Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Film Review: The Sorcerer and the White Snake (2011)

The Sorcerer and The White Snake (Review)
China/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...much like a live-action anime."

Abbott Fahai (Jet Li) is a monk who hunts demons along with his assistant to keep order. Meanwhile, Xu Xian (Raymond Lam), a herbalist, falls off a hillside and is saved by the White Snake's, who goes by Susu (Huang Shengyi), kiss.

The Sorcerer and The White Snake continues with Xu Xian falling in love with Susu -- unknowing of her demon identity. However, Susu is only searching for true love, she's not evil or malevolent. Abbott Fahai, meanwhile, believes only bad will come from a relationship between demon and human and believes he must uphold a standard of safety and ethics. And so spawns a battle between Abbot and the White Snake -- with Xu Xian caught in the middle. The final act is an epic battle that kept me at the edge thanks to the film's great buildup -- who will win?

The Sorcerer and The White Snake is a fantasy action film, much like a live-action anime. I thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy elements as it made for creative battles -- the action is refreshingly exhilirating. Part of the buildup I enjoyed was the concept of good versus good. You see, both Susu and Abbot have good intentions, which makes the outcome difficult to predict, and it actually makes you want to root for someone; who do you want to see win: the demon searching for love or the man trying to keep the world safe? There's a certain subplot that starts to develop and initially works well as it adds much humor and charm to the story. Unfortunately, this subplot is quickly abandoned and only returns when it's most convenient for the story.

I really enjoyed both Jet Li's and Huang Shengyi's performances, as well as Raymond Lam's. Although not very demanding, the cast work well together and are more than competent. The special effects occasionally feel out of place and cheap -- I didn't watch this in 3D, which is probably part of the reason. However, the cinematography is great, and often compliments the special effects making them more than tolerable. (I didn't expect blockbuster visuals to begin with, so I don't fault it much.) The fight sequences have great choreography and deliver the thrills. Ching Siu-tung's direction is also pleasing and consistent.

Overall, The Sorcerer and the White Snake is an exciting, fun, and entertaining action-fantasy film. Although it feels incomplete, the action and story deliver pure enjoyment and awe. Fans of anime will likely find it most enjoyable.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment