Wan Fei Yeung - Tsui Shiu Keung/ Koo Koon Chung - both now based in Taiwan
Goon Zhong Lau - Lau Wai Mun - a businessman
Fu Yuk Shu - Ng Wai Kok - still filming serials in China
Luk Dan - Lo Lok Lam - with TVB (Ren Wo Xing in 'The State of Divinity 1996')
Tin Dai - Leung Tin - an ATV actor and script writer
Mou Dik - Yong Chak Lum - still with ATV - Yang Liu Lang in 'Heroine of The Yang'
Ching Chong - Cheung Ying - passed away
Gong Sun Wang - Hon Yee Shang - passed away due to a car accident
Black and white devils - Mak Tin Yan and Kam San (Kwai Ying's father in 'heroine of the Yang)
Yin Chong Tien - Bao Hon Lam
Fu Heung Kwan - Yu On On - still acts sometimes
Dok Gu Fung - Miu Hor Sau - a famous actress who acted with Jackie Chan in most of his movies. Recently acted with To Dai Yu in a detective drama
Yee Bei Sha - Choi Keng Fai - s secretary
The First princess - Marie Cheung - ex-Miss HK beauty queen - a social worker
Lun Yuen Yee - Mah Mun Yee - insurance agent
Chum Man Ching - Leung Suet Chong - retired
Wind - Mun Chin Sui - a stage actor
Thunder - Lau Kok Sheng - ATV actor
Rain - Lau Ying Hung - actress and singer with TVB
Lightning - Lau Kong - TVB actor
I am among the few fortunate ones who is able to watch it twice -- the first uncut version and the second horribly cut China dubbed version. This is the best that ATV has ever produced over the years, at par with TVB's swordfighting serials. This serial is translated from the late author, Wong Ying's novel. This writer has a combination of 30% of Gu Long's mysterious style and 70% of Jin Yong's gift in storytelling -- which I find very true. I managed to read it before it went out of print right after watching the serial -- this is the first swordfighting novel that I had started, which spurred me on to read other authors' works.
This serial followed about 90% of the novel -- it actually stopped after Goon's death and Fung's disappearance. In fact, ATV even roped in Wong Ying to write for the serial version -- which is very rare nowadays as TV stations now don't seem to respect the authors and love to twist their stories. Many didn't mind to see more of the First princess as she is only mentioned by name and is so mysterious in the novel. With a star-lit cast with an attractive story, all should not miss it!
Rise of Fei Yeung
SC has done a marvelous job on introducing Wan Fei Yeung's past so I will focus more on his adventures which comes later. Also certain parts which are missed at the beginning:
Fei Yeung has wished to be the sixth disciple to master the sixth skill of Wudang so that he can be accepted openly. However, Yuk Shu is chosen and he is utterly disappointed. Although he himself has mastered all the six skills, he has all along wished to be recognised publicly.
On Goon Chung Lau's first trip to Wudang, he really looks down on Wan as a servant. Wan is so furious that he teaches him a lesson as a masked man later. I like this part -- Goon is already disheartened after his defeat by Ching Chong. Now with another blow, he is utterly shattered! Little does he know that Ching Chong is most disappointed to find that none of the young Wudang disciples are skilful enough to defeat Goon. Yet he can't claim Wan to be the next successor.
Ching Chong is seriously injured by Mou Dik in a duel and knows that he can't live for long. Yuk Shu saves him at the expense of losing his family and thus he accepts him as a disciple. However, his real family is staying in Xiaoyao valley and he frames Mou Dik clan for the killing.
Dok Gu Fung and Gong Sun Wang come to Wudang to declare war on them. Many have claimed that their followers have killed Wudang members but they deny this. Wan is attracted by Fung's beauty. Ching Chong knows that she is his daughter and becomes the masked man to tell Wan to save both of them. The two fight against Wudang for one whole day and are later injured. Goon, being the despicable man, wants to end their lives. Luckily Wan saves them on time and digs at Wang.
Yuk Shu fakes his own injury after killing his two seniors. Yuen Yee gets him two birds to keep him company. One day, one flies away and Wan gets it back for her to make her happy. Yuk Shu points out his suspicion as Wan doesn't know martial arts, how does he get it back?
Wan's masked master wants Wan to protect Yuk Shu secretly but all set up a trap to make him reveal that he knows martial arts. Wan can't explain and flees to hide in the forest. Ching Chong comes to look for him to get killed by Yuk Shu. Before dying, he tells Wan to look for his grandfather. That's why the poor man is being framed. But because Tin Dai escapes at this time, the Wudang disciples have to let him off.
Wan finally learns about his parentage from his grandfather. Ching Chong is married before being a Taoist priest. The former sect leader dies and states Ching Chong to be his successor. Ching Chong returns but he can't tell the truth. His wife dies of grief after giving birth to Wan. Ching Chong knows about Wan's existence when he comes to visit his father-in-law. Overjoyed but sad, he can only let his son carry his wife's surname and teach him the martial arts by night.
Wan's grandfather is killed by Lightning while Wan is seriously injured and thrown into the sea. Goon's elder saves him and knows about his identity. He suddenly has the thought of getting Wan to spar with Goon. He tells Wan to stay to recuperate. To his dismay, his servant, Short gets along so well with Wan that he uses his master's BEST herbs to cure him!
The part where Wan loses on purpose is exciting and hilarious indeed. Both exchange pointers on the sand and also on the river (The fighting scene is designed by the same producer, Cheng Siu Dong as in the movie 'Hero'. I'm so impressed by this scene that the movie doesn't leave such a great impact as they look exactly the same). Goon smiles when Wan admits defeat as he points his sword at his throat. Wan walks away quietly. Goon is puzzled when his elder doesn't look happy. And indeed, his belt snaps at this moment, which shows that he is the loser!
First meeting of Heung Kwan and Wan. She has offended a vicious villain by saving those he wants to poison to death. This man poisons all the food that she travels on the way and she can't eat anything! Wan pities her and offers her a bun. To his anger, she throws it away in the river! But he pities her after seeing the fish dead in the river. He decides to help her. Both pretend to be poisoned and kill the villain by surprise. Although she grows up in Xiaoyao Valley, she is kind and learns medical skills to atone for her family's sins. Both become close friends.
After Fei Yeung leaves Wudang
How did Wan get into Mou Dik clan? Goon spars with Fung and injures her leg. He saves her and thus he gets into Mou Dik clan. Wan acts like a village man and angers Fung by saying that he treats her using herbs in the same way as treating his pig. However, Fung gets along well with him. He learns medical skills from Physician Sai. Fung recommends him to be a member. But Wang reveals his identity after finding him familiar and Mou Dik destroys his skills. Wan is saved by a merchant and reconciles with Fung. Mou Dik is so furious that he forbids her to leave the clan.
Goon's first meeting with Bei Sha. Someone tries to sell her a fake 'star of the desert' jewel and he discovers the plot. Knowing that she is the disciple of Black and White Devils, he decides to make use of her to learn skills from the two. The two Bosnians dislike the Chinese and thus ill-treats him. Once he even tries to steal their secret manual, only to get bitten by a snake. Bei Sha loves him and steals the manual for him. She later flees with him. She even translates the Muslim scroll to help him improve his skills.
Yuk Shu gets the Tiancan scroll after ditching Yuen Yee and is very excited. But to his dismay, there are only 10 words in it! Yin confesses to him because he can't understand these 10 words, he still can't master the skills after 30 years. Yuk Shu is devastated and sleeps with Yuen Yee when drunk.
A court official, Luk Chin is delivering 'Tianshan snow lotus' to the imperial court. Tin Dai wants it to reattach all his veins and orders Heung Kwan to get it for him. She meets Wan and both are overjoyed. Knowing that his skills are completely destroyed by Mou Dik, she decides to give him half the snow lotus if she gets it. Mou Dik also wants it and manages to win the two devils to force the two to join his clan.
Luk Chin decides to pass the snow lotus to his assistant so as to throw his enemies off their tracks. Rain hypothesize him and wants him to give to her - who will be the first person to see him when he gets it later. However, Xiaoyao and Mou Dik clans have a clash. The assistant forces Wan to swallow the whole snow lotus by mistake. Poor man -- he feels so cold that he nearly freezes to death. Heung Kwan brings him to the nearest spring and cures him completely. But Heung Kwan has no courage to tell him personally about her and her brother's identity so she writes it in a letter before leaving. When Wan awakens after mastering his skill, he finds the letter wet and can't find her.
Luk Chin is upset upon knowing this happens and indeed his whole family is sentenced to death. His nephew, Luk Dan, escapes with a criminal scar on his face. Heung Kwan returns to Xiaoyao valley and feigns injury to cover up her failure in her mission. Tin Dai believes her but the others are angry. They believe that she must have given the snow lotus to Wan secretly.
Yin is attacked by Yuk Shu and imprisoned like what he does to Tin Dai 30 years ago in Xiaoyao valley. He regrets wronging Wan. Heung Kwan takes care of him secretly and tells Wan the truth. She even betrays Tin Dai by helping him escape. Wan brings them to Goon's elder. Goon masters ' Sunset sword skill' and kills his elder to attain the Ngor Mei leader position. Despite feeling upset, Yin, Heung Kwan and Short manage to escape from him with the elder's medical books and martial arts manuals.
Fung disguises as a man to look for Wan and is ill. Heung Kwan also disguises as a man to be a physician to earn money. She saves Fung and Fung thinks that she is being molested. Both women laugh upon knowing each other's identity. Fung lies about being an orphan. Yin likes her and adopts her as his foster daughter. She is grateful but has no heart to tell them the truth. Both women become sworn sisters.
Upon knowing that Heung Kwan likes Wan, Fung feels inferior to be a villain's daughter and leaves. Wan is disappointed upon knowing it. Surprisingly, Yin isn't angry after knowing Fung's identity. He even laments that Fung shouldn't be Mou Dik's daughter as she is so obedient. Fung doesn't want to hinder Wan and Heung kwan so she decides to marry Wang. Wan is seriously injured when he tries to interrupt their wedding (I hate this part -- this should be the highlight of all but...argh...Wan is wearing the mask! How can we see his expression?)
Ching Chong is injured by Mou Dik 20 years ago and faints outside Chum Man Ching's room. She gives birth to Fung after spending the night with Ching Chong. Mou Dik pampers Fung rotten and forbids her to visit Ching to punish her. Actually Ching Chong does it in a coma so feeling remorseful, he gives Ching a phoenix hairpin and also the 'Tiancan scroll'. That's why he can recognise Fung by the hairpin when she goes to Wudang with Wang. He has wished to ask Ching about their child but she refuses to tell him. Nevertheless, he tells her to impart 'Tiancan skill' to the person who has his jade pendant. However hard she wishes to teach Fung 'Tiancan skill', she fails as she can't master it on her own.
And indeed, Wan escapes to her room and when her maid recognises him as Fung's lover, she decides to pass her internal energy to save him upon seeing the jade pendant on him. Fung disfigures herself by cutting a few scars on her face to prevent Wang from marrying her and leaves the clan. She doesn't even know that Wan is with her mother.
Yuen Yee leaves upon knowing Yuk Shu's identity. Out of frustration, he discovers the '13 snake and crane strokes' manual. This skill is only inferior to 'Tiancan skill' and thus he masters it. He then asks Mou Dik out for a duel and Xiaoyao Valley wipes his clan. With the help of Wind, Thunder, Rain, and Lightning, Yuk Shu hits Mou Dik down a cliff. Goon then discovers that Yuk Shu feigns defeat to him earlier so as to help him wipe off Mou Dik clan. He is pushed down a cliff as well. He meets Xuanyin sect and learns from Bei Sha that it is the biggest sect in Bosnia. He decides to join them. Wudang disciples are shocked to know Yuk Shu's identity but they put up with the torture, knowing that Yin and Wan will return one day.
The old Xuanyin leader dies an unhappy death after being defeated by the 6 sect leaders. He has two daughters. The First princess now leads the sect and only comes to the Mainland to get more followers. She has no ambition to control it but to play safe, she also brings along the poisonous incense -- Feng Nao Xiang. This poison turns a person to be her zombie after 7 days. She wears gloves as she is practising 'the poisonous snake skill'. She poisons Goon and demands Bei Sha to get her 'the star of the desert' jewel. Bei Sha has to follow her bidding.
Change in Fei Yeung
Feng saves Dan from being pursued by soldiers but unfortunately Chin is killed. Fung feels remorseful for his plight although Wan is the one who causes him the agony. Despite protests from Heung Kwan, Yin insists on practising upon knowing Wudang's tragedy. He dies after a few days. Fung is very upset when she arrives with Dan and can't see him the last time. The three are overjoyed when he comes out of his grave alive and looking younger with black hair. He finally knows that he needs to destroy his previous skills to start from scratch (This is similar to Yan Nan Tian's experience in Gu Long's novel -- The Proud Twins). Yin is now anxious to pass on this skill to Wan.
Knowing Dan's misfortune, Yin decides to accept him as a Wudang disciple. Both save Wudang from the ordeal but Dan doesn't get to see Yuk Shu when he escapes from the other side of the mountain. Yuk Shu is shocked when his '13 snake and crane strokes' is no match for 'Tiancan skill'. He flees with serious injuries. Tin Dai orders Physician Sai to treat Yuk Shu. Wang has escaped and manages to save Mou Dik.
Wan comes out from the cocoon. Chum is amazed to see that his looks have changed although he still has cotton on his face. She is glad that he masters the skill and retreats in a nunnery. Wan returns to Wudang and Yin teaches him the Tiancan inner skill. A few days later, the cotton disappears and Wan has a shock when looking into the mirror. At first, he can't accept that he has changed so much but Yin consoles him.
Xuanyin sect comes to Wudang to create trouble for them. The Second princess is rude to Yin and Wan grabs a pearl from her cap without her knowledge. Seeing that both men are so highly skilled, the First princess leaves. Both men are troubled as they know there is no end to this dispute. Seeing that Wan misses Fung, Yin tells him that she is with Heung Kwan. Fung knows that her face wounds can't be cured so she declines Heung Kwan's help.
The two women can't recognise Wan when he comes to look for them. This part is sure funny -- they think that he is a villain and nearly spar with him. But they stop upon hearing his voice. However, both women leave as they wish to give him up to the other. They are just too nice to each other but have disregarded Wan's feelings. Wan is upset and returns to Wudang.
Bei Sha is forced to tell her masters' whereabouts. The two devils are no match for the First Princess and is forced to give up the jewel and join the sect. They hate Goon for their ordeal and vows to seek revenge.
Yin and Wan sets out to wipe off Xiaoyao valley. Wan kills Wind, Lightning, Rain, and Thunder. Yuk Shu tries to attack Yin from behind when the two old men are pitting their inner strength but he fails. Tin Dai is injured by Yin but escapes. Wan manages to save Fung from Yuk Shu and both decide to be together. Yin is about to kill Mou Dik but stops when Fung begs for his life.
The First princess spends the night with Goon (till now I still don't know how she falls for such a man who is so lowly and poor in skills). Bei Sha is upset over it. The Second princess is angered too. Mou Dik agrees to Wan's marriage proposal. Heung Kwan is upset upon knowing it. Wan is overjoyed when seeing that Fung's looks are restored by Physician Sai. Chum manages to stop them on time when they nearly go to bed together. Wan wonders what wrong he has done and offers to change. I really pity him for looking so innocent in here. Chum tells them the harsh truth of being half-siblings.
Fung is devastated and leaves after telling Heung Kwan to take care of Wan. Mou Dik confesses to Chum that he wants the 'Tiancan scroll' and to spite back at Chum so he agrees to the marriage. Wan seriously injured Mou Dik but kills Wang instead as he is too furious. Poor Wang -- what an act to sacrifice himself to help his master escape! Even before his death, he requests Wan to take care of Fung. Chum also kills herself. Wan can't withstand too many shocks in one night and stands in the rain. Yin tries to pacify him. He leaves Wudang the next day. Dan follows suit as he still wishes to seek revenge.
The Second princess and two devils see Tin Dai and Yuk Shu. Thinking too highly of herself, she attacks Tin Dai but is held hostage by him, who asks Yuk Shu to leave. She hits Tin Dai and kills him but he kills her too. Yuk Shu sees Dan being pursued by soldiers and saves him after seeing that he knows Wudang skills. Dan tells him about his parentage and Yuk Shu decides to make use of him to deal with Wan.
He then teaches Dan the crane skill while he focuses on the snake skill. He believes that by combining forces, they should be at par with Wan. The First princess blames the devils for her sister's death. The two decide to kill her and Goon since they have failed in protecting the Second princess. They plant explosives in Goon's sedan but he manages to escape in time and the White devil dies. The Black devil is killed when he is no match for Goon in a duel. Bei Sha still loves him despite this.
Heung Kwan vows to seek revenge upon knowing about her grandfather's death. She befriends Bei Sha and changes her name to Heung Heung. She treats the First princess of her rheumatism. Initially, she wants to poison her to death through her needles but is nearly discovered. She can only add a little poison in each treatment per time then. The First princess is at first suspicious but later lets off her guard after testing her knowledge on Bosnian customs. Heung Kwan heaves a sigh of relief as she only knows a little of the Bosnian language from Bosnian patients when she treats them. However, she still orders Heung Kwan to eat poison to stay loyal to her. Heung Kwan obeys but eats the antidote in secret.
The rise of Xuanyin sect
The First princess wants to look for Yin to learn 'Tiancan skill'. Heung Kwan escapes to try to inform him of the news. The First princess thinks that she can never make it to Wudang since she is poisoned, not knowing that she is cured. Bei Sha wants to poison herself and Goon to dead but Goon discovers her plot and pretends to be dead. He feels remorseful but he is more afraid to die with her.
Goon secretly lit Feng Nao Xiang and helps the First Princess kill most of the Wudang members. Heung Kwan is alarmed to see all already dead. She knows the cure but doesn't have the antidote. Feng knows about the news and stays to help. Wan meets Dan and Yuk Shu so he reprimands Dan to be with a villain. Blinded by revenge, Dan still attacks Wan and gets injured.
Wan chases after Yuk Shu and Yuk Shu kills his own son by mistake (please read SC's review as I've no heart to rewrite the tragedy). Wan can't find him and tries to heal Dan. Both return to Wudang and Dan forgives him after seeing that he is so righteous. Wan and Fung meet but they feel awkward as Wan can still call her Fung but she can only address him as her brother.
Wan sneaks into Xuanyin sect and is alarmed to find out that many have joined them because of Feng Nao Xiang. Heung Kwan tells him that one of the antidote, Bak Far grass, can only be attained from the palace. Dan overhears it and makes a decision. He has been there before and thus will have no problem in looking for it. Wan is worried but still stays at Wudang as his fellows need him. Fung offers to go on his behalf.
Heung Kwan saves Yuk Shu from being killed by Goon. She refuses to help Yuk Shu kill Wan and is poisoned by him. Goon wants to kill a masked man who is having more power than him in the sect although he only joins them lately. He fails and is alarmed to find that he is Mou Dik. The First princess is furious with Goon and orders her followers to kill him. Goon escapes, sees Fung on his way and wants to use her as a hostage to threaten Wan. Fung jumps off the cliff and her body is never found in the sea.
Goon tells Wan that he wants 'Tiancan scroll' in exchange for Fung. Wan asks to consider for one day and tells him later that he will not give it to him. Even if Goon will not reveal her whereabouts, he will search for her and hopes to save her in time. Goon is shocked that Wan doesn't accede to his demand. He is devastated when his 'sunset skill' is still no match for 'Tiancan skill' so he kills himself.
Before dying, he tells Wan about Fung's death. The Wudang members are worried when Wan is so upset that he doesn't eat for several days. Heung Kwan is locked in a cave. Mou Dik manages to master Mou Dik skill after castrating himself (same as Yue Bu Qun in 'The State of Divinity'.) Dan manages to get the grass and leaves the palace.
The final duel
The 6 sect leaders look for Wan to discuss on how to deal with Xuanyin sect. They have wanted to choose Wan to be their leader but upon seeing that he is still upset over Fung's death, they choose Zhong Da, who is Marquis Tsui's teacher in 'Ting Long Juet'. Yuk Shu pretends to be a Wudang disciple to send an invitation card to them. They think Wan wants to meet them earlier and praises him for his alertness. But when they open the box, they are poisoned by Feng Nao Xiang. Heung Kwan is trapped but she manages to free her chain after seizing an axe from a lustful hunter who wanted to rape her. What happens to the hunter? He gets killed of course by the axe for acting so foolishly.
Wan is attacked by the 6 sect leaders. He manages to subdue them in time but he is seriously injured. While Wan closes his eyes and is trying to revive his strength, Yuk Shu tries to kill him with a dagger. Suddenly Yuk Shu is stabbed and is shocked to see that Heung Kwan kills him. He does everything for the Fu family but never expects to die by a family member's hands. She cries upon recollecting the past on how Yuk Shu dotes on her and asks for his forgiveness. Wan is shocked to see this upon opening his eyes. Both bury him and Wan tries his best to console her.
Wan still wants to duel with the First princess. Heung Kwan is worried and wants to follow him but he tells her to take care of the 6 sect leaders. The other sects are worried when they see that the 6 sect leaders and Wan have not arrived. Wan appears and is at par with Mou Dik in a duel. Heung Kwan arrives and reveals the antidote's names. The First princess is angry with herself for not killing her earlier.
Heung Kwan stops Wan from fighting with the First princess. She says that this is to his disadvantage as he has fought earlier. Moreover, the witnesses, the 6 sect leaders have not arrived so the rest will not be convinced even if she wins. Actually she knows that our poor hero has only little strength left. He may look alright now but she doesn't know how serious his injuries are -- because even after his duel with the sect leaders earlier, she doesn't have the chance to feel his pulse!
The First princess decides to postpone the duel to the next day. When they return to the tent, Wan nearly faints and Heung Kwan helps him up. Wan finally confesses that he will not be able to block 10 strokes from the First princess if he spars with her. Heung Kwan is alarmed upon feeling his irregular pulse. Wan insists on having the match as he has only the night and hopes to recover 70% of his strength.
One sect leader can't control the poison any longer and demands the antidote from Heung Kwan. She confesses that she lies and this man tells Xuanyin sect the news. The First Princess confronts them the next day. Dan and the 6 sect leaders walk out of the tent. He has managed to cure them on time with the antidote. Wan wants the First Princess to leave the pugilistic world with her sect if he wins. He will do the same if he loses. She agrees.
Both of them challenge each other with swords and are at par. Later they pit their inner strength and she loses. She fulfills her promise. The masked man nearly kills the 6 sect leaders if not for Wan. Wan says sarcastically that he has no face to face the world so he wears a mask. He is stunned to know that he is Mou Dik. He gets so mad that both have a duel.
At first, Mou Dik is at the upper hand. Later when they pit their inner strength, he is stunned when his palms are attached to the silkworm cotton! Finally he dies when Wan pushes him out of the cocoon. Heung Kwan is relieved to find him alright after two duels. Dan chats with Wan and wants him to take care of Wudang affairs. Wan leaves as he wants to rest for the moment and Heung Kwan can only see him walking downhill after treating the 6 sect leaders.
Wan Fei Yeung - Tsui Shiu Keung/ Koo Koon Chung
Tsui gives a very powerful performance. From the low self-esteem servant, he rises to become a confident man. Many will sympathize him on receiving poor treatment at Wudang, expulsion from Wudang and his sad fate of losing his skills at a time. When he is with Fung, many will get to see his bright smile with two deep dimples on his cheek. He is very convincing in fighting scenes -- in fact his popularity as Wan Dai Hup was at par with Lau Chung Yan as Luk Siu Fung. It is a pity that he was replaced in the middle of the serial as his splendid acting is consistent throughout the serial.
Koo has tried hard to replace Tsui but somehow, I feel that he isn't that good in emotional scenes. When he found that he was Fung's half-brother and Yuk Shu dead, he could not portray his sad feelings that appropriately. How I wish Tsui can act here as he can portray his expressions so well! However, this is his debut drama and he has done fairly well in most scenes. Being skilled in martial arts, he really scale 'Tiancan skill' into greater heights than Tsui..
Goon Zhong Lau - Lau Wai Mun
This villain character is definitely unlikeable and Lau makes it so successful to let you hate him so much. He is quite good looking with 2 deep dimples like Tsui. Always armed with a cloak and 2 servants, Goon likes to make a loud entrance -- they will play the flute to help him distract the opponent. However, I am very amused that he becomes a sore loser to almost everyone in the end as his skills never seem to improve much. And being a coward, he can stoop so low to join different other sects to save his own skin and learn other skills. Also attracting 2 beautiful but brainless women to sleep with him.
I tear my hair after he caused Fung's death, he has the cheek to lie to Wan to get 'Tiancan skill scroll! But in here, he is no longer the handsome man that we have seen before as he is dejected. It is still puzzling to me on why he kills himself after losing to Wan since he is so afraid of death. Still, it is amazing that Lau can make such a despicable character come alive!
Fu Yuk Shu - Ng Wai Kok
He is another handsome despicable character. Actually he can be quite pitiful because he is forced to follow his grandfather's footsteps. To get to the top, he sacrifices his own happiness and dares not oppose his grandfather. Ng isn't that outstanding as in his later serials because he has just started out. The love scenes are quite impressive, though. Ng pairs up quite well with Mun Yee. However, he manages to instill an air of evilness in him when he feigns in the dark as two people fighting to injure himself and killing Ching Chong. Many still feel sorry for him for killing his own son by mistake and to be killed by Heung Kwan.
Luk Dan - Lo Lok Lam
His acting is quite convincing as a lad seeking revenge despite having fewer scenes than the other young actors. He is kind at heart but is too blinded in making the wrong friends. He pairs up well in Ng in the 'snake and crane skill' - both make a marvellous duo, besides the Black and White devils.
Tin Dai - Leung Tin
This man can be strict and loving at the same time. He is demanding and fierce to his grandson and followers but yet he dotes on his granddaughter so much that he gives in to her all the time. No wonder the two are so filial to him. Leung is a very experienced actor and thus he can relate Tin Dai's hatred so well. In fact, he hates Yin for locking him up and maiming him that he does the same to him. But what a wrong move he has done as this helps Yin to learn 'Tiancan skill' successfully!
Yin Chong Tien - Bao Hon Lam
This man ruins so many people's futures and happiness. Ching Chong becomes Wudang's sect leader unwillingly because of him. He also tells Yuk Shu that managing a sect is more important than getting married. Moreover, he also ill-treats Wan. And strangely, Wan is so forgiving to him and bears no grudges at all. Luckily, he is no longer the stubborn old man we know when he remains nice to Fung even after knowing her parentage. He has finally changed for the better. Bao is also another experienced actor who shows well how an elder has authority in a sect.
Mou Dik - Yong Chak Lum
He is so vicious to cause so many tragedies. He keeps Ching Chong's daughter by his side and to teach her all the evil skills that he knows and spoils her rotten to lead her astray. However, you can't help pitying this man. If someone gets to know his wife's infidelity, he will have no stand in the pugilistic world. He has no choice but to claim her as his own and pretends to be a caring father.
At first, he is so powerful that you will think that there is no match for him. But when he loses, he can stoop so low as Goon to please Wan to accede to their marriage. Yong is also good in portraying his jealousy in knowing his wife's infidelity that he nearly goes berserk when practising the ninth stage of 'Mou Dik' skill. But it is really a waste when he hides his face most of the time in the later part of the serial.
Gong Sun Wang - Hon Yee Shang
This man is far from good looking -- fat, short and has a beard. But is there anything wrong for him to love his beautiful junior? He really loves her. The moment he sees her disfiguring herself to protest on their wedding night, he is speechless as he is unprepared for the shock -- not that he will dislike her after this happens. Poor man -- he dies an unhappy death while trying to protect his master from being killed by Wan.
Ching Chong - Cheung Ying
Another man who has a tragic ending. He may be Wudang's leader but he is so troubled by problems. He had wanted to give up his position to either one of his seniors but both are cowards. When he sets his successors, they die mysteriously and he has to stick to the post. Although he gets to see Wan everyday, he can't acknowledge him. Even when he imparts his skills to him at night, he has to be masked and be strict with him. He has no chance to shower his fatherly love on him. He doesn't even have a chance to tell him the truth when he dies -- Cheung puts up a remarkable performance as a man who is unhappy all his life.
Black and white devils - Mak Tin Yan and Kam San (Kwai Ying's father in 'Heroine of the Yang')
The first dresses completely in black with a black moustache while the other is the opposite. Both are like strict fathers to Bei Sha and are of course dismayed with her choice of Goon as a husband. In fact, both detest him so much that they torture him every now and then. They are quite wicked to hatch horrible plans every now and then. But many will still feel their concern for their only disciple.
Fu Heung Kwan - Yu On On
She is as sweet here as Princess Heung Heung in 'The Book and the Sword'. In fact, her performance here is far better here than in there. How I wish that she appears from the start! She is so innocent and pure like a piece of white paper. Gentle, beautiful, and kind, it is a pity that she doesn't get Wan's love in the end. Torn between the hatred between her family and Wudang, she still manages to be an upright person. Her Chinese and Bosnian costumes fit well on her too. She looks weak but she can be quite determined and strong to seek revenge for her grandfather. This can be considered a perfect role.
Dok Gu Fung - Miu Hor Sau
She is quite impressive as the arrogant woman spoilt from young. With a phoenix hairpin and a blue dress, she has the authoritative look that commands so much attention. However, she realises her mistakes and changes for the better after knowing Wan. However, I can't accept her being so gentle all of a sudden. However, she looks prettier with a dimple on her face when she smiles.
She has more chemistry with Tsui than Koo. I still remember a part when Wan does a lot of somersaults to make her smile. It is a brief but memorable scene. Suddenly he falls on the ground and faints. She hurries over to him to find that it is a hoax. Both then can't stop teasing each other. Still, Miu is very more natural in showing the strong and determined side of Fung, especially when she shows no hesitance to jump off a cliff in the end. She only prays that Wan will seek revenge for her. She does well in sad scenes with her natural acting. She is good in fighting scenes too, armed with small double sabres or a sword skillfully.
Yee Bei Sha - Choi Keng Fai
Another pitiful character who will do everything foolishly for love. I wonder why she can be so blind to fall in love with Goon? Does he deserve such a pretty and highly-skilled woman? Her sad fate of committing suicide is a stupid act but still deserves pity. Choi is quite convincing in this role.
The First princess - Marie Cheung
She may seem to be powerful, pretty, and icy. However, Goon manages to kindle the loneliness in her with his good looks and she starts to have affairs with him. At a time, she loses control of herself and listens to his bidding due to a stupid arrangement of the producer. However, she returns to her senses after Mok Dik becomes her capable assistant. She ditches Goon and later become power hungry. Cheung is a bit wooden as this sect leader at first but she does better in later scenes after the Second princess's death.
The Second princess - Lee Tong Ming
She is conceited and thinks too highly of herself. At certain times, she can be quite cute. She is a Muslim but she is being led unknowingly to taste pork in an inn. Saying that it is tasty at first and later dismayed that she has broken her rules, she nearly kills the inn-keeper! However, she is quite kind at heart and is level-headed. Upon knowing her sister's affair, she chides Bei Sha for not controlling Goon properly but she also can't help feeling sorry for her.
Being reckless, she often lands herself in trouble, the last will be undermining Tin Dai and being killed by him. I heard that Lee has acted in another version of 'Return of Condo Heroes' as Siu Long Nui but she isn't good there. However, I quite like her here as the willful and cute princess and feel a sense of loss to see her departure.
Lun Yuen Yee - Mah Mun Yee
This is another sweet character. She is the favourite among all the Wudang disciples as she is the youngest and the only female (Reminds me of Yue Lingshan in 'State of Divinity') too. Intelligent and pretty in a pink dress, she wins Wan's heart easily. However, she chooses to like the wrong man, but upon knowing his identity, she leaves him as she is a righteous person. It is sad that she ends up being dead after giving birth to Yuk Shu's child. Mah is quite good in many scenes as she pairs up well with Tsui or Ng.
Chum Man Ching - Leung Suet Chong
Many certainly despise this loose woman. So do I. In a fit to get back at Mou Dik for neglecting her after marriage, she sleeps willingly with Ching Chong. Only when Mok Dik keeps Fung away from her after birth, she then regrets her rash action. This is something that I don't understand -- it is quite clear that she loves her daughter and yet she makes no effort to see her often! From what I see, the poor Fung always makes the first move to visit her. Who will dare to stop the Mistress of the clan from moving around the mansion if she wants to even though Mou Dik tells his men to shadow her every now and then?
From the start, I have the wrong impression that she doesn't know martial arts. I only know my mistake when I see her saving Wan. Why? And to kill herself because she is too ashamed to face the half-siblings is another stupid act. What good can turn out from there? The truth is still irreversible! She may look like a loving mother but in fact she isn't -- this is puzzling -- with such little time together, how can Fung be so attached to her?
Wind - Mun Chin Sui
He is very spooky looking with his tall build and white make-up. It is quite amusing to see him fighting with large, long sleeves. I never know that these can become powerful weapons!
Thunder - Lau Kok Sheng
He has a loud voice and handles a large sabre. Very impressive outfit too to show his large biceps.
Rain - Lau Ying Hung
The only female among the four but also the most cunning among them. She knows how to hypothesize victims and makes use of others' weaknesses -- especially on the gullible Heung Kwan. Everything about her is white -- hair, make-up and even her poisonous darts. Her mysterious smiles always sends you wondering what evil plan she is having next.
Lightning - Lau Kong
He has a lightning outfit and his hair is of course having the same signs. Needless to say about his weapons too - two lightning spears - impressive!
Tsui Siu Keung. If not for him, this serial will not be that exciting without him as the lead. A close runner-up will be Lau Wai Mun.
None, because the acting can be said to be flawless
Most memorable villains
The four capable assistants - Wind, Thunder, Rain and Lightning. You will feel their presence even though they have few lines as their evilness is obviously shown. Others will be Black and White devils and Tin Dai. I must say costumes and the make-up play a major part besides the fine acting.
There is one joke that I have read from the newspaper. In 1978, Hong Kong's Gau Lung and Mong Kok had quite a number of commercial schools that opened English, Japanese, and accounting night classes. Suddenly in August, the classes from 7:30 to 8:30 P.M. shrunk in size. Only about 3 to 4 students were present. The other students only appeared at 9 P.M. The teachers were angry and asked them the reason. They replied that they had stayed at home to watch the serial before coming! The teachers were angry and also amused with the answer -- as they didn't expect the students to miss the first period because of one serial!
The above is meant to be a joke but this shows how popular the serial is. From 1978 to 1980, it attracted the people from all ages under Tai Ping mountain. Many are so familiar with the cast. Tsui Siu Keung, Miu Hor Sau, and Yeung Chak Lam are considered to be the iron triangle. Whatever TVB serial tries to pit against ATV turned out to be lagging behind in viewership.
Later, TVB decided to film 'Chor Lau Heung' to let Cheng Siu Chau pit against Tsui. At this time, Tsui kept on going on disappearing acts. The producer had no choice but to make our Wan Dai Hup to be masked in many scenes. Many viewers were unhappy with the arrangement and complained about it. They were angered when Koo finally replaced Tsui. Thus TVB won the battle in the end.
Luckily, this didn't happen in Singapore, otherwise, I would be cracking my brain over which serial to watch. The Singapore station showed Cheng's serial after 'Reincarnated'. I watched 'Reincarnated' when I was in primary school. My whole class followed every episode faithfully too. One classmate even bought the weekly magazine just to know the story and we practically GRABBED for it to know the latest follow-up. It was quite funny when some of the boys even imitated the characters! Our own complaint was the station used a girlish voice to dub Wan Dai Hup's voice in Mandarin, which we really detest!
At first, this serial is only 30 episodes long. Due to its popularity, it turns into a 60-episode serial. Tsui found it so stressful to film for so long. He had complained to the top but they ignored this fact. Many had rumoured him to be drunk and late most of the time. In actual fact, he had been rushing one scene after another at different places -- some in the studio while some outside in the countryside.
Why did he drink? He felt so tired. He had been under the hot sun and in the rain for so many days. Getting drenched in the river in the rainy days while wearing hot sweaters on hot days. So he drank at night for relaxation but he always watched his liquor. However, negative news about him never stopped and he had a quarrel with the boss. He didn't turn up for work on one day. When he got back to work, the TV station told him that he was not needed anymore. So he left with the make-up still on his face! However, they are on better terms now and he still shoots serials for ATV occasionally.
Yong Chak Lam was very pressured to act with Cheung Ying. We know that Yong was quite young then despite of his mature looks. He had acted as the young Ng Sam Guai in 'Princess Channg Ping'. He was equally puzzled on why he was chosen to play this father role. He found it difficult to have such a grown up 'daughter'. Moreover, he has respected Cheung Ying all along and found it hard to be harsh to him. Many really laughed at how timid he was when shooting fighting scenes with him as he was afraid to injure him by mistake. Cheng told him to relax and was always concerned for him when Yong was the one who often got injured because he had more fighting scenes than him.
So many that I can't remember. All the fighting scenes are tastefully done -- especially the duels scenes. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, to perk your mood. Same as emotional scenes when each character is allowed enough room to develop his/her acting skills. Many twists and turns in the sub-plots that will keep you following it faithfully.
There are 3 songs. The first needs no introduction as it has the same name as the serial. I like this song very much as it is very fast-paced and relates Wan's story very well. The sub-theme song is ' Facing the Sky Alone'. I don't really fancy the second song as it isn't that impressive. Both songs are sung by Kwan Cheng Kit and both songs are in his 'Chameleon' television serial album. My father bought the cassette when the serial was shown. Another subtheme song ' Change to deep hatred' is by Lau Ying Hung (Rain in the serial). It is sad, touching and memorable although it is adapted from a Chinese opera.
I hope many will not get confused over the number of characters and the subplots in the review. It is considered a classic because of its inter-linked stories. However, if not for the slow moving pace and some loopholes in the plot towards the end, I could have given this serial 4.5 stars. This serial has actually presented the best that it could offer -- handsome actors, pretty actresses and great acting. I must admit that Siu Sheng has chosen the right people for the roles. Especially for the actresses, the three do have the mixed look as Bosnian women. Moreover, the make-up and costume departments have done a fine job. The result is even better than most TVB period dramas.
The follow up is 'Tin Long Juet', Reincarnated II or 'New Reincarnated 1993 - To Compete with the Sky's Height' (What a joke as it has none of the qualities to surpass the original). I am quite disappointed with the 1993 version as the producer is the same -- Mr Siu Shing who has also produced 'Reincarnated' and also 'Demi Gods Semi Devils 82'! I still prefer the original because of the A-class cast and intriguing story.
On acting: * * * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story: * * * * (Scale of 5)