The Smart Kid (Ji Lin Xiao Bu Dong)

Reviewed by: Gin Lee

January 01, 2008

Rating: three-point-five

Also Known as: Kid of Shaolin

Cast: Dicky Cheung, Li Bing Bing, Nie Yuan, Shen Xiao Hai, Lo Kar Ying, Ho Mei Tin, Xue Jia Ning

Production: Mainland China

Directing: Ma Jing Wu, Jin De Mao

Type: Dramatic Comedy

'Shen Shen Qi Qi, Shen Shen Qi Qi De Bu Dong Luo Shi'.

"Ji Lin Xiao Bu Dong" is about a teacher with a group of students and how this good teacher helps in political struggle. It is both dramatic and comedic with interesting, funny, touching scenes and that special teacher-student relationship. Dicky plays the teacher (Bu Dong) who places his students' interest at first priority and really cares about the students. He later helps the emperor (Nie Yuan) who is also his student to fight against the rebels. Love develops between Bu Dong and Zi Yan (Li Bing Bing) gradually. A typical story with good castings, a show to watch for leisure and entertainment.

Character Analysis:
Bu Dong (Dicky Cheung)
Unconventional teacher who is able to manage a group of mischievous students. At first, all students dislike him. However, he is able to win the trust of the students based on his unconditional love for his students. Wacky, witty, happy-go-lucky person with a big heart.

Dicky is at his usual self onscreen and I always think that he is most suitable for such roles. Undoubtedly, he is very good in this show and is one of the best performers in the show. I like his happy-go-lucky disposition and those teary eyes. It reflects a soft side of him. Frankly, without Dicky, the show would have been quite boring.

Ying Zi Yan (Li Bing Bing)
The only woman in the class who is highly mischievous. She dislikes Dicky and her father in the beginning. She is a troublemaker, likes to have fun, hates teachers and would play tricks on some students. However, she is not as nasty and wicked and she changes to be really adoring in the end.

Li Bing Bing is also good at fun loving roles and she matches really well with Dicky. She is pretty in this show too. Her acting is good. However, I would prefer her to be in more 'serious', mature roles. I think she is more suitable for such roles. A rose among the guys, she really stands out from the rest of the student.

Ying Zi Fu (Ho Mei Tin)
A demure lady who falls for a teacher (not Dicky). She is feeling blue most of the time until she found her happiness. She is brave and faithful for lingering on her love for many years.

Ho Mei Tin is as usual the demure, sad lady in this show whom I think this role is very similar to her past roles. I am quite sick of watching her in such roles. However, she is most suitable for such roles. Her performance in the show is quite good.

Emperor Zheng De aka Zhu Zheng (Nie Yuan)
A low self-esteem crown prince in the beginning. He is a student of Dicky. Dicky and Wu Xiu monk helped him gained confidence and he found her true love, Li Feng Jie. After emerging as the emperor and 'wiser' in ruling, he became quite powerful with emperor flair.

Nie Yuan is a new young actor in China whom many think is suitable for emperor roles as he has a high cheek bone. I agree on this as I do think he looks powerful (for his age) as an emperor. His acting is not very impressive, but he does have that emperor flair which makes him successful in 'conquering' this role.

Ning Wang (Shen Xiao Hai)
The villain in this show. Rebel who wanted to take over the crown. He is good looking, suave, knowledgeable, highly pretentious and ambitious.

Shen Xiao Hai didn't do a good job in this show. He has limited expressions and he simply does not portray a villain well. He also doesn't look handsome, suave and knowledgeable to me. As for being pretentious, there are not much difference between his 'good' and bad appearance to the audience. This show is incomplete without a good villain. Huang Hai Bing as a small role of 6 prince did a better job. He is more hateful.

Feng Jie (Xue Jia Ning)
Emperor Zheng De's lover and wife in the end. She always hoped to find a good husband who can provide her with luxury. She is also the boss of a wine inn.

Xue Jia Ning also didn't do a good job in this show. I simply dislike her even though she isn't suppose to be a bad person in this show. Her expression are quite fake too.

Wu Xiu Monk (Lo Kar Ying)
Bu Dong's room mate who helped him accomplish a special mission. Cute old man who is wise and a blur at times.

Lo Kar Ying is also at his normal onscreen self of an adorable old man. His performance is actually good and funny. This character seems a little redundant to me and there isn't much impressive contribution from this character to the whole story.

The students
Playful, dislike teachers and studying and some are big bullies to weaker students. All turn good in the end and manage to make it to the next level of education. Some of the more memorable students are Xing Feng (Wang Shuo), Da Guan, etc.

The 'bells and whistles' of the show. Without them, the show would not be a show. :) My favourite student is Da Guan and I think he is really brave despite being slow in learning. There are many morality stories revolves around this student. It is a pity that he is out in the middle of the story to give way for more stories ahead.

2 stars given for Dicky, 1 star given for Da Guan and his stories, 1 star given for Zi Yan and sadly 0.5 star deducted for Ning Wang and Feng Jie.

The first half of the show on students is more enjoyable than the second half on political struggles. As I have mentioned above, I like all stories of Da Guan. He is a weak student who is often bullied by his classmates. In one particular story, he showed his disapproval. Even though he still got badly bushed up, he stood firm and proved to others that he is not always lead on the nose. It may be ridiculous that he did that for a basket of pears, but these pears are from his parents. He loves, misses his parents and would like to enjoy this special gift from his parents. Dicky proved to be a good teacher and I really like those endearing, teary eyes he has for his student. He vividly shown his care, concern and love for the students. In another story, Da Guan is simply too weak to continue studying in the school. He has to go home. Bu Dong and the rest of the students help to develop his talents of planting pear trees. Da Guan proved to be a good leader when he distributed the work of saving the pear tree from a thunderstorm. In the end, he pursues his real talent of planting trees. There are other stories of how Bu Dong managed to change a group of nasty students to be good and caring students. The cream of this show are these stories, stories of morality and teachers' love, taught in an unconventional way of wacky methods. It may bear some similarities to the Japanese drama, GTO. However, this show gives a different twist and is highly recommended for GTO lovers. Personally, I think it's better than the latter.

In the second half of the story, characters Zhu Zheng and Ning Wang come into the picture. Both characters don't add excitement to the story and the political struggles are as dull and uninteresting as plain paper. There is no massive horses or warriors scene for the final surge. Instead, common people stand firm to protect the emperor from the rebels and soldiers of the rebels also join in and force the rebels to surrender. There is simply no excitement at all. The only climax is when the emperor is at a dilemma of whether he should kill Bu Dong who outshines him in everything. It is an internal struggle of the emperor who is both grateful, jealous and wary of Bu Dong. This is a quote from this show:

'For morality, I should spare his life as he is my teacher, my brother, my benefactor. As a ruler and for the well being of my country, I should eliminate all possible threats to my country. '

He finally decides to poison him to death. The scene where Bu Dong is invited over for the last gathering is very exciting and touching. Bu Dong knows that he is going to die. He still drinks the cup of wine. In that midst of time, happy moments of him with his students, his lover, his brother, Wu Xiu Monk, etc. flashes in his mind. A tear rolls down his cheek and ...................... (I leave that for you to watch.)

Every good show has a romance and there are 3 romances in this show! Bu Dong and Zi Yan; Le Wen and Zi Fu and also Emperor Zheng De and Li Feng Jie. The most memorable romance is the one of Le Wen and Zi Fu. The worst in my opinion is the romance of Emperor Zheng De and Li Feng Jie. Bu Dong and Zi Yan are at loggerheads most of the time and love blossom only at the end, a gradual liking accumulated over many enchanting moments together.

Wrapping off is a final word of the show. Do watch the show if you really like Dicky and teacher-students stories. If you like villainy-like or romance stories, this show is not recommended. It is considered a really good show with funny and touching scenes and with the boo-boo eliminated.

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