Sword of the Third Young Master


Reviewed by: sukting

March 23, 2006

Rating: two-point-five

How long
30 episodes

Foreword
This is an adaptation of Gu Long’s novel. As usual, the producers made changes to the plot although it retains some characters. It is definitely essential because it is really boring.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Xie Xiao Feng – He Zhong Hua
He is the third master of the sword manor. Unlike other influential men, he is humble, gentle and also caring. He is in love with Qiu Di but his friend, Tie wants him to deliver his head to the enemy to earn his trust. Tie even sacrifices his own son so as to save the child prince, Cheng Yu in exchange. Because of this. his world turn upside down. The whole pugilistic world wants his blood for the blood shed. Our poor hero is rich initially and becomes a pauper overnight as his home is sealed.

His marriage arrangement with Qiu Di is called off and he has to go into hiding in a brothel. He takes pains to bring up Zhen Zhen as his disciple. After imparting all his skills to her, he thinks that his mission is accomplished and his name is finally cleared. He is so seriously injured once that he thinks of dying in his own house. Luckily, the Wudang leader manages to dispel all his negative thoughts.

He doesn’t expect Qiu Di to create havoc because of his hatred for him. Knowing that Ji Gang has a hand in it, he destroys his skills. Qiu Di’s death upsets him and although Xiao Di knows that he is his son, he chooses to travel around the world to help those in need.

2. Ji Gang – Chen Ji Ming
He is Oiu Di’s senior and is a court official to be in love with her for a long time. After knowing that Xiao Feng has forsake her to be on the run, he offers to marry her but deserts her son. They have Fu Rong later but Qiu Di treats him coldly. He takes in a mistress, Lu but his heart still stays with her. It has been his ambition to kill Xiao Feng in life. Even though he knows Xiao Feng is innocent, he refuses to clear his name. He even cheats a chance – to hypothesize Zhen Zhen so that she injures Xiao Feng unexpectedly to have a chance to deal with him a fatal blow.

Xiao Feng escapes with injures but manages to subdue Zhen Zhen. Gang later wants to replace the emperor with the previous prince. His plot fails when Xiao Feng manages to see through his scheme. He doesn’t wish to die in front of Xiao Feng so he runs to his home to die there……in the arms of Lu.

3. Ding Xiao Di – Cheng Long
He is Xiao Feng and Qiu Di’s son. Qiu Di has him before marriage and but Gang throws him into a river, wishing to drown him. This man is fortunate to survive to become a good for nothing swindler. But knowing his foster parents’ good intentions, he turns over a new leaf to become a good chef. But they are killed by Zhen Zhen by mistake. He then turns to work for Gang, wishing to have an official post. He never knows that he will get to meet his mother and younger sister there. He finally turns to be a fine man after knowing his mistake. He wanders the country with Zhen Zhen.

4. Yan Shi San – Wang Bing
He is Qiu Di’s servant who is also secretly in love with Qiu Di. He is often eager to spar with Xiao Feng and is a righteous man even though he often loses. He is sad that his young mistress changes so much after her unhappy marriage and tries to change her in vain. He doesn’t expect her to attack him when he discovers her secret. Having accompanying her after marriage, he gets to know Qing and both become a couple. He is willing to give up his urge for duels to seek a quiet life with her.

5. Mu Rong Qiu Di – Yu Fei Hong
When you see her, you will know why 3 men fall for her. Besides being intelligent, she is also gentle and frank. She loves Xiao Feng but doesn’t expect him to betray his best friend. When he goes missing, she finds herself pregnant with Xiao Di. Gang lies to her that the child has died but she knows him straightaway from the comb she leaves with him before they are separated. Although she has no feelings for Gang, she actually dotes on Fu Rong and gets along well with Qing.

Out of her hatred for Xiao Feng, she sets up a secret organization to collect money and do evil killings. She even frames Xiao Feng for some of the killings. She disguises herself as a masked expert to pass her skills to Xiao Di. She tries hard to hide the fact that that the two are siblings to prevent them from getting hurt. But the two still know the truth anyway. She also wants to stop all operations of the organization but is killed by Lu before she can do it.

6. Ji Qing – Huo Si Yan
She is Ji Gang’s sister who is a sweet woman who knows no martial arts. She pities Qiu Di for having an unhappy marriage so she tries to cheer her up. She never expects Qiu Di to want to go after her for knowing her secret. Although Qiu Di doesn’t plan to kill her, she falls off the cliff and luckily through this, Shi San discovers who he loves and takes care of her.

7. Ji Fu Rong – Zhang Yi Han
She is Qiu Di’s daughter and also Xiao Di’s half-sister. She is quite kind hearted and doesn’t like to see Xiao Di being bullied. When Xiao Di is taken away by Qian Qian, she gets very worried. It is sad that she falls for her brother and she gets so upset to wish to be a nun. Luckily, the ex-prince talks her out of it.

8. Qian Qian
She is a willful princess and likes to torture Xiao Di. She is also Fu Rong’s friend and both are as close as sisters. However, both never expect to like the same man. The more he refuses to cook for her, the more she wants to force him to do it. She has a nasty temper and locks him up. But they end up being friends and she falls for him. It is not said if she is accepted in the end as the producer keeps us in suspense.

9. Tie Zhen Zhen
She is a general’s daughter but doesn’t know of Xiao Feng’s reason to wrong him. She has treated him like an uncle all along and is unable to accept that he is her enemy and also master. But later, she straightens her thoughts to get along well with him. She is also Xiao Di’s close friend. After killing his foster parents by mistake, she knows the pain of killing the wrong person and forgives Xiao Feng for his deed.

10. Cheng Lu – Liu Li Li
She is Ji Gang’s mistress but is angry when he is only treating her as his plaything. Knowing Qiu Di’s secret, she pretends to look up to her and helps her in the killings. But she kills Qiu Di when she wants to stop the operations. Love turns to hatred when she kills Gang with her own hands, wanting to die with him.

Interesting facts

I know it is hard to believe but Fei Hong is the martial arts instructor in this drama. Many will be deceived by her sweet and demure look.

Famous director, Yee Dong Sang had wanted to shoot this novel as a movie but it never came true as he was too busy. There was an old movie with him and Chiu Ngai Chi as the cast. It was very well done as it shot both to fame.

There was an ATV version by Man Tse Leung in the late 70s. Sorry that I had not watched it so I had no comments. It was one of his early dramas when he was younger and slimmer. It was said that his most memorable scene was not the fighting scenes but the brothel scenes.

It was describing the hardships that he went through in real life.Especially when Ma Mun Yee (as Lun Yuen Yee in ‘Reincarnated’) deliberately splashed water at him when the feet washing scenes (he wasn’t sure if this act was intentional, though), he really felt down and out in luck as an extra.

The actual novel

You will not really like the main lead in here as he evades from reality and isn’t really a hero. Ii only took me 1 day to finish reading it. Xiao Feng hides in the brothel but he is not a fugitive but he wants to stay away from fame to be a normal person. He doesn’t mind getting bullied by prostitutes but somehow people don’t leave him in peace.

In the end, he has to cut off both thumbs to show that he isn’t eager to spar again. He does have a daughter, Xiao Yu by Qiu Di and he lets her into the family. But this girl is out to seek revenge to ruin the family reputation.

Xiao Feng still condones it as he feels remorseful towards Qiu Di – even letting her control the family household. But still, he doesn’t mind Ding Peng (the main character of ‘God of Sabre’) to teach her a lesson when she tries to seduce him. His skills make the arrogant Ding Peng be humble for once. (Those who are interested to read a follow up on Xiao Feng as an old man can read ‘yuan yue wan dao’ – the full moon saber.)

Conclusion

I get very disillusioned watching period dramas these days. I don’t know when I get inspired to write on a good drama again. Most of them are so long-winded that I end up sleeping in front of the television or make me resort to take a bath before returning. This drama is no exceptional. The cast only provides average acting and I am not familiar with most of the China artistes. I am only welcomed by the few limited fighting scenes which are quite basic.

Like what I have said, most adaptations do not respect the original author. This one only preserves the names of the characters and not the story at all. But it is still better than the novel which is so bad that you will not want to read a second time. You may still watch if you have nothing at hand.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)



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