The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber


Reviewed by: hkopinions

April 01, 2007

Rating: three

Cast

Adam Cheng as Zhang Wuji
Lisa Wong as Zhao Min
Idy Chan as Xiao Zhou
Gigi Chiu as Zhou Zhiruo

Intro
This is the first version ever made by TVB for the third part of the Condor Trilogy, The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber (HSDS). It is quite difficult to critique on this version since I have watched 5 other versions of the same story. Another reason why it is hard to critique this is that this version is very old. Finding a place to rent this version is difficult. Fortunately, I own this version. I will be critiquing this version by story and cast only. It only seems unfair to review the series due to special effects, costumes, music, or anything that is due to technology.

What about the story?

Everyone is very familiar with this story and so I won't describe it in detail. This version is like any other version. Compared to the newest version, NHSDS 2000, it is very different. The 2000 version is very different from the book and the entire ending is rewritten. The 1986 version with Tony Leung, follows very closely to the book almost word for word. This version is like the intermediate between the 2000 and 1986 version. It doesn't follow the book as closely as 1986 but is not drastically changed like in the 2000 version. There are some scenes that are taken out but the ending follows Louis Cha's book.

What about the cast?
Adam Cheng did a wonderful job as Zhang Wuji. He had the looks for it and had great chemistry with all the girls who fall in love with him. However, I felt that Adam lacked the charisma like Tony Leung to carry on the character of Wuji throughout the series. There were parts I felt Adam could have done better and showed more emotions. Lisa Wong did an average job as Zhao Min. She had great chemistry with Adam but I felt that she didn't fit the role as much as Gigi Lai did in NHDS 2000. There weren't any notable performances by any other actor or actresses. It is hard to compare their performances to newer series because the technology was lacking. When I watched the series over again, I couldn't help comparing them to the newer series. The actors and actresses just seems so old and didn't fit the characters as in newer versions.

Best character portrayal?
Adam Cheng as Zhang Wuji

Worst character portrayal?
Gigi Chiu as Zhou Zhiruo

Watch it or forget it?
I have watched all versions of HSDS and found that the best version is the 1986 version. It is hard to like an old version like this one. Adam Cheng and Lisa Wong did not do a poor job but I couldn't get rid of the picture of Wuji and Zhao Min portrayed by Tony Leung and Gigi Lai. I am not saying that classics are not worth watching but it is hard to enjoy them. It is probably because there are so many versions out there. If you are a hardcore classic fan, go ahead and rent it. However, it is your job to find a place that still has this version in good condition for rent.



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