Cliff Walkers (2021) poster
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 117 users
# of Watchers: 304
Reviews: 1 user
Ranked #21081
Popularity #15500
Watchers 117

Set in the puppet state of Manchukuo in the 1930s, the film follows four Communist party special agents who return to China after receiving training in the Soviet Union. Together, they embark on a secret mission code-named "Utrennya." After being sold out by a traitor, the team find themselves surrounded by threats on all sides from the moment they parachute into the mission. Will the agents break the impasse and complete their mission? On the snowy grounds of Manchukuo, the team will be tested to their limit. (Source: Rotten Tomatoes) Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Norsk
  • Country: China
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Apr 30, 2021
  • Duration: 2 hr. 0 min.
  • Score: 7.5 (scored by 117 users)
  • Ranked: #21081
  • Popularity: #15500
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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Cliff Walkers (2021) photo
Cliff Walkers (2021) photo
Cliff Walkers (2021) photo
Cliff Walkers (2021) photo
Cliff Walkers (2021) photo
Cliff Walkers (2021) photo


The Butterfly
8 people found this review helpful
Sep 25, 2022
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This review may contain spoilers

"Everything will be fine when the sun rises"

From the moment you see four white circles dancing over frosted tree tops you know you are watching a master at work. Director Zhang Yi Mou takes on the spy genre with the grace and flare he has refined over the decades.

Four Chinese spies trained in the USSR drop into Japanese controlled Manchuria to rescue an escaped prisoner of the dreaded Beiyinhe camp, where prisoners were tortured, experimented on and killed. They want him to tell his story so that the world will know what is going on in those devilish camps. Unfortunately, from the moment they hit the snow covered ground and split up they find themselves in even greater danger because a traitor has revealed their mission to the enemy.

Xiang Chen partners with Lan as Team 1, while his wife, Yu, and Lan's lover Chu Liang form Team 2. Both teams run into subterfuge and lies dipped in murderous intent. The pace of the film moves ever forward with enough chases through the snow on foot, in trains, and in automobiles to keep things exciting. It's often a cat and mouse and cat and mole frantic affair. The script took a sentimental turn at the end, which frankly, I enjoyed because I'm a big softie at heart, even when watching a spy film. That's not to say there wasn't violence, fair warning for the squeamish, there were some utterly brutal torture scenes and deaths.

Zhang Yi Mou took a flawed script and made it gripping as each of the team members had to get by on their wits as well as their training. His trademark stunning shots and framing were in effect in every scene. This truly looked like a frigid world, emotionally and physically. The Republican Era costumes were sharp and spy approved black with plenty of Fedoras and fur-lined coats. Cho Young Wuk's music perfectly fit the scenes regardless of the mood. The closing song's melody was hauntingly beautiful. As a whole the film was stunningly put together.

Zhang Yi as the team leader did an admirable job playing the skilled and stoic spy. Yu He Wei as Zhou, the man dangerously straddling two worlds had me rooting for him and hoping I wasn't wrong. Unlike many Zhang Yi Mou films, the women's roles seemed less well defined though the two female spies held their own as they struggled to find a way out of the traps they were in.

Cliff Walkers wasn't a perfect film but I found it engaging nonetheless and a treat for the eyes and ears. Zhang Yi Mou has run afoul of the censors before so hopefully, this more patriotic film will give him more room to work in future endeavors. Having said that, he kept the political propaganda to a minimum focusing more on the individuals, their strategies to overcome the terrible odds and sacrifices that had to be made. I found it to be a well made spy thriller and worth checking out, especially if you enjoy this director's works.


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  • Movie: Cliff Walkers
  • Country: China
  • Release Date: Apr 30, 2021
  • Duration: 2 hr. 0 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated


  • Score: 7.5 (scored by 117 users)
  • Ranked: #21081
  • Popularity: #15500
  • Watchers: 304

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