Taiji Master


Reviewed by: sukting

May 26, 2004

Rating: four

How long/Year produced:
20 episodes done in year 1982

Cast:
Cheung Kuan Bo - Man Tse Leung (now a businessman)
Tou Choi Sam and Kam Mei Nai - Mai Shuet (last seen in HSDS 2000 as Yin Suk Suk)
Fok Du - Yeung Chak Lam (still in ATV)
Hong Ming - Cho Tak Wah (retired from acting)
Sheung Yu Chun - Lau Kok Sheng (still acting with ATV)
Chow Yuk - Chow Wai Kuen (retired from acting)
Ko - Mak Tin Yan (retired from acting)
Lo Liet - Cheung Lui (acting as Reverend Kam Lun Return Of Condor Heroes)

Story:
Cheung Kuan Bo is discovered mastering the Shaolin skills in secret. He is a monk but he is eager to learn more. In the end, he is being expelled. His master, Hong Ming, is hopeless and has to see him leave. He stays in a village and ends up working with Tou, a martial arts trainer.

Tou is very stingy and gives him a lot of hard work. He always buys beancurd from Yu Chun to save costs. Yu Chun would have quit selling the beancurd to him if not for Choi Sam. Tou's daughter, Choi Sam, is a gentle and sweet lady. Tou tells Choi Sam to give Kuan Bo white rice for the meals but she always hides the vegetables in the bottom of the bowl that she gives him. The two soon fall in love and Tou has no choice but to give them their blessings. He even imparts his skills to him. One of his students is Hok Du, a Mongolian prince. He is bright and interested in Choi Sam but is enraged that she likes Kuan Bo in stead.

Yu Chun becomes sworn siblings with Kuan Bo and Choi Sam as they get along very well. One day, Tou dies from a stroke. Before dying, he tells Choi Sam that he found her at a battlefield when all are dead. Seeing that she is dressed in a colourful dress, he names her Choi Sam. Choi Sam is upset in knowing the truth but she assures him that she still stays as his daughter.

Choi Sam moves in together with Kuan Bo and Yu Chun. They lead a simple life until a princess, Mei Nai, sets interest on Kuan Bo. She tells her father to set up a martial arts school and makes Kuan Bo the teacher. Then she pretends to be a male to learn skills from him. After discovering her identity, Kuan Bo feels uneasy but still coaches her, not knowing her real motive.

Another pugilistic expert, Chi Yee, likes Mei Nai but she enjoys making fun of him instead. This person is very revengeful and vows not to let Kuan Bo off. So now, Kuan Bo has offended 2 men. But this man is too engrossed in teaching martial arts that he doesn't even know about it. His sworn brother is unhappy that Kuan Bo is getting home late. This also disappoints Choi Sam who takes the trouble to prepare Kuan Bo's favourite dishes but he is always with Mei Nai.

Kuan Bo finally senses Mei Nai's feelings so he brings her home for dinner. The two women are stunned to see how alike each other are. Mei Nai gets extremely jealous when seeing how loving the two are and she tells Choi Sam in secret to stay away from him. She tells her that Kuan Bo will never be successful if she follows him. Choi Sam is upset but keeps it from the 2 guys.

This day is Mei Nai's birthday and Kuan Bo spends time with her. Ironically, it's also Choi Sam's birthday and she is upset when Kuan Bo forgets it and doesn't celebrate with her,. She goes to bed early. Kuan Bo gets home, to be reprimanded by Yu Chun. Yu Chun is very angry with him and even throws a bottle of yellow beans at him. He feels very remorseful and wants to apologise to Choi Sam. He goes to her room and finds her asleep. He gently covers her with a blanket. Unknowingly to him, Choi Sam is not sleeping and has made a decision secretly.

The next day, Choi Sam goes missing and Yu Chun gets mad with Kuan Bo. Kuan Bo runs to the beach where they normally go together but she isn't there. In desperation, he sits there and at this time, Mei Nai appears. In a fit of anger, Kuan Bo scolds her for driving Choi Sam away and she gets offended.

Kuan Bo still goes back to teaching but his heart is no longer there. In these few days, he cannot sleep or eat well as he misses Choi Sam. Mei Nai sends her guard, Ko, to teach Kuan Bo a lesson. Kuan Bo has lost his interest in living without Choi Sam around. He has a duel with Ko and Ko injures his leg with his dagger. Mei Nai is mad and scolds Ko as it is never her intention to hurt him. She goes to visit him but he refuses to see her. In desperation, she gets her father to visit him.

The prince examines his wound and finds a deep cut on the leg which can only heal after a long period of time. Ko also feels remorseful and comes along with the prince to give Kuan Bo the treatment on his wound. Kuan Bo admires him and both become great friends.

Kuan Bo helps out at Yu Chun's shop. He only gets to chase his customers away as he cannot walk properly with the crutch and falls repeatedly. He is also getting very ill and coughs profusely. Choi Sam is hiding secretly and sees this. It pains her but she stops herself from helping him up as she remembers Mei Nai's words. Yu Chun sees her and persuades her to return home as he can see that Kuan Bo loves her. Choi Sam finally returns and Kuan Bo is delighted. He tells her not to leave him again and she agrees. He is finally nursed back to health under her good care.

In the meantime, Yu Chun gets to know Yuk, a rebel who tries to overthrow the Mongolians. He falls for her and works with her gang. They abduct Mei Nai in order to force the prince to stop his attack on the Hans. The prince only agrees to stop the war for 3 days and demands for her return. The rebels refuse. Kaun Bo worries that the prince will start war again out of rage. Choi Sam decides to pretend to be Mei Nai until she gets home safely. Kuan Bo opposes against it but he finally gives in to her.

The demure Choi Sam has trouble pretending Mei Nai as she is not a willful person. Mei Nai's maids start to suspect her when she is not as fierce to them as before. But they dismiss the thoughts as they think she might be tired after a frightening experience. Meanwhile, Kuan Bo is worried sick on what will happen to Choi Sam when the truth is discovered. When Yu Chun gets to know about this, he sets Mei Nai free.

Mei Nai goes home and is enraged that Choi Sam is there. The prince is angry but is overjoyed later to find that Choi Sam is actually his long-lost twin daughter. Choi Sam is the elder twin, Lai Nai. Mei Nai can't accept this sudden change of event and is still hostile to her. This makes the prince and Choi Sam upset.

At this time, Kuan Bo is summoned to the palace and he is prepared to spill the beans, intending to ask the prince to forgive Choi Sam and punish him instead. He is dumbfounded when knowing Choi Sam's identity. His response is cold and Choi Sam can read his thoughts. Kuan Bo is afraid that both will not get to marry each other since there is a difference in their status now. But Choi Sam assures him about her feelings and he is happy over it. The prince announces their engagement - much to the dismay of Hok Du and Mei Nai. Both of them are cousins so it is easy for them come up with an evil plot to separate them.

Hong Ming is invited to witness the event. Mei Nai drugs Choi Sam the next day and Hok Du is supposed to rape her. But when he goes to her room, he is alarmed to see her missing. Choi Sam has found it boring to stay in the residence and has gone back home for a visit. Kuan Bo is alarmed to see Choi Sam fainting at the door and carries her in. Hong Ming is a healer and finds nothing wrong with her. Kuan Bo is relieved when Hong Ming says that she may be overtired for the engagement preparation. Both get even closer after this incident. Hok Du is furious and hatches another plot.

Hok Du finally frames Kuan Bo, saying that he harbours rebels in the martial arts school. This forces him to leave the village. Choi Sam is sad to see him leave. Kuan Bo even has to crawl under the legs of Chi Yee to leave safely as he is not his match. Hong Ming and Choi Sam know that it is painful for him to undergo the humiliation but it is best to keep himself alive. Hong Ming brings him to stay at Shaolin.

Mei Nai misses Kuan Bo and goes to visit him by disguising as a man. At first, he thinks that she is Choi Sam and is delighted. But knowing that she isn't, his expression turns cold and tells her to leave. Mei Nai is furious and says that since he has provoked the prince, the son-in-law will be Fok Du and not him. Learning that the engagement might be broken, he is anxious to leave but Hong Ming stops him.

Hong Ming has not found a skill to counterattack Chi Yee. Later he found 'Jin Zhong Zao' the best method but the person must be an eunuch to master it. He coaxes Kuan Bo to drink a drug which claims to make him stronger in his inner strength and he faints. Later, he ties him up and wants to castrate him! Kuan Bo is alarmed and shouts out Choi Sam's name. Hong Ming is a kungfu craze and ONLY after knowing this flaw in mastering the skill, he remembers this! I really have a good laugh here.

Actually, Yu Chun is the culprit and he feels bad about causing trouble for Kuan Bo. Especially when his love, Chow Yuk is killed in the process of escaping from Fok Du. He decides to remain single all his life and help Chu Yuen Cheung to be the emperor. Mei Nai is discovered by the abbot and is ordered to leave. Hong Ming and Kuan Bo are both punished by kneeling at the past abbots' graves for a month.

Hok Du and the prince fight for power to control the army. Chi Yee works for Hok Du as he promises to help him to win Mei Nai. Chi Yee kills Ko and the prince has a hard time dealing with Hok Du. Seeing that Hok Du has designs on her and her father is troubled, Choi Sam goes to Saholin. AND the 2 men mistaken her for Mei Nai. Kuan Bo treats her coldly and Hong Ming tells her not to give them any more trouble. But what a change when knowing that she is Choi Sam! Their attitude changes quickly but they are alarmed over the change of events and they return together.

Mei Nai is angry to see them together. She pretends to like Chi Yee and tells him to visit her room at night. She will place a flower at the door. Chi Yee goes in and rapes the woman, only finding out that she is Choi Sam instead! He panicks and leaves, only to be stopped by a furious Hong Ming. But the old monk is no match for him and gets killed. Kuan Bo is out at that time and is devastated to find two of his loved ones dead in one night.

Chi Yee is equally disappointed with Mei Nai in tricking him. He fights with Kuan Bo and after a great fight, Kuan Bo kills him. As for Fok Du, he escapes after falling out of favour with the Mongolian emperor. There isn't any happiness left in his heart and he decides to go travelling around the world. Mei Nai is sad that Kuan Bo still loves Choi Sam and jumps off a cliff and kills herself. The prince is sad over the deaths of his two beloved daughters that he retreats to stay in Mongolia.

Comments
This is the second serial that I have seen Man Tse Leung and Mai Shuet together after Dynasty. I must say that both still have the great chemistry here. No matter if it is the love or hate relationship of the twins and Kaun bo, you will be totally impressed with them. The only flaw will be Man looks slightly tired with the blood shot eyes. But still the acting is marvellous - from the desperation of missing Choi Sam and the detest towards Mei Nai. One major letdown is - Kuan Bo has been with the twins for a long time and how on earth he still can't tell them apart????

Mai Shuet looks fabulous in the different gowns that she wears. As a common woman, she is still stunningly pretty with little plaits and a simple dress. The gentle smile she wears on her face will make everyone MELT. The brother-sister bondage is also conveyed appropriately between her and Lau Kok Sheng. The way that Yu Chun tries to protect her from being harm is so touching!

As Mei Nai, Mai Shuet is good as the spoilt brat. Seeing how arrogant she is at first and how timid she looks when she is being held hostage - the different expressions change quick on her face. The revengeful look that is shown on her face makes one shiver. Her costumes as a princess are much prettier in brighter colours. They are further helped by colourful caps. Her make-up is thicker and that make her look very fierce. I think Mai Shuet has surpassed everyone when it comes to acting in this serial. In fact, I consider this as her best serial that I have seen so far.

Yeung Chak Lam and Cheung Loi are very good as the two villains. You really will not know whether to hate them or pity them for not getting their loved ones. They can do anything to get their loved ones and they deserved to be pitied in the end.

Cho Tak Wah is an experienced actor in playing comical roles. There is no exception for this one. All the time he only knows about marital arts and knows nothing else. I find the part of Hong Ming trying to castrate Kuan Bo funny. He tells Kuan Bo that to be a top expert, being castrated is no big deal!!!!! He still treats Kuan Bo the way when he was still a Shaolin monk. I guess it must be due to the fact that he has been a monk for too long and forgets that his disciple is going to get married soon!

Song:
The theme song is sung by Yip Zhan Tong, one of my favourite singers. And as usual, he does it well again. Ironically, the song in "Dynasty" is also sung by him which I like it better than this one. But still this song is too good to be missed. I like the scenes cut and played with the theme songs - with a lot of nice angles and exciting parts from the serial itself.

Conclusion:
This serial has many scenes that will satisfy you - from fighting to emotional ones. It is a simple story but I can't help following each episode faithfully. It portrays the love between the twins and Kuan Bo well. But I must complain that the scenes between Yu Chun are too little which are not enough to show the deep feelings that they have for each other.

I always prefer the ATV fighting serials in the early 80s or late 70s. They are very well-done. The same can be said to this one - no special computer effects but the scene can leave a deep impression in my mind for so many years. Especially in the duel between Ko and Kuan Bo, half the time you will worry for Kuan Bo's safety on whether he will get killed by Ko's flying dagger. The final duel between Chi Yee and Kuan Bo is another classic. It is really frightening that Kuan Bo is so enraged with Chi Yee for breaking Ko's neck that he does the same to Chi Yee to revenge his good friend's death.

sukting's Ratings:

On acting:* * * * * (Scale of 5)

On the story: * * * *(Scale of 5)


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