Luk Siu Fung

Reviewed by: sukting

May 25, 2004

Rating: four-point-five


I must apologise for making this review more like a synopsis as it is not easy to catch this serial again on television or get it from video shops in some countries. An adaptation of Gu Long's novel, I have always wanted to watch this serial as I had only watched the final episode when I was young. It is a fascinating piece of art! It showed how faithful and truthful TVB was to the novel then - keeping the suspense and also the dialogues in great detail. The cast was a strong one which none of us would get to see again. Thanks goes to a friend, Alan, who lent me his VCDs. This series tells me why the actors shot to fame as swordsmen. And also why many refuse to accept and in turn, criticise other adaptations - simply because the original cast was too good!

Main cast

Luk Siu Fung - Lau Chung Yan
Far Moon Lau - Wong Yin Choy
Sai Moon Chui Suet - Wong Yuen Sang
Suen Sau Ching - Wong Hung Sau
See Hung Chap Sing - Mah Kim Tong/Liu Wai Hung in the third segment


I) The Kam Pang Mystery (6 VCDs) in 1976

Guest Stars :

Sheung Gun Fei Yin/Sheung Gun Dan Fung - Hon Ma Lai (Mah Chi Keung's mother
in ATE)
The proprietor - Kong Tu (Now with ATV)
The proprietress - Cheng Hor Wai (Hui Mun Piew's mother in ATE)
Sheung Gun Suet Yee - Chong Mun Ching (now a nun)
Fok Tin Ching - Kwan Chong (Mou Far in 79 Chor Lau Heung)
Ng Tiet San - Kwan Hoi San (Had a stroke and is recuperating now)
Yin Lap Bin - Kong Yee (now with ATV)


Far Moon Lau saves Sheung Gun Fei Yin from being chased by bullies. He falls for her but upon following her to Kam Pang palace, she disappears mysteriously and gets him worried.

Fei Yin's cousin, Princess Sheung Gun Dan Fung, seeks the help of Luk to get her family treasures back from 3 former court officials. Luk is stunned upon finding that the three are well-known now. The first, Yin Lap Bin is a famous pugilist. Ng Tiet San is now the leader of Ngor Mei. The third is Fok Yau, a merchant who is a friend of Luk. Luk decides to seek help from the proprietor and Sai Moon Chui Suet. The former is skilful in making and breaking traps. The latter is an expert in swordsplay.

But it is difficult to seek Sai Moon's help as he only likes to make a few trips out of his Man Mui mansion. When he does, he seeks redress for innocent people and tracks down their murderers, leaving only a trace of blood on their necks. Upon reaching Man Mui mansion, Far senses an air of killing and refuses to go in together with Luk. He prefers to stay in the garden to 'smell' the flowers. Luk tries all sorts of ways to force him to agree but to no avail. In the end, he has to accede to Sai Moon's ridiculous request.

Both walk out. Sai Moon is impressed that Far knows his presence as he has not heard footsteps but can sense Sai Moon's icy coolness. Far knows that Sai Moon has agreed to help as Sai Moon doesn't ask Luk to stay on and Luk is unusually quiet. Far is surprised when Luk tells him that Sai Moon has agreed to help not because of their friendship. He is dying to know how Luk succeeded but Luk refuses to tell him. Upon knowing that Luk had shaved off his moustache, he now regrets being unable to see Luk's present look. Luk replies that it is better not to as he keeps on rubbing his 'naked' spot, wishing that his moustache would grow again quickly!

Luk has dinner with Yin Lap Bin and reveals his identity. Yin sends killers to finish off Luk but Luk has the help of Sai Moon who defeats Yin finally. But Yin is killed by Dan Fung from the back. Her hatred for him is too much. Sai Moon dislikes attacking people through ugly means and forbids her to use a sword again. Yin's henchman, Fok Tin Ching, challenges Luk to a duel the next day. Tin Ching's followers beg Luk to let Tin Ching off and Luk agrees. Someone pays Luk's friend, See Hung Chap Sing, to kidnap Dan Fung. See Hung is a master of thieves and disguises. Upon seeing Luk and Far with her, he knows that his chances are ruined but he still warns them to be cautious of his 'hirer'.

Luk is having a bath when the 4 beauties of Ngor Mei inform him that their master, Ng Tiet San, wants to meet him at Yin's home. Sensing a rat, he rushes there and realises that Ng has already been killed by Sai Moon. Sai Moon suspects that Ng had a fight with someone before him as Yin's skills are superior than his. Someone must have reduced Yin's inner strength. Luk guesses that Tin Ching is the culprit.

The 4 beauties are enraged upon knowing of Tiet's death. They try to kill Sai Moon and suddenly two of them are hit by darts. Sai Moon saves one of them, Suen Sau Ching, who nearly dies from the poison needle. Her junior, Sek Sau Wan, who likes Far, dies in Far's arms. Fei Yin comes at this time and tells Far that she is under the control of a gang and tells him to give up.

Far tells Luk and both visit Fok Yau. Fok Yau confesses that he is still guarding the vault and the imposters that they met before meeting him do not have six toes. They both suspect that the Kam Pang king is an imposter and rush to the palace. The man has chopped off his own legs and they can't confirm the fact. Fei Yin's younger sister, Suet Yee (this actress looks unconvincing as she looks older), searches around the garden and seeks Luk's help to look for Fei Yin's corpse. She suspects that Dan Fung is jealous of Fei Yin's beauty and has killed her. The garden has no ants and she thinks Fei Yin has been poisoned to death.

They find a dead body. But she is Dan Fung as she has six toes. Suet Yee certifies her identity as she had once peeped at her washing her feet. Dan Fung had begged her not to tell anyone, including Fei Yin. Fei Yin rears white pigeons in the garden too. Luk then realises that he has been tricked and that Tin Ching is her lover. Both exchange news through them. Fei Yin injures the two women with her poisonous needles but she is impressed that Sai Moon knows the cure. Sai Moon takes Suen for a run to disperse the poison.

Luk sees Fei Yin and knows that she uses different perfumes as the two different women to throw Far off his guard. Fei Yin is jealous of Dan Fung's riches and thus kills her. To make her act convincing, she also avoids Suet Yee. Luk is cautious as Fei Yin has the proprietor, his wife and Far as hostages. But Far manages to release himself and the proprietor has an enjoyable time with his wife and Suet Yee in the dungeon. The proprietor is able to escape but doesn’t as he likes the life of getting food and comfort free of charge.

Fei Yin is killed suddenly and the other 3 are captured. So Luk confronts Tin Ching. Tin Ching proves his innocence by saying that he was playing chess with a Taoist priest at that time, but he is poisoned to death. Luk then analyses that Fok Yau is the culprit. Luk and Far are trapped in the dungeon when they come to see him. Fok Yau confesses that he is the mastermind. He hates the king for being a good-for-nothing who’s always asking him for money repeatedly. Fei Yin becomes his mistress because of his riches. Fok wants to get away through another route but is dismayed that he is trapped! The proprietor arrives and frees all of them. That is why Luk replies that Fok Yau is stupid to lock up his good friend as he is a master of traps. But the proprietor denies trapping Fok inside and leaves all puzzled.

Poor Fok Yau is locked up for the rest of his life and has to pay a high price to Suet Yee in exchange for food. Suet Yee becomes the proprietor's goddaughter. Luk and Far leave for other adventures after knowing from See Hung that Sai Moon and Suen are happily married.

2) The Duel Before and After (5 VCDs) in 1977

Yip Gu Shing - Cheng Siu Chau
Lee Yin But - Kwan Hoi San
The prince - Kwan Chong
Ow Yong Ching - Lui Sui Yung (retired from showbiz)
Po Gui - Ng Man Tat
Do Tong Hin - Wong Sam (passed away recently)
Monk Lo Sat - Lo Hoi Pang


Luk is invited to have dinner at the prince's residence. He has a spar with him and advises him to train a few more years to sharpen his skills. The prince replies that his master is Yip Gu Sheng. Later, Luk is attacked by Yip's 'Tin Woi Fei Shin' in the garden. In his haste, his Leng Sai finger holds Yip's sword. Yip asks Luk who is more highly skilled, him or Sai Moon? Luk replies that they are about the same. Yip gets interested and decides to look for him.

Luk calls him and invites him for a drink. Yip declines and says that he has avoided women and wine to master the highest swordsplay skill. And indeed, he is puzzled at how Luk can still be so highly skilled as Luk has these vices and even likes gambling as well!

Yip and Sai Moon meet to arrange a duel on the 15th of the ninth month on the palace rooftop. Suen is unhappy as she thinks that she has changed Sai Moon after their marriage and she is pregnant. She is still married to a sword after all.

Luk meets his friend, Lee Yin But at Chun Wah restaurant. Luk is dismayed to know about the duel. He gets annoyed upon knowing that all the people are gambling large bets over the results. This is meaningless to him as Sai Moon and Yip are treated as pawns in a game. Lee also bets with Do that Sai Moon will win the duel. He also finds out that Yip is poisoned by Tong Tin Yung's poisonous darts.

But later, Yip looks all right with beauties spreading flowers all over the places that he goes. He even maims Tin Yung's skills in front of Luk and Lee. Lee is shattered that he is going to lose his bet. Far discusses with Luk and decides that they will search for Sai Moon to talk him out of it. To their dismay, they can't find him at all so they decide to split up to look for him.

Luk follows Lee home and is surprised to find the courtesan he likes, Ow Yong Ching, there. Ching pretends to be fierce with him but she actually likes him too. Knowing that he will be back for dinner again, she decides to cook his favourite dishes. Luk meets Suen's senior, Yim. Yim accuses him of helping Sai Moon kill his master and attacks him. Of course he loses and Yim is devastated to find that his senior, Cheung, is dead. He deduces that Sai Moon is the killer and vows to seek revenge.

When Luk returns, Ching is poisoned. He is troubled as he can't find Sai Moon anywhere. Now, he pins all his hopes on Yip. But his hopes are completely shattered upon knowing that Yip has put on a false front all along and his wound is rotting. He goes back to Chun Wah restaurant so that he can eat and ponder over the matter. At this time, Yim comes with 4 killers whom he had hired to attack Luk. Luk defeats all of them, saying that since they can't beat him, it is needless for them to deal with Sai Moon. He frowns when he meets the 4 imperial guards. They give Luk 6 Persian belts to give to the people who are interested in watching the duel. They have no choice but to keep security tight as many will want to watch the duel.

He returns, tastes Ching's dish and gets poisoned. Later he is saved by Sai Moon. Lee's wife is the culprit and she even kills Lee for money. But Sai Moon lets her off. Luk congratulates him as he is happy to see a change in him as a friend. Luk is impressed that Sai Moon has a bakery in the palace area and thus no one can find him. Sai Moon is concerned over Yip's injury but they can no longer find him in the temple.

When Sai Moon gets to know about Cheung's death, he demands to see the dead body to examine the wound. They finally find Yim in a temple about to be killed by his 4 killers. Sai Moon and Luk finish them off and save Yim. Yim refuses to give up and tells Sai Moon to kill him. Luk is amused as all along Yim is the one who keeps on wanting to kill Sai Moon and not the other way round. Both swordsmen are puzzled as to why the 4 killers want to kill Yim. Yim searches Cheung's body and takes out 3 figurines.

Luk checks that Cheung is killed because he has used wax to make figurines of his killers. One is the chief eunuch Wong, another is the gambler Chiu, and the third person's face is flattened. The second person was killed by Wong in the gambling den earlier. As for Wong, they can't get to see him as he stays in the palace.

Upon seeing Cheung's dead body, he deduces that 4 people can be the killer - their friends Monk Lo Sat, Taoist Wood, Yip and the master of Sai Mountain. Yim finally knows that he has wronged Sai Moon and requests his help to seek out the killer. Sai Moon replies that he will as Cheung is also Suen's senior. Yim requests for a belt from Luk. Luk knows that Yim has mixed feelings towards Sai Moon for killing Tiet and also for saving him. Thus Yim still wants very much to watch the duel. So Luk gives him one belt.

Luk decides to go to the old carver Cheung to retain the figurine. He is stunned upon seeing that Sai Moon's face appears on it. Later he finds that the wax colour is different and it becomes green instead of yellow. He returns and finds the real Cheung dead in the well. Luk runs after the imposter and Far manages to stop the imposter from leaving. He did not wish to hit his acupoint but this fellow was viciously attacking a blind man so he did the same to him. A pity, for the fellow dies from poison without revealing anything.

Far gets a belt from Luk. Luk is puzzled as to how he will 'watch' the duel. Far replies that he can still use his sense of hearing. Now everyone knows that Luk has the 6 belts and all come to pester him. One is a snobbish swordsman who thinks he can buy over Luk with 3 jade piece (cameo appearance by director Ringo Lam Ling Dong.) Luk and Far practically ignore him and insist on sitting at their own table to have their own food. It is quite hilarious as Luk says he has exactly the same food at his own table. So why should he bother to walk over? Enraged, the swordsman and his followers attack the two and get beaten up.

Another is Po Gui (you'll be amazed to find how thin and young Ng Man Tat is) while another is Tong Tin Yung's younger brother, Tin Yee, who wants to seek revenge on Yip who has destroyed his brother's skills. Luk refuses to give in and beats them, saying that he will if they kneel and kowtow to him 3 times. Tin Yee later does it as he is too eager to seek revenge on Yip. Luk is touched that he can throw away his self-esteem for his brother's sake and quickly stops him. Tin Yee thinks that Luk feels that he hasn't kowtowed to him enough but is delighted when Luk gives away one belt to him.

As for the remaining three belts, he has a headache as to whom to give them away to. He sees See Hung and gives one to him. Later he meets Lo Sat and gives him two, reminding him to give one to Taoist Wood. Lo Sat is also here to seek out his nephew, Cheung's killer. But the poor Luk forgets about himself! When he visits Sai Moon, he finds Ow Yong there and shows her the figurines. She comments that she met the two men at the brothel. Usually she only entertains monks and eunuchs, as they can do nothing to her. Luk then realises that Ow Yong is still a virgin after all.

Later, he talks to Suen and he then realises his mistake of giving away all the belts. He rushes out, sending all laughing. The two women are amused but Sai Moon says that it is Luk's personality - he always cares for others and neglects himself. Luk is relieved that See Hung returns 2 belts to him.

He actually wanted Ow Yong to watch the duel with him that night. Upon seeing that she needs to console Suen, he gives up. He tries to give the extra belt to Pok or Do. But the men aren't interested as before! He is puzzled over the change but still hurries to the palace with Far. More and more people turn up. Even Po Gui turns up with Tin Yee. Luk is confused as to why there are more than 6 belts!

Sai Moon requests to see him. He lacks confidence as he is worried for Suen and their unborn child. He tells Luk to look after them for him but Luk refuses. Luk says that he should not give up easily and till now, he is only unsure of holding Sai Moon's sword with his Leng Sai finger. Seeing that Sai Moon glows, he knows that his friend will have no problem with the fight and leaves the room.

The 4 imperial guards request for him to go up to the rooftop. Po Gui's skills are too weak and he can't reach there. Luk offers to help him. Po is grateful to him and his attitude towards him changes, and starts treating him like a friend. All are alarmed and Luk has a shock of his life to see many masked men there! One guard says that they are either evil fugitives who have escaped from prison or retired swordsmen from the underworld. They are still quiet. Still the 4 guards hope that nothing bad will happen and bring in troops to the area.

Yip and Sai Moon appear. Both request that Luk check their weapons to see if they are poison free. Luk is agitated and tells both not to ask him to do this kind of meaningless task anymore. He doesn't understand why both hanker over the glory to be the No. 1 swordsman. Moreover, their styles will result in one of them getting killed. Fed up, he thrusts the two swords back at them and walks away.

Sai Moon sees that Yip's wound is tearing and calls off the duel. But Tin Yee, who is over anxious to seek revenge hits Yip with his darts. He then realises that Tin Yung is the imposter and tries in vain to save his brother. Luk then realises that the Emperor is in great danger and rushes to his room. The masked men start to attack but Luk's friends tell him not to worry as they can handle them.

Sure enough, the prince, eunuch Wong and Yip are there to kill the Emperor. The prince wants to kill the Emperor to be king himself and he gets Yip's help by promising him the post of chief general. To their dismay, Yip says now that he himself wants to be the Emperor since the prince is so incompetent that he can’t master even 10% of his skills. What he will do is kill the Emperor and wear a mask to impersonate him to enjoy his riches and glory. He kills the other two but stops when Luk comes in time to save the Emperor. Yip is frustrated that his plan is foiled when he is surrounded.

Tin Yung is killed by Yip who says that the two Tong brothers are incompetent. The elder would do anything for money even impersonating him and poisoning himself while the younger is stupid. The 4 imperial guards want to catch Yip but Sai Moon is persistent in starting the duel. He reprimands Yip for 'insulting' the dignity of a real swordsman. But still, he finds Yip the only worthy opponent to spar with him. Sai Moon threatens to join forces with Yip to kill the 3000 soldiers if the 4 imperial guards try to stop them.

The 4 guards know that they are both capable of doing it and give in. The others are equally curious to see the result and do not want both of them to change to another place for the duel too. Knowing that he can't escape, Yip goes to the rooftop with Sai Moon. Before the duel, he asks Luk how his plot was uncovered.

Luk says he found 3 suspicious points. One was to get Tin Yung injured to impersonate him. He did it deliberately and put on an act of maiming him in the restaurant. He wanted the women to cover it up with the flowers but he overdid it. Yip practises the same skill as Sai Moon. He dislikes women even more than Sai Moon. He also detests flowers and never drinks wine. This attempt was too deliberate for Luk.

The second point was killing the priest who was the middleman who arranged for him to meet eunuch Wong at the brothel. The mistake he made was that he shouldn't have left the cup of plain water on the table while the priest drank a cup of wine. Far had earlier spotted the difference with his nose at the crime scene. The wrong move was to tell Tin Yung to poison Ow Yong as she couldn’t remember seeing him. She only saw the other 2 as Yip had hid himself well in the room and she only managed to hear his voice. Yip was over-suspicious and Cheung must have seen them coming out of the brothel together. In a hurry, he managed to make the figurines before getting killed. Yip also framed Sai Moon for the murder, killing 2 birds with a stone.

Moreover, eunuch Wong was the only powerful person in court besides the 4 imperial guards. He was the other person capable of stealing the Persian silk to make them into belts. Yip must have asked him to make them and sell all at a high price of 500 taels of gold as claimed by Po who got his belt through this method. Luk had analysed the 4 guards' personalities and all are equally suspicious for being great money-spenders or womanisers. Luk chooses to believe that they are loyal to the Emperor as they have worked for a long time. Those masked men were unable to resist the temptation of watching two best swordsmen display their skills. Even the 4 guards had bet on the duel that Sai Moon would win so they had even arranged a room for him to rest. The masked men could have been bought over by Yip to deter them from saving the Emperor.

Luk also knows why Yip chose the palace rooftop for the duel. Not because the place was risky so that he could test each other's guts but it was a way to lure the 4 imperial guards away from protecting the Emperor. They themselves are also unable to resist the temptation. When they found so many strangers there, they would have no choice but to dispatch men from the city to go there. That would leave no one to help the Emperor.

Yip is satisfied with Luk's answer and tells Luk that he will remain his only friend forever. He duels with Sai Moon. At first, he has the upper hand, as Sai Moon still can't put his thoughts away. But is later slashed to death by Sai Moon's sword. Those watching the duel are puzzled over this change of events. Far believes that Yip knows he will still die after winning and thus it is better to die a glorious death in Sai Moon's hands. Before his death, Yip tries to reach the throne but fails.

Sai Moon quietly carries Yip's body and wants to leave. The 4 imperial guards stop him as they want Yip's corpse and Luk is in a foul mood. He doesn't understand the purpose even if they hand over Yip's corpse to them. He even asks the Emperor to wait for him although the Emperor wishes to see him at once. He wants to send his friends off. The others also feel the same way and leave with the three. The 4 imperial guards have no choice as they are unable to beat so many experts so they have to let them off.

3) The Mou Dong Battle (7 VCDs) in 1978

Taoist Jade - Kwan Hoi San
Du Gu Mei - Bak Mun Piew (retired)
Yip Suet - Miu Chin Yan (ex- 1975 Ms HK Photogenic, now in US)
Yip Ling - Chan Fu Sang (Ah Chi in 82 Demi-gods and Semi-devils, married to
Stanley Ho's nephew)
General - Kwan Chong

Sai Moon kills a woman for betraying her husband and also 3 men for betraying their friends. No one can escape from him for more than 19 days. Taoist Wood, See Hung, Far and Lo Sat are very troubled as they look through the records of the deaths. Why? Luk was found sharing the same bed with Suen by Sai Moon. In his rage, he is now running after Luk's life. They are worried over Luk's safety. All except Far who is still a little doubtful of Luk's act although they believe that he may have done it when he was drunk. Far is firm not because he trusts Luk so much but he knows Suen's love for Sai Moon. Suen has left the pugilistic world and this shows how much she loves Sai Moon so it's impossible that they would do such a thing.

They also discover that the 4 dead people are actually imposters - one of them falls into the sea after dying and his mask melts. The real ones must be hiding in Ghost Mansion now. The Ghost Mansion is like a refugee camp for those pugilistic experts who are hiding from Sai Moon for doing disgraceful acts. The imposters died on their behalf after the real ones paid them a large sum of money. This gang was crushed 20 years ago but has made a comeback 15 years ago. See Hung is impressed by the mask making skills when he examines a mask as he is widely known as the master of disguises. Now another person is at par with him in skill.

The 4 friends know that Sai Moon's sword skills have reached another advanced stage after his duel with Yip. Anything in his hands can become a deadly weapon. They are worried that Luk may be framed and may die in Sai Moon's hands before they can do the explaining. The 4 are even doubtful that they can win Sai Moon even if they combine their strength.

They finally manage to persuade Taoist Wood's senior uncle, Taoist Jade, to help Luk. Taoist Jade has been in retreat to master the Shield skill for 20 years. He agrees and they look for Suen to know more about the truth. Suen refuses to see them. They decide to trace Luk's whereabouts from the duel scene and save Luk. Judging from where the plum branches have fallen, they guess the direction and quickly give chase.

And sure indeed, Sai Moon finally finds Luk after 21 days. He says that Luk is the only one so far who has made him search for so long. Luk can still joke that he feels very honoured by this remark but Sai Moon attacks him without giving him the chance to explain himself. Luk finally escapes but suffers a wound on his chest. He gets outside Ghost Mansion but loses his way in a trail. No one recognises him as the once well-known Luk as he looks dejected and tired now.

Another fugitive, Duk Gu Mei, is running away from two men whose wives have affairs with him. One of them is Yip Gu Hung, Yip Gu Shing's cousin, while the other is the pink swallow. The pink swallow is a transsexual and Luk feels disgusted just by looking at him. Gu Hung is equally disgusted too and kills him when he comments that Gu Hung's skills are poor. This part is very hilarious - Duk Gu and Luk are at first shocked upon seeing Gu Hung's back because he dresses exactly like Sai Moon in white. Upon seeing his face, both heave a sigh of relief and even crack jokes.

Duk Gu comments that Gu Hung and his past 8 generations have no blood connection with Sai Moon at all. But yet, he tries to dress in white like Sai Moon's son! Luk replies that Gu Hung only imitates all Sai Moon's bad points - he can never portray Sai Moon's loneliness. Sai Moon gives people this feeling when blowing away the blood from the tip of his sword. But when Gu Hung does the same, he looks happy instead! Luk grabs Gu Hung's bottle of wine easily just with a blow. Devastated to know that Luk is injured by Sai Moon with just a stroke, he knows that he can never win Sai Moon and kills himself.

Luk is upset to see this but still helps Duk Gu to Ghost Mansion. Duk Gu even offers to give twice the amount of silver to the soul messenger to let Luk go in with him but is rejected. Surprisingly, the Old Knife Leader - the head of Ghost Mansion lets them in. The soul messenger is surprised that Luk can withstand many blows from him. Luk replies that nothing can frighten him after his ordeal with Sai Moon.

Upon crossing the bridge, Luk hears Fei Yin's singing. He nearly jumps as he remembers that she should be dead after he uncovered the Kum Pang mystery. How can she be alive again? He later meets Yip Ling in a room. She has imitated Fei Yin's singing. Yip Ling warns him to be careful of the people around him, especially her elder sister Yip Suet. Yip Suet always steals from her the things or people she likes and she is jealous of her. She wants Luk to even prevent her from entering his home.

Luk makes friends with the roaming soul. He nearly gets killed by the mask maker but lets him go. This man hates him for causing his benefactor, the prince's, death. Yip Ling shakes her head, commenting on how kind he is, saying that he will suffer in the future. She tells him not to ask others about their identities. They will not reveal anything as they are afraid of having enemies coming into the mansion to kill them.

Luk meets the General and defeats him easily. He also gets the chance to spar with the Old Knife Leader and is stunned to find that he fends off his Leng Sai finger. Luk's Leng Sai finger is just like Luk's sword/sabre and thus he never wields a weapon. Luk realises that he has underestimated the old man and is not ruthless to attack his throat instead of his shoulder. The worst is he can normally recognise a person's martial arts origin within 5 blows but this time round, he can't!

Sai Moon reaches Ghost Mansion after following Luk's bloody tracks. The soul messenger is annoyed that Sai Moon just stands there and ignores him. I like this part - Sai Moon says that he NEVER talks to a person who guards the door - a servant! He only talks because the soul messenger yields a sword. Both have a spar and the soul messenger would have died if not for the sparrows that shielded him. The Old Knife Leader agrees to let Luk out if Sai Moon manages to kill him. Sai Moon is furious that he only manages to leave a wound on his hand. Sai Moon vows not to give up and will wait in the forest for Luk.

The Old Knife Leader is puzzled that Sai Moon doesn't kill Suen but purses Luk. So he gets his men to abduct her. Far learns from Lo Sat that Luk is injured. Worried for Luk as things were getting serious, he decides to see Suen personally this time as he has a closer friendship with her than the rest. He manages to save her in time from her attackers. Suen is reluctant to tell him what happened. Sensing her tone, the ever patient Far gets impatient as he is eager to clear their names.

He is taken aback when Suen tells him that Sai Moon's son was born without arms. This could be retribution since Sai Moon loves killing so much. That dashed his hopes completely of teaching him any sword skills. Sai Moon was so dejected that he only spent his time training himself. Since he feels lonely as there are lesser exponents around, he might even spar with his close friends. Suen begs Far not to ask further as the truth will come to light one day. Far tells the rest about this and all are puzzled by her answer. Taoist Jade decides to keep track of Sai Moon and Luk.

Gu Hung's dead body is sent to Ghost Mansion and Yip Ling is upset over her elder brother's death. She accuses Luk of killing him. However before Luk can tell the truth, Duk Gu lies that Gu Hung was killed by Sai Moon. The Old Knife Leader decides to seek redress for the Yip siblings. Luk learns from Duk Gu and the Hook later that the Old Knife Leader and Old Yip are old friends. Both set up Ghost Mansion and the former took charge after Old Yip's death.

Luk is later accused of murdering the roaming soul. The other residents in Ghost Mansion - Cousin, the Housekeeper and the Hook end up killing each other over him. The flower widow is the only one who helps him. The Old Knife Leader agrees to let Luk and the flower widow leave if he manages to receive a blow from him. Luk passes the test but he is injured. He changes his mind upon seeing the message engraved by Sai Moon on a stone that he is waiting for him. He knows that he can never beat Sai Moon in his poor condition. Upon returning, he is surprised to see all still alive.

All were ordered by the Old Knife Leader to test whether he was desperate to escape from Sai Moon. In the meantime, Taoist Jade meets Sai Moon outside Ghost Mansion. Sai Moon agrees to give Luk's friends 3 months to seek redress for him. Luk’s friends are attacked by Ghost Mansion killers. Although they defeat them, they discover that Taoist Wood is very ill and is dying.

The Old Knife Leader invites Luk to become one of them. During the feast, Yip Ling's sister, Yip Suet, returns. Luk is fascinated by her beauty. (I still wonder why as she looks so old and dull in that boring brown dress). Yip Suet is so enraged to learn that Sai Moon had killed Gu Hung that she destroys her sedan into two with her sword. But Luk still tells her that she is no match for Sai Moon. Yip Suet tells Luk that she will marry him if he helps her to kill Sai Moon. Luk declines as he doesn't want to sacrifice for nothing. Upon seeing her removing her clothes to lure him, Luk tells her the truth that Gu Hung had killed himself. Disappointed and embarrassed, she leaves.

Later Luk is hit by Yip Suet's father, Yip Ling Feng, on his acupoint unexpectedly and he can't move at all. He begs Luk not to tell his two daughters that he is still alive as he is no longer the well-known handsome man in the pugilistic world. Yip Ling comes and makes fun of Luk when she sees this. However, later, Luk is really poisoned by his enemy. Although he manages to kill the fellow, Luk is dying. In order to save him, Yip Ling spends an intimate moment with him. Yip Ling is finally happy that at last, she can surpass Yip Suet to get the person she likes. Feeling remorseful, Luk decides to ask for the Old Knife Leader's permission to marry her.

He is shocked when the Old Knife Leader tries to match-make him with Yip Suet. Of course, the announcement of Yip Ling's relationship with Luk shocks all. Yip Ling is enraged and decides to burn herself to death with Gu Hung's corpse. But the news from Luk about her father's survival changes her mind and she presses Luk to bring her to see Yip Ling Fung. Both finally see each other and Yip Suet says that he will still remain the same to her as he still remembers that she can see well at night like her mother.

Yip Ling Fung holds Yip Suet hostage. The two sisters are actually the Old Knife Leader's illegitimate daughters. Yip Ling Fung had spent too much time practising his skills and thus his wife Sum Sam Niong had committed adultery on him. He had tolerated their presence all along but is pushed over the cliff one day and turns ugly after falling into a swamp.

The Old Knife Leader manages to save Yip Suet and kills Yip Ling Fung but Yip Ling is killed in the process. Before dying, Yip Suet promises her that she will not marry Luk and will also make sure that Luk will not touch a second woman. Yip Ling dies peacefully upon hearing this.

Luk is upset over Yip Ling's death. Dok Gu reveals to him that he is a spy sent by Taoist Wood into Ghost Mansion. Luk says that he has looked for the wrong man. Both fight and Luk injures him seriously. The Old Knife Leader is very pleased. Actually Dok Gu is not Taoist Wood's spy but his spy. He had planted him in Mou Dong all along to spy on Taoist Wood. Luk is fed up that he has to go through so many tests that he injures Dok Gu seriously. He tries to attack the Old Knife Leader to uncover the veil but fails again.

The Old Knife Leader decides to bring forward his plan. He wants to make use of them to kill all the leaders of the pugilistic world on the day that Taoist Wood was going to announce his successor. Yip Suet is furious that her initial involvement in the plot is withdrawn and taken over by Luk. The Old Knife Leader initially wanted her to take part because she sees well at night. But now, Luk makes a better choice, as he is also highly skilled. Actually the Old Knife Leader doesn't want to risk her life and wants her to stay guard at Ghost Mansion.

Luk is impressed with the mask leader's skills so he agrees to help him escape. All of them disguise themselves as a rich family. Luk becomes an old man, the flower widow his wife (because Luk had requested to throw Sai Moon off his tracks as Luk was always with young and pretty women), Cousin as his son while the Housekeeper and the Hook, his followers. They stay in a dark mansion where an old man who stays there claims that it is the same house where Yip Ling Fung killed Sum Sam Niong. He misses her and cuts her up into 93 pieces to put in different rooms. The flower widow is so shocked to find the remains of Sum's arms, ears and eyes in every room that she faints. Before this, all seem to have disappeared and she wonders what is wrong. When she wakes up the next day, all of them laugh at her and assures her that it was only a dream.

They stay at an inn but Luk nearly jumps upon seeing Taoist Jade with Sai Moon. Sai Moon spars with a masked man. Before this, Sai Moon says that he will not fight with him as he is the remaining 7 who can pit his skills against him. Luk guesses that he is the soul messenger, Shek. He has guessed correctly that he is Taoist Wood's junior. And very true indeed, Shek is at a losing end and escapes through the roof. Then Sai Moon deduces that he is among the 3 that he had in mind but it is impossible as all are dead.

Two monks from Ghost Mansion want to spar with Sai Moon but Sai Moon declines, saying that only one will remain alive after the fight. He leaves after reminding Taoist Jade that he has only 2 days to help Luk. On his way out of the inn, he sees Taoist Wood and deduces that he is terminally ill just by looking at him and not checking his pulse. Thus no wonder he wants to announce his successor that soon.

The Old Knife Leader wants Luk to steal Taoist Wood's crown. He says that the crown keeps all the dark secrets of the fugitives at Ghost Mansion. If not for this, the soul messenger will not have to disfigure himself on the eve of his ceremony of being the next Mou Dong chief.

The next day, Luk successfully gets Taoist Wood's crown in the dark during the ceremony. Far tries in vain to protect Taoist Wood but Wood's 7-star sword is missing. Taoist Wood is injured. Luk and the others meet at the inn again. Luk criticises the Old Knife Leader for framing him as many use 5 fingers to steal the crown. But people will know that the culprit was him as he used his 2 Leng Sai fingers. What the Old Knife Leader wants is the 7-star sword and the crown isn't important to him. The Old Knife Leader wants the rest to kill Luk but all of them laugh at him instead. Luk says that the Old Knife Leader's plan of 'retrieving' the dead alive is a good plan but this makes his job easier.

Why? Cousin, the Housekeeper and the Hook are not the same people anymore. They are the mask maker, See Hung and the next Mou Dong Leader in disguise! See Hung is a better expert than the mask maker and thus they had managed to deceive the rest. The flower widow then recounts what happened the other night when all had disappeared. She realises that Luk and his friends must have subdued the real people and made the switch. The 6 sect leaders also come along to surround the Old Knife Leader.

Luk then analyses that he is Taoist Jade as he will be the only one who will benefit if both leaders die. But he is stunned when Taoist Jade appears and kills the Old Knife Leader and the two monks from Ghost Mansion. Yip Suet tries to help her father but he is killed, leaving her in tears. Upon uncovering the veil, all discover that it is Shek. Before dying, he says that he is not Yip Suet's father but she doesn't believe him.

Luk and the flower widow find it impossible that both are the same man. Both men always appeared together so how could they be the same person? See Hung and the mask maker think that things should be put to a stop after Shek's death. But Far also says that the person who attacked Taoist Wood earlier had wood fragrance but Shek doesn't have it. Luk then decides to ask Taoist Wood about it. In fact, he goes so eagerly and fast with his 'qinggong' that Far finds it hard to keep up with him!

Taoist Wood wears a protection vest but he is still dying. He tells Luk that Taoist Jade can never master the 9th level of the Shield skill although he has reached the 8th level as he can never become the Mou Dong leader. Taoist Jade had committed adultery when young and was thus punished. The secret to mastering the 9th level is right inside the sword. So the sword did not collect any ugly secrets as claimed by the Old Knife Leader. But still, there is a flaw - if Luk spars with him and finds that he has covered a certain part with protection, that will be his weakest point. Luk then decides to discuss this with the other sect leaders at the Eagle's Nest.

This is where Luk and the 6 sect leaders hatched the plan to uncover the Ghost Mansion plot. One of them had discovered its presence but was unsure who should be the spy. He discussed with the others and all concluded that Luk was the best candidate. But they had to seek Sai Moon's approval to play a part in it. Luk then persuaded Sai Moon to fake running after his life because of his involvement with Suen. Sai Moon said that this was smearing his reputation but he is past caring how others think so this didn't bother him at all.

Luk is delighted that he agrees to it. Actually Sai Moon finds this amusing - he wants to see how his skills have improved after his duel with Yip. He tells Luk that Luk must be always on the run as he is REALLY chasing after him. Luk gets frightened and asks if it is for real that Sai Moon will kill him if he gets caught. To his dismay, Sai Moon's answer is YES! Luk agrees reluctantly for the sake of saving the pugilistic world. Then Sai Moon says the run starts right NOW! Poor Luk - he hasn't recovered from the shock and he has to start avoiding Sai Moon's blows at once!

Luk and Far are dismayed that the other sect leaders don't believe that Taoist Jade is the Old Knife Leader. Shek and Taoist Jade had broken the rules of avoiding lust so they would never get the chance to be Mou Dong Leader. Taoist Jade is punished by his master to go into retreat for 20 years. Luk even recalls that Taoist Wood seeked their help instead of approaching his senior uncle as he was suspicious of Taoist Wood's actions. Far also replies that Taoist Jade likes to show off so it is very unlikely that he is willing to go into retreat for so many years. Of course, his remarks cause him to get a big scolding from the leaders instead.

Luk nearly tears out his hair when others think that Taoist Jade is innocent and insists that Shek is the culprit since he is also eyeing the post. Even the present Siu Lam abbot, Tiet Kin, who is an ex-constable finds it unbelievable with no evidence at hand. They even ignore the fact that Taoist Jade is the only one who benefits from getting the final scroll of the Shield skill. Moreover, they even think of choosing him as the next pugilistic leader. Far and Luk are dismayed that they are suddenly isolated from the rest.

Both guys decide to ask the Hook, Housekeeper and Cousin to witness the fact that Shek is not the Old Knife Leader. On the way, Luk defeats Suet who tries to kill him. She still vows to seek revenge. The three have seen them appearing together on several occasions and are sure that Shek's skills aren't that highly-skilled.

The 3 are reluctant to help as they would be handed over to Abbot Tiet Kin later but they have no choice as they have been taken hostage to help Luk. This scene is amusing as Luk, Far and the flower widow sit in a cart. Luk uses a whip to slash them and treats them like horses to vent his frustrations for being unable to beat Taoist Jade. But the Old Knife Leader releases the 3 when Luk and the rest fetch water for them. Luk, Far and the flower widow are all captured after being poisoned instead.

I really laughed at this part - the 3 want to make candles from Luk's fingers for remembrance instead of killing him right on the spot. But they are dismayed that the Old Knife Leader is only making use of them to capture Luk's gang so that he doesn't waste any strength. He has no plans to keep them alive. This part is sure hilarious - Far imitates the Housekeeper's sissy voice to ask Luk what to do now when they have outlived their usefulness. Luk replies in Cousin's sissy voice too claiming that they can only lower their heads down in shame. These men sure know how to entertain themselves in the midst of their agony!

The Old Knife Leader kills his henchmen and Luk shakes his head, saying that the 3 are really dead for real this time. The Old Knife Leader decides to starve them to death in Mou Dong's secret cellar. This very day is also Taoist Wood's declaration of the next leader. See Hung discovers Luk's tracks and confronts Taoist Jade over Luk's disappearance. Taoist Jade pretends to bring all the leaders and See Hung to the cellar to 'save' Luk. Luk nearly bursts when all advise him to stop accusing the wrong person - and even to thank Taoist Jade for saving him! They even praise Taoist Jade for being a chivalrous and forgiving man. On the way out, Taoist Jade asks to see Luk. Far is worried and wants to accompany him but Taoist Jade only wants to see Luk. Luk assures him that he will be fine.

Taoist Jade reveals that he is indeed the Old Knife Leader. He was forced into retreat for 20 years for seducing Yip Ling Feng's wife and having Suet in the end. He had spent 5 years mastering the 8th level of the Shield skill and 15 years setting up Ghost Mansion. The place of retreat burns fragrant wood at all times and that's why his clothes caught the smell, which was detected by Far.

He defeats Luk easily as he can't find his 'death spot'. Luk finds it depressing that his 'Leng Sai' finger doesn't work again. But he believes that his 2 weapons – the upholding of justice and truth – will defeat Taoist Jade one day. He leaves Mou Dong unhappily with his other 3 friends. They are worried over what will happen if Taoist Jade is chosen as the pugilistic leader. Being the only 4 people who believe that he is the culprit isn't enough. Luk decides to seek Sai Moon's help.

Far bows to Suen for enduring the humiliation. Luk also apologises to her. Suen asks Luk to leave as Sai Moon still wants to spar with him. Luk doesn't believe that such a thing will happen. Sure enough, Sai Moon appears and demands to have a duel with Luk again. Luk says that he will get the sect leaders to clear the air. However, Sai Moon says that at first, he agreed to the plan as he wanted to test his skills. But he had heard ugly stories about him and Suen as he pursued Luk. Announcing the truth wasn’t good enough now as most will choose to believe the rumours. Only blood will wash his humiliation away. The others are surprised that he can be so conservative after all.

Sai Moon breaks the branch from a peach tree. The flower widow is puzzled after seeing that Luk's cheeky expressions disappear completely. She later understands when Far explains to her that Sai Moon can use anything as a sword now. Luk tries in vain to explain that Taoist Jade is the real culprit and he really needs his help. Sai Moon ignores it and continues to fight with him. The others watch helplessly as Luk tells them that even by combining forces, they are not Sai Moon's match.

Sure enough, later Luk touches the blood around his neck and is sarcastic in saying that luckily his blood is warm, unlike someone's blood who is completely cold. Enraged that he is unable to kill Luk, Sai Moon pulls out a string of swords from a tree and charges a sword at Luk. He replies that Luk leaves him no choice but to force him to use his weapon.

Luk is also furious with him and is prepared to accept his blows. Suen asks Sai Moon whether he really wants to see blood in front of him. When he still answers yes, she slashes her neck with another sword of his from the tree! Before dying, she tells him to assist Luk. When he tearfully agrees, she apologies for not bearing him a son who can wield a sword. She dies saying that this is the real husband that she wants. And dying under his sword will no longer affect his reputation any more.

Taoist Jade has mastered the 9th level of the Shield skill. The 5 get into Mou Dong and Sai Moon refuses to remove his sword. Sai Moon doesn't help them when they are dealing with the normal Taoists. But when the Taoists start to build a formation, he becomes interested. Luk and the rest stand aside and Sai Moon kills them. Same as when he deals with Taoist Jade later, he stands aside to look out for Taoist Jade's weakness. Luk vows that he will never let Taoist Jade off even though he knows that he will be the pugilistic leader on this day and will be pursued by the other sect leaders when he is dead. After sparing with him a few blows while assisting the rest, Sai Moon confirms that Taoist Jade is indeed the Old Knife Leader. Taoist Jade is proud that Sai Moon injured him in the earlier duel but not now.

See Hung finds it hard to subdue Taoist Jade in Mou Dong's secret cellar and all try to switch the place to the hall. However, this is not helpful when See Hung is killed first. Luk is very depressed over it. However, the remaining four remain persistent. Sai Moon is still calm after being injured and tells the flower widow to trap Taoist Jade with her sash while the 3 of them try to find his weakness. To their dismay, they hit all his 26 acupoints and he is still alright! The flower widow is sacrificed too.

Sai Moon starts to question Far and Luk as to whether they have tried everywhere. Upon seeing that Taoist Jade wears a crown, Luk remembers Taoist Wood's words. He quickly grabs the crown successfully and the two hurriedly pierce their swords into Taoist Jade's body. However, they fail again as he protects his head well. At this time, Suet is looking for a chance and she strikes Taoist Jade from his back.

Taoist Jade kills her unexpectedly and is stunned. Sai Moon quickly kills him from the roof. Before dying, Suet says that she is finally successful in avenging her father's death. This is his retribution. Taoist Jade laughs bitterly and says that he has killed his own daughter, which is indeed his own retribution. Both fall to the ground, lying side by side. The other 3 look at their bodies silently.

The actual story in the novel :

All the 3 women - Yip Suet, Yip Ling and Suen are alive in the novel till the end. The same happens to the flower widow and the others. Suen doesn't even appear in this segment of the novel at all. Probably, the director wanted to produce the tragic effect to finish them off or to show that Sai Moon wasn't warm-blooded after all. It does not tell us whether his baby is born too! Frankly speaking, I disliked the sad endings of the women, especially Suen's sorrowful fate. She did not deserve to die for being wronged! And I really miss See Hung as well - he is also supposed to be alive in the serial in the end!

Sai Moon actually enjoys the challenge so much that he tells Luk to escape non-stop otherwise he will kill him. But his role in this segment is reduced to a minimum. He only appears at the inn and at the coronation ceremony. I liked the second arrangement as Sai Moon simply refuses to remove his sword at the sword removal area. He claims that his sword never leaves his side and he will not hesitate to fight if he is denied of entering the hall to witness the ceremony. Later, Taoist Wood trusts Sai Moon's character and allows him in! Luk shivers upon seeing him despite his disguise as seen by his counterparts.

His name is only mentioned through Luk's mouth in most moments. It is up to the reader's imagination to visualise how bloody his fight is with Luk. And imagine how frightened Luk is to face him. Even after the whole incident, Sai Moon says that he will find a chance to spar with Luk one day as he has few opponents left. Luk is distressed to see his friend reverting to his old ways and wonders how Suen can take it.

The Old Knife Leader is the natural father of Gu Hung and Yip Suet. The one as the Old Knife Leader is Taoist Wood. He allows Sam Niong to marry Yip Ling Fung only in name but to his dismay, they fall in love and have Yip Ling as a result. Enraged, he pushes him off a cliff. Later Ling Fung captures Yip Suet but tells her that Taoist Wood has caused him to be in this predicament. On the day Taoist Wood is crowned, Yip Suet kills him unexpectedly to seek revenge. Luk can't stop her in time and sees him dying in front of him even before he can tell the truth. He has no heart to tell Yip Suet about the fatal mistake that she has made and is still very upset when the whole thing is over.

Comments on acting :

I must praise all the lead actors for their strong performances. They deserve the recognition as they fitted into their roles comfortably. Not only did they act well -- they managed most fighting scenes personally and were very impressive. The way they read their lines too -- with so much clarity and emotion that they put all the younger artistes to shame. They also injected enough sense of humour and fostered close ties in creating a bond. No wonder even after close to 30 years, many still remember the roles they played! Even those who made cameo appearances did well too.

1. Luk Siu Fung by Lau Chung Yan

Before watching this serial, I had wondered why so many people like Lau as Luk. There was a year he came to Singapore to officiate the opening ceremony of a shoe shop when TCS started showing this serial. The crowd practically ran wild upon seeing him. Some even lost their shoes while chasing after him!

After watching, I realised the reason for his popularity. Lin Zhi Ying and Suen Yiu Wai really fall far behind him in acting skills in Luk Siu Fung 1 and Luk Siu Fung 2. No wonder they were criticised for being too childish. I have not watched Man Tse Leung's 80s version but it's said that Man made Luk too 'lustful' and he should have watched his weight before taking up the role. Lau is simply too perfect for the role. The way he presents his two Leng Sai fingers to break or hold swords in many scenes is so graceful that no one can surpass him!

He is at his best form when acting this role. Witty, handsome, jovial, alert and thin, he displays so much charm that all will like him immediately. Plus, he has the widest wardrobe of clothes of all colours. I wonder which tailor made the clothes that looked so good on him? I liked him in the pink and white gown most, which is shown on the VCD cover. Another is the black and white robe with black stripes.

With the moustache and his special trademark Leng Sai finger, he is too good to resist. This is the character I like most besides Chor Lau Heung in Gu Long's novels. Chor can be a little icy at times but Luk is a warm person. That is why he has more friends. Even his enemies melt upon dealing with him. Lin should learn from Lau on how to be a charming swordsman. When Lau touches his moustache, he is charming and funny. But when Lin does the same, he looks lecherous! I doubt anyone can replace Lau for this role.

2. Far Moon Lau - Wong Yin Choy

This actor also impressed me. Although he is considered a supporting actor, he did his job well. Who could ignore his presence? It was not easy to act as a blind man. He didn’t blink at all and his wonderful voice when relating the lines was just like a fish in water. Sometimes, I even confused his voice with Wong Yuen Sang's as both were low pitched! He has the most scenes with Lau and both guys have wonderful chemistry together. He may look cool but he can be humourous too. So many conversations between him and Luk can send you laughing non-stop. His acting was superb too in relating his feelings towards Fei Yin and his loyalty towards Luk, giving him all the help he needs at all times. He was as witty as Luk and even spotted undetected details with his sense of smell which made this character likeable.

3. Sai Moon Chui Suet - Wong Yuen Sang

The moment he stepped out, I told myself this was the CORRECT Sai Moon that fitted the description in the novel! Lee Ming Shun is simply too wooden in this role. Wong Yuen Sang is like a snowy mountain in his white gown donned from the beginning till the end. His air of coolness is natural and not deliberate like Li Ming Shun. His voice is pleasant to hear too as it is really without any emotion.

Some may find him expressionless but this is Sai Moon's personality. Sai Moon is wise, arrogant and unfeeling. Plus Sai Moon is so knowledgeable in sword skills, medicine and trap formations. But it was hilarious at certain times when he read his supposedly serious lines, I couldn’t stop laughing as they produced a comical effect instead! I will relate some in my thoughts below. Wong Yuen Sang was splendid in the sword scenes because of his martial arts background.

The only flaw I disliked was that the director presented Sai Moon to be a stick-in-the-mud. Being a swordsman, he is interested in swordsplay and nothing else. He doesn't get bothered even if rumours of having an unfaithful wife get spread around. Nothing matters to him more than meeting a worthy opponent.

But still, Wong Yuen Sang manages to inject an air of gentleness in intimate scenes with Wong Hung Sau. With a dim smile on his face, he is equally convincing too with dimples on his face. The sad scene of the alarm that he shows when she kills herself is sure good. The way he carried his dead wife was also heart-breaking. Who had expected Sai Moon to kiss her forehead in front of his friends?

4. Yip Gu Shing - Cheng Siu Chau

I realised why Cheng is also well-known for this villain roles, besides playing Chan Ka Lok and Cheung Mo Kei in the 70s. Cheng is wonderful as Yip. Cold, lonely and ambitious, Cheng does it well, not losing to the above three in acting. I liked the part where Yip sits alone in a room dressing his own wound - he looks so frail and pathetic with no one around him. If Sai Moon is a snowy mountain, he is a lake that freezes in winter. This proves that Cheng is versatile in his acting and is not restricted to acting good guy roles. He is also nice-looking in a white gown. Another plus point is he is taller and thus looks very graceful in handling the fighting scenes. I simply like the final duel - it is very intriguing!

5. Fok Tin Ching/The prince/The General - Kwan Chong

He acts well in every villain role but I really pity him. Why isn't he given a chance to play a good guy since he has the ability to handle it too?


I can't stomach the 1970's headgear - they look so ugly and fake. Almost all the actresses are well-known so what can you say about their acting? However, I think the director is biased to give all the actors a big wardrobe. They can be seen changing their costumes every now and then. While for the ladies, most only get to wear one dress from the beginning to the end! Some look so old with dull, boring colours. Is it because they are deemed to be unimportant in this serial?

6. Suen Sau Ching - Wong Hung Sau

As usual, Wong Hung Sau is pretty in period dramas. However, I found that she portrayed Suen to be a little too weak. She cries in too many scenes. Suen is supposed to be a headstrong person who doesn't wish to worry Sai Moon even though she is troubled. Maybe it is her pixie face and figure that restricts her. Her acting is good as always, though.

7. Sheung Gun Fei Yin/Sheung Gun Dan Fung - Hon Ma Lei

She acted well in both roles - one is cunning, talkative and playful while the other is serious and restricted. She has the elegance of a princess or a young maiden. However, she is too thin and her chin is too sharp which makes her a bit wicked looking. But she has a lot of chemistry with Wong Yin Choy. I still find it a pity that both characters don't end up together in the end.

8. Ow Yong Ching - Lui Shui Yung

She is an unknown but I find her acting okay. She was so fierce in her first meeting with Luk that she gave him a hard slap! Later when they meet again, she is delighted but still feigns to be distant. When he leaves, she starts regretting her actions. Knowing that, the cheeky Luk appears before her when she blames herself for chasing him away! This makes her embarrassed and unable to hide her feelings anymore. Later she turns demure after Luk saves her with Sai Moon's aid. She manages to play the role well but too bad she doesn't stay long in this serial.

9. Yip Sau Chu/Yip Ling - Chan Fu Sang

In the first part as Fok Tin Ching's ill-fated lover and Suen's junior in the Kam Pang mystery, Chan doesn't manage to create a deep impression as her role is minor. Moreover, her headgear is very ugly looking.

But in Mou Dong battle, her image changes completely and is cute looking with 2 tiny plaits. She was very sweet and yet violent towards Luk. She was very good in portraying the many faces of Yip Ling - mischievous, intelligent, eloquent but also easily jealous. No wonder she was chosen to act as Ah Chi later in the '82 version of 'Demi-gods and Semi-devils'.

10. Yip Suet - Miu Chin Yan

By right, she should be a stunning beauty but I didn't feel that way when she showed her face. At first, I was quite curious to see how she looked as she hid in her sedan, but when she walked out, I was utterly disappointed. What a major letdown! Her dark brown dress makes her look old with no plaits by her ears. Luckily her later colourful dresses create an impact that brings out her beauty. Her acting was okay here but she was stiff at times, trying too hard to be cool but she couldn’t surpass the actors in any way.

Memorable scenes

The first scene where Far saves Fei Yin. He looks vulnerable and yet protects her well. In return, she sings him a song, 'Fresh flowers over the moon mansion'. The song fits the beautiful scenery well.

Sheung Gun Dan Fung's followers tear through Fok Yau's home in order to force Luk to work for their princess. Luk and Fok ignore them and still continue their drinking. But when one is about to break their last bottle of wine, Luk practically runs after him repeatedly. This scene shows how terrible the props are in the 70s - old, easily torn and unconvincing.

The scenes which Sai Moon kills the ruthless killers. He would relate all the crimes that they had committed before killing them and declare that he knows none of their victims. But still, he seeks revenge for them. He kills the murderers one by one by slashing their necks. After that, he blows away the blood from his sword. Fits his name, 'Chui Suet' well - very cool scenes.

Luk is helpless when he is unable to move Sai Moon to help the Kam Pang king. Sai Moon practically ignores him and only concentrates on using a pair of scissors to trim his nails while talking to him. He doesn't even look at Luk at all! When Luk threatens to burn his Mun Mui mansion, he still acts as if nothing is happening! He even says it is up to Luk to do what he wants since he is his only friend with an unfeeling voice. He even suggests that Luk start burning from the backyard since he has fireworks there. Luk is already tearing his hair at his wits' end. Unexpectedly, Sai Moon says he will agree on one condition - that is, he HATES Luk's moustache as it is ugly and he doesn't want to see it! Luk is taken aback but has to agree to it!

Sai Moon confronts Yin Lap Bin. Yin commands his followers to attack Sai Moon. After killing 3 batches, Sai Moon grows so sick and asks Yin when he is going to draw his own sword instead of sending so many men to their graves!

Fok Tin Ching and Ng Tiet San's duel. Tin Ching claims to seek revenge for his master, Yin, but his mission is to reduce Ng's inner strength so he can be killed by Sai Moon later. A memorable scene as we know both Kwan Hoi San and Kwan Chong are father and son in real life.

Luk gets so tired digging the soil in search of Fei Yin's corpse. Suet Yee stands aside waiting, saying that he should be honoured to help a pretty girl like her. He starts to wonder whether he is mad to believe the liar Suet Yee's words to do such a stupid thing. Before this, she had caused him embarrassment by claiming to everyone in public that she was his aunt. A man even pesters Luk to ask what Suet Yee had eaten to make herself look so young. Fed up with the harassment, Luk replies that she skins frogs alive, eats cockroaches and earthworms daily. If he wanted, he would get the animals for him. The man flees immediately!

Sai Moon and Ng Tiet San's duel. Quite spectacular to watch all the moves slowly and clearly unlike recent TVB works where you see nothing. And of course, Wong displays excellent martial arts skills here.

Yip's unexpected attack on Luk. Luk walks into the garden, expecting to see Yip standing there. But Yip jumps from the rooftop and attacks him with his 'Tin Whoi Fei Shin' skill. Luk is in shock! He can only walk backwards and fall on the staircase. When the sword tip is about to touch his chest, he finally uses his 'Leng Sai' finger to save himself. Then Far appears and praises Luk for his alertness. Luk replies that he never knew Far could be so scheming - he knew that there was a well-known sword present and yet hid in the dark watching him being in danger, refusing to help. Far says that he doesn't want to miss the match. Luk rebukes and asks Far why not try to see if he can avoid Yip's blow?

Far is sceptical of stepping into Chun Wah restaurant again. Luk never has a moment of peace for meals upon walking in here. Luk says that they should not believe in luck. But sure enough, Far's sixth sense is correct when people come to approach Luk for the belts. Luk sighs and vows never to step in there again!

Luk's encounter with the priest's henchmen. They have devised a formation to trap him but Luk manages to break the trap. They improvised it the second time. One of them even masters the ten nail poison skill. But he becomes a laughing stock instead. Luk pins ALL his ten nails on the door and he can't move! Luk kills him and exclaims why this priest doesn't believe his words that he can never be his match at all!

Sai Moon and Luk join forces to defeat the killers hired by Yim to kill Sai Moon. Sai Moon is only interested in killing those who yield swords. Luk has no choice but to spend more time and strength fighting. In the end, he gets so sick that he simply thrusts most of them directly into the coffins. Sai Moon's job is much simpler – out of the 4, two are killed by his sword before they can get out from the coffins!

The parting scene between Sai Moon and Suen. We can see how Sai Moon has softened after their marriage, hugging his wife close to him. But yet his eagerness for the duel overcomes this. The reluctance to part is so real-life. The song, 'Hoping my companion will remember', is played at the right time too.

The conversation between Sai Moon and Luk before the duel. It reveals the closeness between the two although Sai Moon is still icy when telling him to take care of Suen as he was his only friend he could confide in. The song, 'Before the duel', is played at the right time too.

Po stays on the ground while the other pugilistic experts reach the rooftop. Luk wonders why and pulls over Po's cloak. He finds a hook tied with a string to Po's belt! Luk tries hard not to laugh – asking if his 'qinggong' skill is so bad. Po gets angry and says that he wants to stay on the ground. Luk then tells him that there is nothing to worry about losing face as only despicable people should be ashamed of themselves. Luk even offers to help Po. Po is so touched that he supports Luk later in getting out of the palace.

Yip kills the Emperor's followers before wanting to kill him. He kills all with only a stroke. This scene is sure cool as Cheng thrusts the sword cover in the air and later flings the sword into it accurately from his back without looking to keep his sword!

Yip and Sai Moon's duel. A very remarkable scene that all shouldn't miss! A whole 10 minutes of superb fighting in slow motion. This shows why the two actors are so well-known for their 'Dai Hup' roles. It is a pity that this is the only serial that both have worked together in!

The duels between Sai Moon and Luk. This shows how desperate Luk is to escape from Sai Moon when the two pit their skills against each other. This is especially so at the last moment when Sai Moon attacks him with a branch. Luk runs from the corridor of a room into the garden and tries hard to avoid his blows. He uses his 'Leng Sai' fingers to hold the branch but is still injured. Getting mad with Sai Moon for being unreasonable, the mild mannered Luk finally shows his temper by shooting sarcastic remarks.

Several scenes of Luk pitting his skills and wits against Taoist Jade. Luk finds no one he can trust and must be on his guard at all times. Lau gives an outstanding performance. He finds it so difficult to save his own skin after failing to find his weakness to kill him. They show his desperation well.

The scene where Suen kills herself. Sai Moon and Luk are alarmed and rush to stop her in vain. Luk pounces to reach her from the ground while Sai Moon rushes to her side from the air.

The parting scene when Suen dies. Cheng's song, 'Unending love', is played at the right time to convey Sai Moon's regret and sadness. He holds her hand with a tear in his eye and later carries her in his arms, kissing her on the forehead. Enough agony portrayed without words spoken.

Sai Moon stands aside to see how Far, Luk, See Hung and the flower widow fight against the Taoists. Only when they start to build a sword formation, did he get interested and told them to move aside. Enough attraction is thrown when all shadow him wherever he goes. The highlight was when he slashed their throats one by one and later blew the blood away from his sword again. This scene is sure cool when he tells the rest that killing doesn't require that much energy!

The confrontation between Taoist Jade and the gang in Mou Dong's secret cellar in the finale. Taoist Jade feels uneasy although he is superior in skills when Sai Moon stands aside to watch like a hawk on how he pits his skills against the rest. He knows that Sai Moon is looking for his weakness and yells that he has no weakness at all. And sure indeed, Sai Moon is surprised when his sword doesn't kill him at the supposedly weak spots that he has detected.

The fighting scene in the hall is equally an eye-opener. All of them are defeated by Taoist Jade and are puzzled as to how to beat Taoist Jade. Especially when the remaining 3 friends are left and they are at a loss. Even Sai Moon is injured by a blow this time. But he still persists to hand himself from the ceiling and pierces his sword into Taoist Jade's head when he sees the chance.


The pace can be very slow moving at times as it retains most of the dialogue from the novel. The props are also old and can be unsightly too. Most of the women's headgears are very ugly too. But there is an improvement in the 'Mou Dong duel' with better presentation.

Some artistes play different roles in different segments. I felt weird when some supposedly dead people in the first segment came alive in the different parts. Some are even in 3 of them! This can be confusing to the viewers! Was TVB that lacking of people during those days?

If I'm not wrong, there should be another story before 'The Duel Before and After'. I've read 'The Weaving Villain' before this. Somehow, I found the pace broken at the start of the second story. Luk is after 'the weaving villain' Kum Gau Ling for blinding many martial arts experts. He later kills Kum. And there is a song ‘Mourning for Suet Bing' by Cheng Siu Chau for this serial. Suet Bing is another lover of Luk who was killed by Kum in the novel. Did TVB miss producing this segment on VCD???


There are 6 songs altogether - 5 by Cheng Siu Chau and 3 by Cheung Tak Lan. The themesong 'Luk Siu Fung' is awesome. This is the best theme song that Cheng has delivered so far. Cheng Siu Chau sings the song well with enough feelings and punch on the friendship between the swordsmen. The next 'Before the duel' is also another classic, relating Sai Moon's worry for Suen and his unborn son before the duel.

The third which is seldom heard is 'Mourning for Suet Bing'. It portrays Luk's sad feelings well for losing his love. The fourth, 'Vowing to step into the sabre mountain', for part 3 is also a masterpiece - another fast-paced song, showing no regrets and the bravery of Luk who's forever landing himself in danger. Actually I liked this song in 'Luk Siu Fung'. In the novel, Luk is supposed to sing this song after drinking wine to show his guts before going to Mou Dong to confront Taoist Jade. Too bad, TVB didn't film this scene. The last is 'Unending love' which is a sad song showing regret for wrongdoings.

Songs by Cheung Tak Lan - the first - 'Fresh flowers over the mansion' - is a very lively piece that portrays the happy feelings of Far and Fei Yin together. I never expected the same tune to be slow moving and sad later under another title 'Falling flowers with tears' which is played when Yip Ling imitates Fei Yin's voice. Cheung Tak Lan really displays emotions well in the same music with different lyrics. A very suitable arrangement. The third is of course 'Hoping my companion will remember' - which relates Suen's sadness on her willingness to die for Sai Moon if he gets killed before the duel.

I must really salute the two musicians Mr Koo Kar Fai and Mr Wong Chim for writing such wonderful musical pieces and lyrics. Even before watching the serial, I was already touched! What more when listening to the songs while watching it! Cheng and Cheung are also good singers. I've watched the 'Fai Wong' concerts in both 1998 and 2000 in Singapore. The first concert was without Cheng so I felt a sense of loss only listening to Cheung's singing. The next had Cheng present and made it a complete one! Who doesn't get attracted by their great and powerful voices???

Best Actor
It is a draw between Lau Chung Yan, Wong Yin Choy and Wong Yuen Sang in acting. But because Lau is given more exposure in developing his role, he emerges as the winner in the end.

Best Actress
Frankly speaking, none that I can find because many are guest stars so I can't compare their acting skills from the beginning to the end. I would like to choose Wong Hung Sau but she doesn't perform her best here. Hon Mah Lei is slightly better but she doesn't seem to make me feel that Fei Yin and Dan Fung are different. Her talking tone for both roles are the same, with a husky voice. Chan Fu Sang was also my initial choice but her role in the first part doesn't fit her at all.

Best Segment
The third one on 'Mou Dong Battle'. Although 'The Duel Before and After' is quite interesting, Cheng Siu Chau's exposure wasn’t as much as I expected. Plus See Hung is supposed to have a closer friendship with Luk but there aren't enough scenes between the two men too. But still it was enough to create a deep impression in 5 VCDs. 'The Mou Dong Battle' gives a lot of room for plot development and the mystery is there. Plus there is a separate theme song for it. A very refreshing change!

Best Guest Star
Undoubtedly Cheng Siu Chau as Yip Gu Shing because he really stands out from the rest!

Favourite characters
The first would be Luk Siu Fung, followed by Far Moon Lau and Sai Moon Chui Suet

Most Convincing character
The late Tsang Chor Lam as the roaming soul. He is well-known as the thinnest person in TVB and needs no extra aid to lose weight as a man who is so hungry that even chicken bones can satisfy him.

Most Failed character
See Hung Chap Sing - he is not as jovial and comical as he should be. The two actors are too serious, especially Liu Wai Hung who was so stiff in his acting at that time. Moreover, I HATED the ending with him dead.

Who can't act?
The extra as Shek Sau Wan who loves Far secretly. She is very wooden plus she is too plain looking with beady eyes. We are supposed to be touched when she dies in Far's arms but I feel neutral! Doesn't this pathetic man deserve a better woman? Luckily she only appears in 1 episode.

The first story on the Kam Pang Mystery is quite boring. You may choose not to watch it. It preserves too much dialogue from the novel and that slows the pace and kills the suspense. The latter two are just fabulous and too good to be missed. With attractive plots and good chemistry among the cast, I am still very much involved when watching it although I have read the novel so many times. Partly because they made some changes to the final story. This is a 'man' serial so you would be disappointed with limited scenes of the actresses.

Comparing this with later works, most of the moves are basic without modern technology. You will find the more exciting fighting scenes very nicely shot in slow motion where you can see all the movements clearly. Moreover, they are SELDOM shot in the dark where everyone can admire the changes. The recent dramas go so fast with computer effects and are filmed in the dark that we can't see anything! What more can we ask? This high standard isn't seen in most dramas anymore.

And of course, all the artistes are comfortable with their period outlook. They are indeed stunning swordsmen and beauties. They present themselves with confidence and elegance. Unlike the present TVB artistes who try to shun away from period dramas. They simply don't have the look and the clarity to read their lines properly. If you are looking for a period drama which offers you traditional dialogues with ancient phrases or idioms, this is the right one for you as present ones present the characters’ dialogues in a more modern way. The feeling is just not there anymore.

sukting's Ratings:
On themesong:* * * * * (Scale of 5)
On acting:* * * * * (Scale of 5)
On the story: * * * * 1/2

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