Kuet Jin Wong Sheng


Reviewed by: sukting

September 02, 2003

Rating: three-point-five

Chinese title: 决战皇城

20 episodes

Foreword
Those who have watched the first period serial that TCS has made (盗日英雄传) may question about the similarities between the TCS serial and this. Well, they don’t have to doubt it because the producer is the same – Mr Leung Lap Yan. I think he is just too lazy to change the plot so the story is about the same – only the names of the characters are different. I will make slight comparisons in the main characters.

Story

Qin Hui and his wife frame Yue Fei as they are in cahoots with the Jins. Han Xing knows about it and rescues him in time. He then offends these 2 vicious people and they plan their revenge.

Leng Yue, the Jin princess, sneaks into the Song state on her travels. She meets Han Xing and falls for him. She pretends to be a maiden in distress and Han Xing pities her. He then brings her home, where she becomes his maid. At this time, the emperor wants to get the support of the Gao family. So he arranges for his sister, Jing Kang, to be Han Xing’s fiancée. Leng Yue tries her best to disrupt the engagement but to no avail. Han Xing and Jing Kang fall for each other at first sight, as they are both impressed with each other’s intelligence.

Can Yang wants to seek revenge for his father and seeks out Tian Qing. But Tian Qing is killed by the Jins in a battle. The following scene is really terrific. Han Xing is so stunned over his death that he sits still on the chair. Xue Ji and Leng Yue stand beside him, not knowing what to say. When the coffin arrives, he immediately kneels down and breaks into tears.

Han Xing is very upset over his father’s death. He stays at his father’s wake for days. Han Xing is adjusting his father’s clothes in the coffin when Can Yang charges in. He is so furious that Tian Qing is dead, so he breaks the side of the coffin. Han Xing is so mad with him that they spar.

Han Xing suddenly feels faint and Can Yang decides to give him 3 more days to prepare for their duel, seeing as he is still grieving over Tian Qing’s death. Xue Ji wishes to console Han Xing, but he wishes to be alone with his father before he is buried. The next day, Xue Ji finds Han Xing has collapsed on the dead body and quickly calls for a physician. All are alarmed to know that Han Xing has been poisoned and not fainted due to exhaustion or grief. The physician diagnoses that the poison originates from the Jin state.

Leng Yue decides to cure him at night. Xue Ji finds her suspicious and follows her into the room. She wins and demands to know if Leng Yue is the culprit. Leng Yue then discloses her identity. Just at this time, Jing Kang comes and believes Leng Yue. She allows her to save him. Leng Yue doesn’t know how to face Han Xing as she knows he will not accept her. She leaves. Han Xing is disturbed to know this but he clears the air, telling Jing Kang that she is the only woman that he loves.

When he recovers, he has a duel with Can Yang. However, Jing Kang stops them in time, telling them that the country is in turmoil. Can Yang is attracted to Jing Kang but he doesn’t reveal his feelings as he knows that she loves Han Xing. Both decide to bury their differences and serve for the court instead. Qin Hui frames Han Xing for being a traitor and tries to harm him. Xue Ji seeks for Can Yang’s help and they save him on time. Both fall for each other in the process.

Emperor Gao Zhong, who is under Qin Hui's influence, starts to doubt Han Xing’s loyalty. He is also frightened when Han Xing mentions bringing his elder brother, Qing Zhong, back from the Jin state. If Han Xing succeeds in doing so, Gao Zhong cannot be the emperor anymore. To get rid of this thorn in his flesh, he makes Han Xing the ambassador to settle the dispute, lying that he wants him to save his brother.

On the way, Han Xing befriends Ke Xiu, the leader of the Maiden Sect. This lady, although unable to win Han Xing’s heart, agrees to help him to save the imprisoned emperor if the need arises. In the meantime, Qin Hui tries to kill Can Yang, but Xue Ji becomes the victim. She dies after sucking the poison from his chest and he is very upset.

Han Xing has mixed feelings upon seeing Leng Yue again. The Jin emperor wants to kill him but Leng Yue stops her father, saying that she wants to marry Han Xing. He is shocked. The Jin emperor decides to give in. Her childhood friend, Yuanyan Wang Song (that means the end of the Song state) hates Han Xing for stealing his love. Han Xing is very troubled as he misses Jing Kang but he has no choice but to give in as Qing Zhong is still in their hands.

In the meantime, Jing Kang gets to know of her elder brother’s evil plan. She is worried for Han Xing, so Can Yang brings her to the Jin state. He settles her in a temple while he goes out searching for Han Xing. Unknown to him, Jing Kang meets Leng Yue at the temple when she is offering her prayers. She explains to Jing Kang the reason for making Han Xing her consort. Jing Kang understands her intention and agrees to leave. But Leng Yue is overwhelmed with guilt, and she has nightmares at night. Han Xing doesn’t know why she is behaving oddly but promises that he will not forsake her.

Can Yang is displeased to know Jing Kang’s decision. He confronts Han Xing and reprimands him for forsaking his wife. Han Xing is shocked to know that Jing Kang has suffered so much while looking for him, and is displeased that Leng Yue has kept the matter from him. He can’t find Jing Kang at the temple and has an ominous feeling about it. He rushes to the beach and sees her handkerchief out at sea. He is devastated that Jing Kang is dead so he cries. He then ignores Leng Yue, reprimanding her for being selfish and driving Jing Kang to her grave.

Still, he has to carry out his plan to save Qing Zhong. Qin Hui betrays him. Han Xing is seriously injured. Wang Song injures Leng Yue with his arrow. Leng Yue manages to get them out of the territory using her authority. She refuses to return as she wishes to be with Han Xing and dies shortly after. She wanted to make amends after making the mistake regarding Jing Kang. Han Xing sheds tears although he has not loved her at all.

Wang Song is unhappy over his mistake of killing Leng Yue. Can Yang finds out that Wang Song is his long-lost younger brother. Wang Song finds it hard to accept the truth. I can’t remember how but both reconcile in the end. However, their happiness is short-lived as Qin Hui discovers Wang Song's identity and kills him.

Han Xing brings Qing Zhong successfully back to the Song state but they are ambushed by Qin Hui’s men. Qing Zhong is killed while Han Xing is blinded. Life is so unfair to this man – he is like a beggar after the ordeal and everyone just despises him.

Ke Xiu takes care of Han Xing and both combine forces with Can Yang to kill Qin Hui and his gang. Han Xing hates the formidable Monk Xuan Yuan for causing him so much grief. He and Can Yang duel with the monk, and they manage to kill him. It was one of the most exciting duels in the serial. Both Can Yang and Han Xing then decide to retire from the court as they don’t find it worthwhile working for a heartless emperor.

Introduction on characters

1. Gao Han Xing – Cheng Siu Chau
I like the development of this character. He is witty, skilful and mature. He is the perfect Dai Hup that all will like. Despite the attention and love he gets from women, he stays faithful to Jing Kang. It is a pity that a change in events will change his whole life drastically. Cheng is still versatile in acting – especially in the emotional scenes mentioned above. The Dai Hup image is not weakened despite the crying scenes.

At first, I was quite doubtful about his pairings with Tse Ning and Tang Shui Man. But my worries were unfounded. There is chemistry between them and he is still very impressive in fighting scenes.

The Singaporean role, Zhou Yuan, is played by Ng Doi Yong. He is quite good but unknown to many. He injured his leg during filming and had to be hospitalized to remove a broken bone. The scary part was seeing his white boot stained with blood. He took a break from acting to recuperate in Hong Kong.

2. Liu Can Yang – Leung Kar Yan
This man acts rashly without thinking. I think the coffin scene is too much. He should not have done it. Had his father been the victim, would it not pain him if it happened to him? He knows that he is not good enough for Jing Kang. But what is in store for him is the unconditional love that Xue Ji has given him. He is a sensible man and places the country’s interests above personal grudges.

I don’t really like this role – partly due to the thick-fringe hair style that the stupid hair stylist has invented. It looks bad on him. Leung Kar Yan gave a lukewarm performance which is barely satisfactory.

3. Yuanyan Wang Song - Kwan Lai Kit
He is brought up by the Jins and has hated the Song citizens since young. You will feel sorry over his unrequited love. But the worst will be a change of his actual identity overnight. Still, his love for his brother makes him give up everything in the end. Too bad, his efforts are in vain.

4. Gao Tian Qing – Yeung Chak Lam
He can be doting, but also firm with his only son. That is why he wins his son’s respect wholeheartedly. He adopts his subordinate’s daughter and treats her like his own. That is why both grieve so much over his death. Yeung is very good in portraying the sad scene when he discovers that he is ambushed and there is no way for escape.

5. Yue Fei – Lau Kong
Wonderful acting for this tragic character too.

6. Qin Hui – Lok Ying Kwan
A bit disappointing from this actor as he looks too frail to be a villain. This schemer should be more evil!

7. Xuan Yuan – Yip Tien Hang
This man is good as the evil monk. It is hard not to hate him.

8. Jin Wu Shu – Tam Chuen Heng
Equally impressive as a doting father to accede to Leng Yue’s requests every now and then.

9. Jing Kang – Tse Ning
She is simply good in everything except that she knows no martial arts. She puts her country’s interests above everything else. She is even willing to sacrifice her life for that. She is demure and gentle, and the two swordsmen can’t help falling for her.

Tse Ning hasn’t shown much improvement in acting, and it is difficult to justify the producer's choice to cast her in leading roles most of the time. She can be so stiff in crying scenes!

The Singapore version has Xiang Yun in it – she isn’t suitable for period dramas. As much as I hate to admit it, Tse Ning looks more comfortable in the role than her.

10. Yuanyan Leng Yue – Tang Shui Man
She is very good in here – pretty, playful, mischievous but also selfish. But who can blame her? It is unavoidable for her to do all that she has done as she wants to keep her husband by her side. I don’t think she wanted Jing Kang to die by asking her to go away. It is just that Jing Kang knows that Han Xing might not give her up if she is alive. It is unfair to shift the blame on Leng Yue.

Shui Man has given one of her best performances her. Her acting is a cut above Tse Ning's. She looks attractive in all the costumes she wears. It is so hard to find a competent actress who also looks good in period dramas.

Chen Li Ping, who played this role in the Singapore version, looks so different in her younger days. Her acting is all right as a newcomer.

11. Wen Xue Ji – Wong Yee Kum
She is Han Xing’s foster younger sister. She is also an understanding and alert person. Upon seeing Han Xing bringing Leng Yue home, she is wary because she is suspicious about about Leng Yue’s background. She never lets down her guard, especially during the period when Han Xing is in a coma.

I don’t know what she sees in Can Yang – this man can be very unreasonable and stubborn. Her kind nature manages to melt his desire for hatred. Without her as the mediator, I doubt Jing Kang would be able to stop the men from fighting. Unfortunately, she has to die in the end.

Actually, Wong is the best among the women in displaying martial arts skills. It may be due to her dancing background. She looks so elegant! But I must confess that I am a little disappointed that Xue Ji doesn’t fall for Han Xing. The way she looks at him and calling him ‘elder brother’ fondly sends the wrong message to me! They are really compatible in looks. Moreover, her acting is also excellent.

12. Li Ke Xiu – Ng Mei Yee
She is elegant but I find her a little old to be acting this role. However, Ng is still acceptable in this role.

13. Madam Wong – Liu Ying Hung
She is impressive as the sharp and ruthless wife of Qin Hui. She sure acts and sings well.

Favourite character
Han Xing – for his wisdom and true love for Jing Kang.

Most hated character
Can Yang – for his stubbornness in seeking revenge and making others so unhappy.

Song
It is sung by Cheng himself but I have no idea what the title is. Needless to say, he is still the best person to sing heroic theme songs.

Interesting scenes
All scenes that involve Han Xing, especially the duels with Can Yang. We know that the two actors are skilled in martial arts in real life, so it is really a pleasure to watch the fighting scenes! The last scene of Han Xing and Can Yang's duel with Xuan Yuan is breathtaking!

Conclusion
This is truly Cheng’s own show despite good acting from the others. This is unavoidable as he is worth being the centre of attention at all times. If you wish to watch how a swordsman should be portrayed, do watch his serials as he gives a masterful interpretation. Most of the younger actors still lose out to him and he has no close successor even after all these years. The plot is predictably thin, with too many tragedies and few special effects. But if you don’t mind that, this serial is still worth your time.

Ratings :

On acting : * * * (Scale of 5)

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


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