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Painted Skin
Painted Skin
Actors: Zhao Wei, Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun, Sun Li, Chen Kun
Director: Gordon Chan
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2008     1hr 43min


     
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Movie Details

Actors: Zhao Wei, Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun, Sun Li, Chen Kun
Director: Gordon Chan
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Castaway Pictures
Format: DVD - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/16/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Cantonese
Subtitles: Chinese, English

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Movie Reviews

A surprise
R. Hunt Jr. | Richmond, Virginia United States | 11/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After viewing the dvd Painted Skin, I was pleasantly surprised. I knew that any movie with the fammed Donnie Yen in it should be pretty good and filled with amazing martial arts styles and executions with or without sword play that makes you want to rewind and see that move again. This feature is a love story, cleverly centered in this well imagined, well acted story with a bit of comic relief as well which is refreshing from the seriousness of most martial arts movies, without loosing track of the main story. You get a tour into the hearts of each character. Each one's frailties are made apparent as they all seek some sort of happiness in life through love or duty,or just survivalPainted Skin (First Print Edition) DVD. I personaly have grown to love this movie and recommend it to all."
FAR FROM A MARTIAL ARTS FLICK
Roy Clark | Edge of Toiyabe Nat'l Forest, NV | 08/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Yes, PAINTED SKIN offers action and conflict, all, very well done. But behind the expected slash and bash it's a sophisticated, character-driven multi-leveled romance. Think Romeo and Juliet with a dash of more- contemporary tales of guy gets involved with a crazy lady who turns on him and his wife, with twists and complications galore.

The stalker is (a potential spoiler here) a woman demon with hideous powers who falls in love him. Her nature is dark and complex, as is her character. It's a most-unusual and very good film. Issues of love and sacrifice and loyalty run all through this engrossing production.

The art direction and production values are extremely well done. I bought my DVD in China and the subtitles were 'challenging'; but the releases I see at Amazon must have more westernized translations.
Whatever, it's a unique film which deserves to be seen.

This may be the kiss of death for martial-arts seekers; but
this is a chick film as much as a guy action adventure film.
Either for a he or she, it's an exciting, engrossing movie."
So so fighting scenes but fails as a drama.
Cestmoi | 04/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is move is basically a drama with some action scenes. However it fails to be a touching drama. It does not move me.

It depicts the love of a female demon for a general. She was a white fox who turned into a beautiful woman after hundred years of magic training. I can see how much the general's wife loved him but I don't feel the love between the general and the demon. I don't know it's because of the acting or directing.

The demon buster's role is the silliest here. Her dialogues are childish. They make the film more like a comic book.

The fighting scenes are so so. They're not the best of Donnie Yen. I prefer him in Flash Point and Iron Monkey.

It's worth watching once because of Donnie Yen."
Can a Demon really Fall in Love?
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 12/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Gordon Chan Kar-Seung's "Painted Skin" is a remake of the once popular horror-fantasy genre and looks aimed towards western audiences, no surprise since this is supposed to be Hong Kong's entry to the 2009 Academy awards. The film is based on "The Strange Tales of Lioazhai" by Pu Songling which has inspired numerous television series; including "Chinese Ghost Stories" and the original "Painted Skin" by King Hu which features a demon who stays young by devouring human hearts. Its touches of martial arts action, supernatural lore, elaborate costumes and period settings will no doubt appeal and entertain some, but I have to admit the film isn't for everyone as it will more likely alienate more viewers.

General Wang (Aloys Chen) leads his soldiers to raid a bandit encampment and in turn comes across a beauteous young woman, Xiaowei (played by beautiful Zhou Xun, The Banquet, Ming Ming). Upon their return to their town of JiangDu, brutal murders begin to occur and the victims' hearts are ripped out. A lizard-like elfish creature (Qi Yuwu) is committing the murders, but he does so for Xiaowei who requires human hearts to sustain her appearance. Wang's wife, Peirong (Vicky Zhao Wei) attempts to reveal Xiaowei's secret but she lacks credibility since she is jealous of the beauteous demon. Meanwhile, her former lover, Pang Yong (Donnie Yen) arrives with a demon hunter named Bing Xia (Betty Sun Li) to expel Xiaowei. The battle between humans and supernatural beings are about to begin.

The strongest draw will have to be Zhou Xun--she is so seductive as the demoness with a fatal flaw: she's in love. She overloads the screen with her charisma that it is almost so distracting to look at her--she engages quite a bit in flashes of her silk-like skin although there is a very minor amount of nudity and none of them reveal the female forms most significant parts (which I do think makes her more alluring). The supporting cast isn't so bad, Vicky Zhao also does a great job but I do think that she carries most of the film's burden as her character Peirong will have to generate sympathy--Zhao proves to be up to the challenge although she is somewhat hampered with the film's overwrought emotions. Chen Aloys didn't exactly connect with the two actresses and lacks chemistry with both of them. Donnie Yen is mostly in the film for the action and while there is quite a few sequences of martial arts, it isn't the film's main focus. Therefore, Yen will have to put his "machismo" on hold since the plot revolves mostly on the elements of love, jealousy, spousal duty and sacrifice.

The problems begin with the film when it engages too much style and it feels more like one of those classic wuxia Chinese TV shows than a romantic epic. The action scenes aren't really needed, but Chan opts to make the encounter flashy and full of the usual wire-fu and it looks a little silly in execution. It also introduces certain elements that seems to be throw-away details and became underdeveloped such as when Yong became accused of killing a guard. The subtle attempts at comedy (between Betty Sun's tomboyish character and Yen's character Kong) is a little out of place and felt like it was a minor attempt to lighten the mood. The film would have done quite well as a dark fantasy romantic epic but the director seemed to be just pulling ideas out of his bag of tricks; those said elements just delayed the outcome, rather than add any significance to it. The timing on the comedy accountancies by the occasional out of place soundtrack just made me roll my eyes and made me wonder just what its purpose was about.

I suppose if the film focused more on the love triangle between Wang Sheng, Xiaowei and Peirong rather than stooping to style then I would have most assuredly enjoyed this film much more. There is a lot of emotions to be had, and Xiaowei and Peirong are indeed the most interesting characters in the film, I sure wished that their rivalry and inner spirit were more fleshed out. But I guess they were, but the film's bad timing and mediocre direction just made the emotions a bit unnoticed. The film had potential and does have its dark overtones (you will trip when you see Xiaowei shed her skin and see her inner self) and the film's main premise is interesting enough.

I guess the film just turned out to be a little messy, and lacks consistency. Yen is his usual overacting self, the film is quite sad that it may encourage some to shed tears, some may laugh at the humor, and others entertained with the action--but what it fails to do is the fact that while you throw different styles of emotion at an audience, any film will feel fake and too overwrought that you will lose its significant impact. "Painted Skin" just mixes up too many types of emotions that it fails on a lot of areas and feels marked for commercial appeal, but a film like this would never please everyone. Gordon Chan should have shown a sense of restraint that his end product is just a little too inconsistent and uneven for my taste. Still, the performances by the two lead actresses did almost save the film, and the mix and match between eroticism, horror and romance may prove diverting to some. I guess one has to see this film with an open mind and to keep their expectations low. After all, you do get to watch Zhou Xun-- who just owns the camera with her seductive looks.

Recommended with caution to fans of Chinese cinema, but a rental for everyone else [3 Stars]



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