Condor in September

Reviewed by: sukting

December 07, 2003

Rating: three

Also: The Condor Flies In September

How long
20 episodes

This is an adaptation of Gu Long’s novel of the same title. You can call it the continuation of his other novel, ‘The Black Sabre’. This serial follows the novel almost faithfully from the beginning but I am glad that it has axed some unnecessary dialogues and characters. The serial has the suspense and also offers satisfactory acting from the cast.


Many are eyeing the late evil leader, Sheung Gun Kam Hung’s fortune because there is also a secret manual buried with it. Lee Cam Foon is his sore enemy but the swordsman, Ah Fei is the friend of his wife, Lam Xien Yee. Lam is widely known as the pugilistic world’s first beauty. He knows enemies will seek revenge on their retarded daughter, Sheung Gun Siu Xien.

She has inherited her mother’s looks. Thus he entrusts her in Yip Hoi’s care. The first lot to seek trouble will be from the cult.

And because Yip Hoi agrees to take care of Siu Xien, this makes his lover, Ding Ling Lam jealous. The couple quarrels and she leaves him. Ding Lam appears in the pugilistic world. Ding Lam is said to be Ling Lam’s twin brother who was given away at birth. His ‘swift skill’ is considered to be among the top five.

Still, he gets trapped by Tiet Gu. Tiet Gu is a princess from the cult. She makes him disguised as Ling Lam because both look alike. She even tries to hypnotize him to hate Siu Xien and Yip Hoi. So she must kill Yip Hoi when ‘she’ sees him.

Siu Xien is with Yip Hoi. Siu Xien sits near the window. The assassins come at this time. Being men, their hearts beat faster when Siu Xien is so gullible, wanting to breastfeed her doll. But the next scene will amuse you – Yip Hoi suddenly closes the window and all can see nothing! They decide to let Ding Lam go in to kill Yip Hoi. He will be too overjoyed to see ‘his beloved lover’ to detect the difference.

And indeed he is hit and collapses directly. Tiet Gu tries in vain to know the whereabouts of the treasure. She later searches Yip Hoi’s body for clues. Her fingers freeze upon discovering that ‘he’ is a woman. She is about to chop off ‘his’ arms and is caught. She never expects the change of events!

Yip Hoi is Ding Lam! His confused expression disappears completely and his eyes are as bright as stars. Ling Lam jokingly tells him to clear off the rouge on his face while he jokes that her big breasts blow their cover. Ding Lam is one of the names he used when he goes around the pugilistic world. His real name Yip Hoi is too famous. All of them know that he has learned the flying dagger skill. But he doesn’t wish to invite attraction. Ling Lam is the best person to protect Siu Xien because this ever jealous person will not get angry when Yip Hoi doesn’t get close to her!

But somehow, the cult and 3 other evil sects get mysterious letters about their whereabouts. The writer claims to be Yip Hoi’s bitter enemy and wants his head. The person even strikes an agreement with the cult. Yip Hoi doesn’t know who the person is and frowns.

The hypnosis skill doesn’t work on Yip Hoi. His mother betrayed the cult to be with Bak Tin Yu 20 years ago. She is one of the 4 princesses, so Yip Hoi should call Tiet Gu ‘aunt’. Siu Xien hands her doll to Yip Hoi and Ling Lam. Both are suddenly poisoned and faint. She is the one who wrote the letters!

Both evil people can give birth to a retarded person – can it be true? The father is ruthless while the mother is wicked. Tiet Gu discovers her mistake and tries to poison Siu Xien with her own blood. But she fails and is not even allowed to kill herself. She is terrified upon seeing Siu Xien eating the knife – that shows that she knows her skills too! The cult has 4 heavenly kings and 4 princesses. One is Tiet Gu. As her name suggests, she eats anything made of iron or metal. Another is Yip Hoi’s mother. Who are the rest then?

Siu Xien doesn’t kill Yip Hoi but wakes him. She needs him to rebuild the ‘Golden Coin’ sect. However, she doesn’t give him the antidote. Luckily, Kwok Ding manages to save them. Those who are familiar with Gu Long novels will recall that the Kwok family’s metal sword is fourth on the list of formidable weapons. Lee Cam Foon’s flying dagger is third while Seung Gun Kam Hung’s stick is the second.

But why does he save them? He wants to challenge Yip Hoi to a duel to bring his family sword to a higher rank on the list. He later warns them that although it is not September, many condors are looking for the fox as the prey. He has compared them to the fox as the victim. Yip Hoi senses that Kwok Ding likes Ling Lam because the way that he looks at her isn’t as cold as he seems to be.

Yip Hoi sees Siu Xien outside the window and chases after her. To his dismay, she disappears although he has used his ‘swift skill’. When he returns, Priest Yuk Siu has caught Ling Lam as a hostage. His flute is labelled as tenth on the weapons list. This scene is quite eye-catching. He blows a piece of music and hits out small needles from all directions. To his surprise, Yip Hoi keeps all of them and even tells him to blow another piece as he likes his music very much!

Yuk Siu’s female attendants snatch Ling Lam away. Instead of chasing after them, Yip Hoi stays and agrees to look for Siu Xien within a day. Yuk Siu reminds him that he is very lustful and he will have to keep his promise. Yip Hoi is troubled as to where to look for Siu Xien. Kwok Ding gets to know about it and agrees to help him since they are friends. Little do they know that Yuk Siu will never sleep with a woman who has slept with other men before.

They are attracted by flute music but only find Yuk Siu’s disciple, Yuk Jing blowing it. Yuk Siu wanted her to lure them out. They coax her into bringing them to see Yuk Siu but he is no longer there.

They get to know that another swordsman, Lui Dik is nearby and frowns. The spear of Lui Dik’s uncle is fifth on the weapons list but he isn’t satisfied. He uses his hand to master another special skill – his hand becomes as hard as metal. This skill is being passed down. They get to the new ground. Seeing Ling Lam playing chess on her own, Kwok Ding jumps into the room from the roof.

Yip Hoi knows something is wrong. Although Ling Lam’s eldest brother is a chess expert, she doesn’t even know how to lay out the chess pieces properly. But he also follows suit. However, Kwok Ding doesn’t lose his cool upon discovering his mistake when seeing that the woman is not Ling Lam . Who will believe that he can actually remove the woman’s clothes to force the truth out of her???? They finally find Ling Lam in a closet. Kwok Ding even tells the woman to eat less meat because she is gaining weight!

Ling Lam opens her eyes and Yip Hoi asks her if she recognizes him. She nods but stabs him in the chest with a dagger! All are shocked and she runs away. Kwok Ding manages to knock her off. Yuk Jing saves Yip Hoi and brings him away, not knowing that Kwok Ding is worried when he brings Ling Lam back. Siu Xien manages to track Yip Hoi down and humiliates Yuk Jing for being Yuk Siu’s mistress.

Yip Hoi is usually mild-tempered but he is as cold as stone at this moment. He tells her to leave if not he will let her have a taste of his flying daggers! He takes out the shiny dagger and warns her not to force him to kill. Does she really wish to try it out? She is angered but has no guts. She deliberately tells him that Kwok Ding and Ling Lam are together to arouse his jealousy.

After she leaves, he nearly collapses because he has no more strength left. He analyses that Yuk Siu wants Yuk Jing to lure them with the music as he knows that she wishes to leave him. He lets him discover Ling Lam so that Ling Lam can kill him after he hypnotised her. Siu Xien will let him recover so that he will help him to kill Kwok Ding and the others for her.

He recalls Tiet Gu’s final words and his eyes shine. She had mentioned that the cult is setting up a new sect on an island. Yuk Jing also said that Yuk Siu visited an island lately. He must have joined that cult and he could be one of the heavenly kings. All the knives that they use are poisoned but they will have no effect on him. His blood can counteract any poison because his mother is the first princess. Now she is an ordinary old woman staying in a seclude area with her adopted son. He is better looking and more filial than him. He also longs to see his adopted brother, Fu Hong Suet, more often.

Siu Xien leaves two packets of antidote on the table and Yip Hoi feels better after eating it. He is worried when Yuk Jing is missing. When he goes out, Lui Dik wants to spar with him. After discovering that he is injured after they exchange blows for a while, he decides to stop and spar with him the next time. This time, Siu Xien tracks him down again and Yip Hoi has no choice but to stay with her.

Siu Xien talks about the 4 heavenly kings – Dieerbu (wisdom), Duoerjia (power), Banchabana (love god) and Budala (the mountain). Yip Hoi deduces that Yuk Siu must be Banchabana since it suits him. But who are the rest then?

He finds it unbelievable that she can cook for him. But he isn’t touched. Siu Xien then wants her followers to spread the news that Yip Hoi is dead. Some have said that he is killed by Lui Dik while others say that Ling Lam killed him. Kwok Ding takes care of Ling Lam 3 nights without sleep and dares not tell her the harsh truth. After knowing his death, she is devastated. She invites Lui Dik and Yuk Siu to meet her the next day so that she can tell them Siu Xien’s whereabouts.

She has decided to seek revenge by using her beauty to lure them. She knows that Kwok Ding likes her and requests him to sleep with her for the night. Please don’t get the wrong idea – he doesn’t touch her at all. The next day, she hits on his acupoint to prevent him from following her because she knows both of them are of no match for the two pugilists. The two cunning men do not fall into her trap – only one will survive after knowing the secret as both want the treasure.

Lui Dik walks out while there is no escape of Ling Lam from Yuk Siu. He starts to hypnotise her but Kwok Ding comes to her rescue. Yuk Siu uses the same trick again but Kwok Ding kills him. However, Kwok Ding is also hit by his needles and is on the verge of death. Ling Lam decides to marry him so as to encourage him to survive.

She gets many wedding gifts. One of them is a physician, Got Bing. He is Yip Hoi’s friend and Yip Hoi knows the reason for the wedding. But he still wants him to be cured. Indeed, Kwok Ding is better on the wedding night. Ling Lam gets to see Yip Hoi. Both cry together but still part. Ling Lam then decides not to marry Kwok Ding and returns to tell him. To her anguish, he is dead with the other guests.

Got Bing is equally upset. He has gone to seek help after looking through the gifts and find that some are given by the cult. When they are back after being unsuccessful in seeking clues, they find all the dead bodies missing. They are then trapped by Budala. Ling Lam is devastated to know that Got Bing also belongs to the cult. He did it willingly as he is hungry to learn more healing skills. He finds their hypnosis and evil skills fascinating and thus learns it to cure the sick.

However, upon seeing Ling Lam in danger, he uses poison from his umbrella to injure Budala on his back. He himself is fatally injured. Later when she tries to marry Got Bing after knowing that he has loved her all along, he also dies. The poor Ling Lam is unable to withstand 2 consecutive blows in a night. She starts to become mad and burns the wedding chamber down.

Yip Hoi is anxious after knowing the tragedies. But he can only find Yuk Jing, who is one of the guests who escaped from the killing. She tells him everything and knowing that she loves him, Yip Hoi tells her to marry someone else and lead a quiet life. She obeys him in tears.

Yip Hoi lists Yeung Tien as one of his suspects. Yeung Tien is having a bath and looks relaxed. After Yip Hoi leaves, he quickly removes the bandage from his back. Blood starts to flow down his back as he is seriously injured. Yip Hoi later meets a Qing Cheng sect swordsman, Mok Sau Sing. He claims to have killed Dieerbu on his way. So there are only 2 heavenly kings left.

Suddenly, they are surrounded by Duoerjia. Mok Sau Sing kills him and even before removing the mask, Yip Hoi knows that he is Lui Dik. He has recognized the arm weapon. He has guessed the identity correctly but is doubtful on why his expression looks regretful and shocked. From his body, he finds a letter stating that he is meeting Budala the next day. He decides to see who the person is.

Mou Sau Sing invites him to have a snake feast with him but he declines. Later, Mok Sau Sing is dead after eating a poisonous snake. Siu Xien leads Yip Hoi to a dark room. He is attacked but after subduing the assassin, he is shocked to find that she is Ling Lam! He realizes why Siu Xien refuses to light up the room although it is night-time because fire reminds her of the tragedy.

Yip Hoi is very upset upon seeing that Ling Lam has turned insane. He tries to feed her food and is grieved that she shows him no response. Siu Xien tries to tell him to give up but he still hugs Ling Lam close to him, refusing to give up. Yip Hoi senses Yeung Tien’s tracks and chases after him. He is shocked that he is killed mysteriously. He has suspected him to be Budala because of his back injury.

Siu Xien tells Hon Jing to keep an eye on Ling Lam. but both are missing. Yip Hoi is worried but he is also tired. So he lies on the bed. His expression changes suddenly when he smells blood under the bed. He has no courage to see what is underneath but Siu Xien drags a body out. It is not Ling Lam but is Hon Jing. After examining the wound, he knows that Ling Lam is not the killer because she is not that highly skilled and she is not that ruthless.

Siu Xien’s real cover is blown. Yip Hoi deduces that she is Budala. Just as he has guessed, Yeung Tin has wanted to take over the ‘Golden Coin’ sect. He tries to kill Siu Xien after finding that she is injured by Got Bing but fails in his attempt. So he tries to keep from all of them. When Yip Hoi sees him earlier, he thinks that she tells him to check on him. Siu Xien impersonated as Mok Sau Sing to disperse his doubts but she has forgotten one thing. Mou Sau Sing is the master of poison – how can he be killed by poison easily?

Only she knows Lui Dik’s identity. Their meeting plan is to kill Yip Hoi together. But she strikes at him instead. That is why he dies so unwillingly. Moreover, Yip Hoi has examined all the dead bodies and finds that they are killed by the same fatal stroke. So it is clear to him that she is the culprit.

Siu Xien is Budala indeed. The ‘Golden Coin’ sect and the cult are rivalries. She joined the cult after knowing that there is no cult leader and the power is to be shared among the 4 heavenly kings. If she kills the other three, she will be the leader of the 2 sects. So she wants to make use of Yip Hoi to get rid of them. However, she confesses that her love for him is true. Why is Yip Hoi only devoted to Ling Lam? That is because he knows her reasons for marrying twice, like her personality and she is also devoted to him.

Siu Xien tells Yip Hoi that she also has Ling Lam as the culprit and he has to listen to her. Yip Hoi is at his wits’ end. Suddenly both hear Ling Lam’s voice, telling him that he doesn’t have to listen to her. She comes out under the bed. Ling Lam isn’t insane at all. On her second wedding, she has sensed that someone is around. But detecting that the person is highly skilled, she decides to pretend insane. This will not only save her own life but also find out the culprit’s identity. Indeed, when she wakes up, she knows straight away as Siu Xien’s face appears before her in a locked room.

Siu Xien is not the only person who can pretend to be insane. She can do it too. Siu Xien has wanted Hon Jing to kill her and let Yip Hoi think that she is mad to kill herself. Since Siu Xien has drugged her before, she can also drug his tea too. Of course, he will not suspect a mad woman – just like how she and Yip Hoi did not suspect Siu Xien at first. She has learned all these moves from her.

Only when she moves Hon Jing’s body under the bed, she then discovers the missing wine from the inn. She knows that Siu Xien will be too shocked to see Hon Jing’s body to discover the wine cellar. She stays to see whether Yip Hoi will be tricked by Siu Xien. He has not disappointed her.

Actually, Yip Hoi knows that Ling Lam is alright. At the first instance, he is shocked but later when he opens his arms preparing to hug her, she herself gets close to him. So from there, he gets the message and decides to play along with the game. Both of them know each other too well. Yip Hoi has a duel with Siu Xien but lets her off in the end as his dagger is also the weapon of love and forgiveness.

Introduction on characters

1. Yip Hoi – Lau Chung Yan
He is considered the cool hero. This character is completely flawless. Witty, highly-skilled, loyal to friends and humorous. No wonder he wins the hearts of the two women and has a large circle of friends. Although his friends betray him, he doesn’t seem to be badly affected as he takes it well. His appearance with a leather hood is quite eye-catching.

Chung Yan’s acting skills pale here. The wig doesn't really suit him and he looks tired. Moreover, he is a little too old for the role as we can see wrinkles. Still, his performance is satisfactory although this is his debut pairing with Chau Wah and Fu Shang.

2. Kwok Ding – Gu Gun Chung
Arrogant, young and seems unfeeling. He has to defend his family honour as the sword is 4th on the list. But in reality, he has a heart of gold and is a warm person. He has changed so much after taking care of Ling Lam. Knowing that she is sad over Yip Hoi’s death, he doesn’t now how to console her. Actually, we can see nothing from the bed scene. He only sleeps by her side and both don’t do anything at all. He wakes up with a start, worrying that she might seek the enemies without him and is relieved that she is still there.

But she suddenly attacks him and puts him on bed. This strong man sheds tears at this moment to try to get up again in anxiety. Knowing that he is dying after an attack, he is touched when she decides to marry him to please him. All will be moved when his white and pale face suddenly turns in the pink of health. Unfortunately, both of them don’t have a happy ending.

Gu is okay in acting although he is too cool at times. I really feel sorry to see this character depart as he has shown us how a swordsman should be.

3. Lui Dik – Ng Yik Cheung
He looks kind but he is not. He has always wanted to improve his family’s weapon from the 5th position upwards. Many will think that he is righteous to let Yip Hoi off in their duel. This is just a ploy on his part – Yip Hoi will be grateful to him then. If they meet the next time, he will be softened and will not give in his best to attack him. How cunning this person can be!

Ng is only okay in his acting as he only started out then.

4. Got Bing – Kong Tu
No one will believe that he is a physician because he looks so sickly. No one will also believe that he can fall in love with Ling Lam – a woman so much younger than him. But what is wrong with that? He is a kind man despite entering the cult because he uses all the good methods to cure the sick.

5. Sheung Gun Siu Xien – Chan Fu Shang (Ah Zhi in ‘Demi God, Semi Devils’ )
She is so stunningly beautiful. Unlike other villain roles which show their villain sides so obviously, this woman still looks so sweet and vulnerable. Who will believe that under the mask, she can be so unfeeling and wicked? I am won over by her greed for power and also determination to win her love by all means.

Chan is still as youthful and pretty like she was as Ah Zhi in ‘Demi God, Semi Devils’. However her acting isn't as good as she tends to repeat lines and expressions.

6. Ding Ling Lam – Ngai Chau Wah (Wong Yung in ‘Return of Condo Heroes 94’)
Intelligent but impulsive. She can create so many blunders to cause Kwok Ding’s death indirectly. However, I am touched by how she tries to make the two men’s death wishes come true by marrying them. She grows from an immature person to an observant and careful person. It is a battle of wits between her and Siu Xien. Both win and lose once which can be so exciting.

Ngai is expressive but I somehow feel that she looks too mature for the role. When she is beside Fu Shang, we can see that she has really aged a lot.

7. Priest Yuk Siu – Tsui Yee Gau
A lustful priest and that is why his flute is 10th on the weapons list. He has bought so many women for his own leisure and all despise him after his death.

8. Chui Yuk Jing – Chan Choi Yin
She is a pitiful character. Being Yuk Siu’s mistress, she suffers in his hands. After saving her from Yuk Siu, Yip Hoi becomes her love interest but she knows her limits. She is often there when he is hurt and offers him consolation when he is down.

9. Yeung Tin – Ling Mun Hoi
Yip Hoi has made a wrong choice of making friends. This man is named as ‘the flying fox’ but is also ruthless as one. He has been Siu Xien’s follower all along to betray him. He is also power hungry and ambitious. But Yip Hoi still treats him as a pal. He still gets his burial ready.

10. Hon Jing – Kwan Wai Lun
Another wrong choice of Yip Yip to know this friend. He is equally cunning to trick Yip Hoi that he is dead. Yip Hoi is so upset that Yeung Tin betrays him and Hon Jing too to be Siu Xien’s sidekick Later, Yip Hoi is devastated to find his dead body and thinks that Siu Xien killed him. It is actually her plot to make him kill Yuk Siu for her. He deserves to be killed by Ling Lam as she really despises him for being so despicable.

Favourite character
Yip Hoi, for his wisdom and also his openness.

Most hated character
Hon Jing, he is worse than Yeung Tien. At least Yeung Tin reveals his real side openly after a while. This man deceives him on so many occasions!

I only know that Chan Fu Shang sang the song but didn’t know the title. Quite okay on her first try.

Interesting facts
Fu Shang was excited over the breast-feeding scene as she didn’t have her own child then. Who taught her to act naturally? You might never guess it. It was Chung Yan!!! He even taught her how to do it in a sexy way and many wondered why he was so experienced? Was he a woman in his previous life?

It was her debut singing attempt and many co-stars turned up at the recording studio to give her support. Some ATV extras even joked that TVB might have regretted not giving her a chance to sing!


I may have forgotten most parts as I watched it more than 10 years ago. If so, I apologise for the errors. This serial has the ingredients of what a Gu Long’s novel has. Your best friend becoming your worst enemy is well depicted here.

Chung Yan is still the main attraction. With the small, green, shiny flying dagger, he still looks every inch a swordsman. The female leads have given their best shots. His other co-stars also offer reasonable acting. Gu Long’s fans will definitely like it. But ATV still can't match TVB’s standard even if they find a correct adaptation to act with the right cast because their fighting scenes lack the realism required.

Sukting's Ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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