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Fighter of the Destiny


I finally got around to watching this awhile back, but haven’t posted the review yet. I also need to clarify that I didn’t read the novel so I will just base my review on what’s in the series. I actually tried to read the novel but got impatient and then flipped to the end a bit. I ended up hunting down for the summary of some characters instead and understand a bit about the situation of the adaptation. But back to the series. How was it? I’ll save the rants for below.

Main Cast:

  • Lu Han (鹿晗) as Chen Chang Sheng (陳長生). He was really likable and relatable as a protagonist. I felt there were many sides to him that it was enough to be an interesting main lead. He had serious moments (plenty, considering his death always looming) and funny scenes–where he interacted comfortably with the others. I liked his intelligence and his kindness toward others. Sure, he had moments where he was super stubborn, but that was what sold me on him, considering most main leads nowadays were just too good to be true. I felt his rouge sides added to the character, but how there was a balance to his character so it wasn’t too over either–like trying too hard and then failed. What I also liked was his sword, lol. Super cool and convenient for road travel. He could store everything in there. This was my first time watching him and I must say I was surprised. Not that I doubt his capabilities of being the main lead. It was more like I only heard of his name but never watched him before. I was glad to finally watch him in this series.
    • Yang Ceng Xi (杨曾曦) as Childhood Chen Chang Sheng (幼年陳長生).
  • Guli Nazha (古力娜扎) as Xu You Rong (徐有容) aka Holy Girl (聖女). I don’t know what to say about this character except extreme frustration throughout. Okay, I have a lot to say yet I had to calm down for a bit to be able to write this review. First off, as the main lead, I felt she was really robbed–regarding the script. Sure, she appeared a lot. But I felt the writers played her major time. She was so bland that I felt I couldn’t justify half of her actions. Sure, she was after all their Holy Girl and had to act appropriately according to the rules, whatever. But I felt, later on, her contribution to the plot was so weak. I wished she had a solid story so it convinced me why she was the main lead. I didn’t need her to jump in and save the day all the time. That would be unrealistic. Yet I felt aside from the scene where they conspired to save Chang Sheng out of that maximum security prison, she didn’t have other scenes where she stood out. Sure, she fought along their side and contributed to help think of plans, but I felt it was still weak. It was still a part of her duty sort of thing. I liked her stubbornness and how she wouldn’t marry QSJ just because the others wanted her to. I liked her rebellious schemes later on–when she finally agreed to join in with the others to break Chang Sheng out (like said before). But why wasn’t she given anymore subplot to convince of her importance? It was 50+ episodes and she only stood around the majority of the time and discussed stuff and be lovey-dovey with Chang Sheng at other times? I got that she was smart in her own way and I liked that she had her reasons for not wanting Chang Sheng to become too obsessed with the constellations. But what else was there for her? Even her scene where she sabotaged Nan Ke’s wedding became a plot for QSJ to turn around. Really? I felt she just became a plot device so QSJ could shine somehow or just a reason for CS and QSJ to disagree–although I do like Chang Sheng a lot. But it didn’t make it any less of frustration to see the main girl so inactive. Aside from that, I felt that Nazha had improved so much with her acting since The Classic of Mountains and Seas. I’m proud of her. It sounds confusing, considering how I criticized the character so much yet I felt Nazha did a good job with portraying such a role, showing the depth of her character with whatever was given. She exuded the Holy Girl vibe very well and was quite articulated. Her ability to express with her eyes also improved immensely as well.
    • Lu Chen Yue (吕晨悦) as Childhood Xu You Rong (幼年徐有容).
  • Janice Wu (吴倩) as Bai Luo Heng (白落衡) aka Luo Luo (落落). She was my favorite female character in here. I was surprised. I thought I would dislike her because of a possible role in the triangle. But I felt she had exceeded all expectations. She was lively and fun. Not to mention so loyal and caring and lovable. There were so many sides to her. She was sort of spoiled too–somewhat–but she was still likable in many ways. I cried many times for her and felt that Janice did a very good job. I liked her since watching DOMD and felt she acted quite well in there. She took her acting to another level. I think her performance was what made her character so likable and enjoyable to watch. It was really sad to see her acting so passive toward the others later. I thought it would be for the best later since she had to move on anyway. But it was really tragic. The transition of her character also proved Janice’s acting was quite convincing.
  • Joseph Zeng (曾舜晞) as Tang Tang (唐棠) aka Tang San Shi Liu (唐三十六). He was hilarious. I loved how he was Chang Sheng’s first friend since arriving at that place. I thought he would be arrogant and look down on Chang Sheng, but he wasn’t so. He was quite grounded for a somewhat spoiled young master. He loved to show off and was very proud of his inventions. Yet he was surprisingly likable. Sure, he did have his crazy moments and was mad at Chang Sheng over some misunderstanding too. But I thought I forgave him since he did leave that one group to join Chang Sheng’s school to show his support. When things mattered, he did back Chang Sheng up. Not to mention, all of those inventions. It was too cool. Anyway, he was my second favorite male character in here.
  • Amelie Xu (许龄月) as Mo Yu (莫雨). I didn’t like her at all–if that was too cruel to say. Yet it was too hard to like her. It wasn’t because she sided with QSJ regarding the triangle either. Partly, but like how the rest of that place totally looked down on others–it was like a rule or something, you have to look down on outsiders to be called one of them. I could respect it that she finally admitted it that Chang Sheng had a good side but she was still siding with QSJ regarding the triangle. Yet what I found ironic for the majority of the series was how she didn’t see it that she was forcing You Rong YET she didn’t like the empress’ nephew either (who hit on her multiple times during the earlier parts of the series). I felt bad for her that she had become that way near the end. It was sad for her and Tang Tang yet that didn’t make her a top character for me either. Hey, I found it super hard to like You Rong too so it wasn’t like I was just picking on her.
  • Gao Han Yu (高瀚宇) as Xuan Yuan Po (轩辕破). He was probably my favorite male character in here. After having watched him in SCI Mystery, I was ready to see another role of his. In fact, that was the reason why I moved on to watching this series earlier than expected. (Yes, my list’s still super long and I don’t know if I could finish it in this lifetime, really.) I had followed it while it was airing but didn’t think to watch it so soon. Anyway, back to GHY, definitely a different role from SCI since his IQ was brought down even more, lol. But he was a really lovable character. He was funny–without knowing possibly. He was seriously loyal and caring toward his friends. It was hilarious. I also liked his crush on Luo Luo and felt it was too bad they couldn’t be together either. Well, he was going to guard her temple later so it wasn’t for nothing. But still sad. The saddest part was how he was crying–or on the verge of crying–knowing that she would forget him too eventually and seeing how it was already happening to Chang Sheng. What was even funnier with him was how he loved to eat but also could cook up a storm. It was a nice touch since in other series, we only get to see those loving to eat and pig out from others’ cooking. Yet he was able to do both. Anyway, GHY’s acting was quite good in here. I think I like him even more in here.
  • Chen Shu (陈数) as Tian Hai You Xue (天海幽雪) aka Holy Empress (圣后). Mixed feelings throughout. Sometimes, I got it from her speeches or her intentions that she was looking at the bigger picture and caring for her citizens. Other times, I just thought she was crazy.
  • Eddie Cheung (張兆輝) as Yin Xing Dao (寅行道) aka Royal Scholar (教宗大人) aka Red Robe (紅袍). Um, I have flashbacks of the ’90s when Eddie was portraying villainous roles all over again, lol. His schemes were elaborate and he was smart enough to stay in the background. However, I felt his intelligence could only be so much. Why? Seriously, he wanted to become king and all but ended up having to control the constellations as well? Um, not too smart there. Aside from that, I didn’t doubt Eddie’s acting.

Supporting:

  • Yao Di (姚笛) as Nan Ke (南客). I didn’t like her but had to admit her character got some mystery and depth to it. Even if she was from the opposing side, I actually admired her stubbornness at times. I hated her stupid jealousy rants but felt she had a better story than oh-say the main girl. Yes, I kept going back to that, but I seriously don’t get why You Rong got the short end of the stick like that. Anyway, I thought the actress did quite well–like some others did in here. She showed her emotions nicely.
  • Johnny Zhang (张峻宁) as Qiu Shan Jun (秋山君). Seriously, right from the start, I didn’t like him. It wasn’t because of his involvement in the triangle. But I’m known to not root for the too-good to be true guy. He was so bland and flaky that I found hard to relate to. People who are way above others/on top of the world would fall the hardest when meeting with obstacles and he indeed fell hard. The fact that he only got more interesting once he turned was really sad. I felt his saving point was the actor’s acting. Because he was so convincing in those scenes, the struggles and the unwillingness to let go of many things in his life. And then there went the reason why I was so mad at the writers. They managed to conjure up such a story for GSJ and couldn’t come up with an ounce of a decent plot for You Rong? Seriously? Even Nan Ke got some depth to her character–aside from the senseless jealousy.
  • Archie Kao (高聖遠) as Jin Yu Lu (金玉律). It was really interesting to see Archie in an ancient setting, lol. I wasn’t used to it but found his character likable. Archie didn’t disappoint in the acting department–obviously. I sometimes felt really bad for him for having to chase down Luo Luo time after time. Later, it was revealed their relationship wasn’t just that of master and servant but there was something deeper. He treated her like family and even promised to stay by her side in the future. Too bad he wasn’t able to fulfill that promise. It was really tragic with his death. I shed a few tears. One of the most tragic deaths of the series.
  • Lin Si Yi (林思意) as Little Black Dragon (小黑龙) aka Zhu Sha (朱砂). I loved her. She was hilarious. At times, she was so stubborn but she was quite likable. One of my favorite scenes was when she used one hand to hold her food and the other hand to lift the door for them to flee. It was awesome. She was after all a powerful dragon. The other character in here who was obsessed with food, lol. I don’t think I could blame her since she was trapped in that place for so long.
  • You Jing Ru (尤靖茹) as Qi Jian (七間). I didn’t care for her sect nor the rest of the members, but she was an exception. Not just because they were isolating Chang Sheng because they were taking their senior’s side, but how they were looking down on Chang Sheng and others in general. Anyway, she was different for me because–although she liked Qiu Shan Jun–but she had a likable persona to her since she appeared. It was like something I was looking forward to finding out more–or if she would appear more than some of the cast in here. It was a different character, so I was curious. She turned out to be quite righteous and reliable later. I didn’t just like her because she later followed them and aided them greatly–that was a bonus, but I liked how she was different from Nan Ke (aka someone else who liked QSJ but reacted differently). She wasn’t jealous of others who liked QSJ or the one QSJ liked. She was grounded in that way and was smart and determined in many areas. Although the others treated her with caution, wanting to protect her at times, but she proved herself to be quite capable.
  • Fu Li Jun (冯荔军) as Gou Han Shi (苟寒食). I had to make an exception from that one sect for him too. Sure, I got that he was worshiping QSJ too–it was hard not to, but I liked that he knew how to think for himself, not acting as a crowd to bully Chang Sheng. Initially, he wanted to show loyalty for his senior, but later interacting with Chang Sheng, he learned to respect Chang Sheng. I felt he was actually a true hero among the members of his sect, NOT QSJ. I’m not saying that because I sided with Chang Sheng regarding the other triangle, but I felt Gou Han Shi was a hidden hero, not showy but genuine.
  • Liu Kai Fei (刘凯菲) as Zhou Yu Ren (周玉人) aka Black Robe (黑袍). Zhou Du Fu’s younger sister. That was as major surprise. I meant with her relation to Zhou Du Fu. It was interesting how she collaborated with the Red Robe dude and then later wanted to switch sides. It made sense since they wanted to survive or at least take down whichever side they felt was more of a threat. But just found that really interesting. I had some suspicions during the scenes where they were in the tomb like she had a special relation to Zhou Du Fu, but didn’t realize it was that close.

Others:

  • Eric Tsang (曾志偉) as Taoist Ji (計道人) aka Shang Xing Zhou (商行舟). Chang Sheng’s master. I thought he was a funny master, considering how it was Eric and all. But I felt he totally played Chang Sheng major time. Yes, he seemed to have his reasons back then, but it was sooo messed up to inflict such tragedies into Chang Sheng’s life. But I guessed since he had no one, it was so easy to influence and change his life however. I felt Chang Sheng was already so forgiving with the situation. I wasn’t grateful that he sided with them later and not with his junior. I felt it was overdue that he did something.
  • Fu Jia (付嘉) as Yu Ren (余人). Chang Sheng’s senior, the real son of the Holy Empress. I seriously didn’t think much of him so it was a surprise that he turned out to be the real son. I didn’t mean I looked down on him or anything. I liked that he was Chang Sheng’s good senior and always supported and encouraged Chang Sheng on throughout. However, I thought he was just another character. Well played.
    • Liu Ruo Gu (刘若谷) as Childhood Yu Ren (幼年余人).
  • Wang Ce (王策) as White Emperor (白帝). Luo Luo’s father, also the king of the demon clan.
  • Gong Bei Bi (龚蓓苾) as White Queen (白后). Luo Luo’s mother, also the queen of the demon clan.
  • Xue Jia Ning (薛佳凝) as Mo Yu’s mother (莫雨母亲).
  • Zhai Tian Lin (翟天临) as Zhou Du Fu (周独夫). Interesting character yet there were many things I still wanted to know about him.
  • Ren Shan (任山) as Tian Hai Cheng Wu (天海承武). Tian Hai You Xue’s older brother. Didn’t think much of him except he was there to cause conflicts.
  • Que Zhe Ming (曲哲明) as Tian Hai Ya Er (天海牙儿). Tian Hai Cheng Wu’s son, Tian Hai You Xue’s nephew. I felt his character was as useless as his father. It didn’t really contribute anything except side dramas.
  • Quan Pei Lun (权沛伦) as Guan Fei Bai (關飛白). It was indeed a shocker for him when his senior turned and killed him, which he realized wasn’t intentional but it was too late.
  • Xiao Yu Liang (肖宇梁) as Zhuang Huan Yu (莊換羽). I didn’t care for him throughout, considering how he was super jealous of Chang Sheng and still dared to act all righteous. He was a coward and despicable. So it was strange to see him trying to help Tang Tang that one time and then died in the conflict. It was strange. Did he repent when I blinked? Because by that time, I was getting really impatient to see the series wrap up.
  • Maggie Siu (邵美琪) as Xun Mei (荀梅). Short appearance, but sort of interesting to see.
  • Wang Gang (王岗) as Tang Qiu  (唐秋). Tang Tang’s father. Mixed feelings.
  • Zhang Jia Ding (张嘉鼎) as Tang Hai (唐海). Tang Tang’s adopted brother. I didn’t like him at all. It didn’t matter what his excuses were and his actions throughout. He didn’t gain any sympathy from me. It was sort of funny seeing how Tang Tang kicked him to Kingdom Come, lol.
  • Hao Shuai (郝帅) as Xiao De (小德). A general of the demon clan, wanted to marry Luo Luo. I was suspicious of him at times. Or because of his mysterious nature. But anyway, I guessed it was all right. At least he didn’t cause trouble or linger too long.
  • Yu Yang (于洋) as Shuang Er (霜兒). You Rong’s servant girl. Couldn’t really like her either although I know she couldn’t really be blamed since she can’t really control her own life.
  • He Zhong Hua (何中华) as Emperor of Zhou Dynasty (太宗). Only seen briefly at the beginning of the series and soon passed away.
  • Gao Yang (高洋) as Goddess of the demon clan (神女). A somewhat important role that influenced both Chang Sheng and Luo Luo’s destinies later.
  • Wu Ze Jin Xi (武泽锦熙) as Medicine Furnace Boy (药炉童子). Hilarious. I enjoyed his scenes. He was what made some of the scenes light up even more.

Likes:

  • Cast. The majority of the cast did quite well.
  • The music. Always loved listening to Zhang Jie for theme songs so it was enjoyable for me. The rest of the soundtrack wasn’t bad either. It fitted with the series in general.
  • The majority of the friendships/bonds in here. Although some characters I cared for more than others, I had to admire them for their loyalty and support when things mattered.

Dislikes:

  • Flashbacks. Seriously, this is the problem with the majority of series nowadays. Once again, I loved the music and liked hearing the songs. But I found at times, the flashbacks were unnecessary–except to promote the songs and possibly extend the length.
  • Length/Pace. Seriously, flashbacks contributed to the problem. On top of that, they didn’t know how to focus on the right story.
  • Organization. It was a mess. The jump back and forth between scenes wasn’t well planned. I meant there were some subplots that dragged on and on, then later it jumped to the another subplot. It made us forgot what in the world happened with the other one. I wouldn’t want them to jump so dizzily from one scene to the next but at times when they show what was happening here vs another, it was really slow. Then at another time, they just glossed over essential details.

Recommended? I think it’s considered average. It could be a good series, but the length killed it. It should have been 35 episodes. Because of the reasons I listed above, the length was unbearable in many ways.

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Top 50 Actresses of 2018

(image credit: as marked)

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

Top 50 Actors of 2018

(image credit: as marked)

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.

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