The List has given us another modern day epic starring one of the industries finest Martial Arts actors – Jet Li. Naturally when I grabbed this film I was looking forward to some cool Jet Li action.
But unfortunately this movie offers little real martial arts action. It’s The Sorcerer and the White Snake, which is more of a fantasy and adventure movie based around similar themes to mystical kung fu movies.
Jet Li plays Abbot Fahai, a monk who travels about capturing demons from another world or realm, preventing them from harming humans.
Simultaneously a White snake demon named Susu decides to save a human after her friend, the green snake demon named Qingqing tricks him into falling off a mountain he is climbing. Susu then falls in love with this human named Xu Xian and then makes a few moves before getting him to marry her.
Now happy and in love, Xi Xian adn Susu live their lives out in his small house. But problems start to arise and Abbot Fahai tries to step in and fix things by attempting to capture Susu.
One for the Kids, not Martial Arts fans…
This movie is packed with fantasy, demons, talking animals and is a really visual film surrounded by the theme of love between a demon and a human. The powers and general flow of the movie reminds me of cartoons I used to watch as a kid, only less interesting.
The quality of the film isn’t bad, but it’s a bit sappy and overdone. The special effects are very in your face and some of the shots look like pieces of art. But overall it seems to be a struggle between the love of Xi Xian and Susu against the righteousness and protective nature of Jet Li’s character.
While both sides are essentially good, Susu goes a little crazy and almopst kills a bunch of Monks in the name of love – but I guess that makes it ok.
Overall it’s a bit dull, I really didn’t like it much.
The Action & Martial Arts
My opinion on this whole movie is a bit confusing!
I expected some decent action considering Jet Li was in the lead role, but the action was mostly driven by Special Effects and comic style moves set against events that are blown completely out of proportion.
Yeah, I like comic books and comic movies (go Avengers!), but this was a childish kind of action where the characters all seemed to pull moves out of their asses unexpectedly and without explanation.
What’s really funny is Jet Li didn’t want to do much action in this movie at all!
It’s been reported that he was kind of ‘tricked’ into the role under false promises and hated doing the movie.
Jet Li complains:
“After fighting the White Snake, fight the Green Snake. After fighting the Green Snake, then fight the Demon. After fighting this Demon, then fight another Demon. After fighting this Demon, then fight the Water Monster. Everyday on set I was letting out a big sigh.”
Jet also stated that this movie was his most tiring role, as he was forced to pull all punches against all of his opponents, played by female actors without martial arts experience, while they let it rip on him without holding back.
Honestly the action visual spectacular in terms of special effects, but offers little in substance. Skip this movie, do yourself a favor.
The title of one review on Amazon says it all: “Oh, Jet, why don’t you make good films anymore? “
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
The Sorcerer and The White Snake [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital]
Region Free (All Countries)
Emperor & The White Snake [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Sorcerer and The White Snake
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Emperor & The White Snake [DVD]