Musketeer and Princess


Reviewed by: sukting

June 02, 2007

Rating: two

Foreword
It reveals the dark secret of the palace and also shows the love entanglement of the four constables with their fellow female juniors. How do they overcome all the odds? It is said to be an arousing historical epic adventure but does it meet our expectations?

Story

When Princess Ning An is kidnapped by the nomads who also take the precious emblems and the military strategy maps, the imperial palace is thrown into a state of chaos. The emperor sends the 4 constables to rescue her. They are from the butterfly valley. Leng Xie and Ning An become a couple. This saddens Ya Feng but she turns to like Wu Qing instead upon knowing how he stands by her secretly.

During the Ming Dynasty, the Japanese pirates, Tartar, invade the border regions of China and cause much suffering to the people living there. Together with his four disciples, martial arts expert, Marquis Zhuge, strives to expel the pirates from their land.

The Japanese pirates Yi Teng is an ambitious man. He wants to rule the mainland but his plot is ruined by Wu Qing. Both then discover that they are twin brothers. Their father was a rich Japanese merchant but gets to know a China prostitute. She takes Wu Qing away while their father brings Yi Teng back to Japan. Yi Teng tricks Ya Feng several times by impersonating Wu Qing.

The Lantern sect creates trouble for the different sects. Many accuse Leng Xie as the culprit but his fellow seniors manage to clear his name. Ning An is even willing to marry Tuo Luo in order to save Leng Xie’s life. Tuo Luo is killed mysteriously but Leng Xie agrees to return to the capital with Jing to clear his name.

Tie Shou gets to know Hong Hong but doesn’t realise that she is the notorious killer, Shang Guan Yao Hong. She is the suspect who kills Tuo Luo. However, he falls for her. Marquis Zhu Ge is sure that Leng Xie isn’t the killer as he doesn’t know the Mongolian language. It turns out that the killer is Tuo Luo’s younger brother, Qi Du. Wu Qing also discovers that the state minister is also in cahoots with him.

Ya Feng hopes to find out the culprits who sells innocent women to the brothel. Hong loses her memory and Ya Feng has to resort to use hypothesis. Hong’s foster father, Yun comes to look for her but Hong is afraid of him. Ning An wants Concubine Lan to let Bao Yin leave the palace but she wants her to stop seeing Leng Xie. She agrees reluctantly. Jing tells Leng Xie to give her up too.

Leng Xie and Tie Shou miss the Ning An and Yao Hong after their departure. Concubine Lan tells the Marquis what happens between Leng Xie and Ning An. He believes that both will forget each other in no time. Yi Teng steals the palace gold and frames Wu Qing to force him to return to Japan with him. He later imprisons the couple but Leng Xie manages to release them. So Wu Qing has to resort to tricks to expel Yi Teng back to Japan.

Zhui Ming gets to know Princess Xiao Yue when he visits a Mao tribe to check on the Lantern sect. all do not know that the Marquis and Jing are responsible for it. Ning An discovers that the Marquis is evil but the rest do not believe her. Tie Shou finds Yao Hong and both get married. Wu Qing meets Rou Xue so both hope to find Ya Feng who is kidnapped by Yi Teng. He dreams of both getting and wakes up abruptly.

He comes to spar with a masked man and suspects him to be his master. He is injured but Wu Qing escapes with Rou Xue. Ning An feels the Marquis and Concubine Lan are keeping something from her. The emperor gets to know concubine Lan’s past but he doesn’t blame her. There is sudden news that the emperor is dead. Ning An thinks Leng Xie is the culprit and wants to be a nun.

Leng Xie manages to stop her to tell her that he is still alive. This is only a plot set by Wu Qing and Leng Xie. The Marquis and Jing realise that they are tricked. He vows to crush the empire. Ya Feng manages to find his diary and passes the first page to Wu Qing before she is killed by the Marquis. All disciples surround the Marquis and he holds Ning An as hostage. She is willing to die on the emperor’s behalf.

All kneel before him. They do not want him to be an evil person because of his hatred for the emperor. They are stunned to know that Piao Hua also dies in his hands when she is the first to discover his plot.
All do not expect that their master, Marquis Zhu Ge is Ning An’s biological father. When the emperor forces his wife, Mdm Cao to be his concubine, he doesn’t know that she is pregnant.

Zhu Ge’s elder son, Jing becomes a eunuch since young. With the help of his mother, he becomes the general of the Dong army. He plans revenge with the Marquis. When their plot is uncovered, the Marquis repents his mistake and stripes off his martial arts skills. Jing doesn’t repent his mistake and still wants to kill the emperor. However, he doesn’t expect to be killed by his beloved sister.

Their parents are so devastated that they kill themselves. Ning An becomes insane and Leng Xue brings her to the butterfly valley. He refuses to come out of seclude again while his fellow seniors roam the country with their loved ones. Wu Qing has yet to come to terms to cope with Ya Feng’s death but Rou Xue accompanies him in his journey.

Introduction on characters

1. Wu Qing – Wu Qi Long
He is young and impressionable, learning things fast. That is why he leads his juniors to investigate cases. But his route of success isn’t a smooth one. The marquis keeps his parentage from him while his twin brother, Yi Teng keeps creating trouble for him. Yi Teng is even interested in his beloved, Ya Feng.

I must confess that I am not used to see Wu Qing who can stand and walk around. Although his acting experience allows him to have a cut above the rest, it doesn’t give him enough time to go into more depth in the role because the producer spends too much time on the love scenes.

2. Leng Xie – Ren Quan
He is the most soft spoken person among the four but even so, he can’t bear Ning An’s horrible behaviour. They often spar with each other when she throws her weight around. But both can’t help falling for each other after going through a lot of hardship. Quan only gives a passable performance although he is as skilful as Qi Long in fighting scenes.

3. Tie Shou – Wang Jiu Sheng
He is the second constable but we hardly see him using his brains. He wastes his time pinning for Yao Hong instead of helping the others to solve cases. He acts poorly and he looks too modern.

4. Zhui Ming – Lu Xin Yu
He is considered to be the most impulsive among the four but he knows where to draw the line for work and play. The rest need to learn from him. Xin Yu is more bearable than Jiu Sheng in acting.

5. Xue Jing
He is a eunuch but is highly skilled. The four constables consider him as a friend. He often puts a good word for them in front of the emperor if they land into trouble. He is wise (or rather cunning) to set them up repeatedly but shows a lot of concern towards Ning An. No one can guess their real relationship. He has acted as the villain in many dramas so he provides no surprises.

6. Yi Teng Zheng Cheng – Wu Qi Long
He is Wu Qing’s ambitious and arrogant twin brother. He refuses to admit defeat to anyone. Being evil, he can assume Wu Qing’s identity to catch everyone off-guard. Even Wu Qing’s juniors make mistakes and are often tricked. Qi Long manages to make all tell the difference between the twins with his acting.

7.Emperor Jia Jing – Zhang Tie Lin
He goes all out to make Concubine Lan his wife as he is attracted by her beauty. Little does he know that he has broken up a family and is the root of all the troubles. Although he knows all along that Ning An isn’t his daughter, he treats her as his own.

8. Marquis ZhuGe – Dong Zhi Hua
He is well respected by his disciples. He takes in seven of them when they are orphans so they all look up to him as their father and master. Behind his righteous face lies an evil mask – he only makes use of them to create glory for himself. He doesn’t hesitate to kill his two female disciples when they discover his dark secret, forgetting completely the close bond that they have shared.

9. Ya Feng – Zhuo Xiao Qing
She is considered the eldest among the three gals. Gentle, forgiving and pretty, she wins the heart of Wu Qing easily. But alas, she doesn’t have the brawns nor the brains. We only get to see the others saving her as she is often captured by the evil sects. I keep shaking my head at the trouble she creates for them.

10. Piao Hua
She can be reckless at times but she is obedient to her seniors. She loves Tie Shou but he doesn’t love her. It is sad when she dies in the duel between the butterfly valley and lantern sects. Little does she know that her beloved master is the one who plans the attack to finish her as an excuse.

11. Rou Xue
She is Wu Qing’s best confidante besides Ya Feng. When he is injured or down or out, she is often around to nurse his internal or external wounds. It is a pity that she can’t get his heart.

12. Bao Yin
She is Ning An’s maid but they are as close as sisters. Although she knows no martial arts, she often risks her life to protect her young mistress.

13. Ning An – Fan Bing Bing
She is a willful princess who loves to disguise herself as a man to sneak out of the palace. That is why her first encounter with Leng Xie is an unpleasant one. He spars with her but accidentally knocks into her chest to discover the secret. To seek revenge, she gets him to protect her and treats him badly. But when he gets injured in the process, she grows to appreciate him and falls for him.

When he is labeled as a killer, she escapes from the palace to look for him, hoping to clear his name. Her parents oppose to him to be her consort but she insists that. They have to give in to her. I don’t think Bign Bing improves much in acting. Moreover, her thick makeup makes tons on her face.

14. Shang Guan Yao Hong
She is a pitiful victim who can’t recall her past and is framed as a murderer. Luckily, Tie Shou proves her innocence and showers her with all the love that she needs.

15. Lan Xiao Yue
She is a willful tribe princess who causes Zhui Ming headaches when he is checking on the cases. Still, he can’t stop loving her and allows her to be beside her when he is doing investigation.

16. Cao Lan – Dai Chun Rong
She hides all the secrets and sorrow to herself. She blames herself for causing Jing to become a eunuch so she tries to make amends to get him a high post in court. The Marquis seems normal after their separation to adopt many orphans to help the court so she thinks that he has gotten over their separation.

She doesn’t know that the Marquis conspires with their son, wanting to kill the emperor. When Ning An kills Jing accidentally, she kills herself as she is regretful not telling Ning An the truth beforehand.

Most favourite character
None as all annoy me in some way.

Most hated character
Not Yi Teng but Ya Feng – she is a big nuisance.

Song
The theme song is by Liu Huan while the sub-theme song is by Qi Long. I prefer Liu Huan’s singing as he has a very powerful voice.

Interesting facts

The role of Ning An formerly belonged to Zhao Wei but her contract disallowed her to take it up. It ends up to Bing Bing instead. It was heard that both actresses were not on speaking terms till now because of this.

This drama had lots of loopholes. You will laugh when the actors fight clumsily in their thick dressing, especially those with hoods. One extraordinary one was the page that Ya Feng tore. It was formerly in red ink but when she gave to Wu Qing, it turned black. What chemical reaction causes this?

Many had millions of complains on this drama – the director had the cheek to boast that it had the strongest idol cast. The story was too unoriginal and acting was bad. Many could remember the butterfly valley clearly. The butterflies were too fake for them to stomach and yet the cast could say that they gave a strong fragrance. Many simply moan when watching the scenes.

Upon knowing that this drama had a standing Wu Qing, all Wen Rui An fans (including me) felt that the floor was spinning below us. He fit the cold personality but….the drama did not follow the novel at all. Leng Xie spends too much time wooing Ning An instead of working. So do Tie Shou and Wu Qing. He had a good impression of Nie Yuan and found his acting of the role good. But Wu Qing was pale in the novel so Nie Yuan’s version was a bit healthy for it.

Conclusion

It is obvious to all that I am not inspired to write the storyline in detail. I have very high demands on sword fighting dramas but so many of them let me down lately. This has somehow killed my interest in writing too. Should I continue watching or just stick to watch old legends? Don’t the new wave directors get tired of their horrifying inventions?

The cast offers the biggest number of worst criers in history – for the young and old. Can you believe that even Zhang Tie Lin uses eye drops?! Are they frightened that the water will ruin their thick make-up?! This is so ridiculous! The story is not even an adaptation of Wen Rui An’s novel. Only the dressing for the actresses make them look beautiful. The other luring factor is the fighting scenes. Besides this, there is nothing else to rave about.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : * (Scale of 5) (I had wanted to give ½* but changed my mind because of Qi Long)

On story : * (Scale of 5)

On songs : **1/2 (Scale of 5)



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