At the end of the Han dynasty, prime minister Cao Cao can convince the emperor to go to war against the kingdoms Xu (in the west) and Wu (in the south). His goal is to unite the empire.
His superior army invades the west and forces its king Liu Bei to flee. Bei’s counsellor, Zhu Ge Liang, suggests a coalition with the south in order to defend themselves against Cao Cao.
The south’s emperor, Sun Quan, hesitates at first but eventually agrees to this and the two kingdoms make their stand against Cao Cao.
The originally two movies were cut into a single one in order to create a John Woo action movie which seemed to be easier to sell to Western audiences. Producer Terence Chang comments:
Casualties of this policy were
A lot of small cuts during the battles have also been made. The battle of San Jiang Kou alone features almost 200 cuts in twenty minutes.
The editors have done quite a good job when they joined different scenes together. For example, Zhou Yu’s sword dance was integrated into the Cuju game.
An explanatory introduction and name overlays at the first appearances of the main characters were added in order to help the western audience to understand the story.
Takeshi Kaneshiro’s character was renamed (HK: Zhu Ge Liang/ IV: Kongming).
The Soundtrack is the same but is used differently.
If you know and like the original version the new edit will seem like an unnecessary fast forward through the story. However, it will be suitable for most of the western viewers, because the average movie fan probably considers the break between the second and the final battle as too long or Meng Meng’s birth as unnecessary.
Comparison between the International Version, taken from the German DVD by Constantin Film and the Original Version, taken from the two HK DVDs by Mei Ah Entertainment.
In order to make the report easier to read, it was divided into parts and not every cut features illustrations. Sometimes cuts were combined (note the bordering). The missing of single frames will not be mentioned either.
The names of the actors and characters were taken from the HK DVD’s ending credits. The dialogs are from the Original Version as well.
Sometimes a few frames of the following scene were removed when cuts were made, this will not be mentioned either.
Time designations have been rounded up in most cases.
IV = 02:23:00 (02:17:11 w/o ending credits)
HK Part 1 = 02:25:23 (02:18:18 w/o ending credits)
HK Part 2 = 02:21:23 (02:16:28 w/o ending credits)
Running time of the IV until the end of Part 1 = 00:59:54
Running time of the IV until the end of Part 2 = 01:17:17
HK = Hongkong Version
IV = International Version
The second part starts with opening credits that consist of scenes and quotations from the first part. In that way, the audience gets a short summary of the previous events.
After the title card the story continues in Cao Cao's camp with a match of Cuju. The audience in the stands reward a successful move. After that, the international Version continues.
Shan Xiang stands next to the Cuju court so that she will not attract any attention. There, she glances at Sun Shu Cai (Tong Da Wei).
While she's standing there, the hidden pigeon makes itself felt and the soldiers who stand near her look surprised. The princess acts like the sounds result from her stomach. A goal by Sun Shu Cai and the cheers that follow end all the tension.
She goes on looking around. When the ball comes near the barrier in front of her, she taps it so that Cai's opponent comes to nothing. The following goal is also included in the IV.
Subsequently, they in the IV show Zhou Yu's sword dance. The movie cuts back and forth from the dance to the Cuju field.
Xiao Qiao talks about the art of warfare while her husband wanders through the rooms. Zhou is astonished since his wife normally hates war. She replies that she wanted to know what he thinks - therefore she reads his military books.
He praises her tea and from his dance she realizes that he obviously already has a strategy for the fight against Cao Cao. Xiao would find it great to invite Cao Cao to a cup of tea to talk to him about the weather.
During the Cuju Cao Hong says that Zhou Yu will probably not start a frontal attack but Cao Cao disagrees. He says that their success completely depends on the admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.
Hua Tuo (who seems to be worried) appears at the side of the field and Cao Cao's smile suddenly vanishes.
IV: 156.5 sec
The HK goes on with the match and shows Shang Xiang who is glad. Subsequently the princess again interferes in the game - the ball comes in her direction and she heads it to Sun Shu Cai. The latter is able to score again.
Meanwhile, in the alliance's camp they play "Pitch Pot“. The attendants try to throw an arrow into a vase - only Zhou Yu is able to do it. Zhang Fei tries to do the same thing with a bunch of arrows.
Zhang Fei: „That pot isn't wide enough.“
Zhu Ge Liang: „You would miss no matter how wide it was.“
Guan Yu: „Pitch pot is a game for aristocrats not for soIdiers in wartime.“
Zhang Fei: „Your Honor, how'd you throw that bull's eye?“
Zhou Yu: „Concentration. When the enemy is over-confident, we must double our concentration. With concentration, you can kill a giant with a pebble.“
Now begins a constant back and forth between the two camps. During the Cuju, in the IV the conversation between Cao Hong and Cao Cao that was already mentioned begins.
Cao Hong: „Your Highness, Zhou Yu's army is small. He'll have to resort to guerilla warfare.“
Cao Cao: „That last puny victory has made Zhou Yu cocky. He's no guerilla warrior. He will confront us face to face.“
Then follows a cut to the alliance where they begin to talk about their next strategy.
Lu Su: „They are readying for battle. We need a strategy to counter them.“
Zhou Yu: „Cao Cao wants to surround us, without breaking the basic rules of strategy.“
Zhu Ge Liang: „The first army to the field will be rested. The second army will arrive exhausted.“
Zhou Yu: „Attack where the enemy is least prepared. Strike where they least expect it. We must concentrate all forces, on their strongest position.“
Back at the Cuju, Cao Cao says that the marine's success depends on the admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.
Cao Cao: „Naval victory depends on Admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.“
Admiräle: „We are loyal to Your Highness until death.“
Before Zhou Yu throws another arrow in the vase he says: „Cao Cao underestimates us. He will never expect us to hit their navy.“
At the end of the Cuju game, Cao Cao promotes Sun Shu Cai for his efforts and promises the soldiers that they won't have to pay taxes for 3 years. During the following cheers Cai looks at the princess.
Cao Cao: „What is your name?“
Sun Shu Cai: „Private Sun Shucai.“
Cao Cao: „You are an outstanding player and a good soldier. From this day forward you are promoted to battalion commander.“
Sun Shu Cai: „Thank you, Your Highness!“
Cao Cao: „Everyone must practice hard at Cuju. Only with tough bodies can we win this war. Once the Southlands are subdued, your families will be exempt from taxes for three years.“
Die Spieler: „Thank you, Your Highness!“
The princess hides behind the horse barns and ties a little message on the pigeon. When she lets the pigeon fly off, Sun Shu Cai stands directly in front of her - the two of them both get frightened.
They have a little conversation that shows that Cai is not exactly the smartest guy but his heart is at the right place.
Sun Shu Cai: „What are you doing?“
Shang Xiang: „I'm... setting these birds free.“
Sun Shu Cai: „That's very kind of you. You're leaving? By your accent, I bet you're a Southerner.“
Shang Xiang: „That's right.“
Sun Shu Cai: „Southerners are warm-hearted people.“
Shang Xiang: „Northerners are free-spirited.“
Sun Shu Cai: „I'm kind of dumb. People say my entire life...“
Shang Xiang: „You're not dumb, just too honest. You're good at Cuju.“
Sun Shu Cai: „Thanks for heading the ball. What's your name?“
Shang Xiang: „My name is...Look at the size of me. My mother calls me Piggy.“
Sun Shu Cai: „Piggy? So you can play Cuju right?“
Shang Xiang: „You kidding? I only know hacky-sack. Congratulations on your promotion.“
Sun Shu Cai: „So does a commander get bigger meals?“
Shang Xiang: „You're a big officer now. You can eat as much as you want. Are you fighting just to fill your stomach?“
Sun Shu Cai: „Mother says my stomach is a bottomless pit. My family's too poor to feed me.“
Shang Xiang: „We're Pit and Piggy! What a pair!“
Runtime of these scenes HK: 4 min. 57 sec
Hua Tuo and Cao Cao walk a little further towards the tent of the dead.
The IV cuts from the tent of the persons infected with typhus to Shan Xiang who sends away the carrier pigeon. If you look closely you can see that the princess looks quite startled because Sun Shu Cai appears directly in front of her. However, you can't see him in the IV.
Then you see the death ships arriving - soldiers and the townspeople come closer. Meanwhile, the carrier pigeon arrives at Zhu Ge Liang. In that way he finds out about the onset of the typhus epidemic.
IV: 53 sec
In the HK you at first see the pigeon arriving at Zhu Ge Liang. Then follows a converation with the generals. Huang Gai (Zhang Shan) and Zhang Fei want to take the opportunity to attack buturges them not to act too hastily.
Zhu Ge Liang: ”The climate has weakened Cao Cao's army. Disease is rampant.“
Huang Gai: ”Great. Your Honor, let's seize this chance and attack.“
Lu Su: ”The navy is still healthy. We must not act recklessly“
Zhang Fei: ”Your Honor, this is the time to attack!“
Huang Gai: ”Yes!“
Zhou Yu: ”This is a battle of honor. Even war must be fair.“
The sun goes down and in Cao Cao's camp the soldiers pay their last respect with a ceremony to those who passed away. Shang Xiang is shocked by these events and Hua Tuo also thinks that the usage of the dead goes way too far. He asks Cao Cao if he doesn't think that this is inhumane. Cao shortly looks at him but doesn't answer.
In the middle of the ceremony the movie cuts to Zhou Yu who's asleep. Suddenly he startles up and sits in his, looking quite shocked. His wife asks him what's wrong but he doesn't answer - instead he just shakes his head.
Runtime of these scenes HK: 140.5 sec
Zhou Yu comments the usage of the infected persons in the IV by saying that ”He's attacking our morale.“ The HK is slightly longer.
”This is psychological warfare. He's attacking our morale.“
After Sun Quan accuses Liu Bei of betrayal, the beginning of the next scene (a cut to Bei and Zhang Fei) was cut out. Therefore you don't heat Zhang Fei saying ”We are men of our word.“
Sun Quan takes a step forward towards Zhou Yu and Zhu Ge Liang watches Liu Bei leaving.
The HK shows some more scenes of Liu Bei's departure while in the IV, two horsemen (messengers) arrive at Cao Cao's camp.
IV: 3.5 sec
HK: 14.5 sec
After Cao Cao receives the message that Liu Bei withdrew, you in the HK then see Zhou Yu's sword dance plus the following conversation with his wife.
Xiao Qiao: "Swift as the wind, Gentle as a forest, Fierce as fire, Firm as a mountain.“
Zhou Yu: ”If you hate war, why can you quote "The Art of War"?“
Xiao Qiao: ”To understand you, I must sneak glances at your books.“
Zhou Yu: ”A thousand books cannot equal a cup of your tea.“
Xiao Qiao: ”I'm happy so long as you enjoy it. I wish we could invite Cao Cao for tea. Forget the war and just enjoy the scenery. Wouldn't that be great?“
Zhou Yu: ”I doubt he appreciates the art of tea.“
Xiao Qiao: ”You wield your sword like you know a way to beat Cao Cao.“
Zhou Yu: ”A way as mysterious as darkness. “
Xiao Qiao: ”And as powerful as thunder.“
Zhou Yu: ”It is time for us to act“
During the dissolve to the next scene, the IV does not include the effect that you see in the HK.
IV: 0.5 sec
HK: 155 sec
The IV shows Shang Xiang drawing while the imperial army separates their ships.
IV: 1.5 sec
Ditto, Shang Xiang draws the enemy formation.
IV: 4.5 sec
After the successful demonstration of the marine, Cao Cao talks to Jiang Gan. Cao Cao wants Jiang Gan to go to Zhou Yu to assign the job. Shang Xiang watches this from a distance.
Cao Cao: ”Jiang Gan.“
Jiang Gan: ”At your service, Your Highness.“
Cao Cao: ”You grew up with Zhou Yu, right?“
Jiang Gan: ”Yes, we were childhood friends.“
Cao Cao: ”Cross the river. Urge him to surrender.“
Jiang Gan: ”Surrender? Zhou Yu's loyalty to Sun Quan runs deep. I'm afraid he won't...“
Cao Cao: ”The Southlands are falling apart. Liu Bei has fled. Now is the time to ask Zhou Yu to surrender.“
Jiang Gan: ”Yes, Your Highness“
The princess climbs down the wall and lands on a soldier's shoulders. Fortunately it is Sun Shu Cai who complains about his battalion that follows him everywhere. Shang says that the soldiers have to follow him and Cai then sends his troops to play Cuju.
Subsequently, Pit and Piggy want to have fun. Sun takes Shang on his shoulders and the princess takes the advantage of the opportunity to draw the fleet formation.
Sun Shu Cai: ”Piggy. Scared you didn't I? These guys keep tailing me. How can I have any fun like this?“
Shang Xiang: ”You're battalion commander. They have to follow you.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”Listen up! Everyone go practice Cuju.“
Soldaten: ”Yes, sir!“
Sun Shu Cai: ”It worked! Let's have some fun!“
Shang Xiang: ”Great.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”What should we play?“
Shang Xiang: ”Let's play...Let's play Ride High.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”OK. Come on. You really are heavy. Your mother gave you the right nickname.“
Shang Xiang: ”This isn't high enough. Let's go up there.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”Watch your balance.“
Shang Xiang: ”Be careful.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”This high enough for you?“
Shang Xiang: ”Yeah. Stay still.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”That itches.“
Shang Xiang: ”Itches? Here, let me scratch it.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”Much better.“
Shang Xiang: ”Turn left.“
Sun Shu Cai: ”What's so interesting there? It's just the fleet.“
Shang Xiang: ”Don't move.“
Again, you don't see the effect used for the dissolve in the HK.
IV: 0.5 sec
HK: 116 sec
In the HK, Zhu and Zhou are opposing each other a little longer - the conversation about the purchase of the arrows is different for both versions. While they in the IV only talk about the fact that they have to obtain arrows, they in the HK come to an understanding with each other. Zhu Ge Liang obtains 100.000 arrows and Zhou arranges it so that Cai Mao and Zhang Yun are killed. If one of them fails, he will be decapitated.
Zhou Yu: "We have to cut off the enemy's supplies.“
Zhu Ge Liang: "Great suggestion. What else were you thinking about?“
Zhou Yu: "We have to take away their weapons and weaken their morale. I will get 100.000 of the enemy's arrows to weaken Cao Cao's fighting spirit.“
Zhu Ge Liang: "Very good! I will take on that task. I will get the arrows.“
[NOTE: This conversation is just a translation of the German soundtrack and does not represent the original English text of the IV. We appologize for this inaccuracy.]
Zhu Ge Liang: ”The arrows are my responsibility.“
Zhou Yu: ”As well they should be. Your Lord took them. We need one hundred thousand arrows. You still think you can handle it?“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”Fine, if I cannot come up with one hundred thousand, you may take my head.“
Zhou Yu: ”We only have food for ten days. I give you ten days' time.“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”I don't need ten, just three.“
Zhou Yu: ”We soIdiers do not joke.“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”You said you'd eliminate Admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun. If not, then what?“
Zhou Yu: ”You may have my head.“
At the end, the IV is again missing out on an effect.
IV: 0,8 sec
HK: 26 sec
The clouds are shown a little longer.
The international version dissolves a little earlier (while Zhu Ge Liang watches the clouds). Before that, you hear his thoughts and - in comparison to the HK - he says an additional sentence:
A star-bright sky in the night, serpentine clouds during the day. There will be heavy fog, just as I expected.
[NOTE: This is just a translation of the German soundtrack and does not represent the original English text of the IV. We appologize for this inaccuracy.]
IV: 3 sec
Lu Su goes to Zhu Ge Liang and tells him that the demanded ships are ready. Additionally he wonders why Zhu is that calm even though he has to deliver the arrows the next day - so far he didn't produce any arrows.
Lu Su: ”You were here all night. What are you up to?“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”See for yourself. Wind and water converge here. The feng shui is excellent.“
Lu Su: ”Glad you're relaxed. You are worrying me to death. The twenty ships with crew you requested are ready. There's only one day left. Where are the arrows? You haven't made even one. You should be in a nervous sweat.“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”My sweat is of no concern. But see if the tortoise is sweating.“
Lu Su: ”It is.“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”As I predicted, fog is coming.“
Lu Su: ”What fog? The only fog here is around my head. What is this plan of yours?“
Zhu Ge Liang: ”Nature's secrets cannot be revealed.“
Then follows a meeting of the two schoolfellows Zhou Yu and Jiang Gan. The two of them take a trip down memory lane.
Jiang Gan (singend): ”Old cow plows the paddy's rows.“
Zhou Yu (singend): ”Young calf munches on what grows.“
Jiang Gan: ”You really are something. Back then you were just a kid who loved to sing. Who'd have guessed that kid would be a Viceroy.“
Jiang Gan (singend): ”Planting rice is the old man's chore.“
Jiang Gan: ”We were ten when you clubbed that bandit from behind. He spun around and somehow the club was in my hands. He gave me the beating of my life.“
Beide (singend): ”In the sedan chair the young boy snores“
Jiang Gan: ”To this day I still don't understand how that club got into my hand.“
Zhou Yu: ”You're too slow. You remember that time. I wrote on the tutor's exam book in your handwriting. Senile idiot!“
Jiang Gan: ”That's right! He gave me twenty swats across my butt.“
Zhou Yu: ”Back in those days, there was no prank we didn't pull.“
Jiang Gan: ”I can trick any man I meet. But with you, I always play the fool.“
Zhou Yu asks for his sword and then does his sword dacne. While producing the sword, a message falls down to the floor. Jiang Gan sees it and tries to pick it up unnoticed. But Zhou stops him with his sowrd. Jiang bashfully says „You are a fine sword dancer.“
Zhou Yu asks Jiang Gan if he's there at the behest of Cao Cao. He denies it, but Zhou is not convinced. However, in a few days it won't matter anymore anyway, because than somebody will lay Cao Cao's head at Zhou's feet.
Zhou Yu: ”Are you here as Cao Cao's emissary?“
Jiang Gan: ”Me? I can barely speak for myself. How could I speak for Cao Cao?“
Zhou Yu: ”I'm not as clever as you but I know what song you're singing.“
Jiang Gan: ”You do not give me enough credit.“
Zhou Yu: ”I'd never disrespect a talented Southerner but to serve Cao Cao is wrong.“
Jiang Gan: ”You have your Lord and I have mine, but...“
Zhou Yu: ”No matter. A few days from now someone will lay Cao Cao's head at my feet. You believe me?“
Jiang Gan: ”Yes, I do.“
A messenger comes and has some urgent messages; Zhou Yu and the messengers leave the room. Jiang secretly follows them and overhears their conversation.
Zhou Yu: ”I know we've no arrows. If Zhu-ge Liang fails to get more, I'll have his head.“
Messenger: ”Maybe our friends across the river can help.“
Zhou Yu: ”They have a more important mission.“
Messenger: ”Admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun report. Cao Cao's head cannot be taken just yet. I fear...“
Zhou Yu: ”Do not underestimate them. Here is their message.“
Xiao snaps Jiang who looks at her quite shocked. Zhou Yu supervenes and wants some more wine. On his way back, Jiang tells Zhou that he heard that Cao Cao only fights the war because of Xiao.
Xiao Qiao: ”Mr. Jiang. What are you doing here alone?“
Jiang Gan: ”Mrs. Zhou?“
Xiao Qiao: ”Come sit inside.“
Zhou Yu: ”Xiao Qiao, bring more wine.“
Xiao Qiao: ”Any more and you'll be drunk.“
Zhou Yu: ”Come on, we'll drink more upstairs.“
Jiang Gan: ”Drink more?“
Zhou Yu: ”Why end a good time?“
Jiang Gan: ”I heard Cao Cao invaded the Southlands all for your wife.“
Zhou Yu: ”Is that so?“
Jiang Gan: ”Cao Cao has a reputation for stealing men's wives.“
Zhou Yu: ”You're drunk. More wine.“
Jiang Gan: ”More? Where?“
During the night, Jiang sneaks to the other side of the bed and takes the message from Thou Yu's sleeve. He quietly reads it aloud.
”We surrendered to Cao Cao not for profit but out of desperation. We now have the Northerners entrapped in camp. Soon we will deliver his decap...his decapitated head. Further reports to come. Admiral Cai Mao“
During the last sentence, Zhou Yu hits him on his shoulder and tells him (apparently dozily) that this again is one of his tricks. Subsequently he lays back down.
Zhou Yu: ”What are you looking at? Just one of my tricks.“
Jiang Gan: ”You do love to play tricks on me.“
Zhou Yu: ”I'll trick you again...and again...“
Jiang Gan: ”Not this time you won't.“
Runtime of these scenes HK: 6 Min. 49.5 sec
Cao Cao is shown from behind a little longer.
Since Zhu Ge Lian wouldn't let Lu Su in on his plans, Lu takes one of the straw soldiers and talks to it.
Lu Su: „Scarecrow, you're more of a man than that fellow. That fellow doesn't tell me a thing. You're a better drinking buddy. Cheers!“
One of Cao Cao's companions wonders about the weather in the south and confuses the ships' drums with thunder. Specifically, he says that the weather in the south was really strange and asks how there could be thunder in the middle of winter and whether the others hear it, too.
Lu Su realizes the voyage leads towards the enemy camp and asks the scarecrow if it wants to surrender.
Lu Su: „Scarecrow. Why are we heading for the enemy camp? You're not surrendering, are you?“
The fog is shown longer and the alliance's ships can be seen a little better.
Lu talks to the straw man again, and asks it to stop drumming, because Cao Cao's men might shop up. Zhu tells him they wouldn't risk going through the fog.
Lu Su: „Scarecrow, stop drumming. What if Cao Cao's men come for us?“
Zhu Ge Liang: „They wouldn't dare. A heavy fog might hide an ambush.“
Lu Su: „Oh, so you've decided to talk to me.“
Before the royal army shoots the first arrows towards the approaching boats, Cao Cao reads the message that Jiang Gan stole. He first suspects a trap behind it.
Cao Cao: „This is a plot to turn us against each other.“
Jiang Gan: „We're not fools. Would Zhou Yu use such an obvious trick?“
Berater: „Sometimes the simplest trick is the best way to lead someone to their death.“
Back at the river, a shot showing Zhu Ge Liang and Cai Mao is missing.
During the shooting, one of the shots was mirror-inverted.
Directly after the mirror-inverted shot, we go back to Cao Cao again and the discussion on the dealing of the letter. In between, scenes of the boats getting shot at are shown.
Cao Hong: „Your Highness, whether this is a trick or not, we should proceed with caution.“
Xia Hou Jun: „What if their navy mutinies? That would be a disaster.“
Jiang Gan: „Besides the letter, I heard them mention friends here would get them arrows.“
Another mirror-inverted shot.
A few more arrows hit their target.
More arrows again..
Lu Su tries to dodge the arrows in the boat and Zhu calms him by saying the scarecrow would protect him.
Zhu Ge Liang: „Don't worry, Scarecrow will protect you.“
When Lu Su realizes what Zhu has in mind with the straw soldier, the IV shows the imperial fleet receiving arrow-supplies. This scene is shown in the HKV only later in the next cut.
IV: 3 sec
Zhu orders the drumming to stop and Cao Cao is shown again, he wants to talk to the two admirals. They are training with the fleet, though, so he orders to get the letter of surrender.
Cao Cao: „Call Admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun in for questioning.“
Soldat: „They are out training the fleet.“
Cao Cao: „If they are not here, then their handwriting is. Bring their letter of surrender.“
HK: 24.5 sec
After the boats have turned, some shots of the archers were removed and Lu Su drops off his chair again, at which Zhu says he should watch his seat.
More archers shoot at the allied ships.
Cao Cao compares the two letters and finds that both must be originating from Cai Mao.
Cao Cao: „The handwriting is a perfect match and full of the same mistakes. This must be the work of Cai Mao.“
Back to the arrow-supplying, the admirals order their soldiers to keep shooting and Zhu and Lu have fun inside the ship.
In the middle of the shooting, a quick view of the alliance's navigators is missing.
The view of the fleet can be enjoyed longer.
After the cheering of Lu and Zhu, the thoughtful face of Cao Cao was removed.
Zhu's boats keep floating away longer.
IV: +1 sec
The lost ship floats further away.
Angrily looking Cao Cao ends the episode on the arrows. As cheeful allies count the arrows, he orders to cross the river in two days.
IV: 29 sec
The admirals leave the ship and are already expected by Cao Cao outside. Both don't suspect what is ahead of them, yet, and report of their small victory.
Cai Mao: „A small victory hardly deserves such a reception.“
Cao Cao: „A small victory? How many men did the enemy send?“
Cai Mao: „Fog covered the river. Impossible to see.“
Cao Cao: „If you couId not see, how did you repel them?“
Cai Mao: „Firing at will forced retreat.“
Cao Cao: „Firing at will? How many arrows is that?“
Cai Mao: „About one hundred thousand.“
Cao Cao: „And why didn't you pursue them?“
Cai Mao: „Fog meant possible ambush, Your Highness. So...“
Cao Cao: „Again with the fog. Seems like you are hiding something in that fog.“
The lost arrowboat is floating to the camp and thus, seems to confirm Jiang Gan's story.
Both admirals want to apologize but Cao Cao confronts them with the stolen message. Today there would be merely arrows and tommorrow his head. He orders the guards to decapitate the two.
Cao Cao: „Can't you tell a soldier from a scarecrow? One hundred thousand arrows? You're mighty generous.“
Cai Mao: „Please forgive me, Your Highness.“
Zhang Yun: „I deserve death, Your Highness.“
Cao Cao: „Today it's arrows. Tomorrow it's my head, am I right?“
Cai Mao: „Zhou Yu is turning us against each other.“
Zhang Yun: „No spy is stupid enough to...“
Cao Cao: „Silence! I trust and honor talented men. But I abhor deceivers and traitors. Guards!“
Cai Mao: „Your Highness, we have trained day and night.“
Cao Cao: „Take them away and behead them.“
Cai Mao: „We swear our loyalty to Your Highness. Didn't I surrender to a benevolent ruler? We have trained night and day.“
Cao Hong steps forth and asks Cao Cao to wait, because who was to lead the navy from now on?
Cao Hong: „Wait, Your Highness. If you kill them, who will lead the navy?“
Cao Cao: „Halt!“
Cao Cao's halt is too late for the admirals, though, and he realizes he fell victim to a ploy.
Huang Gai happily counts the captured arrows in the meantime.
Huang Gai: „Ninety-three thousand eight hundred, Ninety-four thousand, Ninety-four thousand two hundred, Ninety-four thousand six hundred. We'll shoot Cao Cao with his own arrows. This battle will be interesting.“
Lu asks Huang to count concentratedly and Zhu demonstrates the soldiers a rapid-fire crossbow.
Lu Su: „Concentrate! No mistakes.“
Huang Gai: „Wait. Don't interrupt. Two hundred per person. There'll be no mistakes.“
Soldier: „Mr. Zhu-ge, what is this new invention?“
Zhu Ge Liang: „A rapid-fire crossbow. It shoots ten arrows without reloading. Here, watch.“
Huang Gai: „Ninety-nine thousand four hundred, Ninety-nine thousand six hundred.“
Zhou Yu joins in and is impressed by the crossbow, subsequently, he asks Huang Gai and Lu Su whether Zhu Ge Liang managed to organize 100.000 arrows.
Zhou Yu: „Impressive! You know a trifle about weapon design too.“
Zhu Ge Liang: „Knowing a trifle about everything gives life more color.“
Lu & Pu: „Your Honor.“
Zhou Yu: „Did he reach one hundred thousand?“
Lu Su: „The total is ninety-nine thousand six hundred.“
Zhou Yu: „Now what?“
Lu Su: „Well...Your Honor, it's only four hundred.“
Zhou Yu: „Short one is still short. The law is firm as a mountain.“
Zhu Ge Liang: „That's right. So what does the law say?“
Lu Su: „The law prescribes beheading.“
Three stragglers appear and save Zhu's head by that.
Huang Gai: „Garbages! What took you so long? Hurry and bring them over.“
Lu Su: „Thank god! The total is one hundred thousand two hundred. Mr. Zhu-ge has completed his mission.“
After Zhu has kept his part of the promise, he asks about Zhou Yu. Lu says that Zhu would only be joking, but that's not the case.
Zhu Ge Liang: „Seems like my head is safe where it is. How about yours?“
Zhou Yu: „You want my head?“
Lu Su: „Mr. Zhu-ge. We're just joking.“
Zhu Ge Liang: „When I lost, was he joking?“
Zhou Yu: „Of course not.“
Zhou Yu gives Huang Gai the sword to perform the decapitation as one of the carrier pigeon appears and reports about the admirals' deaths.
Zhu Ge Liang: „Looks like you haven't lost after all. Cao Cao has executed Admirals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.“
Huang Gai: „I think we've been duped.“
Lu Su: „Steal the enemy's weapons then destroy their moral. Your strategies worked together brilliantly.“
Zhu Ge Liang: „Cao Cao must be going crazy right about now. In two or three days, he will try something desperate.“
Zhou Yu: „But this will not be good for Jiang Gan. I've lost an old friend.“
After this last line of Zhou, we see a small party at Cao Cao's. To thank him for his services done, Jiang Gan receives a special drop.
Cao Cao: „Honored guests. Zhou Yu is just showing off his cleverness. He undoubtedly thinks I have gone crazy. Tell me, do I look crazy?“
Guests: „Not at all...“
Cao Cao: „Come, let us root out the traitor then we can sleep easy. Cheers! Jiang Gan. Today you were of great service. Please drink.“
Jiang Gan: „Thank you, Your Highness.“
Jiang's drink is poisoned and he dies in front of the attendants' eyes. Cao Cao gives the order to conquer the other shore in two days.
Cao Cao: „Your stupidity was trivial. But you brought your stupidity upon me. Hear this! In two days, our army shall cross the river and take Red Cliff!“
Guests: „Yes, Your Highness!“
total cut length HK: 7 min. 22 sec
A few impressions of the imperial camp are missing.
The scenes that have just been removed are used when the princess sneaks out of the enemy's camp without any problems.
IV: 7.5 sec
Shang Xiang sends a carrier pigeon and is caught by the guards. She can fight back the guards and escapes.
The soldiers can corner Shang and Sun Shu Cai sees his friend Piggy. He moves a cuju ball at one of the soldier's head and joins the scene.
Sun Shu Cai: „Piggy, why do they want to hurt you?“
Shang Xiang: „It's a misunderstanding.“
Sun Shu Cai: „A misunderstanding?“
Soldat: „He's a spy.“
Sun Shu Cai: „Nonsense, he is my friend.“
Soldat: „Friend? Are you stupid?“
After the last line Sun Shu Cai starts a brawl with the guards. His battalion sees this and comes to help their commander.
The soldiers at the fortress happily watch this and cheer their comrades.
Sun Shu Cai gets thrown against a pole and keeps lying unconscious. Shang Xiang saves her friend from worse.
Shang Xiang: „Pit! Pit!“
Sun Shu Cai: „Piggy, are you all right?“
Pit and Piggy leave the battle field and say good bye to each other, after that Pit helps Piggy to escape.
Sun Shu Cai: „Piggy. Where are you going?“
Shang Xiang: „My mother is sick. I must go home.“
Sun Shu Cai: „That's very kind of you to visit her.“
Shang Xiang: „You should go home too.“
Sun Shu Cai: „No, I'll return after the war. Fighting means no taxes. That means more food on the table. Hurry, go visit your mother.“
Shang Xiang: „I will come back to see you.“
Cao Cao rides through the camp and says:„In eighteen years of battle, I have never lost. If I fail to capture this tiny cliff, I shudder to think what historians will say.“
He sees the separated area with the typhoid patients and he and his companions enter the hospital tent.
In the tent he meets Hua Tuo and asks him how things are going.
Cao Cao: „How are things?“
Hua Tuo: „Worse than expected. The disease's spread has not slowed. At this rate, it will take a month to control. I respectfully request you delay the assault“
Cao Cao seems reflective for a moment and then goes to the sick Man Tun.
Cao Cao: „Stop! Lie still.“
Man Tun: „Your Highness.“
Cao Cao: „Sit up. You are ill and must recuperate. Man Tun, how can you be ill? You were always in perfect health.“
Cao Cao: „What is on your mind? Go ahead.“
Man Tun: „I want to go home.“
Cao Cao: „I too have not been home for a long time. I want to see my youngest son. He is only thirteen. Younger than you even. He is kind-hearted and bright. He has been frail since birth and is often sick. Yet in front of me, he pretends everything is fine. Whatever the illness, he endures. He never complains to me.“
Cao takes some sand and talks to the soldiers.
Cao Cao: „I swore at the start of this war to cleanse the world of warlords. We must seize Red Cliff and storm the capital. Then bring the mud of this land back home and tell our families we were victorious. We were victorious! So you all must be strong as must I because I must bring you back home.“
Motivated by the speech the sick follow Cao Cao out off the tent and start shouting victory outside. Soldiers from the area join them and they all shout together.
added cut length HK: 8 min. 34 sec
In the conference room Zhu walks one step closer to the table and a look at the table is missing.
Xiao Qiao is longer shown being happy about Shang Xiang's return.
The last moments of rolling the princess out are different in each version.
The IV simply ends the return with a look at the map of Cao Cao's camp. Additionally, we hear Shang Xiang's voice explaining that it is a map of Cao's camp; for literally everybody to understand.
IV: 4.5 sec
Shang Xiang starts explaining the map using her entire body and Xiao tries to put a cape around her.
Shang Xiang: „This is a map of Cao Cao's camp. This tower here is Cao Cao's headquarters. Their best troops guard it. The barracks are here. East and west are well-defended. The rear hill is weakest. It's like a tiger that stares ahead but forgets its tail. The navy is here.“
Xiao Qiao: „Put this on. You'll catch a chill.“
She refuses and keeps talking. Her brother is more successful and apologizes to Piggy.
Shang Xiang: „I'm not cold. A third of their forces are onboard ready for assault. Warships lead the smaller boats. Transport ships are in the middle. This is an interlocked naval formation. Every ship is ready for attack or defense.“
Sun Quan: „I was wrong to scold you.“
HK: 57 sec
During the strategy plannings of the south a profile shot of Zhou Yu is missing.
Before Sun Quan's statement („A northwest wind is blowing.“) the miniature boats can be seen, once again.
The shocked Huang Gai looks at the burning boats.
During the briefing Shang Xiang's question what would happen if Cao Cao also knew about the wind changing is missing. In his answer Zhu mentions the dead Admiral Cai Mao.
Shang Xiang: „What if Cao Cao knows this too?“
Zhu Ge Liang: „Only Admiral Cai Mao would know and he is dead.“
The transition from the end of the briefing to the next scene uses the „rupture effect“ again in the HK. The IV, however, does not.
IV: 1 sec
HK: 1 sec
Zhou Yu sees general Huang Tai experimenting with fish oil. He puts a spoon full of it on the flame under the tea kettle and is pleased with the result.
Huang Gai: „Terrific, just terrific! This fish oil is perfect!“
Meanwhile, Gan Xing supervises the production of the fish oil.
After Huang Gai has shot at the targets the IV only contains Cheng Pu's statement that the wind will never change and Zhou Yu says that they can stay. The shot with Cheng Pu in the background is used earlier, as well.
In the original version General Huang Gai has a suggestion to make.
Cheng Pu: „See how strong this northwest wind is? It will never shift. We'll never get near their navy.“
Huang Gai: „Your Honor, I can fake a defection. Invent some excuse to punish me with fifty lashes. I'll fake a surrender in anger. That way Cao Cao is sure to believe me. Then I can sail my fire ships in range.“
Zhou Yu: „How can you fight after such a beating? I could never treat a general that way. Do not lose heart. The east wind will come.“
IV: 4 sec
HK: 29.5 sec
When Xiao Qiao's suicide note is being read the IV directly switches to Zhou Yu driving over the sword. Putting on his armor and Xiao repairing it is missing.
IV: 2 sec
HK: 10 sec
Shortly after, the same again, Zhou Yu fades into the bedroom later.
Zhou Yu goes to the character lying on the floor and puts them together. He reads them („Your child Ping An/Pregnant“) and with him lowering his head the IV sets in, again.
In the background we hear the second part of the letter which has been accordingly shortened for the IV (in the IV the text does not end before the beginning of the next scene).
IV:„I have been carrying our child Ping An for three months. I did not tell you, fearing it might distract you. We cannot in caring for our child and forget the children of the Southlands. Do not fear, I shall bring Ping An home.“
HK:„I have been carrying our child Ping An for three months. I did not tell you, fearing it might distract you. We cannot in caring for our child and forget the children of the Southlands. I want to see them grow up together to have a future where they can play, swim, pick flowers and plant rice in peace. Do not fear, I shall bring Ping An home.“
The midwinter exercises are entirely removed from the IV. There, Zhou Yu only looks at the flags and we go directly to Zhu Ge Liang (again, without the effect).
The HK shows Liu Bei's camp first. In Bei's tent Bei and his three generals are producing rice balls. One can tell by the look on the generals' faces that they are not happy.
Liu Bei: „Some traditions still carry great meaning. For example, rice flour and sugar stick together like a family at reunion.“
Back in the camp of the south, the princess gives rice balls to the soldiers. Sun Quan, meanwhile, goes to Zhou Yu.
Shang Xiang: „Over here! Bring the cart here! There are sweet rice dumplings for everyone. Today is winter solstice, a time for reunion. Everyone have some rice dumplings. Two or three per person! Eat up! Officers and soldiers alike, come on. Two or three per person! Eat up! Come on...“
Back at Liu Bei, Guan tells Zhang that his balls are too big. Zhang Fei does not care he throws them into the water, frustrated.
Guan Yu: „Zhang Fei, you're making them too big. Do you want us to choke?“
Zhang Fei: „Fine with me. I couldn't be happier.“
Sun Quan and Zhou Yu get their bowls. Gan Xing steps ahead and gives Zhou Yu one of his balls. Lu Su, Cheng Pu and Huang Gai do the same.
Now, there is a constant moving between the two camps.
Zhou Yu gets further balls from three soldiers that are suspects (buffalo theft), Shang Xiang and Sun Quan. While Liu Bei talks to his generals.
Liu Bei: „Zhao Yun, has your wound healed from combat practice?“
Zhao Yun: „So long as I can fight, a wound means nothing.“
Liu Bei: „Guan Yu, how many times have you read the classics?“
Guan Yu: „If a man of learning does not understand brotherhood, isn't his learning worthless?“
Zhang Fei: „My Lord, what are we doing here?“
Liu Bei: „Waiting.“
Guan Yu & Zhang Fei: „Waiting for what?“
Liu Bei: „Waiting for Zhu-ge Liang. Waiting for his return, so we can go home.“
Zhao Yun: „Do we still have a home?“
Sun Quan is making a speech and the soldiers cheer at him.
Sun Quan: „Sons of the Southlands, listen. Today is the winter solstice, a day for family reunion. Yet thieves encircle our home. How can we celebrate like this? I say let us drive them from this land. Then we shall have our celebratory family meal.“
Zhang Fei doubts Liu Bei's decision to move back. Bei responds that he wants to make sure everybody survives.
Zhang Fei: „My Lord, though I sometimes disagree with you, I have never said a word against you. But this is a choice between right and wrong.“
Liu Bei: „I acted for the good of us all, yet you lecture me for being unrighteous. You have followed me so long and for what? I just want to ensure we live on.“
Zhou Yu steps ahead and empties his bowl.
The three generals leave Liu Bei, while in the camp of the south the soldiers are cheering Zhou Yu.
Zhao Yun: „There are some things I value more than my life.“
There are several shots of more bowls being emptied and the troupes preparing the ships. Shang Xiang puts her empty bowl next to her brother who looks puzzled and then passes the empty bowls to Lu Su.
With the shot of the flag we go back to Liu Bei. He positions himself in front of the flag in his tent and says a few words.
„Zhou Yu, may your plans come to fruition. We will fight the good fight.“
IV: 0.5 sec
added cut length HK: 6 min. 7.5 sec
After Xiao Qiao's arrival in Cao Cao's camp a dancer sadly looks out from behind the curtain.
After Sun Quan asked if Zhou Yu still wanted to fight in the case of anything happened to his wife, Zhou Yu looks back and leaves the room. Then a shot of the preparations for the battle.
Sun Quan asks his sister what was on her mind at that moment while they're standing on the bridge.
Sun Quan: "What's on your mind?"
Shang Xiang: "Just thinking of a silly friend."
When the scene changes from Cao Cao agreeing to have a cup of tea to the following scene, the HKV contains kind of a "tear apart effect".
IV: 1 sec
HK: 1 sec
General Huang Gai wrote a letter to his family as well. He takes it out, pauses and finally rips it apart.
Obviously bugged, the generals are waiting for tea-drinking Cao Cao.
The soldiers set sails.
Extended shot of the ships before Zhu Ge Liang says he'd done what he could.
IV: 1 sec
Missing shot of a burning ship at the beginning of the attack.
One of the Southern Europeans blows the ammo with the last of his strength.
Liu Bei's men set the hostile camp on fire by tossing Krüger with fish oil up in the air and shooting arrows at him. Then the storming begins. Moreover a missing shot of Zhao Yun knocking out some hostiles.
Zhou Yu's men get hit by arrows and a shot from the catapult.
Liu Bei gives the order to release the horses after Cao Cao is surprised about the message that Liu Bei's troups attack as well. Cao Cao is consternated and retreats to his rooms.
Gan Xing's men sustain casualties during the attempt to remove one of the barriers.
Extended shot of the burning wall tumbling.
Extended shot of the storming soldiers after Zhou Yu's order ("All forces attack!").
Shot of the crossbowmen.
As a result of a tumble, a horse's head sticks in the sand.
Another shot of the crossbowmen and one of their victims.
Shot of the rolling barrels in profile.
A soldier goes down at a barrel because he got hit by an arrow.
Tumbling horse due to the explosion if the barrels.
The horsemen diverge from the flames. The end of the scene has been used in the IV when Cao Cao gets the message about Liu Bei's departure.
Cao Cao turns his head to Xia Hou Juns.
The tracking shot of Cao Cao and the General is slightly longer.
Slightly extended shot of the soldier with the flags.
Xia Hou Jun pulls his sword.
The imperial horsemen are approaching the Allies.
The IV contains a shot of Liu Bei's soldier walking through the fire before Zhang Fei leaves the formation.
IV: 4.5 sec
Guan Yu leaves the formation.
The versions are in synch for a short period (formation's retreat), then Guan Yu. He clims up the soldiers' shields and starts fighting the horsemen.
Again a shot of Yu on the shields, he kills one of the attackers.
General Guan leaps on the ground and the formation gets in the original position before Cao Cao's horsemen can get him.
Two more soldiers are being taken down with with spears.
After the spear attack, a shot of Liu Bei's formation has been removed. The scene starts with the soldiers walking through fires (already shown in the IV beforehand) in reverse order. Then one of the soldiers attempts to encourage another one. Zhang Fei wants to know from Guan Yu where Liu Bei was. While asking, he gets hit by an arrow. He cringes, then he pulls the arrow out of his back.
A shot hits the ground in front of Zhou Yu's troup.
The General, who got killed by Zhao Yun, goes down and Zhao watches him.
Missing shot of the battle field and Cao Cao's remaining generals.
the crossbowmen hit some of their enemies.
Liu Bei's troups try to put their shields on top of the barricades and sustain casualties.
The first soldiers can cross the barrier, then another shot of the crossbowmen.
Under the guidance of Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, the soldiers storm the wall. They're being welcomed by Cao Cao's crossbowmen. Cao Hung tries to motivate the soldiers in his unique style.
Cao Hong: "Crush them or die trying!"
Another shot hits the troups.
A further shot withholds the troups from moving forward while Liu Bei is looking up the wall.
Zhao Yun gets over the wall via pole vault.
Missing shot of the attacking soldiers after Zhao pushed them away.
The generals and Liu Bei approach the catapult. Zhang Fei tosses a barrier in the crowd of enemies.
Guan Yu kills takes some enemies out before he sees Liu Bei at the catapult.
Sun Quan watches the soldiers burn after Zhao Yun knocked the fire mug over.
Zhou Yu and Sun Quan on their way to Cao Cao.
A soldiers supports Cao Hong when he's backing off and blocks Zhou Yu's hit. Zhou defeats that soldier but he's being attacked by further ones. Zhao Yun arrives at the scenary and tosses his spear in the crowd of soldiers.
The Princess recognizes Pit on the battle field and leaves the formation. When she's got him on the field, Sun Shu Cai can't identify Piggy and attacks. Shang Xiang can avoid the attack and picks up a head covering from the ground. With the head covering, Sun Shu Cai can identify her and both of them can be delighted for a short period because Cai gets hit by an arrow in chest. The Princess looks around anxiously, the further arrows follow. Pit goes down in front of Piggy and is glad that she came to see him. Before he dies, he asks the Princess if she still wanted to be given a piggyback ride ("Still want to play Ride High?").
Change of scenary from Shang Xiang grieving to the burning camp.
Shortened conversation between Sun Quan and Cao Cao. Cao also wants to know what he wanted to hunt.
Cao Cao: "What do you want to hunt?"
Sun Quan: "Tiger."
Cao Cao: "By the looks of you. You are a far cry from your father."
The handover of Meng Meng has been removed when Zhu Ge Liang is being said googbye to. Now it seems as if Zhu brings the foal immediately.
At the beginning of the conversation, a statement from Zhou Yu is missing plus the shot of Xiao is slightly linger. The remaining parts of the conversation has the equal content (even though the text varies).
Zhou Yu: "Liu Bei won't stand being second best. One day, we will face each other on the battlefield."
At the end of the conversation, Xiao also says in the IV that Zhu shouldn't use the foal in war and Zhu tells her not to worry.
The reply in the HKV is is more detailed.
„Don't worry, these hands helped birth her. I shall always cherish her"
The final credits of the IV are longer and with less ideographs.
HK DVD Part 1:
HK DVD Part 2:
UK Special Edition: