A very early Chinese language teaser trailer for John Woo's Red Cliff has arrived online. The film is an epic look at the legendary Battle of Red Cliff, in which a force of fifty thousand defeated an army of nearly one million at the end of the Han Dynasty. Let me be the first to say - John Woo is a hack director. Maybe back when he started in the 70's and 80's he was a great action director, but throughout the 90's and especially recently, he's made nothing but utter crap. That said, this doesn't look as bad as say, Paycheck, but who really knows yet? One thing is for sure, I'm getting tired of sprawling epic ancient history fighting movies. Leave that to Peter Jackson!
Need I remind you that this film has had a lot of troubles, including an incident with Chow Yun-Fat dropping out at the last minute due to "unrealistic demands". And sorry about the crappy quality, but at least that's how we know it's a John Woo movie!
Watch the teaser trailer for Red Cliff:
In 208 A.D., in the final days of the Han Dynasty, shrewd Prime Minister Cao Cao convinced the fickle Emperor Han the only way to unite all of China was to declare war on the kingdoms of Xu in the west and East Wu in the south. Thus began a military campaign of unprecedented scale, led by the Prime Minister, himself. Left with no other hope for survival, the kingdoms of Xu and East Wu formed an unlikely alliance. Numerous battles of strength and wit ensued, both on land and on water, eventually culminating in the battle of Red Cliff. During the battle, two thousand ships were burned, and the course of Chinese history was changed forever.
User comment: By: John DuongOy, I feel like an idiot. I apologize for the error. I should have said, "Eleven years have passed since since Face/Off and he hasn't had a single success since."
User comment: By: John DuongJohn Woo is significant as a filmmaker due to some of his early works such as The Killer and A Better Tomorow, but that's basically it. Sixteen years have passed since Hard Boiled and he hasn't had a single success since. I can't help, but somewhat agree with Alex when I consider all the films that John Woo has directed and the fact that only five of them are any good. It's not merely his last few films that make him look bad. Just look everything he made up until A Better Tomorrow. He may be known for his action scenes, but he has no eye for drama. His trademark doves and slow motion scenes are just plain irritating at times. It's kind of like Spike Lee's trademark of using pushing an actor on a dolly at some point in every one of his films. Even when it's inappropriate, he does it anyway. How about branching out stylistically as a filmmaker? Ang Lee did it and struck a nice balance between action and art with Croucing Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That said, I do disagree with Alex on one point; Shankman is undoubtedly even worse than Woo. As a film student, I've at least come across a few professors who've recommended that we watch a Woo film at some point during the course of a semester. I can't say the same for Shankman. At least the former will be remembered for some of his films. "Watch I can turn this around too, Peter Jackson is a hack. Maybe he directed some good fantasy epic movies recently but before then he's made utter crap. See how that reads? It doesn't take people's careers into perspective , only tiny snippets and generalizations"-Billy Actually, the films Peter Jackson directed prior to Fellowship of the Ring were not utter crap. Heavenly Creatures and Braindead may not have been as mainstream or accessible, but they were loved by many people.
User comment: By: HeckleAlex i was ready to defend you....but then i looked up those directors which you were defending. I'm aware of ratner. I can stand some of his "films" to a point. But Shankman? Look at this list and tell me what is worth defending? Hairspray (2007) Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) The Pacifier (2005) Bringing Down the House (2003) Nothing. Thats what. Crappy movies. And i know you loved Hairspray but it was a poor knockoff of a superior film.
User comment: By: BillyAmen, and amen Kit and Cameron. Calling John Woo a hack director simply because of his most recent American action movies is sort of like saying the super bowl doesnt is a money sink because they dont sell alot of baseballs. You're looking at a tiny part of his career with a very short list of bad movies and then saying he is a hack, its offensive really. Watch I can turn this around too, Peter Jackson is a hack. Maybe he directed some good fantasy epic movies recently but before then he's made utter crap. See how that reads? It doesn't take people's careers into perspective , only tiny snippets and generalizations
User comment: By: KitAmen. Cameron. Well said. Woo's Hong Kong cinema is unsurpassed and his true introduction to Western audiences with Face/Off was indicative of his sense of style and over the top action. American studios have completely neutered his abilities and vision and to say that he is a hack is way out of line. But everyone has their opinion. Try renting Hard Boiled, The Killer and A Better Tomorrow for true Woo and an education in how to film an action movie.
User comment: By: Cameron CubbisonAnyone who calls John Woo a hack while defending tools like Adam Shankman and Brett Ratner...I can't even think of an appropriate response, I'm just so mortified that a person with this kind of limited thinking on cinema exists, let alone someone who writes articles people read on a site. To say that at best Face/Off isn't bad is ridiculous. Face/Off is one of the most innovative, fresh, original, and satisfying action films of all time. Woo was able to take full authorial control of a complex script, layered characters brought out to perfection by megastars, and to pepper the film with AMAZING action sequences that never overshadowed the emotional journeys the characters were going on. The film is a masterpiece, and you are a moron. You're so ignorant that you haven't taken into the account that the Hollywood studio moguls have consistently seized Woo's films and tried to Americanize them at the expense of losing some of Woo's originality and power of vision. Face/Off was the one American film he got to make where he had the control he deserved. Trying to bridge the cultural divide has been nearly impossible for Woo, that is why he has gone back to his roots to make a film he can control. But even so, Woo's American films at worst are better than 95% of all American action movies. Peter Jackson is the one-trick pony. I sincerely suggest you stop watching movies (and brush up on your grammar) altogether, because you clearly don't know what you're talking about and you're ruining the art form for innocent people who shouldn't have to suffer just because you're a pompous jackass.
User comment: By: Alex BillingtonTo me, he is a hack and I will gladly argue this. You make a very good point, but I will certainly say Shankman and Ratner are not (as big of) hacks. I may tread into dangerous waters there, but oh well. To me, John Woo is the biggest load of crap director, at least in recent years. Broken Arrow and Face/Off aren't bad, but since then, which is at least 10 years time, he's made movies that just piss me off - there is NOTHING redeeming about them. Woo couldn't direct a good script even if some through an Oscar winner right into his hands. That's all I've got to say. It's all subjective anyway, but my feelings are very strong against Woo this time.
Visit here to subscribe to commentsUser comment: By: Joe M.To call John Woo a hack is WAY over the top. You can tell you're seeing a John Woo movie the moment a John Woo movie starts without having to see the credits. Because e's a signature director, which in turn does not make him a hack. Adam Shankman is a hack. Andy Tennant is a hack. Brett Ratner is a hack. John Woo is his own genre, for Pete's sake. That said, he's made some crap, terrible movies (like Paycheck), but what director hasn't made a crap movie. But he's no hack, Billington! C'mon!!