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Top 50 Actresses of 2018

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Translation:

  1. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh

  2. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch

  3. Di Li Re Ba / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba

  4. Yang Zi / Dương Tử

  5. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên

  6. Guan Xiao Tong / Quan Hiểu Đồng

  7. Victoria Song / Tống Tây

  8. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng

  9. Tamia Liu Tao / Lưu Đào

  10. Ju Jing Yi / Cúc Tịnh Y

  11. Lareina Song / Tống Tổ Nhi

  12. Janine Chang / Trương Quân Ninh

  13. Tong Li Ya / Đồng Lệ Á

  14. Lin Qin / Lý Thấm

  15. Jiang Shu Ying / Giang Sơ Ảnh

  16. Crystal Liu Yi Fei / Lưu Diệc Phi

  17. Angelababy / Yang Ying / Dương Dĩnh

  18. Crystal Zhang Tian Ai / Trương Thiên Ái

  19. Cecilia Han Xue / Hàn Tuyết

  20. Regina Wan / Vạn Tây

  21. Zhou Dong Yu / Châu Đông Vũ

  22. Li Yi Tong / Lý Nhứt Đồng

  23. Hu Bing Qing / Hồ Băng Khanh

  24. Shen Yue / Thẩm Nguyệt

  25. Fan Bing Bing / Phạm Băng Băng

  26. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi

  27. Yoona

  28. Li Xiao Ran / Lý Tiểu Nhiễm

  29. Yang Rong / Dương Dung

  30. Sebrina Chen Yao / Trần Dao

  31. Sandra Ma / Mã Tư Thuần

  32. Jiang Xin / Tưởng Hân

  33. Qin Lam / Tần Lam

  34. Sun Yi / Tôn Di

  35. Stephy Qi Wei / Thích Vy

  36. Betty Sun Li / Tôn Lệ

  37. Lolita Wang / Vương Hiểu Thần

  38. Vicki Zhao / Triệu Vy

  39. @@@@

  40. Guli Nazha / Cổ Lực Na Trát

  41. Wendy Zhang / Trương Tử Phong

  42. Sally Jing Tian / Cảnh Điềm

  43. Dong Jie / Đổng Khiết

  44. Ruby Lin / Lâm Tâm Như

  45. Charmaine Sheh / Xa Thi Mạn

  46. Wang Li Kun / Vương Lệ Khôn

  47. Zhang Xue Ying / Trương Tuyết Nghênh

  48. Zhou Xun / Châu Tấn

  49. Xin Zhi Lei / Tân Chỉ Lôi

  50. Xie Na / Tạ Na

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Top 50 Actors of 2018

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Once again, here’s the list of the most popular people based on searches on Weibo.

Translations:

1. Yang Yang / Dương Dương

2. Hu Ge / Hồ Ca

3. Zhu Yi Long / Chu Nhứt Long

4. Wang Jun Kai / Vương Tuấn Khải

5. Lu Han / Lộc Hàm

6. Jackson Yee / Dịch Dương Thiên Tỉ

7. Wu Lei / Ngô Lỗi

8. Deng Lun / Đặng Luân

9. William Chan / Trần Vỹ Đình

10. Li Yi Feng / Lý Dịch Phong

11. Jin Dong / Cận Đông

12. Lay Zhang Yi Xing / Trương Nghệ Hưng

13. Zhu Ya Wen / Chu Á Văn

14. Huang Zi Tao / Hoàng Tử Thao

15. Wang Kai / Vương Khải

16. Wallace Chung / Chung Hán Lương

17. Luo Jin / La Tấn

18. Cai Xu Kun / Thái Từ Khôn

19. Zhang Jia Yi / Trương Gia Trạch

20. Ray Ma Tian Yu / Mã Thiên Vũ

21. Liu Hao Ran / Lưu Hạo Nhiên

22. Zhang Yi Shan / Trương Nhứt Sơn

23. Roy Wang / Vương Nguyên

24. Elvis Han / Hàn Đông Quân

25. Huang Xiao Ming / Huỳnh Hiểu Minh

26. Zhang Han / Trương Hàn

27. Allen Ren / Nhậm Gia Luân

28. Yu He Wei / Vu Hoà Vỹ

29. Shawn Dou / Đậu Kiêu

30. Kenny Lin Geng Xin / Lâm Canh Tân

31. Michael Chen He / Trần Hách

32. Louis Koo / Cổ Thiên Lạc

33. Lei Jia Yin / Lôi Giai Âm

34. Johnny Bai / Bạch Vũ

35. Bai Jing Ting / Bạch Kính Đình

36. Deng Chao / Đặng Siêu

37. Wallace Huo / Hoắc Kiến Hoa

38. Alan Yu / Vu Mông Lung

39. Dylan Wang / Vuong Hạc Đệ

40. Mark Chao / Triệu Hựu Đình

41. Huang Xuan / Huỳnh Hiên

42. Wu Xiu Bo / Ngô Tú Ba

43. Bosco Wong / Huỳnh Tông Trạch

44. Zhang Dan Feng / Trương Đan Phong

45. Nicholas Tse / Tạ Đình Phong

46. Ma Ke / Mã Khả

47. Chen Kun / Trần Khôn

48. Guo De Gang / Quách Đức Cương

49. Song Wei Long / Tống Uy Long

50. Zhou Yi Wei / Châu Nhứt Vi

Drunken Fist I

This was a series I recently stumbled upon. Anyway, this had a promising start. Then it just tanked episode by episode. Or should I say scene by scene? I went and did some research and realized it was from a comic series. I didn’t mind the corny costumes or the side senseless humor at the beginning. Well, I actually thought those parts were funny. I think it went downhill after the initial conflicts and setup of how different parties were at odds–whether the good vs evil or evil vs evil, whatever those were. Or more specifically, it went downhill right after it revealed who Lei Gang’s real father really was and how his mother died, etc.
Main Cast:

  • Kong Ng (吳剛) as Wang Wu Ji (王無忌). I used to watch him in old TVB series but didn’t realize he used to star in series too. He was charming and funny in the beginning. The character seriously had potential, but it also tanked like some others in here. What tripped me was his journey to find his father’s sword and also trying to master the drunken martial arts skills. Yes, those were realistic goals for him, but it made me think that the drunken martial arts got forgotten until like the last five minutes of the series. He got time to master some of the other skills but didn’t really practice that actively at times. I got it that they were going through some issues and he wasn’t able to practice properly except for that one time when was stuck in the cave with Xian Er. But that was for a totally different type of martial arts. So yeah. The development crammed his character major time.
  • Moon Lee (李賽鳳) as Liu Xian Er (柳仙兒). Moon did an excellent job of portraying her character. I really felt for her. I initially didn’t like her character because she was so scheming and all. I thought it wouldn’t turn out good for her. However, the turnaround wasn’t too bad. They managed to show how she was forced into listening to her father (because he was her father after all and they only had each other for the most part) and how she realized she shouldn’t use those people who trusted her. The struggles were real (or it was convincing). She tried to convince her father to let it go with the other situation (and he couldn’t really change the reality of it anyway–with Lian Bi Xie already ahead of them). Whatever it was that happened to her character, Moon conveyed it really well. I think her acting was one of the reasons that helped me sympathize with her thus bringing me back to her side after the manipulation schemes.
  • Yip Yuk Ping (葉玉萍 ) as Drunken Girl (醉娃). Her character turned out to be a major disappointment. The actress did fine, but I thought her character could have done more regarding matters. Or was that just the plot? I thought she was funny at first and somewhat mischievous later. I was fine with that since I didn’t need her to be perfect or bland. Those mischievous moments showed the audience who she was as a character. What got me annoyed wasn’t the fact that she liked Lei Gang. She couldn’t help it. What made me disappointed was how she was so into him that ended up causing more trouble. Sure, she couldn’t kill him or outright severe ties with him (even if she tried). Yet what annoyed me was running off to look for him hence causing even more trouble for others, even her grandpa’s death later. Yes, I totally blame that one on her, considering how she was lying about worrying for the other two yet it was because she wanted to go down the mountains to search for Lei Gang. Then her grandpa had to go find her and then the inevitable. The plot also wasn’t helping her, cutting into her character development. I thought it was so cool she became the disciple of the God of Sword. Then she also claimed the leader title after having won the matches with her sect. I thought she would get a chance to achieve major accomplishments. Well, even if not major, at least minor ones along the way that would lead to her helping others in the long run. Not just the other group to defeat Lian Bi Xie, but could just be helping the local citizens in general. Yet her life seriously just revolved around Lei Gang and causing troubles whenever she appeared.
  • Johnny Wang (王龍威) as Lian Bi Xie (練辟邪). I didn’t care for him at all. Although, I have to admit I fell into his trap at one point, thinking that something must have happened for him to be so bitter. Yet I realized he was just playing victim versus others whom he hurt along the way. He was just trying to justify his actions in accomplishing his cruel master plan.
  • Lau Ga Yung (劉家勇) as Lei Gang (雷剛). I don’t know if he was just a bad actor or his character was just plain terrible to begin with. But it wasn’t helping either way. His best part was probably when he confronted Lian Bi Xie, saying that LBX wasn’t his father and then stormed off after letting out his frustration. It was justified that he was mad about what happened and thought that LBX was trying to manipulate him and turning his adoptive father against him (which was true). Somehow along the way, he managed to have a talk with LBX (after the cave scene and LBX saved him from the boulders) and it made sense that he wanted to learn about his real father. However, what got me frustrated to no end was how he kept switching sides. It was endless. He kept jumping ship. I got it that he could change his mind either way. Yet the switching sides was like a time loop of some sort. He wasn’t reconsidering matters seriously or seemed so later on. He just switched whenever it was convenient. He seemed to want to redeem himself after he fell off the cliff that one time. Then he went back to LBX again. It was a possibility that he was conning them about turning good. But the plot just continued to make him change sides until it was getting ridiculous. Sure, he could be the selfish type and only cared for himself and doing things that were only beneficial to him. However, it didn’t make sense again how many times he changed sides. He kept arguing with both sides about not understanding him as well. It made sense the first few times that he was confused. But then later, he was just plain switching whenever convenient or whatever. That made my second point about his acting being terrible. He wasn’t able to show his emotions (except for the part mentioned above) and how everything he did or said seemed in monotone or robotic mode for some reason. So it was very hard for me to be convinced of anything regarding him.

Supporting:

  • Ming Leung (良鳴) as Drunken Immortal (醉仙) / Drunken Cat (醉貓). He was fun at times. Well, they both were. Too bad they also paid a heavy price in here. It was very frustrating since the series was almost ending and then they just died.
  • Law Lok Lam (羅樂林) as Lei Jian Fei (雷劍飛) aka God of Sword (劍仙). I had my doubts about him at the beginning. It was mostly due to the fact that he was too righteous, too strict, and too into keeping up the sect’s reputation. It made me feel there was something off. And I must admit that Lian Bi Xie made me have some doubts–like why there was such hatred and also what the Demonic Immortal said about him being the fake righteous type. So yeah, I was holding my breath–although I wanted to like him. Then just like that, he was killed off by Lei Gang. It was tragic but also quite frustrating.
  • Cheng Lui (鄭雷) as Demonic Immortal (魔仙). I thought he was going to be another hard enemy for them to deal with in the long run. Yet it turned out differently, mostly because he was driven to take Lian Bi Xie down, not caring about them being a threat as much. Then later, it was because he wanted his daughter to be happy. It was so unexpected that he turned out to be a likable character, considering how he caused some major problems at first too.

Others:

  • Eddy Ko (高雄) as Mighty Sword, Wang Wu (大刀王五). Seriously, that was so sad that he just died like that. I understand it was because of the way the plot was and how his son was the main character of the series. Yet having him in it sort of brightened up the show a bit.
  • Cho Tat Wah (曹達華) as Drunken Beggar (醉乞). Omg, I can’t believe that he was only there for some episodes at the beginning. I thought he was going to be a major character that would influence Wu Ji hence the “drunken” part of the title. Yet it wasn’t so. Even if Wu Ji promised to practice his skills, the drunken martial arts was forgotten until like five minutes before the show ended (like said above). I loved his character, it made the corny humor less corny. It made me laugh when he was getting into mischiefs with Wu Ji. I know they couldn’t pause the plot at that point all the time, but I rather see them as a mischievous team from time to time than Lei Gang’s repetitive switching sides scenes.

I will skip the extended discussions and just go straight to whether I would recommend this series or not. Definitely a no for me. I mean if you have time to kill and want to check it out, you can go ahead for old series’ sake. But I thought this was one of the worst ones. The two saving graces of this series were the cast–many whom we came to love–and Deric Wan’s song to lead the drama. Regarding the second point, I didn’t pay attention at first and then I realized it sounded like Deric singing. It was strange hearing him sing in an old ATV series. Yet when I looked it up, it was true. Anyway, what made this series so lame for me that it was unredeemable was like I said above, many repetitive scenes–which happened to be most of Lei Gang’s scenes. Then there was the whole killing ALL of the major characters in here. Like the previous generation. Even in the end, they (the scriptwriters) had to kill all the monks too to prove that Lei Gang had to go. Really? It was getting ridiculous. I was sad to see some of the elders dying at first but thought it was supposed to bring out our frustration and made Wu Ji more determined to seek out revenge and/or justice for them. I realized later it wasn’t so. They were just doing that because they can. So yes, major disappointment as the series progressed. That was the reason why I didn’t want to watch season 2. Maybe if I have some time to kill in the future, I will check it out just for kicks.

The Ranger, Superior and Demon Girl

I recently stumbled upon this series from ATV so I ended up watching it. Of course, it took a while since I have lots of stuff to do. Anyway, it was an old series so there was a severe lack of information regarding the drama. From what I know, it was an adaptation from a Liang Yu Sheng novel of the same name. It was supposedly 70% accurate since like most adaptations, it was hard to keep to the novel. Some characters were merged and/or sacrificed along the way. I really want to look for it to read and compare, but no such luck. This seemed to not be as popular as Liang Yu Sheng’s other novels hence it being hard to find. The furthest I could go was reading the summary and/or character descriptions on Baidu. Nothing beats reading the novel itself. Although I do appreciate whoever created a page for it in the first place.
Main Cast:

  • Ban Ban (斑斑) as Liu Qing Yao (柳青瑶). She was awesome. I liked how she started out what seemed to be a rash, self-righteous person yet eventually turned into one of the leaders of the robbers. It was so amazing to see how her character evolved. I thought she was going to be a side protagonist that ended up making the leading guys look good by rescuing her or something. Yet she had her own story development and journey to leadership and all. She was raw at first with her experiences and martial arts skills. After having traveled the realms of jianghu for some time, she earned her reputation and respect from different groups as well as hatred from others. Regardless, most feared her wrath and took her seriously–even if some did not want to admit it. What I also liked was how she never lost her way despite having gained so much fame and support from others. Like how the previous leader of the robbers had used his own reputation of “going against the Jin people” so he could kidnap girls and do whatever he wanted. (That was why in the other section I mentioned how I didn’t like that to become a reason for immunity toward the characters.) She focused on her main goal, reuniting their country and made heroes among thieves (not discouraging them nor condemning them just because of their background) thus leading them to fight for a bigger cause. Aside from all of that, she also had her personal struggles and vulnerabilities. The actress sure brought out the many sides of Qing Yao. I didn’t realize that she portrayed Han Xiao Ying (韓小莹) in TVB’s 1983 adaptation of The Legend of the Condor Heroes, but I knew she looked familiar. It was refreshing to see her in a leading role and seeing how she got to show off her acting capabilities.
  • Yu Tien Lung (游天龙) as Hua Gu Han (谷涵). I didn’t know what to make of him at first, even if I knew he was one of the main characters. He sure lived up to his reputation with being an odd hero. I liked his carefree attitude (for the most part) and how he wasn’t a bragging type. However, what got me frustrated was his attempt to conceal the mystery that almost cost Qing Yao’s life and possibly his. I meant the part where Qing Yao’s uncle pretended to be her long-lost father and ended up poisoning her hence the fiasco of later. So aside from that, I thought he was fine for the most part.
  • Lau Wan Fung (劉雲峰) as Tan Yu Chong (檀羽冲). For being a main character, he was sure detached from the main plot for the majority of the story. Sure, he was chased down from the Jin emperor and company since he went against the king’s tyranny. However, he wasn’t involved and I liked it that the other characters respected his boundary and didn’t force him into helping them as long as he wasn’t harming others. I just found it funny that he wasn’t involved until Long Yu scolded him for being a coward and not standing up to his king. It got him thinking and actually wanted to join forces with the others to help them. So that was how he was there during the final battle.
  • Fred Carpio (弗烈) as Geng Zhao (耿照). I think Geng Zhao was more involved with the main plot than some people in here. It wasn’t because he had to deliver the secret documents from his father to the king either. That was mostly the reason. But it was because he was righteous and showed his patriotism from the start. Even before he learned about his father’s fake surrender to the Jin emperor. He had big plans and wanted to help his country. Then tragedy stroke and he was forced to flee his home and endured all the pain of having killed his uncle (or so he thought, not knowing of the schemes behind it all). His sense of responsibility was admirable on many levels. What made it bittersweet was that he finally achieved what his father sent him out to do and managed to overcome all his obstacles yet in the end, he couldn’t escape his fate. Not just the fact that he died at the end but how he lost all the ones whom he loved and also the ones who loved him. Again, I don’t know if he was supposed to survive in the novel or not, but that was surely choking. Even if he had sacrificed himself for the greater good. I’m not so sure their stupid king would appreciate it.
  • Elaine Chow (周秀蘭) as He Lian Qing Yun (赫连清云) and He Lian Qing Bo (赫连清波). Impressed. Okay, I already loved Elaine since watching Duke of Mt. Deer and seeing her portray Shuang Er. I saw great potential with her during her earlier years. Yet every time I watched a series of hers, she was tossed some similar pitiful role. It happened a lot with some of the past stars of TVB too. I was glad she left TVB and joined ATV. Because this series proved that she was amazing. She was able to portray two roles seamlessly, making us think that she was indeed two persons. It was fascinating to watch her innocent and mischievous Qing Yun moments versus her cunning and deceptive Qing Bo scenes as well.
  • Willie Lau (煒烈) as Gongsun Qi (公孙奇). I didn’t like him from the start. Not just because of how he was going against his father and entering the Sang resident. He was just so suspicious and full of jealousy of others. Although I got it that he was having trouble seeking love and attention from his father, I didn’t like it that he used it as an excuse to sacrifice everything in his path to gain achievements. I felt his ending was so weak. They just wanted to wrap it up so they made him apologize with some half-ass regrets and that was it. He was going to die anyway because Qing Hong already died so no one could help with curing him. No sympathy right from the start.

Supporting:

  • Lee Ying Tung (李映彤) as Qin Long Yu (秦弄玉). I thought she wasn’t involved in the main plot since her association was with Geng Zhao at the beginning. Again, because I didn’t read the novels and didn’t know what to expect of the plot at that point. She was another brave character in sacrificing herself for the greater cause. It was really sad and tragic that she and Geng Zhao couldn’t be together after so much had happened.
  • Kingdom Yuen (苑瓊丹) as Yu Shan Hu (玉珊瑚). I never thought there was a day when I use the word “cute” to describe Kingdom. But that was how it was with her character in here. I only watched her past series where she was blunt, cunning, hilarious, obnoxious or was at times involved in touching storylines but never as toned down. In here, she was actually calm and possibly on the bland side. Yet that wasn’t so. She brought out the many sides of her character that I thought wouldn’t be possible since she was continuously cast in similar roles by TVB in her later years. One of the other more toned down roles of hers that I had watched was actually The Blood Sword. Anyway, back to this one, I really loved her character because she was quite rash and hot-headed at the beginning (and rightly so since her whole family and sect were killed and burned down after all) and then later transitioned into a calmer and careful person. I hated it even more that she was raped. What the hell was that? I know that reflected reality like how no one could see that coming and tragedies happened yet I hated it that the scene was only used to make us hate Meng Zhao even more. I think the audience already got that part, no need to keep piling it on. I don’t know if she lived in the novel, but it was seriously messed up killing her like that before wrapping up the series after the final battle.
  • Cho Tat Wah (曹達華) as Gongsun Yin (公孙隐). Mixed feelings. I know it was really hard for him to just accept it that his son was an evil person who would harm anyone and resort to anything to achieve his goals. It was his son after all, but I hated that he acted like Sang Qing Hong was an evil bitch because of how she implemented her revenge method. Seriously? He was the last one to speak. They already spared his feelings on a lot of things, just because they respected him.
  • Tam Wing Kit (谭荣杰) as Meng Zhao (孟钊). I don’t know if he was trying to compete with Gongsun Qi to be the most hated character, but it felt that way for now. He was getting ridiculous as the series progressed. It was like endless with his unreasonableness. He claimed to love San Hu or cared for her yet didn’t believe her words against that one girl. They grew up together, seriously. I understood that he was forced to participate in the Sang family’s conflicts and there were many things he wasn’t able to control at the beginning. However, he just became worse and worse. Or more like his true character was coming out. I was hoping it was for dramatic purposes that they dragged out his misunderstandings at one point. Hell, I even made excuses (for San Hu’s sake) and hoped that he would see past all the ridiculous misunderstandings. However, he became unredeemable when he finally pushed past the barrier and raped her. I wanted to jump into the screen and strangle him by then. I felt his death was too fast–although I was glad San Hu was able to carry through–and wished he had suffered more.

Likes:

  • The cast. Some of them weren’t that famous–or considered big names, but they acted well. They weren’t trying and even if I haven’t read the novel, just analyzing with the stories given, I felt they were those characters.
  • The music. The singers were lovely in their performance, and how it added to the series as an overall. The song represented the overall series quite well. It brought back feelings of old wuxia series for me.
  • The female characters in here. Regardless if I liked them or not, I felt the story was dominated by strong female characters with mixed emotions and personalities, especially in a wuxia like this. They weren’t so one-dimensional like other stories. There were similar conflicts that the characters from other TV series and novels had to face, but I felt in this one, the storyline was much stronger in that it accepted how each of the female characters chose their paths or lack of one. They weren’t trying to be super perfect or chase after an unrealistic perfect image. I also like it that the female characters weren’t just there as the male leads’ love interests. They had romances and triangles or whatever else in here, but each female character had her own story and conflicts she had to face. I’m not sure how faithful of that aspect they stick to the novel. If I had known, I would’ve read Liang Yu Sheng’s novels ages ago. (Yes, sadly I’ve never completely read a Liang Yu Sheng novel to its full extent.) I’m also awed by the fact that Liao Qing Yao was part of the main leads in here. I meant other wuxia novels and/or TV series, they had strong female leads too and all, but like I said, I felt at times they didn’t focus on the female lead’s side of the journey. They just existed as a companion for the male leads and their characters were never explored so fully. This one, they followed Liao Qing Yao when she was a newbie in the jianghu realm and later established to be a leader that earned a lot of respect and led the fight in restoring her country (or attempted to).
  • The jianghu feeling from a traditional wuxia. Usually, I’m very accepting of new ideas and genres. Hey, I still watch and like some ideas incorporated in some TV series of recent. However, at times, I really missed how old wuxia TV series were. Like now the majority of the dramas are character-driven. I get it, they’re trying to get your favorite stars (or at least the ones they’re promoting) more exposure and screen time. I like to see my favorites in more scenes too. Yet at times it could be so tiring with repetitive plots and endless unnecessary dramas. So this one sort of brought back old feelings for me. This was definitely plot-driven. Many of the characters were gone for a large portion of the story at one point or another. That didn’t mean they weren’t important. That made the story flowed well as an overall. I rather they appeared and actually contributed to the plot than just stood around and/or talked unnecessarily for how many episodes they (the creators of the show) could drag out. Then there was the whole feeling of how many of the heroes and/or heroines in here met and ended up being sworn siblings just because. Like how Hua Gu Han and Qing Yun were, and how Geng Zhao and San Hu also ended up becoming sworn siblings. Or how Hua Gu Han and Tan Yu Chong admired one another’s talents but didn’t force one or another to side with them at times. They helped each other when in need and respected the other’s views and/or decisions. Hua Gu Han and Tan Yu Chong’s meeting sort of reminded of how Qu Yang (曲洋) and Liu Zheng Feng (劉正風) from Xiao Ao Jiang Hu (笑傲江湖) met. Although they met through music, their admiration of one another was through righteousness. Not to mention this series’ focus wasn’t on music and/or the conflicts of jianghu but the main picture was that of their country and the patriotism involved.

Dislikes:

  • Definitely San Hu being raped by Meng Zhao. I hate all of those scenes regardless of TV series or novels. It doesn’t matter the number of details shown. I just hate it in general–even if I know that it is an ongoing issue and how people still refuse to acknowledge the damages of it. Anyway, I don’t know if this was part of the novel or not, but I felt the setup was terrible. Okay, poor choice of words, but I felt they could have prevented it. It sounds like victim-shaming, but San Hu was really sick at that time, it was hard to move her, but can’t the others pay some others to move her in a carriage back to the mountains so she could rest? At least have Qing Yao’s other good sister help take care of her at that time. Yet they just left her at the inn where everyone and their cousins could enter? They knew Meng Zhao was always up to no good, why take the chance? And I want to clarify that if it didn’t happen to San Hu but to someone else, I would be equally pissed. Again, hate those scenes.
  • The Sang (桑) family in general. I didn’t care if they were against the Jin people (金国). That didn’t make up for all the harassment and suffering they caused toward the locals. Those endless scenes of their lackeys going into town and demanding money was beyond despicable and showed their true colors. Regarding Sang Qing Hong (桑青虹), mixed feelings throughout. I didn’t like that she forced Geng Zhao into learning her family’s skills, even if that was supposed to help him in the future. If it was some random person on the street, would she care? She sounded righteous but didn’t help much with the locals either. She was also in her own family’s bubbles. I felt bad for her regarding the revenge plot and all, and how brave she was to sacrifice so much. Yet I couldn’t really sympathize with her on a larger scale. She didn’t really contribute to the overall plot except for being responsible for Geng Zhao’s martial arts improvements.

After all that, do I recommend it? I definitely would. Or more like I would definitely recommend it for fans of the traditional wuxia. The actors and actresses in here did really good in bringing out the story and their characters. Sure, it was a bittersweet ending but I felt it was a worth it series for wuxia fans.

The Rough Ride

I finally watched this series though I have it on my to-watch list awhile back. Watching this series somehow affected me more than I thought. Possibly because both Barbara Yung and Susanna Au Yeung passed away already. Not to mention Anita Mui, who sang the main theme so beautifully. There were many moments that I got teary-eyed, not because of the plot, but because of seeing old faces.
Anyway, back to the plot. At first, I thought TVB was going the daring route–because they rarely do that, mostly safe within their traditional shells as not to upset the viewers. However, I was wrong. What do I mean? I thought they were letting Lau Dan and Ha Yu portray a couple who was raising an adopted child and trying to survive in society, especially one might not be accepting them. It seemed that way with some details at the beginning. Even when they were trying to explain at the police station after that one time getting into a fight and the police officers were trying to get them to tell their story. I thought from their hesitation, the whole fighting over Jian Hong’s mother was a made-up story. Yet it seemed like it was true except for some details that were never clarified, because the plot didn’t want to focus there. Even Zhou Rong’s mother was chiding him for staying with Zhou Zhang You all these years–when he came home that one time to visit her after another dispute with the latter. Seriously, I was wrong. That was okay though since they had to move on, but I felt the plot was scattered everywhere thus causing details to be muddled throughout. I liked it that they were moving back and forth among different characters, but I didn’t like it that they were so inconsistent with different characters at times. It was frustrating to say the least.
Main Cast:

  • Tony Leung (梁朝偉) as Zhou Jian Hong (周劍虹). I felt this role wasn’t that special as in part of the Tony legacy in the old days. I think it was sort of a break for him. I think his best scene was his argument with Bi Hua/Barbara Yung when she was acting distance toward him since she didn’t want to cling to him just because he became rich. It was emotional and added more to their bond, because they finally talked about some things that actually mattered instead of feeling like they were stuck in a loop of not being able to communicate like previously. I guess his passiveness at times was a balance to some people’s extremeness in here. I liked him fine, until he listened to his father Zhou Rong to try to propose to Bi Hua so he could control her. Of course, he didn’t think it in that way, but I felt the proposal wasn’t as genuine as when they finally got back together at the end. I think he finally understood Bi Hua’s importance or realized he should cherish her more, because he admitted at one point that he used to think Bi Hua was more serious about their relationship than him. It was like a pride thing for him, but he figured he was going to have to gain her confidence in him again, not just taking her for granted like before. I guess I liked him for the most part, but what I was annoyed about was how he–along with the others–treated Shao Wen like she was Tian Wei’s possession or like a sure deal (even when they weren’t together yet). He didn’t like Shao Wen romantically and no one could force him, but I didn’t like how he and the others seemed to force Shao Wen to go with Tian Wei as well. Just because Tian Wei liked her, not letting her decide at all.
  • Barbara Yung (翁美玲) as Xie Bi Hua (謝碧華). I was watching the Viet-dubbed version so the person who dubbed for Huang Rong dubbed for her in here too so it was really funny and somewhat bittersweet at the same time. She was so stubborn and probably short of all the things Huang Rong could do and get away with, lol. But I really liked her. At least she was straightforward with her attitude. I liked that she was able to go train in England and became an even better cop with her new skills later. There were times that I didn’t like it either that she was using her boss as a shield, but I felt I could forgive her somewhat since at the beginning when she was trying to get rid of that one annoying pest, she actually asked her boss for help so he knew about it. Then later, it was her jealousy getting in the way so I felt like I should cut her some slacks and she did apologize to him (her boss) later. (I think, I hope.)
  • Ray Lui (呂良偉) as Jiang Tian Wei (江天偉). I didn’t think I could hate Ray Lui for a role he portrayed. Well, in Shanghai Bund, I think I was annoyed yet wasn’t feeling this strong hate toward his character. Aside from those assault scenes toward Shao Wen, I think the rest of Ray scenes were kind of subtle. Then it seemed interesting when he was undercover for the cops. Yet I felt the ending scenes were just there to bring his character up again or trying to make him active to wrap up the show. Or trying to make up for his past wrongs, which I didn’t care for. Yes, his character for me was fine. They had to ruin it like that. When, perhaps, the writers had this mentality about “love” or “assault” was how you get a girl OR whatever. But I didn’t want to let it slide just because. The writers totally downplayed those horrifying moments and brushed if off completely later on. Anyway, I also thought his character would become the villain later since his jealousy of Jian Hong escalated after some disagreements at the company yet it wasn’t so. In fact, he was probably the dumbass of the show. Sounds mean, but he was so easily manipulated by his uncle that I eventually got frustrated too. I got where he was coming from and felt sad for him that his mom was manipulating him and pressuring him, but the others stuffs he did, I couldn’t forgive him for.
  • Barbara Chan (陳敏兒) as Lin Shao Wen (林少文). A lawyer. I liked her having an awesome lawyer role. However, some of the plots sort of brought her character down. I actually liked the approach they (script-writers) did with making her so expressive and being almost best buddies with Jian Hong and how they seemed to have this connection. Yet the writers had to bring her character down later by making it confusing and manipulative in a way. I wondered if it was so they could somehow justify Tian Wei’s actions and then bring them together. I didn’t like the pressures people were giving her, her mother and others. Yet I didn’t like how she tried to jump in between Jian Hong and Bi Hua either.
  • Lau Dan (劉丹) as Zhou Rong (周榮). Jian Hong’s father. Mixed feelings throughout. I liked it that he wasn’t greedy and didn’t care for those fortune he suddenly stumbled into. Yet I felt he was too hot-headed at times. Also, I didn’t like how he treated Bi Hua later. It wasn’t like she was backing down, but he was seriously unreasonable. Who could stand it?
  • Ha Yu (夏雨) as Zou Zhang You (鄒長有). Jian Hong’s other father. Mixed feelings throughout as well. I was surprised he was more accepting of Bi Hua later on (brushing aside the conflicts with her father previously). Yet I was glad and in a way, he gained my point in that. I also liked that he wasn’t as greedy as he seemed to project at first. He didn’t latch onto Jiang Hong or Zhou Rong to get some advantage at the Yang family.
  • Susanna Au Yeung (歐陽珮珊) as He Pei Pei (何佩佩). It was a different role for her for me. I guess it was because I mostly saw her portray mature roles in the past so it was strange. NOT that her acting was strange, because she was a natural in it. She made her character lively and relatable. Although she was supposedly “not a good role model” or “good person” as some people had said in here or at least at first, but I really liked her. Perhaps, it was because of Susanna’s portrayal. Not to mention how Pei Pei’s character was redeemable, unlike her mother and sister whom conspired with others to trap Zhou Zhang You that one time. She didn’t have proper guidance growing up, but once she broke out of that toxic cycle and with the help of the people who truly cared for her, she was able to overcome her hardships and became  her own person again.
  • Lau Kong (劉江) as Yang Zhi Jian (楊志堅). Jian Hong and Tian Wei’s uncle. I felt like he wasn’t getting a break for the villain roles he was involved in back then, lol. Because I guess he did his part, but I felt it wasn’t anything new. Have to admit the character was indeed devious and despicable. He got what he deserved. Or maybe it was still too kind? I don’t know.

Supporting:

  • Lee Kwok Lun (李國麟) as Bi Hua’s boss. He was actually the true gentleman in here and was actually deserving of the nice guy title. But he wasn’t up in your face kind of nice guy and demanded that he should get something in return type of nice guys often seen in movies or TV series either. I felt like he was the most admirable among the young guys in here. As a cop, he was a good leader and everyone loved him. Although there wasn’t much to go on, but it was obvious with the way the other cops were reacting to him that he was a good boss and also a good friend. They really respected him during work and joked around with him when they were off work. He also liked Bi Hua, but he didn’t say it out until near the end. Yet he didn’t expect Bi Hua to accept him or anything, he was just joking that she was breaking his heart, lol. He didn’t mind that she used him to get Jian Hong jealous, but didn’t think it was good for them (Bi Hua and Jian Hong that was). People might be saying he had a doormat attitude and maybe that was why I liked him, but I felt like he was actually genuine among all the guys in here, even surpassing Jiang Hong. Perhaps, it was Lee Kwok Lun’s acting that made it so believable and not exuding any fake exterior, etc. (NOT saying Jian Hong was fake or Tony’s portrayal was poor. Just that like I mentioned above, I was sort of annoyed with Jian Hong for some stuffs too.)
  • Lau Siu Ming (劉兆銘) as Bi Hua’s father and Shao Wen’s legal assistant. Ming Sir and Barbara Yung also portrayed father and daughter in United We Stand (生銹橋王). It was interesting to see a different type of relation in here. Although he wasn’t my favorite character and was super annoying with his greedy nature at the beginning, I soon understand where he was coming from. It was so hard to earn money and all to survive. It wasn’t a good thing to do with how he was pulling his tricks at times, but I could forgive him for that, considering how he’d been trying his best all these years. Mixed feelings throughout but probably not the most hated character for me either.
  • Chun Wong (秦煌) as Da Peng (大鵬). Jian Hong and Tian Wei’s uncle. He was so cute in here, lol. He was probably the only kind person in the Yang family and truly cared for his family, unlike some others. He also was independent and had his own restaurant, pursuing his own passion. I actually thought he was the smartest because he wasn’t involved in those senseless family conflicts. And I never saw Chun Wong portrayed such a kind role before–or I might have missed it. Because he was always either too silly, stubborn, or was just plain annoying. So this was refreshing for me even though it was such an old series.
  • Bonnie Wong (黃文慧) as Bi Hua’s aunt. She was so funny and cool in here. I loved her character the most among the female side, aside from Bi Hua’s that was. She was really smart and witty. I liked it that she got guts and didn’t care what others think of her. But what sort of off with her character was how she let that annoying dude pursuing Bi Hua into the house time after time. Sure, she was just being polite, but I thought she shouldn’t let him in or give him information regarding their trip that one time. Yet that soon passed and I enjoyed her scenes majorly with Da Peng, because they both loved food and enjoyed many delicacies and fun moments together.
  • Paul Chun (秦沛) as Tian Wei’s father. He had a short story at the beginning of the story and then just phased into the background again. It was fine that no one was hogging he camera for too long, but I felt it wasn’t doing him justice. Or was it better he was one of the parties not causing trouble too?
  • Bak Yan (白茵) as Shao Wen’s mother. I usually like her role yet I didn’t really like it in here. Her acting was top-notch, but I just didn’t care for the character throughout. Yes, I felt very bad for her, having such a tragic life. Luckily, she was able to start anew in the end and knowing her family was all right again. However, I didn’t like it that she also contributed to forcing Shao Wen to get married or at least acknowledge Tian Wei. She later realized what was going on and sort of let her daughter choose, but it was sort of too late.
  • Bai Man Biao (白文彪) as Shao Wen’s father. He was sure despicable all right. They sure let him off easy later.
  • Kwan Hoi San (關海山) as Yang Zhao An (楊兆安). Jian Hong’s and Tian Wei’s grandfather. Although I understood that he wanted to protect his family and was somewhat saving face too, but I couldn’t forgive him for what happened. He knew Yang Zhi Jian was beyond help yet forbade Third Uncle to harm Yang Zhi Jian regardless. Like what? How was he supposed to help when he couldn’t take action? If he was strong enough, he could have just toss his son in prison and saved the rest of the family the trouble. Was saving face so important? Seriously. I didn’t like his miserable, pitiful acts either. Yeah, I know he was heartbroken and devastated of what happened, but I just didn’t care for him after I realized he wasn’t going to do anything anyway.
  • Felix Lok (駱應鈞) as Yang Zhi Jian’s right hand man. He was just latching on to the Yang family and only knew how to party so he wasn’t that useful. However, I thought he’d done his part of damage to the overall plot.
  • Richard Ng as a gangster boss. Well, not as much as some others in here, but he contributed in messing up other people’s lives so that counted for me.
  • Chu Tit Wo (朱鐵和) as Third Uncle. He was a gangster boss yet was somewhat too rash for his own good. He tried but he was responsible for harming Jian Hong at one point before investigating thoroughly so I didn’t blame the others for not trusting him later.

Others:

  • Bobby Au Yeung (歐陽震華) as car owner at the beginning. He was the guy who had his car inspected in the beginning yet was yelled at, lol. It was funny seeing him in there like that. He appeared later as well, but I wasn’t sure if it was the same role or just some random second role.
  • Tony Leung Hung Wah (梁鴻華) as Jian Hong’s friend. I liked him in The Return of Luk Siu Fung and Duke of Mount. Deer yet I couldn’t find anything to like him for in here. He was annoying. He was a terrible friend, having thrown Jian Hong under the bus too many times to be considered a friend. He also pestered Bi Hua to the point of excruciating that made me want to jump into the screen and slap him. He was basically like Tian Wei, except he wasn’t main so it was easy for people to hate him versus Tian Wei, but I felt they were almost the same. If Bi Hua wasn’t able to fend for herself and had others to help her, he would progressed to the point of Tian Wei too. Sure, he liked her and wanted to pursue her YET when he finally got turned down with a strong “no”, he didn’t get it and thought she was playing hard to get or whatever else. Bi Hua wasn’t that type of person and made it clear. (I didn’t like that one time she used him to extract information regarding Jian Hong either since that was seriously poor taste.) He was just trying to wear her down (like he admitted at one point). The fact that he tried to use suicide to get to Bi Hua was equally pathetic and somewhat hit too close to home. (Coincidentally, Barbara committed suicide at that time the drama was in the middle of airing using gas so that got me even more annoyed. Although I know TVB didn’t know and no one knew either regarding that, but that scene just added to the things that rubbed me wrong in here regarding the character.) And no, I don’t hate the actor, but found him exaggerating somewhat in here too versus his more natural act in other series.
  • Amy Hu (胡美儀) as Zou Zhang You’s on and off girlfriend. She appeared at the beginning of the series and then somehow disappeared and then appeared again near the end. I liked her, she was cute and funny in her own way.
  • Maria Chan (陳立品) as Jian Hong’s grand-aunt. I got where she was coming from but I didn’t like how she was acting high and mighty at times. Well, Yang Zhao An deserved it, but I didn’t think Pei Pei or Bi Hua deserved her rants at all. I got it that she was following her traditional ways or whatever, but that was so judgmental and so hard to relate to. Especially how she thought Bi Hua was jinxing her grand-nephew and how she wanted Bi Hua to quit her job just because Bi Hua was getting married to Jian Hong.
  • Kenneth Tsang (曾江) as Pei Pei’s rich boyfriend. Was that him? LOL! I swear it looked like him when he appeared briefly. The fact that he wore sunglasses didn’t help.
  • Michael Tao (陶大宇) as Bi Hua’s younger brother. I was initially annoyed with him because how he was so lazy and all. Yet I found him hilarious later.
  • Hui Kin Bong (許建邦) as Tian Wei’s assistant. I wasn’t sure if he was an analyst, a lawyer or another assistant at the office since he only appeared twice. But I thought his character had more potential for development than some in here.
  • Sandra Ng (吳君如) as Yang Zhi Jian’s lover. That was a surprise but that was back then so it wasn’t too strange to see Sandra appearing a little.
  • Shik Kien (石堅) as gangster boss. He was the real deal with all the badass gangsters in here since even Third Uncle was afraid of him.
  • Maggie Siu (邵美琪) as Anna. She owned a bar and was into Tian Wei when he was acting as a mole for the cop. Maggie was so gorgeous in here, and the role was mischievous yet playful that I felt it was too bad she wasn’t taking on some major role. What a shame yet I guess it had to be that way. Not to mention what surprised me was how it departed from her usual pitiful and/or tragic roles of back then. Yes, although her character was supposedly bad and didn’t care if Tian Wei was married or whatever, but I felt she was more honest about her motives than some people in here.
  • Wong Yat Fei (黃一飛) as boat owner at the pier. He was around at the second last episode where Yang Zhi Jian was trying to find a boat to escape. It was fun seeing him at long last. He was like Waldo of TVB, lol. You have to find him because he might not be getting an important role at times yet he was fun to watch and locate.

So, after all that rant, how was it overall? I thought Tony and Barbara Yung were cute together. Even though my mom mentioned that Barbara looked older than him, but I thought they were still cute. (Note, my mom loved Barbara too so it wasn’t like she was picking on her.) If the tragedy didn’t occur, I wonder if they had collaborated more for future series. It was one of those what-ifs in life. Second favorite couple in here must be Chun Wong and Bonnie Wong because they made me feel hopeful about humanity in general in the series’ world–at least. Aside from that, I felt that Susanna and Lau Dan weren’t that bad of a couple but their triangle involving Ha Yu really dragged the pace at one point and made me feel frustrated with the two men’s childish antics. Though I found it interesting that Susanna and Lau Dan also paired up in ATV’s The Ghostbuster Gang (捉鬼家族) years later, but I had watched that one first.
What about Ray Lui and Barbara Chan? I felt their characters ruined it for enjoying their chemistry–if at all. I got it that Shao Wen later realized with worrying for Tian Wei that she did love him, etc. (That was near the ending that she had the conversation with Jian Hong in the hospital during her mother’s operation.) Yet I didn’t like their initial start or the in-between at all. I didn’t like the emotional tortures that she had to go through with his pestering (and it was like how I mentioned it was with Bi Hua being pestered by that one guy as well). The fact that the assault scene happened and also bordering on rape (it wasn’t shown so I didn’t want to assume). I’m talking about that one time he was super frustrated and wanted to get her to talk BUT ended up force kissing her and she was terrified and yelled for him to stop and then the scene just jumped to the next day that she seemed to accept him. It was a terrible plot device and it totally thrown his character toward the hateful zone for me, even if it wasn’t before. I didn’t like that the writers used that type of setup for the characters to eventually get together and forced her to re-think. I already said that above when discussing their characters, but I felt like I need to put it here once again. The script-writers were downplaying assault and/or rape, not taking it seriously at all. What was even more terrible was how Tian Wei kept uttering out that she didn’t have to love him but couldn’t stop him from loving her. He could love her, BUT directly attacking her like that and forcing her? Even if the world was different back then, it still didn’t make it right AND I don’t have to accept it regardless. I thought it was best if they let the characters take it slowly and understand each other instead of forcing her like that. That scene was so traumatizing that it left a very bad impression on him throughout. The ending had a better setup. It seemed lame that she accepted him for saving her mother, but it wasn’t so since she realized when he disappeared that she cared for him. Why didn’t they go with that approach first? I didn’t like it either that there was plot inconsistency with people assuming they were together just because he liked her–at first. Then they dragged her character through the mud with her getting in-between Jian Hong and Bi Hua just to downplay Tian Wei’s assault scene–or all the things he did in general toward her.
Anyway, there were gaps and inconsistency at various points (as I said at the beginning of the review), like how some characters already knew each other or already got introduced yet was expected to be introduced again later. Or one of those like they seemed to have a gap. Other things, I already mentioned above so do not want to be too repetitive. But what was too obvious was the aqua/green dress with pink and yellow rims around the neck Barbara Yung wore at one episode near the beginning ended up being Barbara Chan’s sleepwear near the end. It was hilarious really.
What was fun to watch about this series that I have to admit was the majority of the cast–whether major or minor–were linked to the Condor trilogy one way or another. However, I still wouldn’t recommend as much for the plot. To me, it was one of Tony’s weaker series because I think the majority of Tony’s old series were quite good or considered good overall. It was just some details were inconsistent and frustration that I didn’t like it as much. It wasn’t the worse series of back then, because if you’d seen my reviews of my back-watching, some were worse.

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