The Handsome Siblings

Reviewed by: Yifan Zhang

April 15, 2008

Rating: two

Starring Jimmy Lin, Vivian Chan, Tommy Su, Theresa Lee

Warning! Spoiler Review!

Jue Dai Shuang Jiao is a story about twin brothers separated at birth after the death of their parents. The novel was written by Gu Long, and it was one of my favorites. Unfortunately, the tv series doesn't capture the essence of the novel. I thought I would start the review with a introduction to the series, then critique it.

In the Wu Ling world, a "gang" (for lack of a better word) called "Yi Hua Gong" is the most powerful. It is ruled by two sisters, Yao Yue And Lian Xing. Yao Yue is the older sister, and the one who created "Yi Hua Gong". "Yi Hua Gong" was supposed to be a "gang" made up of women, and its purpose was to stand up to all men. Yao Yue thought of this "theme" because she was abandoned by her lover, Yan Nan Tian, when he decided that he loved the world more than he loved her. After this, Yao Yue hated all men, yet she still held a flame for Yan Nan Tian in her heart. Still, she looks for every oppurtunity to make Yan Nan Tian miserable.

A chance comes when Lian Xing and her maid Yue Nu rescue an extremely handsome man as he and his servant are fighting with thieves. Lian Xing falls in love with the handsome man, whose name is Jiang Feng, and keeps him in Yi Hua Gong behind her sister's back. Yao Yue finds out about Jiang Feng, and realizes that he is the sworn brother of Yan Nan Tian. She locks Jiang Feng up, in hopes that Yan Nan Tian would go to Yi Hua Gong to rescue him, yet Yue Nu, who has also fallen for Jiang Feng, steals Lian Xing's keys to the prison and rescues Jiang Feng. Jiang Feng falls in love with Yue Nu after this, and the two escape Yi Hua Gong. A few months later, Yue Nu is pregnant, but she and Jiang Feng are still being pursued by Yi Hua Gong. Jiang Feng remembers that every August 15th, he and Yan Nan Tian would meet in an inn and catch up on news. He thinks Yan Nan Tian could help his problem, yet on August 15th, he couldn't meet with his sworn brother because he thinks that Yi Hua Gong has caught up with him. Actually, his servant, Jiang Qing had betrayed him, and pretended that Yi Hua Gong had caught up with Jiang Feng, so he could lead the couple into the hands of the 12 shapeshifters, who were notorious killers in the Wu Ling world. Well, I will speed things up a bit. Basically, Yan Nan Tian goes to meet Jiang Feng, and realizes that he was gone. He goes to the home of Jiang Feng, and sees a note telling him where the couple had run to.

Meanwhile, Jiang Feng and Yue Nu were attacked by the 12 shapeshifters. Jiang Feng tried to fight them, but he was too weak. Yue Nu went into labor at this time, and gave birth to twin boys. Suddenly, Lian Xing comes out of nowhere and rescues the couple. She is followed by Yao Yue, who is so angry at Jiang Feng for not loving her sister that she kills the couple. She is about to kill the twins, but her sister stops her and says to keep one twin and let Yan Nan Tian find the other. When the twins grow up, the one kept by Yan Nan Tian would learn that his parents were killed by Yi Hua Gong, and go to Yi Hau Gong to avenge their deaths. The other brother, having grown up in Yi Hua Gong, would fight with his own brother to defend Yi Hua Gong. Eventually, one would kill the other, and having Yan Nan Tian know that because he dumped Yao Yue, two brothers would kill each other. Yan Nan Tian comes to the scene after Yao Yue and Lian Xing have gone, and he takes the remaining baby, one with a cut on his cheek made by Yao Yue, and goes off to raise it. Sadly, he walks into "Eh Reng Gu" (the home of the most infamous villains) with the baby, and is poisoned by the villains. One villain, a doctor, is softhearted and keeps Yan Nan Tian alive on the pretense that he needed a human body for medical purposes. The villains then decide to raise the baby up to be the world's biggest villain. They name him Jiang Xiao Yu.

OK, the story is set, and took way too long, so I will skim over the rest of the story. Yao Yue finds out about Yan Nan Tian's plight, and visits him every night to help heal him. She also hypnotizes Xiao Yu Er and tells him that he needs to go to Yi Hua Gong and avenge his parents. Xiao Yu Er grows up not knowing of Yan Nan Tian and having only vague impressions of Yao Yue's hypnotic sessions. He grows up with dreams in which he and his brother talk and play. He doesn't know that he has a brother, so the strange boy in his dreams was just a good friend in his mind. Meanwhile, the other brother has the same dreams. The other brother was named Hua Wu Que, and leads an unhappy life in which Yao Yue is constantly pressuring him to learn martial arts and to put away his emotions. And so the two reach "adulthood", their 20th birthday. Xiao Yu Er, now played by Jimmy Lin, is a very clever young man who loves to swindle and tease people. He learns from two of the more sofhearted villains of his parents. He then chooses to find Jiang Qing and Yi Hua Gong, and then kill all the people involved in his parent's death. Hua Wu Que, played by Tommy Su, is a dull man who isn't very bright, at least that was my impression of him. Hua Wu Que is told by Yao Yue to go to Eh Reng Gu and kill Xiao Yu Er. On the way, he meets a girl named Tie Xin Lan, Vivian Chan, who is fighting with another girl, Zhang Jing (Theresa Lee), over a treasure map that both claim to own. Hua Wu Que decides to help Tie Xing Lan, mostly because she is the prettier of the two. Tie Xin Lan thanks him and leaves, only to meet up with Xiao Yu Er on his way to find Jiang Qing. Xiao Yu Er also saves Tie Xin Lan from Zhang Jing, and he finds out that she is the daughter of one of the villains, Tie Zhan. He had to give her up to another family when he was being chased by people who had a grudge against him. Tie Zhan was also looking for Jiang Qing because Jiang Feng once saved him (Tie Zhan).

Anyways, Tie Xin Lan gets sick and Xiao Yu Er takes care of her. She falls in love with him and he begins to love her. Then, Zhang Jing comes to find Tie Xin Lan again, and while Xiao Yu Er distracts her, Tie Xin Lan hides and is brought to a safe place by Hua Wu Que. I think I will stop being detailed here, or else i will be typing until next week. Basically, Xiao Yu Er and Hua Wu Que's lives become intertwined. They get tangled in all sorts of situations brought upon them by Jiang Qing and Yi Hua Gong, who have united. At the end,the brothers kill Jiang Qing, Yao Yue and Yan Nan Tian meet. Both have reached the highest points of their kung fu. Xiao Yu Er and Hua Wu Que staged a fight for Yao Yue, then pretended to die, to get her to confess that they are brothers (for some stupid reason, everyone already had the impression that they were). Well, Yao Yue confessed, the brothers came back to life, and Yan Nan Tian, seeing all the sorrow and hatred he has brought on to Yao Yue, committed suicide. The brothers reunite, and everyone lives happily ever after.

That was the summary to the series, I left out many characters, but I got the point across. I must say that the series was very bad. The novel was humorous and rather light, yet the producers turned it into a drama that lasted forever. Lots of parts in the series were corny and unnecessary. The series put too much emphasis on love, and not enough on anything else. To be even more "dramatic", the series killed off lots of people, like the Eh Reng Gu villains, and it brought to life unimportant characters, like Jiang Qing's wife. In the novel, Yao Yue's confession that Xiao Yu Er and Hua Wu Que were brothers was supposed to be a big surprise, yet the series ruined that by letting everyone know that beforehand. Also, it took so long for people to die in this series. Everyone has to have a speech, then ask for something, then say that they love the people around them, tremble, gasp for breath, then finally die. It takes at least 5 minutes.

The guy who played Yan Nan Tian did not look the part at all. First of all, his eyes curve down to make him look perpetually sad. His teeth and his mouth add to that, and he just didn't give the impression of a hero. Jimmy Lin did a pretty good job as Jiang Xiao Yu, he captured the playful essence of the character. However, he tends to exaggerate on the voices, gestures, and expressions, and at some parts, you are laughing at him rather than with him. Tommy Su did an OK job, he does a good job playing the boring, obedient, not so bright guy. I wonder if it's a personality issue. Vivian Chan made Tie Xin Lan a whiny little princess who cried every few minutes for no good reason. In my opinion, the only two good actors in the series were the actresses who played Yao Yue and Mu Rong Jiu. Both charcters are proud, willful women, and the actresses who portrayed them them a good job. I won't comment on the other actors, in case some people get mad. Overall, Jue Dai Shuang Jiao was a pretty corny series, it reminded me of Huan Zhu Ge Ge, not because of Tommy Su, but because of the "cornyness" and the romance. Still, there are some interesting parts, so I would recommend it to people who like love stories.

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