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[ATV drama] [Drama Critique] The Great General

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发表于 2009-3-21 13:36:26 |显示全部楼层
Year:
1994
Section:
ATV TV Series
Average Rating:
      (out of 2 reviews)

 

Review from:

http://www.spcnet.tv/ATV-TV-Series/Legend-of-the-Yang-Family-and-The-Great-General-review-r716.html

Feel free to discuss, I copied this from the above site, all copyrights and perspective belong to the author

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Legend of the Yang Family and The Great General

Reviewed by: KHN
Rating:      

 

Typical Yang Family Formula: The Yangs single-handedly battle internal corruption and foreign armies after mere moments of escaping from the executioner’s blade. Yet ATV manages to compensate for this predictable theme by focusing on complex character development. The two-part series features ATV stars Damian Lau Chung Yan, Jackie Liu Chung Yin, Erica Choi Hiu Yee, Yan Chi Keung, Chui Siu Kueng, Mak Lai Hung, Joey Man Yee Man, Chun Pui, and Ng Ngai Cheung.

 

Part I is the more mundane of the two. There is much emphasis on the heroic feats of the Yangs and Justice Pao’s ingenious verdicts, but it is the love interests in the story that make it a bit different. Yan Chi Keung is Justice Pao’s right-hand investigator/bodyguard who is in love with the Emperor’s favorite concubine, Erica Choi. Incidentally, she is the daughter of the most corrupt mandarin in the court and she inadvertently aids her father’s evil schemes by the Emperor’s sheer desire for her. Both Yan and Erica are torn between love and loyalty, passion and obligation. Their chemistry is intense, but understated and I’d really like to see this pair as a romantic couple in another production.

Another interesting subplot is the identity and involvement of a young maid who works for the Yangs. Playful and mischievous, she possesses great kungfu and falls in love with the youngest Yang heir. She came to the Sung Empire with a mission to find her father and is involved with a secret Mongolian sect who is adept at using poison, and practices mysterious fighting techniques.

Along the way, the Yangs fight and ponder the meaning of honor and righteousness. They stop attempted coups, defend the nation from invaders, and recover a lost Yang heir born to a Mongolian princess. Enjoyable, but nothing new. The series is well-executed and the acting is consistently good on all fronts.

 

 

Part II has a better storyline. It is based on the searching for an invincible flag which could summon celestial troops. The Sung Empire is in grave danger, as three men are revealed as astrological threats who will combine their power to destroy the regime. They are a Yang General, a power-hungry royal uncle, and Jackie Liu. The Yang General is blindly loyal to the point of stupidity while the royal uncle is a spineless sneak. It is Jackie Liu who steals the show. He first emerges as a beggar who has lost his memory and is rescued by a young astrologer, Joey Man. As the plot unravels, he is revealed to be the former ruthless and ambitious Emperor of Sai Ha who wanted to conquer the Sung Empire. Jackie is superb in this role, conveying both the kind, simple-minded companion of Joey and the shrewd, unscrupulous Emperor with ease. Joey also portrays the gentle astrologer with grace and naturalness.

 

Enter the destined guardians of the Empire: Justice Pao and Dik Jing, played by Damian Lau. Damian is a veteran actor and he certainly earns the title. With his acting ability, Dik Jing becomes a very real and tangible character. A street-wise Dia Hup who commits forgivable crimes (killing bad guys,etc.), he falls in love with an exiled Sung princess, and later with the Sai Ha Empress before becoming a national hero. As for Justice Pao, he is wise, fair, and always right. So what else is new?

 

As already stated, an inherent flaw in the series is its lack of suspense. We know how the loyal the Yangs are, how the foolish Emperor distrusts them anyway, and how they will end up disillusioned for sacrificing so many lives for the sake of the Empire. This is probably attributed to the genre though, more so than this particular series. I will admit, this series does have slow parts every now and then, especially during Justice Pao's moralizing. You continue watching it because the characters are so compelling. As for fighting choreography, Part I is okay and Part II is better, especially toward the climatic end. The sets and costumes are simple, but effective.

 

Overall, this series weaves hackneyed historical myths with genuine and expressive characters, each with his/her own story. The emotional tone of each part is also different. The first part is very restrained and the subliminal message is self-revelation, as each character is unmasked in a certain way. In part II, the theme is self-evolution, as each of the main characters discover himself/herself and come closer to fulfilling his/her destinies. Fittingly, the emotional mood is more dramatic and even cathartic at times, making us realize that sometimes pain is necessary for us to grow.

小豬這周一定要中Mark 6


参与松居书籍:《碧海情天》,《男人之苦》, 《原来爱上贼》和 《天地孩儿》http://bbs.lauchungyan.com/viewt ... &extra=page%3D1

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发表于 2009-3-21 13:38:38 |显示全部楼层

Review from:

http://www.spcnet.tv/ATV-TV-Series/Legend-of-the-Yang-Family-and-The-Great-General-review-r94.html

Feel free to discuss, I copied this from the above site, all copyrights and perspective belong to the author

 

The Great General

 

Year produced
1995

 

How long
30 episodes

 

Foreword
This sequel is better than Part 1. The story has an unexpected plot and many will be won over by the great acting in here. You will like it as much as I do.

 

Story
Many years ago, Zhao Kuang Ying uses the Pearl flag to kill all enemies. He wins many battles but he retains the empress of the Su state, Madam Far Lui to be his concubine. She steals the flag and later jumps off the cliff with it. Many years later, Zhong Bo meets Meng who wishes to give the pearl flag to the emperor. It turns out that he wants to assassinate the emperor. Meng gets killed and the emperor suspects Zhong Bo of being an accomplice and locks him up. Bao asks for his release again.

Dik Ching is a wanderer and befriends Mun Kwong. Ling Er is attacked on her way to meet Mun Kwong. She dies after giving birth to his son. Dik Ching brings him home to the Yangs and is a benefactor to them. Prince Heung Yeung makes use of Prince Ying to assassinate the emperor. The poor man is killed and his innocent elder sister, Chiu Yeung is sent in exile to be a maid at Tiger Camp. She has tried in vain to dissuade him to abort his plan but has failed.

 

Siu Lien meets Yuen Ho who loses his memory on her way and keeps him as her servant. She even gives him the name ‘Fu Yee’ – which means the pitiful. They stay at the Yangs’ residence. Lam Wan abducts Siu Lien to threaten the Yangs. Prince Heung Yeung denies it but Siu Lien’s screams attract Yuen Ho to save her. The Yangs are amazed that he knows martial arts.

 

The emperor is afraid when the tomb has 3 cracks which is a bad sign, showing that his power is endangered. There are 3 who will threaten his position. He knows of the first two – Yuen Ho and Zhong Bo. He has yet to find out the third one. He is actually Prince Heung Yeung but he keeps it from the emperor. He tells the emperor to poison Zhong Bo. Luckily, Bao manages to discover the plot and gets Zhong Bo to spit out the wine on time. Kwai Ying is so mad that she nearly kills the emperor. The emperor knows that he is in the wrong and lets them off.

 

Still, he sends Zhong Bo to be in charge of the Tiger Camp in a rural area. All bully Chiu Yeung here. Dik Ching is one of the soldiers here and he protects her. Chung Bo is overjoyed to meet him here. Empress Dik pins for her long-lost nephew, Dik Ching. Prince Heung Yeung tells Lam Wan to impersonate Dik Ching. Sheng Nam joins forces with Heung Yeung and is ordered to kill Chiu Yeung.

 

Empress Dik knows that Dik Ching has ‘Tien Gong’ print on his thumbs. So Prince Heung Yeung does the change on Lam Wan’s thumbs. Empress Dik finds it strange that she doesn’t feel any closeness towards this ‘nephew’. Dik Ching rescues Chiu Yeung from Sheng Nam and his thumbprints are left on her clothes.

 

Empress Dik finds that the emperor is unfair to punish Chiu Yeung because of Prince Ying’s mistake. Chiu Yeung is freed from the camp and parts reluctantly with Dik Ching. She is killed on the way to capital. Prince Heung Yeung is afraid that she will reveal his involvement with Prince Ying.

Dik Ching is devastated to know the news as he has been deeply in love with her. Empress Dik is equally upset when she gets Chiu Yeung’s clothes. She realizes the suffering that Chiu Yeung has gone through to be a washerwoman to serve the soldiers. Upon seeing the thumbprints on a dress and reading the letters that she exchanges with Dik Ching on her way, she requests to see Dik Ching and they are reunited. Dik Ching is made a general. Lam Wan is executed for lying to her. Unknown to them, Lam Wan is Prince Heung Yeung’s son and he vows to seek revenge.

 

Yuen Ho sees Mun Kwong training and goes mad. He nearly kills him. Later, he regains his memory after meeting Chau Niong. So he decides to return to Sai Har with her and Siu Lien. Madam Far Lui is killed and reveals that the pearl flag is at Sai Har. She wants the 2 states to destroy each other. Yuen Ho, Siu Lien and Chau Niong seek refuge at Wong Yuet village. It is built by Yuen Ho’s sister who seizes his throne. Yuen Ho is angered.

Siu Lien knows of Yuen Ho’s past of being a tyrant. Dik Ching goes to meet Wong Yuet. She is angry that her messenger is killed so she refuses to see him. He is furious and gets impatient. He tries to grab it from the palace shrine. Wong Yuet tries to stop him and both are trapped in the dungeon by Yuen Ho.

 

Both are in danger and are poisoned. Dik Ching removes her veil and is stunned that she looks like Chiu Yeung. He misses her too much and spends the night with her in a trance. He is remorseful when he wakes up but the poison is cured. Wong Yuet falls for him but is disturbed when Yuen Ho gains control of the state. They manage to get Siu Lien to steal the pearl flag for them. Wong Yuet gets support from the people to overthrow it while Dik Ching sends the flag back to the state.

 

Chau Niong is suspected to be the traitor. She is so upset that Yuen Ho doesn’t trust her that she kills herself. Yuen Ho is furious upon finding out that Siu Lien is the traitor. Siu Lien kills herself. Due to extreme shock and grief, Yuen becomes mad and reverts to Fu Yee again. He carries her body to the top of the snowing cliff. He jumps in joy upon seeing the snow but is disappointed that she never opens her eyes to watch it. It is so tragic that he freezes to death with her. Chiu Yeung feels remorseful after the attack and seeing their dead bodies together. Dik Ching tries his best to console her.

 

However, the over suspicious emperor still doubts Bao and Ching’s loyalty towards him. He still sentences them to death. Luckily the Yangs save them on time. The Yangs, Bao and Dik Ching are so disappointed in him that they quit their posts and retreat to the wilds.

 

Introduction on characters
Most major characters stay except the addition of other characters below.

  1. Dik Ching – Lau Chung Yan
    Many will say that it is unfair to give Lau such a major part to play in this serial But he is undoubtedly the star in the serial. He steals the show from all the rest. Dik Ching’s righteous and firm nature wins people hands down. He goes through the changing stages of Dik Ching well.

    He also manages many fighting scenes well and looks every inch a gallant general. Lau has scaled a higher acting performance than in ‘Ping Chung Hup Ying Luk’ although he is not that young. What a difference from his commoner outlook from the start. Lau’s acting is perfect. Absolutely flawless! Although he pairs up with Yuk Mui for the first time, both are matching in looks and acting.

    Dik Ching is initially reckless and doesn’t know how to control his temper. Thus he is involved in lots of trouble. But after knowing Chiu Yeung, he is more calm and analytical. Chiu Yeung’s death gives him a hard blow. Empress Dik has tried to introduce other royalties to him but he is uninterested. You will never forget Dik Ching’s expression upon seeing Wong Yuet. He is so afraid that he will wake up from the dream that he will not see her again that he hugs her tightly.

    After committing the act that he shouldn’t do, he is very remorseful. He takes a long time to accept Wong Yuet as she is completely different from Chiu Yeung in character. He keeps his secret from her and focuses on helping the emperor to deal with Yuen Ho. After finding that he is not worth helping and he is nearly beheaded with Bao, he becomes so disillusioned with the court affairs. So disappointed that he leaves in the white prison clothes to meet Wong Yuet immediately with Sai Har without turning back!

  2. Lee Yuen Ho – Lui Chung Hin
    He is another lure factor to watch. Yuen Ho is the actual Sai Har emperor who loses his memory in a war. He becomes a beggar and Siu Lien saves him. Chung Hin shows his versatile acting. In one minute, he is so sweet, gentle and kind. In the next minute, he is so ruthless and unfeeling after regaining his memory.

    He may look awkward in most period dramas but he looks so outstanding in here with his loyalty outlook. He is the COREECT Yuen Ho that all will want to see. Lo Wai Kwong is so terrible in his acting and loses to Chung Hin by a few streets.

  3. Prince Heung Yeung – Wang Yong
    What is there to expect when Tai See dies? ATV has to create another villain. Needless to say, this experienced Taiwanese actor also shows his best in here in showing the hunger for the throne and regret over his son’s death. Sad but I can’t remember how he is killed – maybe by Bao’s head chopper?

  4. Lam Wan – Long Gun Tien
    His mother is a songstress and thus Prince Heung Yeung keeps his identity under wraps. I wonder why he isn’t that open as the emperor to acknowledge Ling Yee openly. This poor man feels so neglected and has to act like a bodyguard near his natural father’s side. His father tries to make up to him by getting him to be Empress Dik’s nephew. Till his death, he never has a moment of happiness.

  5. Madam Far Lui – Nam Hong
    She is bent in seeking revenge and always reminds Sheng Nam of it till her death.

  6. Meng Sheng Nam – Chan Lai See
    This poor woman is given the heavy burden. She looks ruthless but she falls for Zhong Bo and dies peacefully in his hands in the end.

  7. Goo Siu Lien – Man Yee Mun
    She is excellent as the kind and pretty fortune teller. She is demure and knows no marital arts so she is always putting herself in danger. Too bad, she can’t predict Yuen Ho’s future and stop him from turning evil. Feeling that she is the cause of his downfall, she kills herself to atone for her mistake.

  8. Prince Ying – Choi Zai Mun
    He is so gullible to think that Prince Heung Yeung is helping him to become the emperor. His father is the prince’s elder brother but he gives up the chance to be the emperor because of poor health. All along, Prince Ying has considered himself as the rightful heir to the throne. But his stupid and blind following not only ends his life it also causes misery for his elder sister, Chiu Heung.

  9. Princess Chiu Yeung – Yeung Yuk Mui
    She is very gentle, easily contented and sweet. Despite being the princess, she has a very difficult life. Her romance is short lived but she will always have a place in Dik Ching’s heart.

    Yuk Mui is convincing a princess as she carries herself with gentle mannerism very well.

  10. Princess Wong Yuet – Yeung Yuk Mui
    She is totally different from Chiu Yeung. She is kind, firm and strong. That is why the people find her a more suitable ruler than Yuen Ho. They even persuade her to overthrow him. For the sake of the country’s stability, she has no choice but to attack him by surprise. It is not said why she wears a veil all the time. This offends Dik Ching during their first meeting because he has not wanted to speak to a person who is so unwilling to reveal herself. But upon seeing her face, the bitter memories flood back to him.

    After the night they spend together, Wong Yuet is touched when Dik Ching tries to protect her from Yuen Ho’s poison arrows. She starts to fall for him. Although Yuen Ho gains power later, she isn’t worried and keeps her cool to group all her subordinates together to attack him by surprise again. Her capability is no less than Dik Ching. That is why he needs a long time to convince himself that Wong Yuet is another individual who loves him and she has no similarity with Chiu Yeung.

    What a change from the above character! She manages to show the arrogant yet observant side of Wong Yuet. She also does many fighting scenes well because of her Chinese dance background.

  11. Empress Dik – Yam Bing Yee
    She is a caring person despite of her fierce looks. Knowing that the emperor has done Chiu Yeung an injustice, she tries very hard to persuade his mind. Dik Ching is her only kin from her family who has lost touch with her since young after a flood. She misses him very much but her motherly sense tells her that Lam Wan isn’t the right person because she finds him unfamiliar and lacks the touch that he should have. Luckily she doesn’t acknowledge the wrong person in the end.

  12. Do Chau Niong – Wong Mei
    She is Yuen Ho’s empress and is faithful to him all along. When he goes missing, she travels everywhere to search for him. And when she finally knows where he is, he has not only lost his memory and also loves another woman. She tries so hard to make him remember her. In the end, he does but still insists of taking Siu Lien as his concubine. She suffers in silence. This is bad enough. Although she suspects Siu Lien of being Dik Ching’s spy, Yuen Ho doesn’t believe her as he trusts Siu Lien completely. What a tragic ending when she has to kill herself to prove her innocence when Yuen Ho suspects her instead!

  13. Justice Bao – Tam Bing Mun
    Equally convincing in the role as Jin. Quite a surprise as I have only seen him as villains before this.

Favourite character
Siu Lien for trying to change Yuen Ho for the better. When she fails, she doesn’t hesitate to help her own countrymen to betray him.

 

Most hated character
Prince Heung Yeung to be so ruthless to acknowledge his own son. I remember a scene when Lam Wan can’t take it and cries to let out his sadness but he just walks away to ignore him.

 

Songs
The themesong ‘Howling to the sky and the moon’( 吼天喝月)by double Yip is fascinating. Another masterpiece since their duet in ‘The Smiling Proud Wanderer’. ‘Never-changing love’(情未变) by newcomer Lam Chi Hou isn’t that good. Why couldn't they choose another song for double Yip?

 

Interesting facts
This serial was produced to hit TVB’s anniversary show. It used Lau Chung Yan as the lead. Tam Bing Mun replaced Bao since he also dubbed the voice. Lau’s acting was believed to be better than Tsui so all are betting all their hopes on him. With Chan Lai See and Taiwanese actor, Wang Yong to help out, ATV also spent more money on special effects too.

 

Lee Heung Kum didn’t wish to take up the role again. But Bao had a changed actor and it would look bad if Tai Kuan was also replaced. Moreover, the viewership for Part 1 was good plus her two close friends, Yam Bing Yee and Nam Hong were joining, so she agreed to it.

Lee was so tired that she felt asleep in a scene where Tai Kuan was supposed to be ill. Chung Hin was with her and wondered why she didn’t answer him when it was her turn to talk. Noticing that she was sleeping, he signaled to others to let her rest and they continued with other scenes.

Chung Hin and Yee Mun were ex-lovers. They were so convincing in here that all wondered whether both rekindled their love. It turned out that they had guessed wrongly.

 

Yuk Mui acted as 2 characters. She went 30 hours without sleep and 3 days without changing the clothes or a bath. She even sprained her leg and injured her breast. But she had no time to visit the hospital. What really scared her was the death scene of Chiu Yeung. She was a non-swimmer but she needed to film it in a dumping pond. She had skin irritation after that and had a close encounter with a water snake.

The Taiwanese serial ‘The Book and the Sword’ was shown before this serial with 75000 watching it with only 1/4 behind TVB’s ‘Legend of Condor Heroes of 100000. Later the viewership even rose from 41% to 48%. TVB lost money on the commercials and ATV had an astounding victory.

 

Conclusion
I doubt ATV can come up with such a strong cast with great acting anymore. It is sad that the standards of recent swordfighting dramas have dropped so drastically these days. This is considered one of the best dramas that ATV has produced in the 90s.

Many who act as villains in other serials get a chance to act in righteous roles here and they do well! ATV has made the right choice in choosing the people too. With an attractive storyline and offers great acting, this serial is not to be missed.

On acting : * * * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : * * * * (Scale of 5)

小豬這周一定要中Mark 6


参与松居书籍:《碧海情天》,《男人之苦》, 《原来爱上贼》和 《天地孩儿》http://bbs.lauchungyan.com/viewt ... &extra=page%3D1
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