Five hundred years ago, a fox demon (Xun Zhou, Cloud Atlas) was imprisoned in the ice. Five hundred years later, she is freed, is nursed back to health, and wants to be human, yet has a heart hot enough to melt ice. This being an Asian epic fantasy, that doesn’t strike the other characters as particularly peculiar. A love triangle eventually forms, with one of the points being a princess with heart-tugging facial scars (Wei Zhao, Red Cliff).
Director Wuershan — just Wuershan, thank you very much; he helmed the massively entertaining The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman — has crafted a film highly reminiscent of Tsui Hark’s cinematic folk tales of his Zu days, but one that borrows elements of Clive Barker and Guillermo del Toro. He overdoes the slow-motion sequences, which doesn’t help a greatly overbloated running time (131 minutes). —Rod Lott