The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber

Reviewed by: Quinn

November 25, 2006

Rating: four

Lawrence Ng, Gigi Lai, Charmaine Sheh, Damian Lau, Michelle Mei Shuet

I'm a little disappointed after re-watching and truly noticing some analytical points, and I realize that I can't live through the storyline with my 9 year old eyes again. Re-watching it has really set the expectations I'll admit. I'm not going to critique and say this is the worst film ever, or the special effects is truly bad, or Charmaine should have replaced Gigi's role, because none in my opinion is true.

I believe the writers are to credit for a story with sad sob scenes, scenes that warms your heart (no matter how corny it is), and making the evil villains, hated.

The beginning doesn't take long to progress, it's with this right amount of speed and timing that sets the atmosphere for the moments to date years later.

I was a little unhappy with the choosing of Damian Lau, because I thought he was not handsome. I grew out of that and had no problem with Damian. His character was a righteous man. Sometimes I think he can be sort of cold, at a time where he should make me feel more like lending him my heart. I won't deny he is an experienced actor, though I haven't seen or remember any of his portrayals, but someone with that kind of work to show on screen, is sure to have some experience. I won't say he's skilled, but he has talent. He doesn't fail to disappoint me to allure me to the scenes and keep me interested.

Michelle is a little young compared to the all wise, all good, all smart, kind of old Damian. She didn't strike me as a girl that she turned out to be. She isn't very pretty, but let's not say she's ugly, she's not. I really love the fact that her character didn't change dramatically, and what I mean is a sudden change in character. She slowly knew she had love, and those people were important. Damian taught her why things she did was wrong, and you knew Michelle was truly never evil or purposely hurt anyone with a black heart.

Lawrence Ng is the son of Damian and Michelle. Lawrence's character's growth and maturity is set up into 4 different stages: the baby, the young kid, the young man, and the adult. The young man, I don't know who it was played by, but was a guy that seriously irritated me. He was naive, dumb, and was highly emotionless from the neck up. I can deal with naive and dumb, since who could blame a guy with no real insight and past living in a world with humanity and its destructive desires. The guy acted as the young man, was really not mad enough when he could have been, was not touched when he should have been, which may have led to other events that didn't get me sucked in and have some tears drop. Lawrence was quite aged I'll admit. He seems so restless but has such a peaceful face. It's funny in the one scene he may have got twisted and turned evil for a short moment, that was where I really felt the electricity and some power and strength. Lawrence I believe is better off playing roles of evil personas. His role throughout the story, was of a man that was just like his dad, but seemed more gentle and even more forgiving and more considerate. In the end, I concluded that the only person in this whole story, who is really all about justice, is Lawrence's.

At the critical moments where he should really milk up the anger and burning up, he seemed a little bit dissatisfying for my standards. Lawrence always seems sad in all situations, his happy face doesn't make me feel happy one bit. With all this said, Lawrence is still my cup of tea, and I'm not angry or upset with this choice of making him the lead. Lawrence is not at all unqualified, but his appearance seems a bit weak to be the leader and strong person his character is. Unless Lawrence is evil, it's really hard to feel the strength of will he can show. Lawrence's declaration of love was not profound and moving, or really touching as I would have wanted. That really dented the joy of the happiness.

Gigi Lai, I've heard many suggestions on making an improvement on casting Charmaine in the place of Gigi. I would like to say, whoever says that is nuts. Gigi and Charmaine are two different people who shine in different personality cases. Gigi's appearance I favour more then Charmaine's, but that's not to say Charmaine is not beautiful herself. Gigi is a very perfect person to play an intelligent, outspoken, Mongolian princess. I've mistaken a lot that this is how Gigi is and this is her in real life. That's not the case or at least I can't assume it is. Gigi's character is very smart, and has a mind that knows and pretty much understands everyone around her. Maybe it's what makes Lawrence's character so attracted to her, that she seems to know him inside out, and is so strong minded and acts on her actions and is not scared of staring death in the face, that he falls for her. She countlessly tried to mingle with him, always causing trouble in the beginning, and plans out everything so in the end, he comes and sees her. At first she is a threat to Lawrence, because she seems too smart, and the sect she belonged to, was considered "bad". I think Gigi, is perfect. I don't know in what spot is her weakness in, I'm a little stumped. They didn't make Gigi's character perfect, and that's what I liked. Her character may not be perfect, but she played it out perfectly. I say she fits nicely with Lawrence. There were those cute scenes where you really admire the two lovebirds, and would really loved it if the writers could squish just another one in.

Charmaine Sheh was someone that really caught my eye. She was so sweet, so innocent, so quiet, but truth was I hated her. She was too weak that it really annoyed me. It was as if she was dependent on everyone, and couldn't even stand on her own two feet. Her relationship with Lawrence in the beginning was a little awkward for me, with the two always smiling with "regret" or whatever the feeling was. The relationship later on, was really annoying. I blame the writers for making Charmaine's scenes so boring to watch. She turned into a real nag that seemed to just lag on the story. If it wasn't for Charmaine's ending scenes, I would have come up with a big disappointing smile for her. Charmaine, like Lawrence, is as if their full commitment or feelings don't fully blow out if it's not for a strong and powerful emotion, like hatred, or jealousy in Charmaine's shoes. Charmaine has two qualities though. She is easily pitied, I was able to forgive her in the end and be happy for her, and her character is a "vulnerable" person. To the extent that Charmaine took to the concept "vulnerable" I didn't think did her character justice.

Special effects are supposed to be an addition that improves the delight to the eyes, and covers up the ugly in the bad martial arts. I didn't think the fighting, actual arms and legs with swords were quick enough, therefore I end up not feeling the chiseling sounds of the swords at all. I think Lawrence's powers, were using the same thing too often, I really needed a change. This was the reason why many scenes where I should have gotten this big triumph and pride out of him, didn't happen. The smoke and the dust isn't bad to the scenes, it creates dramatic flare and good sound effects to cope. I didn't think Charmaine's character's powers were strong at all, where was that risky, dangerous feel to it?

I failed at being able to describe each actor, each actress, each person that was on film, or really, the ones you see quite a lot. But I won't forget 3 important guys. 1, was Lawrence's not real dad, the guy with the blond hair. 2, was the love triangle between Eddie and Joyce, I'm talking about the other guy that was in love with Joyce other than Eddie. 3) Lawrence's 2 grandpas. All these people were amazing, I think. They never dissatisfied me, and I always thought they were respectable roles that I was never really fond of, but couldn't help noticing.

The last person I would like to comment on is the guy that ends up in loves with Charmaine, but doesn't get her. The poor guy is annoying, is mean, is stupid, is everything bad you could think of that a guy could be. He was hopelessly in love, but it didn't make me think of him as being sweet. Though I didn't like him portraying his character that way, I'll give him some credit on wrapping up an ending.

Wardrobe was obviously more focused on Gigi Lai, since she came out fabulous in every costume. Charmaine's did ok for me, she was pretty. Lawrence's, was sadly, bad costume choice of colour and pattern. This did not change until nearing the end, when Lawrence really did look clean and fresh, and cut out for being a leader in the end. He was pretty good looking.

The first time I watched this, I watched it with great anticipation, fondness, love, and raging emotions. It wasn't the same the second time. I cried a lot, with my heart starting to burn up as well. I think most of my crying moments were thanks to Gigi.

It was pretty weird, how love was never a major part of the beginning, or nearing of the middle, but as Gigi's character showed up, it was like a love rampage. There were feelings all over the place, but I'm glad the writers didn't lose focus on the developments of everyone else as well, either relationships wise, or battle wise.

I'll still refer to "The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber 2000" as a classic that I would always be up for rewatching.

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