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Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version) Blu-ray Region A

Li Bing Bing (Actor) | Chen Kun (Actor) | Winston Chao (Actor) | Yang Zi Shan (Actor)
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Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Pau (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) joins Zhao Tianyu (Deadly Delicious) in helming epic spectacle Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal. Starring A-listers Aloys Chen (Painted Skin: The Resurrection) and Li Bingbing (Transformers: Age of Extinction), the big-budget US-China co-production was a massive hit in China, raking in over ¥410 million at the box office over the Lunar New Year period.

In a world where gods, mortals and demons co-exist, the precarious balance of power between the groups is always teetering on the edge of all-out war. The realms are pushed ever closer to this fate when demons begin attacking mortals and stealing their souls. In retaliation, deity Master Zhang (Winston Chao, 1911) sends his right-hand man Zhong Kui (Aloys Chen) to retrieve the Dark Crystal, which houses the stolen souls. To counter this, the underworld sends the snow demon Xueqing (Li Bingbing) to intercept Zhong Kui. As it turns out, Xueqing bears an uncanny resemblance to Zhong Kui's long-lost love...

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Technical Information

Product Title: Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version) 鍾馗伏魔:雪妖魔靈 (Blu-ray) (美國版) 锺馗伏魔:雪妖魔灵 (Blu-ray) (美国版) Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version) Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Li Bing Bing (Actor) | Chen Kun (Actor) | Winston Chao (Actor) | Yang Zi Shan (Actor) | Bao Bei Er (Actor) | Summer Ji Ke Jun Yi (Actor) 李冰冰 (Actor) | 陳坤 (Actor) | 趙文瑄 (Actor) | 楊子姍 (Actor) | 包貝爾 (Actor) | 吉克雋逸 (Actor) 李冰冰 (Actor) | 陈坤 (Actor) | 赵文瑄 (Actor) | 杨子姗 (Actor) | 包贝尔 (Actor) | 吉克隽逸 (Actor) 李冰冰(リー・ビンビン) (Actor) | 陳坤(チェン・クン) (Actor) | 趙文[王宣](ウィンストン・チャオ) (Actor) | ヤン・ズーシャン (Actor) | バオ・ベイアル (Actor) | Summer Ji Ke Jun Yi (Actor) Li Bing Bing (Actor) | Chen Kun (Actor) | Winston Chao (Actor) | 양자산 (Actor) | Bao Bei Er (Actor) | Summer Ji Ke Jun Yi (Actor)
Director: Zhao Tian Yu | Peter Pau 趙天宇 | 鮑德熹 赵天宇 | 鲍德熹 Zhao Tian Yu | 鮑德熹 (ピーター・パウ) Zhao Tian Yu | Peter Pau
Producer: Peter Pau 鮑德熹 鲍德熹 鮑德熹 (ピーター・パウ) Peter Pau
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2015-08-04
UPC Code: 812491016336
Place of Origin: United States, China
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Package Weight: 99 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1041128677

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version)"

April 28, 2016

This professional review refers to Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (2015) (Blu-ray) (3D) (Hong Kong Version)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cinematographer Peter Pau returns with his first film as director since the 2002 Michelle Yeoh vehicle The Touch in big budget fantasy Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, co-helmed with Zhao Tianyu (Deadly Delicious). Drawing upon Chinese mythology and the exploits of the titular demon slayer, the China-US coproduction stars Aloys Chen (Painted Skin: The Resurrection) and Li Bingbing (Transformers: Age of Extinction) in the lead roles, and was a major hit at the domestic box office, pulling in over 400 RMB during the competitive Lunar New Year period.

The film is set in a time where the worlds of humans, gods and demons co-exist, the three generally on the verge of conflict and war, a situation which has been worsening thanks to soul stealing raids by the denizens of the fiery hell realm. Striking back, the heavenly Master Zhang (Winston Chao, 1911) tasks the hero Zhong Kui (Aloys Chen) to steal an artefact known as the Dark Crystal, used for keeping harvested souls, putting him up against his former love, the beautiful snow demon Xueqing (Li Bingbing). With a time of convergence between the worlds approaching, when souls can travel between the three or reincarnate, it becomes clear that a sinister and deadly plan is afoot, linked to a dark secret from Zhong Kui's own past.

There certainly a lot going on in Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, as its long title and collection of six screenwriters would suggest, and the film has some interesting ideas about the three different worlds being kept in balance – not a new concept of course, though here given a few fun twists. While the film’s pacing and narrative are, perhaps unsurprisingly, variable and random in places, this gives it a pleasingly chaotic feel which harks back to the halcyon days of Hong Kong fantasy cinema and the likes of Tsui Hark's 1983 classic Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain. Though by no means up to the same standard, the film does at least have a plot that compares favourably with some of other recent big budget Chinese fantasies, and manages to hold the attention and drum up a little dramatic tension on the way to its muddled finale.

This is undermined somewhat by the middling romance between Zhong Kui and Snow Girl, which despite the film's best efforts to reference A Chinese Ghost Story, Green Snake and other genre milestones, lacks any of their emotional engagement. Aside from a general dearth of real chemistry between the otherwise likeable Aloys Chen and Li Bingbing, this is mainly due to the limp and awkward handling of their love story, which plays out mostly through flashbacks rather than any tangible present day indications of their feelings – not helped by the fact that the flashbacks themselves are little more than clichéd montages that really only serve the purpose of showing Aloys Chen without his rather fake and itchy looking beard.

Fortunately, their romance for long stretches of the running time takes a distinct back seat to special effects and fantasy action, arguably the film’s main selling points. On this score, Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is rather a mixed bag, as while in places the film looks spectacular, with some highly imaginative vistas and locations, showing great use of green screen work and some beautiful cinematography from Peter Pau, the demon character animation is often laughably bad, resembling a video game of the last generation. This becomes apparent from early on, when Zhong Kui is given the power to transform into a ten feet tall demon, which never comes even remotely close to convincing. When Li Bingbing shows her true Snow Girl self the result is much the same, and their scenes together are amusingly bizarre, at times making for a shabby kind of surrealism as they lumber around drunkenly together.

Still, this doesn't get in the way too much of the eye-melting barrage of fantasy visuals or the effectively staged action scenes, of which there are plenty. Pau and Zhao Tianyu do a very solid job of working in some suitably grand set pieces across the three different worlds, including mass battles, duels, aerial combat and more, and despite the lacklustre effects, the early sequences of Zhong Kui trying out his demon powers are fun and energetic as he leaps from mountain to mountain.

Though unlikely to go down as a classic, Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is an above average example of the recent run of Chinese blockbuster fantasy films, and should be enjoyed by undemanding genre fans. Making up for its shoddy character animations and sappy romance with some otherwise stunning visuals and an abundance of imagination and action, there's plenty here to impress, and the film is up to the standard of Painted Skin and others of the type.

by James Mudge - EasternKicks.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (Blu-ray) (US Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


September 11, 2021

This customer review refers to Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (2015) (DVD) (Thailand Version)
1 people found this review helpful

The special effects let the movie down Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
'Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal' is remarkable film, both remarkably good and remarkably bad, but definitely remarkable. Its story, drawing on a concoction of Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese mythology, and even Chinese traditional medicine, tells of an event which occurs only once every millenium for demons: They are reincarnated. The fate of their reincarnation depends upon the stolen human souls housed within the Dark Crystal.

Alas for the demons, the Dark Crystal has been stolen from their domain by Zhong Kui (Aloys Chen) pursuant to the directions of the deity Master Zhang (Winston Chao), who has assumed responsibility for shielding the city of Hu from the reincarnated demons. To fetch back the crystal to the underworld, Xueqing the Snow Girl (Li Bing Bing) and her minions are dispatched to Hu, disguised as a troupe of beautiful dancing girls.

Upon her arrival in Hu, Zhong Kui immediately recognizes the Snow Girl as the woman he briefly met three years earlier, and with whom he had fallen deeply in love. Although he soon realizes her true identity as a demon, and although he is commanded by Master Zhang to destroy her, Zhong Kui is deeply torn by his love. Will he jeopardize the fate of his city by failing to do his duty?

When the film focuses on telling this essentially romantic story, it is remarkably compelling and looks gorgeous. Unfortunately, the filmmakers are unsatisfied to be compelling; they want to create a spectacle. Over and over again, they insert over-the-top CGI special effects to pump up the action, and much too often those special effects look remarkably cartoonish. The cheesy CGI wrecks the film's dramatic momentum. Here's the moral to the story: Just because you have CGI doesn't mean you need to overuse them.
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