Jet Li plays the head abbot of a group of monks, that fight, exorcise and imprison demons, as well as stand guard over the demon cells they place them in. Yet this fantastical part of the narrative, simply serves as background to the real movie's themes, which are about the encounters of dangerous love. For all the action in the film, the story is completely character driven and the characters themselves are given ample time to become genuinely interesting to the audience. Their inquisitiveness into understanding love, especially coming from their bizarre circumstances they inhabit, make them more than just actors spouting exposition before the next fight scene comes along.
"...the martial arts is kept to a minimum, but there are plenty of fantasy battles that would give Lord of the Rings a run for its money."
Amidst a few sub-plots, we see one human character become semi-glamoured into falling in love with a demon, whereas in another story; we witness a demon fall for a man, whose job it is to kill demons. His life becomes further complicated as he is later converted to a demon himself through a failed attempt at ghostbusting. To be sure the narrative gets a little mixed up and intricately complex, but it never gets overly-complicated and in fact has some nice touches of humour and philosophy along the way, humanises the angst and supernatural stuff.
I personally really liked the film, the martial arts is kept to a minimum, but there are plenty of fantasy battles that would give Lord of the Rings a run for its money. The acting is sincere, the soundtrack is brilliant and the visualisation in the photography is really pleasant to the eye. There is only one silly scene (to do with animals disguised as humans) that I though hmmm...naaaah! But you can get over this very quickly.
The Sorcerer & The White Snake should have had a proper cinematic release like Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and no one and I mean no one should label this as some chop socky, martial arts flick. It is much more than that. Even when addressing spiritual matters, you can see that, from head to spinning foot, that The Sorcerer & The White Snake is a mystical dynamo.
Rating A Strong 8/10