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[ATV drama] [Drama Critique] Chronicles of the Shadow Swordsman

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发表于 2009-3-21 13:42:54 |显示全部楼层

Review from:

http://www.spcnet.tv/ATV-TV-Series/Ping-Chung-Hap-Ying-Luk-review-r414.html

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

 

Cast:
Cheung Dan Fung - Lau Chung Yan
Wan Lui - Mai Shuet
Chow Sum Mun - Kwan Wai Lun
Wan Chung - Kum Hing Yin (The uncle who has an affair with Man Yun Lan's mother in DIFIV)
Monk Mit Fat - Ng Yik Cheung (The villain in Drunken Angels as Yuen Wah's half-brother)
Zham Toi Mi Ming - Yue Wah
Zham Toi Jing Ming - Ban Ban
Cheung Chung Chow - Kong Hon
Tik But Far - Yiu Fung See
Dong Yue - Kam San ( Kwai Ying's father in Heroine of the Yang)
Tse Tin Wah - Hung Tak Sheng
Yip Ying Ying - Leung Suet Jong
Sek Cui Fung - Chan Wai Yu

 

Introduction :
This novel is considered as one of Leung Yu Sang's masterpieces, besides 'The Bride With White Hair'. Somehow, ATV and TVB seem to like the latter story better to remake it into serials but the results are usually disastrous. I like this story better because of its happy ending. Also due to the fact of the two main leads which I've liked all along, although most of the rest of the cast are unfamiliar to me. This serial is considered one of the best among the ATV period dramas but due to my failing memory since I've watched many years ago, please let me know if I get the wrong facts and update me with missing parts.

 

Story:
Wan Lui grows up in exile in the Mongolian state with her grandfather. Her grandfather has represented the Ming state to discuss peace talks with the Mongolian emperor. However, the talks fail and he gets into a quarrel with a top official, Cheung Chung Chow.

 

Cheung is a Han prince by birth and is the real successor to the throne but he grows up in the Mongolian state when his dynasty forefathers are overthrown. Thus, he works for them. In anger, he imprisons the old man in a cold area -- the same case as Su Wu, a well-known ancient figure in history.

The old Wan is a stubborn man and refuses to submit to them till his death. He even tells his grand-daughter to make an oath to treat the whole Cheungs' family as their ultimate enemy too. The poor little girl has to agree to it and she is brought back to the Song state by a relative. She then learns skills with Yip Ying Ying and Ying Ying's senior. Tse is angered to know of Wan's death. At this time, Cheung is remorseful over Wan's death and starts to question his own roots.

 

Tse fails to assassinate Cheung and then he is touched by his sincerity. He decides to work for him to persuade him to return to Song. His other seniors, Dong Yue and Mit Fat, sever all ties with him. Ying Ying is equally puzzled over his change and is very upset. Being a willful woman, she also refuses to listen to his explanation and concentrates on bringing up Wan Lui. Tse and Yip have mastered a skill which can only show their powers when they combine their strengths. It is called the twin swords.

 

Cheung has a son, Dan Fung, who is intelligent in literature and martial arts skills. Tse then teaches him and tells him about the wonderful happenings in the Ming state. He also tells him that he has a junior who knows the opposite skills and their pairing up will be invincible. He has hoped secretly in his heart that the sour revenge between the young will be eliminated. Dan Fung then sets foot in the Ming state when he tries to escape from the arranged marriage of the Mongolian king to his daughter But Far.

 

Wan Lui is also grown up and sets forth to search for her elder brother, Wan Chung. To make things work easier for her, she disguises as a man to pay respects to her father's friend, Chow. Disappointed in the court, Chow becomes a ganglord. Chow's son, Sum Mun, is interested in her and he gives her a token of authority so that her journey will be smooth-sailing.

 

 

Her first encounter is a big shock for her. Wan Lui watches a duel where a maiden, Sek Chui Fung, fights with her opponents to find a husband. The old Sek is a ganglord and wants to look for a good son-in-law. She sees that Chui Fung wins all of them and thus she is about to move off. However, Chui Fung falls for her and lures her on stage. She then pretends to fall into Wan Lui's arms. Wow -- this is hilarious. The old Sek keeps praising this future 'son-in-law' for doing well. Despite her protests, Wan Lui is brought to their home. She tells them that her name is Lui -- flower -- but they mistake the word as thunder. How funny they can be!

 

She is troubled when they don't let her leave. Suddenly she feels that her brother Chow is very suitable for Chui Fung. She then gives her the token of authority as a show of her 'love' for her and promises to marry her after informing 'his' parents. It is only then she lets her leave.

 

In the inn, she gets to know Dan Fung and is impressed by his knowledge. Both get along well and they decide to go on journey together. Both do not know each other's identity. Dan Fung always refers her as 'little brother' fondly. He explains that he has a treasure map and invites her to search for it but they have to get rid of the two 'Black and White' devils who are safe-guarding the treasure. By now, Dan Fung is famous as the 'white scholar' who is highly skilled and wealthy.

 

At this time, Monk Mit Fat, is overjoyed to know that Wan Lui is coming to meet them. He then hurries to search for her but is shocked to know that 'the white scholar' is now well-known in the pugilistic world. Judging by others' descriptions, he gathers Dan Fung's identity. He becomes furious and is afraid for Wan Lui's safety. He gets Sum Mun's help while Chui Fung, missing her so-called fiance, leaves home too.

 

Dan Fung and Wan Lui find the hideout. They come to blows with the two devils. They manage to defeat them and the two devils are so impressed that they decide to become Dan Fung's followers. They even give up their fortune to them and leave. Wan Lui is injured in the process of fighting and she must undress so that Dan Fung can pass his inner strength to her. At first, she finds excuses to avoid it but she gives in when Dan Fung replies that all along he has known of her to be a lady. She could choose to use her back to face him during the healing process. They hide in a small room with a hole to observe the happenings outside. This part is similar to Legend of the Condor Heroes where Kwok Jing is cured by Wong Yung.

 

Dan Fung is stunned when realising how pretty she is. During this process of 7 days, they have to leave in seclusion, otherwise, it will aggravate her injury. His palm cannot leave her back for a single moment. Wan Lui is touched to see how many sleepless nights he has spent to heal her when Dan Fung becomes pale and tired. The first few days are spent in sweetness but the last day proves to be a nightmare for both of them. Somehow (I can't remember), Sum Mun and Chui Fung find the hideout but Dan Fung prevents Wan Lui from being seen. Knowing that she hasn't recovered, he cheekily tells her not to disappoint Chui Fung now into knowing that she is a female. He comments that Sum Mun and Chui Fung are very compatible. Wan Lui smiles upon hearing it.

 

Sum Mun questions Chui Fung on who she is looking for. She tells him and proudly shows the token of authority. Sum Mun nearly dies of laughter when seeing it. Guessing that Wan Lui might have reasons for keeping the truth from her, he says nothing. Then he sees that there is blood everywhere, he starts to get worried. Chui Fung then suspects Sum Mun for killing Wan Lui and fights with him. But monk Mit Fat stops them. He says that they should save their energy to deal with the 'white scholar' who is their enemy. Without finding anything or anyone, they leave.

 

Wan Lui's expression freezes upon hearing it. At this time, she turns and demands to know his identity. He confesses and she runs away. The two devils meet her and question her on why she is not staying with Dan Fung. Her powers will not be exercised to the fullest if she is alone and she is physically weaker, unlike Dan Fung who is stronger. She doesn't answer and runs away. After seeing how depressed their new master is at the top of the cliff shouting why revenge has to be passed to the younger generation, they realise the truth but cannot find words to console him.

 

Dan Fung is miserable with this change of fate. At this time, his father's follower, Zham Toi Mit Ming, comes to search for him to request him to return home. Mit Ming changes his name because he hates the Ming ruler. Dan Fung decides to follow Mit Ming to sweep his parents' graves. There, he meets Mit Ming's sister, Jing Ming. Jing Ming is pretty and caring. She is attracted to Dan Fung and Mit Ming finds ways to bring them together but he fails miserably.

Jing Ming wonders why Dan Fung always mentions 'little brother' to her and comments on 'his' good points. Later Dan Fung discovers her curiosity and smiles bitterly that 'little brother' is actually a girl but he is so used to the address. Jing Ming is upset to know that her young master has another person in heart all along and knowing the story, she decides to help to bring them together.

 

Chui Fung finds Wan Lui and Wan Lui finds it hard to tell her the truth. She feigns dumb to drag the wedding date. Sum Mun is jealous to know about Wan Lui's love for Dan Fung so he vents his anger on Chui Fung, telling her that Wan Lui will never get to love her. They meet Wan Chung and both siblings are overjoyed to see each other again. Wan Lui is dismayed to know that she cannot overtalk her stubborn brother from serving the court as she feels that it is needless to serve a useless emperor who caused so much misery to her and the old Wan.

 

Wan Chung decides to go for the top expert-scholar post to serve the country. He masters skills under Dong Yue, Tse Tin Wah's first senior. But out of the four, Tse is the most skilful so of course, Dan Fung's skills are better than his. Dan Fung knows of his wishes and helps him to secretly defeat most of his powerful opponents. In the last round, Dan Fung appears before him and he is shocked. Dan Fung then pretends to lose to him on stage and leaves. The Wan siblings know of his intention in secret.

 

Wan Lui is secretly grateful to him but Wan Chung is angered when knowing that Wan Lui loves him. He shoots hurting remarks at her and makes her miserable. Chui Fung finally knows about Wan Lui's identity and she marries Sum Mun in the end. By now, Tin Wah's two seniors and Sum Mun have seen that 'the white scholar' has done good deeds all along and finally realises his intention to stay with Cheung. Ying Ying also regrets her foolishness to waste so much time for hating him and hopes to see him again soon.

 

However, the three are alarmed at the amount of hatred that Wan Chung has against the Cheungs. No matter how hard they persuade him, he refuses to forget the past. Wan Lui is torn between the two men when they meet each other again. She doesn't know how to settle the quarrel between them. Dan Fung is depressed in knowing that both are still a-stick-in-the-mud. After Wan Lui knows after his engagement with But Far, she gets so mad with him and tells him that he that he should love being a princess's consort more and shouldn't want her as a concubine. Heart-broken, Dan Fung leaves for home.

He gets so depressed over the ordeal of Wan Lui rejecting him that he falls sick. But Far comes to visit him and he treats her coldly. The emperor knows about this and he wants to keep Cheung by his side. He tells But Far to make Dan Fung drunk and sleep with him. Since he is now sick and loses part of his alertness, she should be able to trick him easily and he will have to marry her in the end.

 

This is what I really call the famous bed scene and I MUST watch it again if I get the chance -- The emperor invites Dan Fung to a banquet. Dan Fung is drunk and is helped by But Far to her room. After placing him on her bed, she tries to kiss him but he turns his face away from her. When she tries to do it again, he suddenly calls out Wan Lui's name. He holds her strongly in her arms but she pushes him away. But Far gets so angry, shouting that she is not Wan Lui and runs away from the room. Actually, Dan Fung is not drunk at all. He knows of their evil intentions but has no choice but to play along with them. However, this act really breaks his heart and he feels very miserable.

 

Wan Chung is involved in a fight with Mit Ming who demands fair treatment from him towards his young master. He gets to know Jing Ming in the process. And of course, Jing Ming doesn't like him. There is another time when the Ming soldiers get to know that she is Mit Ming's sister and they try to catch her. Wan Chung tries to protect her and they fall off a cliff in the process. When she wakes up, she finds herself lying on his body which shows that he tries to protect her well all along. However, during the days that they treat each others' wounds, she doesn't develop any feelings for him. In fact, she tells him not to see her again as she can never like his unforgiving personality.

 

I can't really remember the ending well as I missed the last episode on television due to a power failure! What a pity! I only learned it from a friend. Wan Chung knows that she is right but he can't put his hatred away easily. Cheung is sad to see his son suffering from the loss of love and knowing that the emperor is scheming to control him, he silently kills himself and gets his son to leave with Tin Wah.

The Wan siblings can hate him no more since Cheung is dead. Then Cheung/Wan and Tse/Yip pairs combine forces to defeat the skilful evil officials in the palace. Dan Fung gives the Ming emperor all his riches to defend against the Mongolians and declares that he has no wish to grab the throne. Both pairs reconcile and retreat in the woods while Wan Chung leads a lonely life.

 

Comments:
This serial is a must for all sword fighting drama lovers. Lau Chung Yan and Mai Shuet have so much more chemistry here as compared to Princess Chang Ping. You will marvel on how young and attractive they look although they should be in their thirties then. Lau Chung Yan is in his top form as a Yau Hap -- young, handsome, cheeky, caring. He looks as dashing as Chiang Dai Wai in a white gown. He really looks so depressed in the tragic scenes that you feel like crying with him. He is such a great actor. No wonder it is so convincing to arrange 3 women to fall for him. And also the way both of them swing the swords together, they are what I really call a golden 'mou hap' couple.

Mai Shuet is good but I think her role is not as perfect as Lau Chung Yan. Why? Her maiden hairstyle is ugly -- two over-rounded curls at the sides. A plain round bun coils on her head too. And also when looking at her dressing as a man, I shake my head. Tin Yu Lei does a better job as her chest is flattened and she has no fringe in Heroine of the Yang 2. As for Mai Shuet, she has a very thick ugly fringe and her built is shorter than Chui Fung. Plus, her chest is not flattened! How to like a man like this -- I really laugh at how Chui Fung is so attracted to her. Unlike Lau who really displays his charm in the bed scene.

Kwan is very good as Sum Mun too. I can't control myself from laughing at the way he tries hard not to show that he is amused when Chui Fung keeps on mentioning Wan Lui as her husband and also Kum Hing Yin as Wan Chung. You will hate this man for breaking up the loving pair. Although the actresses are unknown, they have played their roles well and deserve a lot of praise.

 

Songs:
I like the theme songs, especially the second one. The main song -- the most loveable duel -- is delivered well by Lo Kar Leung and Chow Ying. As for the sub-theme song, it is 'love punishment' by Lo too and Lo really makes it sound so sad to portray Dan Fung's feelings to ask all why he has to go through this torture. Too bad the first song isn't found anywhere. The second is in an EMI complication of theme songs by male singers released 2 years ago. Both singers sing them so well and it is a pity to miss them.

 

Conclusion:
Don't miss it!!!! It has a good cast and an attractive plot. It doesn't matter if you know only 20% of the cast. Many fighting scenes are so good that I can't take my eyes away. Lau Chung Yan has proven himself to be a great swordsman like Cheng Siu Chau. It is hard to get him to act with Mai Shuet now so catch it when they are in their top form during their golden days. You will like it as much as I do.

 

sukting's Ratings:

On acting:* * * * (Scale of 5)

On the story: * * * *(Scale of 5)

小豬這周一定要中Mark 6


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