Princess Chang Ping


Reviewed by: sukting

May 12, 2004

Rating: two-point-five

(Mou Har Dai Noi Far)

How long/Year produced
35 episodes done in year 1979 (can't remember the year clearly - will appreciate if someone can enlighten me)

Cast:

Chow Sai Hin - Lau Chung Yan (seen in "HSDS 2000" as Cheung Cui Shan)
Yuen Yuk Fei - Chiang Dai Wai (sometimes act in atv serials)
Ng Sum Guai - Yeung Chak Lum (Mo Dik in "Reincarnated" and now acting in Malaysian serials)
Chu Cheung Ping - Mai Shuet (last seen in 2000 HSDS as Yin Suk Suk)
Chu Chiu Yan and Chan Yuen Yuen - Yu On On (Heung Kuan in Reincarnated )
Chou Wan Ling - Mok Siu Cong (Leung Foon in the tv serial Wong Fei Hung with Chiu Mun Chiok)
Lee Lan Chi - Cheung Tak Lan (now only sings occasionally)
Duo Yee Gun - Wong Wai (Yuet But Kuan in the tvb 97 version of 'The Swordsman')
The Emperor - Cheung Ying (died many years back)

Story:Cheung Ping is the eldest child of the emperor. Pretty and gentle, she is the favourite. Her sister, Chiu Yan, is willful and beautiful as well. Their youngest brother is only a child. Cheung Ping is very weak and gets sick easily. Although the Emperor tries all sorts of ways, she does not get well. Since young, she has been engaged to Sai Hin. Both are very much in love. Sai Hin is a scholar general who is good in martial arts as well. He is equally worried over his fiancee's health. In his battles with other states, he tries to find different remedies too to make her better.

There is Eunuch Cho who causes a lot of trouble for the Emperor. The emperor is a weakling under his control. The rash Chiu Yan tries to kill him in one attempt and fails. Yuk Fei passes by and saves her. Chiu Yan is attracted to him and removes her veil, hoping that he will be attracted to her beauty. But he only smiles and walks off. Chiu Yan is anxious and feigns to be injured.

On the other hand, Cheung Ping reads her sister's note about assassinating Cho and is worried sick over her safety. When seeing her coming home, she is so overjoyed that she faints. Yuk Fei is attracted by her beauty at first sight and hurries over to hold her. He is alarmed when feeling her weak pulse and immediately feeds her with the precious pills that he himself has made. As you have guessed, Chiu Yan gets jealous when seeing him so concerned over her sister.

Cheung Ping wakes up and sees the sulky expression on her face. She then introduces herself and Yuk Fei is so DISAPPOINTED that she already belongs to someone else. He quietly leaves but Chiu Yan gives him no peace, always pestering him when she has the chance. And when she realises that there is no room in his heart for her, she kills herself.

Cheung Ping and Yuk Fei are badly affected by her death. Although Yuk Fei still loves Cheung Ping, he does not tell her about his feelings as he knows that she will never accept him. Sai Hin returns from a battle and he is observant in guessing his thoughts. But still, he says nothing and treats him like a good friend. Yuk Fei is touched and they become as close as brothers.

Another poor soul will be Sum Kuai who has been secretly in love with Chiu Yan but is always ignored and ill-treated by her. Unlike Yuk Fei, Sum Kuai has come from a poor family and he thinks that Chiu Yan dislikes him because of this. He is heart-broken when Chiu Yan is dead. An opera artist, Yuen Yuen who looks exactly liks Chiu Yan, becomes his love later to his joy. Cheung Ping and Sai Hin are happy for him as they think that this is a made-up for the loss of Chiu Yan. Little do they know that he is still scheming and later he is the cause of the downfall of the Ming Dynasty.

Cho gets a lot of control in court and he dotes on his godson, Wan Ling. He imparts all his kills and knowledge to him. Wan Ling is as evil as Cho and succeeds in removing every single minister in the court who opposes Cho. Yuk Fei finally kills Cho in an ambush. Wan Ling is furious and vows to seek revenge. Sam Kuai joins the Mongolians. Yuen Yuen is disappointed and leaves Sam Kuai.

Sai Hin is sent by the Emperor to negotiate peace with Yee Gun. Alas, Yee Gun is impressed by his wit and wants him to marry his daughter. Sai Hin is dismayed but is trapped. A bandit leader, Lee Chi Seng's troops later captures the city and the Emperor commits suicide. Cheung Ping and her brother are saved by a nun. The nun is good in medical and martial arts skills. She cures Cheung Ping completely and she becomes her disciple in martial arts too. But she still misses Sai Hin and decides to go on search for him.

She meets Yuk Fei and both travel together. Wan Ling is now Chi Seng's son-in-law but he doesn't really like his wife, Chi Lan. Chi Lan is actually a sweet and innocent girl. She cannot understand why Wan Ling doesn't treat her well after their marriage and tries so hard to please him. But all in his mind is only revenge. He later kills her although she is pregnant with his childÂ….. the killing method is unexpected -- not through the usual poisoning or killing procedure. Chi Lan is playing on a swing and Wan Ling pushes her so hard that she falls and dies. Very special indeed. Lee is so sad over his daughter's death that he later falls into a tiger trap and dies too. Wan Ling controls his army and submits to the Mongolians.

Cheung Ping meets Yuk Fei on the way. He is seriously injured by Wan Ling in a trap and lost his left arm. In fact, his injuries are so serious that Cheung Ping has to go naked to cure him in disposing the poison. Too bad, Sai Hin is in search for her too, sees this, gets angry and runs off. I can't remember the details but somehow, Yuk Fei runs after him to explain the misunderstanding and both make up. When he is completely recovered, he seeks revenge on Wan Ling and finally kills him. Yuk Fei is tired after this whole ordeal and retreats in the woods.

Cheung Ping has intended to do the same with Sai Hin but they are caught by the Mongolians. Yee Gun knows that there are still rivals against him so he decides to let the two get married to gain their support. On their wedding day, both kill themselves right at the altar by drinking poisonous wine. Yee Gun is furious but he still gives them a grand burial. Sam Kuai misses Yuen Yeun and searches for her. He sees an opera troupe staging an opera against the mongolians and kills them. When one actress calls out his name, he is dismayed to see that it is Yuen Yuen and she dies in his arms.

Comments

Quite a sad and slow moving story. I don't really like it. Frankly if not for Chiang Dai Wai, Mai Shuet, and Lau Chung Yan, I will not even consider watching it. They are really very convincing in their acting. Mai Shuet is, as usual, stunningly pretty here. Yu On On is equally good in playing two women with different personalities. In fact, this serial spans more works for Lau Chung Yan and Mai Shuet to work together. Mok Siu Chung is still raw in his acting as a villain but we can forgive him as he is very young at that time. Cheung Tak Lan makes a short but memorable appearance. She sings the theme and sub-theme songs which are still remembered after years.


But sometimes, we can see that a good cast can't save an old story. The plot is too predictable. As you have guessed, the normal ATV serials has attractive starts but the fire dies out in the middle leaving no sparks at the end. Same as this one, but I must say that Lau and Mai Sheut did the dying scene very well, both die in each other's arms after looking reluctantly at each other's faces for the last time.

And the ending... Sigh... why can't they give Yuk Fei a woman? Since they can produce Yuen Yuen to look like Chiu Yan, why not another person who looks like Cheung Ping? He suffers so much. First, to be loved by someone he doesn't love. Later to be rejected by the woman he loves. Lastly, he loses an arm. Isn't he pathetic? I really like the part where he doesn't succumb to Chiu Yan's beauty but is attracted to Cheung Ping's sweetness. The anxiety and concern he shows on his face when she faints is so real. And the disappointment that he is dealing with when knowing that he has no place in her heart is so sad. Especially when Cheung Ping blames him for Chiu Yan's death, he is over-ridden with the guilt. Must he suffer loneliness in the end?

To me, however, the most pitiful scene is not the wedding scene. It is the scene where the Emperor hangs himself. I must say that Cheung Ying is a very good actor. He looks so sorrowful when kicking the chair after hanging himself. It is said that he himself cried while filming this. He is a very accomplished actor who won filming awards as the best actor but is later a tv station veteran actor. This scene reminded him of his career going downhill and he could not contain his emotions. The crew also had mixed feelings while filming this scene too. And it had no retakes at all!

In other period dramas, Chiang is very dashing. But in here, he is only good looking in the beginning in his traditional white gown. From the scene Chiu Yan dies, he doesn't shave. From the scene he loses his arm onwards, he looks so haggard and his dressing becomes boring in dark blue that he no longer is the famous swordsman that we have seen. Where is the attraction when a Dai Hup becomes like this?

The same case for Mai Shuet. She looks so old after the scene of escaping from the palace. All the while she is only wearing BLACK. What a boring colour. Only the wedding scene revives her youth. Lau Chung Yan is the reverse with youth and energy throughout. So real-like as a charming man and no wonder the Mongolian princess is interested in him!

But too bad the story is too predictable. I missed a few episodes and it actually makes no difference. There are plenty of dialogues between Cheung Ping and Yuk Fei on how to seek revenge, search for Sai Hin but come on, there isn't any love between the two. A lot of talk and no action, sigh... So I nearly dozed off while watching these parts. The fighting scenes are just satisfactory. No remarkable stunts and poor management of the battle scenes. Probably due to the lack of funds. Sigh -- how to make a good period drama when this important factor is so crucial ? No wonder it received poor ratings although viewers have praises for their acting.

Sukting's Rating:
On acting: * * * (Scale of 5)
On story: * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)

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