Painted Skin: The Resurrection (Mandarin)Written by administrator
Hold on to your horses folks…or fox spirits, at least. Painted Skin: The Resurrection, the sequel to Painted Skin (2008) is back in cinemas; good news for those of you with a fantasy craving to sate, but less than exciting for movie fans who require a dose of realism mixed in to their movie-going experience.
Directed by Wu Ershan, Painted Skin: The Resurrection marries Chinese mythology to lyrical ambitions, telling the tale of Xiaowei (Zhou Xun), a fox spirit who has been imprisoned under ice and now yearns to be human. Her fate intertwines with Princess Jing (Zhao Wei), hideously scarred in a hunting incident, and her true love Huo Xin (Chen Kun), a young general who grapples with the inner turmoil of duty versus emotions.
Of course, there are the obligatory villains, in the form of fur-clad barbarians who speak some demonically incomprehensible dialect (thank god for subtitles), as well as a subplot with a sparrow demon (Yang Mi) and a bumbling exorcist (Feng Shaofeng). Ultimately though, the crux of the story is the love triangle between Huo Xin, Xiaowei and Princess Jing, with the latter two engaging in some body-swapping to blur the already ambiguous line between love and lust.
Painted Skin 2 is a mixed bag of tricks, at some turns gorgeous and emotional, at others clumsily stereotypical. The visuals are beautifully executed, the action sequences riveting, and the acting generally stellar, with the scenes between Zhao and Zhuo being of particular note. Director Wu Ershan indulges in some heavy-handed poetics when it comes to cinematic imagery, but manages to suffuse them with enough emotion to be satisfying, if not imaginative.
With a run time of 120 minutes, Painted Skin 2 is an overlong - albeit entertaining - fantasy outing that would have been better served by a judicious trimming of extraneous plot lines. Nevertheless, the performances are excellent, the visuals spectacular, and if the script falters at times, it does so forgivably, given the strengths of the film.
Summary: Spectacular visuals, good-looking cast, and (gasp) even a considerable amount of heart.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Opens 5 July 2012
Rated NC16: Some Sexual Scenes