Ming Kiem Fung Lau


Reviewed by: sukting

January 29, 2008

Rating: three-point-five

How long/Year produced:
20 episodes done in year 1978

Cast
Yu Pei Yu - Ha Yu (Zhang Cui Shan in 78 HSDS)
Hong Lian Hua - Lau Dan (Hong Qi Gong in 82 LOCH)
Yu Du He / Yu Fang He - Shek Kin -retired
Ji Zhang Hua - Kong Yee - with ATV now
Zhu Lei Er - Wong Mun Yee (Ah Bi in 82 DGSD)
Lin Da Yu - Wong Suk Yee (unsure whether it's her or Lee See Kei)
Tang Ning - Pan Ying Zi (surprised that a Taiwanese actress is in here?)
Tang Qi - Cheng Hor Wai (mother of Hui Mun Piew in ATE)
Ji Ling Feng/Ji Ling Yan - Hon Ma Lee (mother of Ma Chi Keung in ATE)
Mrs Ji - Leung San -with ATV now

Introduction

I had wished to watch the series again to write a better review but I don't have the chance since it is neither on VCDs nor is it on tapes. It is an adaptation of Gu Long's novel by the same title but it does not follow it closely. However, I still enjoyed it very much. I know some of you will laugh non-stop upon seeing the name of the cast but please give it a chance if you happen to come across it. A very serious drama with an attractive plot -- it still throws suspense as what should be in a Gu Long drama. I apologise for any error as 50% of the facts are given to me by my friend as I had forgotten most of the story.

Perhaps not completely accurate story (because I didn't watch all the episodes - I even missed the last part)

Yu Pei Yu is practicing with his father, Yu Fang He, when a young man gives him a letter. Old Yu is poisoned to death and the killer flees. In grief, Yu goes out to chase the killer and fails. He returns to find his father's corpse missing. He has a big shock in store for him later when his father comes in with his friends! All start to laugh at Yu for dreaming. But Yu is very sure that this 'father' is an imposter.

His fiancee Lin Dai Yu comes to look for him. She tells him that her father is killed and is also shocked to see Old Lin among the old men. Both are shocked but Dai Yu quickly says that she makes a mistake. Disappointed in her, Yu runs away before the group of old men can stop him - or rather, kill him, because all of them are imposters! They have killed the real pugilists and are now enjoying the new found position that they have craved for so long. They start spreading the news that Yu is mad.

Yu is so upset that he wants to hang himself. An old fisherman tempts him and says that he is such a coward to end his own life so there is no use to be alive. Sorting his thoughts out, Yu throws the rope away and decides to attend the 'Huang Chi' event. This event groups all the pugilistic experts for a meet-up. But there is a problem - he has no invitation card to attend it.

Yu gets to know a beggar Lian Hong Er on the way. At first, Hong thinks that he is a member of the Beggar Sect but he still treats him well after knowing that he is Yu. In fact, he gives him a yellow invitation card which gives him trouble instead when he goes to the event. Why? The yellow card belongs to the highest class category issued by the 13 sect leaders. Yet Yu looks like a real beggar after the ordeal that no one believes that he has close relationships with anyone.

When the guards try to grab it, a red lotus flower falls from the sky. These people have a change in attitude. They blame themselves for being impolite and chide him for not saying that he is a friend of the Beggar Sect leader. 'Huang Chi' event is an alliance by all sects and started by Old Yu to deal with evil sects. Yu is very upset upon seeing his father's portrait being hung in the centre of the hall.

Yu sees his father's killer Xie Tian Bi and spars with him. Xie is the Dian Chang sect leader and is about the same age as Hong Lian Hua, the Beggar Sect leader. Both are young but are highly-skilled. Xie denies the crime and he has witnesses to prove that he is with them all along from Dian Chang. So how can he appear in the Zhu Ling city where Yu is staying? Yu is very confused. He meets Hong there and is curious to know how he can command so much respect from so many beggars. Now looking closely at Hong, he finds him as young as himself and yet has a pair of sharp eyes that can see through everyone's feelings.

He has a greater shock when Hong suddenly recites 'red lotus flower, white lotus root, one bamboo stick to walk the world'. Hong is actually the Beggar Sect leader! Yu is taken aback to know that a leader can be so young. All along he thinks that ALL sect leaders should be old.

The imposters come and no one believes Yu as they think that he is insane. His so-called 'father-in-law' Old Lin even wants to kill him for being so defiant. Hong stops him and tells Yu to stop the joke. Old Lin still wants to destroy Yu's skills and expel him out of Xian Tian Wu Ji sect. However, Hong chides him for abusing his authority. Old Lin is not Yu's father and also not the alliance leader. He has no right to carry out the punishment. Yu takes the hint and does this act that shocks Old Yu.

Yu kneels and asks for forgiveness. He understands Hong's intention to save him and eats the humble pie. He is nearly in tears in secret for being submissive to his enemy. Old Lin dares not offend Hong as Hong's usual joking expression turns freezing cold. The beggar sect has countless members and is the biggest sect for 80 years. Atlhough Hong is young, he is well respected for his wits and good martial arts. Who dares to go against him? Old Yu then pretends to forgive him. Many laugh at the 'joke' but the imposters are clenching their teeth for losing this chance to kill him.

On Yu's way out from the crowd, he is poisoned. But his will to seek revenge helps him to survive. Luckily, Elder Mei, who has taken orders by Hong to protect him, saves him. Yu tells Hong the whole story. Hong is equally desperate as he has observed all the imposters and finds no disguise. If there are flaws, how can the other senior sect leaders not notice it?

Yu is equally puzzled as this imposter resembles his father not only in looks but also in his expressions and mannerisms. Hong deduces that they are not under a trance too as they don't look dreamy. Yu is curious why Hong believes him - Dai Yu is his good friend and has sent him a letter for help. She knows that to live on, she has no choice but to accept the cad as her father. Yu is ashamed that she is so wise while he is so reckless. Yu and Old Yu pretend to be a pair of close father-and-son in front of the rest. Hong observes them and has mixed feelings. He has been in the pugilistic world since 7 years old and has been through countless situations. But this scene still leaves him dumbstruck.

Hong drags Yu aside, saying that he will miss his friend. Both are on their way to an inn when Xie attacks Yu. He is indeed his father's killer. Hong has suspected him as he throws his sword away when he loses to Yu - this is an act, which his real friend, Xie will never do because his sword is given to him by his master. He demands to know where the real Xie is when he is seriously injured by Yu. But imposter Xie kills himself and his body dissolves so quickly as he is afraid that Hong will check his disguise.

Dian Chang members accuse Yu of killing their leader. Hong has to fend them off to help him escape. Later Yu is rescued by Old Gao into the Killer Mansion. He gets to meet a pair of twin sisters. The elder, Ji Ling Feng is evil and ambitious while the younger, Ling Yan is retarded. Their father, Master Ji Zhang Hua is a lunatic who enjoys being nice to newcomers and later buries them alive in his garden after killingthem. His wife, Mrs Ji is a very cunning woman who rules the household with an iron hand.

Yu hides into a secret chamber and finds the couple's wax figurines. What surprises him is that he also finds his sect's jade pendant. He deduces that Mrs Ji must be having a lover and she has gone mad because of him. He tries to guess the person's identity but to no avail. But there is one thing he is very sure of - the man is definitely not his father. Yu hopes to find his way out but the secret passage leads to Mrs Ji's room. She even thinks that he is her lover and poisons him to prevent him from leaving.

She then pretends that Yu is dead and chases Dian Chang members away. Old Ji runs away with Yu's 'body' and begins to dig a 'grave' for him. Ling Feng saves Yu on time and Yu finds the real Xie in here. His experience is the same - he is wounded by the imposter and is trapped here. Ling Feng brings both men to the ancestral tomb to force them to eat a drug which will help them to forget their identity. Yu resists and gets slapped.

The Ji ancestors are all mad. They eat poison to preserve their corpses after dying. Old Ji try to burn them to death out of anger. Then they discover that Old Ji's father, Ji Ku Qing's corpse start melting. Yu guesses that Ku Qing is still alive but pretends to be dead. The 3 find the exit, which is under the wax figurine.

They find Old Gao in the passageway. Ku Qing has murdered many pugilists when young to steal their riches. But he has to feign remorse and stay in the mansion as Old Gao watches on him to prevent him from committing more evil acts. Old Gao has suspected him feigning his death so he decides to leave the mansion to look for him.

He tells Yu to feign his death too and change his looks. (My friend is amazed that I have forgotten this funny part. I am puzzled too.) Old Gao looks at Yu, saying that he is handsome but his eyebrows are too thick and eyes are too small. He has yet to make a perfect face so he wants to try his skills on Yu. Yu protests at first but Old Gao says that many will be so attracted by his new look that they are past caring about the flaws that he will make when he speaks under a new identity. Xie goes insane after all this torture but Ling Feng takes care of him.

Yu leaves and see all preparing for his 'funeral'. Dai Yu is so grief-stricken that she cuts her hair and vows not to remarry. His 'father's followers want to test his skills when Yu says that he has the same name as the deceased. Yu is a stubborn man who still believes in preserving his own name after seeing so many imposters forging their new identities. Ling Feng comes to his aid and her good sword skills fend them off. Both leave the mansion together. Dai Yu warns him not to use the same name as she dislikes it.

Unsatisfied, the followers get Tang clan leader, Tang Wu Shuang to test Yu. During his stay in the killer mansion, Yu has invented new skills and thus they can't confirm his origin. They guess he should not be the same Yu as who is so stupid to reuse the name? Hong recognises Yu and helps him secretly. He is fascinated to meet Ling Yan who is so innocent and pretty although she is retarded. Ling Yan has sneaked out to be with her sister. Both become a couple as Hong does not mind her handicap.

Later, Yu visits Old Tang and his youngest daughter Tang Lin falls for him. A woman from the evil sect, Yin Hua Niang, comes to search for her lover, Tang Yu - who is the elder son of the Tang clan. She gets into a fight with Yu and leaves a scar on his face. Yu is so sick of the disguise that he removes it. Yet, Lin still likes him although his original look pales.

Yu discovers that Old Tang betrayed him by wanting to present him to Old Yu. Old Yu has agreed to kill Yin Hua Niang in return. However, Old Yu finds Old Tang useless in his plot and kills him. Yu then realises that Old Yu finds another imposter for Old Tang, But he has no chance to tell Lin about the news and about Old Yu's identity as he is quickly led away by Ling Feng.

Ling Feng has used poisonous pills to control many and aims to overthrow Old Yu. Yu then realises why the imposter Tang knows so much - Tang Yu has betrayed all his secrets to be with Yin Hua Niang. He manages to persuade Tang Yu to expose all the secrets but Tang Yu gets killed. Yu is also injured but is rescued by a beautiful princess Lei Er. Lei Er learns about the story and also recalls that the emperor is behaving strangely too so she agrees to help him out.

Yu then hurries back to Tang mansion with Lei Er to find that Old Tang is being killed. Seeing Yu with Lei Er, Lin can't overcome her jealousy and declares Yu to be the killer. Both are being sort after but Yu is determined to clear his name. Yu finally finds a chance to demand an explanation from Qi.

Old Tang is actually killed by Tang Lin's eldest sister, Tang Qi. When she tells Yu and Lei Er, she is puzzled why the two don't look surprised. But after knowing that Old Tang is killed by Old Yu, she isn't upset at all and still laughs. Now it is their turn to get confused. Actually, her father died of an illness 10 years ago and asks his cousin to replace him. However, he tells Tang Qi to spy on him every now and then. If he does anything wrong, Qi can kill him.

Yu then realises why the old man is so timid to betray him and not behaving like a heroic man at all. He also knows why Qi becomes a widow twice on her both marriages. This is to stay on in the home after murdering her husbands. She has to be in charge of the household as her siblings are all much younger than her. All her younger siblings do not know how their poor sister has sacrificed for them. No one dares to marry her now as she is considered a jinx.

She has not forgotten her father's advice and indeed, she notices that the imposter tries to strengthen his power so she kills him. Lin witnesses the murder and she has to do the explaining. Lin understands but upon seeing Yu and Lei Er together, she can't contain her emotions. Poor Yu has to take the rap for no particular reason. He escapes with Old Yu hot on his heels.

Old Yu sees that Lin likes Yu and somehow deceives her into finding her clan's secret weapon - the poisonous rain needles for him. He is worried upon seeing how highly skilled Yu is now. These needles are placed in a box. When released, the poor victim will have no means of escape and be killed on the spot. The gullible Lin even teaches Old Yu how to use it.

Lei Er and Yu find Old Gao to ask about the past. Old Gao gives him an account book that contains all the so-called pugilistic experts' dirty deeds. Yu reads the book and discovers something shocking. Why is Ji Zhang Hua mad? He is the offspring of his father, Ku Qing and his aunt, Bei Qing. Strangely, these two are perfectly normal and are very ambitious to rule to pugilistic world. In fact, both are masters of disguise and they even work with the imposter Old Yu to create the other imposters.

Actually all their generations are mad because all commit incest. They despise others not having the same blood as them and don't even mind continuing the madness in the family. But Zhang Hua is their only son so they have to marry a person outside the family. Mrs Ji can never bring herself to sleep with a lunatic so she commits adultery.

But why aren't both Ling Feng and Ling Yan mad? He then recalls Mrs Ji's secret lover. Can it be his father's secret as stated in the book? His fingers shiver when turning to the next page. He is so frightened that it might turn out to be true. To his relief, he finds out that he has a second uncle, Du He - whom Fang He has avoid mentioning as he considers him a disgrace to their family. Du He does so many evil deeds that Fang He severs all ties with him and forces him to retreat to the desert.

He then recalls asking his late mother about him but his mother gets so mad with him and forbids him to mention it again. The two sisters are his cousins then. No wonder he feels a sense of closeness to them although Ling Feng can be hot and cold to him at the same time. No wonder Ling Feng resembles his uncle who is so hungry for power. And moreover, Fang He and Du He are twins so he doesn't need any disguise.

He tells Yu the whole story of his finding - the evil Ku Qing and Bei Qing are already killed by him when he found them in the desert 2 months ago. The two must have known Du He there and thus work with him. But he is confused as to why their influence stays as Du He is greedy for wealth and is not satisfied just being the alliance leader. He suspects that there is someone else still working with Du He but he has not found out the culprit.

He isn't satisfied with the progress that Yu is making with his skills and offers to assist him with his brother's help. Yu has another surprise upon seeing Old Gao's brother - he is the old man who has feigned to lure him to hang himself in the beginning. The old man has actually wanted to knock sense into him by provoking him. Both old men decide to train him for 2 months and he is grateful to them.

Lei Er suddenly becomes frightened - she recalls her father, the prince mentioning that the emperor isn't that close to him anymore and has been banishing loyal subjects from the court. She hurries to the imperial court and sure indeed, the emperor imposter is about to harm her father and other officials. She manages to stop the tragedy from happening and kills the imposter.

She later hands over the mask to Hong and tells him the whole story. Both wise people examine the situation calmly. They suspect that Zhang Hua isn't mad. And well, they are right! Zhang Hua has pretended to be insane all along so that he can leave through the secret passage way that Yu has found to the outside world. No one will notice him anyway. Ling Feng is agitated when finding that all her followers turn to be under Zhang Hua's control instead. Zhang Hua says bitterly that he has never treated Ling Feng like his own because she thinks so highly of herself. So since she is so hardworking to prove herself, he should sit back and enjoy her fruit of labour. Ling Feng has a duel with him and gets killed.

Mrs Ji is sad and has a fight with Zhang Hua too. Zhang Hua is so angered over her infidelity that after killing her, he throws her body into the pit immediately which he has dug earlier! Hong and Lei Er comes in time just in time to witness the killings and are stunned. But they are unprepared for another shock in store for them. You must be wondering why Ling Yan isn't killed. This is because she is actually normal and even more scheming than her sister. She is jealous of her mother showering all her attention on her elder sister because she is smarter and thus decides to act retarded.

Zhang Hua and Ling Yan hit off well and wait patiently for their chance. Zhang Hua teaches Ling Yan his martial arts skills secretly and Mrs Ji trains Ling Feng. Ling Yan sometimes even pretends to be her sister in controlling more zombies. In fact, even after Ku Qing and Bei Qing's death, they realise that Old Yu is a good helper. Thus they even disguise as the two to trick and bribe him to continue working with them.

Hong is devastated by the fact. Lei Er is calm as she has seen many ugly stories that happen in court before.

Lei Er knows that Hong can't bear the fact to deal with Ling Yan so she strikes at her first. Hong then concentrates in dealing with Zhang Hua. Hong and Lei Er have a hard time fighting with the two as both are cunning but they manage to kill them in the end. Before Ling Yan's death, she confesses that she really likes Hong and her happiest times are those moments with him. He is the only one who has showers her all the concern and love that she lacks in getting al these years.

Lei Er knows that Hong is saddened by the tragedy and watches silently as he buries Ling Yan's body. They manage to clear the air of declaring the imposters' identities and all are killed - except Old Yu who escapes with Dai Yu and Qi taken as hostages.

Yu masters his skills and confronts Old Yu. Both women do not wish to be a burden to Yu and die when they try to protect Yu from the rain needles. Yu is angered and kills Old Yu. He is saddened by so many deaths and Lei Er stays by his side to console him. I will take that they become a couple in the end.

Cast performance

Yu Pei Yu - Ha Yu (Zhang Cui Shan in 78 HSDS)

He is never the Dai Hup that I ever have in mind because of his looks. I still marvel at how he can attract 3 beautiful ladies - one of them is even a princess! However, I must say that his acting is quite good in here. You will pity this man who doesn't know who to or not to trust because there are so many imposters around him. He is impressive in many emotional scenes, especially the scene where he can't acknowledge his fianc´┐Że although he wishes to, although not skilful in fighting scenes.

But his looks are really a big flaw because he lacks the makings of a lead in appearance. As hard as I try to focus, I find myself wishing that Shek Sau or Wong Suen Sang is the one acting as the character instead all the time! When I see Ha Yu's confident face in solving the mysteries, I can't help imaging how suitable both will be for this role. Why weren't one of them chosen - either one has the convincing rebellious and wise look that Ha Yu lacks?

Hong Lian Hua - Lau Dan (Hong Qi Gong in 82 LOCH)

Another surprise to know that he is the lead but he also gives a spectacular performance as a young and wise leader. He shows authority and also firmness despite having the usual jovial expression. In fact, I find the scenes of him with Ha Yu a lure to watch in this serial.

Yu Du He / Yu Fang He - Shek Kin -retired

Thumbs up for this actor who acts so well! He is so doting and kind at one moment but can be so evil and scheming and evil in the next moment.

Ji Zhang Hua - Kong Yee - with ATV now

Another veteran actor who acts naturally. Many will be so convinced and pity the man who is neglected by his wife after marriage. He really shows the madness well. In showing the character's evil side, many are stunned by the sudden change!

Zhu Lei Er - Wong Mun Yee (Ah Bi in 82 DGSD)

In DGSD, she is a maid but in here she is such an elegant princess. Level-headed, calm and intelligent, it is hard not to like her. Too bad her scenes are quite limited.

Lin Da Yu - Wong Suk Yee or Lee See Kei?

This is the only character that my friend and I aren't sure of. Strange that we remember the happenings but not the face?? Not very impressive otherwise we could have remembered! My friend thinks she is Wong Suk Yee because she has acted as a couple with Ha Yu in 'The Book and the Sword 76' and '78 HSDS'. I think it can also be Lee See Kei as she has played the demure Shen Bi Jun in the old version of 'Siu Sup Yat Long' and TVB can be giving her a similar role again.

Tang Lin - Pan Ying Zi (surprised that a Taiwanese actress is in here?)

She is adorable and likeable at first but no one will like the change in her when she is in cahoots with Old Yu upon knowing that Yu doesn't love her. What a pity!

Tang Qi - Cheng Hor Wai (mother of Hui Mun Piew in ATE)

This is a pathetic role where an elder sister has to face the pressure in running a household at the expense of ruining her own happiness. She is helpless upon seeing the change in her youngest sister. Cheng does her job well as a firm person in making the correct decisions.

Ji Ling Feng/Ji Ling Yan - Hon Ma Lee (mother of Ma Chi Keung in ATE)

I must say that Hon has given us remarkable acting after playing two similar-looking cousins in '76 Luk Siu Fung'. In fact, she shines in here. I like her twins' portrayal. One so demanding with a sulking expression while the other sweet, always smiling in a white dress. The first can be so unlikeable but the second is so innocent. No wonder Hong likes her immediately when he first sets eyes on her.

Mrs Ji - Leung San -with ATV now

Since she is so successful as Shek Guan Yin in 79 Chor Lau Heung, I can find no flaw in her acting here as well. Although she is evil, many will pity her plight to have to marry a man whom she doesn't love.

Comments

I must apologise for any mistakes made in this review. This is the first time that I am writing a review which I am so unsure of because I have forgotten so many subplots of the story. I have missed almost the whole second half the serial because my television set broke down. Moreover, I watched it when I was nine years old so my memory really faded. At first, I tried reading Gu Long's novel, but Lei Er in there turns out to be a kid in there! The story style also seems inconsistent as if another writer has replaced Gu Long because the mysterious style is no longer there close to the end and the villains are being finished off abruptly.

So I asked a friend for more details, I found myself asking her 'Are you sure?' so many times because she seemed to be as unsure as me! I have asked around and even Gu Long's website webmaster too but it seems that till now, only two of us knows that this serial exists and watched it! However, my friend still persuaded me to write this review to see if anyone has watched it, pointed out the mistakes so I could correct the facts later. I hope I have not offended any Gu Long's fans. Please let me know of the errors. She felt that all should not miss the serial. So do I.

Why? The story is intriguing - I have never seen another story more confusing than this one. There are so many imposters around in this serial. You will never know who to trust and who not to trust. You will definitely pity Yu. First to deal with imposters, then a mess in his love life and finally have to deal with the loss of his loved ones. The most fascinating part must be the identity of Old Tang! Who will expect the present man to be an imposter too???

Plus the great acting - it is not a star-lid cast that you must expect Cheng Siu Chau or Wong Ming Kuen to be in it. But the less popular artistes have given in their best and you will be satisfied with their performances. They have managed to make a Gu Long adaptation come alive. In fact, I prefer the changes made too. This is more realistic and interesting than the novel. Till now, I still wonder why TVB choose other boring adaptations like 'Little Flying Dagger Lee' and 'Siu Sup Yat Long' for remakes. 'Ming Kiem Fung Lau' has astonishing subplots that can be fully developed. I am still waiting for either this serial to be out in vcds so that I can watch to refresh my memory or a new adaptation to enjoy. Too bad, TVB doesn't seem to realise this and has forgo a good chance!

Song

A well-written song by Mr Koo Kar Far and Mr Tang Wai Hung. It is sung by the late Roman Tam. It portrays the sadness of Yu well being lonely and practising his skills in silence. We know how well Roman sings - he never disappoints us in the way he sings the theme songs. It has an attractive start and the music arrangement by Mr Koo is very unique. I must confess that I started watching this serial because of it!

This song can be found in the compilation album of him and Jenny Tsang singing all the theme songs of 'Legend of Condo Heros'. It has a very unique cover design of both singers' faces in halves and putting together. Please don't miss it as this song is a real classic!

Review

This serial is worth your time if you are not particular with very impressive fighting scenes and are not easily confused by the turn out of the events. I find that a single minute can't be missed at all or the viewer will be at a total loss. This is what happens to me - no wonder I can't remember it because I have not watched so many scenes.

Notice that I mention very little about the actresses? Not because they act poorly but the main focus is on the men. You will enjoy the rivalry and friendship between them - and how they solve the cases. This is more like a man's drama.

sukting's Ratings:

On acting: * * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story: * * * 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
Ming Kiem Fung Lau

Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle