(image credit: as marked)
I finally made my way to watching this. LOL! In fact, I decided to kick some of the other series aside to focus on this one. Besides, it’s only 12 episodes, so why not?
- Li Yi Feng (李易峰) as Wu Xie (吳邪). I felt it was similar to his acting in Legend of the Ancient Sword, except he wasn’t possessed. But I think I understood why in the other one since his character was called ‘wooden-face’ many times and how he was so sheltered since little so it made sense. But this one, I couldn’t understand why there was inconsistency with him at times appearing to be lively and getting into schemes with High Shao and Wang Pang Zi yet at other times seemed clueless or passive.
- Tiffany Tang Yan (唐嫣) as Ah Ning (阿寧). She didn’t appear much in here, but her character was intriguing enough. In a way, it was refreshing to watch her portraying a fierce character after all those recently ‘trying to be cute’ characters. (Which I swear I had to drop, sorry, but more because of the roles and not totally because of her.)
- Yang Yang (杨洋) as Zhang Qi Ling (張起靈) aka Xiao Ge (小哥). At first, I didn’t recognize Yang Yang because I only watched him recently in The Four when I was catching up. Not to mention his face was covered for the majority of the time. The image was also different (of course) so it was harder to see the connection. But when they showed different angles, I realized it was indeed him. I was impressed with his acting in here (more than in The Four) because in the other one, he only had to look good and smiled most of the time. (Sure, he looked devastated enough when there were tragic scenes and I sympathized with him. But it was kind of repetitive at times.) In here, he had to act with his eyes a lot and how he didn’t exaggerate was a bonus. Then his mysterious aura plus the action scenes. Who in the world could resist, right? What made me feel kind of strange was how he was less involved later on. But then when I read about the cuts, it made a lot of sense why he wasn’t around anymore.
- Liu Tian Zuo (劉天佐) as Wang Yue Ban (王月半) aka Wang Pang Zi (王胖子). Hilarious since the beginning. I think he was natural throughout and lighted up the scene whenever he appeared. Yet he sure jinxed them a lot. Since although he saved them at the beginning, but his miscalculations had led them into even more trouble. Then his snarky remarks.
- Ken Chang (張智堯) as Wu San Sheng (吳三省) aka Third Uncle (三叔). I’m a Ken fan so I will be bias, lol. I liked him as the strange Third Uncle. He cracked me up at times with his overly paranoia too. Yet he proved quite experienced. I was really excited to see him, but it didn’t seem enough.
- Wei Wei (魏巍) as Pan Zi (潘子). Loyal and brave. I thought he would be some fierce, hostile character but he ended up being part of the comedy team too.
- Yoki Sun (孫耀琦) as Chen Cheng Cheng (陳丞橙). A made-up character – or so I had read somewhere. I seriously was excited to see Yoki in here and thought she was hilarious at first and then soooo cunning later. As an active follower of her since Shen Yi Da Dao Gong, I felt she did a good job with her role. I will say that I do understand the frustration of novel fans when the writers had created such a character and distracted the audience from the original plot. I totally get it! NOT KIDDING, because I had some major frustrations in the past with trying to explain to some people why I was against some ‘scene-stealer’ that ended up being a heroine in this one novel adaptation yet they dubbed me as a hater. SO yes, I get it, I’m not just saying it to get some people off my back, but I seriously get it. Anyway, even if I felt somehow her character was written well (like how one felt she was senseless yet it was a mask to deceive the characters from the start because she had a hidden agenda), I think they (the writers) shouldn’t have gone ahead with it. (Even if there was the whole thing with her management company backing up with budget and all or whatever. I can’t stand people sacrificing arts because of some deals or senseless disagreements.) I think I will always go back to Shen Yi Da Dao Gong to enjoy her performance, not relying on this one. (Even if she didn’t turn out as a villain, I still like her because I guess I’m a fan of food so I found those scenes funny. Yet I do understand why some people are turned off by food, not just because her character was a made-up one.)
- Leon Lee (李晨浩) as High Shao. Another made-up character, right? I think his character distracted us from paying attention to Wu Xie and other characters. Okay, I found him fun and random at times, but it so distracted us from the main plot. The episodes were already short, do we need episode filler scenes too? I’m sorry to pick on him and go easy on Yoki, but having one senseless character is one thing, but too many is just too much. Either go with him or Yoki’s character. Not both. Because I think Wang Pang Zi was already a comedic relief for the drama so there was no need for even more. It’s over-killed.
- Edward Chang (张晓晨) as Jie Yu Chen (解雨臣). Some of his scenes were cut too, because he had some fight scenes with Yang Yang’s character. Yet I can’t wait to find out more about his character. So it was a shame how things turned out. I guess it’s a good thing to check out the novels.
- Ying Er (穎兒) as Huo Xiu Xiu (霍秀秀). I found her character as intriguing. Will she return in Season 2 (if they don’t kill the whole production already because of their petty moves in the past) or will she be replaced? I wish there was more. But I also read that because of the senseless dramas behind the scenes, her scenes were cut too. So yeah…
- Lu Xing Yu (卢星宇) as (魯國公).
- Su Qing (苏青) as Yao Guang (瑤光).
- Cheng Pei Pei as Old Madame Huo (霍老太太). Fierce all right. I wonder what was her problem. Again, will have to check it all out in the novel.
- Li Xin Liang (李昕亮) as Liu Tai (六太). Works with Ah Ning for some unknown boss (only seen on-screen to give commands but wasn’t named). Annoying since he was on the opposing side. But I guess it couldn’t be different since he worked for his boss after all.
- Huang Ming (黄明) as King of Lu Shang (魯殤王).
What was good?
- Actions scenes. I wish there were more. But I guess the cuts explained why there were so little.
- The cast. I didn’t have a problem with them, but maybe more for their roles at times.
- The chemistry between Li Yi Feng and Yang Yang. I thought I was the only one seeing there was something going on between the two of them! LOL! Not kidding. (I read some comments that others saw it too, lol.) I think those were the only times I felt Li Yi Feng’s acting wasn’t awkward. Somehow, they were a good team.
- The cuts. YES, it messed up the story and I didn’t understand why some stuffs happened anymore. Like how Xiao Ge was so involved in protecting Wu Xie and leading the way at first and then he wasn’t seen around much later. In fact, I felt it strange he wasn’t so involved in the plot and was seen spying on them at that one event they were trying to sneak into. Yet he did later appear to hold off the gang for them, but wasn’t seen anymore. Now it made sense as to why. It probably got cut. Then who could forget the scene where he was suddenly without a shirt when they were still in the tomb. I thought I blinked for 2 seconds and missed it.
Final thoughts? So hunting down novel to read. It would definitely explain some of the questions I have.
Oh yeah, almost forgot, recommended? Perhaps not to novel fans, but if you’re watching for your favorites, dig in. LOL! But the missing parts will drive you insane anyway. It’s only 12 episodes so if you have time to kill, yeah. If not, don’t sweat it.