Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils: All Good Deeds End Well
Felix Wong - Qiao Feng/Xiao Feng
Benny Chan - Duan Yu
Fan Shao Huang - Xu Zhu
Carmen Lee - Wong Yu Yan
Liu Yu Cui -Ah Zhi
Liu Jin Ling - Ah Zhu
Pan Zhi Wen - Duan Zhen Jing
Bondy Chiu - Mu Wan Qing
Zhang Guo Qiong - Mu Rong Fu
Suet Lei - Ma Fu Ren
Mai Zhang Qing - You Tai Zhi
My Opinion about the Series:
The thing that made me watch this series was that I have never seen the 82 version of this series before. So, I decided to give the 96 version a try and it turned out to be a great and entertaining series. Even before watching the first episode, I tried to guess what the series would be about. From the title, I predicted the story might elaborate a journey of two kinds of swordsmen; the good ones who are the "Demi-Gods" and the bad ones who are the "Semi-Devils." I realized that my guess was not bad after all. Implicitly, I observed that the series tries to define the purists and the pretenders of wulin; pure patriots and devotees of righteousness and pure evil villains who pretend to be people with god-like natures. You will hate those pure villains and pretenders. But you will also be touched by the main characters of the series. I couldn't stop watching this series. The end of each episode would have you wanting to watch the next episode right away. It took me less than a week to finish the whole set of 45 episodes.
The synopsis is not that simple, but exciting to follow. Qiao Feng is the Gaibang 'beggar' clan leader who is seeking out his past identity. Along the way, he is suspected and defamed as the murderer of numerous mysterious killings happening in wulin. Qiao Feng decides to investigate the truth and seek justice for Mu Rong Fu who is suspected as the real murderer. He finds Mu Rong Fu at Da Li where he also sneaks into Shaolin to investigate. Qiao Feng is sure that Mu Rong Fu is not the killer and becomes sworn-brothers with Mu Rong Fu. They promise to protect each other in the future. Later, Qiao Feng prevents a conflict between Mu Rong Fu's faction (Wang Yu Yan and Mu Rong Fu's family general) with Gaibang members where Qiao Feng is also defamed because of his relationship with Mu Rong Fu. At the location, Qiao Feng also finds out that he is a Qi-dan, not a Han. Mistress Ma, who had always had a grudge against Qiao Feng, makes up a false story to defame and insult Qiao Feng as her husband's murderer. A story in the past is also revealed that Qiao Feng comes from a Qi-dan family that was slaughtered 30 years ago. Qiao Feng realizes his past identity hasn't truly been revealed and quits his position as Gaibang clan leader. He continues his investigation which leads him to his foster parents' murders and the murders of other people who know of his past. Later on, Qiao Feng is suspected to be the bloody murderer who tries to cover the truth. Then, in frustration, Qiao Feng meets Ah Zhu who finally becomes his love. As an orphan, Ah Zhu can feel Qiao Feng's sadness and both Qiao Feng and Ah Zhu continue their journey to investigate who the person behind all those mysterious killings are. After a series of episodes, Qiao Feng finds himself killing Ah Zhu accidentally. In his sadness, he promises Ah Zhu to take care her sister, Ah Zhi. This leads to episodes where Qiao Feng leaves the Han soil and goes north to find medicine to save Ah Zhi who at that time was badly wounded. Almost near the closing episodes, Qiao Feng is made a Qi Dan prince for having saved the country from tyranny.
Duan Yu is a prince of Da Li who doesn't like learning kungfu and prefers instead to dwell on Buddhism. He is another main character who begins his journey looking for his love. Although he never asks to learn kungfu, he falls to the bottom of a mountain where he finds a statue of a goddess-like lady and it forces him to learn kungfu to escape from it. With his new-found kungfu, he starts his romantic journey meeting a lot of pretty ladies. He finally finds out that they are actually all his sisters. It is revealed that Duan Yu's father, Duan Zhen Jing had flirted around with a lot of women that resulted in Duan Yu having a lot of sisters he never knew he had. Ironically, all of Duan Yu's sisters, who have no clue as to their actual relationship, are attracted to him and they make him promise marriage. However, none of that becomes reality. Duan Zhen Jing always appears at the right time and the right place to reveal that Zhong Ling and Mu Wan Qing are Duan Yu's half-sisters. Then, Duan Yu gets the opportunity to learn the kungfu of the Duan family that is kept at Shaolin temple and thus encounters more adventures. While wandering, Duan Yu finds his true love on an island where Madam Wang and her daughter, Wang Yu Yan, live. Unfortunately, Wang Yu Yan has already fallen in love to her cousin, Mu Rong Fu, even though Mu Rong Fu has never loved Wang Yu Yan wholeheartedly; all he wants is to rebuild his family's Yan dynasty.
Xu Zhu is a Buddhist monk who accidentally wins a chess game and receives inner power from the leader of the Xiao Yao clan. During his journeys, he is forced to quit his Buddhist vows by making love to a lady of the Xi Xia country whose identity and whereabouts he never finds out. Later on, he becomes the real leader of the Xiao Yao clan and gives up being a monk. He is driven out of Shaolin because of these matters even though Xu Zhu has never thought of giving up on Buddhism.
The three, Duan Yu, Qiao Feng and Xu Zhu finally meet each other and swear before heaven and earth that they will become sworn-brothers till death separates them. They swear to protect each other and to always uphold righteousness and justice in the wulin world.
Will Qiao Feng become a traitor and lead Qi Dan's forces to attack Han soil? Will Qiao Feng find out who the real murderer of the numerous mysterious killings is? Will Qiao Feng find out the truth about his family's slaughter? Will Duan Yu finally win Wang Yu Yan's heart? Will Xu Zhu find out who the lady from the Xi Xia country is, the one whom he calls 'meng-gu'?
My Opinion of the Music:
The theme song has a great melody. It seems to fit the events of the series. Emil sings it well, and the funny thing is, I didn't recognize it was him singing until I read someone else's reviews.
My Opinion of the Fighting Scenes:
Great sound effects and graphics. Technology has really helped to make this series look great. The '18th Dragon Palms' effects make this series live up to its title 'tian lung ba bu'. Overall, the fighting scenes were excellent.
My Opinion on the Make-Up:
Ohh.. It is terrible! Even a small kid would be able to recognize that all the monks in the series are not truly monks. We can still see hair covered by thin plastic-like shrink wraps to make the head look bald. For a series of this calibre, I would have expected them to do a better job. I was pretty upset about it. I hope they will do a better job next time. It's a pity that such a successful series is let down by the make-up.
My Opinion of the Characters:
Great casting! Felix Wong is the best guy to play Qiao Feng. He looks mature, charming and seems to be a man of principal. He's strong, humble and wise. Benny Chan also plays his role very well. His character fits the role of a 20-year old young man. Even though it seems that he looks very disturbed whenever he follows Wang Yu Yan all the time, it doesn't relate to his role and acting. One more thing about Benny is that he actually played the role of Duan Yu very well; a young man who is loved by a lot of pretty ladies. However, even though he agrees to the ladies' demands to love them, it is not because he seems to be a playboy or such. It is because he plays the role with a soft heart. I can see that Duan Yu is very caring towards every girl he meets along the way even though he doesn't love her. It's an exception whenever Duan Yu meets Wang Yu Yan. This one he will chase until the end of the world even if she continues to reject his love. This shows that Benny's Duan Yu is quite a straight guy.
Xu Zhu also plays his role well as the monk who keeps his Buddhist ways intact. As an honest and loyal monk, Xu Zhu plays a role that holds righteousness higher among other things. I have to mention that the most important virtue the three main characters have is righteousness. Even the main theme of this series is about righteousness. From the beginning of the series, it seems that evil and lies win over righteousness. But in the end, we see all good deeds end well.
One person that needs to be mentioned is the actress who plays Ah Zhi. She played her role so well that I hated her so much. Carmen Lee is beautiful and she fits the role of a goddess-like lady. However, I don't like the scenes where both Carmen and Benny come together and finally Yu Yan falls for Duan Yu. It doesn't show how Carmen changes her heart for Duan Yu. Another supporting role that was played well was that of Suet Lei's, who played Ma Fu Ren. She was cruel and cunning. The last one that I want to mention is Mu Rong Fu. His acting doesn't convince me that Mu Rong Fu is cunning and cruel enough to be the bad guy. On some occasions, he looks cunning; in others he doesn't seem very confident to be the bad guy.
My Overall Recommendation of the Series: (Spoiler Alert)
The finishing scenes on Qiao Feng's suicide didn't leave much of an impression. I expected that at the end, even though Qiao Feng had to die, the ones who lived should have felt upset and thankful for his sacrifice. I felt that at the end, the Han people weren't sorry for all they had done to Qiao Feng. Also, Duan Yu's stories were left hanging. What happened to Mu Wan Qing and Zhong Ling after they found out that Duan Yu was no longer their brother? One important scene I expected to see was how Duan Yu and Xu Zhu reacted to Qiao Feng's death as sworn brothers. There was no continuity that showed this event which could have been a great cut at the end of the series. However, this series is an excellent one, and I recommend it to all of you. THIS ONE IS A MUST SEE!