21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
In 2008, "Painted Skin", a Chinese supernatural film directed by Gordon Chan would become one of the biggest films in Asia.
Featuring a talented cast which included Donnie Yen, Xhou Xun and Zhao Wei, "Painted Skin" which takes place in the late Qin Dynasty, would introduce us to a white fox spirit name Xiaowei (portrayed by Zhou Xun), a demon who sacrificed her power to save a human.
The white fox would be punished for trying to assist a human and is sentenced to be punished by a curse in which ice will follow her eternally and keep her imprisoned unless she feeds on human hearts. And the only way to escape the curse and become human is if a human man gives up his heart for her.
The sequel to "Painted Skin" is "Painted Skin: The Resurrection" which is directed by Wuershan ("The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman") and stars Xun Zhou ("Flying Swords of Dragon Gate", "Suzhou River", "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress"), Zhao Wei ("Warriors of Heaven and Earth", "Green Tea", "Shaolin Soccer"), Chen Kin ("Flying Swords of Dragon Gate", "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress") and Mini Yang ("The Bullet vanishes", "Mysterious Island").
"Painted Skin: The Resurrection" is one of the most beautiful, recent Chinese fantasy films I have seen in awhile. As the original film was known for its cinematography, the cinematography for this film is absolutely stunning!
Presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen), "Painted Skin: The Resurrection" may have its fair share of horror elements, but the fact is that everything in this film seems to be planned meticulously. From the fight choreography to the strands of hair and clothing that freely move in the water, everything was planned to full efficacy. May it be the colors, the use of colors to go from cool to warm and overall set design and costume design are fantastic!
As for the Blu-ray, the picture quality for this film is gorgeous! You can see the overall detail in the clothing, the armor, Princess Jing's mask to the details of Huo Xin's sword.
Even the CG elements look fantastic when Xiaowei is reverting to white or when she reveals her true identity to Princess Jin. The whole entire scene that focuses on Princess Jing and Xiaowei are just beautiful watch and may I say, artistic. The cinematography is fantastic and I detected no banding issues or artifacts. While colors compliment the overall look of the film, which is more towards the darker and cooler side of the color spectrum, black levels are nice and deep!
Overall, "Painted Skin: The Resurrection" looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Painted Skin: The Resurrection" is presented in Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital Stereo. As with the picture quality, the lossless soundtrack is immersive and wonderful. You can hear ambiance from footsteps on the ice, a room, the forest, you can hear ice cracking, weapons swinging or claiming a person's life, you can hear Que'er's wings flap in bird form, you can hear arrows flying before they hit their mark. The sound is heard all around you and that is one thing you hope to hear in an action-driven film. Overall, a fantastic lossless soundtrack that compliments its gorgeous picture quality.
Subtitles are in English.
"Painted Skin: The Resurrection" comes with:
"Making of Painted Skin: The Resurrection" - (23:47) Featuring interviews with the cast and crew.
Trailer - Theatrical trailer for "Painted Skin: The Resurrection".
"Painted Skin: The Resurrection" comes with a slipcover case.
I admit that I was a bit worried about watching "Painted Skin: The Resurrection". Mainly because I missed the first film and wasn't sure how important it was to watch it before watching this film.
Fortunately, the film sets up what happened to the fox demon right at the beginning of the film, so coming into "Painted Skin: The Resurrection", it's almost watching an entirely new film because all characters are fresh. Zhao Wei returns as another character and for Xiaowei, all you need to really know is that she is a demon that sacrificed her power for a human and because of that, she has been imprisoned by a curse that will follow her no matter where she goes.
The film plays out like a Chinese tragedy in which its three protagonist are flawed, want to experience love but know they can't.
For Xiaowei, she desires being a human, in order to experience true human emotions. Princess Jing loves Huo Xin but feels that he will never like her because of the scar on her face. Huo Xin loves Princess Jing but because he failed her and now she is permanently scarred, he has a hard time looking and being around her because of his guilt.
And how these three characters lives are intertwined is rather poetic and tragic. Each want happiness but know that to achieve happiness, there must be tragedy. And suffice to say, this fantasy tale is complex, it is long but it is also part of one of the most gorgeous Chinese fantasy films ever made. Costume design and production/set design are incredible, special effects were top notch and the performances by Zhao Wei and Zhou Xun are magnificent.
Watching this film, you can't help but appreciate its beauty but also be captivated by its emotional and tragic storyline. And once again, there is no need to watch the original film to appreciate "Painted Skin: The Resurrection". The storyline is self-contained and does well on its own independent of the original film.
For such a complex film that separates itself from other films through its use of special effects and CG, "Painted Skin: The Resurrection" is gorgeous on Blu-ray! And its lossless soundtrack is equally impressive and immersive, utilizing the surround channels, I found this film to be compelling and visually stunning. As for the special features, for a film that is visually stunning and a lossless soundtrack that is immersive, I wish there was more special features instead of the one making-off featurette and trailer.
Overall, "Painted Skin: The Resurrection" is one of the most gorgeous fantasy films to be released on Blu-ray in 2012. From its cinematography, costume design, set design, direction and performance, the film was absolutely magnificent. And if you are into Asian cinema and are looking for a film worth owning on Blu-ray, don't hesitate on this fantasy/action film!
"Painting Skin: The Resurrection" is highly recommended!
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
Absolutely beautiful production defied all expectations and desires. Hypnotic and a bit erotic. Classical Chinese myths of the fox spirit make a romantic and mystical triangle in one of the best Chinese fantasy films I ever saw. Blu-ray is fantastic and a great way to hear the awesome music score. Lavish production detailed well in the extras documentary.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2013
A poetic, Chinese romantic fantasy tragedy with a dash of stylistic anime-esque action.
This mythology-flavored story begins when a fox demon in the form of a beautiful woman (Xun Zhou; Cloud Atlas, Painted Skin) is freed from an icy prison by her bird demon sister (Mini Yang; Wu Dang). They are called demons. But they're not your typical satanic, drooling, toothy-mawed monster demons. They're more like evil immortal beings.
The obscure story is driven by our two female leads. The millennia-old Fox seeks the willing heart of a mortal man in order to become human and a warrior Princess (Wei Zhao; Red Cliff, Painted Skin) who hides a facial battle wound behind a mask seeks her one past love (Kun Chen; Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, Painted Skin). They meet and the Fox offers to help the princess--a favor which comes with a price. The rest of the story is hard to explain without giving too much away...I won't even try. All I'll say is that this is a romantic tragedy told in a fantasy setting in which all of the love-seeking protagonists are deeply and differently flawed.
This film makes every effort to please the eyes with long wispy dresses, impossibly long hair flowing in the wind, a scintillatingly colored wardrobe for the Fox and princess, and CGI-enhanced lighting. The CGI elements are far behind their time, much as we would see in an early 90s movie (when it would have been first rate). However, despite its obviousness, it is occasionally crisp and beautiful...other times just plain lame.
The special effects techniques--among other components of the film--contribute to a strong sense of high fantasy with story-telling that feels like a story-driven videogame. The presence of a dire bear, magical items, forbidden love and demons contribute to this feeling.
Though rare, the action is uniquely stylized. While I am often disappointed by film editing which obscures the execution of techniques such that you don't really "see" them being executed from start to finish in one clip, this film delivers action in a way that I can compare to none other; it's impressive. Some of these moves couldn't possibly be executed by stunt men and sometimes CGI-ing the impossible just cheapens the experience. Yet here I enjoyed it as I would a comic book, a glimpse at a time with a notion of anime-action transition. It's hard to explain.
The finale may be exciting for early teens, but I found it all quite silly. This movie fell apart in the last 40 (of 130) minutes for me. But I guess it was still worth watching this beautiful movie.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2013
There is a category of aesthetic that takes from dark places and creates sensual beauty. It is a dark beauty, where blood red is crimson red, and ink black is ebony black, and the macabre is tender as a newly opened flower. I have always enjoyed this aesthetic view point, which caters to the stories of ugly, golden hearted misfits. Or villains who are sorry for what they have done, and only committed foul deeds in the first place to have what others had. Good monsters. This is the type of story that Painted Skin tells. A demons punishment and redemption for wanting what she can not have.
Painted Skin: The Resurrection is a sequel to the first Painted Skin movie, which I have to admit, I have not seen. I know it stars Donnie Yen and is directed by Gordon Chan, which leads me to believe it is more focused on action. Wu Ershan has taken over the story for it's second installment, and has focused on the story more than action. Action gets it's place, but it is kept controlled next to the lush dark magic of the tale itself.
This tale is pure fiction, a Chinese based fantasy. I urge people to think of stories like Lord of Rings more than period pieces, for this is not a period piece. It is built on aspects of Chinese history and culture, just like western fantasy is based on Medieval Europe. This tale takes from the period of the Han Dynasty, when it was struggling to control the Hexi Corridor, which was the only path the Han had to the Silk Road trade routes. The Han competed with a group they labeled the Xiong Nu, a nomadic people that were tribal and clannish in nature. They were predecessors to the Mongols.
The story centers around the fox demon Xiaowei, played by Zhou Xun, who is imprisoned in ice as punishment for her involvement with humans. Another demon, this one a bird named Que'er, played by Yang Mi, sets Xiaowei free and helps her to find a human who will give their heart willingly to the fox demon that she might become human. The two encounter the last unmarried Han princess, Jing, played by Zhao Wei, who is traveling to see a general named Hou Xin, played by Chen Kun. He commands the White City, which guards the Han Empire against the Tian Liang barbarians, the story's Xiong Nu.
Jing is a beautiful but disfigured woman who is in love with a man below her station, General Hou Xin. Hou Xin is ashamed of his failure to protect Jing against an attack which happened years ago, which is why he is out on the borders of the Empire, an apparent self exile. Xiaowei tries to use these unrequited lovers to get the heart she needs to become human. This will involve Jing making a devil's deal with Xiaowei, so that she can be with Hou Xin. Que'er has her own endearing interactions with a descendent of demon hunters, who is more of a poor con man than a informed mystic. All the while the Tian Liang attack the city over a broken promise made by the Han. Surprisingly, this is love story.
Everything about this movie is a wonderful Chinese gothic tapestry. The color schemes of the sets and costumes are all darkened, richer colors, and muted earth tones. There is always a color contrast to found be found between some dark color and a deeper more dynamic color. The characters have their own color schemes which fleshes them out as living art. A lot of the movie is CGI, but beautifully done. The CGI is there to create the magic of the demons, and it always blends effortlessly with the reality the actors occupy. There is one scene with a bear that does not live up to the rest of the movie, but that scene is a flashback, so it is hard to tell if it was done that way on purpose. There is another scene involving the very visceral activity of switching bodies, which by all means should be grotesque, but is portrayed here as sensual, like a massage, or slow dancing. It is almost tender and gentle when completed.
The actors all do a wonderful job and the cast is lead by a strong set of females. Zhou Xun and Zhao Wei are two of the Four Dan Actresses, a group of actresses beloved in China. The other two being Xu Jinglei and Zhang Ziyi, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame. On a side note, Dan is the word for female leading roles in Peking Opera, so their collective title is saying that they are the four leading ladies. What this means is that not only are these actresses some of the most skilled at their craft, but some of the most beautiful talents China has to offer. The other actresses do not pale next to these leading ladies, however, making sure the film is dominated by women. The male roles are really side characters playing in a world that is truly run by feminine influences.
Painted Skin: The Resurrection is gothic fairytale unique to China's sense of history and aesthetics. It is a pleasure to watch and get lost in. The enjoyment not only comes from the special effects, sets and costumes, but the talented and endearing talents of China's current top actresses, as well as, the eternal theme of love across boundaries and stations. While intensely gothic in appearance and matter, it really turns out to be an enjoyably tender film.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Non stop action, great graphics, beautiful surroundings, loved the central theme! Have seen it a couple of times already, and still can get additional details every time I see it...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2014
First the negative, I am just tired of having to read subtitles. I am a big fan of martial arts films with over 300 in my collection but as I get older it is more difficult for me to keep up with the speed of the subtitles and I am forced to reduce the picture size so that the words are not cut off. This film is more about mysticism than anything else. Now having said that, the scenery and colors are captivating and the skills displayed are also remarkable. For the female audience there is a love story with several twist and turns. There is the classic separation between a man and a woman because of their respective places in society. It is an entertaining film on several levels and a storyline that is worth following if you can keep up. The flashbacks are well done to help move the story along nicely.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2014
The DVD's English subtitles do not work, so if you don't speak Mandarin you will be lost. I feel cheated.
on September 14, 2014
This is a wonderful film, a beautiful fantasy that centers around three main characters.
The first is Xiaowei, a fox demon who broke demon law by helping mortals and was punished for it by being imprisoned in a frozen abyss. Her friend and ally, Quer, a bird demon, broke through the frosty prison and allowed Xiaowei to break free and flee. The two then travel through the mortal realm, consuming the hearts of lying, insincere men to maintain their human appearance. A heart freely given, however, offers far greater possibilities.
They later encounter the next main character, Princess Jing, a skilled warrior who saves Xiaowei from demonic pursuers. They learn of her obsession with General Huo Xin, her former bodyguard and the third principal character in the story, who has accepted command of a border garrison in the White City out in the frontier after failing to protect her from a bear attack eight years before which ended with Jing's face being scarred.
Xiaowei is fascinated with Jing's continued interest in and pursuit of Huo, who has never told Jing of his feelings for her. Xiaowei follows Jing to the White City as a servant to observe them and, perhaps, use the situation to her own advantage, since she is still subject to attack by the demonic frost, which can only be driven away by human warmth. Becoming human is one option she considers, leading her to seduce General Huo, and entice Jing with the prospect of trading places with her. Such a deal would only makes things worse for both of them, however.
I was interested in a slight gender role reversal here. In most Hollywood-style romances, the man goes to great, sometimes absurd, lengths to win love. Here, it's Princess Jing who goes all out to force Huo to confess his true feelings. Huo, however, remains passive, conscious of their difference in social status and obviously feeling guilty for her scars and unworthy of her love. Jing is, by turns, hurt, angry, suicidal, enraged, murderous, and devoted. It's a tour de force performance by actress Zhao Wei.
There is also some side action with Quer meeting and enchanting a self-described demon-hunter who has never actually encountered a demon before, certainly not one as cute and pretty as Quer.
The visual effects are, by and large, seamless and splendidly done. The movie is a bit long, almost two and a quarter hours. Still, it was never boring. One rarely finds films where one is tempted to sympathize with demons.
The DVD also has a few extras dealing with the making of the film.
This film is a sequel to Painted Skin, which I have yet to watch but hope to eventually acquire.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2013
Not bad, but definately not the best the genre has to offer; decent action, but poor acting and poorly executed special effects.
on July 14, 2015
With the resurgence of martial arts comes with it new interpretations. I'm ok with that. Lots of people didn't like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when it came out due to the wire work. But it was beautiful wire work, like a ballet. The actors were soulful and they wove a story that made you care about them.
Not so with this new breed of martial arts. What I'm not ok with is that this seems to be another victim of Asian identity. This is another wannabe Hollywood blockbuster. It falls flat.
What I liked:
- Costumes were nice.
What I didn't like:
- Bad acting
- Bad story
- Interjected sexual content that has nothing to do with the plot
- An idiot ending
I gave it 2 stars because there were some good moments, the costumes were good and the locations they filmed in were interesting. They tried to at least tell a story, albeit, badly.