Archive for the Zhou Xun 周迅 Category

Painted Skin: The Resurrection (Painted Skin 2) / 畫皮Ⅱ- Review [Film Business Asia / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in China, Film, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Zhou Xun 周迅 on June 20, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Rated 8 out of 10

Costume action fantasy
2012, colour, 3-D, 2.35:1, 130 mins

Directed by Wuershan (烏爾善)

By Derek Elley

Sun, 17 June 2012

* Slick fantasy vehicle for three Mainland stars is in a different league to the 2008 film… *

…Though the Chinese title bills it as a sequel to Painted Skin 畫皮 (2008), there’s little in common with the lively but hopelessly confused earlier movie…Entirely funded this time round by Mainland companies, it brings back actress ZHOU Xun 周迅 as the female fox demon who feeds off men’s hearts but constructs an otherwise unlinked story set in a timeless Ancient China. Also returning are fellow Mainland stars Vicki ZHAO 趙薇 and CHEN Kun 陳坤, but in completely different roles. The result is a very entertaining, slightly over-long costume fantasy whose performances and sheer technique carry a script that often punches above its weight.

Whereas the rather old-fashioned Painted Skin, a Hong Kong-China-Singapore co-production, never knew exactly what it was, and even tried to shoehorn action star Donnie YEN 甄子丹 into the mix, Resurrection knows exactly what it is. With a hefty RMB150 million (US$23.5 million) budget, excellent and smoothly integrated visual effects by Mainland and South Korean companies, and handsome production values, this is a prestige China production to the hilt — and in a 3-D version as well. At the directing reins is Inner Mongolian-born Wuershan 烏爾善, hot from The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman 刀見笑 (2010); and getting equal (if not bigger) display on the posters is Huayi Brothers’ in-house star producer CHEN Kuo-fu 陳國富 (The Message 風聲 (2009)), a Taiwan-born critic-turned-director.

The script by Ran Jia’nan (冉甲男) and RAN Ping 冉平 has no connection with the famous Qing dynasty short story by PU Songling 蒲松龄 that spawned Painted Skin. Instead, it takes its underlying theme — that beauty is only skin deep — and constructs an elaborate tale in which a seductive fox demon offers to switch her looks with a scarred princess so the latter can test the love of a general who was once her bodyguard. It’s a complex, multi-layered screenplay that mixes myth and witchcraft with eternal truths about love and attraction, as well as stirring in strong “sisterly” resonances in a story that’s female-focused throughout…

…Though the film still has flashes of the earthiness that director Wuershan brought to Butcher, Resurrection is a much slicker, more highly varnished production. Despite the flashy action sequences (all whip pans and slo-mo), Wuershan also knows when to go easy on the visual effects and let his actors have some space, as well as marbling in comic interludes…to ease the burden on the serious stuff. If the central theme of true love vs. physical attraction is often overwhelmed by too much plot and detail, the movie is still engrossing when it works and much more emotionally engaging than other blockbusters of its ilk.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link:

“Painted Skin 2:The Resurrection” – First Trailer released, HD w/ English subs / 画皮Ⅱ 剧场版预告片 [ / Sweet and Sour Cinema]

Posted in Sweet & Sour Cinema, Zhou Xun 周迅 on March 21, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

HD Trailer here:

Film to be released in China late June 2012, according to trailer…

…some belated news related to the film:

“Yang Mi, Feng Shaofeng to Join ‘Painted Skin 2′” []


Rising stars Yang Mi and Feng Shaofeng join the casting of Chinese romantic fantasy film, “Painted Skin 2.”

Full CRIEnglish article:

Tsui Hark’s Next Film: Popular War Tale in 3D [ / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in China, Jet Li 李连杰, Jiang Wen 姜文, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Tsui Hark 徐克, Zhao Benshan 赵本山, Zhou Xun 周迅 on August 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Along with his 3-D filmmaking crew, director Tsui Hark is now planning to bring a household Chinese tale of war to the big screen.


Web Editor: Xie Tingting

Sources from Polybona Films have revealed that Tsui is set to embark on an adaptation of the novel “Lin Hai Xue Yuan” for his new project.

Polybona Films co-produced Tsui’s latest film, “The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate”, a martial-arts flick starring Jet Li, Zhou Xun and Kwai Lun-mei. Tsui shot the film using 3-D cameras, and was reportedly the first Chinese filmmaker to do so. This film is slated for release in December.

As for his next project, the original “Lin Hai Xue Yuan” novel is set in 1946 during the Chinese Civil War, and tells the story of a battle of wits between a bandit chief nicknamed Zuoshandiao, and the hero Yang Zirong. The novel’s hero, Yang, manages to infiltrate Zuoshandiao’s gang in an effort to exterminate it.

Casting for Tsui’s film has yet to begin, though rumors have already started to swirl, with word that the director wants to have Jiang Wen and Zhao Benshan on board.

Filming is to start later this year, with the release slated for 2012.

Article link:

“Beginning of the Great Revival” (建党伟业) aka “Founding of a Party” – Film Review [Film Business Asia / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in Andy Lau 刘德华, Beijing, China, CPC, Fan Bingbing 范冰冰, Liu Ye 刘烨, Mao Zedong, Shanghai, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Zhou Xun 周迅 on June 16, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手


Period political drama

Directed by Han Sanping (韓三平), Huang Jianxin (黃建新)

By Derek Elley

Wed, 15 June 2011

Cameo-studded blockbuster is a notch down on [2009’s Founding of a] Republic but still a savvy big-screen experience.
The…idea by China Film Group (中國電影集團公司) head Han Sanping (韓三平) of “selling” official anniversary movies to the general public by cramming them with star cameos worked a treat in the 2009 The Founding of a Republic (建國大業), made to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the PRC.  The clever marketing…gets a second outing in…Beginning of the Great Revival (建黨偉業), celebrating the 90th birthday of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai — and the result still works, though to a lesser extent…

…For foreign viewers unacquainted with the complex ins-and-outs of the period, the movie will take some following, though the history has been cleverly compressed and sticks pretty closely to events, allowing for some cinematic licence.  To its credit, there is some time spent on how the CCP groped its way towards a unified political stance, flirting with and then rejecting other revolutionary and communist models to finally come up with one that suited the Chinese (rather than European or Russian) experience…

…here, even more than in Republic, the film comes up with several jaw-dropping setpieces between the political stuff.  The 10-minute sequence of the 4 May Movement protests is true big-screen cinema, a New Year sequence featuring Mao and his second wife in Beijing has a fairytale atmosphere, and the staging of the actual CCP founding (by a dozen characters on a boat in a lake) is genuinely inspired in movie terms, with actress Zhou used in an almost mystical way.

Though the film as a whole is not so grand in scope as Republic, production values are a notch better…some actual B&W documentary footage is included, but relatively little this time round.

Rated 7 out of 10

Excerpted / edited by Zuo Shou

Article link here

“True Legend” / 《苏乞儿》- Exclusive Review [Sweet & Sour Cinema / Sweet & Sour Cinema Exclusive Review]

Posted in Jackie Chan 成龙, Kung Fu, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Sweet & Sour Cinema exclusive flim review, Yuen Wo Ping 袁和平, Zhou Xun 周迅 on May 21, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

True Legend / 苏乞儿 -- Chinese poster (Source:

“True Legend”(2010)–  Review by Zuo Shou 左手

Directed by Yuen Woo-ping

Starring:  Chiu Man-Cheuk [Vincent Zhao], Zhou Xun, Andy On

Review of Mandarin, English-subtitled 2-D version seen in 2010

Releasing a review now, as the film currently has a limited release in the US.

“True Legend”, I’m sorry to report, is a true disappointment.  This film was a box-office flop in China, and even its classy bilingual website is now defunct as the film is released in North America.

Sadly, this film held multiple potentials that it just couldn’t fulfill.   Reknowned martial arts director Yuen Woo-ping was returning to the “Drunken Fist” style that was so iconic a few decades back in his legendary “Drunken Master” collaboration with young Jackie Chan.  Vincent Zhao was primed for a comeback.  David Carradine is seen in his final role (ok, maybe not too much promise in that).  There’s cameos by an array of martial arts film icons.  The story isbased on a colorful legend of an impoverished martial arts master, perhaps empowering in a time of global impoverishment when the poor have hardly been more invisible.  And 3-D martial arts!

Well, after this film’s release lets just say Steven Chow’s comical, Kurosawan assaying of the Su Qi-er legend “King of Beggars” is in no danger of losing its ranking as the top cinematic take on the subject.

Critics, in their enthusiasm to review this one, are overlooking that Yuen Woo-ping is just the director, not the action director here.  That should be enough to raise qualifiers, as his directorial efforts have been a decided mixed bag and sometimes dilutes his martial-arts-choreographing strength.   There are 2 action sequences that undoubtedly satisfy – one rolling on the edge of a waterfall and a (literally) ripping 2nd act chain-wrapped-fist-in-the-face brawl that still ends too abruptly –  but in my opinion they don’t make it a good film.

Still from "True Legend" w/ Andy On, Vincent Zhao ( /

The film’s major fault here is in the screenplay, which takes risks required to juice up the  the martial arts film genre (mainly in a conceptually interesting, if cinematically flat, extended sequence dramatizing the internal psychic struggle that great talents and / or substance abusers could go through).  Yuen Woo-ping does seem to have some noble conceptual intent involving the highs and lows of seeking martial arts perfection.  But while cheer-worthy, these risks undo themselves in a progressively deflating sequence of events that approaches dramatic absolute zero in a Heilongjiang East-West battle of no apparent significance and which is lamer than those seen in any number of recent productions (the Ip Man films, for instance) which tend to wind up in an “international” martial arts arena. Continue reading

Li, Tsui reunite for new Dragon picture [Film Business Asia / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in Jet Li 李连杰, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Tsui Hark 徐克, Zhou Xun 周迅 on October 22, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Patrick Frater

10 October 2010

Production News

Production got underway today on Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (龍門飛甲), a stereoscopic 3-D film which reunites action star Jet Li (李連杰, pictured second from right) and Chinese director Tsui Hark (徐克, third from left).

Tsui and Li’s collaborated on the first three episodes of the hit Once Upon a Time in China (黃飛鴻) series in the early 1990s that grossed HK$87.6 million ($11.3 million) in Hong Kong alone.

Flying Swords is budgeted at $35 million, with investment from Bona International Film Group (博納國際影業集團), China Film Group (中國電影集團公司), Shanghai Media Group (SMG, 上海東方傳媒集團), Shineshow (北京華影盛世文化傳播公司) and Liangzi Group (北京良子集團公司).

The starry cast also includes Zhou Xun (周迅), Aloys Chen (陳坤) and Guey Lun-mei (桂綸鎂). The film’s martial arts director is Yuen Bun (元彬) [worked with Tsui Hark and Jet Li before in Swordsman II, also with Tsui Hark in Green Snake and The Blade – Zuo Shou 左手].

"I was very interested to work again with Tsui Hark, in whom I have complete confidence," said Li in a statement. "I also took the because this is a full 3-D film and the first 3-D film in the martial arts world."

Hong Kong-based Distribution Workshop (發行工作室) will handle all sales rights outside China.

Article link here

Unveiling of Partial Cast for the Film “The Founding of the Party” (Jian Dang Wei Ye / 建党伟业 ) in Beijing [ / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in Beijing, China, CPC, Liu Ye 刘烨, Mao Zedong, Zhou Xun 周迅 on September 6, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

A press conference for the CPC anniversary film "Jian Dang Wei Ye" is held in Beijing on September 1st, 2010, to reveal its partial list of actors. Director Han Sanping, Huang Jianxin, actors Liu Ye, Zhou Xun and Tang Wei attend the event. (Photo: CFP)

September 1, 2010

A press conference for the CPC anniversary film “Jian Dang Wei Ye” was held in Beijing on Wednesday, September 1st, to reveal its partial list of actors, according to the production company, China Film Group Corporation.

Tang Wei, the leading actress from Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”, will play Tao Yi. Tao was known as one of the “Zhounan Three Elitists” along with Xiang Jingyu and Cai Chang at Zhounan Girl’s Normal School in Changsha. Fan Zhibo and Dong Xuan will portray the other two “elitists.”

Huang Jue will portray Li Da, the representative of the first National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC). While Zhou Xun, best actress from the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards, will play Wang Huiwu, Li’s wife. This is the second time for Zhou and Huang to act as a couple since the romantic film “Baobei in Love” in 2004.

Zhou Xun (2nd from R) and Tang Wei (R) attend the event. (Photo: CFP)

Another couple, Chen Gongbo and his wife Li Maizhuang, will be portrayed by Tong Ruixin and Hong Kong actress Michelle Ye.

Director He Ping will also join the cast as He Shuheng, another representative of the first NCCPC, and will collaborate with Liu Ye who will portray a young Mao Zedong. “Not only my family name is the same as the character, but you can look at his photos, and I nearly was his special type cast,” said He.

Actor Liu Ye (R) as young Mao Zedong attends the event. (Photo: CFP)

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