I finally watched this series though I have it on my to-watch list awhile back. Watching this series somehow affected me more than I thought. Possibly because both Barbara Yung and Susanna Au Yeung passed away already. Not to mention Anita Mui, who sang the main theme so beautifully. There were many moments that I got teary-eyed, not because of the plot, but because of seeing old faces.
Anyway, back to the plot. At first, I thought TVB was going the daring route–because they rarely do that, mostly safe within their traditional shells as not to upset the viewers. However, I was wrong. What do I mean? I thought they were letting Lau Dan and Ha Yu portray a couple who was raising an adopted child and trying to survive in society, especially one might not be accepting them. It seemed that way with some details at the beginning. Even when they were trying to explain at the police station after that one time getting into a fight and the police officers were trying to get them to tell their story. I thought from their hesitation, the whole fighting over Jian Hong’s mother was a made-up story. Yet it seemed like it was true except for some details that were never clarified, because the plot didn’t want to focus there. Even Zhou Rong’s mother was chiding him for staying with Zhou Zhang You all these years–when he came home that one time to visit her after another dispute with the latter. Seriously, I was wrong. That was okay though since they had to move on, but I felt the plot was scattered everywhere thus causing details to be muddled throughout. I liked it that they were moving back and forth among different characters, but I didn’t like it that they were so inconsistent with different characters at times. It was frustrating to say the least.
Tony Leung (梁朝偉) as Zhou Jian Hong (周劍虹). I felt this role wasn’t that special as in part of the Tony legacy in the old days. I think it was sort of a break for him. I think his best scene was his argument with Bi Hua/Barbara Yung when she was acting distance toward him since she didn’t want to cling to him just because he became rich. It was emotional and added more to their bond, because they finally talked about some things that actually mattered instead of feeling like they were stuck in a loop of not being able to communicate like previously. I guess his passiveness at times was a balance to some people’s extremeness in here. I liked him fine, until he listened to his father Zhou Rong to try to propose to Bi Hua so he could control her. Of course, he didn’t think it in that way, but I felt the proposal wasn’t as genuine as when they finally got back together at the end. I think he finally understood Bi Hua’s importance or realized he should cherish her more, because he admitted at one point that he used to think Bi Hua was more serious about their relationship than him. It was like a pride thing for him, but he figured he was going to have to gain her confidence in him again, not just taking her for granted like before. I guess I liked him for the most part, but what I was annoyed about was how he–along with the others–treated Shao Wen like she was Tian Wei’s possession or like a sure deal (even when they weren’t together yet). He didn’t like Shao Wen romantically and no one could force him, but I didn’t like how he and the others seemed to force Shao Wen to go with Tian Wei as well. Just because Tian Wei liked her, not letting her decide at all.
Barbara Yung (翁美玲) as Xie Bi Hua (謝碧華). I was watching the Viet-dubbed version so the person who dubbed for Huang Rong dubbed for her in here too so it was really funny and somewhat bittersweet at the same time. She was so stubborn and probably short of all the things Huang Rong could do and get away with, lol. But I really liked her. At least she was straightforward with her attitude. I liked that she was able to go train in England and became an even better cop with her new skills later. There were times that I didn’t like it either that she was using her boss as a shield, but I felt I could forgive her somewhat since at the beginning when she was trying to get rid of that one annoying pest, she actually asked her boss for help so he knew about it. Then later, it was her jealousy getting in the way so I felt like I should cut her some slacks and she did apologize to him (her boss) later. (I think, I hope.)
Ray Lui (呂良偉) as Jiang Tian Wei (江天偉). I didn’t think I could hate Ray Lui for a role he portrayed. Well, in Shanghai Bund, I think I was annoyed yet wasn’t feeling this strong hate toward his character. Aside from those assault scenes toward Shao Wen, I think the rest of Ray scenes were kind of subtle. Then it seemed interesting when he was undercover for the cops. Yet I felt the ending scenes were just there to bring his character up again or trying to make him active to wrap up the show. Or trying to make up for his past wrongs, which I didn’t care for. Yes, his character for me was fine. They had to ruin it like that. When, perhaps, the writers had this mentality about “love” or “assault” was how you get a girl OR whatever. But I didn’t want to let it slide just because. The writers totally downplayed those horrifying moments and brushed if off completely later on. Anyway, I also thought his character would become the villain later since his jealousy of Jian Hong escalated after some disagreements at the company yet it wasn’t so. In fact, he was probably the dumbass of the show. Sounds mean, but he was so easily manipulated by his uncle that I eventually got frustrated too. I got where he was coming from and felt sad for him that his mom was manipulating him and pressuring him, but the others stuffs he did, I couldn’t forgive him for.
Barbara Chan (陳敏兒) as Lin Shao Wen (林少文). A lawyer. I liked her having an awesome lawyer role. However, some of the plots sort of brought her character down. I actually liked the approach they (script-writers) did with making her so expressive and being almost best buddies with Jian Hong and how they seemed to have this connection. Yet the writers had to bring her character down later by making it confusing and manipulative in a way. I wondered if it was so they could somehow justify Tian Wei’s actions and then bring them together. I didn’t like the pressures people were giving her, her mother and others. Yet I didn’t like how she tried to jump in between Jian Hong and Bi Hua either.
Lau Dan (劉丹) as Zhou Rong (周榮). Jian Hong’s father. Mixed feelings throughout. I liked it that he wasn’t greedy and didn’t care for those fortune he suddenly stumbled into. Yet I felt he was too hot-headed at times. Also, I didn’t like how he treated Bi Hua later. It wasn’t like she was backing down, but he was seriously unreasonable. Who could stand it?
Ha Yu (夏雨) as Zou Zhang You (鄒長有). Jian Hong’s other father. Mixed feelings throughout as well. I was surprised he was more accepting of Bi Hua later on (brushing aside the conflicts with her father previously). Yet I was glad and in a way, he gained my point in that. I also liked that he wasn’t as greedy as he seemed to project at first. He didn’t latch onto Jiang Hong or Zhou Rong to get some advantage at the Yang family.
Susanna Au Yeung (歐陽珮珊) as He Pei Pei (何佩佩). It was a different role for her for me. I guess it was because I mostly saw her portray mature roles in the past so it was strange. NOT that her acting was strange, because she was a natural in it. She made her character lively and relatable. Although she was supposedly “not a good role model” or “good person” as some people had said in here or at least at first, but I really liked her. Perhaps, it was because of Susanna’s portrayal. Not to mention how Pei Pei’s character was redeemable, unlike her mother and sister whom conspired with others to trap Zhou Zhang You that one time. She didn’t have proper guidance growing up, but once she broke out of that toxic cycle and with the help of the people who truly cared for her, she was able to overcome her hardships and became her own person again.
Lau Kong (劉江) as Yang Zhi Jian (楊志堅). Jian Hong and Tian Wei’s uncle. I felt like he wasn’t getting a break for the villain roles he was involved in back then, lol. Because I guess he did his part, but I felt it wasn’t anything new. Have to admit the character was indeed devious and despicable. He got what he deserved. Or maybe it was still too kind? I don’t know.
Lee Kwok Lun (李國麟) as Bi Hua’s boss. He was actually the true gentleman in here and was actually deserving of the nice guy title. But he wasn’t up in your face kind of nice guy and demanded that he should get something in return type of nice guys often seen in movies or TV series either. I felt like he was the most admirable among the young guys in here. As a cop, he was a good leader and everyone loved him. Although there wasn’t much to go on, but it was obvious with the way the other cops were reacting to him that he was a good boss and also a good friend. They really respected him during work and joked around with him when they were off work. He also liked Bi Hua, but he didn’t say it out until near the end. Yet he didn’t expect Bi Hua to accept him or anything, he was just joking that she was breaking his heart, lol. He didn’t mind that she used him to get Jian Hong jealous, but didn’t think it was good for them (Bi Hua and Jian Hong that was). People might be saying he had a doormat attitude and maybe that was why I liked him, but I felt like he was actually genuine among all the guys in here, even surpassing Jiang Hong. Perhaps, it was Lee Kwok Lun’s acting that made it so believable and not exuding any fake exterior, etc. (NOT saying Jian Hong was fake or Tony’s portrayal was poor. Just that like I mentioned above, I was sort of annoyed with Jian Hong for some stuffs too.)
Lau Siu Ming (劉兆銘) as Bi Hua’s father and Shao Wen’s legal assistant. Ming Sir and Barbara Yung also portrayed father and daughter in United We Stand (生銹橋王). It was interesting to see a different type of relation in here. Although he wasn’t my favorite character and was super annoying with his greedy nature at the beginning, I soon understand where he was coming from. It was so hard to earn money and all to survive. It wasn’t a good thing to do with how he was pulling his tricks at times, but I could forgive him for that, considering how he’d been trying his best all these years. Mixed feelings throughout but probably not the most hated character for me either.
Chun Wong (秦煌) as Da Peng (大鵬). Jian Hong and Tian Wei’s uncle. He was so cute in here, lol. He was probably the only kind person in the Yang family and truly cared for his family, unlike some others. He also was independent and had his own restaurant, pursuing his own passion. I actually thought he was the smartest because he wasn’t involved in those senseless family conflicts. And I never saw Chun Wong portrayed such a kind role before–or I might have missed it. Because he was always either too silly, stubborn, or was just plain annoying. So this was refreshing for me even though it was such an old series.
Bonnie Wong (黃文慧) as Bi Hua’s aunt. She was so funny and cool in here. I loved her character the most among the female side, aside from Bi Hua’s that was. She was really smart and witty. I liked it that she got guts and didn’t care what others think of her. But what sort of off with her character was how she let that annoying dude pursuing Bi Hua into the house time after time. Sure, she was just being polite, but I thought she shouldn’t let him in or give him information regarding their trip that one time. Yet that soon passed and I enjoyed her scenes majorly with Da Peng, because they both loved food and enjoyed many delicacies and fun moments together.
Paul Chun (秦沛) as Tian Wei’s father. He had a short story at the beginning of the story and then just phased into the background again. It was fine that no one was hogging he camera for too long, but I felt it wasn’t doing him justice. Or was it better he was one of the parties not causing trouble too?
Bak Yan (白茵) as Shao Wen’s mother. I usually like her role yet I didn’t really like it in here. Her acting was top-notch, but I just didn’t care for the character throughout. Yes, I felt very bad for her, having such a tragic life. Luckily, she was able to start anew in the end and knowing her family was all right again. However, I didn’t like it that she also contributed to forcing Shao Wen to get married or at least acknowledge Tian Wei. She later realized what was going on and sort of let her daughter choose, but it was sort of too late.
Bai Man Biao (白文彪) as Shao Wen’s father. He was sure despicable all right. They sure let him off easy later.
Kwan Hoi San (關海山) as Yang Zhao An (楊兆安). Jian Hong’s and Tian Wei’s grandfather. Although I understood that he wanted to protect his family and was somewhat saving face too, but I couldn’t forgive him for what happened. He knew Yang Zhi Jian was beyond help yet forbade Third Uncle to harm Yang Zhi Jian regardless. Like what? How was he supposed to help when he couldn’t take action? If he was strong enough, he could have just toss his son in prison and saved the rest of the family the trouble. Was saving face so important? Seriously. I didn’t like his miserable, pitiful acts either. Yeah, I know he was heartbroken and devastated of what happened, but I just didn’t care for him after I realized he wasn’t going to do anything anyway.
Felix Lok (駱應鈞) as Yang Zhi Jian’s right hand man. He was just latching on to the Yang family and only knew how to party so he wasn’t that useful. However, I thought he’d done his part of damage to the overall plot.
Richard Ng as a gangster boss. Well, not as much as some others in here, but he contributed in messing up other people’s lives so that counted for me.
Chu Tit Wo (朱鐵和) as Third Uncle. He was a gangster boss yet was somewhat too rash for his own good. He tried but he was responsible for harming Jian Hong at one point before investigating thoroughly so I didn’t blame the others for not trusting him later.
Bobby Au Yeung (歐陽震華) as car owner at the beginning. He was the guy who had his car inspected in the beginning yet was yelled at, lol. It was funny seeing him in there like that. He appeared later as well, but I wasn’t sure if it was the same role or just some random second role.
Tony Leung Hung Wah (梁鴻華) as Jian Hong’s friend. I liked him in The Return of Luk Siu Fung and Duke of Mount. Deer yet I couldn’t find anything to like him for in here. He was annoying. He was a terrible friend, having thrown Jian Hong under the bus too many times to be considered a friend. He also pestered Bi Hua to the point of excruciating that made me want to jump into the screen and slap him. He was basically like Tian Wei, except he wasn’t main so it was easy for people to hate him versus Tian Wei, but I felt they were almost the same. If Bi Hua wasn’t able to fend for herself and had others to help her, he would progressed to the point of Tian Wei too. Sure, he liked her and wanted to pursue her YET when he finally got turned down with a strong “no”, he didn’t get it and thought she was playing hard to get or whatever else. Bi Hua wasn’t that type of person and made it clear. (I didn’t like that one time she used him to extract information regarding Jian Hong either since that was seriously poor taste.) He was just trying to wear her down (like he admitted at one point). The fact that he tried to use suicide to get to Bi Hua was equally pathetic and somewhat hit too close to home. (Coincidentally, Barbara committed suicide at that time the drama was in the middle of airing using gas so that got me even more annoyed. Although I know TVB didn’t know and no one knew either regarding that, but that scene just added to the things that rubbed me wrong in here regarding the character.) And no, I don’t hate the actor, but found him exaggerating somewhat in here too versus his more natural act in other series.
Amy Hu (胡美儀) as Zou Zhang You’s on and off girlfriend. She appeared at the beginning of the series and then somehow disappeared and then appeared again near the end. I liked her, she was cute and funny in her own way.
Maria Chan (陳立品) as Jian Hong’s grand-aunt. I got where she was coming from but I didn’t like how she was acting high and mighty at times. Well, Yang Zhao An deserved it, but I didn’t think Pei Pei or Bi Hua deserved her rants at all. I got it that she was following her traditional ways or whatever, but that was so judgmental and so hard to relate to. Especially how she thought Bi Hua was jinxing her grand-nephew and how she wanted Bi Hua to quit her job just because Bi Hua was getting married to Jian Hong.
Kenneth Tsang (曾江) as Pei Pei’s rich boyfriend. Was that him? LOL! I swear it looked like him when he appeared briefly. The fact that he wore sunglasses didn’t help.
Michael Tao (陶大宇) as Bi Hua’s younger brother. I was initially annoyed with him because how he was so lazy and all. Yet I found him hilarious later.
Hui Kin Bong (許建邦) as Tian Wei’s assistant. I wasn’t sure if he was an analyst, a lawyer or another assistant at the office since he only appeared twice. But I thought his character had more potential for development than some in here.
Sandra Ng (吳君如) as Yang Zhi Jian’s lover. That was a surprise but that was back then so it wasn’t too strange to see Sandra appearing a little.
Shik Kien (石堅) as gangster boss. He was the real deal with all the badass gangsters in here since even Third Uncle was afraid of him.
Maggie Siu (邵美琪) as Anna. She owned a bar and was into Tian Wei when he was acting as a mole for the cop. Maggie was so gorgeous in here, and the role was mischievous yet playful that I felt it was too bad she wasn’t taking on some major role. What a shame yet I guess it had to be that way. Not to mention what surprised me was how it departed from her usual pitiful and/or tragic roles of back then. Yes, although her character was supposedly bad and didn’t care if Tian Wei was married or whatever, but I felt she was more honest about her motives than some people in here.
Wong Yat Fei (黃一飛) as boat owner at the pier. He was around at the second last episode where Yang Zhi Jian was trying to find a boat to escape. It was fun seeing him at long last. He was like Waldo of TVB, lol. You have to find him because he might not be getting an important role at times yet he was fun to watch and locate.
So, after all that rant, how was it overall? I thought Tony and Barbara Yung were cute together. Even though my mom mentioned that Barbara looked older than him, but I thought they were still cute. (Note, my mom loved Barbara too so it wasn’t like she was picking on her.) If the tragedy didn’t occur, I wonder if they had collaborated more for future series. It was one of those what-ifs in life. Second favorite couple in here must be Chun Wong and Bonnie Wong because they made me feel hopeful about humanity in general in the series’ world–at least. Aside from that, I felt that Susanna and Lau Dan weren’t that bad of a couple but their triangle involving Ha Yu really dragged the pace at one point and made me feel frustrated with the two men’s childish antics. Though I found it interesting that Susanna and Lau Dan also paired up in ATV’s The Ghostbuster Gang (捉鬼家族) years later, but I had watched that one first.
What about Ray Lui and Barbara Chan? I felt their characters ruined it for enjoying their chemistry–if at all. I got it that Shao Wen later realized with worrying for Tian Wei that she did love him, etc. (That was near the ending that she had the conversation with Jian Hong in the hospital during her mother’s operation.) Yet I didn’t like their initial start or the in-between at all. I didn’t like the emotional tortures that she had to go through with his pestering (and it was like how I mentioned it was with Bi Hua being pestered by that one guy as well). The fact that the assault scene happened and also bordering on rape (it wasn’t shown so I didn’t want to assume). I’m talking about that one time he was super frustrated and wanted to get her to talk BUT ended up force kissing her and she was terrified and yelled for him to stop and then the scene just jumped to the next day that she seemed to accept him. It was a terrible plot device and it totally thrown his character toward the hateful zone for me, even if it wasn’t before. I didn’t like that the writers used that type of setup for the characters to eventually get together and forced her to re-think. I already said that above when discussing their characters, but I felt like I need to put it here once again. The script-writers were downplaying assault and/or rape, not taking it seriously at all. What was even more terrible was how Tian Wei kept uttering out that she didn’t have to love him but couldn’t stop him from loving her. He could love her, BUT directly attacking her like that and forcing her? Even if the world was different back then, it still didn’t make it right AND I don’t have to accept it regardless. I thought it was best if they let the characters take it slowly and understand each other instead of forcing her like that. That scene was so traumatizing that it left a very bad impression on him throughout. The ending had a better setup. It seemed lame that she accepted him for saving her mother, but it wasn’t so since she realized when he disappeared that she cared for him. Why didn’t they go with that approach first? I didn’t like it either that there was plot inconsistency with people assuming they were together just because he liked her–at first. Then they dragged her character through the mud with her getting in-between Jian Hong and Bi Hua just to downplay Tian Wei’s assault scene–or all the things he did in general toward her.
Anyway, there were gaps and inconsistency at various points (as I said at the beginning of the review), like how some characters already knew each other or already got introduced yet was expected to be introduced again later. Or one of those like they seemed to have a gap. Other things, I already mentioned above so do not want to be too repetitive. But what was too obvious was the aqua/green dress with pink and yellow rims around the neck Barbara Yung wore at one episode near the beginning ended up being Barbara Chan’s sleepwear near the end. It was hilarious really.
What was fun to watch about this series that I have to admit was the majority of the cast–whether major or minor–were linked to the Condor trilogy one way or another. However, I still wouldn’t recommend as much for the plot. To me, it was one of Tony’s weaker series because I think the majority of Tony’s old series were quite good or considered good overall. It was just some details were inconsistent and frustration that I didn’t like it as much. It wasn’t the worse series of back then, because if you’d seen my reviews of my back-watching, some were worse.
This was actually shot before the Ruyi one but I think the other one received more attention. Anyway, this is a movie directed by Ann Hui. It’s a war movie.
Many war movies focused on the male side, but this one will focus on one of the notable heroines of that time, Fang Lan (方蘭), but she is often known as Fang Gu (方姑). This is, of course, Zhou Xun’s character.
Wallace will play her lover, Li Jin Rong (李錦榮). His name sounds really, really familiar. I can’t place it at the moment. Not sure if he was mentioned or appeared in Dong Jiang Heroes yet wasn’t focused on since the other drama focused on Liu Hei Zai and his side mostly.
Which brings me to the other essential character of the drama, Liu Hei Zai. He will be portrayed by Eddie Peng. (Good luck with that since Wang Lei already stole my heart, lol.)
They will be joined by other veteran stars, such as Bau Hei Jing, Ray Lui, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Eddie Cheung, and more. Check out the trailer (uploaded by 双喜電影 A Really Happy Film). It looks quite promising.
*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.
Okay, back with another update. This time on the legendary five invincible beings in the story. Sorry for terrible translation but it’s hard, lol. But here goes.
Many have known already but Michael Miu is portraying Huang Yao Shi (黃藥師), Huang Rong’s father. He definitely kept up with the time, dyeing his hair and all, LOL!
Hei Zi is portraying Ou Yang Feng (歐陽鋒).
Ray Lui will be Reverend Yi Dang (一燈大師).
Zhao Li Xin is portraying Hong Qi Gong (洪七公).
Lastly, Han Dong will be Wang Chong Yang (王重陽). Yes, he ended up being part of the cast yet it wasn’t what some of us initially thought with rumors and all. But not too bad, right? And here’s a bonus, Ning Wen Tong as Zhou Bo Tong (周伯通):
*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.
I never thought I watch it. So serious here. I actually followed the production of it somewhat when it first filmed. Because of how butchered it would turn out to be, I didn’t want to touch it. Yet I couldn’t believe years later, I’m sitting around watching this with my mom. How was it? Well, it’s a toss between half and half for the rest of us novel followers. But I think the positive side–the whole fighting and magic effects–won over all those side, nonsense dramas. For those who do not know the actual legends, it’s going to be a REAL lost. But that’s how it is so there’s nothing new. As for me, I was sitting there rolling my eyes a lot at first, but soon, I totally didn’t want to care about some side made-up dramas anymore so I just pay extra attention during the battle parts. That helped A LOT with getting through 2 full series of it. Yeah, funny that they thought it needed a second season. One should be enough if they cut out all the extra, side dramas and focused on developing the essential parts of the novel. But it was all right, I wanted to watch for some people. Not too much of a lost for me. But what totally ruined it for me was the lame ending.
Liu De Kai as Jiang Zi Ya. A good choice for Jiang Zi Ya actually. Having been a fan of him since the old days, I felt it was a suitable character for him. Yet thinking about the character Jiang Zi Ya in general made me want to laugh. Because he seemed so helpless at times, always needing rescuing from others. But according to the novel, some events did happen so I’m fine with that. Yet I still have to say for a leader, he’s quite weak (like said above) and didn’t keep me interested enough. I just know that he’s essential to the story and that’s it. And way down the road, he had gotten more and more passive (thank you script-writers–NOT) to the fact that he had to go and clean up the mess Ji Fa created more than focus on the battles.
Zhou Jie and Victor Huang as King Zhou Wu aka Ji Fa. I want to say that I’ve never been a fan of Zhou Jie, but actually watching this, he really won me over. It’s just that I never got into him since the HZGG days AND possibly because of the weird Qing era hairstyle that I didn’t feel like paying attention to him. Though I know he could act. But this one, he was really charming and convincing. He made the character seemed powerful and intelligent. Not to mention there was a mixture of gentleness and playfulness added in at times as well. The script had helped also. Yet changing it to Victor for part 2 was just painful. I don’t know. Victor looked more like he belonged to the villain side more than this side. Then I suddenly pondered if Zhou Jie made a very good choice of not returning. Since though it was supposed to be change of cast AND not character, they made it so that the character was SO unreasonable at times, especially how he was yelling at his siblings and being stubborn about love. It was like he was taking on his oldest brother’s personality or something (like from the first part how Bo Yi Kao kept caring about love, etc). Whoever the writers were made his character really inconsistent to part 1. In fact, it had gone from bad to worse, and worse to worser. Yeah, I know “worser” is not a word, but I’m exaggerating to make a point here. Seriously? Disobeying Jiang to go search for the jade pieces? Honestly? Yeah, yeah, people might be saying it’s really touching how he cared for his girl, etc. BUT he was so into the whole thing that he disregarded the soldiers and what others were fighting hard for, etc. It seemed like he was not any better than the King of Shang Zhou. OR possibly he’s even worse. So why are all those people fighting for anyhow? Part one, they exaggerated and made Ji Fa ending up with Bi Can’s daughter, but it wasn’t so unbearable since they only squeezed it in between some conflicts. Yet this one? Totally going from bad to worse. And it’s not like I want to hate Victor either, but the script really wanted to kill him for it. At least it did for me. (It’s not like I’m against romance either since my blog is filled with dramas involving romances/soaps/whatever you call it. But this story wasn’t supposed to revolve around romance, honestly!)
Priscelia Chan as Zi Xian. Funny that they made her Bi Can’s daughter and even let her become Jiang Zi Ya’s disciple. However, I actually like this addition to the story and felt that was kind of a riot at times. At least she was the strong character and NOT nagging type. She was quite brave and was able to contribute to the plot majorly without being too ‘in your face’ at times. Which was good for me.
Bonnie Xian as teenager Ne Zha. So cute and funny. I read some comments about the confusion of Ne Zha being a guy or a girl and I have to laugh. The majority of past adaptations cast a girl to portray the role. (NOT sure if it was due to some superstition or something, I don’t know. It just have been that way.) Ne Zha is just plain cool in here. Having Ne Zha appear made the plot tenfold more interesting, aside from Huang Fei Hu already ruling the show in here.
Wu Lei as childhood Ne Zha. The kid was soooo cute! It didn’t matter if the role was supposed to be so mischievous but he was one cute kid. Good child actor also since he managed to exude the mischievousness to the max. Then the later parts with crying and all.
Han Dong as Er Lang Shen Yang Jian. OMG, so handsome and so cool in here! He didn’t appear until like more than the last half of the first part. But made up for all the made up lame plots/episode fillers previously. It was like he saved the show for me in a lot of ways. Glad they made his character cool like it was supposed to be in the novel and didn’t reduce him to some nonsense character. Then he got to do lots of cool stuffs too in part 2. I was so glad they didn’t replace the cast OR I would’ve stopped watching, same with how it was with Ne Zha. Then somehow, they just ended up pushing his character aside along the way, which I don’t mind as much as long as there were other characters involved and they kept the plot going at the right pace with some of the battles. And yeah, having him being in charge of the food supplies as important since no one could snatch it from him, etc. However, what I do mind was that they not only dragged the plot out to the point of unbearable with some of the love stuffs (that didn’t even exist in the novel), but also dragged him in as part of the stupid conspiracy while the other gods and goddesses and other deities were helping with that one big battle. (What the hell? I couldn’t blame him since the plot was that way BUT the plot was just pathetic trying to use his skills like that; and at such a hectic time where more pressing matters needed attention toward.)
Tay Ping Hui and Ix Shen as Huang Fei Hu. Okay, I like Ix Shen. He looks very cool inAngel Lover. But this one? Tay Ping Hui hands down. He looks so powerful as the general. I got used to Ix later on but it still didn’t feel right. I think it was because of Tay Ping Hui as Huang Fei Hu that I stuck around that long or hung on long enough for some other key characters to appear. And indeed, Ix’s portrayal did grow on me later since they managed to keep his character consistent even with change in cast. The most powerful scene must be his death. YET I felt it was for a really stupid reason. It was because he wanted to see the stupid ghost.
Zhang Bo Jun as Li Jing. When he first appear, I felt like he didn’t suit the role at all. It might have to do with the fact that Huang Fei Hu was so tall and overpowering others around him. Yet I later got used to him. This story made him less cruel (as it appeared at first) regarding destroying Ne Zha’s shrine, etc. They tried to cut back on that, which was funny how their priorities were. I didn’t want to drag the whole matter out anyway, but it seemed I rather see it focus on relevant matters than other side stuffs.
Wang Hai Di and Ding Ting as Jin Zha. Ne Zha’s oldest brother. Didn’t notice much since there were too many characters but good enough for me.
Steve Ma and Ray Lui as King Shang Zhou. Seriously? I have to say that Ray Lui rules! Yeah, people might be saying how they made Steve Ma more handsome and possibly more appealing in many ways to watch. However, the character’s not supposed to be handsome. I felt like the image they created for Ray was more suitable. Not to mention how Ray look more fierce and powerful. Not saying I hate Steve Ma since I really like both actors, and think they’re good looking in their own way. Just that Steve leaned on the side of looking like some lovesick dude, almost as bad as Bo Yi Kao, not really exuding the cruel king image as much. Though if Steve wanted, he was able to achieve fierce look at some parts. They tried to let others pity Steve or something. ‘Cause it seemed like they were saying ‘poor, rich king’ kind of idea. Though people leaning on ‘love’ stuffs would root for him because of what he did for love, BUT like the other goddess said, he doesn’t care for his people at all.
Fan Bing Bing and Ruby Lin as Su Da Ji. Um…have to say FBB was more convincing with taking the role of a fox. She exuded the cruel side and somewhat of the struggle between the fox and the real Su Da Ji really well. Plus, she was willing to go all out on the whole ‘seduction’ scenes so I guess that worked for her. Ruby tried to be super mischievous and was really cunning at times. Yet she was just too cute to be an evil fox demon, lol. I had fun watching her but I felt it was funnier than anything. And Ruby was so reserved in her outfits so she had become a cute little fox instead.
Miao Hai Zhong/ Miao Hao Jun as Shen Gong Bao. I swear he was like the master/pro of PR back then in the days. If not, how could he persuade them and/or recruit all of those people to die for him? He was sure slick. Yet he seemed to get away with it every time. (It reminds me of a certain someone in modern days.)
Du Zhi Guo as Su Hu. Su Da Ji’s father. SAD, tragic moments, especially how he was torn in between saving other people and sacrificing his daughter. Then knowing that it was some demon possessing his daughter, and that his daughter had to die later as well, etc.
Lou Qi as Wu Ji. Jiang Zi Ya’s disciple. One of the actual disciples from the novel. Had fun watching him and how he got a good amount of screen time, but it collapsed later when they made way for the soap of other stuffs. Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes again.
Qi Fang as Deng Chan Yu. OMG, one of the feisty and funny girls in here that actually existed in the novel. I loved watching her scenes and her constant bicker with her shorty husband, lol. Her death was actually the most tragic or seemed that way and it got me actually almost tearing up, unlike some of the senseless scenes in here. All the flashbacks and the background music was all it needed to captured their moments.
Mi Zi An as Princess Long Ji. Cute and another character actually from the novel. Except they did change some details regarding her. She should appear more, not some senseless characters.
Others: Died along the way or didn’t appear much or just plain didn’t have anything to contribute to the plot in general
Tang Guo Qiang as Yuan Shi Tian Zun. One of the most powerful gods. I cannot believe they dragged him into one of the most stupid moments of the plot too. Probably just to say, “One of the powerful gods said it too so it must be right” kind of thing.
Wu Ma as Shang Rong. The late actor took this very righteous role and he totally nailed it. It was super frustrating to see him die and like that, but that was what happened.
Guo Kai Min as Bi Gan. Poor guy. Yet it had to be that way, considering how his nephew was already WAY beyond help, even before Da Ji came into the picture.
Jin Qiao Qiao as Empress Jiang. She was a brave queen yet couldn’t escape either. Loved her as the elegant and graceful empress. Too bad with her fate.
Xu Huan Shan as Wen Tai Shi. For some weird reason, I just plain don’t like him. Well, it was obvious since he was on the other side. Yet I swear he was not that likable even if he tried to use his power against the king and made him obey, etc. He was so oblivious to stuffs at times, especially with the rant of how Huang Fei Hu betrayed them. (The guy’s wife and sister DIED, what else did the old man need as proof?) So he was actually one of those elders that I didn’t care for.
Eddie Kwan as Bo Yi Kao. I swear they made him so weak and so wishy-washy in here that it wasn’t even funny. I usually felt sad or pissed off when they kill him off in some of the other versions. But this one, I was just glad. Yeah, heartless, but the character got ruined because of other made-up catalysts.
Liu Tao as Moon Fairy. I enjoyed her scenes in here, however little it was. She wasn’t supposed to be in the story anyway, but they made it dramatic with the other couple so whatever. But she sure exuded the fairy-like look.
Fan Bing Bing as Moon Fairy. Seriously? What a way to try and come back to the show. And that was my reaction when I saw her name in the cast list. But my reaction when the scenes came around involving the Moon Fairy was “What?” Because of the somewhat blurry effects so I can’t really see if it was her. But it was strange making Ji Fa seeing that she resembled Su Da Ji.
Wang Li Ke as Zi Yu. Seriously? Why did they create her character for except for episode fillers and another distraction to the overall theme? I swear I couldn’t even like her at all. From the start, she was just boring, but I accepted that they wanted to waste time. Then she just went from boring to annoying several episodes later, with her whole tantrums and demanding Ji Fa personally go fetch her. Really? Oh, not to mention her rudeness to Lei Zhen Zi later during their first encounter. What the hell was that? And she became even more useless and annoying as time went by. I never imagine I would say “useless” for any character, BUT she sure pushed past that breach. (Since I don’t like to think of it that way, even at times when characters aren’t my favorites but they could be there for short time, etc.) What was the point of making her running off, going through some painful trials, committing suicide, and then try to revive her? What? Waste of time. I do get all the reasons for her character and personality and all the pain she went through BUT again, in such a story, why were the script-writers torturing us with the soap-ville stuffs? It was like trying to raise her character up yet failed since they did give her a lot of credits for stuffs throughout. It was like the world revolved around her BUT not really. I’m probably considered heartless by now but I’m the rare few that felt so strongly against her. (Or possibly the only one feeling that way.) As for Wang Li Ke, I looked up some of her pictures outside and I swear she looks better in real life. (And people think I was attacking WLK? NO, I was talking about the character.) What really irked me though was how they were on this journey to purify her before resurrecting her again, as if saying she was somehow “dirty” because she got raped. Yes, I was really pissed off at the script-writers for making it seemed that way. I didn’t like her character, but didn’t like how they implied that people who weren’t obedient would eventually get raped or killed, etc. Sure, it was during a turbulent time and so chaotic, considering how they were at war, etc. But that was soooo wrong to make it that way. Yet, why should I be surprised, right?
Zhou Jie and Priscelia Chan as couple. Cute couple! I like how they were somewhat of a bickering couple. Very subtle at times and it was enough to the story, NOT too lame and draggy like how some of the other parts in here were. So I didn’t mind if they exaggerated the thing about the two characters getting together, etc.
Ray Lui and Ruby Lin. Thanks to my sister, I suddenly remember that they had collaborated in this old ATV series where he was Zhao Chao and she was Princess Fei Feng. They didn’t end up together since he didn’t like her and she was later married to someone else. But it was really funny seeing them together like this and this time as a couple. Sometimes I enjoy their scenes (though there were indeed cruel and ‘shaking head’ parts but that was somewhat going along with the story) more than others. Then it got WAY more dramatic so I was like “ugh” as well.
How the disciples of various characters were fighting at times. OR more like they were competing to see who got there first or completed a certain task first. That was hilarious and I loved those parts. It was actually funny, unlike some parts they tried too hard.
Interestingly Funny or more like “What?”: Some of them were actually funny of how they made up stuffs AND others were just worth some head shaking or eye-rolling moments.
Bo Yi Kao and Su Da Ji were engaged before Da Ji was forced into going into the palace. Really? When did that happen? Not only that was outrageous with their supposed relationship along with how they were somehow linked to the Zhou side, but it led to some really draggy subplots later, like for Bo Yi Kao’s focus on love only, not caring for other stuffs. Well, he did pull himself out of it when he realized it was going to harm his family BUT still, unnecessary plots.
One of the two guys by King Shang Zhou’s side is actually Su Hu’s cousin. Really? When did that happen? And here we go again with them linking together different characters.
Ne Zha’s mother was actually Huang Fei Hu’s sister. REALLY? So they wanted to connect the loyal/good people together. But seriously? Like who would believe that one? I actually let it slide since I was laughing the whole time, but still. It seemed like they were eager to link different characters in here.
The exaggerated love between King Shang Zhou and Daji. Or more like with the fox-spirit. Like seriously? That went on and on for the majority of the first part, which I was fine with since it didn’t last long. Yet it just kept dragging on with how the fox spirit had fallen for the king for real and even wanted to help him keep his dynasty. Really? And what was more was using reasons or excuses for the king’s behaviors at times throughout the story, like in part one with him not really doing it on purpose for causing the death of Huang Fei Hu’s wife. Really?
Princess Long Ji is actually the late King Zhou Wen’s adopted daughter. WOW, really? Yeah, I’m saying “really” A LOT. But it’s that outrageous with how they try to connect different stories together.
Anything having to do with Zi Yu and Ji Fa for that matter. (Part 2 for Ji Fa since I liked him in part 1.) AND yes, I have to pick on them again. But since the storyline kept emphasizing their relationship, I think it’s fair game. Again, what the hell was that? Episode fillers and waste of time. I’m talking about characters and plot surrounding them, NOT the actor and actress SO don’t jump in trying to say I’m just hating them or jealous with them or something along those lines. And by the time I got to almost the end (since I was still hanging on for some characters), it got from worser to worset. Because not only were the story-line draggy and pointless, it dragged Yang Jian into their stupid conspiracy, which made him miss the last battle between the disciples of the gods and all. Then making it seem like some epic romance by dragging one of the higher gods in by praising their so-called love story.
Lei Zhen Zi was made into a senseless character. I didn’t remember much from the first part except he was cool enough. Yet again like characters in the 2nd part, he was reduced to some senseless role. Like he would go around and try to search for one of Ji Fa’s chicks like that. There’s a war going on! His mission (according to his master) was to go help Jiang Zi Ya fight in the battles, NOT go search for Ji Fa’s chick. Then eventually, I give up on his character altogether, especially with how he blamed Ne Zha for Zi Yu’s death. Like really? It was a slap in the face to be called stealing someone’s woman when Ne Zha was outside. Of course Ne Zha had to go confront Zi Yu and asked what the hell was going on.
The King of Shang Zhou went to Heaven to suck Ji Fa’s energy out of the star that represented Ji Fa? Really? Who thought of this one? Another episode filler?
The monkey/ape who fought with Yang Jian near the end will turn into Sun Wu Kong in the future. What? Um, like really? I laughed harder than the rest of the made-up stuffs. It was actually funny and interesting how they tried to link both stories together. But seriously? I couldn’t stop laughing until the next day. The characters from both works were linked later because the ones who fought against each other in this part will eventually become gods/goddesses or fairies of different sorts. But trying to link Sun Wu Kong in because that one ape also knew the same skills as Yang Jian? LOL!
Jiang Zi Ya reserved a spot for himself YET gave it to Huang Fei Hu later. The BIGGEST what in here. Like seriously? Jiang wasn’t supposed to be one of them since it wasn’t his fate. Huang Fei Hu was already secured for that one spot to begin with. There was no “dividing the pig” after the battle, seriously. AND having that part with Jiang arguing with his late ex-wife was also QUITE stupid and off.
“Can it get any worse than this?” is like a dare to the production team. YES, it’s true for part 2 mostly BUT every time I utter that phrase out loud, the answer delivered somewhere several scenes later or several episodes later seemed to say, “Challenged accepted.” I’m so serious.
Part 2? Like seriously? I meant okay, I know some of the details for part 2 were what happened in the novel, more or less. But did they have to split it? I think if they cut out all the nonsense crap and the exaggerated love stories (on both sides actually), they could fit it into 40 eps or so.
What could have been focused on? There were a lot of interesting stories in the novel and could have been focused on instead of some made-up senseless stuffs that couldn’t match up to it. In fact, I’m tempted to go read the novel again and extract stuffs from it that was more relevant. (My first read was somewhat unsuccessful because of some side stuffs so I didn’t finish exactly but knew some of the things were irrelevant.)
What was good about it? Yes, Apparently I’m saving this topic for last because I rather end it with a positive note (or whatever is left of it that I could find).
Effects. Seriously, love the effects and it was really suitable for these types of stories.
Ne Zha. YES, the cute kid actor and eventually the actress who portrayed the character. Plus all the cool stuffs Ne Zha got later on, weapon wise and the skills acquired.
Yang Jian. NO, Yang Jian’s NOT suppposed to be under command of that Ji Fa. Since Ji Fa wasn’t that bossy in the novel. Besides, Yang Jian only listen to his master, who they merged it in and gave a lot credit to that one god, BUT he wasn’t supposed to be Yang Jian’s master in the novel. And when he was sent down to help Jiang, he only listened to Jiang, NOT some idiot. Aside from that, Han Dong is now my favorite Yang Jian. So handsome, so cool, and all. YET they ruined him near the end. BUT I guess it wasn’t his fault.
Huang Fei Hu, mostly Tay Ping Hui, but yeah. Loved the character overall and he was the sole reason I stuck around for more than the first half of the story (like stated before) and managed to hang on.
Ji Fa–BUT only the first part. YES, I have to say it again, Zhou Jie made a very wise decision for not coming back.
Zi Xian. Priscelia made it very cute and likable at times, but she was also a very strong and admirable person.
Deng Chan Yu and her shorty husband. Favorite couple in part 2 since they were sooooo funny. Too bad they had to die tragically as well.
Recommended? After all my rants, it’s more like from the side of the minority who couldn’t stand it anymore. But for people who enjoy it or like the cast, go ahead. I actually don’t think it’s worth it and if possible, just fast forward or search around for scenes that you might enjoy and watch. ‘Cause I swear I wasted like millions of brain cells watching it. (My fault actually, but since my mom wanted to watch and I somehow was just sitting there, I might as well.) But one thing’s for sure, I will try to avoid this producer and director’s works for the future JUST to eliminate another mistake I might make.