.

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Atsuhime, Nakayama Shinchiro, and Throw Down reviews

Throw Down is a Chinese movie about Judo. I didn’t concentrate too much on the storyline as I was seaming a sweater, but here’s what I think happened. A young judo student comes in to town with the thought of challenging his hero to a match. That man has fallen on hard times and drinks a lot. It’s not explained too well why. Throw in the 3rd character, a women who is looking to “make it”, in acting or singing. A judo mentor who has a disabled son he takes care of dies in a duel and this is one factor in the alcoholic dude’s love of judo and honor coming back. I’m think the son must be autistic or an idiot savant, because he thinks he’s Sugata Sanshiro and can since in Japanese. But then I digress.

The high point of this movie are the judo matches. It’s a lot more like wrestling. I won’t rate this one.

Nakayama Shinchiro stars Raizo Ichikawa (best know for his role as Nemuri Kyoshiro (sleepy eyes of death). He plays a gambling man named Masakichi who vows to go straight when he falls in love and marries Oshima. However, his enemies conspire and the “boss” rapes Oshima and she kills herself in shame. Masakichi kills the boss and goes on the run.

He supports himself by gambling and he meets a young man who is trying to win enough money so he can get married. He is not a good gambler and borrows money from a loan shark. Masakichi, still haunted by is wif’es death, tries to help the young man and his wife, Onaka. Onaka looks just like Oshima. The loan shark falsifies the IOU and demands Onaka in exchange. Of course this is too much for Masakichi and he is the only one that can get them out of the mess they are in.

Raizo Ichikawa had a short life but made quite of few movies. I will give this one 3/5 acorns.

Atsuhime and her husband are able to reconcile their differences from last weeks episode and she vows to be true to her heart, in spite of all the intrigues and politicking around them. I feel anxious with every episode as the history books tell me she will be a widow after only about 5 years of marriage. She has come to adore her husband even though their relationship remains platonic.

Darn if I didn’t watch Legend of the Shadowless Sword again. I hate when I forgot I saw a movie before and rent it again. At least this one was fun. How could I forget the exploding men?