Bai she chuan shuo (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)


Bai she chuan shuo (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)

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Total Count: 16


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,308
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Movie Info

Action director Ching Siu-Tung helms this fantasy film based on an old Chinese legend about an herbalist who falls in love with a thousand-year-old White Snake disguised as a woman. Jet Li stars as a sorcerer who discovers her true identity and battles to save the man's soul. (c) Magnolia

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Jet Li
as Fa Hai
Eva Huang
as White Snake
Charlene Choi
as Green Snake
Vivian Hsu
as Ice Harpy
Zhang Wen
as Neng Ren

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Critic Reviews for Bai she chuan shuo (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Bai she chuan shuo (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)

  • Dec 22, 2012
    Although certainly patchy in places, the visuals of this film kept me absolutely entranced. Based on a Chinese folktale that sees a mortal man fall in love with a snake demon. Jet Li plays the man who must come between them and capture the demon. I liked the idea of having the protagonist being the person that has to split up the loving couple. It gave us a better look at someone who would usually be a villain. The action scenes were full of colour and were beaitifully shot. Many would complain about the CGI but I was so taken in with the relationships of certain characters that I couldn't possibly complain. Seeing Jet Li bounce around the ocean as giant snakes leap at him was a great site to behold. The film also had some rather moving musical pieces. The character designs were a lot of fun and at times it felt like a mixture between classic martial arts movies, a fantasy, and a Disney film, especially when the talking animals arrived. No, it certainly isn't for everyone, but when compared with cheesy B movies, this was entertaining, visually interesting, and a lot of fun.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2011
    It's not just Hollywood that's looking at fabled legends to adapt from, or to remake/reboot films from the past. Cinema in the Chinese territories are doing so as well, revisiting material that will probably benefit in having CG effects to spruce up storytelling. Tony Ching Siu-Tung directs this update of a film that chronicles the romance of a White Snake spirit and a mortal man, which of course is forbidden by lore, and a monk who goes between them. A battle between Fahai and Neng Ren against the bat-demon on Mid-Autumn night is an excellent case-in-point- ditto for the extended climax between Fahai and the White Snake set in the middle of the ocean. Admittedly however, none of the action sequences are particularly memorable - mostly because Jet Li only gets to spar against either a green screen or against 'green' martial arts actors like Eva Huang and Charlene Choi. But in spite of these shortcomings, this remains a richly entertaining brew of fantasy, romance and CGI - the supernatural world is vividly realised, the romance is surprisingly affecting and the CGI is also commendable by the standards of Chinese cinema.
    Dean M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2011
    <i>"No matter what happens, I will always love you."</i><p> Oh boy, this was <b>excruciating</b>. <i>The Sorcerer and the White Snake</i> is a prime example of what happens when you let special effects outweigh a story. The film is based on a Chinese folklore, but never fully takes the time to tell the tale. All you'll get from this film is endless battles created by CGI. That may sound fun, like <i>Transformers</i>, but this is a love story - and you don't get that much romance. There's no character development, and the motives are always unknown. Directed by Tony Siu-Tung (<i>An Empress and the Warriors</i>), this film washes away the story it tries to tell with special effects that get old pretty quickly. <u>SUMMARY:</u><p> The film depicts the romance between a human, herbalist Xu Xian (Raymond Lam), and a demon in the form of a white snake which can take human form, Susu (Eva Huang). But to crusading monk and sorcerer Fa Hai (Jet Li), whose mission it is to fight demons, this liaison is not acceptable. <u>REVIEW:</u><p> As you see above, the plot summary is quite short. That's really because the film's tale is quite simple. <i>The Sorcerer and the White Snake</i> is a reworking of the Chinese folklore, <i>Legend of the White Snake</i>, and it is a truly <b>poignant</b> love story. I'm a real sucker for 'forbidden' love stories, and there is a tragic touch to this film. This is a very sad film, but it could've been tear jerking. This is the main problem with the film - there isn't much of a screenplay. The film never tries to explain why Susu loves Xu Xian so much, and thus, the romance is never fully convincing. Towards the end of the film, the story goes crazy - there's no sense to what is going on. During the climax, a big battle between Susu and Fa Hai takes place, but the motives get lost in the middle of it all. There are times where characters do stupid things for the sake of a battle starting. The film needed to take time to explain things. We as the audience, is never sure who we are supposed to be routing for, and that is another problem. Who is the villain? At first, the filmmakers try to depict Fa Hai as a villain for trying to come between the lovers, and then Susu is the bad guy because she decides to flood the temple. It's all fucking underdeveloped. It's such a shame as well, because this is a really beautiful love story. Jet Li is perfectly cast as Fa Hai - he does really well as a righteous monk. However, he rarely fights in this film, which may disappoint fans. Meanwhile, it's fair to say this is Eva Huang's movie. She stole the show. She's not 100%, but she's the best performer here. You feel the pain she goes through, and to be honest, much of her acting allows the love story here to have some dimension. Raymond Lam, however, doesn't have a lot to do as Huang's lover, and he shares no chemistry with her. Charlene Choi, and the rest of the supporting cast, also have little to do - they're given nothing at all to work with. The special effects are what audiences come into this film for, but in <i>The Sorcerer and the White Snake</i>, the CGI is mediocre at best. They overused - CGI settings and action sequences. Sometimes it adds to the look of the film, which is something I liked. The cinematography is beautiful. However, towards the end, it's just one effect after the other, and it just gets boring. The snakes look shoddy. All the landscapes look undeniably fake. And to what's ever worst - there's not a lot of martial arts. A lot of the action is just blasting CGI creations at characters, and it just doesn't work at all. The score is so overdone it hurts, but the costumes and props are gorgeous. The production design is solid, and again, there are moments where the film looks terrific. I just wish the film hadn't been overwhelmed with so much CGI - it literally drives me up the wall. With such poor special effects, you'd want them to stop shoving it in your face every second. The film is being released in 3D, and luckily, I viewed the 2D version. I know for a fact that the 3D won't help, it'll just make things worse. Overall, <i>The Sorcerer and the White Snake</i> is not what I want from a romance film. It tries to hard to be an action film, but good Chinese actioners don't rely on special effects - take <i>Hero</i> for example. That had a good story, and so does this - or at least, it could have. Kids will love this, I'm sure. It's great for them - it's a colourful film with lots of wacky characters, but at the end of the day, most adults should just skip this. Eva Huang's gorgeous, but she ain't worth it. <a href=""><img src="" border="0"/></a>
    James H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2011
    Tony Ching goes for heavy duty fantasy and romance with <i>The Sorcerer and the White Snake</i>.</p><p>Story-wise, the film never drags, but at times it is cumbersome and even a little jumbled. The explanations, especially for the fantasy pieces, have only enough explanation to get by and that's all there pretty much is to it. The rest all relies on the story of love between a demon and a human.<p><p>It's hard to classify this as an action adventure, even though it does have its share of action. Martial arts this is not because nearly all of the encounters are laced with CG effects, which are so-so at best. The film's final act relies heavily on the CG and this is a downgrade when it comes to Jet Li.</p><p>Jet Li is the biggest name and he does have a prominent and integral role; however, acting-wise, this picture belongs to Eva Huang. While likable to view, her character tends to be unlikable with the way the story pans out.</p><p><i>The Sorcerer and the White Snake</i> is what it is and this 95 minute tale has its audience.</p>
    JY S Super Reviewer

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