Finally, we finish with King Hu’s final film, Painted Skin, released in 1993. For me, out of all of his films before, Painted Skin in particular felt extremely different and distant from those that came before it, almost reminiscent of older Japanese tokusatsu series, in terms of action, special effects, and sequences as a whole. Though it was different, it was an interesting approach to storytelling, with elements of horror that were occasionally frightening at times. It was an interesting direction than just the styles that he had experimented with previously.
I really appreciated the contrasts of color in this film, in both scenery and characters. Everything was fairly easy to distinguish between the “villains” and the “heroes,” so I thought that was pretty interesting.
The special effects for the film as well, talking about the smoke in particular, was also very well done, in my opinion. It really added a mysterious, surreal feeling to the film, which really aided in the ambiance of the experience as a whole. It was creative of him to rewind the smoke effects that were expelled from the actor’s bodies/clothes, giving the impression as if they were being possessed by spirits. That, and the color play with the villain being portrayed as red smoke was also a creative choice.
Though in the end, I feel like King Hu could’ve added more of a conclusion, as it felt pretty abrupt and was quite confusing, the first time around. Otherwise though, it was a fairly enjoyable experience and I would recommend King Hu fans to see it at least once.