Wa Pei (Painted Skin) (2008)
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Critic Reviews for Wa Pei (Painted Skin)
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Audience Reviews for Wa Pei (Painted Skin)
Fine entertaining of a classic Chinese ghost story. In fact, this isn't a Donnie Yen film where he grins, kicks ass and ultimately kick more asses, but rather, at its core, a love story, a light hearted genre mixture of action, ghosts and comedy. Quite simply revoking those days when movies like A Chinese Ghost Story are still in existence. Gordon Chan is better known as an action director and by the looks of this film, should much better remain as one. He at present lacks the ability to tackle a period romance film. The emotions examined sometimes can seem stock rather than refreshing. The editor too must take some blame for failing to put together the movie in an intriguing way. It is a good movie, due largely to the performances of the two leading actresses, Wei Zhao and Xun Zhou.
Before watching the film, my first impression was that it was going to be one of those tacky Chinese fantasy movies from the 80s, 90s, so I was in for a surprise by how much it didn't suck. It wasn't spectacular, but the acting was decent with Zhao Wei and Zhou Xun among others, graphics and makeup was convincing, and the soundtrack was better. It definitely turned out to be more than just a supernatural movie about a fox spirit preying on human hearts.
Wow! Director Gordan Chan has a gem on his hands with Painted Skin. This film spreads across a good amount of genres including: martial arts, horror, drama, romance, and thriller. The nice thing about this is that Chan is able to blend all these things together into a smooth picture.
The story is alluring and marvelously told. The film uses simple fade outs effectively to transition to different sets of characters or scenes. This is also consistent throughout the entire picture, along with the well done soundtrack.
The pacing is rather slow, however the 100 minutes isn't bland. The film never seems to drag at any one segment for too long and the camerawork boosts the movie visually.
The martial arts is very few and this is just a tad disappointing since Donnie Yen is in here. As I previously mentioned though, there are a lot of genres to this picture and none of them overpowers the other. This isn't a scary or gory film, but there are a few horror type elements that show up.
Donnie Yen is probably the biggest name in here, however most of the film revolves around Kun Chen. The interesting thing is that Donnie puts on one of his better ACTING performances while the martial arts takes a back seat. The 3 beautiful ladies of this film are Zhou Xun, Betty Sun, and Zhao Wei. All do splendid jobs with their characters.
Painted Skin is a film with everything going for it and is a must see for Hong Kong movie fans.
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