Chinese Paladin (Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan)


Reviewed by: bluegirl11375

August 01, 2006

Rating: one-point-five

a.k.a. "Legend of the Sword and Fairy", "Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan"

Cast
Hu Ge as Li Xiao Yao
Crystal Liu Yi Fei as Zhao Ling Er
Ady An Yi Xuan as Ling Yue Ru
Liu Ping Yan as Ah Nu
Eddie Peng Yu Yan as Tang Yu

Introduction

It is adapted from the popular video game, "Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan" (RPG). After hearing much about this drama, I decided to watch it despite my personal dislike for Liu Yi Fei. It was the worst decision I ever made. I have never watched something more pointless, sentimental, and absolutely horrific than this (perhaps except for Richie Ren dramas, which is another story). The actors pretty much cannot act, and the plotline is boring and repetitive until the last quarter of the drama, where it got a little bit better. My suggestion is, unless you like people repeating "Does love exist?" and others repeating "Love is the best thing on earth," you should never even consider watching it. If you like Liao Zhai, there is a small possibility you will like it for its very "deep" messages: "Ghosts and devils are better than humans," except that you can probably find better acting and directing.

Plot 2.5/5

"Once upon a time" (since the director said everything should be like a fairytale, I suppose it is most appropriate to start this "fairytale" with 'once upon a time'), there was a man named Li Xiao Yao (Hu Ge), who was the playboy type who never took things seriously. He lived with his aunt, who one day became sick. He had to go to an island of fairies (Xian Ling Dao) to get the medicine for his aunt.

On that island, Xiao Yao met a "cute" and "innocent" girl named Zhao Ling Er (Liu Yi Fei), who claimed that she met him ten years ago when he saved her and her Lao Lao (Grandmother) from Nan Zhao Guo. However, it was impossible given that ten years ago, Xiao Yao was only so old. Lao Lao guesses that it is Xiao Yao’s father who saved them and used his son’s name. Lao Lao promised to give Xiao Yao the medicine if he married Ling Er. The marriage proceeded, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Lao Lao died, and ordered Xiao Yao to escort Ling Er to Nan Zhao Guo.

Meanwhile, in Nan Zhao Guo, the lackadaisical king was controlled and deceived by the Bai Yue Jiao Zhu - the leader of the moon sect. It was revealed that Ling Er was the princess of Nan Zhao Guo and she was an important factor in the power control of Bai Yue Jiao Zhu. Bai Yue Jiao Zhu sent Ah Nu (Liu Ping Yan), the innocent girl who did not understand Bai Yue’s evil, to find Ling Er and bring her back since Ah Nu is connected with Ling Er with a red thread and could feel Ling Er’s emotions and find her whereabouts.

The king also sends his trustworthy general, Shi Jiang Jun, to China to find Ling Er. Shi Jiang Jun’s adopted son, Tang Yu (Peng Yu Yan), who loves Ah Nu, follows Shi Jiang Jun to China.

Later, Xiao Yao and Ling Er met Ling Yue, a rich daughter of the Wu Ling Meng Zhu, and Liu Jing Yuan, the Zhuang Yuan. They became good friends, and followed Xiao Yao on his journey to Nan Zhao Guo.

Acting and Characters 1/5

Generally, the acting is not that great and the characters are useless. Sadly, the two most useful characters are Li Xiao Yao and Jiu Jian Xian. Even sadder, Jiu Jian Xian comes out in ¼ of the drama, and still does more than Ling Er and Yue Ru, who appear mostly through the whole drama. If you like Ady or Hu Ge, you probably might want to watch it, but not for any other actors.

Hu Ge as Li Xiao Yao 2.5/5

This is the main character, so I cannot criticize him for not doing much. However, I felt that this drama has so little focus on Xiao Yao that his character does not even exist. Aside from the stereotypical playboy type, I do not know what else he has. He shows a weak and gentle side once in a while, but generally, he is a very shallow character.

As for the acting, I cannot blame Hu Ge for playing Li Xiao Yao blandly if Xiao Yao is a bland person. For one of his first dramas, it is quite a good performance. However, there is room for improvement.

Crystal Liu Yi Fei as Zhao Ling Er 0.5/5

She is the sweet, innocent, and cute type that lacks emotional depth. The problem with her character is, she could be forgivable for not doing anything for a drama of almost 40 episodes if she were a minor character. However, she is the main character, and somehow, for 40 episodes, she did nothing useful except at the end, when she did one useful thing. Aside from that, she did useless things. She could have been the most evil girl instead of the cutest character and it would not change a thing. Basically, she is just there as a character only for the purpose of someone being there, not for anything else. Most of her screen time is spent saying "Xiao Yao Ge Ge" over and over again.

Considering that she has played in several dramas before this with the same character, and still manages to make a rather horrible performance. When she cries and mopes over Xiao Yao, I feel no pity for her. Her lines are forced and fake. Simple as that. She is not convincing at all, but disgustingly "cute."

An Yi Xuan as Ling Yue Ru 3/5

Sadly, she did even less than Ling Er for the advancement of the plot. She often fought beside Li Xiao Yao, but did little than just fight beside him. Sadly, she even did less than Ling Er, which is almost impossible. The drama might have even been less draggy and more watchable if Ling Yue Ru is just cut out, even if Ady Yi Xuan is one of the best actresses here. She gets annoying when she is always there and doing nothing and when the director spends episodes of the love between Yue Ru and Xiao Yao, most of which are mushy and superficial.

As one of best actresses in this drama, she plays her role convincingly as someone who is always there for Xiao Yao. But playing a superfluous character, she can do little. However, there are definitely many better actresses than her.

Liu Ping Yan as Ah Nu 1.5/5

Another cute and innocent character who dragged the plot. She likes to eat a lot, and many scenes are wasted just to show how much she loves to eat and her forced "cuteness." However, she did more than Ling Er and Yue Ru at the end of "Chinese Paladin". When I mean she did more, I meant that Ah Nu did more things to advance the plot and make an impact in the story instead of just being cute and being there.

Her acting was forced. I am pretty sure we have seen forced acting of cuteness many times, so no need for me to describe. The main problem occurred with her facial expressions.

Eddie Peng Yu Yan as Tang Yu 2.5/5

The caring guy who always sacrifices for Ah Nu, Tang Yu is the ideal, filial, kind, and gentle man. However, once again, I see little use for his character. He does do important things at the end, more than Ling Er, but I see little use for him anywhere else and found his story with Ah Nu draggy and forced.

As for his acting, it is one of the better ones, though it could be improved a lot. He could improve on his facial expressions, like every other actor here (maybe except for An Yi Xuan who needs to work on her general atmosphere rather than specific expressions). His face should be less stiff and less forced.

Music 3/5
A few songs in there were very good, such as the opening song, "Sha Po Lang", and the insert song, "Yi Zhi Hen An Jing". However, even though the melodies in "Sha Po Lang" and "Yi Zhi Hen An Jing" are very beautiful, the lyrics are pretty shallow. In "Sha Po Lang", the lyrics are basically nonsense (anything that fits), and "Yi Zhi Hen An Jing", another one of those emo lyrics.

The other songs were mediocre, such as the ending song, "Zhong Yu Ming Bai" and "Xiao Yao Tan". One of the songs in the middle is "Liu Yue De Yu", sung by Hu Ge, whose skills need some more improvement but who has a potential. Hua Yu Jian is also pretty good.

Additional Critique and Conclusion

After hearing a lot of my criticisms, I am pretty sure you would like me to keep it at my lowest now. So I will add a few things I am impressed by. I could find little, but one idea that made me have a chance to respect the director one bit is his originality. Since the story of "Chinese Paladin" is from a video game, not from a book, it has such great potential of being a new kind and wonderful drama since it is so flexible to deal with. However, this director took it in the wrong direction and turned it into a soap opera that tried to sound deep with its phrases of dao, life, and love, but it ends up sounding stupid cause it tries too hard to sound deep. Too many times did I have to hear "Love does exist," or "Love can change the whole world." Even worse is how everything repeats: man loves fairy/devil/monster, love is forbidden, man is killed or somehow dies, woman mourns in vengeful state—variations of this appear over and over again. It constantly repeats how devils could be even kinder than humans, which is why I say it is a lot like Liao Zhai. This is totally a fault of the scriptwriter and director, who is the person who believes in fairy tales. For all I care, he should stop directing and I will never watch any of his dramas again. (Director would get a zero out of five.)

Another reason, if forced, can sound as a convincing argument to watch this. The scenery in this is a lot better than in some old dramas. But that is no excuse, because comparing this drama to a drama made in the 90’s is unfair. Also, its overuse of computer and digital imaging is annoying and fake. Of course, if you like the idea of flying on obviously fake swords and "hu lu"s, be my guest! (When my father was watching this with me, when a pack of 40 something people flew together, chasing two people through the air, just zooming and soaring, my father exclaimed in shock and anger: "So even people can have the engine of an airplane!" Like he said, "Tai kua zhang le," or in English, "Stretched too much!")

There are only a few reasons why you should watch this: 1) Like me, you wanted to see what it is about. 2) I only finished it and watched every episode in order to write a fair and just review, so I would have the right to say it is a bad drama. So if you want to criticize it, watch it. 3) If you are watching for the music, you can try it out, but I would rather just get the soundtrack and forget the drama. 4) You love Liu Yi Fei and her portrayal of cute and innocent. 5) You love Hu Ge for… Hu Ge. 6) You love Ady An Yan Xuan for her great acting. My warning is that she plays a character who borders on annoying and cute and who does nothing but tags along the guy who obviously does not love her, so watch with caution. Out of all these reasons, I find that none of them really suffice for watching the whole drama through. I really regretted it, even if I get to criticize it. Sadly, the joy of criticism does not stop the pain of remembering this horrible drama.

http://www.ctv.com.tw/event/2005/pal/ (chinese official site)


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