Movie Details

PAINTED SKIN

Terror strikes a town when people start turning up dead with their heart ripped out clean. Suspicion centres around a mysterious woman named Xiao Wei (Zhou Xun) who was taken in by army general Wong (Chen Kun). Soon, his wife Pei Rong (Vicki Zhao Wei) and his one-time close ally Pang Long (Donnie Yen) realise that she is indeed an evil jinn-like demon who has fallen in love with the general. Seeking to expose the demonic seductress, they realise that it can all only end in conquering love and hate through wisdom and sacrifice.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 26 Sep 2008
Genre: Fantasy / Martial Arts
Running Time: 1 Hour 43 Minutes
Distributor: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
Cast: Donnie Yen, Vicki Zhao Wei, Zhou Xun, Qi Yuwu, Betty Sun, Chen Kun
Director: Gordon Chan
Format: NA

[More]

Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
Overall:
Cast:
Plot:
Effects:
Cinematography:

Watch this if you liked: "Shadows In The Palace", "The Mermaid"

If you screwed up your face when you saw Donnie Yen on the poster, then you might find this review rather agreeable - "Painted Skin" is a rare and successful Hong Kong attempt at marrying genres while making the most out of star appeal without forcing the story.

That's the easiest part to mess up, really - the story. So it comes as a pleasant surprise that this horror-thriller-mystery-action (what a mouthful of a movie!) turned out quite decent, never mind the fact that it is a remake of a 1966 Fong Pao movie of the same name, which is itself based on a memorable piece of Chinese literature. They kept Donnie Yen's shirt on for once (hooray!) and limited him to a few brief banters and fighting scenes, while letting pale beauties Zhou Xun and Zhao Wei do most of the drama bits.

Three cheers for director Gordon Chan, then!

Back to the story - it's a simple period movie about this demonic jinn woman who falls in love with a human being. Our man is an army general who is torn between his wife and the beautiful demon but being the macho virtuous type, he chooses his wife anyway. Donnie Yen and a ghostbuster sidekick enter the fray to expose the demon but find it harder than they thought. The demon has an aide, a frog-like beast (clearly inspired by Nightcrawler of X-Men fame) who is in love with her too.

The best thing about the whole movie is the interplay between the wife and the demon - they are very intriguing and had a lot of old charm. Watching it in Mandarin is a plus point too since it adds to that charm. However, watching it in any language would not help the mediocre performance of Chen Kun, who can't fool anyone about being a private let alone an army general. His acting is rubbish and his screen persona is weak.

If you forgive the odd flying scenes and a couple of other substandard CGI assists, the technical credits for "Painted Skin" are rather impressive, especially the make-up and costumes. They might not be historically accurate but they sure are nice to look at! When the credits roll, you might think it took too long but still it's the refreshing content that makes it stand out among the other Hong Kong films this year. It can be sexy and scary at the same time. Hell it's rather romantic even.

Most of all, it gives a complete new meaning to the phrase "I'd give my heart to you". Watch it to find out!

Cinema Online, 25 September 2008
   
Showtimes
 
Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
You can now proceed to book tickets at Shaw Cinema, click the link below to continue.
Ok      Cancel
You are now leaving Cinema Online's website.
You can now proceed to book tickets at Golden Village Cinema, click the link below to continue.
Ok      Cancel
You are now leaving Cinema Online's website.
You can now proceed to book tickets at Cathay Cineplexes, click the link below to continue.
Ok      Cancel
You are now leaving Cinema Online's website.
You can now proceed to book tickets at Filmgarde Cineplexes, click the link below to continue.
Ok      Cancel
You are now leaving Cinema Online's website.