The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber

Reviewed by: fridaythe13th

August 31, 2003

Rating: four

This is one of CCTV’s Jin Yong productions.

I have only seen State of Divinity and I thought that was an excellent first attempt to produce Jin Yong’s novels into a TV series. This series is also very good. There are a few minor dislikes but overall, I think this series is worth watching.

Any version of Jin Yong’s 14 books is excellent. Although I don’t remember the oldest version of Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre (HSDS), I guess it was very good.

However, I have seen TVB’s 2000 version of HSDS and this
version is very similar to that one. The plot is very close to the novel, and is about people fighting over a sword called the Heavenly Sword, and a sabre called the Dragon Sabre. Other than the main plot, there are many subplots and the story is closely related to The Return of The Condor Heroes and The Legend of The Condor Heroes.

Casting Alex Su for the role of Zhang Wuji and Zhang Cuishan was a major dislike for me. First of all, Alex is too young to play Zhang Cuishan - he doesn’t have the scholarly characteristics needed to play the role. Secondly, Alex is too small in size to play Zhang Wuji. It’s awkward to watch him act as the leader of the Ming Cult. He reminds me more of a young playful character rather than Zhang Wuji. As for Alyssa Chia playing Zhao Min, I have no regrets about that. She reminds me of Ruby Lin a lot, especially her facial features. Her portrayal of the role was very good and it kind of took me by surprise. She is also very pretty as Zhao Min. Gao Yuan Yuan is definitely not a bad choice for Zhou Zhirou. She is also very pretty, and is able to pull off quite a lot of the required cold stares. The only thing which bothered me was her makeup towards the end of the series. And those nails. Where did those come from?

Zhang Tielin as Yang Shao was ok. He wasn’t as natural as the Yang Shao in the 2000 version but he did have a certain charm. The man who played Xie Hun was good, very violent but loyal and brave. He was exactly like the one in the 2000 version. Jin Hua Po Po here did not look as old as her name. Most of the other actors were very good in their roles too.

Fighting Scenes
Overall, the fighting scenes in this series were very well done, except for the fact that there were too many special effects. Alex Su is actually quite good when it comes down to fighting.

Scenery, Costume, Makeup
The scenery is good, but not as good as Xiao Ao Jiang Hu. Costumes are nicely done and very colourful. As I already said, the makeup is pretty bad on Gao Yuan Yuan.

The theme song is very catchy but unfortunately it was sung by an unknown singer. The end song was based on the storyline too much. Even the title says “Fall in Love with Zhang Wuji”.

Despite some problems and complaints, I guess the series is worth a try. You may not like it, but there will be some things that you’ll fall in love with.

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