Painted Skin: The Resurrection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 10, 2012 by Dennis Amith
“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!
TITLE: Painted Skin: The Resurrection (a.k.a. Painted Skin II)
THEATRICAL RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 131 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 Widescreen),Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Mandarin Dolby Digital Stereo, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Directed by Wuershan
Produced by Guo-Fu Chen
Music by Shi-Tian Shen-Fang
Cinematography by Yue-Tai Huang
Xun Zhou as The Fox
Kun Chen as The Warrior
Wei Zhao as The PRincess
Mini Yang as The Bird
Shaofeng Feng as The Monster Slayer
Fei Xiang as the Wizard
Tingjia Chen as The Queen
According to ancient lore, if a human freely offers their heart to a demon, that monster can become mortal, experiencing the true pains and passions of existence. Xiaowei (Zhou), a millennia-old fox spirit, is freed from her frozen prison and transforms into a dangerous seductress. To maintain her youthful beauty she is forced to consume living hearts as she searches for her chance to become human. Meanwhile, Princess Jing (Zhao), hiding her marred beauty behind a golden mask, flees an unknown threat to her kingdom by pursuing the only man she ever loved: the guard who was unable to protect her so many years ago.
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”).
While buried in ice, a bird comes along and pecks at the ice until the white fox, Xiaowei is free. The bird turns out to be the demon Que’er (portrayed by Yang Mi), who wants to help Xiaowei by joining her to seduce men and taking away their hearts in order to keep her alive and being consumed by the spell. But Xiowei explains that the spell and be broken and she can be mortal, which is her dream, if only a person offers his heart to her unwillingly.
But one day, they come across a warrior who’s heart is so warm that it easily melts any ice that comes toward Xiowei. Thinking that this is the man that may help break her curse, they find out that the warrior is actually a woman and a princess.
Princess Jing (portrayed by Zhao Wei) is a warrior who wears a gold mask to conceal a huge facial scar that she received years ago from a bear. Princess Jing has hoped and dreamed that her protector Huo Xin (portrayed by Chen Kun), would return back to her, because the two were once in love.
But the truth is that Huo Xin left her all these years because he is haunted by his failure to protect the princess who was nearly killed and now suffers a facial scar.
As Xiaowei goes to her kingdom to help Princess Jing (also because Jing has the power to stop the ice), Huo Xin returns in an effort to protect the Princess who is given an ultimatum to marry another prince from another clan. Something that Princess Jing refuses to do.
But at a ceremony to celebrate his arrival, Xiaowei does a dance and when she uses her power of seduction to capture Huo xin’s affection, immediately Princess Jing becomes jealous.
For Princess Jing, she wants to be close to Huo Xin but feels he is not interested in her because of her scarred face, but the truth is that each time Huo Xin sees the scar, he is reminded of his failure to protect the princess and now she must suffer the permanent scar for the rest of her life.
As Princess Jing can’t bear the fact that the man she loves will never love her, she tries to kill herself by drowning in the ocean. But she is immediately saved by Xiaowei, who reveals to the princess that she is a demon. And tries to offer her a chance to be with Huo Xin, if she is willing to give her heart to her, while Princess Jing can use Xiaowei’s body to get close to Huo Xin.
But will Princess Jing take the demon up on her offer to trade bodies with each other?
“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!
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