The Jade Bow Legend


Reviewed by: sukting

May 16, 2004

Rating: two-point-five

How long/Year produced:
30 episodes done in year 1987 (can't remember the year clearly -will appreciate if someone can enlighten me)


Cast:
Jin Shi Yi - Tsang Wai Kuen
Li Sheng Nan - Ma Mun Yee (Lun Yuen Yee in 'The Reincarnated')
Gu Zi Hua - Choi Sin Yee
Li Xin Mei - Lau Hung Fong
Tang Xiao Lan - Mak Tin Yan
Cao Jing Er - Ding Ying
Meng Sheng Tong - Cheng Loi

Introduction :
This is another translation from Leung Yu Shang's novel but it fell out of expectations from 'Ping Chung Hap Ying Luk' and 'The Arrogant Wanderer, the Invincible, and the Demoness'.

Story:

Jin Shi Yi is a highly-skilled beggar. He wallows in self-pity and is actually in danger after learning evil skills from his master, 'The Ruthless Beggar'. His master seeks a cure from Lui Si Niang, but alas, he dies before he can master it. Shiyi then wanders around the world before Lu Si Niang can find him. She leaves the manual with her good friend, Xiao Lan before she dies. He is the top pugilist in the martial arts world and has won respect from all.

Si Niang has 3 disciples. One is Yi, the beggar sect leader who is righteous. Another is Cao Jin Er who is also kind but a very stubborn old woman. The third is Gu Zi Hua. She is about the age of Xiao Lan's son, Jing Tian, but she is the most skilful among the three. Although she joins the sect a few years before Si Niang's death, Si Niang has imparted all her skills to her. Jin Er also sets her mind to make her the next leader instead of choosing from one of her two grandsons.

One day, Jing Tian mistook Shi Yi as an evil beggar and attacks him. Shi Yi is trying to save another person from danger instead. He spars with Jing Tian and wins. However, he feigns defeat to save his reputation. Jing Tian admires him and tells his father about it. Xiao Lan is eager to meet Shi Yi too.


Xiao Lan's wife is Feng Ying, the elder twin sister of Feng Lin. Feng Lin has a daughter Xin Mei who is very naïve and ignorant of the pugilistic world. One day, she nearly gets killed by villains but Shi Yi saves her. Shi Yi has no siblings and treats her like his younger sister. But he doesn't know that Xin Mei carries a torch for him. On his journey, he befriends Zi Hua and Sheng Nan.

He likes Zi Hua as she knows his past from Si Niang and tries to bring him back on the right track. Zi Hua feels the same way about him after finding out that he is kind at heart. He finally masters the skills from Xiao Lan and saves his own life but all his chances to be with her is completely ruined by Sheng Nan.

Sheng Nan mocks him when Shi Yi has tries to dress elegantly to impress Zi Hua on his birthday. She even sends a secret letter to Jin Er to inform her about their close relationship. Jin Er is so enraged that she forbids Zi Hua from going out. She even tells Shi Yi off for 'being a toad to long to taste a swan's flesh'. Shi Yi is angered and reverts to his beggar form again.

Sheng Nan has a dark past. Her whole family is killed by Meng Sheng Tong and her mother escaped when she was pregnant with her. She had wished for a son and is very disappointed that she gets a daughter instead. Not giving up hope, she names her Sheng Nan, meaning she will surpass all men in future. Before dying, she wants Sheng Nan to be the number one in the pugilistic world but without their family manual, her skills are still weak.

She then invites Shi Yi to travel with her to a faraway island to look for her uncle. Shi Yi reluctantly agrees. Before this, Feng Lin has found out Xin Mei's feelings towards him. She begs him to let her off. Disappointed with Zi Hua, Shi Yi agrees and feigns to be dead. Xin Mei cries and faints upon seeing his 'corpse'. And of course, Zi Hua also collapses when upon seeing his 'grave' when arriving Xiao Lan's home. The twin sisters are alarmed to see both women so much in love with Shi Yi and wonder if they did the right thing. They feel that Shi Yi is too temperamental -- he can be kind and sometimes vicious. They then keep the real news from the two of them.

So to hide from them, Shi Yi leaves with Sheng Nan. Sheng Nan's uncle is very highly skilled and has wanted to kill Shi Yi because he is not one of the family. Sheng Nan then tells him that Shi Yi is her husband to save him. Shi Yi is unhappy with the arrangement but he still plays along. Her uncle is about to give the manual to her before being killed by Shen Tong who follows them secretly. Shiyi and Sheng Nan are quite upset over his death. They managed to snatch the first half of the manual while Sheng Tong gets the second half.

Sheng Nan wants Shi Yi to train with her. He detests her wilful ways and declines. In fact, he knows that their family skills are evil and warns her not to practise it. But in her eagerness to seek revenge, she does not heed his advice. During this time, Xin Mei grows to love her cousin who takes care of her and marries him. Zi Hua still misses Shi Yi and Jin Er finally reveals to her that Shi Yi is still alive. Zi Hua is overjoyed to see him again when he returns.

This part is really hilarious. Sheng Nan bothers Shi Yi so much that he tells her to get lost when they are on land. Sheng Nan is so angry that she runs away. Shi Yi then walks to scoop water to drink from a stream. He hears footsteps and thinking that it's Sheng Nan, he splashes water at her. He is shocked when seeing that Zi Hua is wet! Both are together again and the elders do not oppose to it as they have seen how much he has changed.

Sheng Nan is still inferior in her skills to Sheng Tong. Sheng Tong wants to have a duel with Xiao Lan. He sees Zi Hua and is shocked at how much she resembles his late wife. He loses the duel as Xiao Lan is superior in his skills. He then discovers that she is indeed his long-lost daughter. Her foster parents have known it all along but they keep it a secret from her and treat her as their own. Zi Hua is devastated by the truth and she refuses to acknowledge him.

However, after being saved a few times by Sheng Tong, she is touched. Shi Yi questions Sheng Tong's intention but says nothing. Sheng Nan knows about it and lays a trap for Sheng Tong, tricking him that his daughter is in danger. Sheng Tong dies and his head is never found. Shi Yi realises that he has mistaken Sheng Tong all along and he feels bad about this.

After discussion with the others, they decide to hide the truth about Zi Hua as she is going to be declared to be Jin Er's successor in a few days. On the day, many visitors give presents to her. Zi Hua opens a box and sees her father's head in it and cries bitterly. She touches it fondly for a while and suddenly faints. Shi Yi carries her and discovers that she is poisoned by Sheng Nan. Sheng Nan demands him to marry her in exchange for the antidote. Shi Yi agrees reluctantly.

Sheng Nan challenges Xiao Lan to a duel. To every one's surprise, Xiao Lan loses. Xiao Lan and Shi Yi know that Sheng Nan has mastered all the evil skills in the manual but they keep mum about this. Xiao Lan admits defeat and all unwillingly acknowledges her as the next leader. Shi Yi and Sheng Nan get married on the same day. Instead of putting on happy faces, all are sorrowful as Zi Hua is going to die any moment. Xin Mei even cries upon seeing the couple getting married with Xiao Lan as the guest of honour. She feels very sorry for Shi Yi for making such a big sacrifice.

When they are alone, Shi Yi is very quiet. Sheng Nan gives him the antidote and tells him that this day is the happiest time of her life. She can be the top martial arts expert and get married to the man she loves on the same day. Shi Yi then discovers that she is dying from internal injuries from the skills that she has learned. He hugs her and then realises that all along, he loves Sheng Nan more than Zi Hua! She dies in his arms with a satisfied smile. Shi Yi is very heartbroken. He wanders the world after leaving the antidote with Xiao Lan. Zi Hua recovers and waits patiently for his return.

Review:

What a sad story! I don't really like the ending. Moreover out of the whole lot, only Tsang Wai Kuen acts well. He really shines in this role. From an arrogant brat, he turns into a remarkable man. It is not easy to disguise one's good looks but seeing his changed refined form makes one surprised. With his dimpled smile, he doesn't lose out to Jing Tian in looks.

He is convincing as the man to be liked by 3 women. With Xin Mei, he is cheeky and childish. With Zi Hua, he is serious and gentle. With Sheng Nan, he becomes firm and arrogant. I must really praise him to convey the different faces of Shi Yi well. The producer is right to choose him as the lead after all.

The same cannot be said for the actresses, though. This is really a one-man show for Tsang. The two actresses as Zi Hua and Xin Mei are so wooden in their acting. I can't believe that they're formerly from TVB! Choi is prettier but she makes Zi Hua into a Lin Dai Yu instead of a skilled and strong-minded pugilist. While Lau is so lousy in crying scenes that we know why they can't survive in TVB.

Ma is good in her acting -- she is considered the most experienced of the lot since she has acted since 'Reincarnated'. But also because of this, I know that she is older than Tsang. Somehow, I think that she really looks much older than him! Her hairstyle is overly simple and tied in a ribbon with a scarf on top of her head. This makes her look more like a married woman. I wonder who is so lazy to design such a simple hairstyle for her?

I must complain about the fighting scenes - I can see the wires dangling in the air when these so-called top martial opponents are supposed to display their skills! ATV has done a terrible job!

Song:

Who else but Lo Kar Leung? He sings very well here -- portraying the sadness of Shi Yi well as a beggar and wanderer. He is worth the name of being called 'The television serial songs expert'. Sometimes, I wonder is it because of this song, that I follow this serial faithfully just to listen to it?

Conclusion:

Not much can be said for this serial. Watch it only if you really want to see how Tsang acts here. It is a pity that ATV lets him go because of his no-punctuality conduct. I heard TVB is shooting the same serial soon with Lam Fung and Yip Xuan as the leads. I wonder how it'll turn out to be.

sukting's Ratings:

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


Add your own review and become a featured critic on spcnet.tv!

Or, add your comments below:





Advertise on SPCNET.TV


Buy DVDs
Jade Bow Connection

Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle