Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jet Li is the Sorcerer in "The Sorcerer and the White Snake"

My old gaming group used to watch Jet Li's classic film Swordsman II at least once a month.  The film's combination of martial arts, magic, and just pure gonzo supernatural action (Sword Energy!) was the perfect inspiration for all of our D&D gaming experiences.  In the days before Peter Jackson tackled the challenge of making a genuinely entertaining and emotionally powerful fantasy film experience, Hong Kong films were the go to place for Fantasy that was light years beyond Krull when it came to engaging characters.

To this day, the Fantasy stories presented in Hong Kong and Chinese cinema define the lens through which I view the worlds of D&D campaigns.  Bride with White Hair would make a wonderful gaming campaign, and is an exquisitely beautiful film.  My love for these films prompted me to read first Barry Hughart's excellent  tales of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, and eventually led me to read translations of Louis Cha novels.  Trust me, if you are looking for an alternative to run of the mill American/British fantasy, you can do a lot worse than reading some Louis Cha.

To go back where this all began though...I think it can easily be said that Jet Li is my favorite of Hong Kong's many talented stars.   Any time he appears in a new film, it is guaranteed that I will hunt it down for viewing.  Insert Jet Li into a Fantasy epic and my eagerness knows no bounds.  It should be noted that I never fear whether the film will be good or not.  It's a Jet Li film, and his performance in Kung Fu Cult Master turned what could have been a campy and agonizing film into pure viewing pleasure.

After watching the preview for his upcoming film The Sorcerer and the White Snake, I don't have even the slightest tinge of worry regarding the quality of the film  It looks beautiful.  The story is based on a traditional Chinese tale called the "Legend of the White Snake" and by the looks of it, this film will take a tragic yet sentimental view of the legend.  Wonderful and tragic stuff.

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