The Legend and the Hero


Reviewed by: sukting

November 07, 2009

Rating: two-point-five

Foreword

I shall compare this drama with Gods of Honour and Wu Wang Fa Zhou since the storyline is so similar. How did the China production do as compared to the Hong Kong production? It has the collaboration with TCS, Taiwanese and Hong Kong cast as well.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Su Da Ji – Fan Bing Bing
The Da Ji in the past is viewed as a vixen. She comes from the countryside and leaves the hometown because of the villagers. She also gives up her own love. On the way, a vixen spirit goes into her body to seduce Shang Zhou. She is in a dilemma but still has to do it. When Zi Ya throws out the vixen spirit, she leaves Da Ji’s body and flees to return to Zhou Wang. The real Da Ji is ashamed of her deeds and kills herself. I must say that she has improved a lot in her acting. Very convincing in the split personality.

Lin Xin Ru – She has done better but can’t shed much of her cutie image in some scenes.

Wan Bik Ha – She is undoubtedly the best person for the job! Da Ji’s suffering is brought out so well and we get to know she turns evil as everyone is against her.

2. King Zhou Wu – Zhou Jie
He is righteous and also sentimental. He is Bo Yi Kao’s younger brother. Knowing that Shang Wang will not let him go, he pretends to be insane to make him let his guard down so that he can return to his own province. Zi Ya saves his father from a river and he soon becomes the successor. His acting skills are commendable as compared to Princess Pearl. But still stage-like at times.

Huang Wei De – He loves Zi Yu but they can’t be together as Gong Bao harms her and he is too ill. Still, even though they get the antidote, both give away to the poor to stop the epidemic from spreading to face death bravely together. It shows how a powerful king can be gentle at times. He overthrows Shang Zhou to set up his own dynasty. Huang is definitely brilliant in the role and has the makings of an emperor.

Cheung Chung Chi – He is too scholarly like to fit into the role which requires holding of high regard.
  
3. King Shang Zhou – Ma Jing Tao
He has commented that the goddess Nu Wo is pretty, wishing to treat her as a concubine. He insults her through a poem. This offends her and decides to choose another ruler to replace him. Zhou Wang becomes so attracted by her beauty and becomes uninterested in ruling. Many thought that Ma has the mixture of evil and kind appearance. Yes, his acting is stable but he is too exaggerating at times.

Lui Leung Wai – same role and same destiny. His acting is flawless. Who isn’t touched when he burns himself upon knowing that he is losing the battle? But Wu Wang doesn’t give him a dignified death by shooting 3 arrows at him and chopping off his head.

Cheng Chi Shing – he makes him to look more like a coward. Not worth mentioning.

4. Jiang Zi Ya – Liu De Kai
Goddess Nu Wo gives him the mission of finding a suitable ruler to replace Zhou Wang. He becomes his advisor. He befriends Bi Gan and Fei Hui. He tries hard to get rid of the evil spirits and gets framed by Da Ji. He escapes to save his own life. He solves the crisis of the lack of food by stealing Zhou Wang’s source.
He has done well so that is why he gets the same role in part 2.

Tsui Chi Ming – his looks is a hinderance as he is too plain looking but his good acting makes up the flaw.

5. Zi Xian – Zeng Shi Mei
She is Bi Gan’s daughter who wants to seek revenge for her father. She disguises as a man and joins Wu Wang’s camp in order to get close to him. She later becomes his fiancée to go through the ordeals. I have never liked this actress’s pretentious acting. So is here. It seems that she is awkward in period dramas.

6. Shang Rong – Wu Ma
He is the prime minister. Seeing how the king turns a deaf ear, he gets so disillusioned that he resigns from his post. In order to save the princes, he kills himself. A tragic role that suits a veteran actor.

7. Shen Gong Bao – Miao Hai Zhong
He is Jiang Zhi Ya’s junior who is eager to steal the glamour from him. He finds all ways to deter him from gaining success by introducing all different kinds of fox evil spirits to enter the palace. He claims this in Nu Wa’s name. Da Ji’s body is possessed by the fox spirit and does acts under his command. He also does well and thus he also gets the same role in part 2.

Lee Kwok Lun – as expected, he shines as a veteran.

8. Huang Fei Hu – Tay Ping Hui
He is a righteous general. Knowing that the fox spirits are endangering his king, he gets men to burn the foxes’ hideout. Seeing that Zhou Wang never changes and doubts his loyalty to throw him into prison, he has no choice but to betray him and joins Wu Wang’s camp. Although it is Tay’s first attempt in a period drama, he does a good job.

Tsang Wai Kuen – he spoils Na Za rotten and that is why he gets out of hand. His version is more like a doting father than a strict general.

9. Wen Senior Advisor – Xu Huan Shan
He is the only senior official that Shang Wang is afraid of. He is back in court to learn of Bi Gan’s death. He immediately gets Fei Fu and the other loyal officials to sign a petition. But his foolishness to remain loyal to Shang Wang also causes his own death when he is no match for Zi Ya.

Choi Kok Hing – also competent as the wise advisor but too bad he serves the wrong master.

10. Bi Gan – Guo Kai Min
He is another general. Bi Gan burns the foxes’ hideout with Fei Hu. He then uses the foxes’ skin to make an emperor robe for Shang Wang. This offends Da Ji and she frames him to seek revenge for her descendents. Knowing that Zhou Wang wants to kill him, he gets so disillusioned that he digs out his heart to show his loyalty for him. This is sure stupidity indeed.

Yu Chun Shun – Like Chung Chi, he is also too skinny and scholarly-like to be a general. His voice is also not authoritative enough.

11. Yang Jian – Han Dong
He is Wu Wang’s loyal general. Wu Wang is captured by Gong Bao. Luckily, Zi Ya comes up with a plan to allow him and Zi Xian to save him out.

Chin Kak Lok – TVB makes him to be more reckless and comical than other versions.

12. Bo Yi Kao – Kwan Lai Kit
He is Da Ji’s fiancé. Both are deeply in love. He is heartbroken when Da Ji is sent to become Zhou Wang’s concubine. His father is imprisoned so he goes to the capital to try to save him. Da Ji fails to seduce him even though she sits on his lap as he knows that she is someone’s wife now. In her rage, she kills him. Lai Kit has done quite well this time as the long-suffering man.

Lo Hing Fai – he is so stiff at times that it becomes unbearable for me.

13. Empress Jiang – Jin Qiao Qiao
She is angry with Da Ji for mesmerizing her husband, Zhou Wang and reprimands her. Da Ji makes the king kill her and her two sons. I have always been curious to know how this Ng Kai Wah’s ex-girlfriend looks like. She acts as well as she looks.

14. Su Hu – Du Zhi Guo
He dislikes Zhou Wang and tries to defy his degree, not wishing Da Ji to marry him. But his troops are no match for him and he has to send her away. He has not wanted to help this ungrateful son-in-law to battle against Zi Ya’s troup. Da Ji frames them for poisoning his wife to death. Luckily, Zi Ya saves her and he realizes that Da Ji is no longer his daughter.

Wong Wai – He has always detested Da ji although she is his natural daughter. Her resentment against him is also one of her reasons to turn evil.

15. Su Quan Zhong - Liu Xiao Hu
He is Da Ji’s brother who is greedy for power.

16. Jin Zha – Wang Hai Di
He is Na Zha’s brother who is protective towards him. But he also can’t resist Da Ji’s beauty to fall for her.


Tang Siu Chun – Besides Chan Ho Mun, his skinny looks does fit the character well.

Ding Ding – I have never liked this child’s over the top acting. Why is he always chosen for every drama?!

17. Na Zha – Xian Se Li
His father finds that it is unlucky to have this son born in a flesh ball. Thus he sends him away. After he dies for the first time and is reborn, their ties improve. This actress is cute! She can go far one day.

Chan Ho Mun – Despite his age, he is youthful. But I don’t like TVB to make Na Zha so revengeful.

Favourite character
Fei Fu, despite being jailed and worried for his son, he still keeps calm in his cell. Unlike Bi Gan who is blindly following Zhou Wang, he knows that there is no room for him and he needs to rebel.

Most hated character
Gong Bao – if not for his jealousy towards Zi Ya, all the trouble and alarming deaths – especially suicides can be avoided.

Songs
The themesong is ‘Love’ by Fan Zu qing and Wang Ying Zi. The ending theme is the drama’s title. Both songs are fine.
TVB’s verion has Fung San (封神) by Chan Ho Mun and Lau Yuk Chui. Subtheme is Waiting for You Everyday (每一生都等你) by Singaporean singer, Chan Kit Yee. Also quite well done.

Interesting facts

It was said that there was a TVB 1986 version by Lo Hoi Pang, Kenny Bee (Chung Zhan Tou), Lam Kin Ming and Chan Yan Kin. But I have not watched it yet. There was another ATV 1985 drama Na Zha by Fong Kok San, Yu Chan Sun and Lo Lok Lam. It was well received as Fong acted as the mischievous boy.

Part 1 roped in Tang Guo Qiang as Tian Zun and Liu Tao as Chang E. They were the guest stars. Due to its popularity, Wu Wang Fa Zhou – the 18 episode part 2 was shown in 2009. Fan Bing Bing became the guest star of Moon Goddess this time. It was well received in Hong Kong when shown over ATV. Many said that it was the most truthful ‘Gods of honour’. The computer graphics were excellent. Wei De was invited to Hong Kong to promote it.

China fans doubted the truthfulness of the drama to the novel as Da Ji only tends to go close to Jin Za in the beginning. Da Ji starts to become more kind after falling in love with Zhou Wang. She even helps him to seize back his empire. How can this be the seductive Da Ji? This is the same as rewriting the history. Da Ji causes the doom of an empire and should stir up hatred from the start to the end. They do not need a Da Ji who is so motherly and humble.

Conclusion

I have the set of comics at home so I am quite familiar with the story. I am quite disappointed as none of the versions is close to the novel. The most is only 65%. I agree with the China fans – the story is far stretched. Moreover, the tv station uses a lot of artificial effects that look so chessy. Luckily the acting and dressing are still acceptable or I could have stopped watching midway. I don’t think there is a need for Part 2 – it is just a repetition of the story. It only compares how different artistes act in the different roles which can be quite redundant.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

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

On songs : *** (Scale of 5)


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