The Summer box office is off to a roaring start in China with the premiere of Painted Skin: The Resurrection setting new box office records this weekend. Reviews are decidedly mixed, from story is flimsy to production is breathtaking. Both are probably true, and is a fine enough reason to tune in. I’ve been dying to check out this movie for the eye candy since it was announced that leads Zhou Xun, Chen Kun, and Vicky Zhao Wei from the first movie would be reuniting for the sequel. This movie doesn’t pick up where the first one left off, but instead time jumps five hundred years later, with the only returning character the demon Xiao Wei. But we get another love triangle with the same three actors, though this time Vicky appears to play a much more proactive character. Chen Kun and Zhou Xun burned my corneas with their chemistry the last time around, and from all the previews I expect no less from them now. Second leads Yang Mi and Feng Shao Feng continue to give me the urge the laugh, so I hope their screen time is limited. The official six-minute MV of the theme song has been released, a new arrangement of the original theme song “Painted Heart” sung by Jane Zhang. It’s even lovelier than the original, and the MV contains a lot of new footage from the movie not seen in the previews.
The demon Xiao Wei gives up her demon essence to save the life of the man she loves. She is banished to an icy prison for five hundred years until the sparrow demon Xiao Que frees her. According to demon lore, Xiao Wei goes in seek of a warm and pure-hearted person who willingly will give her a heart so that she can become a human. Along the way, Xiao Que uses human hearts to preserve Xiao Wei’s human form.
Outside of White Castle is the Sky Wolf Kingdom, a territory controlled by the Sky Wolf Queen and her Sorceror. To bring the Queen’s younger brother back to life, the Sky Wolf Kingdom asks the Han dynasty for the hand-in-marriage of Princess Jing, but in truth seek to sacrifice her to the gods for the re-animation ritual. On the way to her wedding, Princess Jing escapes and goes to see Huo Xin, the General of White Castle. Xiao Wei chances to encounter Princess Jing and realizes she is the person Xiao Wei seeks.
General Huo Xin sees the masked Princess Jing and he feels immense guilt. Eight years ago, he was not able to protect her, causing her to be severely disfigured. Princess Jing asks him to elope with her but he cannot give her his heart. In her despair, she jumps off a cliff. Xiao Wei saves Princess Jing, who realizes Xiao Wei is a demon. Xiao Wei offers to cast a spell to allow Princess Jing to swap faces with her, and use her face to ensnare Huo Xin’s heart. Huo Xin feels his heart affected by Princess Jing who he believes is Xiao Wei. Princess Jing is falling in love with Huo Xin, in her own body, but with Xiao Wei’s face. This torments her. On the other hand, a down-on-his-luck taoist priest meets Xiao Que and they fall in love. What fate awaits them?
To capture Princess Jing, the Sky Wolf Kingdom sends thousands of troops to attack White Castle. General Huo Xin decides to face them directly, willing to die on the battlefield to buy time for the Princess to escape. Just as Huo Xin is about to be shot through with hundreds of arrows, Princess Jing announces from the Castle walls that she will marry into the Sky Wolf Kingdom, thus saving Huo Xin. The appearance of the Sky Wolf Kingdom disrupts Xiao Wei’s plan and she’s trapped back in ice. The Princess is without hope and she embraces Xiao Wei, using her burning heart to dispel the ice. She agrees with Xiao Wei to use her heart in exchange for Xiao Wei’s face forever.
When the Sky Wolf Kingdom comes for the Princess, Xiao Wei (in the form of the Princess) goes with them. In the darkness and the cold, the Princess (in Xiao Wei’s form) feels her face start to crack. When the taoist priest tells Huo Xin the truth about the exchange of the faces, Huo Xin understands everything and he makes a final decision. They set out to rescue Xiao Wei. In the final battle, demon Xiao Que shows her true form. How will it all end?
Official MV for “Painted Heart 2” theme song for Painted Skin: The Resurrection: