Heroine of the Yang

Reviewed by: spcnet

November 05, 2003

Rating: three

Following TVB's release of female hero Mu Lan comes ATV's own release of Mok Gui Ying, or other known as "Heroine of the Yang." But unlike the mockery that TVB has produced, ATV has managed to recaptivate a much over-played story about the Yang family and bring to it a refreshing new perspective. Amy Chan Sau Man stars as Mok Gui Ying and pulled off the young role with her exceptional acting talent despite her age. What is also quite remarkable is that Amy's outer appearance and actions are still fitting to play a young woman in her early twenties. Other actors include Annie Man, Gilbert Lam Wai Sun, and Taiwanese star, Jiao En Jun.

What is irritating about "Heroine" is that the same synopsis has to follow the Yang family--there is always some corrupt official trying to get them all beheaded while they're trying to retain the last male heir in their family to carry on the name and honor. It was not so bad in the beginning, before Mok Gui Ying and Yang Zhong Bo (Jiao En Jun) were married, because the series concentrated mainly on their relationship and the hardships they had to go through to be together. The chemistry between this couple was strong and quite enjoyable to watch.

Gilbert Lam, one of the few talented actors that ATV has, plays the main villain in "Heroine" and was a very convincing one. Gilbert's role was an intelligent, ambitious, ruthless, and--soon to be revealed--complex antagonist of the series. His character, Ye Luk Ho Nam, is a direct descendant of a fallen dynasty and is racked with dreams of rebuilding the empire despite all means. Paired with Annie Man's character, Pi Fung, Ye is entrapped precariously between love and ambition.

The ending fight to the first part was dumbly played out with the birth of Mok and Yang's child, Yang Man Gong. The title of the first part of the series is--translated literally--"The Big Destruction of the Heavenly Gate", making one believe that Mok Gui Ying will somehow find the flaw to this powerful trap but instead, it is destroyed purely by luck/fate.

The second part to the series is called "The Twelve Widows" which implies the death of Mok's husband, Yang Zhong Bo. The second part focuses on the Yang family years later and when Yang Man Gong has already grown up to his teens. It was quite unacceptable at first that ATV chose Tin Yui Lee, a female, to play the son because of her outer appearances (why didn't ATV just find a guy to play this role?) but it became bearable into the story.

Quite ludicrous is that Ye Luk Ho Nam did not die after part one--despite blowing up after the final fight. In the second chapter, he has lost his memory along with his vengeance and worldly ambition. Perhaps the producers wanted to give Ye and Pi Fung another chance and forced the change but it was a satisfying conclusion for happy-ending seekers.

What is disappointing about "Heroine" is that there wasn't much war strategy involved. The winners and losers of the battles were mostly determined not with clever wits but with again, luck, even in part two. ATV should have changed the title to "Yang Man Gong Defeats the Heavenly Gate."


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