The Return of the Condor Heroes

Reviewed by: Gigi

September 14, 2005

Rating: four-point-five

Xiao Long Nu - Idy Chan Yuk Lin
Yang Guo - Andy Lau Tuk Wah
Kwok Jing - Leung Ka Yun
Wong Yung - Au Yeung Pui San

I have recently rewatched this series and found it yet fascinating. After hearing many critics on different versions of "Return of the Condor Heroes" (ROCH), I was afraid that I would lose the good impression I had on this version. However, I discovered it to be very refreshing to see hand-to-hand kungfu scenes, as opposed to today's computer graphic generated fight scenes. True that hanging wire could be seen in some scenes but to tell you the truth, most of the time I was so focused on the story and the acting of characters that I didn't really notice those faults. Compared to recent series like "Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber 2000", the fight scenes there are full of explosions and so boring that you cannot help but notice the faults in the setting.

A fake-looking condor is also a main criticism, but I don't see that as a big deal. Considering the technology and financial resources of TVB, I am only glad that at least no visible human head was shown.

For the main casts, I like the fact that TVB used a boy for a young Yang Guo as I didn't find it very convincing to look at Louis Koo play a 13-14 years old boy (He looks too manly). Both Andy Lau and Louis Koo look suitable as Yang Guo and look compatible with their respective partners. For Xiao Long Nu, though Carman Lee has the beauty of Dragon Girl, Idy Chan definitely is born for this role. She brings out several aspects of Dragon Girl's character other than the stereotypical cold, non-emotional traits of Xiao Long Nu. Her portrayal of Xiao Long Nu gives me the understanding of why Yang Guo fell in love with his Gu Gu. Looking at her eyes, I feel as if I want to wander in her heart and probe out the mystery from her deepest secrets.

As for the supporting casts, they are all excellent carry-over characters from "Legend of the Condor Heroes". Chun Wong as Zhao Bak Tong is as funny and as cute as ever. Admittedly, Gigi Fu is prettier as Guo Fu than the cast in this version, though it makes it easier to hate this version's Guo Fu.

TVB could have done better with more people in battle scenes, but they never seem to learn that. :)

Costumes and hairdos are nice, and the songs are very good. The theme song of this version is definitely more to the mood than that of the '95 version.

Having said that, it still would be hard for me to pick one series over another. Well, maybe the '83 series because it is older and I love Idy Chan.

My favorite scenes:
Yang Guo practicing sword with Xiao Long Nu.
Any scenes that have them fight together.
Zhao Bak Tong using crystal on his grand-disciple.
West Poison using his weird kungfu.
Guo Xiang's appearances.
The tomb scenes.
Any time anyone is fighting.
During 16 years and after 16 years of Yang Guo's adventures.

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