Master Swordsman Lu Xiao Feng II


Reviewed by: sukting

February 25, 2005

Rating: three

Review Part II


Cast
Luk Siu Fung - Suen Yiu Wai (seldom sings now and acts in Taiwanese serials like Princess Huaiyu)
Sai Moon Chui Suet - Li Ming Shun (Yang Guo in TCS version of Return of Condor Heroes)
Far Moon Lau - Chen Tai Ming
Suen Sau Qing - Fang Ji Wei (Taiwanese actress/singer)
See Hung Chap Sing – Ma Yong

Introduction:
This is the continuation of the review on Master Swordsman Lu Xiao Feng II. It comes in 2 stories – 5 episodes each. They are "The Devil Swordsman" and "Phoenix Dancing For 9 Days". Thus this review is divided into two. The television station finally decided to show it in 2005 – which was close to 4 years after the first part was shown. That is long to make this review a complete one.

The devil swordsman (it has nothing to do with Gu Long’s novel)

Guest Stars
Duen Yi – Chang Ru Feng (ex-TCS star search male award winner. He recently acts in Taiwanese or China series) – very raw in acting. I can’t believe that he is the winner.

Nu Siu Fung – Ying Bao Long - Old Nu’s granddaughter who carries a torch for Luk. This actress tries too hard to act cute which doesn’t go along well with me.

Old Nu – Yin Du Cheng - Xiao Feng’s grandfather who sells wine in the fishing village. He is Duen Yi’s servant who locks Duen Yi up for his own good.

Monk Fu Gua – Zhang Pei Hua - he is old Nu’s friend but he has another hidden identity. He looks very fierce as a monk with a killing look. No wonder his cover is blown easily.

Ding – Liu Chong Cheng - Luk’s disciple but he also has another secret. Quite unexpected as he seems so silly and gullible.

Story
Luk decides to lead a peaceful life in a fishing village. But he can never change his philandering ways. He looks at pretty women lustfully, when they wash their feet by the river. He befriends Xiao Feng. Seeing that she has the same name as him, he calls himself ‘chicken’.

See Hung happens to see Duen Yi with a good sword and laments that he is unsuitable to have it. Duen Yi is angered and defeats him. See Hung reveals that only Luk and Sai Moon are fit to have it. Duen Yi decides to seek Sai Moon out. Sai Moon is disappointed that the sword making family’s descendents do not do a good job and complains this to Fu Gua. The descendents are killed at night and the constables suspect Sai Moon of the killings.

Fu Gua clears his name and Duen Yi informs Sau Qing to bail him Sai Moon out. Fu Gua arranges them to stay in his temple and has a friendly match with Sai Moon. He promises to deal with the villains when the need arises. When the couple returns home, Duen Yi gets a midwife and servants to take care of them. Sai Moon comes to blows with him as he hasn’t seen him before. Sau Qing stops the fight and both become good friends.

Luk has a lure for wine but old Nu is with Ku Gua upon discovering that Duen Yi is missing. Both men worry that he will create havoc in the pugilistic world. Siu Fung deceives him in digging the ground everywhere to search for the wine bottles. He happens to see three precious swords but he buries them back.

Duen Yi is unhappy that Sai Moon has no desire to rule the pugilistic world like him. Sai Moon is going to be a father soon so his main concern is to retreat to the wilds to have a simple life with his family. But his love for swords will never die. Duen Yi is disappointed as he wants him to go into the realms with him. It looks like he has looked for the wrong person. Duen Yi claims that his sword becomes unworthy to stay with him and offers to give it to Sai Moon as a gift. Sai Moon exchanges it with his own sword. Duen Yi accepts the arrangement.

Luk uses up all his money and wants to steal. But he doesn’t wish to frame Sai Hung for it. He becomes a masked man at night and sees a clumsy man, Ding practicing his skills. Luk shakes his head and demonstrates a few strokes. He then feigns that he has transferred some of his inner energy to him to break a rock into two. He gets 300 taels from him after giving the gullible chap a so-called secret manual which is only written for 3 pages!

He returns to buy wine from Siu Fung. He boasts of his past romances and gets drunk. He is initially baffled to see someone in bed with him and is relieved that it isn’t Siu Fung but Sai Hung instead. Sai Hung tries in vain to ask him to come out of retreat and finds out from him that the precious swords are buried nearby. He is about to sell them when Old Nu returns to snatch them from him.

Sau Qing’s master is killed and Sau Qing suspects that her wound is caused by Sai Moon’s sword. She is alarmed upon seeing Sai Moon holding another sword and suspects that Duen Yi uses Sai Moon’s sword to kill her master. Now, she feels that Duen Yi behaves oddly and advises Sai Moon to be more wary of making friends. Both are taken aback when they find Duen Yi dressing like Sai Moon and he wants to be sworn brothers with Sai Moon.

Earlier, Duen Yi has humiliated Sai Hung for being a thief and unfit to be Sai Moon’s friend. This offends Sai Hung, thinking that this is what Sai Moon thinks of him. Sai Moon declines as he doesn’t want to be rash over his decision. Duen Yi hates Sau Qing for it and confronts her. She nearly has a miscarriage and tells Sai Moon her fears. She can never forget how he stares at her and doesn’t want him to be with Yi. Sai Moon finds her overworrying.

Luk fishes at the river and is uneasy when Ding complains about his ‘master’. Luk spars with him and pretends to be defeated by him, indicating how much his skills have improved. Later, Ding gives him a hard kick unexpectedly and Luk feels the blow on his chest. He laments that Ding should have warned him and not to injure him by surprise.

Fu Gua visits his friend, Old Nu and wishes him to tell the truth. Duen Yi is the younger son of the famous Duen family. He goes berserk after practicing skills and kills his father and elder brother. So he has to lock him up but he still escapes. They hope to find him soon. See Hung also finds Duen Yi suspicious and gets seriously injured after tailing him.

Duen Yi gives Sai Moon a new house and finally, Sai Moon follows Sau Qing’s advice to ask Fu Gua about Duen Yi’s background. At this time, she is attacked by a masked Duen Yi and has a miscarriage. She is nearly killed if not for her seniors who save her on time. Sai Moon is worried upon seeing Sau Qing missing near the cliff.

Luk manages to save See Hung and hurries to search for Sai Moon to inform him of the danger. He only gets to meet Far. Far is drawing and borrows Luk’s Leng Sau’s finger to dip red ink to finish the plum blossom drawing. They are concerned over Sai Moon. Far reveals Duen’s background.

The Duen and Yip families are top sword experts. Duen’s elder son, Bun is average in skills while Yi is more talented. Mrs Duen is much younger than old Duen and is childish. Thus he engages a tutor to teach her calligraphy after Bun’s birth. She is talented but he neglects her after Yi’s birth. He treats Yi badly too.

There are 8 levels of Duen’s skills but most only reach level 5 because the last 3 levels are too vicious. He is also puzzled why there is no trace of them for 25 years.

Sau Qing wants to tell Sai Moon of the danger and defies her seniors’ orders to stay at Ngor Mei. She is at the forest to get killed by a masked man. (What a brainless woman – she might survive if she stays to wait for him. Why doesn’t she send out a message pigeon? ). He is devastated upon seeing her dead.

Luk attends the funeral but leaves Sai Moon to weep alone at her grave. Duen Yi comes and declares that only her death will cause Sai Moon to be a total swordsman. Sai Moon is enraged and spars with him. Someone takes Duen Yi away. Luk is still worried over Sai Moon and is alarmed to feel that his pulse is in turmoil and manages to save him. Both are puzzled on who saves the unsociable Duen Yi.

Sai Moon becomes calm and recalls that Duen Yi is mad since age 15 onwards. He kills Sau Qing, her master and seriously injures See Hung. Luk tries to see what is in common among the three. Sai Moon recalls that Duen Yi knows the Buddhist precepts from India and not from China although he never leaves China. So who teaches him these?

True enough, Fu Gua saves him but he refuses to eat. See Hung wants to look for more treasures in old Nu’s home and he provokes Duen Yi. Old Nu locks him up to seal the secret but wo can trap the king of thieves? He flees to tell Sai Moon and Luk the news. Old Nu tells Siu Fung to take Duen Yi away as he wants to pay his last respects to his master.

He spars with a masked man and gets killed. Duen Yi becomes friends with Siu Fung after saving her from falling from a cliff.

The three friends are astonished to find Old Nu dead. There are the words ‘Fu Gua’ written in blood on the ground. Luk is puzzled on why he has many wounds but the fatal one is on the chest. This is unlike the victims’ symptoms. Siu Fung and Duen Yi wait in vain for Old Nu’s arrival and return to find him buried by Ding.

Luk finds Fu Gua and Fu Gua confesses to all the killings but denies to have anything to do with Old Nu’s death. He kills Sau Qing for hindering Duen Yi to be Sai Moon’s friend and her master for looking down on his temple.
In his younger days, he gets into the Duen family as Mrs Duen’s teacher to find a chance to learn Old Duen’s skills.

He manages to get it but also has Duen Yi as a result. His only regret is not taking them away to cause so much torture to Duen Yi. He trains Duen Yi in secret although he is being locked up. However, he doesn’t expect him to turn mad.

Fu Gua poisons Luk when Luk points out how Fu Gua has broken all the 6 precepts rules. See Hung and Sai Moon wait outside the hut and surround Fu Gua. Sai Moon is determined to spar with Fu Gua alone so the two leave him. Fu Gua suddenly disappears in the midst of the duel as Duen Yi turns mad to run to him.

Fu Gua doesn’t expect him to kill him with his sword. Duen Yi refuses to believe that he is his father. Sai Moon wants to end Duen Yi’s life as he causes Sau Qing’s death indirectly. Fu Gua pleads him to let him go before his death because Duen Yi has seek revenge for him. Luk and See Hung also manage to persuade Sai Moon to change his mind as Duen Yi is pitiful. No one will have the heart to tell him that he kills his own father.

Siu Fung takes care of him as she knows that this must be Old Nu’s wish. Luk is about to sleep at night but ponders why Fu Gua denies killing Old Nu. He suddenly jumps upon remembering something. Sure indeed, Ding is about to kill Duen Yi when Siu Fung stops him.

He does this not entirely because Siu Fung doesn’t love him but also old Duen kill his father and he wants to seek revenge. Both do not expect Luk to exchange places with Duen Yi on the bed.He doesn’t wish to kill Ding but he isn’t happy with him holding Siu Fung as a hostage.

Dragon Dancing for 9 days (this is a direct adaptation from the novel)

Guest Stars
Gong Gau – Yu Rong Guang – He has another secret identity. He doesn’t like to use things touched by others even though they are being cleaned. In the novel, he is the actual prince but I am puzzled by the change in here. Yu is as cool as always but a mixture of white and black hair with a long fringe looks too fashionable.

Kong Sha Mun – Lin Mei Zhen (a Malaysian actress) – a beautiful woman saved by Gong Gau who has a sad past. She dies in the serial but in the novel, she is alive and enjoys a wandering life with Luk. The acting is acceptable but she looks a bit mature for Suen.

Ng Ming – Chen Miao Lin - the ambitious ruler of the secretive island. He is considered as Gau’s adopted father but in the novel, he is his natural father. This actor looks too fierce. You can tell that he is a villain immediately.

Yue Yeung – Hu Shi Da (ex TCS star search finalist who left TCS). He looks ruthless but helps Luk when in need. This actor is wooden with no expression or is it because it is required?

Beef Soup – Gong Xiao Xuan. She only cooks dishes related to beef. This actress is also vicious looking although at times, she sides for Luk. She falls for her own brother – luckily he isn’t her natural brother as discovered in the end otherwise viewers will feel gross. In the novel, both are actual siblings and she likes Luk.

Eagle Eye Seven – Yao Yu – Luk’s constable friend

Old Fox – Li Jun Liang – a person interested in money and nothing else.

The Emperor – Lu Ji Dong – Luk’s friend. This man must be very adventurous. Luk advises him from appearing for his ancestors' praying session but he insists of showing his face to see how Gau will kill him!


Story
A batch of imperial jewels is stolen and the 103 escorts involved also go missing. The royal prince is enraged and gives the escort agencies 40 days to solve the case. If not, they will be held responsible. Eagle Eye seven wants to seek Luk’s help but he is away on a ship to Japan on a tour. Luk has resolved not to be a nosy parker but when he meets Yeung at Old Fox’s nest, he accompanies him and a chef, Beef Soup on board.

They reach an island and he meets Sha Mun who jumps off the cliff. He rescues her but she wants to kill him instead in vain. He finds Sha Mun a good gambler while the owner of the island, Ng Ming commands a lot of respect from the residents. His eyes pop out when Ng Ming invites him to dinner. Beef Soup turns out to be his daughter and looks completely different in a princess outfit. She looks delighted upon knowing her elder brother, Gau is returning.

Luk discovers the missing escorts in a cave. Yeung wants to kill Luk but his skills pale in comparison. Ng Ming invites Luk to join his gang. Sha Mun wants to seduce Luk because she wants to pay back to him for killing her elder brother, Yuk Long. Yuk Long sold her to a dead man as a wife. On the fateful night, she was nearly raped and she ran away after killing the man. She was later sold to a brothel and the royal prince saves her out to present to Gau. Luk wonders how the royal prince knows Gau who is a Japanese.

Gau treated her well so she loves him but she later discovers that he is inhuman to love only himself. He has a large mirror in his room to admire himself daily. Luk has 2 weaknesses – one is being a nosy parker and another is too softhearted. He loves Sha Mun but this arouses Gau’s jealousy. He refuses to listen to Ng Ming’s advice and Sha Mun agrees to marry Gau in order to save Luk.

Luk is on Yeung’s guard on board a ship with Beef Soup’s help. But he doesn’t want to give Sha Mun up. So he jumps off the ship. At this time, the ship explodes. Sha Mun thinks that he is dead but he sneaks from behind to place a flower on her head and hug her. Beef Soup has wanted to kill Luk at the expense of sacrificing Yeung.

Luk returns and this makes Gau angrier. He wants to kill Luk with his own hands but Luk is witty to escape with Yeung’s help. He uses Beef Soup as a hostage to leave. But when he and Sha Mun are back in the central plains, he is shocked to know that he is a wanted man. Luk goes into hiding and he tells the royal prince that he discovers that the escorts and the jewels are on the island. He is trapped in jail but Yeung gets him out.

Luk shakes his head – by bringing him out is the same as proclaiming that he is guilty. Yeung informs him that the island has nothing left. Luk will be wasting efforts bringing people there. Gau has wanted to make Luk’s life miserable. Before the 3 escorts die, they reveal that Luk kills them. Luk is unable to explain it to the royal prince and flees.

Luk brings Sha Mun to see Eagle Eye Seven but finds his family being killed. Even Eagle Eye Seven thinks that he is the culprit and regards him as his bitter enemy. Luk can’t explain the incident and runs away. He starts to wonder why so many people work for Gau. They must have other reasons although some do it for money.

Luk is on the run but he is still as cheerful as before. It is hilarious when three old men discuss on what to do to capture Luk to get the reward. Luk gets interested and asks them. They chat for a while, only to realize that he has 4 eyebrows. Of course, they get badly beaten up and flee. Luk is amused when they refuse to stop running as he should be the one running instead.

Luk entrusts Far to look after Sha Mun. He meets Gau and Beef Soup again. A cat chasing mouse battle starts. Gau will follow wherever he goes so that he can find Sha Mun. Knowing Luk, he will miss Sha Mun and might even wish to see her before he dies although he will not dare to see her now. Luk gets desperate when Gau manages to find him wherever he goes because many work for him. Blame it also on his 4 eyebrows.

Luk uses his wits – he suddenly draws signals on the walls, telling Gau where he will be going. He should have known Gau earlier to solve his money problem. Luk decides to get money from him instead to show his whereabouts openly. Laugh when Gau has no choice but to give him the money for his lodging and food! When he is guessing where Luk will go the next day, Luk appears at his doorstep and offers to drive his cart for him.

Guess where he goes – he goes to Sai Moon’s residence and even asks a shaver from Gau to shave his moustache! Sai Moon looks at Luk and knows that he has gotten himself into trouble. Sai Moon has once said that he will do anything if Luk shaves his moustache. Although Gau is in the cart, he can sense a killing air in him.

Still, he is interested to meet Gau and goes out with his sword. He gets Luk to leave and he stands by the cart. The two are about to have a duel when Gau suddenly has fits and feels better when he injures his own hand with his knife. Sai Moon is so disgusted by the act. Luk turns back upon recalling Beef Soup telling him that Gong Gau is invincible. He offers to bring Sha Mun back for Luk.

Gau must have thought that Luk is out and he will hunt him down. He will never know that he is hiding there. Sai Moon arrives too late as Sha Mun is taken away by Yeung to Ming and Far missing. Yeung becomes mysterious to Luk and he frowns. He can be a foe or friend. He guesses that Far must be after Yeung to get Sha Mun so he isn’t worried.

Yeung is disappointed that Beef Soup loves Gau although he gives her a doll. She gave him one when he was young as an orphan. He is brought up by Ming. How can Beef Soup love her own brother? She is brought to China when her parents are dead when she is eight. She is now eighteen and Gau is her only kin. Luk decides to ask The eagle eye 7 for the truth but he kills himself to prevent Luk from asking him further.

Luk is on the run but still stirs up trouble. He demands to see the crown prince but points out that he is an imposter. Sha Mun has told him that he wears his jade ring on the right thumb but the imposter wears it on the left. The real prince should be Gau. He has the power, money and also authority to strike terror in all. Gau wants Luk to find Sha Mun for him.

Luk lures Ming and Yeung out. Yeung assists Luk and Sha Mun to leave the island but he nearly gets killed by Gau. Luk doesn’t understand why Ming is willing to defy Gau because of Yeung. Luk wants to be the invisible man for Ming. He is shocked when Ming wants him to kill Yeung. The duel between the two can be enchanting and Yeung is killed.

Ming is satisfied and reveals that Yeung is the real prince. He pretends to protect the prince’s wife when she has given birth and makes the switch. She dies after giving birth and the prince dies a year later. He isn’t dead because he pins for her too much but he is poisoned by Ming to death. Ming is shocked when Yeung is still alive and learns the truth.

Ming tries to lead Sha Mun away and gets killed by Gau. Gau hates him for bringing him up like this although he teaches him martial arts. He is now an incomplete man because Ming is an eunuch. Yeung is brought back because Ming discovers that Gau is no longer under his control. Ming wants Luk to be the invisible man to kill the emperor so that the Japanese can rule China. But now Gau is becoming mad and Luk isn’t required to kill him anymore.

Thus Ming wants Yeung dead and uses him to exchange Sha Mun’s life to threaten Luk. Sha Mun approaches Gau and pretends to seduce him – to prove that he is a real man. She tries to use her hairpin to kill him in vain. Gau tries to assassinate the emperor in vain and flees. (I am puzzled at this scene because Gau isn’t in disguise as a palace guard.) Yeung gets injured while trying to protect him.

Yeung isn’t comfortable with the loyalty life and upon knowing that Luk is looking for Sha Mun, he joins him because he misses Beef Soup. Sure enough, they approach a cliff and sees Sha Mun from afar. Luk approaches her anxiously but is stunned to see Beef Soup instead. She tries to assassinate him and Luk gets so mad that he injures her. Yeung comes to examine her injury to get stabbed by her in the stomach. This doesn't pay to be nice.

She is willing to do this for Gau but later there is an explosion. She is heartbroken that Gau makes use of her to kill the men. She doesn’t die in peace and Yeung is upset. The final duel comes when Luk, Sai Moon and Far surround Gau. They can’t defeat him and are troubled. Luk nearly gets killed when Sha Mun shields him to sacrifice herself. Gau wonders where See Hung is. He is underground to plant explosives on chains to chain Gau.

What a smart move – Gau explodes to pieces and the four are contented. See Hung is disgusted by his dirty tactics so he does the same to him. Before dying, Sha Mun finds Luk handsome with the moustache but even better looking without it. She wants him to remember her forever. He agrees in tears.

Yeung starts to feel that life is empty despite having riches. Thus he gives up his prince position to wander the world with Luk. Freedom is still important to both after all.

Acting on main cast :
1. Luk Siu Fung - Suen Yiu Wai
Honestly, I feel that he has tried his best to be a lustful and playful Luk Siu Fung. It is like the character coming out from the comic book but not from the novel. He is quite impressive in fighting scenes displaying the ‘Leng Sai finger’ and love scenes too. No wonder he is a popular actor in Taiwan now. Many will feel that he is too young when he shaves off his moustache.

2. Sai Moon Chui Suet – Li Ming Shun
He has improved in his acting, showing a more humane Sai Moon. He may seem unfeeling and cold but he is caring towards Sau Qing.

3. Far Moon Lau – Chen Tai Ming
He is much better in here as an introvert and a man of few words. This fits the novel this time.

4. Suen Sau Qing - Fang Ji Wei
She acts fairly well as Sai Moon’s wife but blame on her stupidity to get killed. In the novel, Sau Qing is alive after giving birth to their son.

5. See Hung Chap Sing – Ma Yong
I find this fellow very irritating. He should count himself lucky instead of provoking Duen Yi. This person might not know how the word ‘dead’ is written.

Songs:
Our homegrown talent singer group dreamboat does a good job. This song brings the heroism of the martial arts experts. The sub-theme ‘yi - royalty’ is done by Li Min Shun. I still think that he should stick to acting alone. He is not cut out to be a singer.

Conclusion:
Some question why TCS shows this serial after the merger with Ch U. Is it to give 2nd hand productions? But to me, who cares as long as I can watch a complete story? This serial shows that everyone has a secret identity. But how on earth does TCS manage to find so many hideous looking people as villains?? This kills the suspense.

One interesting discovery here – I saw Xiu Qing (as Murong Fu in New Mainland version of ‘Demi Gods Semi Devils’) as Yeung’s senior. Unfortunately, I don’t even get to see his face clearly as it is half covered by a beard and he gets killed very soon within 1 episode.

I know why now the showing is delayed. Unlike the first story, the follow up is very slow to anyone’s liking. The fighting scenes are still well made. But something is still lacking – an attractive plot and satisfying ending. I still prefer the first story.

Sukting's Ratings:
On acting:* * *(Scale of 5)
On the story: * * * (Scale of 5)


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