I watched this several years ago but got lazy and didn’t review it right away. I was thinking of dropping the review altogether. However, I felt it would be a waste if I didn’t. After all, I did do the info translations for the drama. That helped with remembering the majority of the plot. At least, the relevant parts. Don’t ask me about really small details, lol. I forgot those already.
- Lu Yi (陆毅) as Ge Nie (盖聂). Lu Yi hadn’t his lost touch and his screen presence as he carried through with his character. It was very intriguing to watch his character unfold. There was already the nerve-racking intro scenes and what was to come of the results. Yet that was just a layer of his character. Watching him going through his journey and carrying such a burden made you feel for him. There were many secrets he had to keep and things he couldn’t really clarify at times. The amount of endurance he had to go through in order to finish that mission was unthinkable. Yet somehow, he bore it all.
- Michelle Chen (陳妍希) as Duan Mu Rong (端木蓉). Michelle finally found the right role for her and restored her image among the mainland presence. I didn’t blame her at all for taking the other opportunity and wanted to make a name for herself. She just had to find out the hard way that someone sucked big time in trying to create such an image for her in the other production that I won’t mention (because I don’t need to give that person more space than he already did). Not only was her image in this series way better, but her acting carried through as well. (I have a weak spot for Taiwanese stars trying to break out and do more serious production beyond the idol dramas and am also quite protective of them when they get heat SO yes, I was more glad to see her finally shining in here. Ironically, the mainland is now flooded with idol dramas–whether ancient or modern, but that’s a totally different topic which I won’t discuss anymore here.) Her character in here could be so responsible and protective of her tribe at times thus becoming a good role model for someone like Gao Yue. She could also become so childish and stubborn at times when engaged in some disagreements with Ge Nie. It was somewhat amusing to watch at times as she tried to take control of the situation again. I liked it that she was a mixture of cuteness at times whereas she was reliable and mature in others. It gave her character much more meaning in that sense.
- Jiang Jin Fu (蒋劲夫) as Jing Tian Ming (荆天明). What to say about him except he was a major let down for being part of the main lead? Seriously, I also had high expectations of him, considering he was praised to high heavens by viewers during the time this aired or for his other works when he was practically everywhere. I don’t know if it was his character or his acting style, but it was frustrating–to say the least–to side with him at times. So I ended up with the conclusion that it was probably plot hole. Because sometimes, he was likable or relatable as a character. Others, you just wanted to smack him. (Yeah, that bad.) Perhaps, he was better at the comedic scenes than the serious ones. I don’t know.
- Hu Bing Qing (胡冰卿) as Gao Yue (高月). She gave off the fairy-like vibe when she first appeared for me and seemed to be portraying a role of a perfect girl. The way she was protected by the majority of the people in her tribe, I didn’t blame her for becoming a weakling figure. However, she surprised me with her knowledge and later helped with some of the trials they had to go through. Her awesomeness went down to about 50% after that scene where she helped Tian Ming and Shao Yu navigate through that one maze/traps thing. Then the plot just dragged on that wasn’t helping her case. I, obviously, did not blame her for being inactive because she was plagued by the curse. However, the writers failed her when they dragged it out for too long. It was a complex situation and they got a lot of historical figures and details to incorporate into the plot itself, but some things could be rid of completely to still provide relevancy to the overall picture. Somehow, it was unfortunate she got the short end of the stick–as far as interesting characters were concerned.
- Sun Yi Zhou (孙艺洲) as Wei Zhuang (卫庄). He took the wrong gamble when he let his jealousy get the better of him. He was indeed talented, but failed when it came to picking the right person to follow. That also caused his downfall. Despite all the misdeeds that he got himself into, he was actually another interesting character I looked forward to seeing more as the story unfolded between several characters in here.
- Gina Jin Chen (金晨) as Chi Lian (赤练) aka Yu Ji (虞姬). It was really strange to see Yu Ji in such a situation and the context of the story. Yet I felt that Gina’s acting and the way it was written for her, she delivered really well. She seemed so fierce and intense during the initial parts of the plot that it felt weird–or hard to imagine how she would fit into the other parts of the plot. Then we got to learn more about her history and background. Having such a harsh past, it made sense she put up layers and layers of wall to protect herself. After some more details for her revealed, I felt more intrigued than ever and ended up being addicted to watching her more than some other characters who had bigger parts or more scenes.
- Qin Jun Jie (秦俊杰) as Xiang Shao Yu (项少羽) aka Xiang Yu (项羽). He was fated to be an ambitious, powerful force in here. So, I didn’t have much of an expectation for him. However, he surpassed the interest factor for me. Especially after he broke off from the other faction and went on his own journey.
- Gong Bei Bi (龚蓓苾) as Xue Nv (雪女). She was fierce and a forced to be reckoned with. I was glad to see another strong female character among all these chaos. It was refreshing to see the difference in her character as well. Coming from watching The Flame’s Daughter, she amazed me. (Um, yeah, I watched The Flame’s Daughter first and then backtrack to watch some past series. If you follow me long enough, you know my crazy pattern, lol.) Anyway, she was so convincing and projected a different feeling toward this role versus the other one.
- Sui Yong Liang (隋咏良) as Gao Jian Li (高渐离). He was one of my favorite characters in here. I was more interested to learn more about him and his journey than some of the other major characters as well.
- Qu Zhe Ming (曲哲明) as Bai Feng (白凤). At first, I hated his selfishness and his arrogance, but found his background story tragic. It made sense and how he had learned to defend himself and his fellow companions only.
- Zhang Lei (张雷) as Zhao Gao (赵高) aka Dong Huang Tai Yi (东皇太一). The master manipulator all right.
- Song Ning (宋宁) as Da Si Ming (大司命). I actually liked him a lot for his intelligence–despite him being under control and forced to go along with some of the schemes initially. I thought it was a matter of perspective and the winners always wrote the history in their favors, right? So, who was to say which side was supposed to be the right side to be on? Well, we knew the one who wanted to get rid of everyone to snatch all power was the bad dude in here, but that was for the series’ purpose really.
- You Jing Ru (尤靖茹) as Shao Si Ming (少司命). I didn’t hate her–although she was seen carrying out a lot of the tasks. She was a victim of her time–as most characters were. She grew up in such a place and when she finally traveled outside of the bubble, there was much more to see and question what she learned all along growing up. She was another intriguing character to follow and allow us to see how she could break past he barriers and do more.
- Wang Yan Lin (王彦霖) as Dong Guo Zhi (东郭植).
- Canti Lau as (鞠玄) aka Jin Wan Liang (金万两). This role of his restored my faith in his acting skills. He was much more natural and exuded the leader role so convincingly. To be fair, it was a bit hard to swallow with his role in DGSD. I wouldn’t blame him too much. (I hated the character regardless of the person who portrayed it. And was glad that character was knocked down a few pegs in there instead of celebrating him like no tomorrow and condemned the others like they always did.) Anyway, possibly because of how awesome he was, it was really hard to swallow when watching his downfall. Well, it was a complex time and it made sense, NOT too ridiculous with the setup. But it was a shame. It was one of the reasons why it as harder to hang on for the remainder of the series for me–if it wasn’t for some characters in here. I don’t remember exactly anymore, but he was possibly one of the first major characters who fell. So, yeah. It hurt more than the later events. (I was switching my mood to mad by the time they made their way down to killing different characters, lol, so yeah. I was no longer sad but way past mad at that point.)
- Yu Bo as Liu Bang (刘邦) aka Liu Ji (刘季). I almost forgot about him. Yeah, it has been years. So yeah, but interesting to see him portray that character.
- Zhang Meng as Li Ji (丽姬). Also forgot the majority about her. Yet I didn’t think she appeared much anyway.
- Ji Xiao Fei (姬晓飞) as Han Xin (韩信). He was one of the ones I actually paid attention to during the initial parts yet somehow just lost track of as well because there were so many characters involved.
Relationships – family, friends, romances:
- Lu Yi/ Ge Nie and Michelle Chen/ Duan Mu Rong. They surprised me. Yes, I saw a lot of stills released before watching, but wasn’t sure. Because sometimes, pictures were misleading and you wouldn’t know how it turn out until you actually watch. But I really liked them throughout and they were the sole reason I ended up sticking around until the end. Because it was omg, sooooo long. Even with its extended cast, the series dragged and dragged for who knew until when. Anyway, they had their misunderstandings at first, but learned to work together and grew closer over time. Their relationship was a mixture of maturity and immaturity. There were cute moments and also touching moments as well. She was the stubborn person in this relationship but it actually made sense with their conflicts and differing views. At least, it didn’t drag out forever.
- Jiang Jing Fu/ Jing Tian Ming and Hu Bing Qing/ Gao Yue. They were the definition of boring for me as far as this series went. Mostly because of their characters, obviously. It was such a shame though. Because I was intrigued by how their story unfolded at first. I even welcomed some of the journey they went on together, etc. Then I was wondering how they could end up together–with a lot of things they had to deal with throughout. But the longer the series dragged on, the more I got bored with them. Perhaps, it had to do with a lot of repetitive scenes or formula that surrounded them as well. Not to mention how I didn’t think he deserved her. Seriously, I usually DO NOT want characters to be forced together–just because I preferred one pairing over the other and thought they had more chemistry or whatever. But his hot-headedness and his uncompromising ways made me tenfold more annoyed and felt like he was throwing way too many tantrums. Sure, he cared about her and wanted to focus on her only, wanting to protect her, not wanting her to receive harm in any way. But his inability to help the situation made it so frustrating. It wasn’t just one or two times either, but it was like a rinse and repeat kind of thing, like a never-ending cycle.
- Qin Jun Jie/ Xiang Yu and Gina Jin Chen/ Yu Ji. I was really, really, really surprised to like them WAY more than I should be. I didn’t know how they were going to end up together with all the intensity and how different they were, considering the plot laid out. However, as historical figures, you know they were meant to be together. (Unless you tweak the plot to the point of a certain someone that I won’t name.) But I actually enjoyed seeing their development than the dragging details of what happened to Tian Ming and Gao Yue. Sorry for the dunk once again, BUT it was that boring. In the context of this plot, I had my doubts about him really caring for her–or was just moving on because he couldn’t get together with Gao Yue. But when their story unfolded and how they ended up together was convincing enough and actually felt natural.
- Sui Yong Liang/ Gao Jian Li and Gong Bei Bi/ Xue Nv. Their story was interesting through and through. Their ending was a tragedy but was more meaningful and heart-wrenching that a certain plot that dragged out unnecessarily. They were my second favorite couple in here, so of course, I felt it when their final scene rolled around.
- Song Ning/ Da Si Ming and You Jing Ru/ Shao Si Ming. Their story was unexpected thrown in at the last minute or something. It had that feeling, because of all the chaos that was going on. Then the wrap up was on its way. However, it added to the many layers of the relationships in here. It was also a such a tragedy with them. Indeed, just a little bit more and they were in the clear. It made sense because of the time and the chaos involved. Yet it was choking–after having witnessed some of the major couples in here passed away already.
Recommended? I would say half and half. I wouldn’t want to watch it again. But it was somewhat intriguing to see how they spun the plot with some of the historical figures involved.