A Step into the Past

Reviewed by: Dagger Lee

January 17, 2004

Rating: three-point-five

I saw this series in Thai so the name pronunciations will probably be different from the other reviews. This series has two parts and together has 64 episodes.

Xiang Shaolong [Louis Koo] is a cop who lives in modern day Hong Kong. After stopping a madman from trying to blow up a museum, a group of scientists take Shaolong to their lab and show him a time machine. They tell him that they would like him to travel thousands of years into the past and witness Emperor Ying Zheng. Shaolong thinks that they're crazy, so he leaves the place.

Later, Shaolong goes to a theme park with his girlfriend, Ching Ching. There, Ching Ching tells Shaolong that she's going to marry someone named Peter Huang. Shaolong asks her why and she disappears with no answer. Shaolong is now heartbroken because of this and goes back to the lab. He agrees to the mission provided he could go back in time again to get his former girlfriend back.

He gets dressed up and prepares for the trip. Before he left, the scientists tell him not to alter history or else everything will disappear. He agrees and gets inside the time machine. The scientists turn it on but the machine goes haywire and sends Shaolong three years before the rise of Emperor Ying Zheng.

The acting was okay. Louis Koo did an okay job as Xiang Shaolong. Sonija Kwok didn't do well as Ching Ching. I really hated how Sonija portrayed her character and wondered why TVB didn't get a better actress. She doesn't show any emotions to Shaolong and it doesn't look like love at all. Jessica Hsuan did a great job and I felt bad that she didn't have a bigger role.

The first few episodes were really funny. I liked how Shaolong tried to fit in with the past and ended up doing funny stuff. It made me laugh and showed that time travel stories can also be a little funny. It's a shame that later on in the story, it gets more dramatic.

I was disappointed that Shaolong didn't do any more jokes in the second part and I almost stopped watching the series. I really thought that Shaolong is cooler when he's funny, not when he's dramatic. I don't really like it whenever comedy just stops and drama begins. It just doesn't suit me at all.

The scenery here was great. It was beautiful and looked better than other ancient serials that TVB produced. I loved the landscape that was used and hoped that other serials can learn from this. I was glad that it didn't have fake backgrounds and CGIs like in "The Heaven Sword & The Dragon Sabre 2000". The kingdom looked okay but wasn't as great as the scenery. I think that this is probably the prettiest ancient series from TVB. I hope newer ancient TVB serials have the kind of backgrounds this series had.

There are a few things that I didn't understand about this series. How could Shaolong be a master of swords after just a few days of practising?!! I mean, this series doesn't involve any chi power at all. How can this be? Why does Shaolong marry both Ting Fung and Ching? I mean, he loves Ching because she looks exactly like his ex-girlfriend but has no reason to marry Ting Fung. Ting Fung loves him but I think he only likes her as a friend. Serials these days are often confusing with things like this.

Conclusion: I recommend this series to any fans of Louis Koo. The acting by everyone was okay except for Sonija Kwok. What will make you want to watch this are the beautiful lands being shown. So far, this is one of the better TVB series I have seen.

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