The story begins with the eloping Sin Mo Che (Moses Chan) and his lover Shuet Gei (Jay Leung). They are both deeply in love with each other but Shuet Gei is arranged to marry Sin's senior brother, Ging Lit (Michael Tong) who is a great general and who happens to be the savior of Shuet Gei's father in battle. So when Shuet's parents find them and Shuet has to choose between love and honor, she chooses honor and bids farewell forever to Sin Mo Che. However, this is not the end of it. After Shuet Gei is married to Ging Lit, it's revealed that she's been cuckolding her husband, pursuing an affair with Sin Mo Che after all. Ging Lit finds them together one night, fights Sin Mo Che and defeats Sin. Shuet Gei begs Ging Lit to let Sin go and promises never to see Sin again. Just when Ging Lit wavers and agrees, Sin uses the most vicious sneak attack on Ging Lit, fatally wounding him. Seeing her husband dying and blaming them, Shuet Gei commits suicide.
Sin, who is the disciple of the magical arts, feeds Shuet Gei a reviving soul pill and saves her spirit, hoping to resurrect her. Just when her spirit was about to re-enter her body again, the Heavens cause havoc--since resurrection is against Fate--causing the ritual to fail. Sin Mo Che is unremorseful and believes that everything that he did was for love and challenges Heaven. He's struck down of course and has to suffer through thousands of years reincarnating as the lowest of lives (beggar, pig, cow, etc.).
Meanwhile, Ging Lit died and is dispersed as a cloud of hate built from the betrayal of his junior brother and wife. Years passed and this cloud collected all of human kind's hate and resentment and finally became so strong that he became the demon lord of some kind who is destined to bring destruction to the world. He is determined to find and then have his revenge on the reincarnated Sin Mo Che.
Sin Mo Che's current life is now as Sun Sup Long (Auguste Kwan Tak Fai), a do-gooder young man whose mother Fu Yung (Louisa So Yuk Wah) is actually a flower fairy and had a past relationship with the demonic Ging Lit. The story develops a romance between Sun Sup Long and a monkey demon, Yuan Siu Siu (Mimi Law Man Chong). By chance, Sun releases the spirit of Shuet Gei who is still deeply in love with Sin Mo Che and wants to find his reincarnated self. The rest of the series tells of how these characters resolve the old rivalries of the past.
A couple of questions to ponder on first:
Why did Ging Lit become the evil demon instead of Sin Mo Che?
I was literally surprised when it was Ging Lit who became that cloud of hate that wrought destruction unto the world, because Ging Lit was not an evil man, just wronged. The justification of betrayal just didn't seem convincing enough. If anything, Sin Mo Che had all the potential to be this demon lord because he was just so selfish. Ging Lit's situation (getting cuckolded and betrayed by his junior brother) did not seem tragic or horrible enough to justify turning into the demon. If anything, the subplot of the woman and her daughter (played by the young Jenny Shing who is recently recognized for her role as Wong Hei's daughter in Burning Flame II) was more sordid. She was raped by a rich man, born his child, left by her lover, and wrought into prostitution. Didn't she have all the premises to turn into a shroud of hate?
How come when Sin Mo Che used the soul reviving pill, he was punished by Heaven, whereas, when Sun Sup Long tried the same thing, he was actually helped by the 3 gods?
Both were trying to save their lovers. Both acted against Fate. So why is it that Sun Sup Long got away scot-free? As the English might say, Bloody unfair!
TVB new face, Auguste Kwan Tak Fai was very raw in acting, especially when he realized he was Sin Mo Che reincarnated and had the inner struggles in his identity crisis. The way Kwan tries unsuccessfully to show the myriad of emotions coupled with the way he speaks his lines, uttering each word out with the mandarin accent became a bit unbearable to watch. I'd prefer if TVB dubbed his voice. On observation, Kwan looks a bit like Michael Tse Tin Wah merged with Leung Wing Chong and merged again with Aaron Kwok.
Michael Tong doesn't carry the show as the main villain. He seemed to be overly excited and yells his lines. Michael Tong always struck me as an actor who looked like he was about to burst out his lines all at once. The costume/makeup they had him don as the demon disguise is also very lame.
Mimi Lo was average as Yuen Siu Siu. She pulled the most likeable performance out of the main cast but her role in Treasure Raiders as Little Master was more breakthrough. "Battle" also welcomes Louisa So Yuk Wah back to TVB but in a small role as Fu Yung.
Jay Leung looked pretty as Shuet Gei in the white outfit, almost a bit of a Siu Lung Liu feel to it. However, it was very annoying when a big half of the series we have to hear her say "Sin Long" all the time to refer to Sin Mo Che and about how she must find him. Shuet Gei's character was also very selfish at the beginning. It came as a surprise when she turned petty and willing to sacrifice another person for her "Sin Long". Love to her was exactly as Sin Mo Che viewed it too--that as long as they are together with their lover, they would not care about the welfare of other people. What a perfect match Shuet Gei and Sin Mo Che are! Redeemingly, her character did change but as the series progresses, one can not help but blame Shuet Gei for all the things that happened.
First, in the first breakup with Sin Mo Che to marry Ging Lit, she chose to honor her parents and that she'll never see Ging Lit again. On her wedding night (during a time travelling episode), she says aloud that she'll not betray her husband since Ging Lit is a worthy man. Then, after breaking both vows and cuckolding Ging Lit anyway, she promises never to see Sin Mo Che again after begging Ging Lit to let him go. Yet the first thing she does after being released from her thousand year imprisonment is to go and look for Sin Mo Che. So no more remorse for betraying her own oaths and betrayals to Ging Lit? If I were Ging Lit, I'd want to kill her too.
Finally, the ending (skip this paragraph if you don't want to read any spoilers). Well, I can say that the straw that broke the camel's back happened already in the middle of the series so I didn't carry too high of an expectation for a satisfactory ending. The final showdown between Ging Lit, Shuet Gei, and Sun Sup Long/Sin Mo Che goes like this: Shuet Gei is fatally pierced through with a sword, so she runs with the sword still in her body into Ging Lit, who, by the way, just stands from a distance waiting her for to stab it into him too. Uh...why didn't Ging Lit dodge? And it wasn't as if Ging Lit still loved Shuet Gei anymore--since he fell for Fu Yung--so the final line Shuet Gei says just sounds hollow. The ending for Sun Sup Long and Yuan Siu Siu was a forced happy ending. It was said that Yuan would have absolutely no way to be revived if killed. Ok, now which part of "absolutely no way to be revived if killed" did we not understand?
"Battle" summed up is a bad series that has a terrible plot and poor acting by most of the main cast. If I had to choose, I'd choose Gods of Honour over this series (and I hated that one).