The Emperor hesitates, but reluctantly agrees after Cao Cao speaks of his contributions and loyalty (rescuing the Emperor when he was in exile, uniting northern China). Court official Kong Rong openly challenges and denounces him as a traitor, with the intention of usurping the throne. Kong claims Liu Bei and Sun Quan have no intentions of rebelling, especially when the former is the Emperor's uncle. Subsequently, Kong Rong is executed and Cao Cao placed in command of the Imperial Army, setting forth his campaign.
Cao Cao's mighty army swiftly conquers the southern lands. Meanwhile, Liu Bei abandons the city of Xinye and leads his army and 100,000 civilians unwilling to be under Cao Cao's rule on an exodus. However, Cao Cao's calvary catches up with Liu Bei, igniting the Battle of Changban. Zhang Fei, sworn brother of Liu Bei, personally leads a small group of soldiers armed with reflective shields to hold off the enemy while buying time for the civilians to escape. As the enemy soldiers approached, Zhang's troops uses their shields to reflect sunlight into the eyes of the enemy's horses, throwing them into chaos and seizing the preemptive attack.
At the same time, Zhao Yun is in search for Liu Bei's wives and son. He finds Lady Mi desperately trying to protect the infant Liu Shan from being seized by enemy soldiers. Severely wounded, she commits suicide by throwing herself in a well after entrusting Liu Shan to Zhao Yun. Zhao Yun fights bravely and manages to break out after being surrounded by the enemy.
Cast: Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Chang Chen, Zhao Wei
Features: Red Cliff, alternatively known as The Battle of Red Cliff, is a Chinese epic film based on the Battle of Red Cliffs and events during the End of Han Dynasty and immediately prior to the period of the Three Kingdoms in ancient China. The film is expected to be released in two versions: within Asia, Red Cliff is to be released in two parts totaling over four hours in length, with the first part premiered in July 2008 and the second in January 2009.
The film is directed by John Woo and stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Hu Jun, Lin Chi-ling and Zhao Wei. With an estimated budget of US$80 million, Red Cliff is the most expensive Asian-financed film to date. This film is one of the two 2008 Three Kingdoms related films, the other being Daniel Lee's Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon which has already been released.
Director John Woo said in an interview with CCTV-6 that the film will use primarily the historical record Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms as a blueprint for the Battle of Red Cliffs, rather than the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. As such, traditionally vilified characters such as Cao Cao and Zhou Yu will be given a more historically accurate treatment in the film.
In the Imperial Court of the Han Dynasty in Xuchang in the summer AD 208, Prime Minister Cao Cao requests for the Emperor Xian's permission to launch a campaign against the warlords Liu Bei and Sun Quan in southern China, whom he considers rebels against the Han Dynasty.