Zhuge Liang


Reviewed by: sukting

May 26, 2004

Rating: two-point-five

How long/Year produced: 30 episodes done in year 1985 (can't remember the year clearly - will appreciate if someone can enlighten me)

Cast:
Zhuge Liang - Adam Cheng Siu Chau
Zhou Yu - Lo Lok Lum (now in TVB)
Xiao Qiao - Mai Shuet
Huang Ying - Yip Yuk Ping
Liu Qi - Ho Kar King
Liu Zhong - Yeung Chung Yan (now based in Taiwan)
Liu Bei - Hung Tak Sheng
Guan Yu - Cheng Loi(in TVB)
Zhang Fei - Choi Kok Sheng (in TVB)
Cao Cao - Wong Wai (in TVB)


Introduction :
It is a very terrible story on Zhuge Liang. At first, I think it covers the REAL history on him. But it turns out to be such a fiction story that NONE of us can bear. I pity the cast that places in so much effort and yet they are not being recognised.

Story:
General Liu has 2 sons Liu Qi and Liu Zhong. Both sons are fine in war strategy, except that Qi is kind while Zhong is evil. Qi saves a beautiful maid, Zhi Lan. He likes her but his brother rapes her. Later Zhong ditches her. Qi gets worried when Zhi Lan has Zhong's child and disappears. Knowing that his brother is the scheming type, he gives everything up and tries to look for her with Liang. They finally find her. Zhi Lan is touched by Qi's love for her and finally marries him.

Liang envies them and wonders when he will get to be with his love one day. Liu Bei seeks his help 3 times before he agrees to help him out. On his way to the camp, he meets Xiao Qiao who is beautiful and also intelligent. Both are interested in one another but Liang is disappointed to know that she is engaged to another general, Zhou Yu. Zhou Yu is angry to know that his fiancée has a change of heart and he demands to carry their wedding forward.

Xiao Qiao seeks help from Liang but he ignores her. Zhou Yu is close on their heels. Out of desperation, she jumps off the cliff. Both men are alarmed upon seeing this. Liang tries to hold her hand but tears her sleeve instead. He also injures himself when both reach the bottom of the cliff. He tries to crawl close to the unconscious Xiao Qiao but Zhou Yu kicks him aside and carries her home.

Xiao Qiao is sent to Huang Ying's father for treatment. Zhou Yu never leaves her alone as Xiao Qiao may die any second. Huang Ying, however, pities Liang who stands outside the hut daily to check on Xiao Qiao's condition. She starts to fall for him.

Zhou Yu marries Xiao Qiao after her recovery. She is unhappy and Zhou Yu treats her coldly although he really loves her. Liang also marries Ying but he sets his mind to put his heart in his work to manage his master's state to help his son. He gets along well with Kwan Yu and Zhang Fei. He thinks of very good war strategies to control the other states. Being a martial arts expert himself (can you believe it?), he is also a master of traps. He finds Qi but Qi declines to help as he is happy to settle in a village with his family and son.

In the meantime, Zhong joins Cao Cao's army. The Wei state thus becomes the strongest among the three. Zhou Yu and Liang often see each other and they often have verbal attacks. Cao Cao is glad to see this and he plans to grab the other 2 states when he gets the chance.

After all these years, the other people have aged, except for Xiao Qiao. Why? To save her life, Ying's father has to give her a valuable drug that keeps her youth all along. Ying is amazed to see how Xiao Qiao remains the same all these years while she ages so much. She can see how much Liang still loves her and feels inferior of herself. She finally dies miserably, urging Liang not to give Xiao Qiao up.

Zhou Yu helps his master, Sun Quan, after the elder ruler Sun Che dies. Being younger and inexperienced, he always listens to Zhou Yu's advice. Liang also helps Liu Bei's son, Ah Dou, who is a stupid man. He ages so much as he takes charge of everything in the war after his masters' death.

Zhou Yu fails in several attempts to seize Liu Bei's state. He is seriously injured in an attack. However, he is very upset that Xiao Qiao doesn't say that she likes him all these years. Even though she takes care of him, she doesn't say these words even till the day of his death.

Cao Cao also becomes an unhappy man after he causes his favourite son, Cao Zhi's death. Cao Pi throws discord among them and he is remorseful over it. He starts to wonder the point of having wars and stops.

Liang and Xiao Qiao are finally together. But Liang is dying too as he reveals too many predicted secrets. Xiao Qiao is upset but they decide to spend the remaining days happily together.

Review
This serial got tons of complaints from viewers after being shown in Singapore, 3 months later right after it was shown in Hong Kong. This has broken the record as the fastest Hong Kong serial to be aired. We were wondering why Hongkongers made noise -- when we watched it, then we realised the reason.

Many of us are baffled with the arrangement. I don't understand why they must cook up such a horrible story! Letting Zhuge Liang to be a martial arts expert is bad enough. Arranging him to be involved with Zhou Yu's wife is what NONE of us can tolerate. Especially when the woman is the wife of the so-called enemy that he says that he always holds high regard! Please show respect to our legendary heroes!

And Xiao Qiao to commit adultery? How can they spin such a story? The good acting cannot be compensated with the script. Cheng and Mai Shuet have a lot of chemistry but none of us can forgive this adulterous pair. All of us pity their 'spouses' for being hurt by them after their marriages. And to think that they are together right after their deaths sickens me.

Cheng Siu Chau looks every inch like Zhuge Liang, though. With his tall built and a fan, he shows ease and fits into the role easily. Mai Shuet, as usual, is still pretty and convincing as a young girl with plaits but she also looks equally elegant as a married woman. I still think that she is at her best pairing up with Chiang Dai Wai, Man Tse Leung, and Lau Chung Yan though. Probably I'm biased but Mai Shuet has once said that she doesn't know Lo Lok Lum and Cheng Siu Chau that well.

Another thing puzzles me too -- initially I thought Ho Kar King is the main lead as he starts the story but…he turns out to be an extra here! What a waste of his talents and looks! He is so magnificent as a warrior -- wise and caring. Not losing to Cheng in fighting scenes and he is so much younger than him.

Any other woman will MELT when looking into his big and watery eyes. My friends and I nearly curse and swear at Zhi Lan and Liu Zhong. Zhi Lan is BLIND not to realise his feelings towards her and choose an uglier and unfeeling man. We really feel like going into the television to console Liu Qi when he fails in love. He looks so depressed and helpless, and is no longer the confident general we always know.

The other plots do attract me. The scene where the 3 of State 'Su' become sworn brothers and how Cao Cao is wary of his ambitious sons are interesting. The presentation of the 3 sworn brothers are so real to the story. Tsang Wai Kuen (Jin Shi Yi in the Jade Bow Legend) makes a guest appearance too as General Pang Tong but he also leaves a lasting impression. He shows how he can make a whole troop of army soldiers yield to him despite his refined looks and young age. Another will be the actor as Zhao Zi Long but I can't remember who he is as he only appears in 5 episodes (Will appreciate if someone knows and tells me about his name). Tall, elegant, and having the right poise, he does his job well too.

Sigh -- ATV has placed these men's talents to waste! As supporting actors, they actually steal the show with their close-to-life outlook and they portray the characters well. But I am so disillusioned by the half-true and half-baked story events that I can hardy remember other memorable scenes.

Song
No one can be the best person besides Cheng Siu Chau himself! It has a refreshing start of him reciting Zhuge Liang's verses in Chinese, showing his wisdom with war tactics. The song is very pleasant to listen to but so far it is not in any of Cheng's album. It is a very sad song, telling us about Zhuge Liang past of working for his master and also his long lasting love for Xiao Qiao. Knowing how well Cheng sings well, no one should have doubts on how he delivers the lines!

Sometimes I'm really angry with ATV. Can't they release theme songs compilations album like TVB? Many theme songs are nice and are worth remembering. Yet they've missed the chance and we don't get to hear them anymore anywhere! Argh...when can my wish come true?

Conclusion
Only watch it if you are Mai Shuet or Cheng Siu Chau's loyal and die-hard fans. If you are Ho Kar King's fan, the first 10 episodes will satisfy you. I have pinned high hopes on this serial upon knowing that Mai Shuet and Cheng Siu Chau are in it. It is quite rare to see them working together in a serial but it turns out to be a big disappointment.

sukting's Ratings:

On acting:* * * (Scale of 5)

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

Screenshots: Images courtesy of: http://adamcheng.iscute.com


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