The Blood Sword


Reviewed by: sukting

September 14, 2009

Rating: three-point-five

How long
10 episodes

Foreword

This is ATV’s first attempt to shoot a drama adapted from a comic by Mah Wing Shing. Is it successful to become a hit or did it turn out to be a flop? Being an avid reader of the comics, I also followed the drama faithfully on a weekly basis when it was shown on Singaporean television.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Wah Ying Hung – Ho Kar King
He is initially impulsive and young. He is destined to be lonely right from the start. A fortune teller has predicted that he is trapped by the lonely star. He marries Kit Yu and both have a happy time. But it is short-lived when she is killed. He kills his enemy but is forced to go overseas.

Although he has a pair of children, his daughter is separated from him from young. He chooses to be away from them. He gets to learn the blood sword by chance and withhold justice from then on. From the broken pieces of the sword cover, he knows of his ancestors’ disputes with Chi Lien sect. Thus he goes to Phoenix island to want to get peace there. He managed to resolve their disputes and make friends with them.

Although he struggles hard to come to terms that his daughter is a villain, he has no choice but to get rid of her before more people get harmed by her. ATV normally makes good choices in choosing people for some adaptations. There is no exception for this one. Kar King is definitely the person walking out from the comic. He has a pair of eyes which can talk! His poise, his tone, his gestures and also his marital arts background fit the role perfectly. There is no other person who can play this role as well as him.

2. Wah Kiem Hung – Lo Chung Wah
He is Ying Hung’s son who is smart and diligent. However, he can be very reckless as the young Ying Hung and often gets into trouble. He has thought he is intelligent so he needs not work hard. Thus, he knows a lot but he is hardly skilful in any area. His reckless nature causes Sheng Nu to be killed and devotes his time in martial arts. He finally knows the ways of learning Bat Bai Tin Lo skill.

He becomes so skilful that he is one of the three finalists in contesting for Devil sect leader post, besides Mou Leung and KingTien. But he gives the chance to King Tien. However, upon knowing that King Tien has changed, he has no choice but to combine forces with Ying Hung to defeat Devil sect. They get help from Chi Lien sect to make things work.

Chung Wah has this role to thank to make him one of the leading actors in ATV in future. He plays this role well. Having a striking resemblance to Kar King, both show the bond as father and son very well.

3. Yu But Wai – Lui Chung Hin
He is a disciple of the Shadow Sect. He disregards traditional rules. He is also in love with King Tien and is caught in the love triangle. He comes to a sorry end being the loser as King Tien chooses power over love.

4. Chi Yin – Mok Kar Yiu
He is Chi Lien’s only son. His skills are common but he wins people over through his righteous nature. He wants to revive his family sect and is polite to all subordinates. Thus they are willing to work with him. He knows that he is of average intelligence. Knowing that he can’t learn much from his father, he becomes Ying Hung’s disciple.

5. Chi Lien Ying Wong – Yeung Chak Lam
His claw skill has reached the ultimate level. He is brave and also resourceful. He is once a foe of Ying Hung. He admires his talents. Both break through their revenge barrier to fight against a common enemy.

6. Phoenix – Ng Yuen Chun
He is Chi Yee’s husband. He is known as the no. 1 killer. He has different ways to kill people. Even though he knows that some are kind, he still has to do it. He regards Ying Hung as his no. 99 prey.

7. See Tou Mok Mun – Wan Tien Chiu
He is very scheming and also petty. He often forces Kiem Hung to a corner when he offends him. He is the culprit who kills her whole family. He is devoted to King Tien all along as he is fascinated by her beauty and is cheated by her willingly. She drags him to increase her power in the marital arts world.

8. Kit Yu/Chi Yee – Yip Yuk Hing
Kit Yu knows Ying Hung since young and is very gentle. She is separated from Ying Hung after he gets into trouble. She is later killed but never regrets to be with him.

Chi Yee is beautiful but cold. Her sword skills are superb. She is a widow and stays on Phoenix island, vowing to master her skills to avenge his death. Ying Hung falls for her as she resembles Kit Yu. She is in a fix upon knowing that Ying Hung still misses his wife as he sometimes tends to call her Kit Yu.

Yuk Hing proved to be a competent actress here. She is able to bring out the differences between the two women. Kit Yu tends to talk softly while Chi Yee will talk in a firmer voice.

9. Wah Mun Ying/King Tien – Kwan Wing Ho
She is Ying Hung’s long lost daughter. She is adopted by Yuen Lo Wong from the Devil Sect when young. Although Kiem Hung is invited to take over the sect, he gives the chance to King Tien. He has hoped that she will lead it to the righteous path. But King Tien is evil right from the start and deceives everyone. Her power hungry nature wants her to rule the martial arts world. She learns the evil skills in secret and kills her foster father. Luckily, her attempt is dissolved by Kiem Hung.

This is Wing Ho’s first drama of being a villain. Yet she does it with ease. I enjoy seeing her in the power struggle roles. She really does it well with the cunning twinkle in her eyes.

10. Tat Shuet – Chan Dong Mui
She comes from the outskirts. Her beauty is natural – as if she doesn’t belong to the mortal world. She is also wise and often gives Kiem Hung advice. She is deeply in love with him but she is often dragged into the killing disputes. Dong Mui’s age and appearance fits the role. She looks sweet and is compatible with Chung Wah. However, she is quite raw crying scenes and her dictation is unclear. Still, she is not bad in her first attempt in acting.

11. See Ou – Kwan Chun Nai
She is Kuai Pu’s daughter. Kuai Pu dotes on her and causes her to be willful and unreasonable. As Kiem Hung doesn’t reciprocate her love, she harms Tat Shuet to torment him instead. Many thought Chun Nai’s acting was acceptable to be willful and also arrogant. Her only shortcoming was her speaking of Cantonese. She often used the wrong tone and her accent was weird.

12. Sheng Nu – Chan Chik Kwai
He is a loyal servant of Wah family. He is well versed in medicine and has strong inner strength. Ever since Ying Hung entrusts Kiem Hung to him, he brings him up and treats him like his son. Ying Hung treats him like his father although he is his young master.

14. Kuai Pu – Chan Chi Hung
He is another loyal servant of Wah family. His face is disfigured and loses his arms. He is masked at all times and uses his pigtail as a whip. It is as hard as iron so many fear him. He has telepathy with Ying Hung even when he is far from him. Although he is a servant, Ying Hung treats him like his friend.

15. Yuen Lo Wong – Lo Liet
He is the elder of Devil Sect and is King Tien’s foster father. He is very scheming and thinks far. He tries to strengthen his position and wants to be the leader. But he is betrayed by King Tien and is killed instead before his dream comes true.

16. See Tou Mou Leung – Lau Wan Fung
He is the leader of Mou Leung Palm sect. He is very tough and eliminates the whole shadow sect in order to get a place to fight for the devil sect leader position. He paves a smooth path for Mok Mun, hoping that he will be able to take over him. But he betrays him and proves to be a disappointment.

Favourite character

Ying Hung, he is a righteous man and never changes his principles. However, his love life is never smooth and he hurts Chi Yee repeatedly as he often feels letting Kit Yu down.

Most hated character
King Tien, she is a threat to all. Even after knowing her parentage, she refuses to change for the better.

Interesting facts

ATV promoted two newcomers – Chun Nai and Dong Mui. Both were of similar age and their stint in showbuzz was short. Dong Mui just won Hong Kong Beautiful Young Lady contest in 1990. ATV had wanted her to be in here as her debut drama but she had to concentrate on her studies. Thus she did not accept the role initially. ATV had an audition for the role. However, they could not find another more suitable than her so she got it.

See Ou is a Eurasian and this gave ATV a lot of headaches. How were they going to look for an Eurasian who could also speak Cantonese well? There was also an audition for the role. It finally went to the 17 year old Chun Nai. She came from Singapore – her parents were Chinese and American. Her elder sister was actress Kwan Ming Yuk. No one knew if she went for the audition or someone recommended her for it. She only starred in two dramas and retired from showbuzz.

ATV’s motive was to attract comic readers to watch this drama. And yes, they were very successful as many were fascinated by the fighting scenes. The standard was high and many thought it was at par with ‘Fung Wan’. It was shown at the same time as the world cup but its first episode had no commercials so all could watch it excitedly.

All knew that commercials were the ‘blood’ of earnings for a television station. Since ATV made this decision, it showed it had confidence in it. It was a daring move but it later proved that ATV had good foresight as it garnered good ratings.

The success of this drama promoted a sequel to it in 1991. Another Taiwanese version of 40 episodes was also shot – it starred He Run Dong, An Yi Xuan, Chen Guan Lin and Lan Zheng Long. A movie version ‘A Man Called Hero’ was by Cheng Ekin, Tse Ting Feng, Shu Qi and Yeung Kung Yu.


Conclusion

I am glad that ATV kept most essence from the comic. They tried to match each role as close as possible and comic fans would be glad to follow this drama although some parts of the story is being modified. Most dramas will be confusing with too many characters but this one doesn’t cause this problem as each of them is distinctive in some way.

Although special effects were used, it was cut to a minimum as many actors did the stunts personally. ATV was notorious in filming martial arts dramas in the 90s as we could see the stuntsmen’s faces clearly but this flaw as unnoticeable in here. hat was why it was better received than other versions.

Kar King shot to stardom because of this drama. He was fondly remembered for the role till now. The other actors can’t surpass him. His mannerisms, airs and also endearing personality make this hero so convincing that all can’t resist watching it. He has the righteous air of being a swordsman. He was in the limelight at all times and was able to handle all the scenes well. From fighting scenes to sentimental scenes, he was versatile in conveying different stages of Ying Hung to grow up or old overnight.

Being an experienced actor, he was able to lead the cast. So many newcomers benefited from him as we could see how they turned from raw to deliver better performances towards the end. As expected, the actresses take a second fiddle role as this is a man’s drama. Nevertheless, the cast must be credited for their good acting to make this drama work.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

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



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