Madam White Snake

Reviewed by: Tanyahh

January 28, 2008

Rating: four-point-five

In celebration for the year of the Snake (2001), TCS and Taiwan Production proudly introduce their newest adaptation from the legendary tale of "White Snake and Green Snake" (Bach Xa Thanh Xa). With the numbers of mix casting, the production was shot mainly in China within 3 rushing months. Leading cast included: one of TCS's Golden Couple Christopher Lee and Fann Wong and Taiwan well known faces Vincent Xiao and Truong Phi Yen.

Length: 45 episodes

White Snake (Fann Wong) aka Bach Xa: She's a strong, powerful White Snake who lived over 1000 years. On one occasion she saved a young mistress named Bach To Trinh. From then on White Snake picked To Trinh's elegant feature as her human form. That, later creates some confusion between the two totally different ladies but who shared the same identical appearance..

White Snake had an ambition to gain immortality, coming to live in the heavens. However, during one Fairy trial, She missed her opportunity and later was explained by the Old Angel, that in order for the heavens to accept her, she needs to repay a past life's debt to one person, that is Hua Tien. So then, White Snake landed back on Earth and began the search at the West Lake (Tay Ho) for her Past life's debt owner. However at first, she mistaken Hua Tien with a young monk-to-be named Thach Quan Bao, and later created some misunderstanding for him when the Green Snake, who was defeated by her, planned to take revenge.

Meanwhile, White Snake eventually found the correct Hua Tien, only to learn that he is a useless and careless person. From then, the repaying task turns out to be more harder than what she expects. While wanting to give Hua Tien an honorable life as her repayment, White Snake unintentionally falls in love helplessly with Hua Tien and later decided to give up immortality to be with him.

Hua Tien (Christopher Lee): Hua Tien came from a wealthy background, but since his brother-in law introduced to him the wrong side to life, Hua Tien becomes addicted to gambling and later almost lost all his property due to heavy debts. Apart from being a heavy gambler, he's also careless and a conman who always likes to make up stories. His life is thought to be wasted, until he accidentally bumped into White Snake, who introduced herself as Bach To Trinh. White Snake helps Hua Tien by paying for his debts, bringing back his house and forcing him to study. She even used magic to help push up his intelligence. From then Hua Tien's life completely changed.

Now he has the physical ability to study, but still Hua Tien didn't have any mental goals or determination until he naturally falls deeply in love for White Snake. And in order to win her heart, Hua Tien promised himself to study hard and achieve the highest statute in the Scholarship competition. Ultimately, after he overcomes a few obstacle, he finally passed the test and was qualified as the new Minister, working for the King.

From then on, apart from being a bright, charming, sweet talker gentleman with power and knowledge, Hua Tien also had a very devoted and loyal love to White Snake. He loves her for who she is and despite the fact that she is a snake, not human. Later on, he resigns from working for the King. After marrying White Snake, Hua Tien open his own surgery shop called, Bao An Duong, and pursues a career in medicine.

Green Snake (Truong Phi Yen) aka Truong Thanh: Similar background as White Snake, she's a Green Snake, which lived over 500 years. But in contrast, Green Snake practiced Evil magic and only uses it to satisfy her wants and needs, even if that meant killing innocent people. While things were going smoothly in her way, working in a brothel, Green Snake received a big shock when suddenly she encounters the higher level White Snake, who many times defeated her. In revenge, Green Snake frames a thought-to-be close friend with White Snake, Thach Quan Bao, but later find herself falling in love with the innocent young monk.

Later on, she lost again to White Snake, but this time, White Snake removed all her powers, turning Green Snake into a normal mortal. She then tried to take over control of the evil will, hoping to bring Green Snake back to the good side. Eventually, Green Snake learned the benefits of good actions, after which White Snake gave back her Power. Green Snake decided to follow White Snake doing good deeds, and the two of them began to bond like sisters.

At one time, in order to help Hua Tien through his medicine business, Green Snake created an unnatural illness to the town. This causes a very big mistake which cost White Snake and Hua Tien their happiness. Green Snake, bitterly got defeated by the man of her heart, Mieu Quan Bao, who was a powerful evil capturer Phap Hai Master Monk. She went away with bitterness and 20 years later returns for her revenge.

Phap Hai Dai Su (Vincent Xiao) aka Mieu Quan Bao aka Thach Quan Bao: An orphan who grew up in a temple. He was formally named Thach Quan Bao, but after recognizing his mother, Lady Bach, he learned that his real name is Mieu Quan Bao. His destination is to be come the most powerful evil capturer master to spread good deed on behalf of the heavenly Buddha.

But before he was to gain immortality with the powerful skills to defeat evil, coincidentally, he met White Snake and Green Snake. One thought he was her benefactor and tried to repay him with loads of money. The other wanted to take advantage of him for revenge, then she tried to seduce him and at one stage he falls for her.

Later with the help of White Snake and Black Snake, who captured Green Snake and showed him her warlock self, Mieu Quan Bao experienced the shock of his life, pushing him to return with Buddha. And later, also with the help of White Snake and Green Snake, Mieu Quan Bao found the magic power to become immortal for 100 years where he had to vanquish all evils.

Luc Dai Hung: Hua Tien's loyal servant. He was married once but then his wife left him to follow her lover. From then on, Dai Hung spent all his time looking after his young master. A basic and thoughtless man who listens to anyone and anything. Later, when his two masters mysteriously disappeared, Dai Hung adopted his master abandoned son and became Hua Si Lam's surrogate father.

During the 20 years of looking after Si Lam, without reviewing his true self, Dai Hung became the owner of Hua Tien's Surgery. But problems arise when his abandoned wife suddenly returned with her eyes aiming for Si Lam's fortune.

Bach To Trinh (Fann Wong): A shy, weak, self-defenseless mistress. She grew up from a wealthy family, yet she suffers from tremendous low self-esteem. She only spends her time hiding in her room, doing the usual embroidery works. To Trinh was totally controlled by her witty mother and the cheeky father. When her family's fortune collapsed her father was fired from his high class by the new Minister Hua Tien. Her mother accidentally died in a fire. To Trinh suddenly found herself attached with one person who helped her through the difficult time. It was Hua Tien. Later, thanks to him, she managed to look up in life and feel more confident about herself. She clearly had start falling for Hua Tien's gentleman act, however, after knowing that Hua Tien only loves Bach Trinh Trinh (White Snake), To Trinh decided to leave the town with her father, hoping for a better life.

But the greedy father later forced her to become a mistress for Tan's family. To Trinh died after giving birth to her daughter, Tan Tieu Tieu.

Bach Co Xuong aka Back Magistrate: Bach To Trinh's Father, a greedy, cheeky man, who only thinks of the benefits for himself disregarding the sufferings of common people. He is a die-hard fan of beauty and after meeting the Green Snake from the brothel, he fell head over heels for her, even bringing her home to become his official mistress. Though his witty wife never accepted. From then on, it was war between the husband and wife. Ugly pasts were brought up, he found out that his wife once had a son, and that she murdered her former husband. When one of his mistresses committed suicide in the family, Bach Co Xuong immediately blamed his wife and brought the case to the new Minister Hua Tien.

However, Hua Tien turns out the truth, announcing Lady Bach innocent, which created a big hatred between Bach Co Xuong and him. Things turns worse when Bach Co Xuong cooperated with Dai Thai Su from the palace, planning to betray the king. Once again, Hua Tien caught the wrong act, and sent Bach Co Xuong away, forbidding him from returning to the town.

20 years later, Bach Co Xuong is still alive, living with his grand-daughter, Tieu Tieu. He taught her to avenge the Hua family, by tricking Hua Si Lam's money. But instead, Tieu Tieu develops feelings for Hua Si Lam. Bach Co Xuong then encounters the Green Snake again, this time after using him as a practice shield for Si Lam learning magic. In the end, he became insane.

Bach Phu Nhan: Bach To Trinh's mother, is a witty, evil lady. Bach Co Xuong was her second husband. She accidentally killed her first husband, and abandoned her first son, by leaving him at a Buddhist temple. Like Bach Co Xuong, she only thinks for her well-being above everyone else. But when recognizing Mieu Quan Bao was her lost son, she refuses to take him back. Later she was blamed for the death of a servant in the family. However, thanks to Hua Tien, she was free from the accusation. Turning away from her husband, Lady Bach took with her Bach To Trinh, and then later tries to talk her daughter in seducing the young Minister. However, To Trinh was too shy and scared to listen to her. In the Hua family she also met Truong Thanh (Green Snake), who once was about to be an official mistress of her husband. Driving in madness with envy, Lady Bach tried to murder Truong Thanh, without knowing that she has magical help. Her plan turns upside down, killing herself instead.

Hac Long aka Hac Dai Ca: A close friend with White Snake. He had been carrying a very deep love for White Snake, but always received the refusal sign from her with the excuse that she only wants to achieve her goal to become immortal, so she can't afford for any relationship (That was before she met Hua Tien). But Hac Long remained loyal and always stayed close by her side. He defeated the Evil White Snake in order to set free for the human-side White Snake, so she can come back to Hua Tien.

When seeing White Snake is happy with Hua Tien, Hac Long covered his broken heart and went away. But later he got call back by the Green Snake, when White Snake was struggling as Phap Hai Dai Su took away Hua Tien, alarming to break up their happy life.

Hac Long tried to talk White Snake out from falling blindly for Hua Tien, but received nothing but harsh words from her telling him to stay away. In the end to sacrifice for his love, he died when protecting White Snake away from a hit from Phap Hai Dai Su.

White Snake's evil spirit (Fann Wong): This is the non-human side within White Snake. It only has the determination to win, to become immortal and lives in same body as White Snake. Every time fearing that White Snake was slowly falling for Hua Tien, it escapes from White Snake's body, forcing her to move away from Hua Tien. It was willing to torment White Snake to death, even knowing it will die together with White Snake. It would never allow White Snake to waste all her work in a thousand years to fall for 'love'. Later, Hac Long arrived in time, he killed off the Evil spirit, and that left White Snake with a free mind, which she devoted to loving Hua Tien.

Tieu Ho Lo: A little servant warlock following behind Green Snake. He's more like an innocent child with the basic skills in magic. Later when Green Snake was defeated by White Snake, he gradually turns good, by following White Snake doing good deeds. After White Snake was captured by the Angel, Green Snake got defeated by Phap Hai Dai Su. Tieu Ho Lo stayed secretly close beside White Snake's son, Hua Si Lam, to protect him from any danger. He was later captured by Phap Hai Dai Su, and was forced to obey his order. Later, after defeating the evil spirits, Tieu Ho Lo voluntarily followed Phap Hai Dai su in bringing cares from the above to the common people.

Hua Si Lam (Christopher Lee): The only son of Hua Tien and White Snake. However, he grew up believing he was Luc Dai Hung's son. Until his father revealed the truth after he turned 20, when Phap Hai Dai Su trying to take him away. He grew up in a restricted environment, since his father was afraid for his safety. Si Lam turned out to be a very slow, and shy boy. Fate brought him the encounter with Tan Tieu Tieu, and later let him fall in love with her whole-heartedly, and sometimes blindly. Loving her despite the fact that she lied to him about her family situation, he still continued to give her what she needs, usually it's money. He hoped to exchange for her honest love in return.

Later after meeting back with his Aunty (Green Snake), finding out his true identity and the story of his parents, Hua Si Lam started to practice evil magic, and was about to fall in the wrong step. Thankfully for the good-child spirit in him, that he risked his life in wanting to save his mother, and with the encouragement from his girlfriend, Tieu Tieu. Phap Hai Dai Su retrieved his life with one condition that all his evil magic will be vanquished, leaving him to live a normal mortal life.

Tan Tieu Tieu (Fann Wong): Bach To Trinh's daughter, yet unlike her mother, Tieu Tieu was brought up in a very poor family. Circumstances led her to be a tomboy, sheepish and naughty young girl who makes money by tricking other naive people, example Hua Si Lam. She lived with her wicked grand father, who in many years still carry the hatred for Hua Tien. He tried to use Tieu Tieu as a revenge weapon to corrupt Hua Tien's leftover fortune, but instead, Tieu Tieu unpreparedly develop feeling for Si Lam and later willingly follows him on a death road to rescue his mother.

Featuring couples and my opinion
Hua Tien and Bach Xa (White Snake)
The main couple of the story, and they have everything, comedy, strategy and lots of romance. Bach Xa used to be an innocent young lady who only has one wish in her life and she would do anything to fulfill her dream, that was to go beyond immortality. Hua Tien was worst, at first he was a useless body and mind, who knows nothing other then gambling and lying. Strange enough, the moment he finds out his love for Bach Xa, he totally changed his life just because he wants to win her heart.

While spending time together, at first Bach Xa was determined to ignore her passions for Hua Tien, however, her true feelings only arouses more when poisoned by Love potion. Later it turns into a real bonding, where she willingly give up her 1000 years of magical to be a normal wife for Hua Tien.

They shared a very devoted love to each other, despite all obstacles, Bach Xa and Hua Tien finally settle together as a family. But drama started to occur when Phap Hai Dai Su invaded into their private life. The monk claims that because Bach Xa is a demonic self, she can't be a wife for a human. So he took Hua Tien always, planning to awaken Hua Tien's mind. However, he failed devastated, when the loyal husband could not forget his non-human wife.

After giving birth to their baby, and safely handing her and Hua Tien's only child to their loyal servant, Luc Dai Hung, Bach Xa eagerly started to fight against Phap Hai Dai Su, in order to free Hua Tien. In a thoughtless moment, with the rage and impatience to release her husband, Bach Xa raised the sea level, calling rain and created the biggest flooding disaster, costing an outranging number of innocent lives. Because of the damage that she caused, Bach Xa got a punishment, to be imprison in Thien Loi Thap (the paragon) for the rest of her life, making a painful separation for the unlucky couple.

I personally adore the love between Hua Tien and Bach Xa. It's very touching, especially, their departing scene, before Bach Xa was absorbed into Thien Loi Thap. Thank goodness, there was a happy ending for them, when both Hua Tien and Bach Xa gained immortality for all their good deeds. Chris and Fann had amazing chemistry, they managed to develop a very sweet, playful and bonding love for these characters.

Mieu Quan Bao and Truong Thanh (Green Snake)
Truong Thanh was first attracted to Mieu Quan Bao mainly because of her flirtatous personality, but later in the series we can see that she had truly fallen for him. Similar to Back Xa, she was willing to give up all her power to be mortal by his side. But fate wasn't on their side. Mieu Quan Bao was born to be a motionless monk. Being with Truong Thanh, does changed his mind, unlike Hua Tien, he could not except the truth that she is a Snake. So he ran away from his feelings.

Once again, the actors performed their roles with great success, especially the Green Snake, I known she is a mean and evil spirit, but I sometimes feel pity for her, when her love hasn't been return.

Bach To Trinh and Hua Tien
Compared to his devoting love for Bach Xa, with Bach To Trinh, it was mainly a slight attraction when she has the same appearance of the lady in his heart. But later, after spending some time together, knowing Bach To Trinh is a lonesome and weak soul, Hua Tien started to feel the responsibility and obligation to bring her happiness. However, Bach To Trinh was bright enough to see through Hua Tien, and without pulling herself in loving him any deeper, she volunteered to leave him, when realizing that she would never be able to replace Bach Trinh Trinh's (White Snake) image in his heart.

Fann was great in showing the soft and innocent side of Bach To Trinh, with the same face, but she had to express in totally different feelings. Chris was no lesser, you can see the look that he had for Bach To Trinh was not as passionate and loving as when he looks at Bach Xa, even though they look like the same person.

Bach Xa and Hac Long
She sees him as a big brother, who always there to care for her to look after her. But she always refuses his love, with the excuse that she only wants to concentrate on becoming immortal.

Frustration arouse in him, when seeing Bach Xa's rapid changing expression toward Hua Tien. Nevertheless, until he realized it and tried to help her bypass the blockage from love, stopping the way to achieve her greatest dream, it was too late to make her turn back. With the effect of the Love Potion, she was falling so deeply for Hua Tien and ignored his persuading words.

Ngo Phu Sai and Tay Thi
They were the past lives of Bach Xa and Hua Tien. In here, Tay Thi, a beautiful concubine who used her beauty and sweet talk to seduce the King, Ngo Phu Sai to neglect his usual duty of a ruling King. She works like a spy within his loving arms to help her country overtake his. Ngo Phu Sai was infuriated when finding out that the only woman he loved has betrayed him and used his love. But in front of his people he was not strong enough to kill her, instead, he committed suicide, causing Tay Thi to feel regret and sorrow for the rest of her life. Before he took his last breath in her arms, he made her promise, that she will be with him whole heartedly in their next life.

Christopher was absolutely charming as Ngo Phu Sai, it is his most impressive character among others to me, even though he appeared in the shortest time. Fann was just terrific, although I think they should create a more colorful look for her since she was a famous concubine.

Tan Tieu Tieu and Hua Si Lam
Different from his father's active personally, Si Lam was much slower in expressing his feelings, but he does love Tieu Tieu, and tries his best to help her. Tieu Tieu was also the opposite to her mother's weak self, she was a cunning girl, who lives on lies and lying was all she knows. Until she unintentionally let her heart soften with a shy and quite boy, Si Lam. Their love may not be as meaningful as their parents, but they just as devoted and romantic.

There was another side of Chris and Fann. He looks so cute when playing dumb and stupid, and she was mischief and energetic acting as a tomboy. The favorite scene was when Si Lam revealed his feelings for Tieu Tieu, he pulled her deeply toward him for a hug and asked her to stay by his side forever.

Positive aspects:
The cast:
Everybody is wonderful, not only the main four, but the rest of the cast, who performed professionally with their character, giving that lively feeling to the series.

Graphic technique:
I haven't see any Taiwanese series with a very captivating graphic skill. The elegant movements and the special effects are better than Hong Kong Ancient series. The most special scene was when the two snakes were flying around with their long tail, attached to their human body, it just looks real. And the fighting scenes are also fascinating to watch, with those very skillful movements from the actors.

Everything is very original, unlike other series which keeps copying song from other movies. The theme song is in a fast pace, very energetic and catching. But the background music is just as lovely, very soft, haunting and romantic. I especially like the music in the scene when Hua Tien was standing by the lake, remembering of what he had been through with Bach Xa.

Every scene was well shot, I give 2 thumbs up for the director of this series.

Negative aspects:
Dragging conversation:
Like most of the other Taiwanese series, which suffer from the long and dragging problem. I believe the series can be a lot stronger if some unnecessary scenes were deleted, like the story of the lost Queen. That has nothing related to the story and a big waste of time.

Clothing and Hair:
Yeah the hair was okay at the beginning, but at the end I was getting bored looking at the same image of the snakes, even when 20 years later. I pity why hasn't the stylist given them more variety in hairstyle and costumes. Also, with Hua Tien and Hua Si Lam's characters, if they can add in a bit more differences for the viewers to distinguish the son from the father.

The series is a worth watching one, with a little of comedy, action and drama. To support it is the great cast, and to entertainment us is the bonding between the actors with each of their characters.

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