Painted Skin 2: Resurrection
- Cast:Chen Kun , Wang Sheng, Zhao Wei, Zhou Xun, Wang Ying
- Release Date:June 28, 2012
- Distributor:China Lion
- Running time:134 minutes
- Film Worth:$13.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
There’s a lot to enjoy here in terms of sweeping drama and epic action, but ultimately director Wuershan’s ambition exceeds his execution this time around.
Those lucky enough to have seen director Wuershan's last big screen foray, The Butcher, The Chef & The Swordsman, won't be surprised at the grandeur and ambition infused into Painted Skin: The Resurrection as the Mongolian-born director unleashes his quasi-chaotic trademark on this mythological 3D period romance. Following on from Gordon Chan's 2008 original, Painted Skin: The Resurrection focuses on the Fox demon Xiaowei (played by the stunning Zhou Xun whose onscreen presence is nothing short of mesmerising) who, having been imprisoned in ice for saving the life of a mortal, is freed after 500 years by Quer (the pixie-esque Yang Mi), a naïve young Bird demon. Shedding her last remnants of empathy, Xiaowei begins feeding on the hearts of mortals to maintain her beauty while seeking a victim who will freely offer their heart in order for her to become completely human and put her beyond reach of her captors.
Enter the star-crossed lovers, Princess Jing (Zhao Wei) and General Huo Xin (Chen Kun), whose budding teenage romance was shattered before it began when Huo, a young and brilliant marksman, failed to protect the Princess during a bear attack which left her disfigured. Out of shame, Huo exiles himself to a wasteland outpost, forcing the lovesick Princess Jing, hidden behind a gold mask, to track him down years later when learning of her pre-arranged marriage to the chieftain of a savage clan.
But as paths often do, Xiaowei's search for a willing donor and Jing's nursing of her broken heart, sees the pair cross each other in the desert, forging an uneasy friendship which gives the Fox demon an opportunity to wreck Machiavellian carnage on the emotions of the young would-be lovers.
While the core of Painted Skin: The Resurrection is undoubtedly a classic romance fable with little in the way of originality, Wuershan makes good use of his generous budget utilising CGI and wire-work to infuse a number of brilliantly realised action sequences into the film, including some of the finest horse crashes you're likely to witness anytime soon. Unfortunately, the film struggles to mesh these two aspects with any real cohesiveness, which is only hindered further by an unnecessary third plotline involving Quer, the bird demon and a clueless demon hunter (Feng Shaofeng), which is almost crude in its design as comic relief.
As for the 3D aspect of the film, Wuershan can be praised for not succumbing to the gimmickry of the technology, instead allowing it to shine within the cinematography, elevating the scope of China's mountainous landscapes while enhancing the dynamic action sequences and battles. But much like the flaws evident across the various subplots, perhaps the use of 3D could have benefited from a less-is-more attribute.
Wuershan is undoubtedly an ambitious director, and a rising star in the Chinese film industry, and while his latest foray offers all the right ingredients for a sprawling, grand epic, tipping its hat to the likes of Temple of Doom, Romeo & Juliet and 300, his skills behind the camera feel as if they need to mature just slightly. Thankfully though, his ensemble cast delivers compelling performances with Zhou Xun and Zhao Wei exuding a palpable screen presence that transcends their obvious beauty while Chen Kun is everything a damaged hero needs to be. Sadly though, even a cast as talented as this can't raise the film from the quagmire of romanticism and melodrama that, at times, would put a Mexican soap opera to shame.