The Legend of Lu Xiao Feng


Reviewed by: sukting

June 21, 2009

Rating: three-point-five

Number of Episodes: 20

Foreword

Finally a more recent version of the popular Gu Long drama after TCS’s work. Will be the story be original or there will be changes to it? This is the first time I see Cheung Chi Lam starring as a Gu Long character. It has a series of 10 stories – 2 episodes for each story. I wrote this review right after watching it on tv.

Story

Part 1 – The prelude

Lu Xiao Feng loses in a gambling den. Jiang Long and Luo Ma capture him to put him in jail for producing counterfeit notes. The real notes should come from Da Tong Bank. Xiao Feng protests for his innocence but is silent when seeing Zhu Ting in there. Ting is known as Ru Ban’s successor and he is the prime suspect. Lately, there are many counterfeit notes in the public so Xiao Feng decides to help him out.

The master print has already been destroyed by Ting. The only person who can make a replica is his senior, Yue Qing but he is dead 7 years ago due to an epidemic. His ashes are placed in Yun Jiang temple outside the town. They have to hunt down Yue’s daughter to solve the case. The only clue Xiao Feng has is she has a mole that looks like an axe at her chest.

Xiao Feng is released but Da Tong Bank’s young owner, Hua Man Lou still suspects him. He gets a whore to poison him. If he can’t solve the case, he will be dead. The person who is more eager to break the case is Housekeeper Qian. He invites Xiao Feng to the bank. Xiao Feng learns that the counterfeit notes has the rouge and wine smell. So he is sure that they come from a wine inn or a brothel.

Xiao Feng’s thief friend, Si Kong Zai Xing finds the place – Ji Le Brothel. Xiao Feng meets Man Lou and also Wu Yan who has the mole. Xiao Feng takes away Wu Yan’s Buddhist bracelet to Yun Jian temple. Man Lou also comes and both are sure that Ji Le Brothel is responsible for this. Both men discover the counterfeit printing piece in a secret chamber. They arrange to expose it at night.

However, Man Lou and Zai Xin are kidnapped at Yun Jian temple. Xiao Feng attacks the brothel with Jiang Long and Luo Ma. He uncovers the tale of Luo Ma forcing Qing to do this and presses Qian to work with him 7 years ago. To transfer Xiao Feng’s attention, he pretends that Wu Yan is Qing’s daughter.

Wu Yan’s maid, Xia Er is the real daughter. She is in love with Man Lou. Although Man Lou is blind, his sense of smell is better than any person so he has known the secret for a long time. Luo Ma has wanted to use his Ci Ma sword to deal with Xiao Feng but his Ling Xi fingers prove to be too strong for him so he is captured to land in jail in the end.

Comments :
This story is not a thriller. It only wants to let others know how Xiao Feng befriends Man Lou. It is like making a formal introduction to Man Lou.

Guest stars :

Wu Yan - Yang Li Qing
What a waste of her fighting skills when the director arranges her to pretend to be a whore who knows no martial arts. Although she is still stunningly beautiful and is demure, I still think that they should have asked her to act as a pugilistic expert.

Xia Er – Lin Han
She can’t act and definitely can’t make it. Luckily her role is limited.

Part 2 – the iron shoe mystery

Tao Hua Castle owner Hua Ru Ling is 60 years old soon and all plan a celebration for him. He is also Man Lou’s father. The guests include Xiao Feng, Ting, Physician Song, Constable Jin Jiu Ling and the head of the 5 renown sects. Ru Ling keeps from Man Lou to try to clear the devil in his heart. Man Lou is blinded by the iron shoe villain 15 years ago. Although Ru Ling and the 5 heads have killed him, Man Lou still believes that the man isn’t dead so he is tormented by this nightmare till now.

Ru Ling gets Xiao Feng to pretend to be the iron shoe villain. Things go on smoothly as usual as Xiao Feng makes the disguise. Han Hai tribe sends Amil and also a beautiful lady to dance for Ru Ling. But even with the heads’ help, Man Lou sees through it after sparing with Xiao Feng. One of the heads, Yuan is killed mysteriously. Who has murdered him – is the iron shoe bandit still alive?

Jiu Ling insists of cordoning the place. From the murder scene to the lady’s room, Xiao Feng senses something amiss. The lady is a martial arts expert. Swordsman Guan Tai is the culprit. The jade Buddha that Han Hai king wants Ru Ling to guard is missing. Poisonous grass is in the air and the lady’s flying poisonous sword force all experts to hide in the underground chamber.

Ru Ling has to reveal the secret of the jade Buddha – it is a symbol of the king’s authority. 15 years ago, Han Hai king prevents the prince for seizing his throne so he passes it to Ru Ling. The iron shoe bandit gets to know about it and fights with Ru Ling. Man Lou is taken hostage and gets to see his disfigured face. To make sure that he doesn’t reveal it, he blinds him with fire.

They nearly die in the chamber and Jiu Ling suspects that the iron shoe bandit is among the 8 of them. Jiu Ling suspects Reverend Ku Zhi but Xiao Feng’s guess is more stunning. He points his finger at Physician Song. His guess is correct. The iron shoe bandit are actually twin brothers. 15 years ago, the elder brother is forced to wear iron shoes by the 5 leaders and is drowned at sea.

His younger brother, Physician Song wants to help Han Hai prince to get his position. He sends his daughter to be his concubine. He has tried without success to break into the secret chamber as it is made by Ting. Thus, he makes this attempt. But it still fails and is killed by the others.

Actual story
Man Lou is the youngest in the family. He is blind since birth but not willing to be dependent on his family which owns a bank, he prefers to stay on his own at the hundred flower lodge. Maybe the producer wants to let others sympathesize with Man Lou to come up with this story.

Hua Ru Ling – Xia Zhi Xiang
This actor is quite competent to act as Man Lou’s concerned father.

Physician Song – Xu Fu Lai
He is a complete unknown among the sea of actors. So even if his identity is revealed, I am very confused over he really is.
  
Part 3 – the bloodied clothing mystery

It is a full moon night and a masked man uses Ling Xi finger, forcing the emperor to hand in a pugilistic manual, Xing Xie Sword Manual. Even if he is facing the imperial guards, he still declares openly that he is Xiao Feng before leaving. Xi Men Chui Xue practices his sword skills but suddenly goes berserk. Although he controls himself, he knows that he is seriously injured. Thus, he goes into retreat. Xing Xie sword manual is the only solution to heal him.

He is puzzled when someone sends it to him – his housekeeper claims that the person is Xiao Feng. The rumour of Xiao Feng being so daring spread like fire. Xiao Feng can’t explain himself. He is repeatedly harassed by Wen Si Niang and Ye Zhi Qiu. Both are pugilistic experts who wish to master the skills from the manual too. A person sends him a bloodied vest. All know that it is a symbol of the bloodied clothing sect. If Xiao Feng rejects it, he will become its enemy. If he wears it, he will get their protection.

To stop them from following him, Xiao Feng follows the messenger to the bloodied clothing sect. he meets 6 other bloodied killers. Their mission is to get the real manual. Xiao Feng has accepted a new female disciple, Qing Qing. He finds her good in disguise. His first encounter with her is pretending to be a man at the inn. Xiao Feng sees through her disguise as she doesn’t behave like a commoner.

She is the foster niece of Nan Ping Prince. Xiao Feng has found her to be intelligent and asks her to look for Chui Xue to find out if he is fine. Chui Xue’s home is burned but he escapes. He has known that the manual is fake. Qing Qing poisons Chui Xue instead – Chui Xue has drunk the wine that she prepares for him as he trusts her to be Xiao Feng’s friend.

At the same time, Xiao Feng also gets Nan Ping Prince’s permission to check out the case to find out who wants to endanger the imperial family. When Xiao Feng moves with the 6 killers, he finds something amiss. The sect sends a carriage to pick him up and he recognises the material to be of good quality. The imperial soldiers also treat the head of the killers, Chi Yi with respect. Does the sect have something to do with the imperial family? Xiao Feng is called Zi Yi killer. All of them have a different colour as a title.

The 7 killers seize Xing Xie sword manual. When all return, some of them die after drinking wine by the master mind. Qing Yi and Lan Yi killers are missing. Xiao Feng pretends to drink so is unharmed. He removes the disguise of Chi Yi. He is Eunuch Cao working for the emperor. No wonder he commands so much power. The emperor is in trouble when he is surrounded by the mastermind. The mastermind is actually Nan Ping Prince. The person impersonating Xiao Feng is Qing Qing.

When Nan Ping Prince tries to kill the emperor, he is saved by Qing Yi and Lan Yi. Both of them are Chui Xue and Zai Xing. The whole situation is under Xiao Feng’s control all along. Chui Xue has eaten the antidote beforehand so he is unharmed. Nan Ping Prince reveals why he wants the rebellion. His father and Qing Qing’s grandfather are killed by the emperor’s father so he wants revenge.

Qing Qing has not known of her identity all along and has helped Nan Ping Prince blindly. Xin Xie sword manual is not a secret manual. It tells of the imperial family’s secret. The emperor sighs and allows him to read the book. The two elder princes have decided to kill themselves to atone for their sins as they help the emperor’s father to his throne. They do not want him to be branded as evil by the commoners as he has dissuaded them from doing that and they have turned a deaf ear.

They list this down in the book. After reading, Nan Ping Prince still yells that it isn’t the truth and tears it. Qing Qing realizes why she has a close affinity with the emperor although she has not known her identity yet. The emperor has always been nice to her, treating her as his younger sister although she is his cousin.

Qing Qing tries to dissuade Nan Ping Prince from harming the emperor but he refuses to listen. The emperor has no choice but to send him for life imprisonment. Xiao Feng hopes that the emperor will give Qing Qing a light sentence as she is being made use of and the emperor agrees to it.

Comments
I find this story stupid. It is to be on royal rivalry and is just a replica of ‘Duel before and after’. Getting Xiao Feng to accept a female disciple is absolute nonsense. He can’t wait to run away from women – why does he want to invite trouble to his doorstep and will he bother to teach her new skills? And a sword manual is actually a book of historical secrets? This is so disappointing.

He Qing Qing – Cao Yi Wen
She looks like Li Xiao Ran from a certain angle but this supposedly cheerful role seems to look melodramatic at certain times. Thus she fails to do well here.

Nan Ping Prince – Fu Cheng
I find that most China actors have the distinctive evil look so no surprises. I know immediately that he is a villain who is up to no good.   

Part 4 – King Da Jin Peng

The retired pugilists, Liu Yu Hen and Xiao Qiu Yu suddenly reappear. Xiao Feng finds it odd. Qing Yi Lou is an evil sect that commits evil deeds. King Da Jin Peng wants his state to be revived so he asks Xiao Feng for help. 50 years ago, his state goes downhill and he divides his fortune into four parts. They are passed to the housekeeper Yan Li Ben, general Yan Du He, relatives Shang Guan Mu and Shang Guan Jin.

They disappear with the fortune and Shang Guan Jin has died 3 years ago. Xiao Feng doesn’t want to be a busybody but he has to do it as Man Lou is also involved. Man Lou is at his own lodge when he saves Shang Guan Fei Yan from being attacked. Fei Yan has stolen a person’s jade and he helps her. She gets curious when he wants to introduce someone with 4 eyebrows. He is Xiao Feng with his moustache.

Man Lou falls for her and comes with her to see King Da Jin Peng who is her relative. Shang Guan Mu is her grandfather. Fei Yan hardly returns to this home and Xiao Feng gets to meet Princess Dan Feng instead. Both swordsmen discover that the dynasty has lost its glamour as they spend too much money. That is why King Da Jin Peng is so eager to get his fortune back. Dan Feng has a cousin, Xue Er who is only 10 years old but Xiao Feng gets tricked by her, thinking that she is really a 80 year old in disguise.

King Da Jin Peng shows him 3 drawings which Xiao Feng shows to a rich merchant, Huo Xiu. The 3 are now famous pugilists in the world. Xiao Feng is afraid that he and Man Lou can’t handle them so he seeks Chui Xue’s help. Chui Xue agrees to help under a condition – he wants Xiao Feng to shave off his moustache. Xiao Feng gives in reluctantly. Both go to ask Old Sun to bring to Da Kong and Da Zhi for information on Da Jin Peng. They get much information by paying many taels of silver.

Man Lou has never felt inferior of his disability but this is the first time he regrets not seeing him now. Xiao Feng gets very annoyed and he keeps rubbing the part above his lips, hoping that the moustache can grow back soon. Chui Xue practices his sword skills by the lake. A Er Mei disciple, Xiu Qing prevents him from hurting a rabbit and his sword tip nearly injures her. He retreats his sword and walks away.

Yan Li Ben is now Lan Tie San who owns a jewel shop and Yan Du He is now Er Mei head. Chui Xue defeats Li Ben and is about to ask him questions when Dan Feng kills him from the back. Chui Xue warns her not to do such a despicable act again or he will make sure that she can never hold a sword again.

Man Lou is worried when he has no news of Fei Yan. He learns that she is captured by Du He and rushes to save her. Xiao Feng has never seen Man Lou so caring towards a woman to help her up a horse. Seeing them so intimate, Xiao Feng can’t take it anymore and gets off the carriage to leave them alone.

Du He is killed by Huo Tian Qing who holds him responsible for Li Ben’s death. Xiu Qing grieves over her master’s death. She reveals that he receives a letter from Li Ben and is here to meet him. Just then, someone strikes her with a poisonous dart.

Chui Xue holds her and knows that the poison is flowing in her blood stream. Knowing that she will die if she stays still, he brings her to have a few runs in the mountains. After that, he becomes weary after putting her down. She wakes up, poking into his chest with her sword. But she can’t bring herself to hurt him further. Chui Xue feels weak and nearly stumbles when sitting on a stool. Xiu Qing stands beside him to help him. He then reveals that she is special to him and both become a couple.

Yu Hen and Qiu Yu are later killed that makes the case more mysterious. Fei Yan gets close to Man Lou and suddenly hits his acupoint to make him immobile. Man Lou suddenly goes missing and Xiao Feng digs out Princess Dan Feng’s body which shows that she is poisoned to death. Xue Er has said that all Jin Peng officials will have a tattoo on their right arm. Xiao Feng suspects that he gets tricked.

King Da Jin Peng is also known to have 6 toes – he has also affirmed from the dead Dan Feng. So the king he sees must be an imposter. He confronts Huo Xiu. Huo Xiu is Jin who is supposedly to die 3 years ago. He has made Mu and Tie Shan drunk to kill Mu. He also wants Yu Hen to change his looks with a mask to get the Jin Peng wealth.

He makes use of his granddaughter, Fei Yan to seduce Tie Shan’s housekeeper, Tian Qing. Tian Qing is highly skilled as Tian Qin sect’s future owner. Jin has agreed to help to revive the sect as exchange so that he will continue to work for Tie Shan. As for Qing Yi sect, that is only a place for him to conduct his illegal activities. Fei Yan appears and affirms the truth that she has lied to Man Lou all along.

She never expects him to come with Chui Xue. Man Lou is able to move his pressure points within a short time and becomes mobile again. Chui Xue feels disgusted over their deeds. Fei Yan attacks him and gets killed instead. He doesn’t show mercy to a heartless woman. Jin laughs bitterly and carries Fei Yan to the traps that he sets to get killed. Upon stepping out, Chui Xue sees Xiu Qing with Xue Er. His cold face reveals a faint smile as he takes her hand to walk away.

The actual ending in the book
Fei Yan isn’t Xiu’s granddaughter but lover. She seduces the younger men but her love for wealth surpasses everything else. She is killed by Xiu before Xiao Feng confronts Xiu in his dungeon.

Guest star

Shang Guan Fei Yan/ Dan Feng – Wu Jia Ni
She is a promising actress who portrays the gentle and also evil characters well. She manages to make all distinguish the two women.

Part 5 – the weaving bandit mystery

Zhen Yuan Escort Agency is robbed of 18,000 taels of gold. Ping Nan Prince also loses a valuable golden unifcorn. The chief guard, Jiang Chong Wei is blinded by the weaving bandit who wears in red. He has used his needles to blind him after weaving a flower on a red cloth. Jiu Ling is at his wits end and chats with Reverend Ku Zhi. Xiao Feng is outside the house, listening attentively.

He drops his jaw when Jiu Ling decides to seek Zai Xing’s help since he is so resourceful. Unable to accept this arrangement, he bursts into the house and questions why he hasn’t considered him. (This scene is vey hilarious as all should see his expression.) The two look at him mischievously and Xiao Feng realizes that he has fallen into their trap. Jiu Ling only gives Xiao Feng 8 days to solve the case.

Xiao Feng takes the cloth and goes to Madam Xue, the fantastic weaver. Her granddaughter, Bing gets to know about it and tags along. Xiao Feng tries to avoid her kisses every now and then but has to admit that her weaving skills are good. She recognizes that the cloth comes from the city’s cloth shop, Fu Rui Xiang. A female Taoist has bought it 2 months ago.

Xiao Feng sees Zai Xing trying to steal the cloth but lets him do it. Who is instigating him to do it? He can’t suppress his curiosity to follow him. Bing lures Xiao Feng to Xi Xia nunnery. Chong Wei is nursing his wounds here after the resignation from his post. His sister, Qing Xia doesn’t welcome Xiao Feng and demands him to leave. Xiao Feng discovers her wearing red shoes.

This is also what the weaving bandit has worn when he harms the two men. He deliberately lets her go but Zai Xing comes, uninvited. Xiao Feng also comes to blows with the masked Bing. After checking, Xiao Feng learns that there is a secretive sect, red shoes. It seems that only women join this sect so he goes to look for his friend, Snake King for help. He is an underground boss who has many men.

Snake King has Ping Nan Residence map so it helps Xiao Feng to get into the place. He comes to blows with Jiu Ling. He nearly loses his life under his sword. Xiao Feng analyses that only Ye Gu Cheng and Chui Xue are his match. He then finds out that the sides of the chests have huge holes. But why can’t Jiu Ling see them? Snake King has told his men to ensure Bing’s safety so that he can check on the case.

Xiao Feng finds Bing missing when he returns. He sees a box in the closet and takes it out. Jiu Ling has accompanied him to the inn and stops him from opening it. But he is too late when the poisonous fumes come out. Luckily, Xiao Feng has the antidote to save Jiu Ling.

Xiao Feng goes to meet Da Kong and Da Zhi, wanting more information but the person killed by a poisonous snake. He is actually Old Sun who is under the disguise. Xiao Feng doesn’t blame him for keeping from him as he knows that he works hard to get the news so he is worth the price.

Snake King finds out that the red shoe sect’s leader is Gong Sun Da Niang. Xiao Feng meets an old woman selling roasted chestnuts on the street. When he is about to eat them, Jiu Ling strikes darts to cause him to drop them. The old woman is Da Niang. Sure enough, she gets away from the rooftop. Xiao Feng returns to find Snake King dead with his men. He recalls Snake King asking him earlier to forgive him for what he has done and frowns.

But how long can she hide from Xiao Feng? Xiao Feng sees Qing Xia, a courtesan, Mei Er and a Chun Mei walking into a house. Da Niang also enters. Xiao Feng spars with the women and they are not his match. So Da Niang decides to take him on. They have a duel at the bridge and she is captured by him. Xiao Feng presents him to be given to Jiu Ling.

Jiu Ling laughs haughtily that all have fallen into his trap. He has overspent his salary and has been eyeing the golden unicorn for long. He has framed red shoes set for it. But from the day Zai Xing steals the cloth, Xiao Feng has already suspected him. Mice are afraid of cats. Zai Xing and Snake King are under his control as they are thieves.

Da Niang removes her disguise. She is actually Bing, Da Niang’s successor. She is in charge of the red shoe sect and is sure that one of them is Jiu Ling’s culprit. To the victims, the weaver bandit is weaving but he is actually removing the threads. Although Qing Xia is a Taoist, she is in love with Chong Wei but they can’t be together. They are not siblings but lovers. Mei Er is lustful but is never in need of money. That leaves Chun Mei to be the only culprit as she is an impulsive gambler.

Bing has recognized her weaving traits at first glance. Chun Mei runs to Jiu Ling for help but he kills her.
Chong Wei appears and Qing Xia stands beside him. Chong Wei shakes his head – he never expects Jiu Ling to do this to an old friend. Xiao Feng and Chong Wei have a duel. Chong Wei has mastered the Chun Qiu sword manual but Xiao Feng deliberately takes two needles to blind him. He wants justice to be done and Jiu Ling is sent to jail.

Actual ending
Bing is a member of the red shoe sect and Da Niang is the head. Fei Yan is also a member so Da Niang gets Xiu to be trapped with his riches forever in the chamber as punishment. Bing is killed by Jiu Ling.

Guest stars :

Xue Bing – Zhu Hong
She makes a fine choice – pretty, highly skilled and intelligent. The part of her weaving in the garden is fascinating. Why Xiao Feng is so scared of her – she can be a spitfire at times. I think she is the most outstanding among the rest as she delivers herself well.

Jiang Chong Wei – Ng Doi Yong
He is becoming like Tong Chun Yip – how he ages rapidly! I can hardly recognize him as he also puts on a lot of weight. His long face has turned round – oh – what has happened to him?!

Jin Jiu Ling – Ng Yin Yip
I wonder why he isn’t selected to act in the iron shoe bandit segment so somehow the link is broken. Another veteran ATV actor who shows his versatile acting as the villain concealed by a mask. He gives a chilling air that all shiver.

Part 6 – dragon dancing for 9 days

Prince Tai Ping’s daughter, Princess Yu Ping is kidnapped so the prince is furious. Xiao Feng prefers to stay out of trouble. But seeing Yue Yang and Beef Soup on a ship, he tags along to see what they are doing. The typhoon causes them to be stranded on a remote island. But it isn’t as simple as it seems. It is full of pugilists and there is this attractive Sha Man who wins his heart at first sight.

Xiao Feng learns that Princess Yu Ping is locked on the island. Everything is controlled by Gong Jiu. Jiu even kidnaps pugilists and locks them up in statues. He only feeds them a scoop of beef soup daily before collecting their ransom. Xiao Feng saves Yu Ping and others with the court officials but Jiu and Sha Man go missing. Xiao Feng sends Yu Ping home but Jiu suddenly appears from behind. Thus it is clear that he is the mastermind. Sha Man is actually Jiu’s woman whom he dotes on after saving her from a brothel.

Jiu is the young prince and he wants to kill his father for killing his mother so that he can marry Yu Ping’s mother. The prince denies it – his first wife is actually an undercover agent from a rival country. Unable to face him when her identity is revealed, she kills herself. Unable to suffer from the pain, she requests the prince to kill her. That is how Jiu mistakens it when seeing it.

Jiu yells and turns berserk, using his evil skills, wanting to kill all of them. Yu Ping is already dead on the island as he has fed her to the wolves. The imposter is Beef Soup. Sha Man appears, pretending to be his mother talking to him. The poor man gets more confused but his skills remains powerful. Xiao Feng has no choice but to use ‘dragon dancing for 9 days’ to subdue him.

Jiu remains a zombie after over exerting himself. Beef soup remains beside him to take care of him. Xiao Feng wanders around with Sha Man and has a good time.

Actual ending
Beef Soup is Jiu’s biological sister who helps him in his evil ways. Jiu is a pervert who loves people whipping him. Xiao Feng has a final duel with him. Out of so many weapons, he chooses the whip to affect his moods and kill him with a stroke right at his heart.

Guest stars :

Sha Man – Fan Wen Fang
As much as I wish to support a local Singaporean, I still find her acting not up to mark and she doesn’t warm up to the role. I don’t know why but I find her too westernized in her stances. Moreover, she is too tall for a periodic maiden.

Gong Jiu – He Zhi Feng
He is okay looking but his acting is less than undesirable. The final scene exposes this weakness completely. This is a Mou Hap drama but he makes Jiu a Qiong Yao character.

Beef Soup – Li Qian
I find her not sexy enough. She is supposed to seduce Xiao Feng but she lacks the charm and skill.

Part 7 – duel before and after

Ye Gu Cheng and Chui Xue decide to have a duel at the top of the imperial palace on Mooncake festival. All get engross to bet on the winner. Du Tong Xuan and Li Yan Bei are two who bet on it. Li bets his whole fortune on Chui Xue winning and is ambushed in an attack. He suspects to be Tong Xuan’s doing.

Xiao Feng isn’t sure what is going on and learns from his confidante and also a courtesan, Ou Yang Qing that Du is killed. To seek out the killer, he asks his friend Gui Sun to find Da Tong Da Zhi. The two knows everything from the pugilistic world. Xiao Feng realizes that Gui Sun is the two but he is killed by a poisonous snake. He only reveals the word ‘horse’ before his death.

Yan Bei and Qing are also poisoned at Yan Bei’s home. Yan Bei dies while Qing’s life is in danger. Xiao Feng knows that she is poisoned by the Xi Yu cold poison. He seeks the help of Reverend Sheng Tong and Gu Cheng. The former can’t do anything while Gu Cheng can’t even clear Tang clan’s poison. He has killed Tang Tian Rong in the inn to get hurt instead. A snake hisses and Gu Cheng kills it on time.

Xiao Feng then seeks help from the imperial city’s sculpture Zhang. He gets clue about Nan Ping Prince residence. Xiao Feng is later poisoned by Yan Bei’s 13th wife. Luckily Chui Xue arrives to save him and Qing on time. Qing wakes up and takes out a jade. It is taken from a customer – an eunuch. Xiao Feng checks it with an imperial guard to learn that it belongs to Nan Ping residence. Xiao Feng is sure that the deaths are connected to it.

Chui Xue practices his skills in the garden. His standard has dipped and Xiu Qing also detects that. She knows that he has slackened a bit due to being with her. Chui Xue has full concentration on his practice and nothing else can bother him. Xiu Qing frowns upon seeing that.

Chui Xue and Gu Cheng are now on the rooftop. Not everyone can get into the palace as they need Zi Yun’s shiny ribbons. He has given out 5 ribbons but Xiao Feng is puzzled that more than 20 people turn up. The duel starts and ends with Chui Xue wanting to postpone it as he can see that Gu Cheng isn’t ready. When Gu Cheng reaches the ground, Tian Rong’s younger brother throws the same poisonous powder at him. Gu Cheng shakes a while after inhaling the powder and stumbles to the ground.

He dies but all notice that he is wearing a mask. Xiao Feng removes it to discover that he is Reverend Sheng Tong. Where is the real Gu Cheng? Xiao Feng hurries into the imperial study where the emperor is. Nan Ping young prince is now there. He has a striking resemblance to the emperor and attempts to take over his position. He has enlisted Eunuch Wang – the emperor’s favourite and also Gu Cheng’s help. Gu Cheng’s ancestors own the dynasty before the emperor’s rule. So they have trapped the king.

Xiao Feng hurries on time and Chui Xue appears to fend off Gu Cheng’s sword. The two are back on the roof. Chui Xue gives him time to calm down and he requests to speak to Xiao Feng. How does he see through his scheme? He replies that he sees that Gu Cheng is agile in killing the snake so he isn’t poisoned. Gu Cheng must have not expected Chui Xue to save Qing too.

Xiao Feng also notices that Gu Cheng’s sword is light but the imposter’s sword is heavy. Gu Cheng has his questions answered and gets ready for the duel. Both swordsmen promise to take care of each other’s sword if one party dies. Gu Cheng loses and is dead. Chui Xue buries him and will carry out his promise. He feels lonely as he has lost a worthy opponent. So he pours wine at his grave and drinks the rest on his own.

Guest stars :

Ye Gu Cheng – Yan Kuan
What a trendy swordsman to have such a long fringe. But I must say that he is the right person for the role as he shows airs when handling the sword. The way he settles in the inn after stepping on others’ heads is breath-taking. Dressed in white, he towers over the rest. His stances are good and he is at top form to play the merciless role. Although he only appears for 2 episodes, he delivers a fine performance. I think he even fairs better than Run Dong who is Chui Xue!

Old Gui Sun - Wong Yat Fei
He is the only person who knows where Da Kong and Da Zhi are. The two know every secret but no one has seen them except Sun. But in order to know the secret, the person must throw in the money before they will answer the question. The reality is Gui Sun is them. He knows his life is at risk so he doesn’t not dare to reveal his real face to the world.

The emperor – Yao Zhuo Jun
The emperor should be firm and decisive but he is weak and requires constant protection. Sometimes, I feel like bashing him up. He should be able to stand firmly against Gu Cheng without fear but he behaves like a coward. He has no royalty air at all.

Ou Yang Qing – He Dan Dan
She is another woman of Xiao Feng who is a courtesan. But she only sleeps with monks or eunuchs as they can’t do anything to her at all. She is genuine to Xiao Feng and doesn’t want any other man to touch her.
She looks bored and is also stupid to get drugged repeatedly.

Part 8 – the smile of god of swords

After Gu Cheng’s death, his mansion is burned to ashes but no one knows who the culprits are. Chui Xue is saddened upon knowing this. He invites Xiao Feng to have wine with him. Xiao Feng smells a purpose for it. True indeed, he wants him to look for his brother-in-law, Liu Cheng Feng. He is Xiu Qing’s brother who belongs to Ba San sect. He has gone missing for 3 months after giving him his master’s jade pendant. Chui Xue and Xiao Feng decide to go to places separately to search for him.

Chui Xue reaches Ba San sect and tests that the head, Qiu Ding Feng is an imposter. How can the renowned swordsman not recognize Gu Cheng’s sword when he passes to him to take a look? He discusses this with Xiao Feng. Xiao Feng goes to Huang Shi Town where Cheng Feng is last seen there. He is disturbed to find that Ding Feng is already killed there. An innkeeper, Sha and his wife look suspicious to him. Someone attacks him at night but he manages to get her shoe.

The palace’s guard, Wang Xiong also comes to the town. Cheng Feng is also an undercover like him so he comes to look for him as he doesn’t return after his mission. Both examine the body but find no clues. A mysterious old man comes to the town with his wife to stay at the same inn too. Xiao Feng discovers a map.

Xiao Feng gets to meet a concubine in exile, Gong Su Su. Su Su tells about her past. The prince has discovered her adultery with a gardener. He kills the gardener and throws her out of his residence after engraving the word ‘crime’ on her left temple. That is why she wears a veil and is so lonely. Xiao Feng secretly measures her shoe size but is puzzled that it doesn’t fit.

Xiao Feng goes to the graveyard and examines Cheng Feng’s body. He realizes that he has the powder that Su Su uses on him. Wang Xiong, Su Su, Sha and his wife arrive. Before Eunuch Wang is poisoned to death by the emperor, he has gotten Wang Xiong to look for Gu Cheng’s home treasure. They confess that they have killed Cheng Feng when he discovers them eyeing the treasure map that he keeps with him.

Cheng Feng has hoped to give his master a last chance. But he also knows that his chance of survival is slim. That is why he gets his authority jade to pass to Chui Xue in case anything happens. Su Su plants her sword into Xiao Feng’s heart and he dies instantly.

The four use the map and come to the location. But they can’t enter it as it has a lock. Xiao Feng suddenly appears and pushes in the sword to open it. The four are puzzled on how he can be alive but their puzzled expression is totally engulfed by excitement when they see the treasure. Only Ding Feng is alert and recognizes the sword which belongs to Gu Cheng. Ding Feng laughs and exposes his disguise when Xiao Feng reveals his identity.

Xiao Feng also removes his mask. He is not Xiao Feng – he is Chui Xue! Chui Xue has looked at the sword for long and discovers that the tip looks like a key. Gu Cheng must have anticipated that he will not leave long and his family will be implicated. Still, he doesn’t want the evil eunuch to get hold of the property that he wants to revive his family’s glory. That is why he entrusts Chui Xue to take his sword.

And sure indeed, Chui Xue loves it so much and has it all along with him. The old couple walk in – they are Xiao Feng and Zai Xing who have been following them for long. Zai Xing has planned the disguise. Xiao Feng and Chui Xue have examined the map too – they dip it in water and the path to the location is traced out. Being lazy to explore, they leave the four to do the searching for them.

Su Su is puzzled on why Chui Xue isn’t killed by her. Su Su is Ding Feng’s daughter so she is also skilled. Chui Xue also knows to shift his acupoints like Man Lou so he isn’t hurt at all. He kills all of them with a stroke. Su Su is bitter over their deaths and wants to avenge them but is also killed. Before her death, she tells Xiao Feng that she has never wanted to kill him.

Xiao Feng understands as he also likes her. The three walk out and Zai Xing requests to have a share of it. Chui Xue says no as he will submit all to the court. Zai Xing laments that he has worked in vain. Xiao Feng and Zai Xing notice that Chui Xue smiles for the first time. Why can’t he smile as he isn’t a dead man?

Guest star :

Gong Su Su – Bo Yan An
Pretty and elegant, no wonder she wins Xiao Feng’s heart. But forced by circumstances, she has to do her parents’ bidding and ends up destroying herself. Ya An is quite capable in presenting the agony that Su Su has to face when she is forced to kill Xiao Feng. She has enchanting eyes that seem to walk out of the book.

Part 9 – Yin Gou gambling den

Xi Fang Evil Sect’s leader, Yu Luo Sha has an only son, Tian Bao who is killed. Yin Gou Gambling Den’s owner, Blue Beard frames Xiao Feng for this to clear his name. He wants to find back the sect’s authority, Luo Sha pendant. Tian Bao has left the pendant as a mortgage after he loses money. But his ex-wife, Li Xia has stolen it and is missing.

Yu Luo Sha dies recently when he is attacked. According to the sect, whoever gets the pendant can be the new sect leader. Xiao Feng doesn’t want to be dragged into the picture but the two sect leaders, Gu Song and Ku Zhu search him out. He has no choice but to agree to this. Blue Beard shows Xiao Feng a painting. It has Xia, her cousin Ding Xiang Yi, Blue Beard’s second wife Chen Jing Jing and Xiang Yi’s maid, Xiao Xiang. All have gone into hiding after taking the pendant.

Xiao Feng meets Xiang Yi at the town and discovers that she knows everything. He gets the pendant easily so he knows that it isn’t real. He learns that Xiang Yi is the black pigeon messenger from the black tiger sect. But judging from her ability, he knows that she isn’t a simple woman. Xiao Feng tails Xia but finds her killed by a tiger. He obtains the pendant but Xiang Yi attacks his acupoint to immoblize him.

Jing Jing comes at this time to poison Xiang Yi with needles. She wants to control the evil sect. However, Gu Song and Ku Zhu kill her for it. They also burn the hut to make Xiao Feng believe that Xiang Yi is killed. However, Xiao Feng sees through their scheme to save her out. He tells the elders that the pendant isn’t real too. Now he has come across two replicas and he recognizes them as Ting’ works.

He affirms from Ting that Blue Beard is the one to tell him to make them. He confronts Blue Beard. Blue Beard admits to all the doings. He is the black tiger sect leader. The pendant is with him all along. He has made use of Xiao Feng to stall for time so that he can control the evil sect at their meeting on the seventh day of the seventh month. He has forced Xiang Yi to work for him but Xiang Yi only wishes to get away from his control. She treats Xiang Xiang well like her own sister.

Out of so many women, he only trusts Xiang Xiang. Xiang Xiang wipes off his sweat with a handkerchief before placing it into his clothes. Ku Zhu also knocks Gu Song out. He has betrayed his sect as he dislikes an incompetent Tian Bao and Blue Beard has bribed him. Xiao Feng has a duel with Blue Beard and he wears a hand protection with sharp claws. That makes Xiao Feng hard to deal with him.

Rain suddenly drips and Blue Beard finds a sharp pain at his chest. He looks down and discovers blood spreading. He takes out the handkerchief to find flesh eating worms in it. Xiang Xiang’s father, Yu Fei is killed by him in the past so she wants to seek revenge. Yu Luo Sha appears to kill Ku Zhu to revenge for Tian Bao. He has feigned his own death to retrieve the pendant.

Xiao Feng smiles – he has found it doubtful that he dies so easily and this explains that. He sends Xiang Xiang to meet Xiang Yi again and both are reconciled.

Guest stars :

Ding Xiang Yi – Chung Suk Wai
What a surprise to find her in this drama – but also a pity that she doesn’t act in the same scene as Doi Yung. Her role is limited as the attention is all on Blue Beard.

Blue Beard – Ng Yik Jeung
It has been a long time since we see him on television. I still find him exaggerating in many scenes. He is behaving like another Man Tse Leung.

Part 10 – the ghost mansion

Xiao Feng is now running away from Chui Xue who is hot on his heels after him. Why? He has slept with Xiu Qing on the same bed when drunk and Chui Xue is enraged. To avoid him, Xiao Feng stays in the ghost mansion with the ghost messenger’s help. Ye Gu Hong is Gu Cheng’s cousin who thinks very highly of himself to spar with Xiao Feng. His confidence is crushed when learning from Xiao Feng that he is far behind Gu Cheng and Chui Xue.

Xiao Feng has to use all his might to avoid Chui Xue’s strokes but only needs to use his fingers to hold Gu Hong’s sword with a stroke. When he reaches the mansion, he is received by the owner, Lao Dao Ba Zi. His two sisters, Xue and Ling blame Xiao Feng for killing Gu Hong. Xiao Feng shakes his head upon knowing the truth. The arrogant Gu Hong is so disillusioned for losing that he kills himself.

Upon observation, Xiao Feng discovers that those supposedly dead villains are all alive here. The two sisters love Xiao Feng so Lao Dao Ba Zi gets Xiao Feng engaged to Xue. Ling is bitter over this and reveals a secret. Her father, Ling Feng is missing for 15 years since she is 5 years old. Xiao Feng finds him nearby. He is now a disfigured man but wants Xiao Feng not to tell the sisters about it.

Lao Dao Ba Zi organizes a ‘Tian Le’ mission. They are to reach Wu Dang in three batches. The thirteenth of April will be the coronation ceremony of the new leader, Shi Yan. Lao Dao Ba Zi wants to get rid of him, Elder Taoist Wood, Reverend Ku Jie and also the famous escort, Eagle Eye 7. They are to steal the secret book in the Taoist crown. It tells about the dirty secrets of all pugilists.

They steal the crown and later hold a celebration. Xiao Feng reveals Lao Dao Ba Zi’s disguise – actually the others are subdued by the real pugilists. With Zai Xing’s help, they undergo disguises. The real motive is actually to steal Shi Yan’s seven star sword. Taoist Wood kills Lao Dao Ba Zi. They discover that he is the ghost messenger. But Xiao Feng isn’t convinced that he is the culprit.

The pugilists have planned this mission after learning about the presence of the mysterious ghost mansion through Shi Yan. He has found an ex-disciple, Gu Yun Fei who should be dead long ago to return to his sect to mumble the four words before his death. He gets all his friends to Wu Dang and all decide that Xiao Feng will be the best person to check it out. But what reason can they think of?

They think of Chui Xue and raise the suggestion to him. They have thought that he will disagree to it as this might tarnish his reputation. To their surprise, he agrees readily! He has never chased Xiao Feng before and finds this game ‘interesting’. Bored with no opponent at hand and Man Lou has preferred to look after his flowers than sparring, he jumps at the idea.

But he warns Xiao Feng that he will take it for real. Xiao Feng must run for his dear life as his sword skills are merciless. Sure indeed, Xiao Feng gets so exhausted and is truly frightened through getting away from him each time. He complains to the rest that he will need a long break after breaking this case.

Xiao Feng brings his doubts to the ghost mansion and sees that all are harmed. He only manages to save Ling. A dying Ling Feng reveals to Xiao Feng that only Ling is his daughter among the children and he dies. Xiao Feng rushes back to Wu Dang to learn that Shi Yan has died of an illness and Taoist Wood is going to take over. Xiao Feng tells the rest about this. He has found it suspicious that Shi Yan hasn’t involved Shi Yan in their mission but is unable to tell them why.

15 years ago, Taoist Wood wants to be Wu Dang’s leader but he is unable to as he is married with Xue and Gu Hong. Thus, he trusts them and his wife to Ye Ling Feng before joining the sect. The two fall in love unexpectedly and Ling is born. They have set up the ghost mansion but Taoist Wood hits Ling Feng down the cliff to have his revenge.

With no evidence at hand, Xiao Feng and his friends can only sigh as they watch Taoist Wood wearing the crown. Ling comes to assassinate him. Learning from others that Taoist Wood has killed Lao Dao Ba Zi, Xue joins forces with Ling to kill him. Xiao Feng manages to stop Taoist Wood from piercing Ling’s throat with his Ling Xi finger.

But all do not expect Xue to thrust her sword right into Taoist Wood’s back. Taoist Wood laughs bitterly before dying. Xiao Feng has no heart to tell Xue that she has killed her own father by mistake. The others also decide to keep it from her.

Guest stars :

Taoist Wood – Lin Chong
His acting is passable but all of us can see his face right under the veil. Why can’t Xiao Feng?

Ye Xue – Li Mei
She is the older daughter. Reckless and defiant, she wants her things her way. She suits the role well as she is also pretty.

Ye Ling – Cai Xiao Xia
She is the younger daughter. Can someone avoid using totally red coloured costumes? She tries to act cute but too bad this backfires. She is the ugliest among the beauties.

Main stars

1. Lu Xiao Feng – Cheung Chi Lam
Witty, handsome but a man who loves many women, he can’t be tied down. He is known as the man with 4 eyebrows because of his moustache. He is also famous for his Ling Xi finger and that is why opponents appear wherever he goes. But he is more eager to solve mysteries and he keeps poking into other people’s affairs. He hardly loses his cool but is sometimes forced to kill if circumstances are beyond his control.

My first reaction to Cheung being selected to act as Xiao Feng – can he do it with his boyish face? On second thoughts, Chi Lam always delivers above average performances so it might not be so bad. It comes as a pleasant surprise. He handles well, presenting his wisdom in every case. He shows maturity here. His dressing is the same as the number of cases – he has a different costume each time – the clothes unit is very generous to loan 10 sets to him indeed.

His sparking eyes show that he is alert. His age fits the role too. Moreover, he shows the laziness and charm that Xiao Feng often displays. Chilam was named the most popular actor at the 2007 CCTV acting awards ceremony. His portrayal of "Lu Xiao Feng" gained widespread popularity when it was aired.

2. Hua Man Lou – Zhang Zhi Yao
He is blinded during a misfortune but never blames his fate. He remains warm and cheerful to manage his father’s bank and his alert sense of smell helps Xiao Feng to solve many cases. Although Fei Yan deceives him of his love, he doesn’t blame him. He only shakes his head over her misfortune after she is killed. Zhi Yao has played his part well as the blind and loving gentleman. It is a pity he doesn’t appear in later stories as he holds the forte well in the second story to tell how Man Lou is blinded.

3. Xi Men Chui Xue – He Run Dong
He is an unfeeling swordsman who is interested in swords than anything else. Nothing moves him till he meets Xiu Qing. Before this, he only knows how to kill and not how to save. She is the first who also melts him and he marries her. He also treasures chances with his opponents so that he can have a fair duel. He dislikes people using ugly means so he will show no mercy to kill them.

When I see him walking out, I nod. But when seeing how he acts, I shake my head. His Chui Xue is too aloof and arrogant to my liking. He is a misfit. He has admitted that he has not read the novel before so he makes him look like his bodyguard instead. He has this irritating habit of twisting his mouth when he talks. The only bonus is his height.

Moreover, the producer makes a serious mistake. Chui Xue will never touch wine as he believes that wine blurs a person’s judgment easily. But this Chui Xue drinks wine more than once! That is why he is curious how Xiao Feng can still maintain his high skills despite having women, drink and also gamble!

4. Si Kong Zai Xing – Cheung Tat Ming
He is a thief and also a master of disguise. Although he betrays Xiao Feng once, he has no hesitations to go through thick and thin with him. His voice is as irritating as his acting. I find him acting the same way as he portrays Sung Sai Kit. That is why others go far but he doesn’t.

5. Sun Xiu Qing - Liu Shi Shi
She is gentle and loves animals. That is why she also wins his heart. She makes this role dull as her actions are very forced.

Conclusion

After watching a few disastrous and undesirable China Wen Rui An’s adaptations, I did consider giving up watching this drama to save myself from heartaches. But since it is shown free on television, I decide to give it a try. Can it do as well as Liang Yu Sheng or Jin Yong works?

It is not easy to translate a Gu Long drama on television. This China drama creates history but editing it short, unlike others which lengthens by hours. I have read this novel before and must confess that the editing is necessary. It becomes simple and also mysterious – just like his style. However, I don’t really like the first three created stories which are not his works. The style fits but the endings are too easy to guess.

The beginning three stories turn me giddy as I am unfamiliar with the China cast. The second segment have 5 of the suspects trapped in the dungeon but I can’t differentiate one from another! I am contemplating of stopping then but curiosity engulfs me to carry on. When watching the true adaptations, I get more engaged in the story line. Even though there are slight changes, they are still acceptable.

It is good to give all the actresses exposure for different segments as this shows what a kind of man Xiao Feng is. He loves to be with different woman at all times to be unfeeling to them as he can’t settle down. All his love relationships stop abruptly after each story, which is close to the novel. 007 Bond girls are available and Xiao Feng has no lack of Feng girls too.

Gu Long has described Chui Xue as a top swordsman. This drama brings out the essence of it. Many might grumble that he finishes many villains off within a few strokes. If he needs to spar with his opponents for 100 strokes, he is no longer considered an expert. He kills many within one stroke – just like the novel. He only knows how to kill. Although his strokes are simple, they are very effective. When he draws the sword, he will also draw the blood.

I have enough of cheesy computer graphic effects from China productions. Fortunately, the fighting scenes here reduce the use of it to the minimal. They are also done appropriately. All must not miss the part on how Chui Xue causes ripples in the stream with his sword. The showdown with Gu Cheng is also a bonus. Both are famous pugilists but they cherish each other’s talents.

My only complain is - Xiao Feng’s Ling Xi finger doesn’t look as formidable as he should be as his scenes are lesser. Most of the time, we only get to see him talking or walking. But I applaud at the parts where he looks into the minute details. There are playbacks so that all can follow the parts and not get lost on the way. It depicts how observant and nosey he is.

If not for the China cast, I could have mistaken it to be a Hong Kong production. The director is clever to get some Hong Kong artistes to star the meat roles for some segments. Even though they only make cameo appearances, they get the audience to become more involved in the cases. If not, how are we going to retain our interest? But it also shows the harsh reality of the artistes who are past their prime. Time and tide wait for no man. They are no longer young but they are able to show that their acting abilities still stay.

Unlike other over the mill productions, this version is considered truthful to the novel. Credit must be given to Chi Lam for being so outstanding in pulling through the 20 episodes. Plus amazing beauties to build up the base, it is a worthy production which you may wish to lend your time to.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

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


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