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The Sorcerer and the White Snake

The Sorcerer and the White Snake (2013)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 3



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 6,238

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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

Apr 9, 2013


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February 7, 2013:
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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (11)

These showdowns feature spectacular, Lord of the Rings-style CGI settings, but not much in the way of thrills or terror.

February 7, 2013 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The clunky action mostly revolves around uninspired wire-fu choreography: Monks fly around while flailing their arms as hordes of CGI creatures gather around and then do nothing.

February 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A silly, derivative supernatural-action extravaganza that would have been better at a fraction of its f/x budget.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Variety
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Fantastic visuals and non-stop action make for a spectacular, romantic Chinese CGI feast.

October 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
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The Sorcerer and the White Snake is unfortunately just another average Jet Li film to throw into the pile. Its bloated and overloaded use of mediocre special effects practically shackles the film to its humdrum atmosphere.

April 10, 2013 Full Review Source:

A masterpiece of imagination. Offers wall-to-wall goofy fun for fans of martial arts flicks, fantasies, or just good old-fashioned cinematic nuttiness.

February 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

This hyperactive assault on the senses from Hong Kong is noteworthy only for its dazzling array of computer-generated special effects.

February 10, 2013 Full Review Source:

We've seen this movie before, in better clothes and with a much higher IQ.

February 8, 2013 Full Review Source:

The film looks so glossy, plasticized, and unreal that all you end up thinking about is special effects.

February 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

An amusing Chinese martial arts reminder that not all cheese comes from Switzerland, or Wisconsin.

February 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
Movie Nation

It's a sometimes charming film from the veteran action filmmaker, but remains a curiosity, lacking comic sharpness and romantic intensity.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

There's hardly any love affair left really because the CGI has taken over with a vengeance. I got a bit bored by this, because it's just special effects, just CGI all the way through and the story is just shunted aside.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

The director has pulled out all stops to impress, perhaps a bit too excessively, so that the fragile emotions of this love affair are undermined.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Though The Sorcerer and the White Snake is excessive and at times jumbled, younger viewers will surely respond to the colourful characters and settings, and the bold vision on display is charming... for the most part.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

With the mushometer maxed out, and a score that starts on overdrive and heads for overbearing, this ridiculously melodramatic tale of forbidden love tries to bury its narrative flaws with a colourful coating of CGI - but ends up a shiny glutinous mess.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Screenwize

Audience Reviews for The Sorcerer and the White Snake

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.
February 13, 2013
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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.
December 22, 2012

Super Reviewer

Tony Ching goes for heavy duty fantasy and romance with The Sorcerer and the White Snake.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.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.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.The Sorcerer and the White Snake is what it is and this 95 minute tale has its audience.
November 2, 2011
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

I saw this movie yesterday in Suzhou cinema under the name It's Love and I have to say reading some of the reviews that I am sick of people who give negative reviews because they do not understand something! I'll suggest to them to start working on themselves and their improvement and education about different cultures instead of slamming the hard working artist who give everything they had in a movie adaptation of an ancient Chinese legend... Movie had a success in Venice festival and I know why... it is amazing work of art!

I found some unacceptable changes in the legend, like adding characters and changing the initial reason for the demon and human falling in love, but the film was so well made that I could not give anything less than 90%! I know the pagoda where all this "happened" is situated; couple of hours from where I live and for me is much more realistic than for most other viewers of this last work of the director Chan Xiaodong (Ching Siu-tung).

Jet Li as Abbott Fahai (法海) (not the "sorcerer"), Eva Huang as White Snake/Susu (白娘子), Raymond Lam as Xu Xian (許仙), Charlene Choi as Green Snake (小青) and Wen Zhang as Neng Ren (能忍) were perfect choice for the roles. Wen Zhang was invited by Li to play his disciple Neng Ren and he was a real acting revelation for me! Regarding the action scenes, Jet Li said he had never been this exhausted before. And there is a lot of action in this love story! After fighting the White Snake, Li fights the Green Snake... after fighting the Green Snake, he fights the Demon... after fighting this Demon, he fights another Demon... after fighting this Demon, he goes to fight the Water Monster...

The official English name It's Love was changed to The Sorcerer and the White Snake by the distributor... I do not know why... it is a love story after all! If you like films in which the visuals are dominant go and enjoy this fantasy realm where the director has pulled out all stops to impress!
October 8, 2011
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Sorcerer and the White Snake (Baish Echuanshuo) (DE)
  • The Emperor and the White Snake (UK)
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