Towards the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Imperial court is plagued by corruption as tyrants rule over the land. War with Manchuria is quickly becoming imminent in the weakened state of the empire. The sorceress Jade Raksha attempts to mediate the suffering of the people caught in between by fighting against soldiers that have taken to oppressing individuals for their own personal gain. The government is not thrilled with these vigilante acts and pins the murder of Governor Zhuo Zhonglian on her. This turns Jade and her followers into fugitives on the lam for a crime that they did not commit.
‘The White Haired Witch’ is a tired and trope heavy historical epic. The plot is certainly not unique, and it is clear that the story was not given secondary importance in the mind of the filmmakers.
Typical to form there is a lot of CGI and special effects throughout the film. While much of this looks really good, most of it is the same rehashed stuff that has been featured in these types of films since ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ was released nearly fifteen years ago. Slow motion arrows are cool, but they no longer condition the quality of a movie.
The entire film is less about the story, acting, etc., and more about how everything looks. The characters have little to no chemistry, which is both a mixture of poor acting and lackluster writing. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so noticeable if the actual story itself was not so obvious and at times mediocre.
‘The White Haired Witch’ is a generic Chinese historical epic. It takes a lot from other films in the genre that have come before it and does little to set itself apart. Rather than make an overall great film with an engrossing plot, this movie attempts to garner viewers through looks alone. Unfortunately its shallowness is pretty self-evident.