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Red Cliff: There’s a massive review to write for John Woo’s epic “Red Cliff” but I’m not going to write it.  It doesn’t quite warrant the effort.  Just know it’s the largest production ever mounted by China’s film industry, it runs a total of 5 hours over 2 films, there’s lots of pros and cons to weigh about the whole thing, but when it was all said and done, I felt mild respect towards it because of some solid performances, but not much else.  It’s brought down several notches by misguided action scenes which are part “Crouching Tiger”, part “Gladiator”, but never anything their own.   Also, a woefully under imagined film score undermines the entire effort.  It’s as if a cheap, temporary score was left hanging over the film instead of conducting a real one for it.  The entire production feels handicapped by this.  If you’re a fan of Woo, historical war epics or Asian cinema in general, then you’ll probably find a lot to like about this colossal effort.  But for all its ambition and points of merit, it’s far from perfect.

Dreamscape: Look at that poster.  That poster sells.  It’s telling me that this is 80’s Spielbergian influenced adventure with action heroes, monsters and Christopher Plummer doing evil deeds.  That poster is a lie of obese measures. “Dreamscape” is an 80’s high concept vehicle being driven by very little actual imagination.  Dennis Quaid plays a talented psychic who starts working with a government project involving dreams.  He’s supposed to enter into peoples dreams as they sleep, find out what’s driving their nightmares and then help cure them.  But like a lot of product from the time the reach comes up woefully short of the grasp.  It doesn’t take much time before “Dreamscape” has turned into nothing more than a routine political thriller with badly dated special effects.  On a conceptual level the movie could be seen as a precursor and influence on seminal works like “The Matrix”, but there’s nothing entertaining on its own merits at play here.  Some 80’s movies are better left as the forgotten relics they are.


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