Young Hero Fong Sai Yuk

Reviewed by: spcnet

November 02, 2003

Rating: three-point-five

Fong Si Yuk is perhaps one of the best Taiwanese series that has come out this year, aligning itself with another Taiwanese hit, "Princess Pearl" ("Huang Zhi Ge Ge"). Managing to beat TVB brutally, "Fong" has brought for ATV record high ratings and also for Dicky Cheung much renewed fame as he's back into the scope of the Hong Kong audience. Dicky Cheung Wai Kin stars as Fong Si Yuk, the legendary hero that defeated Lu Lo Fu in a martial platform when he was just a kid. "Fong" is one of those series that brings together good actors and actresses and uses them effectively to create a funny, rollicking, and fun to watch kung-fu series. (We haven't had any of those lately in the HK TV series industry.) The other main cast members include Fong Siu Wong (Hong Hei Goon), Lee Tiang Yee (Yee Wing Chun), Cheng Xui Hui (Wu Wai Kin), Xie Lao (Mui Chue Fa), Ho Mei Sie (Ling Siu Siu), Suerng Tin Gor (Lee Siu Wan), and others.

The plot of "Fong" follows the young Fong Si Yuk causing ruckus from Guangzhou to Tongzhou, where his father sent him to attend school. There, he meets the rich and rowdy Yee Wing Chun, becomes good friends with the honest Hong Hei Goon and cowardly Wu Wai Kin. The three cannot resist from fighting for justice and soon find themselves in opposition with the nephew of Lu Lo Fu. Fong Si Yuk later kills Lu Lo Fu when he was challenged up at the martial arena, causing the wrath of Lee Siu Wan, the wife of Lu. In order to evade the powerful Lee Siu Wan and her father, Lee Ba San, the three tread to Shaolin Temple to learn martial arts. Trouble of course doesn't stop as they are pulled into the past generation of tension between the Shaolin Temple and Wu Tang Clan.

group"Fong" is unlike other Taiwanese series in that it doesn't really have long and dragging scenes where the actors just make petty talk--or if it did, Dicky Cheung has managed to make it seem too funny to be boring. Perhaps the best parts of the series is the beginning episodes into the middle until Fong Si Yuk and his two buddies, Hong Hei Goon and Wu Wai Kin, go up to Shaolin Temple. The excitement and action dies down a bit after that but quickly picks up pace again with the introduction of the White-Eyebrowed Taoist. "Fong" is a refreshing series that proves that the audience still loves the martial arts genre-- where the major TV monopoly, TVB, has been on a slacking trend.

fongThere is, one major pitfall in "Fong" though. The ending sequence of "Fong" can be summed up in one word--corny. Probably because the series is supposed to be mostly about Fong Si Yuk that the producers turned him into a semi super-hero at the end. The ending fight is very, very disappointing. It failed to bring across what made it successful at the beginning, which is pure martial arts and skill. Perhaps because up until then, one has become so accustomed to the hardcore fighting that it became unacceptable for the intrusion of super powers. Aside from that, after the climatic ending fight, the series began on a further downtrend when all reveals itself. A sappy, happy ending (I still wonder if the same person wrote the script for the ending). To end on a lighter note though, "Fong" is certainly one of the year's must-see's despite a poorly-played ending--which is, after all, only about two episodes worth of a great series.

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