Word of Honor

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I actually tried to watch one episode at first but wasn’t that into it. It seemed too trying to me for some reason. Then to motivate myself, I actually went to watch The Untamed first, lol. It was weird, but since they were compared by various groups, I thought I might as well start there. So, fans of this drama can thank the other one for motivating me to watch this. The second time around, I tried to be more patient and it took several episodes before I was actually into it. I also ended up creating a thread on Twitter and tweeted while watching as well. It helped motivate me to move forward. (Also, no one mention it, please. Because I got brain fog and ended up using the wrong character for “ling” so the hashtag was all wrong for that. So yeah, I know already. This is why Twitter needs an edit button, but they thought they knew better so whatever.)

First off, it was a really bad idea to change the name of the series to Word of Honor (山河令) instead of keeping it as Faraway Wanderers (天涯客). Because by the current official title, Ye Bai Yi would be the main lead. Yes, he was the person who held the piece in episode 13. I was madly confused about where the title came from when it had nothing to do with the two main leads at all. Then it took like that many episodes later for it to reveal. I was like, “Really?” Whoever thought of doing that did it on purpose. Sure, people remember it better in this current state, but it also got attached to The Untamed as well. Good or bad, you tell me. But seriously, not worth it at all. Because this series was decent in its own right. It didn’t need to be attached to some other work like that. Granted, The Untamed team also changed their title. However, it made much more sense, because it was still aimed at the main characters of the series. Chen Qing Ling (陳情令) aimed at Wei Wu Xian’s flute and its power. Word of Honor (山河令) sounded catchy but missed the mark. Unless they wanted to say it was meant to cover the overall plot and its conflict then okay, fine. And I didn’t mean to start the fans war up again OR pick on this team on purpose. I appreciated their effort and what they had to work with. But whoever the decision-makers were, sunk them by doing so.

Anyway, moving on, right? LOL!

Main Cast:

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  • Zhang Zhe Han (张哲瀚) as Zhou Zi Shu (周子舒) aka Ah Xu (阿絮). It was hard to get into his character or relate to him. I meant, there was enough mystery and all and his expressions were morbid enough for me to get the seriousness of the series. What made him unrelatable for me was his saint-like, too forgiving nature as an overall. Yeah, I got it that he suffered a lot, made some poor decisions when he was young so he felt guilty and was trying to repent. But he shouldn’t try to influence others when it wasn’t exactly his call. Disregarding the others’ POV and forcing his principles on them wasn’t helping either. It wasn’t that he was terrible, it was that he was too perfect that made it hard to relate to for me. (Yeah, I know, sounded too ironic with what we learned he did YET I described him as perfect. But he had pushed that forgiving thing too far for me that made it unrealistic.) He was fun to watch at times and I liked his burns toward several parties in here too. But that was about it. First time watching ZZH and I don’t know what to make of it, except he was indeed convincing. At first, not as much, but I thought the best part of his was probably when Ah Xu thought Lao Wen was dead. Then the aftermath of realizing he made a mistake and pulled out the nails too soon. It was devastating. His expression said it all. That was his defining scene of the whole series for me. I don’t mean to disregard his effort or whatever since this was my first time watching and I had nothing to go by. Perhaps, it was just the type of character that drawn me in or not.
  • Simon Gong Jun (龔俊) as Wen Ke Xing (溫客行) aka Lao Wen (老溫). Gong Jun was surprising addicting to watch. I don’t know if it was how the character was written, but his charm helped a lot with carrying the character throughout. Lao Wen’s thick-skinned nature knew no bound and Gong Jun’s taunting expression at times made it so humorous for those scenes. The majority of my laughter came from his up to no good schemes. He seriously could drive people up the wall with his acts. His trolling game was top-notch though. And omg, his burns toward others. However, I thought the majority of that was just to cover his tragic past. I guess, overall, it was the contrast of his character that pulled me in even more. Gong Jun sure delivered with making it lively and cheerful at the right time and also delivered quite well with his serious scenes as well. It give off the feeling like you’re in front and center with him, witnessing those scenes. I heard that some of his past performances were flops. So, I guess whatever guidance and experiences he had over time had allowed him to improve. His hard work indeed paid off for this series. Because he was indeed quite convincing.
  • Zhou Ye (周也) as Gu Xiang (顧湘). I actualy didn’t like her at first. I know, jaws drop, right? But it was the truth. She was too loud and annoying for my taste. It took me a while to get into her character. Then I realized she was just straightforward. At least, she got the skills to back up her talk, unlike some people. I found her funny as hell later too. Her burns were possibly influenced by her master somewhat. But she was on point regarding some matters. Who possessed the author to kill her off? I felt like choking when that scene rolled around–although I got spoiled somewhere along the way and knew it was coming.
  • Sun Xi Lun (孫浠倫) and Zhao Xiao Kun (赵晓坤) as Zhang Cheng Ling (張成嶺). Omg, was the kid unlucky or what? Also, felt really bad for him with his family tragedies and all, but he sure needed a lot of rescuing. Lao Wen was on target when he asked Ah Xu why Ah Xu didn’t take the poor kid to see a fortune-teller, lol.
  • Ma Wen Yuan (馬聞遠) as Cao Wei Ning (曹蔚寧). At first, I was afraid that he was one of those flaky characters as well. Can’t blame me because of how pretentious half of the population of those sects and clans were. We learned he was heavily influenced by his shi shu, not his master. So that was good. But really sad since he was also killed by that hypocrite. It was indeed very tragic. He was so kindhearted and optimistic about life. If only he survived through it all.

Supporting:

  • Chen Zi Han (陳紫函) as Tragicomic Ghost (喜喪鬼) aka Luo Fu Meng (羅浮夢). I haven’t watched her in ages. So it was interesting to see her in here.
  • Ke Nai Yu (柯乃予) as Beauty Ghost (艷鬼) aka Liu Qian Qiao (柳千巧). I actually liked her. She had such a tragic past. Yet she was also so soft-hearted, even letting that one scumbag go just because of his sweet words. Well, she drank the potion later and ended up killing him, so…not all lost? It seemed overkilled at that point, but whatever.
  • Hei Zi (黑子) as Gao Chong (高崇). I saw him posting some clips of his character in the series, lol. So, that piqued my curiosity a bit more. Believe it or not, he was one of the few reasons I wanted to check it out. As for his character, he totally trusted the wrong person. He died in vain after all the good intention he had. It was a mile coming because they were going to kill him one way or another anyway. The majority of those sects or clans just wanted the key. They didn’t care for reasons or whatever. So yeah, he was sacrificed because of their greed and Zhao Jing’s schemes.
  • Wang Ruo Lin (王若麟) as Zhao Jing (趙敬). The mastermind of all the schemes since ages ago leading up to the current situation. He sure was manipulative all right. He kept up a good front and all. I knew I couldn’t trust him from the start. Mostly because of his name. Yes, he sure had it going for him. What was wrong with his name? Zhao Jing reminded me of Zhao Zhi Jing (趙志敬) from The Return of the Condor Heroes. So yeah, hated that guy in there, such a hypocrite and despicable, the whole mile with being the bad guy yet no one was able to expose him until way later. So yeah, I just transferred it to this one. Also, those really righteous dudes in here looked fake as well. His good deeds via charity causes done around town was already a trademark to be super suspicious of him since that was how it often was with those stories. Always the super nice and kindhearted dudes making waves and retaining the good reputation in front of others. It wasn’t hard to detect there was something wrong with him. Yet I just didn’t realize how big of an impact he made to the overall story, that was all. I thought he got his deserved fate, considering how much he toyed with people’s lives throughout, trying to ascend and gain power. So, how did he like it when he became the person on the receiving end of some sort of scheme too? His downfall was lying to the Scorpion King once too many times.
  • Guo Jia Hao (郭家豪) as Shen Shen (沈慎). He was stubborn and rash at times, but somehow managed to see through the light. Can’t blame him too much. He was just too simple-minded. At least, he was loyal to his sworn brother and tried his best to find his niece. He didn’t care for the power grab stuff going on. Although he was seriously annoying at first and made me suspicious of him–or if he was involved with Zhao Jing’s schemes, he proved to be harmless later.
  • Rebecca Jin (金乐) as Gao Xiao Lian (高小憐). Gao Chong’s daughter.
  • Yang Wan Li (杨万里) as Deng Kuan (鄧寬). Gao Chong’s disciple, the one that was drugged and manipulated into giving false statements about his master.
  • Li Dai Kun (李岱昆) as Scorpion King (蠍王) aka Xie Er (蠍兒). So the majority learned that he was approached for the role of Wen Ke Xing first and turned it down. It was mentioned that he was afraid he couldn’t carry the role hence turning it down. Yet it made me wonder. Because his acting wasn’t bad. He carried his character really well, showing all the emotions toward his adopted father–whether it was feeling proud of himself to be praised, or the disappointment and resentment feelings of later. It was quite powerful. He was also quite ruthless toward his enemies and was capable of all sorts of schemes. However, he was still able to sympathize with Beauty Ghost and was shocked to learn of her death later on. Indeed a complex character overall.
  • Candice Zhao (赵茜) as Evil Bodhisattva (毒菩萨). Scorpion Sect assassin.
  • Yu Nai Jia (于乃佳) as Pretty Arhat (俏罗汉). Scorpion Sect assassin.
  • Liu Yue Tao (刘月涛) as Qin Song (秦松). Scorpion Sect assassin.
  • Pan Jian (潘健) as Jiang Lao Guai (蒋老怪). Scorpion Sect assassin.
  • Huang You Ming (黃宥明) as Ye Bai Yi (葉白衣). Sword Immortal. He was sure was crazy and could be so childish too. Talking about his random bickering and fighting with Lao Wen at the various points here. It was hilarious to watch in a way. He was stubborn in some things YET at least, he redeemed himself later. He wasn’t too, too unreasonable, I guess. Just hard to get past some things. Then he thought it over and managed to see past some things hence letting go and helping them instead of holding onto old principles. Well, he was already ancient. So, how could he change so fast? It made sense. He was also stuck in the snowy mountains for a very long time.
  • Kou Zhen Hai (寇振海) as Huang He (黃鶴). Beggar clan’s elder. Despicable. Even more despicable than Tao Hong and her husband. Because he wanted to sell off the poor girl to a brothel to get some money if he wasn’t able to use her for anything anymore. Disgusting old scumbag.

Others:

  • Bryan Leung as Old Guard (老守衛). It was funny seeing him in here with such a small role. But he delivered with humor. It reminded me of some old comedies he starred in ages back.
  • Normal Chui as Bi Chang Feng (畢長風). Ouch! He rather accepted the nails than stick around. That was how awful the place was. I felt bad for him. I seriously did.
  • Wang Rong (汪融) as Han Ying (韓英).
  • Miles Wei (魏哲鸣) as Jing Bei Yuan (景北淵) aka Seventh Lord (七爺).
  • Fan Jin Wei (范津玮) as Wu Xi (烏溪) aka Da Wu (大巫).
  • Wo Bo Qing (王铂清) as Mo Huai Yang (莫懷陽). Gentle Wind Swords Sect leader. Hated him. He killed my favorite couple.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

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  • Zhang Zhe Han and Gong Jun as Ah Xu and Lao Wen. In the words of Ah Xiang, Lao Wen seemed more human when he was with Ah Xu. Well, she knew her master best, so who am I to argue, right? LOL! Seriously, I think ZZH’s best scenes were with Gong Jun. Because most of their interactions sent me laughing for no apparent reason. Well, unless it was those super serious, intense debates. But I thought those scenes were essential to bring out ZZH’s character more. This wasn’t meant to be a dunk on ZZH, but it was because I couldn’t relate to his overly forgiving nature as much–like said before. They had a lot of hilarious exchanges throughout. Yet I felt their relationship only carried to a certain point. Another petty move on my part but if thought of in a serious manner, regardless of how much they disagreed on their principles, I felt Lao Wen was always ready to jump into action to defend and help Ah Xu. It couldn’t be said the same for Ah Xu, except for two times. Examples? The part where the Five Lakes Alliances tried to have a meeting, it didn’t go as planned, various parties wanted to snatch Cheng Ling, Lao Wen jumped in to help Ah Xu save Cheng Ling and get the kid out of there immediately. On the other hand, the scene where Gao Chong was framed and eventually led to his downfall? Both of them were arguing halfway through and Ah Xu totally abandoned Lao Wen, saying if they were so different, then they should part ways, etc. Then Lao Wen was left there to figure things out on his own. So much for friends. The two times I mentioned Ah Xu actually doing something to prove that he was Lao Wen’s friend? The time Ye Bai Yi almost killed Lao Wen. That speech was awesome from Ah Xu, saying how everyone could condemn or go after Lao Wen but not Ye Bai Yi. The other time? It was the part mentioned in his character discussion where he thought Lao Wen was dead and then went to the extreme of pulling out his nails. He finally stood up for Lao Wen and realized how naive his previous thoughts were. The irony? The majority were in on it, even Cheng Ling. It sucked to be the only one not knowing. But if people thought Lao Wen didn’t take him seriously, it was far from the truth. He thought a lot hence willing to change his views, etc. for Ah Xu. And who could forget how Lao Wen was willing to sacrifice for Ah Xu during the ending part? It was heartbreaking. So, their relationship to me was only fun to watch in times of random moments but didn’t really stick as something deeper than that if analyzed further. Yeah, I know, people are frustrated with my view. But I’m the odd one out who picked on the most ridiculous parts. But hey, we can’t all be the same.
  • Gong Jun/ Wen Ke Xing and Zhou Ye/ Gu Xiang as master and servant to siblings relationship. Seriously, I cracked up at their interactions time after time. They were hilarious together or apart. Because they talked behind each other’s backs, lol. He told her that he considered her as his sister. And they indeed looked like a pair of bickering siblings. Their burns toward one another at times. She was sure brave with her words, etc., not fearing backlash at all, considering his status. Yet there were equally touching moments between them. Like how he gave his blessing to her in regard to her upcoming marriage to Gao Wei Ning. She was indeed the princess of the Ghost Valley. They all dothed on her and prepared well. It was such a tragedy how things turned out. Her ending? It was so sad and heartbreaking. He went insane, which no one could blame him for, after realizing what was happening and tried to avenge her death. It was too much. That was also the part where I swore off on Priest’s future works. So good luck on me reading the novels now, lol. I know adaptations could be so different, but they managed to keep fans happy about the majority, right? So yeah.
  • Zhou Ye/ Gu Xiang and Ma Wen Yuan/ Cao Wei Ning. Omg, they cracked me up so much too. They reminded me of Huang Rong and Guo Jing, lol. Serious. He was such an honest guy and so clueless regarding some matters that it was lovable. She was so smart and fierce at times, but her heart was so soft when it came to some situations as well. They were the highlight of the show when it came to fans wanting to find a couple to ship for. Yet that all went to hell when the ending rolled around. Seriously, it didn’t matter if they got a happy ending in a side story. It wasn’t the same, come on. Do it right the first time around instead of that for the purpose of cranking up the drama. Yeah, I missed the point again and super unromantic right now. But seriously, I hated their ending. So tragic. How could anyone have the heart to kill them like that? Well, the author did, so…yeah. On the upside, Zhou Ye and Ma Wen Yuan got to work on an AD together, so…not all lost? They should star in some modern romance together. That would make up for this one. I know it wouldn’t be the same. But come on, we need some compensation as fans.

Discussions:

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  • The overwhelming product placement in the name of Woolong nuts. Granted, it was their sponsor after all, so they had to stick it in there to fulfill their duties. But seriously, it broke the flow of the story at the most random point. They sort of covered it up in a somewhat crafty way, but you know it was meant for the sponsors.
  • The costumes and hairstyles. It was indeed very nice and well thought out. I was impressed. Despite them being on budget, etc., it was nice seeing how so many characters had several outfit changes throughout. Except for the Tao Hao couple who shared an outrageous set of outfits, lol. That was horrendous–even if I didn’t understand too much about fashion. It stuck out like insane. It was too loud. But seriously though, I saw some reused outfits from other dramas in here. But once again, considering they were on a budget, it was already an awesome job.
  • The music. I think fans would be love the efforts of the production team for composing such a soundtrack for the drama. It was suitable for the story, etc. No doubt about it. It highlighted their bonds, etc.
  • Location. They’re on a budget I know. It was noticeable with some of the reused sets. Yet, it wasn’t too, too bad. I especially liked the peach blossoms scenes though. It was quite a portrait all right.
  • The ending. Anyone who read the novel (NOT me, obviously) or watched the bonus scene knew what happened. But let’s talk about how messy the wrap up was. Considering how I admitted that I didn’t read the novel, I wouldn’t know if it was changed or not. However, the wrap up was really messy. They sure wanted to kill the majority of the characters to send a message or something. Or did the writers give up? Because they killed about 95% of the important characters in here. Yeah, I got it, it was a brutal battle, an ambush, etc. But come on, really?

Remember how I went on this outrageous rant about The Untamed being like Xiao Ao Jiang Hu? Yeah, I’m going to do the same with this one. Word of Honor was actually a combination of Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber and Handsome Siblings. Okay, you can throw a dash of The Return of the Condor Heroes because of the ending scene too. The reason why I say it was like HSDS was because of how Cheng Ling kept getting captured and chased by all the sects or various parties claiming to be friends and wanting information from him or the piece of the key as well. It was a similar theme to Wu Ji–with him being asked about his godfather and the whereabouts of the dragon saber. The fact that they shared the same family name caused me to see the link faster. The reason why I say Handsome Siblings was the ghost valley aspect and the complicated background Wen Ke Xing had. And the ending scene reminded me madly of the part where Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nv practiced their martial arts, lol. (I soon found out after making that comment that someone actually made an MV of it comparing one of the adaptations to this series, so don’t say I’m the only one making the connection, lol.)

Recommended? I think that fans of the main cast would love it. It was at a bearable length. The humor kept the series going for me. But if you loved the author’s work, I thought it would be fun to watch and see what happened with the adaptation.

The Four 2013: Review

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How was it? It started out quite well, actually. Then the ending sort of killed it. Or more like the last ten to fifteen episodes. It just dragged on and on and got repetitive with some craziness that seemed endless. Otherwise, it would have been quite good. Too bad.

Main Cast/ Characters:

  • Hans Zhang (张翰) as Leng Xue (冷血). This is my first time ever watching Zhang Han. I must say that after watching this, he has become my second favorite Leng Xue. (The ultimate favorite is Law Lok Lam, lol.) He exuded the coldness quite well. (Or was he naturally that way? Joking, lol.) But when he opened up later and learned how to joke, he was really funny and cute. I liked both sides of him. Even at times when he didn’t mean to joke, he cracked me up with his attitude at times. His story, like others, didn’t lack exaggerations. Leng Xue was actually raised by wolves YET they managed to go all out with weaving such a story. Good one. LOL! Yeah, that was sarcasm. But anyway, not bad, just some parts could be done without, especially the love triangles.
  • Yang Yang (杨洋) as Wu Qing (無情). Strikingly handsome and graceful. He was supposed to be in a wheelchair but then I looked past that, considering how in the past adaptations, they did make his character not in wheelchairs so I had those adaptations to get used to already, lol. His wheelchair was supposed to be super cool too so it wasn’t like he was a weakling or anything like that. Anyway, in here, I loved how Wu Qing was able to control his fan so gracefully–with it dividing into pieces to attack others and then returning in whole again. It was really exaggerated but it demonstrated how strong his inner energy was hence being able to control it so well. It also fitted in with Wen Rui An’s exaggerations in the books at times and how he emphasized the importance of inner energy. As for Yang Yang, he was major eye candy all right. However, I felt the whole opening his eyes really wide at times was kind of repetitive for me. Other than that, he was fine as Wu Qing. In fact, he exuded the pureness aura although he had been through a lot. (And was I the only thinking it was ironic that he didn’t care for Chu Li Mo at first when she liked him yet later ended up liking her when she was already with Leng Xue? I meant it wasn’t like he was mean to her at the beginning since he was the only patience one willing to teach her stuff and look out for her YET he didn’t really care past that. But later when he realized how much she helped him and didn’t mind him having Ru Yan in his heart and having a piece of his past with him, he began to see her in a different light. He was also struggling at times, seeing how Leng Xue and Li Mo got along, etc. Then he reminded himself Leng Xue was his good brother, he shouldn’t think that way.)
  • William Chan (陳偉霆) as Zhui Ming (追命). Hilarious and charming. I just didn’t like the hair they did for him. It made him look like some middle-aged woman. (Mean, I know, but it looked that way.) After getting past the hair (although still super hard), his character was really fun and lovable. Sure, he got into some randomness too and I didn’t even know why he liked the spoiled princess so much but then I reminded myself that feelings were feelings. Aside from that, he was really curious and had his own radar hence being to detect and solve cases, just like the others. What was funnier was how in the novel, he was supposed to be the oldest YET he looked so young in here. Still, because of his portrayal, he had become my second favorite Zhui Ming. (My ultimate favorite is Lu Xing Yu.)
  • Mao Zi Jun (茅子俊) as Qie Shou (鐵手). Um, not sure how to describe him because he didn’t seem to shine like the others. I meant when he was together with the other three, he was awesome with his moves and all too, but when he was alone, his story bored me. The childhood story was tragic and all. I totally felt for him. I meant the romance and others. I felt like they (the writers) sort of toned down on his character or something. He did indeed had his own story but I felt like it leaned more toward romance than letting him show off his skills. He did have them, but it wasn’t shining as much as the others. Something was missing. I didn’t have a problem with the actor.
  • Howie Huang (黄文豪) as Zhu Ge Zheng Wo (诸葛正我). The guards’ boss. He was supposed to be super wise and all. He was their leader after all. But I think they sort of stretched some plots too much, especially later on hence making him not as sharp as he should be. Yet I enjoyed his role nevertheless. I will admit that I didn’t like the idea of him allowing Chu Li Mo to join the guards and then promoting her so quickly. I felt he was moving too fast with his decisions regarding that. I understood why he allowed Chu Li Mo to be by Leng Xue’s side so she could calm him down later. Yet too much attention on her had caused many troubles for her and the massive bullying and jealousy from the others. I felt it was better to just let her be by Leng Xue’s side and be invisible. Even if she was still being bullied by others, at least she wasn’t targeted for being a favorite of Zhu Ge’s. In a way, he was happy to have found his shi mei’s daughter and was trying to help her with her acquired abilities YET I thought that was enough with helping her train, no need to make her stick out like a sore thorn to the others. (I liked her and all, but I just didn’t want more trouble for her from other parties, that was all.)
  • Mickey He (何晟铭) as An Shi Geng (安世耿). The image they gave him made me feel like he was a eunuch more than a prince, lol. Mean but yeah. Then, later on, I realized he was dressed in that way and dancing because he was mimicking his deceased lover. His story was indeed tragic and I was actually rooting for him to overthrow the king, but I gave up on him when he destroyed Wu Qing and Ru Yan. Hey, he couldn’t see the connection between his and Wu Qing’s? What he did wasn’t any different than the king. Yet I guess he had gone nuts by then so he didn’t care about anyone but himself. He was already repressed with not being acknowledged by the royal family so I think losing Die Wu was the final straw. Aside from that, like Mickey He singing the sub-theme.
  • Janine Chang (張鈞甯) as Chu Li Mo (楚离陌). I’m a Janine fan so she was the reason I had started watching in the first place. She was quite talented in here and indeed one of the reasons why she was chosen by her father to be placed on the list and then eventually sent to the palace for the king. When I say ‘talent’, I didn’t just mean her ability to read minds and communicate with animals as well, but I meant her various talents that were required of the female population back then. Then there was her intelligence as well. Her character didn’t disappoint at first, but the plot, later on, stretched so much that her character had lost ground. That made her less awesome in a sense, reducing her firm standing at times regarding matters. Okay, I know in a way, it seemed like she was being ungrateful and didn’t keep her words (or so some people would think) with Ji Yao Hua about staying away from Leng Xue after Ji Yao Hua saved her from that one serial rapist. (Which I don’t remember anymore if she had promised or not, or it was left unfinished for her to think about it.) Yet I liked how strong and persistent she was in not giving up on Leng Xue (aka not treating him like an object to be tossed back and forth between them) and how she said love couldn’t be treated in that way. (Forgot the exact word but it was the part where she was hesitating and saying if she should follow Ji Yao Hua’s request, etc.) What made me lost it somewhat was when she was captured near the end and begged Ji Yao Hua to let Leng Xue go and how she wished she hadn’t appeared in their lives or Ji Yao Hua and Leng Xue would’ve been together. She didn’t beg at first but did cave in later. I do understand she was just trying to protect Leng Xue and redeemed herself (realizing how much she had hurt Ji Yao Hua and only wanted Ji Yao Hua to stop hurting others), BUT that had made it pathetic. Why did she need to beg? (I agreed with Leng Xue’s decisions more even if it had appeared cruel in a sense. Like he said, they’d known each other–he and Ji Yao Hua that was, so how could she disappoint him like that? He meant it on the level of not trusting him or the rest of the others at the Shen Hou place.)
  • Jia Qing (贾青) as Ji Yao Hua (姬瑶花). Like I said in the other posts, I felt it was really off with her character and I tried super hard later on to ignore it, but it didn’t really work for me. Even when the story was getting quite long-winded and inconsistent at times and I no longer cared to pay attention anymore, I felt like they should just scrap her character altogether or something. Okay, okay, that was mean. Considering how Jia Qing had earned my support for her after watching these past few years. But like I said before (and quite annoyingly as some of you might realize) with how her character was actually associated with Wu Qing’s character in the novels and NOT Leng Xue so that was why I was just plain annoyed and didn’t care for her as much as I should be. After putting all those aside (temporarily), I think I did feel sorry for her. An Shi Geng really roped her in with destroying her path and making her go on the road of no return. But that didn’t mean that I side with her regarding the Leng Xue situation. Not because I shipped the main couple, but it was more like I never cared to pity the other character just because she liked the main lead and didn’t get her feelings returned. (It goes back to the whole thing with watching modern dramas and rolling my eyes when people think since someone did so much for so and so, the other person should end up with that someone. In short: prize-winning strategy.) The inconsistent with some parts of the plot made it harder to sympathize with her also, considering how one minute she was sooooo righteous and being a model person BUT the next minute she wanted to take the easy road (or played favorites with some people and didn’t care to catch this one girl cheating while doing the exam–even if she knew the difficulties and/or pressures the other girl had to endure YET there were other ways to help, like train the girl well NOT tolerate cheating, etc). In a way, it was just that she was torn and it was one of the reasons why An Shi Geng used that to lure her to his side. Yet what got me scratching my head was how she seemed to let go of the whole trying to win Leng Xue over already and even told that one lady not to kill Chu Li Mo YET later she went all out and acted like Leng Xue abandoned her and called Chu Li Mo a whore? Really? I got the part where she lost her father so she was devastated and had no hope. Yet how did that change so fast? Was there a cut somewhere that I didn’t see? An Shi Geng tempted her with the pills and then the next time she appeared, she was already working for him. Were the pills responsible too? (Okay, okay, love doesn’t make sense and make people do crazy stuff YET some of the stuff made her character inconsistent so it was hard to sympathize or like her.) What got me even more pissed off at her was how she blamed Zhu Ge Zheng Wo for pushing her further and siding with Chu Li Mo. He treated her like his daughter and trusted her and shielded her from the other guys’ wrath yet she did that to him? Okay, some of the scenes she did not witness firsthand YET she admitted to An Shi Geng that Zhu Ge Zheng Wo treated her like a daughter so An Shi Geng didn’t need to worry about her being discovered, etc.  So yeah, some of these totally threw me off and I didn’t care anymore. Not to mention the whole wearing red outfits when she turned badass. Really? It’s soooo overused of recent. (And for the record, red outfits in association with badass characters had been used in the past as long as I could remember watching stuff in the ’80s and ’90s so someone didn’t invent the trends recently SO don’t act like Jia Qing had copied her. I’m not being contradicting by making fun of the whole red outfits trends one moment and then turning around to defend Jia Qing in another. What I mean is I’m so sick of it being used over and over again of recent. I also want to clarify that it has been around as a symbol of badass characters WAY longer already.) Despite all the gaps and confusion, I still felt Jia Qing did a good job. It was just that the plot made me feel annoyed and was unable to look past the whole novel links. (Because as hard as it is to believe, I actually loosened up regarding novel links in some situations.) I think that if they hadn’t included the love triangle, I would’ve liked it more. There were already too many romances going on in here. It would make her character better if they just let her have her own story with her father and how she was tempted and maybe betray them too but later realized she was wrong. Or was that too bland for some people? And what irked me more was how she was the big boss in the novel yet was reduced to just some small follower of An Shi Geng. It was all right that they didn’t want to make her 100% villain, but seriously? Oh, another thing was, I think they sacrificed some of Qie Shou’s awesomeness and scenes because they focused all the other conflicts and time on her. Yes, here I am picking on her character again. But seriously, I felt after all the series was called The Four, NOT Ji Yao Hua, so I have the right to protest, for Qie Shou’s sake.
  • Emma Wu (吳映潔) aka Gui Gui (鬼鬼) as Lang Yi Yi (凌依依). Although she was really lively and vibrant, I couldn’t even get into her character until almost at the end of the series. I didn’t even know why she was in here and I felt her character was really annoying. I will say Gui Gui was pretty and had a cute image in here, but it was the character that irked me. What irked me even more was how she kept getting into senseless arguments with Zhui Ming and wouldn’t leave him alone at times, nagging him about stuff. I only liked her character when she was torn with leaving at times and feeling she didn’t match with Qie Shou. Then there were some scenes near the end where she helped take care of Zhui Ming when he was poisoned and turned into a kid. There was also the part where she convinced Princess Zi Luo not to chase after the guys anymore and let them go do their own things–without having to worry for the girls, etc.

Others:

  • Hao Ze Jia (郝泽嘉) as Nu Nu (奴奴). Leng Xue’s childhood friend–although she treated him like her master instead of on the same level later on when she met him again. She was loyal to her people and was quite stubborn at times. Yet in the end, she had chosen to protect Leng Xue. He declared her his sister later on and tried to protect her yet she was too impulsive to trust his words. It was understandable since their whole tribe was destroyed. Yet she had entrusted her faith in the wrong party and paid heavily. Regardless, it was tragic how things turned out.
  • Creese Li (黎一萱) as Die Wu (蝶舞) and Nan Gong Ru Yan (南宫如烟). Portraying two roles, but as Die Wu, we only learned of her through the eyes of An Shi Geng (via flashbacks). As Ru Yan, she appeared first in Wu Qing’s flashbacks and then later in the present time. Both of her characters attempted suicide, only one was successful. Not much was known of Die Wu, except for flashbacks throughout and An Shi Geng’s words, so there wasn’t much to go on. But her ending was seriously tragic. Ru Yan was seen gentle the majority of the time and seemed to be quite talented in Wu Qing’s flashbacks. An Shi Geng actually managed to rescue her and tried to turn her into Die Wu since she looked like Die Wu. She didn’t care to acknowledge him even after surviving. How could she when the only reason she had for living was death threats against her parents and the rest of her family? The time she was restricted, there wasn’t much development for her. (Obviously, I know, eye-rolling moment, right?) When she was finally rescued by the others and reunited with Wu Qing, I really liked her for her braveness and understanding nature. No wonder she captured Wu Qing’s heart.
  • Yang Ming Na (杨明娜) as Jiao Niang (娇娘). Elegant and graceful in her own way. She was also funny at times too. But she also had her wise moments. She often tried to help with solving conflicts–both among her siblings trying to fight for whatever reason (and the seriousness behind it all) and when she had to resolve the silly fights between the younger generation.
  • Wang Hai Yang (王海洋) as Yu Chun Tong (于春童). Traitor. Either when he was working as a constable or when he followed An Shi Geng, he betrayed them eventually. He was despicable and probably could be someone viewers hated without caring much. He got what he deserved and I didn’t care for him.
  • Jiang Yu Chen (姜雨辰) as Princess Zi Luo (紫罗公主). I found her irritatingly annoying at first. Not because she chased Leng Xue and ignored Zhui Ming in totality. I just found that she was soooo spoiled and hated her for causing so much trouble, wanting to go along and eventually got kidnapped and they had to rescue her and all. Yet later, I realized that at least she was honest with her goals and what she wanted. What was more, she didn’t want to pressure Leng Xue into marrying her with some deals. At first, I thought that was her and I felt like she had gone past beyond restored as a likable character. But her explanation later on and how she found out the real reason Leng Xue agreed to marry her, she severed their ties. It was also because she realized she didn’t like him the way she thought but was just worshiping him because everyone dubbed him as a hero.
  • Wang Shuang (王双) as Mu Xue (慕雪). Mo Er Chi’s sister. At first, I liked her and how she got along so well with Chu Li Mo like they were sisters and made Li Mo felt like she could stay there. However, I seriously got annoyed with her in the later parts of the story when she kept nagging Wu Qing and tagging him. Yeah, I got it, she was worry for him and only wanted him to go on living, not dwelling on his past. However, she kept forcing him to acknowledge some stuff that was annoying. Why make him forget his past? It was a part of him. Instead of letting him have his own space, she totally invaded it and forced him to acknowledge her existence. Perhaps that was the difference between her and Li Mo–with Li Mo wanting him to remember and not minding that he had such a past with Ru Yan versus how Mu Xue was even on the verge of jealousy with Ru Yan and even Li Mo later on. Also, she wanted to follow them that one time when they were chasing down An Shi Geng. It wasn’t like they were together so she wanted to tag along. She just wanted to be with him. He told her it was dangerous and all YET she didn’t listen. (I understand why Leng Xue wanted Li Mo to follow since he lost her one time already, not wanting to separate from her ever YET Wu Qing and Mo Xue weren’t together, how could she keep pestering him like that?) Ironically it was after her death that he acknowledged her and was depressed again. Even though it was clarified (or seemed to hint at the end) that he didn’t love her, just felt super guilty because she died saving him. (‘Cause he was seen holding Ru Yan’s old keepsakes again.)
  • Liu Xin (刘鑫) as Liu Chun Ping (刘春萍). Annoying and lame. I didn’t know why her scenes were there with her obsessing over Wu Qing and Leng Xue when they could use that to focus on other main events. Again, not targeting the actress but the character and how the writers had paved the plot.
  • Zhou Shao Dong (周绍栋) as Prince Xiang (襄王). He was just plain not bright. Got it that he wanted to protect An Shi Geng because of An’s tragedies of not being acknowledged by the royal family, but he was so easily tricked. Or perhaps that was why. But I didn’t think much of him. Glad that he didn’t become too much of the problem later on, realizing what was going on and how it would affect the majority of the citizens, etc.
  • Benny Qian (钱泳辰) as Yan Zhao (燕赵). One of the Four Evils.
  • Zhou Mu Yin (周牧茵) as Tang Chou (唐仇). One of the Four Evils.
  • Ma Wen Long (马文龙) as Tu Wan (屠晚). One of the Four Evils.
  • Cheng Cheng (程诚) as Zhao Hao (赵好). One of the Four Evils.
  • Marco Li (李耀景) as Wen Ru Yu (溫如玉). Another villain role and this one was minimal. He seemed to be very ruthless yet ended up being killed off by An Shi Geng, which wasn’t too much of a stretch but I guess kind of lame in a way.
  • Ma Kui (馬騤) as Wen Wu Chang (溫無常). Wen Ru Yu’s son. Wasn’t surprised he got offed by one of Wen Ru Yu’s disciple. He had it coming–with the other guy’s jealousy and all.
  • Hanson Ying (应昊茗) as Mo Er Chi (莫尔赤). Mo Xue’s brother. Didn’t care much for him although they did create some funny moments at first. I thought he was the comedian in here YET he ended up being one of the scariest beings in here, killing off his family so he could guarantee his thrown and eliminate all threats (even his father and little brother).
  • Liu Si Tong (刘思彤) as Bian Hong Yao (卞红药). Chu Li Mo’s mother. I thought she would never appear but will only be mentioned throughout. Yet she was a piece of the overall puzzle. It explained a lot of tragedies in the past. But what was a stretch was how she was still alive after all these years of being frozen up. Okay, other factors in here were bending the word ‘exaggeration’ too, but this stuck out with me the most. Not that I wanted her to die, but it seemed too much of a stretch.
  • Yao Yue Li (岳跃利) as Chu Yan Liang (楚颜良). Chu Li Mo’s father. Weak and annoying. Didn’t think much of him. If it wasn’t for him, Li Mo wouldn’t end up being chased and targeted throughout. He had a choice to put his daughter on the list or not, but he chose to just so they could immerse in richness? I can’t remember if it was mandatory or not anymore, but I felt utterly annoyed with him for it.
  • He Jia Qia (何佳恰) as Ah Qi Nuo (阿绮娜).
  • Michelle Bai (白冰) as Nine-Tailed Fox (九尾狐). I actually felt sorry for her. She only wanted to save her husband yet paid with her life in the end. There were things she didn’t want to do, like how she actually imprisoned that one servant girl she tried to impersonate (not kill off) so it showed she wasn’t all bad. Like said before, she only taken a chance with saving her husband. Like many in here, she was deceived and used by An Shi Geng. Yet I sympathized with her the most. (Aside from Nu Nu that was.)
  • Han Dong (韩栋) as Zhang Sheng (张生). Nine-Tailed Fox’s husband. Interestingly funny to see Han Dong in here. Yes, this was before he had a popularity surge, but still funny to see him as just a minor character. He delivered quite well–even with limited time.
  • Zhang Meng (张檬) as Hui Lan (蕙兰). One of the brides that got her husband stolen from her on the night of their wedding. What was even more tragic was how she got killed off because she was helping others. Enjoyed her brief appearance.
  • Zheng Shuang (鄭爽) as Wen Bing Er (溫冰兒). OMG, I didn’t realize that was Zheng Shuang. She looked different from Legend of the Ancient Sword. Even though I watched Legend of the Ancient Sword after this but she looked so different so I didn’t make the connection until I check the cast list again to do this review. I really liked her character in here although she only appeared a bit. She was impressive and simple. I guess because I liked her green outfit and how she wasn’t in your face type of character. She was just there to help and contributed to the story.
  • Huang Ming (黄明) as Du Gong Zi (杜公子). The guy Princess Zi Luo used to rile Zhui Ming up when they were in disagreements.
  • Zong Feng Yan (宗峰岩) as Wu Hen Gong Zi (无痕公子). Serial Rapist. Wow, just wow. I didn’t know why they created his character and just plain kill him off right there. Like a mini case and showed how Ji Yao Hua wanted to just kill Chu Li Mo right there (and how she was torn, etc). But other than that, it seemed like just one of those side characters that could do without for the plot.
  • Wang Kui Rong (王奎荣) as Prince Zhu (朱王爺). Leng Xue’s adopted father. I seriously was convinced he was involved with killing all the people of Leng Xue’s tribe. I totally fell for it. Although, I know An Shi Geng couldn’t be trusted but Prince Zhu made it suspicious at times. It wasn’t until later when he was finally controlled and imprisoned that I was a bit more convinced he wasn’t at fault.

Friendships / Romances / Others:

  • The Four Guards as Good Brothers. Regardless of their attitude or randomness at times, they really lived up to being brothers. They were really loyal toward one another and would put that on top of anything else. Like that one time Zhui Ming insisting on saving Wu Qing, not chasing after the princess, etc. Even if he knew that they should save the princess first (because of the law of the land and how the royal family was important, etc). Then there was how they all supported one another throughout.
  • Hans/Leng Xue and Janine/Chu Li Mo. They were sooooo addicting to watch. To be honest (possibly brutality honest), they were the only couple I cared for in here from the start. It was just that they were more intriguing to watch for further developments. It was just that the others annoyed me at one point or another. Anyway, I was trying to see how they would finally stop fighting. It wasn’t like they were bad, but it was because they were clashing at times. I really liked how Leng Xue got out of his shell near the end. It was so cute. I also liked how she tried to find out what was wrong with him, not blindly believing that he had changed. She finally left him alone, but it was because he didn’t want to tell her, not because she hated him for abandoning her. Then later when Princess Zi Luo declared that he was free from the marriage deal, he chased after her and she made him yell the love declaration so loud, lol.
  • Howie Huang and Yang Ming Na. Collaborated once as husband and wife in the XAJH. Although there wasn’t much about them in here, I loved them together. They were the other couple that I liked. Even if they were an older couple and possibly many do not care for. But I enjoyed their moments. Somewhat cute yet still retained a sense of maturity, not trying to make them all mushy like the younger couples in here.
  • Yang Yang/Wu Qing and Ceese/Ru Yan. Seriously, their story was soooo tragic. They had their cute moments but I felt they were the most mature couple, having been through so much already. Too bad it had turned out that way for them.
  • William/Zhui Ming and Jiang Yu Chen/Zi Luo. Again, I didn’t care much for them at first but did like his character a lot. Later on, though, she was paying back major time for her past tortures of him. It was hilarious to watch and I felt they were so cute.
  • Mao Zi Jun/Qie Shou and Gui Gui/Yi Yi. Like I said many times before, I didn’t care much for them. Not until later when their stories got more complicated. The struggles between him trying to get her to stop the other thing was taking too much time as well. It wasn’t until Zhu Ge Zheng Wo stepped in and sorted it out for them that things moved along, lol. Zhu Ge knew all along and wanted them to resolve their own matters, but he didn’t realize they were that slow hence giving them some pointers. So after that, it went smoother and how nice it was to see her character evolved and his being able to focus on the main situation again. Sure, they could be cute, but I think their story needed to be worked out better.

Discussions and other rantings:

  • Was Chu Li Mo a third party? This was emphasized throughout the story. Well, it was more like from the girls following Ji Yao Hua. Their wild imagination was really on high during the beginning of the story. Even if ranking with Chu Li Mo’s real identity and how she was nowhere near the comparison of the backgrounds of both the princess and Ji Yao Hua, but that didn’t make it their advantage over Chu Li Mo. Considering how Leng Xue wasn’t into that stuff. He was after all a prince himself. Yet he didn’t look down on others because of that ranking. He rated them on a different scale. Not to mention how he was much too serious the majority of the time. Hey, his nickname said it all. But back to the main question, was Chu Li Mo a third party in Leng Xue and Ji Yao Hua’s relationship? I seriously didn’t think Leng Xue and Ji Yao Hua had anything going on–even WAY before Chu Li Mo came into the picture. I meant sure, they were good comrades and had gotten along quite well over the years they’d known each other. Leng Xue sure was protective of her at times too, because of how her old wound had affected her health and all. But I think she was in the siblings’ zone already. If he had ever liked her, he already reacted. Because he was a straightforward type of person and he was quite possessive. (So not a good trait, lol.) BUT that was too obvious with him being sooo protective and possessive over Chu Li Mo in the later parts of the story. Even if others had decided that he and Ji Yao Hua were a couple in the past, it didn’t affect him. Some people might claim that not explaining might just equal to admitting. But he didn’t care to say those stuff to everyone. If they wanted to assume, just assume. His most obvious reactions were directly toward Ji Yao Hua. So it wasn’t like he was leading her on or anything. He always treated her like a sister. That was it. And he did try to explain to Ji Yao Hua at one point, saying that he wanted to say it out a long time ago already YET she stopped him and said she understood. Of course, she only wanted to preserve some dignity and didn’t want to hear him say it out so thoroughly (which was understandable). Then in the later parts when he was poisoned, Leng Xue had emphasized many times that he didn’t want Yao Hua to keep taking care of him like that, because it was also torturing him that he couldn’t do anything for her in return. In a way, I felt he was taking care of her like a little sister and was protective of her since whenever because of that connection. It was like he only had her as a sibling for a while, then along came Chu Li Mo and he fell in love and wanted to focus on Li Mo AND then his sister was envious of the attention she no longer got so there it went. It felt that way to me. I’m not trying to convince anyone to ship Leng Xue/Li Mo. I just felt that Ji Yao Hua’s feelings toward Leng Xue were always one-sided so the whole whore-calling was soooo immature.
  • The ending. I think I declared it one of my favorites of recent series too early. Because the last ten episodes were excruciatingly painful to watch. Or was that the last fifteen? ‘Cause I swear some stuff could be cut out. Like everyone had something to say at times. It was dragging out too much. I don’t mean discussions to solve cases, but if there were side situations, everyone had to say it. Or some side nagging with whatever the situation was. It was driving me insane. This, like recent series, was definitely character-driven and not plot-driven.
  • Hans Zhang vs. William Chan. Okay, some people were fighting because of how Zhang Han seemed to be in the limelight and William not so much. Or more like their characters. This series was filmed in the same year as Legend of the Ancient Sword. I read somewhere this one might have been filmed first. (NOT sure, I wasn’t paying attention to the other one at first, only followed this one at that time.) Around that time, Zhang Han was really popular (still is) and so he had many projects and more opportunities. William didn’t become SUPER popular until after Legend of the Ancient Sword was broadcasted. So stop fighting.
  • More cases, please. Seriously, I was intrigued at first, like really pulled in. But the cases sort of deteriorated and gave way for many catfights and unnecessary side stories so that had lost my interest later on. Yet I tried to hold on for the main plot to see how it was going. Not to mention how some of An Shi Geng’s flashbacks were taking up too much time. It was getting quite repetitive. In fact, most of the flashbacks were driving me insane. It took too much time. Maybe if they cut some of those out and included more explanation for what they did later on, it would be better. Because they did have quite a few story arches that seemed like good ideas but weren’t executed as nicely as should be.
  • The costumes and hairdos. Seriously, some were all right. But others got me yelling “What in the world?” at other times.
  • Fighting techniques. Seriously, these past years, I think I’m beginning to stop caring about them being lazy and taking the easy way out. But this is one of the rare ones that I could sort of make up some excuse for them. Mostly because Wen Rui An’s martial arts emphasize a lot on being able to manipulate inner energy and all. So I would say it wouldn’t be too much since he did exaggerate a lot in some fighting scenes and its descriptions. So I won’t pick on the production team for that.

Funny Moments:

  • The majority of Leng Xue and Chu Li Mo scenes. They were a riot to watch, clashing so much from the start yet developed into a much cuter relationship. Then one of the epic moments must be where Princess Zi Luo wanted Chu Li Mo’s room because it was the one next to Leng Xue’s room. Leng Xue walked in on their conversation and asked what was wrong. After knowing the situation, he told Chu Li Mo to listen to the princess and let her have the room. Chu Li Mo asked where would she be sleeping. He told her in his room, LOL! That was a riot! Loved him for that! Not that he was going to do anything since he was a gentleman after all. But he wasn’t caring for those catfights or BS, even from the princess.
  • Zhui Ming scenes. He was a riot all right. So dramatic and so playful. I totally enjoyed his crazy moments, even if it was outright sabotaging others when he was in disagreements with the princess. Maybe it was William. Not sure. But yeah, loved those moments of his.
  • Zhui Ming and Qie Shou scenes. They were seriously too funny together. I enjoyed those scenes even more than when they were with their significant others. They were a riot with being too nosy and trying to get into everyone’s business when they were at Jiao Niang’s place. Like when they interrogated Wu Qing and tried to find out what was going on, etc. Wu Qing bumped their heads together (literally) and told them that they were too nosy. LOL!

Recommended? I think you could watch it for your favorites. ‘Cause I enjoyed it somewhat but the later episodes dragging on (as said many times in this review) totally got me disappointed. It was definitely killing the pace.

The Lost Tomb: Review

(image credit: as marked)

I finally made my way to watching this. LOL! In fact, I decided to kick some of the other series aside to focus on this one. Besides, it’s only twelve episodes, so why not?

Before I dive in and then after watching, I swear I was looking toward Season 2. Yet after hunting down to read some news, I just want to plain drop it and go for the novel. I’ll just imagine the cast in their roles (minus the extra characters, of course). It’s really sad. I didn’t know about so many senseless dramas going on behind the scenes while following the drama since I only grab pictures and read bits and pieces here and there so I didn’t realize so much had been going on. But after reading some more stories from this one site, I was really shocked. (Check out shimokuren‘s comments for all the details.) Seriously? How petty could some people get? But I guess A LOT. I have to confess (if it wasn’t obvious before), I want to watch this because of Ken Chang hence most of the updates before. I do know about the novels (after hunting around to do updates) and it’s on my ‘to read’ list. That was it. Now that I’d learned of all the mess, I don’t think I want to watch anymore. Besides, Ken Chang rarely appears anyway. Not to mention, I don’t know how much cutting is going to go on with future seasons. ‘Cause I thought because of my broken understanding, I didn’t get the story. But the reason why some scenes were so confusing or if details didn’t add up, it was because of the cuts.

Main Cast:

  • Li Yi Feng (李易峰) as Wu Xie (吳邪). I felt it was similar to his acting in Legend of the Ancient Sword, except he wasn’t possessed. But I think I understood why in the other one since his character was called ‘wooden-face’ many times and how he was so sheltered since little so it made sense. But this one, I couldn’t understand why there was inconsistency with him at times appearing to be lively and getting into schemes with High Shao and Fatty Wang yet at other times seemed clueless or passive.
  • Tiffany Tang Yan (唐嫣) as Ah Ning (阿寧). She didn’t appear much in here, but her character was intriguing enough. In a way, it was refreshing to watch her portraying a fierce character after all those recently ‘trying to be cute’ characters. (Which I swear I had to drop, sorry, but more because of the roles and not totally because of her.)
  • Yang Yang (杨洋) as Zhang Qi Ling (張起靈) aka Xiao Ge (小哥). At first, I didn’t recognize Yang Yang because I only watched him recently in The Four when I was catching up. Not to mention his face was covered for the majority of the time. The image was also different (of course) so it was harder to see the connection. But when they showed different angles, I realized it was indeed him. I was impressed with his acting in here (more than in The Four) because, in the other one, he only had to look good and smile most of the time. (Sure, he looked devastated enough when there were tragic scenes and I sympathized with him. But it was kind of repetitive at times.) In here, he had to act with his eyes a lot and how he didn’t exaggerate was a bonus. Then his mysterious aura plus the action scenes. Who in the world could resist, right? What made me feel kind of strange was how he was less involved later on. But then when I read about the cuts, it made a lot of sense why he wasn’t around anymore.
  • Liu Tian Zuo (劉天佐) as Wang Yue Ban (王月半) aka Fatty Wang (王胖子). Hilarious since the beginning. I think he was natural throughout and lighted up the scene whenever he appeared. Yet he sure jinxed them a lot. Since although he saved them at the beginning, his miscalculations had led them into even more trouble. Then his snarky remarks.
  • Ken Chang (張智堯) as Wu San Sheng (吳三省) aka Third Uncle (三叔). I’m a Ken fan so I will be biased, lol. I liked him as the strange Third Uncle. He cracked me up at times with his overly paranoia too. Yet he proved quite experienced. I was really excited to see him, but it didn’t seem enough.
  • Wei Wei (魏巍) as Pan Zi (潘子). Loyal and brave. I thought he would be some fierce, hostile character but he ended up being part of the comedy team too.
  • Yoki Sun (孫耀琦) as Chen Cheng Cheng (陳丞橙). A made-up character–or so I had read somewhere. I seriously was excited to see Yoki in here and thought she was hilarious at first and then soooo cunning later. As an active follower of her since Shen Yi Da Dao Gong, I felt she did a good job with her role. I will say that I do understand the frustration of novel fans when the writers had created such a character and distracted the audience from the original plot. I totally get it! NOT KIDDING, because I had some major frustrations in the past with trying to explain to some people why I was against some “scene-stealer” that ended up being a heroine in this one novel adaptation yet they dubbed me as a hater. SO yes, I get it, I’m not just saying it to get some people off my back, but I seriously get it. Anyway, even if I felt somehow her character was written well (like how one felt she was senseless yet it was a mask to deceive the characters from the start because she had a hidden agenda), I think they (the writers) shouldn’t have gone ahead with it. (Even if there was the whole thing with her management company backing up with the budget and all or whatever. I can’t stand people sacrificing arts because of some deals or senseless disagreements.) I think I will always go back to Shen Yi Da Dao Gong to enjoy her performance, not relying on this one. (Even if she didn’t turn out as a villain, I still like her because I guess I’m a fan of food so I found those scenes funny. Yet I do understand why some people are turned off by food, not just because her character was a made-up one.)
  • Leon Lee (李晨浩) as High Shao. Another made-up character, right? I think his character distracted us from paying attention to Wu Xie and other characters. Okay, I found him fun and random at times, but it so distracted us from the main plot. The episodes were already short, do we need episode filler scenes too? I’m sorry to pick on him and go easy on Yoki, but having one senseless character is one thing, but having too many is just too much. Either go with him or Yoki’s character. Not both. Because I think Fatty Wang was already a comedic relief for the drama so there was no need for even more. It’s over-killed.
  • Edward Chang (张晓晨) as Jie Yu Chen (解雨臣). Some of his scenes were cut too because he had some fight scenes with Yang Yang’s character. Yet I can’t wait to find out more about his character. So it was a shame how things turned out. I guess it’s a good thing to check out the novels.

Others:

  • Ying Er (穎兒) as Huo Xiu Xiu (霍秀秀). I found her character intriguing. Will she return in Season 2 (if they don’t kill the whole production already because of their petty moves in the past) or will she be replaced? I wish there was more. But I also read that because of the senseless dramas behind the scenes, her scenes were cut too. So yeah…
  • Lu Xing Yu (卢星宇) as  (魯國公).
  • Su Qing (苏青) as Yao Guang (瑤光).
  • Cheng Pei Pei as Old Madame Huo (霍老太太). Fierce all right. I wonder what was her problem. Again, will have to check it all out in the novel.
  • Li Xin Liang (李昕亮) as Liu Tai (六太). Works with Ah Ning for some unknown boss (only seen on-screen to give commands but wasn’t named). Annoying since he was on the opposing side. But I guess it couldn’t be different since he worked for his boss after all.
  • Huang Ming (黄明) as King of Lu Shang (魯殤王).

What was good?

  • Actions scenes. I wish there were more. But I guess the cuts explained why there were so little.
  • The cast. I didn’t have a problem with them, but maybe more for their roles at times.
  • The chemistry between Li Yi Feng and Yang Yang. I thought I was the only one seeing there was something going on between the two of them! LOL! Not kidding. (I read some comments that others saw it too, lol.) I think those were the only times I felt Li Yi Feng’s acting wasn’t awkward. Somehow, they were a good team.

NOT COOL!

  • The cuts. YES, it messed up the story and I didn’t understand why some stuff happened anymore. Like how Xiao Ge was so involved in protecting Wu Xie and leading the way at first and then he wasn’t seen around much later. In fact, I felt it strange he wasn’t so involved in the plot and was seen spying on them at that one event they were trying to sneak into. Yet he did later appear to hold off the gang for them but wasn’t seen anymore. Now it made sense as to why. It probably got cut. Then who could forget the scene where he was suddenly without a shirt when they were still in the tomb. I thought I blinked for two seconds and missed it.

Final thoughts? So hunting down the novel to read. It would definitely explain some of the questions I have.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, recommended? Perhaps not to novel fans, but if you’re watching for your favorites, dig in. LOL! But the missing parts will drive you insane anyway. It’s only twelve episodes so if you have time to kill, yeah. If not, don’t sweat it.