Daily Dose Pick: Red Cliff

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Slo-mo action maestro John Woo marches back onto the big screen with this impressively choreographed saga set in 2nd-century China.

The most costly production in Chinese cinema’s history, Woo’s epic details the art of war between a bellicose Han prime minister and a coalition of rebels — one that culminates in the Battle of the Red Cliffs. Among the short-handed, but smarter rebel forces are action figures Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro, playing advisers who only partner after a successful jam session.

Red Cliff is indeed strange while being insanely spectacular, and Woo remains an unsurpassed pro in staged fusillades (with spears or arrows here, rather than his trademark bullets) — even if the finer points of drama remain absent from his arsenal.

Learn more about the historic clash, explore the film’s official site, and read an illuminating interview with Woo about historical accuracy, Hollywood and Hong Kong, and censorship in China.

All Photos Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.