Chinese Paladin (Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan)


Reviewed by: 0-0-0

December 30, 2006

Rating: two

Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan - Chinese Paladin/Legend of the Sword and Fairy

Cast:


Hu Ge as Li Xiao Yao (3.5/5)
Watching "Chinese Paladin" was the first time I had ever seen Hu Ge acting on screen and I thought he did a good job for a newcomer. Fairly good-looking, Hu Ge pulls off the cheeky side of his character so well that I felt he would have been a much more appropriate Yang Guo than Guo Jing as he has now been cast. Most of his scenes were fairly fun to watch, though I much preferred this side of Xiao Yao to the sorrowful side when he was around Ling er.

Crystal Liu Yi Fei as Zhao Ling Er (2.5/5)
The second time I saw Liu Yi Fei onscreen was a tad better than the first time onscreen. Her expressions were slightly less bland, but she succeeded only in destroying one of my all-time favourite game characters. Those that have played the game will have found the character of Ling Er to be rather spunky with a vast variety of great moves - in fact possibly my strongest character when I played. Liu Yi Fei succeeded in twisting this around into a helpless, stupid girl who seemingly had no idea what was happening around her. She was weak and flimsy overall and very boring to watch. On the other hand, she proved a great talent for whining “Xiao Yao Ge Ge” - but of course, not even that credit can be given to her since she was dubbed by someone else.

Ady An Yi Xuan as Lin Yue Ru (4.5/5)
Definitely the strongest performance of the main female cast, Ady proved to be more likable than Ling er in vying for Xiao Yao’s affections. The scenes with Yue Ru and Hu Ge were some of the most enjoyable in the series. Though her character did little to move forward the plot, having her there was a break from the somewhat desolate Ling er. Her costumes were rather average, making her appear much plainer than she does normally, but perhaps this was also done to emphasis Ling er’s beauty, which like most of "Chinese Paladin", ended up boring viewers. I had half a mind to stop watching after Yue Ru died. If the series was barely tolerable up to that point, then surely it would plummet afterwards - of which I was not proven wrong.

Esther Liu Ping Yan as Ah Nu (2/5)
Need I bother discussing how terrible Esther was? I give her full marks for at least trying to act though, unlike a certain Ms. Yifei, who seriously looked like she made no effort to improve on her blank image. A Nu was at times rather cute, but somehow ended up annoying me more than Ling er. Her overacting did eventually get on my nerves and probably on everyone else’s.

Eddie Peng Yu Yan as Tang Yu (3.5/5)
Sweet, gentlemanly, this character was one of my favourites in the series, though I’m hesitant in giving Eddie the credit for it. His acting was good, not exceptional, but nonetheless enjoyable to watch. Pity most of his scenes had A Nu in it, making them nearly unwatchable.

Bryan Wang Lu Jiang as Liu Jing Yuan (4/5)
Another likable character, even if he was rather dorky and stupid most of the time. His scenes were enjoyable to watch, including his side story with the Cai Yi. Although I prefer the character of Tang Yu, I felt Bryan’s acting made his character more memorable, particularly towards the end, where him “turning evil” became just about the most interesting thing remaining.

The Supporting Cast (3.5/5)
The remaining cast was generally quite strong and included Sun Li as Wu Hou, Tse Kwan Ho as Jiu Jian Xian and Loletta Lee as Sheng Gu.

Plot (1.5/5)
Prior to watching this series, I would never have thought that I’d be giving a thumbs down on plot since the series is based on one of my favourite games, which to be quite honest was not at all lacking in plot. However, as with any adaptation, things are twisted, characters are changed, events are added in, things are cut out - all for the worst in this story. I particularly disliked the ending where Tang Yu and A Nu fly away as birds and Tang Yu has no wings to fly with.

Special Effects (1.5/5)
I felt tempted to give it zero, but considering that it is based on a game, that might have to be taken into account, though needless to say, the toad did not look like a soft toy out of a kids show like Sesame Street. “A very formidable opponent indeed,” was surprisingly not my first impression when I saw this amongst other actors wearing fox skins and fur. Bright colours can be found flying around everywhere - it really is quite extraordinary how little you can see of any action with this addition CGI.

Music (4/5)
Finally, something good to talk about! A modern, pop soundtrack might not work in other series, but this one was so modernized that I no longer cared. I found many of the themesongs and subthemes very nice to listen to, including themesong "Sha Po Lang", subtheme sung by Hu Ge, Liu Yue De Yu, and a pop ballad by A Sang, "Yi Zhi Hen An Jing".

Costumes (4/5)
I found the costumes surprisingly nice overall, especially with the latest comparisons to those used in "Duke of Mount Deer" (2007) and "Fox Volant of Snowy Mountains" (2007).

Overall:
I was extremely disappointed with this series overall. The script was terrible, and some of the acting was extremely bad. The target audience was most likely those younger than me, thus I was unsuited to watching the series - probably children between 7 and 10. This was a series that could have succeeded in being good. It had a basic foundation on a game much loved by many children, teenagers and adults, yet succeeded only in morphing this to a lame, cliché soap opera.


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