I watched part I of Red Cliff, John Woo's adaptation of a teeeeeny bit of the story of the Three Kingdoms, a famous epic about how China was split into three warring kingdoms. It is so excellent!

It has Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhuge Liang (the brilliant guy with the feather fan) and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Zhou Yu, a guy whom Oyce tells me is usually not the main character, but is totally awesome in this and has one of the best character intros I've seen, involving a whole bunch of soldiers, a little boy, and a flute. Chang Chen, the hot desert guy from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, is also in it but I think I didn't recognize him.

There are epic, epic battles with actual strategy! There is a bad-ass fighting princess and her corps of trained soldier-maids! A tortoise provides a key tactic! A man fights with a spear in one hand and a baby he's protecting in the other! There are tons of swordfights shot so that you can actually see what's going on, not in the obnoxious yet strangely fashionable choppy method where all you can see are fragmentary snippets. There is a great deal of scheming and politicking. And, this being John Woo, there are white doves.

There is also Tony Leung partially naked, but sadly he is paired with an excruciatingly boring actress who had me snoozing during the sex scenes, which is quite a feat since this is Tony Leung we're talking about. Perhaps to make up for that, there is a great deal of slashy meaningful glances and even a (kind of long) duet between Leung and Kaneshiro.

It's definitely one movie in two parts. I eagerly await my video store's receipt of II.

In the meantime, please rec any of the following:

1. A good translation of The Three Kingdoms.

2. Movies, comic books, or other Three Kingdoms media. Hot actors and non-boring actresses a huge plus.

I have a Three Kingdoms comic book, but am having trouble following it due to the extreme condensation of a very long story with a cast of thousands. Red Cliff was much easier, since it has hot actors and only focuses on a single episode involving a limited number of people.

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