Demi Gods and Semi Devils


Reviewed by: sukting

August 16, 2005

Rating: four-point-five

How long
50 episodes

Introduction

This is my top favourite period drama in the 80s. Although it has countless flaws in the eyes of the present audience, it still fascinates me. The intriguing story is helped by a strong cast. TVB is unable to come up with such a wonderful cast today. It follows Jin Yong's novel about 70% and leaves enough room for detail. There are 30 episodes for '6 Sword Skill' and 20 for 'Xu Zhu Legend'.

Since PJ has done a detailed synopsis, I will compare it with the 1997 TVB version and the mainland version. I am disappointed with the new choices - so many men have long straight tresses? Is the make-up unit so lazy?

What's different in here from the other versions?

Murong Fu is supposed to appear at the chess match. The producer gives him more exposure in this 82 version. The beginning part of him helping Quan Guan Qing to grab the dog-beating stick from the Xixia soldiers and the 4 evils show how scheming he is. He only adds scenes on how he manages to pit his wits with Jiu Mo monk when he can't get him out of his home.

Murong Fu is more mature, composed and scheming than in the novel. I like this version better as the other version turns him into a weakling and often revealing his thoughts to others. He even cries when his father becomes a monk? This is too much for me to bear! Murong Fu should be very strong and brilliant to execute every single step of his evil plans.

Duan Zheng Chun decides to become a monk when all his beloved women are dead. In the 1997 version and the novel, he kills himself as he feels that he owes them too much.

Murong Bo creates havoc for the pugilistic world after mastering new skills from the old Shaolin monk. Xiao Yuan San hunts him down. The two old men die in the last episode. The truth is both stay and learn under the old monk, leaving their sons to do what they want.

Murong Fu is injured by Duan Yu's '6 Sword Skill' and seeks refuge in the Beggar Sect. Quan Guan Qing is unhappy as he harps on how he relies on him to be the leader. When the beggars complain about Murong Fu killing their pet birds while practising his skills, Quan decides to get all the beggars to poison him and try to kill him. Murong Fu escapes and wonders where he can hide now since he is a fugitive. His father rescues him later and both seek revenge, killing the beggars and grabbing the dog-beating stick.

Xu Zhu uncovers the plot of Shaolin spies when he stays with Princess Yin Chuan at Shaolin temple. Quite boring here except it shows how much he loves his wife and almost destroys his own skills in order to save her from the evil traitors.

The Murongs later get hold of the jade stick from Shaolin and dog-beating stick to present the two treasures to Ye Lu Hong Ji to reinstate their country status. This arrangement is stupid - with or without their aid or the treasures, the ambitious ruler will still attack the Song state.

Wan Qing dies for Duan Yu when trying to protect him. The poor woman only enjoys short-lived happiness before he meets Yu Yan. She is so upset when he doesn't love her anymore and only loves Yu Yan. I don't think she deserves to be so ill-fated.

Murong Fu dies by his own trap when his plan to kill Duan Yu backfires when using Yu Yan as a hostage. I feel this man shouldn't die this miserable way. In the real version, he becomes insane after failing in his attempt to marry Princess Yin Chuan. His maid, Ah Bi, has been secretly in love with him all along. She takes care of him and bribes children with sweets to make him happy when they call him Emperor.

Xiao Feng blames Ah Zi for deserting You Tan Zi after retaining her eyesight. Ah Zi kills You Tan Zi when he comes all the way to look for her even though he is blind. She finds him a hindrance! Only when Xiao Feng kills himself and his sworn brothers blame her for driving him to his death with her marriage threats, she jumps off the cliff and ends her life. In the novel, Ah Zi is so upset when Xiao Feng dies that she digs out the eyes to return to You Tan Zi. She later jumps off the cliff with his corpse. You Tan Zi can't see and slips with her. I like the latter version as it is more tragic.

Zhong Ling is very upset upon knowing that Duan Yu is her half-brother. Xiao Feng is astonished upon seeing how she resembles Ah Zhu. Xiao Feng tries his best to console her and she falls for him. Well, I like it as Xiao Feng doesn't deserve to be pestered by the irritating Ah Zi all the time! Zhong Ling somehow lessens his guilt and his anguish. I simply detest the thought of the blockhead Duan Yu having most of the pretty and wonderful wives in the novel/serial.(Yu Yan, Ling and Wan Qing marry him in novel) Zhong Ling even leaves home in search of Duan Yu.

Many scenes that depict the rivalry between Ah Zi and Zhong Ling which I will mention in detail later. This really spices up the serial as the pace is becoming slow and unattractive towards the end.

Till now, I still don't understand why they must include this part - Murong Bo is furious with the sworn brothers and their women for killing his son so he drives them down a cliff. They get to overcome traps but they don't learn any new skills here - just to show their faces to Murong Bo's henchmen that they are still alive when they walk out from there?? This is utter nonsense!

Ah Zi presses Xiao Feng to marry her in exchange of the treasures. Xiao Feng agrees reluctantly and dies without her seeing him in person the last time. The poor Ah Zi is distraught when seeing him dead when she arrives with the treasures. I HATE this scene and prefer the latter version - in the end, Ah Zi seeks help from his sworn brothers to rescue him out and she promises to do anything he says this time. Xiao Feng is contented to see the slight change in her but they die together later. Sigh - why doesn't the old version give a chance for Ah Zi to repent for her wrongs?

Duan Yan Qing gets killed after trying to protect Duan Yu from being harmed by Murong Bo. He dies peacefully after Duan Yu finally calls him 'father'. It is quite touching and better than the reality that Duan Yan Qing knows about Duan Yu's parentage before Dao Bai Feng's death. Although Duan Yu refuses to acknowledge him, he is contented that he has an heir.

The final duel of Xiao Yuan San, Xu Zhu and Duan Yu against Murong Bo. Long and irrelevant.

Memorable/best scenes - lots as can be seen below!

The different skills shown by each character. They are so worth remembering - 'yi yang finger', 'the reflex skill' by Murong family, 'absorption skill' by Ding Chun Qiu, '18 dragon palm skill' by Xiao Feng and so on. The 'Lingbo steps' are funny indeed - Duan Yu looks as if he is dancing gracefully. Chan Ho Mun looks as if he is running too fast all the time and has dimmed the level of accuracy. As for his '6 sword skill', he has different colours for each finger - what a refreshing change!

Duan Yu's first meeting with Zhong Ling. Both are so ignorant and gullible that they offend so many people and get into trouble all the way! If not for Wan Qing to save them, they could have died!

Wan Qing's removal of her black veil for the first time. Yeung Pan Pan is stunning indeed - unlike Chiu Hok Yee who still retains her haughty look in all the other scenes.

Yue Lao San becomes Duan Yu's student unexpectedly when he loses to him. Duan Yu uses Lingbo steps to deal with him and he loses after getting so giddy without knowing why.

Wan Qing and Duan Yu almost commit incest in the cave while the Duan Family and the yellow brow monk try all means to save them.

Duan Yu's first meeting with Yu Yan. He is too dreamy that he even imagines himself dancing with her! He gets punished later and has to be the gardener to grow flowers for her mother in the garden.

Duan Yu's first meeting with Xiao Feng. Xiao Feng is impressed by his skills and mistakens him for Murong Fu. What a joke!

Xiao Feng stabs himself in order to save his members from death punishment. Even some who are against him are also touched. This shows how chilvarous and forgiving he is.

Duan Yu and Ah Zhu impersonate Murong Fu and Xiao Feng to save the beggars from being poisoned. Yue brags about his teacher. Duan Yu nearly laughs as if he is asked to perform other skills, he will be at his wits' end. But displaying Lingbo steps is really nothing to him!

Xiao Feng brings Ah Zhu to Physician Xue for treatment, despite knowing all the martial arts experts are all out to kill him. He is forced to deal with them and it is an alarming sight to see the bloodshed And also on how he is forced to kill and also seriously injured by the rest.

Xiao Feng's disastrous turn of events. The poor man loses his Beggar Sect leader status and can't explain why he can't find his family killer as those who know the truth die.

Ah Zi's first appearance. She kills Duan Zheng Chun's henchman's fish by poking sticks into the bodies, killing his desire to fish. She later humiliates him by trapping him in her fishing net and drives him to sacrifice for Duan Zheng Chun when he is attacked by the 4 Evils. She even tries shooting poison needles to struck at Duan Zheng Chun and Xiao Feng when she is not their match.

Murong Fu and Jiu Mo monk force Duan Yu to write out the '6 sword manual' to burn at Murong Bo's grave. Duan Yu does it reluctantly but burns it when the two men quarrel. Both are enraged to find burn pieces at the end. This shows how cunning these two are.

Xiao Feng and Ah Zhu's scenes together - on how Ah Zhu is relived to find him, how she consoles him over his actual parentage and how unbearable she is to leave him after knowing that she is Duan Zheng Chun's daughter. All will wonder why mishaps later befall on this ill-fated couple?

All scenes of Duan Zheng Chun wooing women. I am very impressed by his ease and charm.

Xiao Feng kills Ah Zhu by mistake and buries her. A very depressing scene.

Duan Zheng Chun's disastrous encounter with Madam Ma when she tries to kill him after poisoning him. Even Xiao Feng is impressed to see how calm he is to deal with this wicked woman with honey words.

Ah Zi tries using the same tactic to make Xiao Feng stay by her side. Xiao Feng injures her by mistake and his heart nearly stops when she stops moving, thinking that he has killed Ah Zhu again.

Duan Yu is often jealous when seeing how Murong Fu's subordinates fuss around him. He has been very pampered by his family all along. They dislike him so much that they call him sissy! But when he meets Murong Fu in person, he feels very inferior.

The frightening ways that Ah Zi tortures You Tan Zi, especially in forcing him to wear an iron mask.

The chess match results. Ding Chun Qiu nearly kills Murong Fu and Duan Yan Qing though sorcery. If not for Xu Zhu's warning Duan Yan Qing could have killed himself. Out of gratitude, he helps Xu Zhu to solve the game. This shows that this man is not that evil after all.

Murong Fu spars with Xu Zhu and is angered when he sees Yu Yan's portrait falling out from his chest. That is actually her grandaunt's portrait that Wu Ya Zi has entrusted to look for her. Even Duan Yu feels uneasy but still gets stabbed on his chest when trying to save her. Thinking that he is dying, he asks her to remember him. But Xu Zhu dismisses it with a laugh, saying that his injury is minor.

Duan Yu is sure desperate to woo Yu Yan - tailing her all the time. I laugh at all the mistakes and silly things that he has done. There is one scene, he thinks that she is smiling at him but in actual fact, she is smiling at Murong Fu. He gets so disappointed that he hides himself in the bushes.

Xu Zhu is initially uneasy to stay with women at Ling Jiu palace. He heaves a sigh of relief when other sect members volunteer to join the palace out of gratitude as he cures them of 'Shen Si Fu'.

Xu Zhu's confession of committing the sins which baffle all the monks.

Xiao Feng's duel with Murong Fu which all have waited for long. Who isn't eager to see how' North Qiao Feng, South Murong' pit their skills against each other? And this is the ONLY scene of them fighting against each other. Both actors have made it into an exciting match which keep me glued to the sofa. Xiao Feng defeats Murong Fu marginally but he still gives him some grace for not humiliating him.

The other versions has Xiao Feng defeating him close to a pulp, saying that he feels so ashamed to be labeled together in name with such an unscrupulous man. I have the feeling that Jin Yong dislikes this character so much that he tries to belittle him as frequent as possible! Give the man some dignity, okay?

Xiao Feng piting his skills against Murong Fu, You Tan Zi and Ding Chun Qiu. It shows how formidable Xiao Feng is to handle the three top opponents at the same time. Being unable to leave him in trouble, his two sworn brothers join forces to defeat them. Xiao Feng is very thoughtful for Xu Zhu as he thinks that his monk robe shows his lowest rank status. But he has a pleasant surprise upon seeing how he can handle Ding Chun Qiu with ease when he tries to protect Xu Zhu.

Xu Zhu is at first at a loss on how to win the cunning man. Later he freezes 'Shen Si Fu' in water to subdue him. Duan Yu pursues Murong Fu with his '6 sword skill', making the poor man hiding in desperation. Yu Yan has to shield him from getting hurt and beg Duan Yu to let him off. What a shame! But You Tan Zi is in the worst shape as Xiao Feng shows no mercy in injuring him seriously.

Murong Fu acknowledges Duan Yan Qing as his foster father and kills all Duan Zheng Chun's women to force him to abdicate the throne. It shows how merciless Murong Fu is to achieve his goals. He really kills one woman at the count of 3 without hesitation! This scene is tragic to witness so many killings in a scene but it turns comical in another serial 'The Sandwich Man' which star Cheng Siu Chau and the late Yung Mei Ling. Cheng plays a pen-pecked husband who has this dream after watching DGSD. Murong Fu takes his tigress wife as a hostage. To his dismay, Cheng is so overjoyed, jumps around like a monkey and even urges Murong Fu to kill her faster! Seeing that his plan backfires, Murong Fu leaves in a puff. Disappointed, Cheng runs after him and begs him to change his mind!

Duan Yu is trapped into a well by Murong Fu so that he can't appear for Princess Yin Chuan's marrriage duel. Yu Yan is disappeared with her cousin's doing and jumps in. Murong Fu is later hit by Jiu Mo monk into the well after Yu Yan decides to accept Duan Yu. He begs Yu Yan to forgive him and agrees to seek a seclude life. But when Jiu Mo monk drops the Yijin manual onto Duan Yu's lap into the well, Murong Fu is willing to give her up to Duan Yu in exchange! This shows how fickle-minded this pair of cousins is. One can kill her love so quickly in a moment for a man whom she loves all these years while for another is too power hungry. No wonder they can stick to each other for so long!

Jiu Mo monk requests Duan Yu to show him the '6 sword skill' the second time. Duan Yu sneers at him, saying that he can show repeated times and yet Jiu Mo will still be unable to master it because he lacks the Duan family inner strength. And plus his intelligence, he will be unable to make it. I am baffled at how harsh and sarcastic this prince can be! The poor man gets so agitated that he vomits blood and loses all his skills in the end. Xu Zhu and Duan Yu are alarmed and try to save him. We can see how raw both young actors are when they can't deliver the shocking expressions properly.

The first time Zhong Ling and Ah Zi meet each other. They fight with each other and Zhong Ling stops upon knowing that she is her younger sister. Ah Zi poisons her but strangely, Xiao Feng doesn't seem to be worried upon seeing this. Maybe he knows that Ah Zi will definitely give him the antidote?

Ah Zi is kept by Ye Lu Hong Ji as a hostage so that he can spar with Murong Bo. Zhong Ling knows that Xiao Feng is troubled and offers him her snake to help her. Xiao Feng is touched by her concern for him.

Later Ah Zi returns and poisons Xiao Feng secretly, thinking that he will fall for her after drinking the drink potion. But Xiao Feng feels faint and gets captured in the midst of their escape. Ah Zi regrets and wants to die by his side when he is unable to move. Being more level-headed and mature, Zhong Ling feels unbearable to leave him alone but still drags Ah Zi away to look for his sworn brothers to save him.

Xiao Feng is finally rescued. When he feels weak after forcing out the poison, Zhong Ling hurries before Ah Zi to help him up. Later when they cross a stream, Xiao Feng helps Zhong Ling to cross and FORGETS Ah Zi! Ah Zi is so mad at him that she refuses Duan Yu's henchman's help. When Xiao Feng is still troubled upon thinking of how to deal with the Murongs, his face breaks into a faint smile as Zhong Ling offers him a fruit. Ah Zi has indeed met a worthy match this time!

Ah Zi kills Zhong Ling's pet snake and Zhong Ling can't tolerate her anymore. Both women get into a fight and Ah Zi uses the same tactic again. Luckily Xiao Feng stops her in time. Ah Zi accuses Zhong Ling for trying to win over Xiao Feng's love by imitating Ah Zhu. This triggers Xiao Feng's sad memories and he gets very upset. Indeed, he mumbles Zhong Ling and Ah Zhu's names together softly when he is alone.

Xiao Feng decides to check out the beggar sect at night. He is discovered by Zhong Ling who wants to tag along. He agrees as he is afraid that Ah Zi might harm her again over the snake incident. Ah Zi finds them and threaten to tell all if she doesn't follow. Xiao Feng has to agree to it. Poor man - he must have owed them many debts in his previous life.

Xiao Feng hears screams from Zhong Ling's room and rushes to see her. He has a pleasant surprise when knowing that she pricks her finger when making clothes for him. Ah Zi gets very jealous, cuts the clothes up and even tries to disfigure her. Zhong Ling gets very upset and Xiao Feng tries his best to console her.

Zhong Ling is poisoned by the Murongs' poison when she gets her pet outside their room. The two men have poisoned the whole room in order to hinder others from getting the two treasures from there. Xiao Feng mistakens that it is Ah Zi's doing and demands for the antidote. Ah Zi gloats over Zhong Ling's misfortune at first but is frustrated when no one believes that she isn't the culprit.

She later steals the two treasures and forces Xiao Feng to agree to her marriage proposal. Zhong Ling cries upon knowing this. This shows Xiao Feng's desperation to agree unwillingly and also Ah Zi's determination and frankness to get what she wants.

Duan Yu's uncle gives him a jade pendant for his future wife. Both Wan Qing and Yu Yan refuse to share a husband and Duan Yu insists that he only likes Yu Yan. This gives the old man a big headache.

Xiao Feng kills himself. A very sad ending.

Any scene with the 3 or 2 sworn brothers. They portray their kinship very well.

The characters - very detailed as shown below

Regardless of good or villainous roles, young and old, all artistes have place in their best to present a fantastic production. Their images are still well remembered and praised even after so many years. This is really a perfect cast which offers great acting and good coordination. I can still remember every single person in great detail, as shared below.

The actors

1. Duan Yu - Tong Chun Yip compared with Chan Ho Mun and Lin Zhi Ying

Tong is labeled as the prince actor. He is cast as the prince in here, "The Foundation", "Return of the Condor Heroes" and "The Yang Saga". He does have the dignity and air of a prince, although my first choice is still Miu Kiu Wai as seen from "Legend of Condor Heroes" and "The Foundation". Most of his clothes are of expensive satin and velvet to show his royal status. However, he may be too tall for certain clothes. But I don't deny that he has shown Duan Yu's dumbness and ignorance very well. You will laugh at his mistakes and also pity him for being so desperate to win Yu Yan's love. The only flaw will be he isn't that good in emotional scenes, in sad scenes but we can't blame him as he is a newcomer at that time.

Chan Ho Mun is okay but his clothes are too plain like a poor scholar when he is out of the palace. And the lustful way that he looks at women, he has no air of innocence and Lee Yuk Tong looks like his elder sister when both stand close to each other. But still, he is better in showing his cuteness.

Upon knowing that Lin Zhi Ying is to be Duan Yu, I almost lost all interest in watching the mainland version. Why? Because he 'murdered' my favourite swordsman Luk Siu Fung! Although his image looks okay to me, I find his bad habit of squinting his eyes irritating to me. And this happens in almost EVERY single serial that he has starred in to deliver the mischief of the roles played. If he doesn't change his acting style, others may want to shun or boycott him.

2. Xiao Feng - Leung Kar Yan compared with Cheung Kok Keung and Hu Jun

Many are surprised at first but are won over by this gifted actor. Who will believe that Leung can make such a tragic hero come alive besides acting as comic characters? He makes a marvelous Xiao Feng with skilful martial arts moves. So real that he overshadows Tong and Yat Wah although he is the eldest among them! Xiao Feng is really made alive as he delivers his sad life that leave all our hearts laden with guilt.

Although he isn't that tall, he is macho and even without a moustache, he is being looked upon as a leader. When he is accused as an unfeeling killer, he has no chance to explain himself and later after knowing his father is behind the killings, he has to shelter the responsibility of being blamed on his behalf. He shows Xiao Feng's chilvarous nature well.

Sometimes, the costume unit must be biased like me to give him a wide range of clothes too. His clothes have nets by the side as the beggar sect leader. As the Liao general, it is a brown gown with a yellow phoenix covered with a black cloak. Even his commoner clothes are impressive. I like the dark blue gown with long sleeves and a long hood that he dons when he is on the run. The others wear light coloured clothes that really makes him stand out from the rest!

Leung can be gentle at the same time too. His love life is in shambles. He is unable to be with his loved one till old age. We can see how he misses Ah Zhu when he hugs Ah Zi later by mistake. And to bear another horrible burden - taking care of her sister Ah Zi till the end of his life. He is helpless in changing her and later when he finds some happiness in having Zhong Ling, his joy is also shortlived. I welcome the change of having Zhong Ling beside him in the last 5 episodes. Their chemistry is perfect and it will be a pity to stop right at Ah Zhu's death. I really marvel at how well he acts in fighting and love scenes. He is still the BEST Xiao Feng that I can ever accept till now!

Yat Wah's acting is good but not as good as Leung. He has a turban on his head, has a beard and wears so many layers of clothes to give a stronger build. In the beginning, Yat Wah looks tired and says too much to explain all his doings! Xiao Feng isn't that lucky in reality as seen in Leung's version! Yat Wah is better in emotional scenes than fighting scenes. I still miss him as the innocent and adorable Xu Zhu monk in the old version although he has the same weakness as Tong for unable to cry in the scene where Xu Zhu's parents are dead. This is no longer seen in the mature Yat Wah today again.

The mainland actor, Hu Jun is a versatile actor in bringing out the bitterness in Xiao Feng. But his cunning eyes and long hair are major flaws that don't make him as a righteous man. This makes him look untidy. But he manages to win me over with his acting. But the Liao general outfit is too colourful to my taste.

3. Murong Fu - Shek Sau compared with Cheung Kok Keung and Xiu Qing

Many cast doubts and complain upon knowing that Shek Sau is taking up this role. But many are stunned by his splendid acting and youthful outlook. He is also handsome looking and makes others unable to resist his charm.He is already in his thirties when acting in this role but he slips into it effortlessly. This makes him undoubtedly at par with Xiao Feng. Although his clothes aren't in many variations, the colours, regardless of in light or bright tones, bring out his vicious character.

He makes such an unfeeling, ruthless, unromantic and scheming Murong Fu who doesn't succumb to failure easily. But one segment of Duan Yu impersonating Murong Fu can really send you laughing to the floor. Who can expect the serious Shek Sau to be comical too?

Duan Yu uses Lingbo step to win Yue Lao San to save the beggars. Half the time, many will laugh at how this 'Murong Fu' presents the skill. Only when he stops does he retain his serious look. The latter scene when he steps out with Ah Zhu, he confesses to Ah Zhu that luckily Yue doesn't ask him to present other skills and he is so stupid to tell him to present Lingbo steps which is the only skill that he knows! He sees Xiao Feng from far and wants to call out to him! Who doesn't laugh at his stupidity when Ah Zhu reminds him that she is impersonating him!

Remember the scene where Yu Yan sings 'giving the utmost' to him? He suggests her to change the lyrics 'living and dying for love' to 'living and dying for the country'! How ambitious he can be! In order to reinstate his country, he even sources help from foreign states. He does realises that he likes Yu Yan after all when she begs him not to be Princess Yin Chuan's consort. He hesitates for a while and later gives her up without stopping her from killing herself. The later part on how low he can scoop to lick Duan Yu's boots also depicts his intelligence and cunning nature.

This is the most hated despicable character in the novel. Somehow, Shek Sau manages to make viewers pity him more instead. Being a failure in both career and love life, he has a sad ending.

If Shek Sau is considered old, Cheung Kok Keung is worse! I don't understand why TVB chooses a 40 plus Cheung to play this role. He is too old and dark for it. We can see wrinkles on his face - is this the Murong Fu that charms his cousin for many years? Plus the producer has a very bad impression of this character. Unlike Murong Fu in 82DGSD, this man has no self-esteem and loses in many battles, always ending up asking mercy from others. I am VERY angry with this arrangement! How can this happen??

Xiu Qing's outlook leaves me disappointed. By right, being the youngest actor among the three, he should be gaining the upper hand. Murong Fu is supposed to be a handsome man and his evilness is hidden. But the make-up unit always provides him with a fierce-looking makeup. His image is ruined right from Day 1 when he slaps his subordinate openly in public. How can our elegant Master Murong behave like this? His acting is also superficial to me. Maybe I am too biased but I still think that Shek Sau is the best!

4. Xu Zhu - Wong Yat Wah compared with Fan Siu Wong and Gao Hu

Yat Wah has this innocent look when he first starts out. I find him quite convincing as the monk. Being cute and unpretentious, he makes this character likeable and hilarious. Fan is actually good in this role as his acting and martial arts skills are better. The flaw is he is too intelligent looking with big eyes. And one look at his physique tells you that he is a martial arts monk. What a pity!

Gao Hu looks too old for the role. So old that you will believe that this Xu Zhu is in his thirties. So bad that Ye Er Niang looks more like his sister than mother. They should get a young actor. It is unbearable to see him acting an earnest monk with his tall built.

5. Duan Zheng Chun - Tse Yin compared with Poon Chi Mun and Tong Chun Chung

Many will agree that Tse Yin is the best choice for this role. Having a colourful love history in real life, he makes his womanizer charming in being able to win all with his sweet words and looks. I am amazed at how he handles all his women, from demure to fierce ones! He is not weak and doesn't give in to evil forces even when threatened - as seen when Duan Yu or he himself is captured.

Poon is too old and dark for the role. I DISLIKE the way that the producer has turned him to be. When Madam Ma ties him up after drugging him, he pleads for mercy! I really cover my eyes - what's going on???? No wonder many complain about how ugly he looks too!

Tong Chun Chung benefits as he is younger than them and definitely he has sufficient charm to send the women falling for him. However, I am curious ' if this role is given to Chung Yip, how will it turn out?

6. Duan Yan Qing - Lau Siu Ming compared with Lee Hung Cheong and Ji Chun Hua

He is spooky looking like a ghost with long hair. He walks with crutches with ease and is a leader of the 4 evils. Lau sure acts well here as the wicked person who gets soft towards his son in the end. His pathetic thin frame hints the suffering that he has gone through. And hatred is often seen in his eyes. Normally Lau is very exaggerating in other roles but in here, he is very natural.

Lee is a complete failure as he moves too fast in his wheelchair and his hair is BLOND!!!! He is too fat as Duan Yu's natural father. I thought the head among the 4 evils should be agile and thin to be in top shape! Ji has followed the description faithfully ' he manages to make you feel for him although he hasn't even opened his mouth. I still find Lau more convincing as he looks more frightening.

7. Jiu Mo Monk - Cheung Lui compared with Lee Kok Lam and Ba Yin

Cheung plays his role well as the greedy monk who wants to learn numerous new skills. No wonder he plays the evil Golden Wheel monk later in ROCH. With natural acting, he makes one sympathsize on how unsuccessful he is to threaten Duan Yu to impart the '6 sword skill' to him. Lee is to exaggerating as Jiu Mo monk although he wears sandals and has Buddha like ears. A monk should be able to control his temper well, like how Cheung does not show the boorish way that Lee has conveyed. Ba Yin also does a splendid job in making this monk detestable ' evil and also scheming.

8. You Tan Zi - Kam Kok Wai compared with Mak Cheung Ching and Ma Yu Ke

This poor man is so pathetically thin and frail looking! He loses his uncle and father when they commit suicide after losing a duel with Xiao Feng. Even mastering Yijin skills, he is still inferior to Xiao Feng in skills. He is forever unable to seek revenge on him. And he doesn't deserve to be tortured by Ah Zi so badly, to lose his looks and also his sight because of her! Kam plays this tragic role very well and I can't help feeling sorry for him for loving the wrong woman and being killed by her in the end.

Mak is too fat and only his head is disfigured. That is really a big flaw as it doesn't show how badly he is tortured. Thus I don't feel any empathy for Mak when watching it. The mainland version found Ma who is better looking than the other two but his long tresses doesn't suit him. But his acting really pales when compared to the two Hong Kong actors.

9. Xiao Yuan San - Shek Kin compared with Wong Yat Wah and Zhang Qian

Shek Kin is different here as a revengeful man but not really a wicked man by nature. He does play his part well. Wong's acting is good too and actually more convincing as the father and son are supposed to look alike. Otherwise how can so many lives end in his hands as they are caught by surprise? Zhang looks too kind for the role ' no one will be convinced that he is out to kill so many people.

10. Murong Bo - Kwan Hoi San compared with Luk Ying Kuan (Huang Yao Shi in 94ROCH) and Ren Wu

Kwan is as good as always as a terrific villain and is better than Luk as he has more scenes. Plus he has the charisma that is carried off well. Luk simply pales when compared with him. Ren doesn't leave any deep impression as he only appears in one episode.

11. Ding Chun Qiu - The late Lau Hak Xun compared with Chiu Shek Mun and Shen Jun Yi

With marble-sized eyes and an evil twinkle in his eyes, Lau makes an excellent villain with a red robe and a fan in his hand, displaying Ding's arrogance well. He is scary looking and yet he can look like a deity too with his mannerisms. Chiu is too fat and lacks the leader look. A definite miscast. Shen looks surprisingly kind with white long hair and a purple robe so Lau is still the best.

12. Quan Guan Qing - Kwan Chong compared with Chan Wing Chun

Kwan Chong shines as much as his real life father, Kwan Hoi San as the despicable character. And it is amusing on how he gets' killed' here by his father as the Murongs seek revenge. An exchange from Luk Siu Fung 76 where he 'kills' his father? Chan isn't that impressive as his evilness is too clearly shown.

13. Duan Zheng Ming - Cheung Ying Choy compared with Kong Hon and Lu Shi Gang

Both actors are good. Cheung has the kinder look while Kong is sterner. Maybe because Chan Ho Mun as Duan Yu is naughtier and needs more discipline? Lu has the royalty look so also a top choice.

14. Ye Lu Hong Ji - Yeung Chak Lam compared with Wong Wai and Er Bu Shi

Yeung pales slightly as he doesn't have the warrior look and sheepish eyes. Wong is better as he has a stronger build and voice that commands attention. Wong's acting is outstanding too. Er Bu Shi is also outstanding because he has the natural look of a warrior.

15. Xuan Chi - Lok Kung compared with Lau Kong

Who will expect him to be Xu Zhu's father? Many will pity him when he dies to atone for his mistake. Lok has the bitter look that all will forgive him for causing Xiao Feng so much suffering in the end. Lok acts well in 2 episodes. Lau does well too, except that the make-up unit should have done something instead of having a plastic to cover his head and pretend that he is bald!

16. Xiao Yao Zi - the late Cheng Kwan Mien compared with Lee Shing Cheong and Xu Huan Shan

Cheng makes this 'Xiao Yao' sect leader's loneliness so distinctively. And also his love for Qiu Shui's sister will touch you. Lee is equally good although he is younger. Xu is only passable in the role. He looks more scheming than kind as the elder.

17. Yue Lao San - Lau Kok Shing compared with Chun Wong and Li Huo

I hate the punk hairstyle designed for Lau. A comical character doesn't need to look comical as well! And he is so modern looking with the sides bald and only with hair at the top??? Luckily, his good acting compensated for this flaw. Chun Wong is good too and all will be upset when he sacrifices for Duan Yu. Li's hairstyle is also as 'in' as Lau ' sigh��.why?!

18. Yun Zhong He - Tam Yim Tong compared with Lee Chi Kei and Gao Zhao

I can never forget his lustful evil look that drools upon seeing women! He likes women - Zhong Ling and her mother. Even Dao Bai Feng becomes his target when he chases after Wan Qing. So much that he runs after them all the time! This is very amusing! With a simple blue robe and a red nose, Tam makes a good choice using bone weapons with small eyes. This makes the each of the 4 evils stand out, not losing to each other. Lee Chi Kei's character doesn't give the same feel as he is more restrained and reserved. Gao is also terrific in the role ' with the monkey like gestures.

Actresses

The producer is observant and careful to get actresses who have the periodic look, young and yet act well. As for the older ones, I wonder how he manages to get so many fierce looking ones?

The young

They are really the best choices that I have seen so far.

19. Mu Wang Qing - Yeung Pan Pan compared with Chiu Hok Yee and Jiang Xin

Yeung is mysterious at the start with a black veil covering her face. Although we know how she looks like, she still keeps us in wonder about her looks. And indeed I am also attracted by her beauty like Duan Yu when she uncovers her face. She is splendid in acting and also in martial arts skills.

Who doesn't pity Wan Qing? Since young, her mother pretends to be her teacher. After knowing Duan Yu, she starts to discard her old black wardrobe. She wears pink and yellow clothes, showing how happy she is with him. But the fact of Duan Yu being her brother leaves her devastated. She has wanted to continue their relationship upon knowing the truth but alas, he likes Yu Yan!

She has to endure all the sadness upon seeing how he has changed. When Duan Yu tries to save Yu Yan from Murong Fu without caring his own safety, she protects him and gets killed. What a horrible ending! Duan Yu gets so remorseful that he decides to make her his queen and Yu Yan finally doesn't find the concubine status now. But what's the use since she is dead?

Hok Yee isn't that good here. Firstly, I dislike the haughty look that she wears all the time. Plus throughout the serial, she only dresses in black. Secondly, I detest the ending - although she survives, she doesn't even know that she can marry Duan Yu after all in the end! How can the producer be so unfair? I really sympathize this poor woman when she has to disguise herself as a man on his behalf to woo Princess Yin Chuan when he is missing. Helping the loved one to woo another? This is madness!

Jiang makes Wan Qing to be so lustful ' desperate for men ' who can forget how she wants to remove her clothes in front of Duan Yu? Also her long fringe irritates me when she swings it every now and then.

20. Wang Yu Yan - Chan Yuk Lin compared with Lee Yuk Tong and Liu Yi Fei

Yuk Lin is as good as always but I find her dressing a bit old. Maybe this is to fit Shek Sau as Murong Fu since he is mature looking? But I must admit that she is very pretty here and acts well too in conveying her love for Murong Fu. Frankly I really dislike Yu Yan. She really voices her likeness towards Murong Fu too openly - all along I thought she should be reserved. Poor Duan Yu has to bear with her talking about him all the time - please spare some thoughts for this pathetic man! She is too arrogant - thinking that she is so great to know all martial arts skills although she doesn't know how to display them herself. No wonder Murong Fu detests her for coaching him!

And how fast she loves another man - I mean it is alright to suffer from heartbreaks after being ditched. But loving another right in a few minutes doesn't make sense to me! When later she sees her cousin, she has second doubts again! Sigh - Duan Yu is too obsessed with her beauty to notice her shortcomings!

Lee is quite good here and her dressing is younger. Her disguise of a monk is cute too. Liu Yi Fei fits the appearance description well as she is stunningly beautiful. But her acting isn't as presentable as she is only 16 years old and lacks the experience.

21. Ah Zhu - Wong Hung Sau compared with Lau Kam Ling and Liu Tao

Who can deny that Wong Hung Sau makes the best Ah Zhu? She is pretty, intelligent, demure, mature, petite and mischievous. She makes a perfect Ah Zhu. With many tiny plaits in her hair, she is simply fabulous! And so well-dressed that one will wonder why she has more clothes than Yu Yan as she is only a maid??? I really can't resist her charm - her smiles and sadness portrayed are so real like and many will pity her for losing her life for a wrong cause.

Lau Kam Ling acts quite well but the constraint is she is too tall and looks 'strong' that doesn't portray Ah Zhu's weakness well. Liu Tao is good and sweet as Ah Zhu.

22. Zhong Ling - Wong Hung Sau compared with Ho Mei Sie and Yang Lei

This is a breakthrough for Hung Sau to play two roles. And she has done it so convincingly! With two tiny plaits by her side, she looks very adorable. Despite being older than Tong, they match well. Unlike Ah Zhu who is more quiet, Zhong Ling is cute, funnier and also tolerant. From the start, she hits Duan Yu by mistake and offers to get hit by him as compensation. Upon looking at her cute face, he can't bear to do it and touches it instead! And Tong's way of handling things is completely different from her, but she is willing to accommodate him. How sweet she is!

When all miss Hung Sau's presence after Ah Zhu's death, she appears as Zhong Ling to lessen Xiao Feng's despair and anguish. Probably the producer still misses the infinite chemistry between Xiao Feng and Ah Zhu and leaves lots of room for them in the last five episodes. It turns out that these scenes are more memorable than the earlier ones. See how he showers his attention on her although it is not really told whether he likes her in the end. And indeed she falls for this nice man instead of Duan Yu - to my delight! And the way that she bears Ah Zi's nonsense shows that she has indeed grown up, unlike the childish way that she is with Duan Yu.

Ho Mei Sie doesn't have a big part to play and her acting is only passable. Yang also makes Zhong Ling to be too playful and childish.

23. Ah Zhi - Chan Fu Sang compared with Lau Yuk Chui and Chen Hao

I must comment on this actress' excellent performance! She makes her so hateful to the core. Pretty, vicious and also ambitious, Ah Zi is the most hated female in the novel. Fu Sang is very pretty, especially when she is in the Liao princess gown. Most of her clothes are simple and yet she has injected a strong presence that make many notice her. Who doesn't hate her for torturing You Tan Zi and causes so many deaths? Many will shiver at the way that she tortures others. Poor Xiao Feng doesn't know who kills his family when she angers Madam Ma to death.

And being injured by Xiao Feng gives him lots of trouble but I really soften when she hugs him upon carrying her. She really loves Xiao Feng but no one can forget her evil ways. It is true that Xiao Feng compares her with her sister but it is obvious that she can't really hold a torch to her. Also with Zhong Ling, she loses to her so she uses dirty tricks to force her pathetic brother-in-law to agree to marry her. I like all the scenes that she has with Hung Sau. They really spice up excitement that shows such great hostility. Fu Sang shows her jealousy well and she is very convincing when portraying a blind Ah Zi in some scenes. Many will pity her for plunging over a cliff in the end.

Yuk Chui is quite good, showing adequate ruthlessness, except that she may be exaggerating in certain scenes. However, her petite frame fits the role perfectly. Chen Hao's dress is too colourful and her headdress is a big hindrance. Can you imagine her to have purple strands of hair too? Why can't they make things simpler? Her acting is acceptable although I don't think Ah Zhi can be so cute.

24. Princess Yin Chuan - not sure if she is the late Yu Yee Har compared with Wong Gei Ying and Wang Hai Zhen

The princess sends one wondering her looks as she appears misty scenes. But what a surprise when she appears after her marriage with Xu Zhu! She is elegant and also gentle with shiny leaf ornaments in her hair. Gei Ying appears in too many scenes, especially on her missing Xu Zhu that really leave no room for our imagination. I don't like the arrangement that much - moreover she has too much jewelry. A princess doesn't need too many things to look like one! Wang is only passable in the role.

25. Ah Bi - Wong Mun Yee compared with Chiu Ching Yee and Wang Yi

Mun Yee is pretty although she is dressed in a pink dress, which makes her more convincing as a maid than Ah Zhu. However, her role isn't developed to like Murong Fu. What a waste! Ching Yee's role allows development but she throws the chance away as she can't act well. Wang's acting is only satisfactory.

The old

They are so formidable in their acting that few can surpass them.

26. Dao Bai Feng - Leung San compared with Lui Yau Wai and Gao Yuan

Leung is good as the strict and stern mother. Lui pales slightly as she has the motherly look. Gao is a failure as she looks like a Taoist nun instead.

27. Qin Hong Mian - Wong Mun Wai compared with Fung Hiu Mun and Peng Dan

Wong is stern looking too as a bitter woman who loses in love. You really feel her hatred for Duan Zheng Chun in the limited scenes. Fung is being forced to be a mother despite her young age so she doesn't look like one. Why be so hard on this actress? Peng is terribly too young ' they should have gotten another person to act as this woman.

28. Gan Bao Bao - Lui Yau Wai compared with Lee Guai Ying and Ruan Dan Ning

Lui is more comfortable in this role as the ill-fated and long suffering woman. Lee is another actress forced to be old. Sigh - is TVB so lack of older ones these days? Ruan seems too fat for the role. No wonder she can't keep Duan Zheng Chun by her side. Even her supposed senior, Hong Mian looks younger than her.

29. Madam Wang/Ah Luo - Lee Lam Lam compared with Lee Yuk Tong and Wang Lu Yao

No one can deny her acting abilities as a strict mother. You really shiver when she wants to chop off Duan Yu's head upon knowing his surname. Surprisingly, Yuk Tong is also alright in this role although she is younger as her voice is dubbed. The later arrangement is actually more realistic as the mother and daughter are supposed to look alike. Wang is elegant but not the person I have in mind as she should be more ruthless in the way that she tries to bury Duan Yu.

30. Madam Ma/Kang Min - Lam Kin Ming compared with Suet Lee and Chung Lai Tai, Christy
Lam makes a very lustful mistress, throwing her charms on screen well. But when it comes to cruelty and viciously, it's Suet Lee who calls the shots. She is so real as the wicked woman who causes the downfall of Xiao Feng. The way that she bites off a piece of flesh from Duan Zheng Chun's body shows how much she hates this man! Chung's acting is only so-so ' I doubt Kang Min will be so daring enough to throw glances at Xiao Feng right in front of the husband and a big crowd but she did it!

31. Ruan Xin Zhu - Bak Yin compared with Ma Ching Yee and Li Yong Yong

Bak is wonderful in sad scenes on losing her daughter, Ah Zhu. Ma is also okay but I think she may make a better Madam Ma as she has the lustful look. Li looks too young to be a middle-aged mother.

32. Tian Shan Tong Lau - Wong Oi Ming compared with Chan On Ying and Shu Chang

Oi Ming is good as the unfeeling woman after she loses in love. The battle of her with Qiu Shui is really eye-opening when we see how they pit their skills against each other. And her hatred is so great that she wants Qiu Shui to die first before her! Chan is equally natural in her role - I like the scenes of her with Siu Wong. Both really portray their close relationship well.

By right Tong Lau should look pretty even as a child but Shu looks like a clown with too much blushes on her cheeks. It doesn't help when she has 3 pony tails on her hair. But she looks bitter enough to suffer from love and she portrays the stages from young to old well.

33. Lee Qiu Shui - Lai Siu Fong compared with So Mok Chi and Xie Yu Xin

She is Yu Yan's grandmother. Wu Ya Zi has meant to marry her sister who resembles her with a mole on her face but the matchmaker makes a mistake to choose her instead. She has an unhappy life and Tong Lao disguises her with a cross on her face after she hinders her from growing up when practising a skill. Lai does it well as she is already very fierce looking. So lacks the looks and the makings of looking evil.

Xie is so beautiful, youthful but yet vicious. She captures my attention in every scene although unbelievable that a 90 plus year old should look so young. The scenes where she corners or hurts Tong Lau can be scary. But yet, the chilly smiles that she wears on the face whereas her dark, long and silky hair flows so smoothly in the air is so enchanting. No wonder Xiao Yao Zi falls for her twin sister and she becomes Xi Xia's concubine. She must be pretty!

34. Ye Er Niang - Yip Oi compared with Lee Lai Lai and Shi Lan

Yip has the bitter look and she needs not add anything extra to play this tragic role. Lee is too colourful in her dressing and her scars are too artificial. Sometimes, simplicity works better. Shi looks too young and pretty to me as the scar on her face is almost invisible. Moreover, her acting is over the mill when she acknowledges Xu Zhu ' like in a soap opera. She is a also complete mismatch with Xuan Chi.

35. The Empress ' Lee Heung Kum compared with Wan Sheung Yin
Both actresses are good. But their cameo time is too short to leave you any deep impression.

Best Actor

A tie between Leung Kar Yan and Sek Sau. They simply overshadow the other actors. Even Chun Yip and Yat Wah can't surpass Leung's performance. Same as Sek Sau although his scenes are fewer. The pair make a fabulous 'North Qiao Feng, South Murong'.

Best Actress

Wong Hung Sau is undoubtedly the best. She has managed to make two sisters who look alike with completely different personalities. A close contestant is Chan Fu Sang who makes a detestable but pitiful Ah Zi. I wouldn't choose Yuk Lin because she only needs to act cool in most scenes.

Best Supporting Actor

The late Lau Hak Xun as Ding Chun Qiu. His startling outlook is close to none. Runner-ups by Cheung Lei as Jiu Mo monk and Lau Siu Ming as Duan Yan Qing. Notice that I choose all the villain actors - they really put up a credible performance. Why isn't Kwan Hoi San chosen? He has too many scenes that aren't that attractive as the other 3. Sometimes, fewer scenes are even better to bring out the character's qualities!

Best Supporting Actress

Lam Kin Ming as Kang Min. She makes you shiver as the black widow. A close runner-up is Wong Oi Ming as the ill-fated Tong Lao. See how she manages to make Xu Zhu break all his rules and her ruthlessness towards men send shivers down your spine.

Most Convincing character

Tse Yin as Duan Zheng Chun. Why not as Best Supporting Actor? Because he simply reminds me of his womanising history and he gives me the feeling that he is acting as himself and not the role!

Most Failed Character

None as all have done well. I only wish to complain about Yue Lao San's hair, though.

Who can't act?

None that I know of. This is certainly a starlit cast that pleases everyone in the acting.

Songs

There are 5 songs altogether. The most attractive song is of course 'forget by the misty river - liang wang yan shui li' for '6 sword skill'. It is sung by Kwan Cheng Kit and Kwan Guk Ying. It is a pity that both have retired from the singing scene (although Guk Ying came out of retirement recently, Cheng Kit doesn't show his face anymore in public.) as their voices are very good. They are as famous as the double Yip - both are known as double Kwan. They really have a lot of chemistry in singing together.

Yet, they are so persistent that they even refuse to participate in all 'Fai Wong' concerts! This makes the concerts incomplete as they sing a bulk of songs penned by Mr Wong Chim and Mr Koo Kar Fai. Especially when double Yip sing for SOD84 but no one sings for DGSD82!

The theme song for 'Xu Zhu legend' is 'travelling over millions of valleys and waters - wan shui qian shan zhong heng' by Kwan Cheng Kit. It is surprising that he can deliver this fast and heroic song so well as he always sings slow-moving sad songs.

There are 3 other subtheme songs for the 50 episodes. One is a lively song 'love rain' - 'xiang yu duo qing' and a sad song ' giving up the utmost - fu shang qian wan bei' by Kwan Guk Ying. I am surprised that 'giving the utmost' isn't as popular as the other songs although it is equally pleasant to listen to. The last will be 'loving brings agony - qing duo ji duo ai' - by Kwan Cheng Kit. It is so sad that sometimes I feel a certain sadness rising even by listening to the beginning! Especially when the erhu music is played, you will feel that it is really the end of the world! It is a pity that I can't find the 5 songs in 1 single CD. I only managed to find Cheng Kit's songs in his compilation CD so far. Anyone who has the news may email to me and let me know where it is available.

In comparison, Chow Wai Kin's version is too modern to my liking and he sings too fast. Without looking at the lyrics, I don't get what he is singing!

The China version has quite a number of songs but what comes to my mind is the ending theme song by Faye Wong Fei 'forgive'. Xie Yu Xin and Zhang Tong sing 'mountain song' while she also sings 'my true my love'. Another song for Ah Zhu is 'watching from far' from her too. Many believe that she steals the glamour from Wong Fei. I believe so too as she acts as good as she sings. Tan Wei Wei sings 'love song'.

Interesting facts

Leung Kar Yan wished to act as Xiao Feng again in the 1997 version. He felt he could do better with more experience. But the producer invited Cheng Siu Chau to be Xiao Feng! All of us had a shock of our lives and hoped hard that this nightmare doesn't come true. Cheng will be better off as Duan Zheng Chun since he has wooed so many women in his younger days. To our relief, Cheng wasn't free to take up this role.

Yat Wah was chosen to act as Xiao Feng in the end. He had quite a number of recollections as only Lu Yau Wai was available in the new version and he missed his ex-colleagues. Even Siu Wong who was asked to play Xu Zhu was disappointed not to get it. He thought he could portray Xiao Feng better with his martial arts background but still tried his best to be Xu Zhu. The result turned out good, didn't it?

Wong Yat Wah was stereotyped after acting as Xu Zhu. Yat Wah disliked how often being cast as stupid or gullible men in so many of his early works. He longed for a change and when he was given Li Mi in 'The Great Canal', he was so excited and many were stunned by the change of him as a villain. This shows no more shadow of him as a stupid lad. Chan Yuk Lin was approached to act as Xiao Long Nu after this appearance because of her icy look. She had looked upon Wong Hung Sau as her idol and had imitated her acting unknowingly when filming DGSD82. When she realized it, she started creating her own style and won praise from the whole cast.

Notice that Jin Yong likes the number 4? Xu Zhu's 4 maids, Duan Zheng Chun's 4 henchmen, Murong Fu's 4 bodyguards, 4 evils and 4 beggar sect elders. The only difference is Duan Zheng Chun has 5 daughters. Jin Yong adds some details or changes to this novel. Butâ?¦.sob - he is not going to change the sad fate of Ah Zhu and Xiao Feng. What a disappointment!

All benefited in getting fame from this serial but the two people who really shone in here are Leung Kar Yan and Shek Sau. Many simply adore this serial because they find 'North Qiao Feng, South Murong' so unforgettable' that they request TVB to repeat it 6 times till now!

The Mainland audience was shown a 9 minute trailer before the China version is shown. Many exclaimed that Hu Jun look like a bandit while others are unhappy that so many unknowns get the meat roles. So am I.

Comments

If you haven't watched this serial, you have missed a good production and not really considered a fan of Jin Yong drama. I like the shots for the two themesongs. They are done tastefully with the cast playing parts that show a detailed summary with a magical feel. There are few scenes that are from the serial itself. It is just like watching separate music videos!

It has a story complimented by great acting. But it is a pity that the producer likes to invent stories on his own without checking most of the facts and make it unbelievable. Somehow, deviating from the actual novel weakens the plot and we can see loopholes or boring scenes towards the end. I really dislike the deliberate deaths of so many characters towards the end. Is there the need to do this?

However, I do like the change of Zhong Ling resembling Ah Zhu. The poor Xiao Feng deserves some consolation and I like the addition rivalry scenes between the two half-sisters. I only pity Murong Fu, though. Why can't he at least have Ah Bi by his side even before his death?

Still, it is fantastic as it is great with good props, music arrangements and costumes. You will not get to listen to traditional Chinese instruments like erhu, the flute or guzheng that gives you the tunes of the nice themesongs. The costumes are painfully made. All characters can be individualistic partly because of this too. The rich or main characters will have velvet and silk clothes. You will sure miss the shiny fabrics that is not seen now in the recent works. Recent works seem to have poor and rough quality cloths for all!

The 96 version is weak in the choice of characters. The 2004 version is spectucular in fighting scenes but the younger artistes can't match up with the 82 version cast. Thus a classic forever remains one.

Sukting's ratings :

On themesong : * * * * * (Scale of 5)

On acting : * * * * * (Scale of 5)

On the story : * * * * (Scale of 5, partly because of the incredible additions they made)


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