Watched this a few days ago, and had to rewatch it just to make sure I didn't miss anything. It's a nearly 5 hour long subtitled movie and it is Fantastic. Historical epics are a serious vice of mine I guess.. I will even watch TBN (trinity broadcasting network) if they are running one of the old 50's sword and sandals about Roman Judea.. But it has only been recently that we have begun getting such high quality epics which center on places other than the Holy land or Rome or Medieval England. Ran was alright, but the dodgy fake blood really is distracting in that.. It would have been a better movie in Black and White like the rest of Kurosawa's Samurai pictures..
I liked Mongol well enough when it came out, but Red Cliff is by far the superior movie. It's got tremendous cinematography, which is to be expected from a John Woo film. The Actors in this movie do a great job too, It's partially because I'm not familiar with any of them, but they make the characters they are portraying seem 100% real to me. Almost as if I've hopped into a Time Machine and gone back to watch it. The battle scenes are suitably epic, the scenery is lush and colorful its just a really good movie. And the really amazing thing is, they did it all for about 80million$ which is about 1/4th what The Lord of the Rings cost to make.
Now in the US, and I assume other western countries.. there are two versions of this movie out. One is the real version and its a multi disc affair presenting the entire film this is the so called " International Edition " and its the one I watched, I even avoided going to the theater to see the Western Cut when I had the chance so as not to spoil the real one. And then we have the Western Cut, which takes out nearly HALF the movie. Thats ridiculous.. 45 minutes made all the difference in Kingdom of Heaven.. between a barely watchable Orlando Bloom zoom in fest.. and a grand story of the crusades.. So if you're going to watch Red Cliff, make sure you get the right one. You won't be sorry.