The Moon and the Sabre


Reviewed by: sukting

December 07, 2003

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
This series is an adaptation of Gu Long’s novel of the same title. This is also a continuation of ‘The Black Sabre’. Another continuation will be ‘Condors Fly in September’. This serial also has the usual suspense of a Gu Long drama. But we know how Gu Long is like -– if you miss one episode, you might not be able to follow the story. However, Gu Long’s faithful fans might not be too happy as many characters’ personalities are changed.

Introduction on characters/story

1. Fu Hong Xue – Poon Chi Mun
He walks with a limp and carries a black sabre with him. However, all do not dare to look down on this man because he is highly skilled. He often kills his opponent with a single stroke.

It is time for his second duel with Nan Fei. Nan Fei had lost his first duel. He loses in his second duel again. Hong Xue can see that he is not concentrating. He confesses that he is worried that Yu is going to take over the pugilistic world. The Tang Clan is wiped out within a night. Only one survivor, Tang Lan, escapes with Nan Fei’s help but she is blind. She vows to seek revenge.

Hong Xue has a seizure upon seeing her face. She resembles his previous lover, Cui Nong. Cui Nong was a courtesan who tried to run away with her lover. Hong Xue killed them out of rage. He can never forget the betrayal (actually I find it highly questionable that another person is writing the novel and not Gu Long. Those who have read ‘The Black Sabre’ will remember that Cui Nong is a sweet soul who sacrifices her life to save Hong Xue. Why the change in this novel? I have no answer).

During his first attack, he is saved by Ni Hui. Both become friends and she even helps to protect Tang Lan. On his second meeting with Tang Lan, she is trying to throw herself down a cliff. Hong Xue is contemplating whether to save her. But he does it in the end. Tang Lan manages to melt his heart. Both fall in love, much to Ni Hui’s annoyance.

Sure enough, Yu is hot on his heels to kill Nan Fei and Nan Fei is poisoned. He brings him to his friend, Shui Qing to get cured. But in return, Shui Qing’s family is killed. He is separated from Nan Fei and Tang Lan in the process. He feels very bad and promises to take care of his mistress Yu Zhen, who is pregnant.

He has changed so much after taking care of her. He brings a pair of twins to the world –- the boy carrying Shui Qing’s name while the girl carrying his surname. But later all three are abducted. He is devastated later to know that the real Yu Zhen is already dead and this Yu Zhen is an imposter.

Feeling upset that he has let Shui Qing down, he becomes a drunkard and now his sabre is covered with cobwebs. But after a few deaths and also encouragement from Tang Lan, he picks himself up again to have a duel with Yu. After killing him, he retreats in the woods to stay with Tang Lan.

Poon is only considered okay in the role. It is not easy to act as a limp but he does it quite well. However, he seems too old for the role.

2. Yan Nan Fei – Lo Lok Lum
He is known as the flower swordsman. He has a red sword and is always in the company of women. He saves Tang Lan from the ordeal. To protect her, he changes her name to Ming Yue Xin –- the moon’s heart. Why? He finds that she has no heart to love him! Still he tries to find Mo to cure her –- at the expense of teaching him his skills.

However, soon we will find out that he is not as righteous as he seems. He is actually Yu’s henchman and is bent on overthrowing him to become the leader. That is why he tries to find out the peacock weapon and also a manual, ‘Da Bei Fu’, to master the skills. He succeeds but there is a price to pay. Yu attacks him in another ambush and Nan Fei suffers from a terrible torture. He is too proud of his success -– only to discover that he has been tricked all the while.

His fate is worse than Mou Qing in ‘The Four Constables’. Mou Qing is only crippled and can still move around in the wheelchair. But Nan Fei is not only crippled -- he is also disfigured and the veins in his hands are totally removed! With his skills completely destroyed, he is being locked up in the cellar. When Yu allows Hong Xue to visit him, he is completely speechless! So was I!

He sits on the floor and can only look at him helplessly as he can’t move. First, he blames Hong Xue for the ordeal. Yu has planned to make Nan Fei his successor but upon seeing that Hong Xue has more talent, he changes his mind. He has wanted to get rid of Nan Fei all along and he uses Nan Fei’s betrayal as an excuse. Knowing the duel, Nan Fei still wants to watch it and when Hong Xue wins, he dies peacefully.

This is a pitiful character. He has wits, guts and hunger. But unfortunately, his leader is always a step ahead of him, more ruthless and more skilful. That is why he has a sad fate in the end. Lo is remarkable here – in fact so much better than Poon! He really shines as a villain.

3. Tang Lan or Ming Yue Xin / Cui Nong – Sen Sen

She is sweet and innocent at first. After her family tragedy, she is blind and tries to throw herself off the cliff. She walks all the way to the edge on her own. Upon hearing the sound of falling stones, she immediately jumps down. Hong Xue manages to save her. Nan Fei brings her to see Mo. Mo wants to force her to marry him. She refuses flatly because she stands by her principles. She gets cured but she changes.

She steals “Da Bei Fu’ from Nan Fei to practice on her own. She is successful but because she is too eager her skills are completely destroyed after being seriously injured by Yu. She has no courage to face Hong Xue or Nan Fei. So she ends up being a courtesan in a brothel and calls herself ‘Jasmine’.

Hong Xue is so grieved for not fulfilling his promise to Shui Qing that he doesn’t even recognise her. She quickly cleans his sabre and builds up his confidence again. Worrying for him, she also watches the duel with Nan Fei. She is so relieved that he wins and both decide to roam the country together.

Sen Sen is quite good in the role. Beautiful, intelligent and also calm. It is hard not to notice her.

4. Ni Ping – Kwan Wai Lun
Eager to promote family glory, he joins Yu’s sect in order to achieve success. But his greed overcomes him and he gets killed by Yu in the end. Yu has allowed him to join his sect because the Ni family is rich. After he has outgrown his usefulness, Ping is no longer helpful to him.

5. Ni Hui – Lau Hong Fong
She is a sad character. She is Ping’s younger sister who is unaware of the dangers in the pugilistic world but is still persistent to roam on her own. She initially falls for Hong Xue (It still beats me how she falls for such an old man). Later, Si Wu moves her and both are in love. Pitying Yu who is betrayed by Nan Fei, she helps him and lets him stay in her home.

However, later Si Wu is killed in an ambush. She is later killed by Yu when she confronts him for killing Yu.

6. Kong Que – Wong Wai
This man thinks that he has stolen the real peacock weapon from the peacock mansion. But it doesn’t turn out to be the real one. He has wanted to use it to build his reputation since his name is the same. But he is discouraged upon knowing that it is a fake. He ends up being Yu’s henchman when others pursue him upon knowing the ways to break or destroy the weapon.

7. Mo Shi Qi – Leung Ming
He is an old physician who is not married and is one of Yu’s henchman. Upon seeing Tang Lan’s beauty, he wants to marry her. Nan Fei instills his interest in martial arts. He is killed in the end when Yu doesn’t want him to cure Tang Lan or Nan Fei after injuring them. He never expects his loyalty doesn’t get his master’s recognition in return.

8. Gong Zi Yu – Lo Sek Ching
He is ruthless and ill-treats his followers. He is famous after practising skills from ‘Da Bei Fu’ and has stolen the ‘peacock weapon’. Knowing Nan Fei’s plot, he suddenly finds it interesting to be an underdog for the first time. He pretends to be the sore loser to win sympathy from Ni Hui.

He is even willing to endure sarcastic remarks and let Nan Fei declare to the whole world that he himself is Gong Zi Yu. He is actually happy that Nan Fei finishes off all his strong opposition forces. When Nan Fei unwittingly disposes of all his foes, Yu deals with him a hard blow and really makes sure that there is no chance of a comeback for him. All should not miss the part when he breaks all his limbs, leaving him to scream in pain! He feels that Hong Xue is a worthier successor and tries all ways to force him.

When he fails, he breaks his confidence of telling the truth of what has happened to Yu Zhen. Still, this man still dies in Hong Xue’s hands because he has managed to practise a higher skill with Tang Lan’s help when she explains the skills in ‘Da Bei Fu’ to him.

9. Zhuo Yu Zhen – Chan Choi Yin
She isn’t the real person. She is only an imposter sent by Yu to kill Hong Xue anytime. She picks Yu Zhen’s hairpin to forge her identity after killing her. Hong Xue isn’t a stupid person to get tricked but he falls into the trap. Only when the twins are born immaturely, he starts to smell a rat, knowing that the timing is not right. Yu Zhen hits on his acupoints unexpectedly and tries to kill him with his own sabre. Never does she expect him to move again – he has shifted all his parts by an inch.

After knowing the real Yu Zhen’s death, he is so angry with her that he kills her. This woman is ruthless to her own children too. She has killed them as well. How can Hong Xue let such a cold-blooded person off?

10. Qiu Shui Qing – Kong Tu
He is the head of the peacock mansion but he tries to hide the truth of the missing peacock weapon for fear of his family’s reputation. However, on the day he reveals the truth to Hong Xue and Nan Fei, his family is completely wiped out. Feeling too ashamed to face his ancestors, he poisons himself to death. Before dying, he tells Hong Xue to take care of Yu Zhen so as to bring up his successor.

Conclusion
This story is okay but it can be too slow at times. The fighting scenes can be too basic. But if you are not fussy, you may try watching it. I personally don’t really like it because the leads are too old. Nan Fei is supposed to be in his late 20s while Hong Xue in mid thirties. Poon and Lo are far past their prime time. I heard there is another ATV production ‘The legend of Fu Hong Xue’ where Wai Tin Chi is the lead. But I have not watched it so I wonder who will make a better Fu Hong Xue?

Sukting's Ratings :

On acting : * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : * * * (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
The Moon and the Sabre

Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle