The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber

Reviewed by: crazylazy_chief

October 31, 2003

Rating: three-point-five

This version of Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre Sword (HSDS) is the newest version of the popular novel Jin Yong wrote. It still revolves around the love triangles between Ming Sect leader Zhang Wuji, Mongolian Princess Zhao Min, ErMei's Zhou Zhiruo, Wuji's cute servant Xiaozhao, and Wuji's cousin Chu Er. I have only watched TVB's HSDS 2000 by Lawrence Ng, Gigi Lai, and Charmaine Sheh, and this version, so my comparisons will only be between these two.

First of all, I was really looking forward to watching this series because of Alec Su and Alyssa Chia, and they didn't disappoint me. Unfortunately, the script did. It was really boring and draggy in the beginning, especially right after Wuji was sent to Butterfly Valley to get himself cured. It spent a little too much time on showing the audience how he and Chiang Yu Chiuan met and how he saved him.

Zhang Cui Shan
Of course I would choose Damian Lau, even though he is quite old to play the character, but he has successfully portrayed the guilt of Cui Shan for Su Su (his wife) having injured his third sect brother with poison. I am not saying that Alec Su did not do a good job but his acting is raw compared to Damian Lau.

Zhang Wuji
This time, I would choose Alec Su, because Lawrence Ng was never on my mind for playing Zhang Wuji. Lawrence is a little too old to act out the gullible Wuji. I feel all weird when he was with Gigi or Charmaine. Maybe I feel that he's too old to be with them. I have seen Alec acting gullible so I feel quite comfortable with him acting as Zhang Wuji. I laughed all the time whenever he is with Zhao Min because they have a lot of chemistry, and their scenes together were really funny. In this version, WuJi didn't learn his Sheng Hwua Ling.

Zhao Min
She is the beautiful Mongolian Princess. It's really hard to choose between Gigi and Alyssa. They're both good. But I find that Alyssa makes Zhao Min really lively while Gigi makes Zhao Min smart and intelligent. The way that Alyssa smiles is so cute, and I have to agree with Ian Liew (another reviewer) that Alyssa is a bit cartoonish. Maybe I am really biased about Alyssa, since I still find her really likeable even when she was killing the ErMei girls when they were eating. And do you find that Alyssa and her fiance Zhao Qiang look really alike?

Zhou Zhiruo
An excellent performance by Gao Yuan Yuan. She did a much better job than Charmaine Sheh. Gao Yuan Yuan really portrayed the hatred Zhiruo had for Zhao Min and love for Wuji. She doesn't make me hate her until she appears at ShaoLin for Xie Xun. I don't know if she had the best ending from all the Zhiruo's. I think Charmaine's Zhiruo was luckier because she lost all her memory and got to be with Song Qingshu, who loved her so much. This Zhiruo had to be a nun and go back to be ErMei's leader. I don't know who's ending is better, you decide. In this version, Zhiruo's sifu comes back and "haunts" her more than Charmaine. I don't think Charmaine's sifu ever haunted her. I am really surprised about this actress because this is the first time I saw her, she did a great job because I think that ZiRuo is really hard to act. I think that when ZiRuo is using her jiu yin bai quk jeil, her make-up was a little too much. Especially on her lips.

Yen Su Su
I would prefer Phyllis Quek rather than Mi Xue because she is younger. Phyllis Quek is a great actress, especially when she saw her husband die and decided to die with him, she told Wuji not to believe in beautiful women.

Shiou Chou
I really like Florence Chen as this cute servant, because she done a better job than Liz Kwong. Liz only twisted her face when she pretended to be ugly while Florence got to put some plastic stuff on her face.

Chu Er
This version of Chu Er let go of WuJi a lot earlier than the other girl from HSDS 2000. She was haunting ZiRuo a lot more than the other one. It was pretty weird because she started out really mean and started to revolve to a really soft and gentle person. Especially to ZiRuo when Jin Hua Puo Puo captured ZiRuo to the Snake Island.

Cheng Kun
I would choose Chang Guo Li because even though he has never been an evil character before in the tv series that I watched, he portrayed a better Cheng Kun than the other guy from HSDS 2000. You wouldn't really know that Cheng Kun is really evil because he acted so soft and well-mannered.

Yang Shiou
It's really hard to choose. Eddie Cheung has done a really good performance. But I find that Chang Tie Lin is a bit unfit to be the handsome and intelligent Guan Ming Shi(?), he looked ridiculous in his younger days without his moustache. Besides, I thought that Yang Shiou is supposed to be a really important character in HSDS, but near the ending, you don't really see him coming out, whereas in HSDS 2000, you can see Yang Shiou everywhere.

Zhou Dien
I really like this character because he's supposed to be pretty funny. Still, he's funny in this version but he doesn't appear as much. He only came out for maybe two episodes in the beginning and at the end when they're at Shaolin.

Mie Jue Shi Tai (ZiRuo's sifu)
The one who ruined ZiRuo's life. She forced ZiRuo to go and steal the Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Sabre to get the "Jiu Yin Jen Jing" and "Wei Mu Yi Shu" to make ErMei better than Shaolin and become the big thing of WuLin. Also, to kick the Mongolian people out of the country. This lady acted better than the one from HSDS 2000.

Song ChingShu
It's hard to compare but I think that the guy from HSDS 2000 is luckier than this one, at least he got to be with ZiRuo who got amnesia and lived with her happily ever after, whereas this one had to be killed by ZiRuo.

Anyway, the important characters such as Zhou Dien and Lang Chien didn't appear as much. I really like Zhou Dien in HSDS 2000 because he is really funny. I didn't write too much about the other characters because Ian Liew wrote a lot in his review, so I only wrote about the main characters.

The fighting skills were not really good because they looked really fake. I loved the clothes and the hairdos of Zhao Min and Zhiruo's at the end when she was ErMei's leader. (Sorry, those are the things I usually notice in a period tv series.) Overall, I would rather watch this version rather than HSDS 2000, but I prefer the script of HSDS 2000.

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