Jet Li returns to the action genre, but it is everything that fans were hoping for?
After playing a dramatic role in Ocean Heaven, Jet returned to the action genre for Sorcerer and the White Snake. Chinese audiences were thrilled to hear that he would be playing a monk that travels around to fight various demons, and expectations rose accordingly. He even went on record to say that the film was one of the most physically demanding movies because he was constantly fighting a new opponent. Was the idea of Jet fighting demons enough to please audiences?
Sorcerer and the White Snake Trailer (It’s the best trailer I could find without Jet’s crazy Mandarin dub.)
There is a reason why there is a subtitle to this movie called “It’s Love.” Sorcerer and the White Snake is, first and foremost, a love story. The story is based off of an old folk tale, and it tells a fairly convincing narrative. Depending on your level of tolerance, the characters will be either romantic or eyerolling. Those that don’t really get sucked into love stories may not be invested enough to really care about the characters by the end of the film.
Raymond Lam and Eva Huang do a pretty good job playing lovers, and I caught myself smirking at some of the comedic bits. The other characters are a mixed bag, especially on the demon side of things. Some of the critters seem out of place, and there isn’t any real depth to any of the other characters. Since there isn’t any real story to the other characters, I found myself hoping these other scenes will end in order to get back to the main story. Even Jet’s character comes off as pretty narrow-minded until the end.
Sorcerer and the White Snake is hit and miss when it comes to action. It’s not too bad at the beginning, but things get a little out of control by the time the credits roll. While the CG is pretty good, it’s not the best we’ve ever seen. This can play to the disadvantage of the film when it starts to rely on the technology a little too much. Also, Jet’s character is simply too powerful. He doesn’t really seem like he’s in real danger, and for some reason, he only fights women. The choreography is good, but there aren’t really a lot of fights. I expected more from Jet since he talked about how all his character does is fight. It’s a true statement, but I thought that meant there would be more of them as well.
Own it, Watch it, or Skip it
The Sorcerer and the White Snake teases one audience while catering to another. Those looking for Jet’s next big action film will be let down while those that want a decent love story will be pleased. I’ll go ahead and admit it, I think I fell under Eva Huang’s spell a little because I really hated seeing her suffer. I know there are people that simply are put off by any romantic atmosphere, and I can’t blame them for that. As an action junkie, this movie is a little lacking, but I still think that everyone should give it a try.
If you’re still in doubt, compare the trailer I posted with this music video and you’ll see the stark differences. I’d say it’s more like this music video than the trailer: