Land of the Condors


Reviewed by: sukting

December 26, 2008

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
It is an adaptation from Gu Long’s novel of the same title. I will advise all not to read the novel before watching this drama. The story deviates a lot from the novel itself. How does Lai Mei Han act as the pair of twins – one evil and one kind?

Story

Bo Wa and Shui Yin are orphans so they are brought by by the Hani clan. Bo Wa is jealous of Shui Yin getting more attention than her to become the selected maiden for their clan. Gei Lun praises Ying for saving the twins from danger and blames Bo Wa for ditching Shui Yin to escape first. Yang Guan understands and speaks up for her but the two men know that Bo Wa can’t be trusted.

Shui Yin drinks the poison wine to remain pure for her clansmen. Lu San seeks to interrupt the whole ceremony and seizes the golden pole. Ying escapes with Ban’s help or he will get killed. Lu San is banished from Hani clan as he produces poison. He vows to wipe out the whole clan.

Bo Wa becomes the spy unwillingly under Ban’s advice to steal back the pole. Tian Bao kills the innocent and Wei stops him. Tian Bao wishes to make him work for him but he prefers to be a killer. Wei is sick of the wandering life and confides in his friend, Feng. He is paid for every job but he isn’t happy. Someone pays Wei 3000 tales of silver to kill Chi.

Chi kills three corrupted officials in a month and pays out the money to challenge himself. As he doesn’t pay back the deposit, Chi forces him to kill him. Bo Wa uses her beauty to tempt Tian Bao. Chi wants to spar with Wei. Both are at par till a child intrudes their duel. They postpone another day as Wei gets hurt, trying to protect the child.

Bo Wa steals the pole and escapes repeatedly from Tian Bao. Tian Bao hires Wei to kill Bo Wa but he rejects as he never kills women or the innocent. Tian Bao then kidnaps Feng to force him to agree to it. Wei discovers that he is tricked when capturing Bo Wa to find that she is a woman. He learns that Feng has killed himself as not to implicate him. Wei kills Tian Bao in a rage.

Bo Wa gets rid of San’s clan by burning it and Wei hates her for being vicious, seeking revenge. Shui Yin is worried for Bo Wa and sneaks out to look for her. She meets Wei and he tortures her, thinking that she is Bo Wa. Bo Wa is angry when her clansmen do not appreciate her efforts and hate Shui Yin even more. She forces Ban to marry her but to no avail. San also vows to kill Wei.

He captures Wei but repeatedly sets him free to hire killers to be after his life all the time to scare him. Wei is injured by San’s freeze palms and Shui Yin saves him. This sets him confused. Wei knows Ge Lun has martial arts to defeat San so he follows Shui Yin to Hani clan. Bo Wa still hates Wei and tries to use her poison arrows to shoot him. Chi brings Xiao Cong along to scare her off.

Wei is puzzled that Xiao Cong doesn’t leave Chi even though he tortures her. She bears with it as he is her father’s killer to learn his skills. Ying and Ban discover the gold and fireworks that San owns so Ban wishes to use them against San. He disguises as the cat villain to kill Tian Peng’s family who escorts it. Bo Wa wants to steal the gold but fails. Ban scolds her in front of Ying so that he will let down his guard.

Wei meets Tian Peng to learn about the gold incident. So he agrees to help him look for it. Bo Wa wants San’s henchmen, Fen Fen and Ghost Hand to deal with Wei. Wei gets injured while protecting Shui Yin. Shui Yin risks her safety to take care of him. Wei then realizes that she is Bo Wa’s twin to be in love.

Shui Yin agrees to bring Wei back to Hani clan but Zheng Gang refuses to teach the skill to an outsider. Through Shui Yin’s intervention, the tribesmen start to accept him. Ying pretends to be a businessman to trick Fen Fen and Ghost Hand. Ying befriends Wei and knows that he is reliable but Ban views him as his obstacle. The tribe has one person dead daily after setting off. Wei is the biggest suspect.

Shui Yin believes in his innocence. Bo Wa is the culprit but she is often rescued by Ban when she nearly fails. Ying suspects that the killer is among them as he knows the tribe well. Ban warns Bo Wa to stop but she thinks highly of herself to continue it. Shui Yin falls for Wei but the poison in her makes her painful. Ying wishes to kill Wei to get rid of her pain but is stopped by her.

Ying has to tell Wei the truth and he is in a dilemma. Chi sees that the duel date is due and sneaks into the tribe to want to spar with Wei. Ying defeats him and he escapes. Bo Wa wants to kill Ying at this instant but Xiao Cong doesn’t want her master to be maligned so she fends her off. Chi’s left arm turns black so he chops it. Xiao Cong has thought that his skills are ruined but he manages to make a comeback to rekindle her hope. Shui Yin goes out to search for water for her tribe.

Bo Wa gets Fen Fen to capture Shui Yin. Ying considers twice and decides not to fall into San’s trap. Xiao Cong manages to save her by breaking the urn that contains Tian Bao’s ashes. Shui Yin is poisoned by Fen Fen to become ugly. Xiao Cong tells Wei that Fen Fen’s master can cure this. The old man challenges Wei to drink a poisonous toad’s blood as an experiment. Wei doesn’t hesitate and drinks it.

San waits till them getting into the valley to attack them. Ying manages to seize Ghost Hands but he kills himself so that he will not become a hostage. Wei sneaks into the golden hand tribe to save her. San releases her upon knowing that she is the scared maiden. He wants Wei to be tortured all his life.

Wei brings her to a physician, hoping to cure her but the physician is killed by San’s men. He begs Ge Lun for the antidote but he replies that there isn’t any. He can only suppress the poison and locks her in the maiden palace. Ying loves Yang Guang and gets two toy dolls on the way back. The male figurine is for himself while the other is for her. Yang Guang likes it so much to keep it beside her.

Pu Song is in love with Bo Wa all along and tells her that he will take over the elder position after his father. Ge Lun has a thousand year old toad which can increase a person’s inner strength by 10 years. Bo Wa is initially can’t be bothered with him but later gets interested. Pu Song fails to steal the toad and Ge Lun is on his guard from now on.

Ge Lun decides to confer Shui Yin the scared maiden title officially. Wei is disappointed and decides to leave. Ying is afraid that he will something silly so he gets Yang Guang to guard him. Chi meets Wei to inform him that Bo Wa poses a danger to him and Ying. The deaths are all caused by her. Wei intends to kill Bo Wa for Ying but Bo Wa uses Pu Song as a shield to cause him to get killed instead.

Wei discovers the fireworks and gold. Ge Lun is mad over this and vows to seek out the killer. Pu Song is his illegitimate son but he can’t acknowledge it. Ban wants to get his whole tribe to kill Wei but Ying protects him. Ying finally manages to make Ge Lun change his minds about killing Wei. Shui Yin also uses her position to set him free. Wei decides to leave but Ban refuses as he knows the gold’s whereabouts.

Ban wants Wei to complete 3 hurdles and he clears all. Shui Yin decides to give up her maiden identity to go with him. When both meet, love sparks exist and her poison reacts to die in his arms. He promises her that he will not marry another woman. Wei attends Shui Yin’s funeral and decides to leave. Ying knows that Ban will not let him off easily so he gets Yang Guang to return to Jiang Nan with him. He knows that Ban likes Yang Guang and will not harm her.

Bo Wa has thought that she can become the scared maiden after Shui Yin’s death andis frustrated when Ge Lun disposes this position as it harms the innocent. Ge Lun gets Ying to take over the tribe duties, wanting to pass his elder position to him. Ban poisons him, wanting him to rewrite his verdict. Ying arrives on time so Ban escapes with Bo Wa.

Ge Lun begs Ying to kill him. Before his death, he gives him the golden pole so that this can control Ban if he gets support. Ban frames Ying for killing Ge Lun and becomes the elder when Ying leaves. Ban also sends killers after Wei but Yang Guang protects him so Ban has to let him off. The two learn that the golden hand clan is up to no good again so they rush back to Yunnan and want to warn Ying.

Fen Fen attacks the tribe when it is Ban’s coronation. Wei and Yang Guang arrive on time but she is kidnapped by San. Wei gets seriously injured during the process. Yang Guang brings Wei to a cave and learns that Ying is still alive. She is worried for him as he hides elsewhere now. Yang Guang heals Wei by baring herself. Zheng Gang is about to punish them when Ying stops him.

Yang Guang urges Ying to tell the tribesmen the truth but he thinks the time isn’t ripe yet to get the two to leave Yunnan. Bo Wa discover Ban getting San’s men to produce an evil drug to use their own men as sacrifice. She wishes him to stop. Ban wants the benefits from San and rejects her request. San doesn’t want Ban to betray him so he forces him to eat the drug. He is in pain without the antidote.

Wei and Yang Guang know a couple, Qun and Su Su. They are separated so Su Su has to follow Wei. While looking for Yang Guang, both eat the lustful drug by mistake to sleep together for the night. She becomes pregnant and Wei has to take care of her. Yang Guang is caught by Ban and Ban declares that Ying has broken their engagement to want her to love him.

But Yang Guang’s love for Ying is rooted and doesn’t believe him. She still takes the doll out to look at it when she misses him. She sneaks into the secret chamber to find Ying half-mad and can’t recognize her. She asks Ban for help and Ban confesses that Ying is poisoned by San. He will become dead soon as he doesn’t take the antidote daily. He claims to have a remedy but wants her to sleep with him.

Yang Guang has no choice but to agree. But she can’t do it. Bo Wa is jealous and can’t suppress her jealousy later too although she wants to. She sets her and Ying free. Ban is enraged and kicks her down the silicon valley. He believes that she is dead. Su Su gives birth to a son several months later. Wei is happy, thinking that he can retire for good. Su Su’s husband’s return and chides the two. But Wei has a shock of his life to discover that he is San.

San has used Su Su to seduce Wei. He commands the two to leave with him to let Wei have a taste of loneliness. Chi discovers that Xiao Cong is actually Xiao Yan as she is a woman. She knows that he will never keep a female disciple so she pretends to be a man. But he knows that she is a woman all along and he only wants someone to wait on him. She initially wants to poison him but later saves him.

Wei gets drunk daily. Xiao Yan realizes that Chi’s skills are only suitable for men and decides to learn from Wei. Ban thinks that Bo Wa is dead and forces Yang Guang to marry him. Yang Guang threatens to kill herself so he has to change his mind. Wei instills the killing air back in him and it becomes uncontrollable. But he insists on practicing.

Su Su regrets after leaving Wei. San ill-treats her and even wants to use poppy to feed her son to become a devil to kill Wei when he grows up. Su Su is in agony upon seeing that. Zheng Gang suspects that something is amiss. He discovers Ban growing the poppy flowers. He is about to tell the others when he is killed by a mad Ying. Ban pushes all the blame to Ying. Yang Guang visits Su Su and knows about San’s plan to get rid of Wei, his son and Ban.

Yang Guang is injured by San when she wants to tell Wei and she goes missing. Wei suddenly turns mad and is about to kill when Su Su appears with his son to stop him. Su Su admits that she loves him all along and is forced to do San’s bidding. But she has sneaked out with their son. Wei tries finding physicians to cure him but he and his son are all killed by San.

Xiao Yan finally masters her skills and wins Chi. She doesn’t know why she lets him go and isn’t beared to kill him. Chi sees that the due date is near but seeing that Wei hasn’t seek his revenge, they delay again as he decides to help him to deal with San. Yang Guang is taken care of by Bo Wa. Bo Wa is harmed by Ban to get disfigured. She wants to seek revenge and Yang Guang feels sorry for her.

San thinks that Ban has outlived his usefulness and doesn’t give him the antidote. Ban is mad and pretends to repent. He goes to Wei and Chi to combine their forces. They kill San and Ying suddenly appears. Yang Guang uses the doll, hoping to wake him up. Ying returns to his hut and is about to jump down the cliff when she stops him. When Ban comes and there is no way out, both jump and become the love god.

Ban is upset to see them to ba happy dying together. He still sets their tombstones to wish them well. Ban’s poison reoccurs so Chi and Wei decide to help him. Xiao Yan opposes to it and can’t bring herself to kill Chi. She realizes that she loves him and runs away. She meets Bo Wa on the way. Wei feels that he owes Shui Yin too much so he has to save Ban. Chi decides not to spar with Wei anymore since Xiao Yan has won him. Since she has won them, she is the top pugilist now.

Both help him and say that this is Ban’s best chance to kill them. Ban admits so but he will not repay kindness through revenge. But their existence is a threat to him so he can’t let them recover their strength in 3 years time. He is about to kill them when Xiao Yan appears to save them. Ban sneers at her letting go her parents’ killers. She gets distracted and is injured. The two seize this chance to injure Ban.

They only force out half of the poison from his body so they can still win him. Wei’s sword points at Ban while Ban’s sword points at Chi. Chi is about to kill himself when Bo Wa wants all to leave. She asks Ban if he has loved her before. He shakes his head and is about to kill her but both are exploded to death. Chi competes with Xiao Yan to win her again. This shows that his skills are still superior.

He is guilty of killing her family and wants to kill himself. She stops him and he cuts his fingers at their tombs, vowing not to use a sword again. Xiao Yan is also willing to take care of him all her life. Wei is about to look for Su Su when seeing her arrive. Wei passes his sword to Xiao Yan who jokes that she will chop vegetables with it. Xiao Yan retreats with Chi to her home.

Wei and Su Su open a wine haven. They sell the wine which Ying drinks with Wei when they first meet. He treasures now even more than before. He has two more sons with Su Su and they have a simple life.

Introduction on characters

1. Fang Wei – Ng Chun Yu
Although he is a killer, he is kind at heart. But due to circumstances, he is unable to control his own fate. He can never dream that others will be after his life one day. And the process can be so tedious and torturous. He creates the mistake of killing the sons of important leader – firstly, he is Tian Bao who is San’s son while the other is Pu Song who is Ge Lun’s son. He loves Shui Yin but causes her death indirectly. He has thought that he can never love again but Su Su changes his mind. Going into retreat and having a simple life is the happiest decision that he has made.

Chun Yu makes this role come alive. Wei is cold on the exterior but warm in the interior. He looks lazy but his eyes show the unwillingness to be a killer. Although I disagree with some claims that he acts better than Ngoi Doi Yung’s Fu Hong Xue or Zhuo Bu Fan, but he is indeed more outstanding than Yat Wah’s Dugu Qiu Bai.

2. Ban Cha Ba Na – Si Chong Hang
He is a famous archer. He teaches Bo Wa his skills so that she can assist him. Although he never loves her, he makes use of her to help him. His love for Yang Guang is nonreciprocating and his greed destroys himself in the end. Chong Hang is excellent. In fact, I feel that he acts better than Chun Yu in this drama.

3. Pu Ying – Lau Kar Fai
His nickname is the title of this drama. He leads the tribe as Ge Lun is growing old thus Ban regards him as his fiercest rival. Although he is much older than Yang Guang, both are an engaged couple who are envied by others. Highly skilled as Wei, he is often forced to make painful decisions when others can’t bear to do it. Kar Fai never fails in his acting in any drama I have watched so far. There is no exception for this one.

4. Lu Tian Bao – Ng Yuet San
He is San’s lustful son who admires talents. But his lustful nature to get mesmerized by Bo Wa costs him his life.

5. Lui San – Cheng Lui
He must be the most vicious man that all have ever seen. He enjoys seeing how Wei suffers for killing Tian Bao. He also knows how to manipulate Ban’s life – it is the same as being the leader the tribe although he doesn’t become one officially.

6. Du Gu Chi – Ng Kong
He is a swordsman overly obsessed with duels. Wei will keep on forgetting the dates but he keeps on remembering! Although he knows that it is dangerous to keep Xiao Cong by his side, he still wants to see what she is up to. After knowing that both fall in love with each other, he destroys his own skills to lead a peaceful life with her.

7. Pu Song –Ho Ying Wai
Another typical failure like Tian Bao who is also pampered by his father, Ge Lun. But unlike Tian Bao who has wisdom to want to kill Bo Wa no matter how pretty she is, he is like her slave to do her bidding all the time. Also to become her shield to get killed out of convenience.

8. Gu Lun – Lee Hoi Sang
He is the elder of the clan who is wary of Ban and Bo Wa. Unfortunately, his son doesn’t have his foresight.
Luckily, he discovers his mistake to abolish the scared maiden rule or many others will suffer. He has complete trust in Ying to hand over everything to him before his death.

9. Yan Zheng Gang – Kwan Ching
He is the rule leader who carries out the punishments. He is always fair to look for evidence before he does anything. He treats Ying like a son.

10. Liu Fen Fen – Lee Guai Ying
She is a killer who is experienced in poison. A good thing she dies in Xiao Cong’s hands in the end or she will make others suffer too much.

11. Shui Yin – Lai Mei Han
She is the younger twin who is kind and innocent. She knows no martial arts and is willing to sacrifice for her own people. Mei Han looks sweet in the white gown and acts very well. She is very inch a periodic maiden – that is why she is so sort after in many dramas.

12. Bo Wa – Lai Mei Han
She is totally different from Shui Yin as the elder twin. Vicious, selfish and also eager for success, many are able to distinguish her at first glance from their eyes. She is jealous of Shui Yin who gets everything while she is often rejected by her own clan. Thumbs up for her acting but I think this costume is unsuitable for her as she is not that young. Age is catching up on her and she seems to age when in it.

13. Lan Yang Guang – Chu Kit Yee
She is Yang Guang’s young fiancée who is cheerful and helpful. Although she is so much younger than him, she never sets eyes on any other man. Not even Ban who is closer to her age. They are compatible as a couple and she can read his mind well. Knowing that he keeps feeling that he is too old for her, she keeps asking for his attention so that he feels as young as her. Even though he goes missing, she doesn’t give up and is willing to sacrifice for him. Kit Yee really has to do a lot more to improve her acting. She is pretty but her acting is terrible.

14. Su Su – Lau Sau Ping
She knows no martial arts but she causes such a big impact in Wei’s life that no one can believe it! She is another actress who can’t act well.

15. Qi Xiao Cong – Ng Ying Sai
She lives for revenge and can bear with any harsh treatment from Chi. But love conquers over all and both forget the feud to be together.

Favourite character

Shui Yin to put herself over others. She values her kinsman but also her own happiness.

Most hated character

San, he is the most ruthless man that all have come across.

Song

It is 柔情冷看千夫指 by Lai Ming. It really tells of how Wei’s love with Shui Yin is unacceptable to all. The song is excellent and all must listen to it!

Conclusion

I am quite disappointed by this adaptation. Although I can’t remember it well, I must say this one is better than the novel. But somehow, the characters’ personalities do not stay. After Shui Yin’s death, everything is in chaos. I become very impatient as the pace grows extremely slow. The plot that San sets to fool Wei is as long as a piece of cloth – too tedious for us to take.

The title doesn’t match with Ying’s wits. How can he get trapped and poisoned so easily? He is so pitiful as he has never been cured till his last moment. He is locked in the cell most of the time. How can a condor fly when its wings are broken? Ying is mysterious in the novel and it is only mentioned about his death in an attack through word by mouth to let all know how chivalrous he is in protecting his clan.

Ban is famous as the archer. Although I see him always with the bow and arrows, the maximum number I see him using them is only five. Even though he wants to use them to deal with San in the final duel, he is unable to as his arm is injured. Gu Long has written him to be a powerful archer. It is a waste to see it end up this way. Acting wise is less than desired so all need not place too much hopes on this drama.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On song : ****1/2 (Scale of 5)


Add your own review and become a featured critic on spcnet.tv!

Or, add your comments below:





Advertise on SPCNET.TV


Buy DVDs
Land of the Condors

Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle