Xiao Ao Jiang Hu

Reviewed by: ~Dan~

July 22, 2008

Rating: five

An Overview:
Based on Jinyong's novel "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer" we follow our hero Linghu Chong through many adventures. We journey through, love, ambition, betrayal, friendship and much more.

The Cast:
Li Yapeng as Linghu Chong (8.5/10)
I enjoyed his performance as he did very well overall. He really does bring out the playful Linghu Chong. However, sometimes his serious mood is a bit compromised and bland. I also felt that a vast amount of screen time was given to Linghu Chong. I didn't really mind, but an effect was overused of Linghu Chong and underdevelopment of others. There was great chemistry between Linghu Chong and Ren Yingying. Other than some minor flaws he was very good.

Xu Qing as Ren Yingying (9.5/10)
This was definitely the best performance for me. She began as a mysterious and ruthless individual who's face is hidden. She is the type of character that you want to see what happens to her (and anticipate to see.) Ren Yingying (Holy Maiden) kind of keeps you in it during the slower beginning. Xu Qing's acting was incredibly good and very smooth. The only fault in her character (or perhaps script) was that she became very sweet in the latter part of the story. Nevertheless, very strong and even Jinyong appointed her the best Ren Yingyin.

The other characters:
Yue Lingshan (8.0/10)
Played the nice but somewhat naive role well.

Yue Bunqun (8.5/10)
Both his good and bad sides are done smoothly.

Lin Pingzhi (7.0/10)
He as average for me, sometimes I felt he was fake and even annoying.

Madam Yue (8.5/10)
She had the motherly role down pat.

Plot (8.5/10)
Other than some nagging changes from the book, it stayed true to it. I really wished they devoted more time and lines for the Linghu Chong-Ren Yingyin relationship. But it's probably shown through actions we see how their relationship grows. It was somewhat slow in the first several episodes, but that might have been needed to developed story. From then on, it's a really good moving pace.

Look and effects (10/10)
Give them credit, the technicals were outstanding. Amazing scenery from all around China. The fights and effects were done incredibly well. It never felt that the special effects
were ever misused. There was great attention to detail and the camera followed the characters.

Music (7.5/10)
As many have mentioned, music isn't exactly it's strongest point. It's really a hit or miss. I thought it wasn't bad. But most of the music was melancholic or suspenseful (and that part was good.) But it missed some fun and happy music which always lighten the mood.

My Favorite scenes:
-Whenever the six immortals bicker.
-The epic bamboo fight.
-The impressive needle/threading fight with Dongfang Bubai.
-When Yingying plays along and pretends to be from the brothel(very very funny).

A must watch, I definitely prefer this one over the 96 version. This is for sure one of my favorites.

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Xiao Ao Jiang Hu

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