Master of Martial Arts


Reviewed by: sukting

December 18, 2008

Rating: two

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
It is the story on Leung Foon striving for success? Do you wish to see how Hak Kan acts as this famous Wong Fei Hung's disciple?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Leung Foon – Lee Hak Kan
His parents died when he was young so he is left to fend for himself. He learns some martial arts on his own to help the weak. He is very impetuous and often thinks very highly of himself. He comes to town to seek refuge from Jing and discovers that his finacee, Bo Yee has a boyfriend.

Jing is killed by Wan Kai so Foon decides to seek revenge but he loses to him. He returns to Fei Hung, begging him to teach him the shadow leg movements. Fei Hung initially rejects him as he finds him too revengeful. Foon then pretends to be calm so Fei Hung passes him his skills. This fool still looks for an evil man, Ko Ying to become his another master.

Ko Ying once loses to Fei Hung and decides to use Foon as a hostage to force Fei Hung to spar with him. Wan Kai then poisons Ying and frames Fei Hung for this when Ying suddenly dies during their duel. But luckily, it is found that he isn't the one who kills Ying with his fists. Ying's son even becomes his disciple.

Foon is too eager for success and doesn't possess enough standard. So he is beaten the second time. He tries killing himself and Sau Ching saves him back. He then begs Bo Yee not to leave him. Bo Yee pretends to accede to his request to prevent hurting him.

2. Leung Jing – Liu Kai Chi
He is Foon's elder brother who is in Canton. Foon runs to him when he offends some hooligans. He lies to Foon that he is rich but he soon finds out that he is often bullied. Foon is afraid that he will offend others so he gets him to be Fei Hung's disciple. He falls in love with Yin, a courtesan but gets killed by Wan Kai.

3. Luk Chi Kong – Lo Lok Lum
He pretends to be a rich and kind merchant but he enjoys getting his men to bully others. He kills Jing and later makes use of Foon to frame Fei Hung. Fei Hung manages to use his benevolence to make him turn over a new leaf.

4. Ngar Chat So – Leung Wing Chung
He is Fei Hung's observant disciple. Seeing Foon behaving mysteriously after Jing's death and Fei Hung's refusal to teach him new skills, he realizes that Foon is secretly learning other sects' skills. He is unable to talk him out of it and has to keep it as a secret.

After Foon's defeat by Wan Kai, he becomes a beancurd seller. So's heart nearly bursts upon seeing how he turns into a coward to be afraid of minor matters. Foon also refuses to return to Bo Chi Lam. But later, Foon straightens his mind to do so after knowing that Bo Yee doesn't love him.

So wants to test if Foon likes Sau Ching so he lies to him that she is being bullied by Chi Kong's men. Foon hurries there to find her fine. But his test on Lan proves that she likes Wan Kai to leave him heartbroken instead.

5. Wong Fei Hung – Leung Kar Yan
He has a high level of tolerance and takes in many disciples. He keeps telling Foon to curb his temper, hoping that he will listen to him one day. He defeats Chi Kong in a competition and knows that he will not stop at that. He bears with his insults and Foon doesn't see why he should give in. Foon is angered that Fei Hung doesn't teach him good skills so he leaves 'Bo Chi Lam' in a rage.

Foon forges Fei Hung's signature to agree to fight the robbers with the villagers. Although they are successful, Fei Hung punishes all his disciples for being reckless. They need to help to rebuild the village.
Foon thinks that he doesn't shown him concern when he hurt his leg but is touched when Fei Hung takes care of him the whole night. He punishes Foon again for stealing the agreement letters without considering the consequences. This time round, he is contented as Foon takes the punishment willingly.

Yin comes to seek refuge at Bo Chi Lam. Knowing that trouble is brewing, he still takes her in. He decides to disband Bo Chi Lan so that he will not implicate his disciples. After he is released from jail when he is cleared of his name of being a rebel, all return to him. Seeing that Foon is able to control his temper to become more forgiving, he teaches him Shaolin skills and his skills improve.

The village magistrate is corrupted so Fei Hung decides to gather other martial arts sects to combine and deal against Chi Kong. Chi Kong has started killing many people and cause all to live in anxiety. The Japanese start capturing many of them and Fei Hung uses his skills to save them alone. Seeing how much havoc Chi Kong has caused, he finally decides to have a duel with him.

6. Yeung Kok – Lam Kar Dong
Kok is Bo Yee's boyfriend who is patriotic to his country. But he offends Chi Kong so he comes up with a plan to let Chi Kong kidnap Bo Yee so that he can let him off. It is amusing to see Kar Dong acting as a cameo as a coward then.

7. Ling Wan Kai – Cheung Kok Leung
He is Chi Kong's henchman who is ruthless. Foon isn't his match for the first time they spar. So he gives him another chance to look for him a month later. He lets him alive but still injures Foon seriously. He falls for Yin and both decide to elope. Chi Kong knows of their intentions and forces Yin to harm Fei Hung as he locks Wan Kai up. But she returns to Chi Kong again as she doesn't want Bo Chi Lam to be ruined.

Chi Kong then forces Wan Kai to burn Bo Chi Lam. Seeing that Fei Hung is the only one around, he urges him to leave. Fei Hung persuades him to turn over a new leaf. But Chi Kong causes him to burn his two hands and repents when he is locked in the same cell with Fei Hung. After his release, Foon also forgives him and allows him to settle at Bo Chi Lam to recuperate. Wan Kai is touched by his gesture.

Wan Kai is bullied by Chi Kong when meeting him and Yin at a flower exhibition. Luckily, Lan and So save him on time. Seeing Wan Kai so dejected, Fei Hung decides to impart the leg movement skills to him.

8. Yip Bo Yee – Fu Ming Hin
She is Foon's fiancée from young. She reunites with Foon but she accepts the new education to think differently from him. She is very against arranged marriages and only treats him as a friend. She then introduces Siu Ching to him instead. After that, she regrets her decision and wishes to return to him after knowing that her boyfriends are jerks. This time round, Foon doesn't know how to reject her as she is dependent on him although he is aware that he only likes Sau Ching now. He finally rejects her when her parents propose marriage.

9. Lau Yin – Chan Mei Kei
She is a courtesan and is Chi Kong's woman. She has wanted to leave with Jing but Chi Kong discovers this to kill Jing. Although she reports to the constables, her statement is unable to help Jing. Chi Kong even accuses her to be mad and she is unable to kill herself as Chi Kong stops her.

She hates Wan Kai and deliberately poisons him in front of Chi Kong. Chi Kong starts to lose his trust in Wan Kai. Bo Yee's father is scared of Chi Kong so he signs the agreement letters with others that they will vote for Chi Kong to become the new village chief. Bo Yee and Foon sneak in to get the letter but Yin gets it first to pass to them. (Strange that Fei Hung is always not around when difficult situations occur.)

Fei Hung tears all the disagreement letters and wants to find out the culprits. He is enraged to know that Yin is involved. But he forgives her and is delighted to know that she is carrying his child. Chi Kong nearly kills Foon but he escapes, leaving his shoe. All think that Foon is dead but Sau Ching believes that he is still alive. Wan Kai decides to end this feud through him. Chi Kong later kills her by mistake when sparing with Wan Kai. He becomes half-mad later because of this.

10. Lam Sau Ching – Hsuen Huen
She is Bo Yee's friend. She is sad when Foon mistakens her to be Bo Yee when drunk on his birthday. Slowly, they develop feelings with each other. But he keeps standing her up to be with Bo Yee. She loses confidence in him and rejects him when he proposes to her. He sets a feast to make her change her mind.

11. Lan – Jeung Mun Duen
She works in Bo Chi Lam for a long time and So likes her secretly. She saves Wan Kai once and Wan Kai saves her from being bullied by the Japanese. So sees that she loves Wan Kai and decides to challenge the Japanese to get seriously injured.

12. Lam Sai Wing – Ku Ming Wah
He is a butcher and vows to write his own fist manual. Bo Yee teaches him to read and write so he falls for her. He knows that Foon is not Wan Kai's match but is unable to dissuade him from fighting with him.

Favourite character
Wan Kai – he is forced to kill as he owes Chi Kong his life.

Most hated character
Almost all – as they are annoying in some way.

Song
The theme song is 'It Is Brave For All In Life' by Hak Kan. But what a mockery – Foon is once so timid after his defeats. It is quite okay to listen too although it hardly leaves an impression.

Conclusion

Historians will not like their heroes to be twisted to become like this. They do not know how to cure the sick well and keeps getting injured instead. Bo Chi Lam is like their clinic where they can get the herbs to
help their wounds to heal faster. They lack bravery and make terrible decisions. Thus we often see them being punished by Fei Hung.

None of the disciples are capable. They are neither highly skilled or have the brains. They are only interested in woman chasing. If I am Master Wong, I will burn Bo Chi Lam with my own hands and expel all the disciples. No wonder Fei Hung doesn't feel like teaching them any new skill as none of them are competent. Yet, he can be so generous to teach Wan Kai although he just joins them. Is it because he is more talented and he doesn't want to waste time on morons?

When I look at the cast, I moan continuously. No, no, no – this can't be happening. This must be a joke but yet the harsh reality is shown. All of them are so clumsy in displaying their stances. Neither do all of them have the heroic or patriotic look. Lo lok Lam's hair touches his shoulders. Acting wise is also less than desired. Hak Kan's constantly frowning can be irritating. This serious role is obviously not for him.

Only Kar Yan and Kok Leung are outstanding as they do have the chivalrous look. More for Leung as he has a good martial arts background. But the arrangement is weird indeed. The disciples are often taking matters into their own hands because their master is not around. But they get punished for that. Should they just wait and die? But we soon see that even Fei Hung can't tolerate Chi Kong's doing. It seems that he is eating his words.

The actresses also look ill at ease. Hsuen Huen looks the most uncomfortable with the fake headdress – probably, this is her first time acting in a post Qing drama. That affects her acting – it might be better if she is in a modern drama. Mei Kei's Yin changes her stand so many times that I can really distinguish if she is good or evil. I even doubt her love for Wan Kai.

Please stay away from this drama if you are looking for a decent marital arts drama. I find this drama slow moving and it is not worth watching a less than average drama.

Sukting's ratings :

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

On story : ** (Scale of 5)

On song : *** (Scale of 5)



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