The Foundation


Reviewed by: sukting

September 03, 2003

Rating: three-point-five

How long
20 episodes/12 vcds

Foreword
This is the second Yung Mei Ling drama that I have watched after ’82 Legend of the Condor Heroes’. This is a MUST-watch serial if you're a fan of ‘The Five Tigers’. No offence to their fans but I am actually glad that Lau Tak Wah and Leung Chiu Wai are not in here because somehow, I feel that they are more suitable to act in modern dramas. This is a very serious and traditional serial on the formation of the Tang Dynasty.

Story

For a more detailed synopsis, please refer to Wong Yat Wah’s website:

http://lavender.fortunecity.com/stroheim/638/foundation.html

The webmaster has done a marvelous job, so I don’t need any further elaboration. I will only touch on memorable scenes from the serial. Sorry for the long list of the characters below but I think they deserve the recognition for putting up a splendid performance.

Introduction on characters

1. Lee Sai Mun – Miu Kiu Wai (now a businessman)
Undoubtedly the lead actor in this serial! He is so wise, charming, warm and helpful at the beginning. Later because of his desire to be the emperor, he becomes unscrupulous, ambitious and cunning. He can sacrifice his love and friendship just for the throne. Annoyed that Lee Yuen doesn’t keep his promise to make him the successor, he decides to pave for his own way.

He pushes Sik Sik to return to Kong Fung to get his help to enlist top martial arts experts in gaining power. He also woos Chiu Yee just to gain power. Finally he kill Sik Sik with his own hands to prove to his uncle that he will only love Chiu Yee. The last straw is how he lies to Kong Fung that rebuilding Ho Tien Sect is impossible as he has personally destroyed it! No wonder Kong Fung no longer becomes his friend in the end and he becomes an unhappy emperor.

Miu Kiu Wai never disappoints me in all his period dramas. This is one of my favourite roles although he is a villain in here. He is so versatile in his acting in producing many faces of Sai Mun. He can be friendly (in teaching Kong Fung martial arts), cheeky (when teasing Sik Sik), serious (when with Lee Jing and Lee Yuen in discussing court affairs), showing a commanding air(when with subordinates) and cunning (coming up with all the fantastic lies to deceive Kong Fung by pushing all the misdeeds he has done to Yuen Gut). He looks stunning in all the costumes. I personally like the red costume that has the golden phoenix on it best.

The chemistry between him and Mei Ling is perfect. No wonder out of her 8 late serials, they have worked together in 4 of them! However, I can see that he seems more comfortable in hugging scenes with King Doi Yam than with Mei Ling. Because Chun Yip is around to supervise them???

2. Lee Yuen Gut – Tong Chun Yip (now based in China)

He is cunning but in comparison to Sai Mun, he pales in war strategies and also in love. He has been neglected since he is the third son and has very little chance to be the emperor. But he vows not to give up and makes use of all his chances when Sai Mun is not in the capital. He tries to make use of his gullible eldest brother to achieve his aim. He is quite pitiful for not gaining anything despite trying so hard.

Tong is excellent as the man who thinks that he will succeed but loses in the end. I find his acting skills formidable. No wonder he is given so many villain roles after this as he simply shines in them! It is an eye-opener to see him pitting wits and acting skills with Kiu Wai. To think that he can trick Sai Mun into believing that he supports him while he also gets King Sing’s help too. Really a successful double-headed snake!

3. Kong Fung – Wong Yat Wah

In order to practise martial arts, he drives away his lover. But after gaining success, he begins to regret his own choice and tries to win her back. I simply despise this man. He is as selfish as Sai Mun in doing anything to achieve his own aim. He initially stands by his principles but after the demolition of Ho Tien Sect and Sik Sik’s death, he becomes revengeful and breaks all the rules.

Actually, I don’t really like the way that Yat Wah acts in here. Although he still portrays tragic scenes well, I think that his best performance is in ‘The Wild Bunch’. (I watched ‘The Wild Bunch’ before this serial.)

I don’t know whether his hairstyle affected my judgment. He has such a long and thick fringe that it makes him look so sissy. Moreover, unlike Tong and Miu, his teeth aren’t pearly white, but yellow stained with tobacco cigarette remains. Still, the chemistry between him and Yung is great.

4. Man Ching Ping – Wai Tin Chi

He looks righteous but he is evil. His skills are impressive but he can’t go onto a higher level because of an old injury. Unknown to others, he wants to kill Lee Jing because he caused his family’s death in a war.

Lee Jing helps him to unblock his acupoints but this man turns to help Yuen Gut instead of Sai Man in the end. He is deeply in love with Heung Wan but to him, she is a big distraction. If not for her, he thinks that he wouldn’t have failed in his attempts to kill Lee Yuen. He tells her to kill herself so that he will not have any more worries. What a cruel man! Unfortunately, he still dies in Kong Fung’s hands in the end.

Wai is good in martial arts scenes as he is as well-versed as Wong Yuen Sang. However, his acting is very wooden as can be seen in many serials. That is why he ends up being a cool swordsman and is always the supporting actor although he has the flair for martial arts.

5. Lee King Sing – Ou Yeung Chun Wah

He is so easily deceived. He thinks that Chiu Yee is in love with him as his uncle wishes to pair them together. Surprisingly, he is smart enough to detect Sai Mun’s motive when upon his return to the capital, Sai Mun goes straight to visit Chiu Yee before visiting his brothers.

Maybe when it comes to love, he has a clearer mind. But King Sing's trust in Yuen Gut leads to his own death.

Many will be amazed to see how young and handsome he is in his younger days. A pity that he is not promoted properly in TVB as he has shown potential in acting in here. His scenes are too few.

6. Lee Jing – Lau Kong

What can you expect from a veteran actor who can play the loyal official who does anything to safeguard his master’s interests? Skilled in martial arts and warfare, he is Sai Mun’s capable assistant.

7. Lee Yik – Wong Ying Choy (Far Moon Lau in ‘76Luk Siu Fung’)

He is Lee Jing’s younger brother who is in love with martial arts but is banished from Ho Tien Sect. In order to destroy Ho Tien sect, he can do anything, even harm his own brother. Excellent acting from this experienced actor too.

8. Lee Yuen – Cheung Ying Choy

An emperor who cares only for himself – no wonder all his sons are so selfish. He is wary of Sai Mun’s hunger for power, so he belittles him every now and then. He even reduces his army power but he is forced to give up his throne to him in the end.

9. Yam Siu Tien – Kwan Ho San

He is a kind leader who stands by his principles in believing that Ho Tien Sect should not be involved with politics. He even defends it till his death and thus wins respect from the others.

10. Sima Yin – Chu Tiet Wo

He is Kong Fung’s senior and is easily made use of because of his hunger for power. He betrays Ho Tien Sect and gets killed by Kong Fung in the end.

11. Tsui Fei Wo – Kong Yik

Ho Tien Sect’s rival sect – Wu Ling who creates havoc for the sect, aiming to be number one. What a silly hairdo the make-up unit has invented. I simply detest it.

12. Cheung Sam Long – Chun Wong
He is interested in Lee Jing’s wife but gives her up upon knowing that she is married. The three become sworn siblings instead. A righteous man who can give away his riches anytime.

13. Minster Dao– Siu Leung

He is the princes’ uncle who knows that Sai Mun is ambitious and doesn’t love his daughter, so he dislikes him for trying to get near her. However, he gives in on one condition, Sai Mun has to kill Sik Sik. Many will hate him for it but still, they will feel sorry for him for losing his only daughter.

14. Song Kwan – Lee Kok Lam

This poor bodyguard does not get the recognition he deserves. He is under Lee Yuen’s orders to protect Yuen Gut and Sai Mun from danger when they are touring the country. Both princes tell him off for not giving them the freedom. I wonder why he chooses to work for Yuen Gut instead as he treats him badly while Sai Mun talks to him nicely?

15. Chun Sik Sik – Yung Mei Ling

She is a simple-minded peasant girl who is kind, pretty, helpful and gentle. Although she wins the hearts of two men, both ditch her because they are too power hungry. She still helps both to achieve their dreams. She may seem vulnerable and weak, but she has a strong will. When she is staying in Lee Jing’s home, she helps out with the chores because she doesn’t wish to be regarded as a loafer.

When it comes to love, she can be indecisive. No wonder, both men are tormented when she doesn’t state her stand. She helps Lok Wan win Kong Fung. However, she doesn’t deserve to get killed unexpectedly at the hands of Sai Mun.

Yung is still stunningly pretty although she only dresses like a maid at the beginning. I don’t really like her more matured look in the latter part with her hair tied at the back instead. Maybe this is to suit King, who looks older than her. Still, it is proved that she can do tragic scenes as well.

16. Lee Lok Wan – King Doi Yam (retired from showbiz)

She is the princes’ sister and they all dote on her. This makes her a very pampered, cheerful, talkative and wilful person. However, she doesn’t throw her weight around just because she is a princess. She doesn’t look down on Kong Fung and is willing to do anything to win his love.

But she discovers that he still loves Sik Sik, and that shattered all her dreams. Through this process, she matures but she can never forgive Sai Mun for killing the other brothers so she chooses to be a commoner in the end.

King is splendid in her acting but she has the tendency to frown and thus makes her look older than Yung.

17. Suet Heung Wan – Yu Yee Har (passed away due to cancer)

She is a beautiful courtesan who doesn’t care for name and riches. Talented and can play the zither well. I wonder why it is not explained how she ends up in the brothel since she is so knowledgeable. She is happy enough to be with Ching Ping. But this ambitious man pushes her to her death. She doesn’t hesitate to die for him to help him achieve his aim. Quite a tragic role and this actress does well in the limited scenes. She was also a famous compere.

18. Dao Chiu Yee

She is wrong to think that all her 3 cousins are in love with her. Vain, isn’t it? In fact, the cousin she loves, Sai Mun, is only making use of her but she is still forgiving enough to help him when he is in need. This actress can be so wooden at times in crying scenes – I really think that it is a waste of Miu’s and Tong’s capabilities to be paired with her. Both shine in delivering their ‘likeness’ towards her but she doesn’t. I still have no clue who she is.

19. Cheung Chut Chun – Lui Yau Wai

She is Lee Jing’s wife who is hungry for riches but still kind to offer shelter to Sik Sik when she is at a loss. She is not willing to stay as a commoner and persuades Lee Jing to help Sai Mun to achieve her aim.

20. Concubine Tak – Ko Miu See

She is Lee Yuen’s favourite concubine and also Yuen Gut’s mistress/spy. It sickens me to see how she forgets her age and throws herself at Yuen Gut. She is silly to think that Yuen Gut loves her but despite the help she has given him. Yuen Gut still kills her with Sai Mun’s belt to frame him.

Favourite character
Lok Wan – for being frank to admit her love for Kong Fung

Most hated character
Kong Fung – he shouldn’t have chased Sik Sik away in the first place and later beg her to return to him when she is already with Sai Mun. He blames her for having a change of heart so soon instead of promising to wait for him for 3 years and also forgiving Sai Mun easily when he pretends to woo Chiu Yee. He has forgotten how he has ill-treated her in the past. A close second is Sai Mun – he can stoop so low to achieve success and throw away his conscience.

Songs
All the 3 songs are sung by Bao Chui Mei. She is an excellent singer. The sad themesong ‘Sadness in the Dream’ (梦里几番哀) is a very sad song. ‘Smiling Today’ (今天开心笑) is a happy song when Sai Mun and Sik Sik are together, while ’Not Seeing Me In Tears’ (不见我流泪) is a sad song when played where Sai Mun kills Sik Sik with his own hands and feels lonely after becoming the emperor. The songs are written by Mr Ko Kar Fai and Wong Jiem. It is sad that not many theme songs for period dramas are worth listening these days because they sound too modern.

I am actually surprised that this 20-part short serial can have 3 songs in it. Because it has a strong cast and thus more attention is shown? Anyway, I love all the three songs. those who are interested may download them from

http://tvbsong.television-series.com

Thanks to Chang K H for the above website address

Interesting scenes

Sai Mun and Yuen Gut are in a brothel. Yuen Gut sees Heung Wan and wants to get fresh with her. He fights with Ching Ping and is defeated after failing to buy her with money. The wise Sai Mun drags him away to stop him making a fool of himself as he realizes that Ching Ping is a martial arts expert.

Sai Mun wants to get into Ho Tien Sect to find out why it is so special. Kong Fung tries to sell the dagger to raise money for the Ho Tien Sect entry test. Ching Ping drops 10 taels of silver accidentally on Kong Fung when he puts on a cloak on Heung Wan. Ching Ping refuses to take the dagger and Kung Fung never forgets his kindness. This is an important incident that will affect their lives later.

What did Kong Fung do with the rest of the money after paying the entrance fee? He buys food only for HIMSELF and leaves Sik Sik starving because he wishes to preserve strength for the next day. What a selfish man!

Sai Mun passes the test but Kong Fung fails. Feeling that he is pitiful, Sai Mun teaches him some stances. I melt upon seeing how Miu does them with style and laugh when Wong does them with clumsiness! This gives all an impression that Sai Mun is kind. Kong Fung finally passes the test and is accepted.

Kong Fung finds Sik Sik irritating when she follows him and tells her to wait for him at home for 3 years but she stays at Ho Tin Sect to be a maid so that she can be close to him. Who won't be touched? But obviously, Kong Fung isn’t happy with her decision. He forces her to leave but wonders whether his decision is correct when she leaves without the umbrella that he has given her.

Lok Wan causes trouble at Ho Tien Sect and causes Sai Mun to be expelled. He is disappointed, but is delighted when Lee Jing agrees to help him to get the throne.

Sai Mun is attracted to Sik Sik when he knocks into her when she is washing the floor at Lee Jing’s home. He plays her a piece of music from his flute, but she ignores him. After realising that she must be nursing a broken heart, he gets a mask to try to make her happy.

She ignores him when he tries to guess her name. He goes through every possible surname until he gets ‘Chun’ correctly. But upon hearing his words that she must have been dumped by her lover, she runs away crying. She then decides to forget the past under Chut Chun’s advice and accepts the mask from Sai Mun.

Lok Wan pretends to be injured and Kong Fung carries her down the mountain, leaving the 4 masters in the care of Lee Yik’s hands. The 4 masters have written a manual and Lee Yik and Ching Ping are interested to get it. Kong Fung has a shock when Sai Mun tells him that his sister is only putting up an act, and drops her hard on the ground. She screams in pain but Sai Mun thinks she really deserves it.

Sai Mun smells a fish and both men only manage to get hold of half the manual. Kong Fung even blocks Sai Mun to prevent him from getting hurt from Lee Yik’s blow.

Lee Yik’s copy is snatched by Ching Ping and later Sam Long gets it. Sam Long already has the other half but returns all to Sai Mun. What a turn of events till I nearly turn giddy! He makes Master Yam promise to teach Kong Fung the skills from the manual before returning it to him.

Sai Mun returns to the capital after knowing that Yuen Gut has betrayed him. He looks for Chiu Yee to sweettalk her. He puts on a false front saying that being with him and being with King Sing is the same but his eyes betray his uneasiness. Chiu Yee is upset and reveals that she will not know what to do if she doesn’t see Sai Mun. King Sing comes and thinks that the bird’s nest that she prepares for Sai Mun is for him (what a joke!). Sai Mun leaves in discomfort, knowing that he has to do something.

Yuen Gut discovers that Dau wishes to help Sai Mun. He then kills Concubine Tak with Sai Mun’s belt and frames him for having an affair with her. When he fails to get her, he kills her. Sai Mun is very worked up when his father confronts him and vehemently denies being the culprit. Lee Yuen is speechless but still decides to reduce his military power. Dau also decides to help King Sing instead.

Ching Ping plans to assassinate Lee Yuen when he is praying at the temple. He fails in his attempt and is stunned to see the princes there. Yuen Gut frames Sai Mun and Sai Mun is removed from the capital as King Sing is made the successor. What a smart move to make use of this chance!

Sai Mun decides to put Yuen Gut off guard. He brings Sik Sik out and pretends to be a womanizer to make her upset. Later, he promises to change and both are together as a couple. Yung is so pretty here when she smiles even though she is still in tears. The later scenes of them together strolling in the gardens are romantic as well.

Kong Fung is shocked to know that both are a pair and regrets treating her badly. He wants to return the umbrella to her but their first meeting is uncomfortable for both.

Sik Sik feels bad upon knowing that both men are friends. She wants some time to consider. She feigns sick and Chut Chun lies to Sai Mun that she has seen a physician. But alas, Sai Mun has been so worried when he has not seen her for days and brings the same physician to Lee Jing’s home to treat her. The lie is uncovered. Sai Mun is shocked that he has not treated her at all and demands an explanation from her. He guesses that she has another lover and storms away angrily. Miu really shows his frustration well while Yung shows her sadness appropriately too.

Sik Sik is bitten by a snake and thinks that she is dying (actually she is already saved by Kong Fung in secret). She then realizes that she misses Sai Mun and loves him now instead of Kong Fung. She then sews a handkerchief with dragons on it. Lok Wan blurts out that she should sew five claws instead of four because they are royalties. Sik Sik is stunned to know about that and sees Sai Mun.

This scene is very memorable. Sai Mun is sitting down, reading a book. This scene is sure cool when he looks so unfeeling and yet he commands an air of royalty when his eyes are fixed on the book. His expression turns stern when Sik Sik calls him ‘Your Highness’. He stands up, turns to look at her and then asks her what she is doing. She then smiles and asks whether she has said anything wrong.

If he is really a prince, she will then have to resew the handkerchief. Sai Mun thinks that she hankers over his riches and asks her whether she has ditched her lover after knowing his identity. Anyone will get the wrong idea too when Sik Sik comes at this time. He drives her away.

Sik Sik then runs to a nunnery and wants to be a nun. This portrays her sadness very well. I wish that she sticks to her decision. She might have survived.

Ching Ping initially agrees to help Sai Mun but changes his mind to help Yuen Gut instead after knowing that Sai Mun has lost favour with Lee Yuen. What a cunning man! He represents Wu Ling Sect and Sai Mun is enraged. However, Kong Fung uses his newly acquired skills to defeat him and Ho Tien Sect is still the best sect. It's an eye-opener to see how the 2 actors fight together in the ring.

Sai Mun learns about Sik Sik’s love for him and regrets chasing her away. He gets drunk and Kong Fung helps him to search for her. Both lovers have a touching meeting at the nunnery while Kong Fung hides his feelings in pain.

Sai Mun goes with Sik Sik to the temple. They meet Kong Fung and Lok Wan there. Kong Fung is so stunned that he drops all the prediction sticks. Sik Sik picks them up and both are reminded of the past.

Lee Jing kills Lee Yik with his own hands upon knowing that he will never change and even wants to kill him. Poor man to make this painful decision.

Sai Mun asks Kong Fung to look for another woman since he has been ditched. Kong Fung replies that he will never know the pain of losing the woman he loves.

Sik Sik teaches Lok Wan how to please Kong Fung on how to cook and clean his home for him. This gives Kong Fung the WRONG impression that Sik Sik is doing the things for him. Stupid man – can’t he see that she only loves Sai Mun now??? He is disappointed to know that Lok Wan is the one.

Kong Fung is ambushed. Sai Mun goes to save him with evil intentions of wanting Kong Fung to help him get the throne. Lok Wan is so anxious that she goes before him and wears Kong Fung’s clothes to help him to escape. This really shows how much she loves him.

Kong Fung becomes Ho Tien Sect’s leader and he recalls his sad past. He is shocked to know Sai Mun’s identity but still refuses to help him. He gets drunks and writes Sik Sik’s name on papers. Lok Wan is devastated and tells Sai Mun about it. Sai Mun follows Sik Sik and finds her meeting Kong Fung. Kong Fung has requested her to return to him since he is now successful (what a horrible man – it is only now that he thinks of her). She refuses and states that she only loves Sai Mun.

Sai Mun is at first jealous but later pacified by Sik Sik’s reassurance. However he decides to kill 2 birds with a stone. He wants Sik Sik to return to Kong Fung to get his help while he will woo Chiu Yee. Kong Fung knows of his plot and maintains his stand. Lee Jing then frames Kong Fung for trying to kill Lee Yuen. Lee Yuen then orders the demolition of Ho Tien Sect. Sai Mun gives a ruthless smile as his plan is working. I really chill upon seeing how despicable he has become.

Kong Fung is seriously injured in the bloodshed when his fellows die trying to protect him. He is nearly killed by Ching Ping when Sai Mun saves him in time. He brings Sik Sik to persuade him and Kong Fung gives in when Sai Mun agrees to help him to restore Ho Tien Sect. A rare scene to see all the 3 actors pitting skills against each other.

King Sing and Yuen Gut discover that Sai Mun has approached Chiu Yee for help. They get assassins to try to kill him. He is with Sik Sik and uses his body to protect her and gets slashed by swords on his back. Well, I am really touched! Dao’s men come in time to save him before he passes out. Chiu Yee hurries to visit him, only to find Sik Sik tending to him. Sai Mun senses her unhappiness. She gets upset and Dao tells Sai Mun that he has to kill Sik Sik in order to get his help.

This scene is very tragic. Sai Mun brings Sik Sik to the beach to see the rainbow. She is elated as she has not seen it for a long time. Dao’s men are about to kill her but Sai Mun stops them as he wants to kill her with his own hands. When she turns to talk to him, he stabs her in the chest and she dies, dropping the umbrella that Kong Fung has given her. He then kneels beside her in despair.

Lok Wan is shocked but controls herself from telling Kong Fung the truth when Sai Mun hugs her. This is the part that baffles me – I find Miu more at ease hugging King than Yung as he really presses her close to his chest! But with Yung, he only gives her light hugs.

Kong Fung is shocked to learn of Sik Sik’s death and rushes to the beach, seeing her blood-stained umbrella. Sai Mun stands motionless at the beach. Actually I feel that Miu could have portrayed sadder emotions rather than look evil and evasive in here. Kong Fung sees Sik Sik’s dead body and vows revenge. Sai Mun lies that Yuen Gut is the culprit. It is strange that I find Kong Fung sadder than Sai Mun – but it will be better if both actors had shed some tears.

Sik Sik is buried near the beach where she can see the rainbow anytime. Sai Mun feels remorseful as this is the only thing that he can do for her. Kong Fung vows to himself that he will seek revenge.

Sai Mun is named the heir to the throne and tells Sik Sik about it. Chiu Yee comes to pay her last respects but Sai Mun chases her away, saying that Sik Sik will not want to see her now (I will like to believe that Sik Sik is more likely unwilling to see Sai Mun who kills her.). Chiu Yee gets upset and leaves. Sai Mun realizes that he shouldn’t have ruined his chances and runs after her. He apologizes saying that he knows that it is not her fault. She replies that it doesn’t matter who he loves now.

Seeing that Sai Mun is gaining power, Yuen Gut decides to ask Ching Ping to kill Lee Yuen. Ching Ping tells Heung Wan to kill herself to avoid giving him any other distractions. She takes his sword and stabs herself. She tells him that she loves him. What a sad scene which also shows how ruthless he is!

Ching Ping goes all out to kill but is stopped by Kong Fung. This part is simply fascinating when both fight on the roof and on the ground repeatedly with swift moves! Kong Fung suggests letting him go to be with Heung Wan but he is stunned to know about her death. Ching Ping reminds him that he owes him a sword. Remembering the past, Kong Fung throws his sword to Ching Ping who strikes it to the roof.

Ching Ping laughs and says that he is no longer his opponent since he has lost his weapon. Kong Fung is seriously injured but when Ching Ping is about to kill him, the sword falls from the roof and lands on Ching Ping. What a way to get killed! Before his death, he requests Kong Fung to pay respects to Heung Wan.

Lee Yuen orders for Yuen Gut and King Sing’s arrest. Yuen Gut doesn’t believe that they will dare to harm King Sing who is the first prince. What a wrong move. Lok Wan has wanted to stop Sai Mun from ambushing them but she is imprisoned. Upon reaching the palace gate, the brothers are attacked by arrows and King Sing is killed instantly.

Yuen Gut captures Chiu Yee so Sai Mun allows him to escape. It is quite sad to see King Sing’s body still lying on the floor with his eyes still open. Despite his injuries, Kong Fung runs after Yuen Gut eagerly to avenge Sik Sik’s death. Chiu Yee throws a stone to strike at Yuen Gut’s chest to prevent him from getting close to her. This poor man vomits blood and sits still on the grass upon knowing that she has never loved him. When Chiu Yee hears Kong Fung calling to her, she runs to him. Yuen Gut kills her from the back as he doesn’t want her to leave him. Tong’s performance is excellent in here – all shouldn’t miss this part!

Kong Fung is so enraged that he gives him a blow on the chest and he sprawls on the grass again, vomiting more blood. Yuen Gut declares his innocence and Kong Fung starts to suspect Dai Mun since Yuen Gut shouldn’t lie as he is dying. Yuen Gut kills himself because he doesn’t wish to die in Sai Mun’s hands as he can see that he is coming. His expression is so determined although he is a born loser.

Sai Mun wants to know what Kong Fung hears from Yuen Gut but he lies that he is tired and doesn’t want to talk about it. He later confirms the truth from Lok Wan. Lok Wan asks whether he has ever loved her. He says bitterly that he has only loved Sik Sik all his life. Lok Wan is so upset that she leaves the palace and decides to be a commoner since her other brothers are dead and she can’t forgive Sai Mun.

Sai Mun feels guilty and is in anguish when he has to be protected to meet his best friend. This scene is the most astonishing of all when all soldiers try to ambush Kong Fung but only manages to injure his chest with a spear. Kong Fung captures Sai Mun and both spar. Sai Mun loses and tells Kong Fung that killing him will not help since the country needs a good emperor like him.

Kong Fung regrets befriending him and chasing Sik Sik away. These are the only wrong decisions that he has made in his life. He is about to kill him when he ponders over Sai Mun’s words. Sai Mun gives him his promise but Kong Fung bitterly says that he needs no more reassurance as he has let him down in his two promises before (Sai Mun promised him to treat Sik Sik well and restore Ho Tien sect but he never did anything for both). He can only prove that in future with his actions. He walks away in the sunset, warning him that he will still kill him if he doesn’t do a good job.

Interesting facts

This is Yung’s first and last attempt portraying a tragic periodic maiden. Also her first try as a plain maid and not as a rich woman. Her efforts paid off.

This is one of the 3 rare serials that Yu has starred in. She became a fulltime compere and was regarded as Fei Fei’s successor. It is unfortunate that she passed away young.

Be prepared to see Ng Kwan Yu and Seung Tin Ngor as extras as Chut Chun’s maids. Ng Kai Wah, To Dai Yu and Kwan Lai Kit are as soldiers in here too. It’s amazing to see how they start from scratch.

Conclusion
I don’t really like this tragic story. My whole heart is burdened with sadness after watching it. It shows how selfish man can be to achieve his own aims. And normally, they will sacrifice women to do it for them.

The acting of the cast is close to perfection. The dressing for the loyalties is so elegant. They bring out the class and charisma. Especially for the 3 princes. All of them look so fit and handsome when they act together in many scenes. The actresses are pretty and have the ancient look, although not all can act well.

The same thing cannot be said for all the hairdos, though. The royalties’ hairdos are splendid and traditional. But Kong Fung’s appearance is a major letdown. How can this be as he is one of the leads? He comes from a humble background but doesn’t he deserve a makeover after becoming a sect leader? It is simply annoying to see him in the untidy look. Why only change his clothes but not his hair?

The pace of the serial can be very slow and very serious at times with too many serious dialogues on politics. Many do not like the slow fighting but I enjoy the slow moves of the fighting scenes very much. Tong, Wong, Miu and Wai can really show how a real swordsman should be portrayed – putting all the younger artistes who rely on computer effects these days to shame. They are so gallant and graceful in all their moves as they do all the stunts personally. My only complain is there are only one or two scenes of the 3 together. At most time, only two "Tigers" are in the same scene. Do go for it if you are their fans. I don’t think the 3 "Tigers" will work together again. This is a rare chance to see them together in here.

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

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


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