The Jade Fox


Reviewed by: sukting

October 27, 2007

Rating: three-point-five

Cast
Zhuo Bu Fan - Ng Dai Yung (as Hua Wu Que in TVB new version of 'The Handsome Siblings')
Luo Gu Feng - Au Sui Wai
Han Zui - Lee Kar Shing
Qu Yun Hao - Ng Yuet San
Ye Lu Xiu Zhe/Bian Xiu Zhe - Yu Kar Lun
Qu Nan Tian - Lee Kar Ding
Wan Yu Tang - Wong Wai
Chi Da Gui - Kong Ngai
Zhan Ying - Chu Tiet Wo
Zhan Ping Ting - Law Wai Kuen
Qu Yun Yan - Lee Yuen Wah
Zhao Qian Qian - Lai Chi San
Chi Jin Zhi - Lau Sau Ping
Ke Ren - Lam Yin Ming (Kent Cheng Zak See's wife in real life)
Lu Xiao Die - Ng Mei Yee

Introduction

I am sorry to introduce a long string of names, which are unknown to most readers. I quite enjoy watching it despite the less than perfect acting from most young artistes. This doesn't really matter as the more experienced ones have given in their best. As far as I've known, this serial is not shown in Hong Kong as yet but only distributed on tapes to SEA. Despite the little promotion, I like this serial because of its entertaining plot.

Story

Yu Tang sets up a Jin Long agency to uncover illegal activities for the court. Its spy members include Xiao Die - a brothel owner and other agents are Bu Fan, Han Zui and Gu Feng. Bu Fan goes undercover and breaks a secret clan's activities. However, he is still unhappy because their leader, the Purple Maiden, has never shown up till now and only half of the court's gold is found.

After pretending to be a fugitive to be in the clan for a long time and getting himself very dirty, Bu Fan heads for home and asks his maid to prepare for his bath. Han Zui is there, telling him that he might have another new assignment soon. He gets so sick of him and throws him out of his house as he has not been resting for a long time!

Gu Feng tries to check out why Wushi powder suddenly appears and harms a lot of people. He gets to know Ping Ting and leaves a deep impression. Bu Fan meets Xiu Zhe for the first time at a sword sale and both are impressed by each other. Xiu Zhe even invites him home to test the swords. Both swords are broken as they use too much force. Bu Fan feels bad for breaking them but Xiu Zhe assures him that nothing beats having a worthy opponent.

Despite his complaints for being tired, Bu Fan still takes up the task and pretends to be an enemy of Gu Feng in front of Wang Gang, who is their prime suspect of illegal activities. This is also the first time that Bu Fan meets up with him as Gu Feng joins the agency recently. Gu Feng is adamant to test his skills. Bu Fan has no choice but to accede to his request. I like this cool scene when both fight, their strokes are shown slowly and clearly. Later, they damage a few straw houses and birds try to flee. Both of them have their swords pierce into each other's chest at the same time and stop for a few seconds! However, Gu Feng admits defeat as his wound is deeper by half an inch.

Both depart and a thief, Jin Zhi, who just steals Xiu Zhe's gold chop from his home comes running to Gu Feng for help. She lies that Xiu Xhe tried to get fresh with her. Both men fight and seeing that they are at par, Xiu Zhe leaves and Gu Feng faints. Jin Zhi brings him to see a physician and steals his Jin Long pendant. Being a gambler, she tries a luck and loses both objects at the gambling den. Gu Feng discovers this and manages to get it back. Both become a couple later when they develop feelings for each other.

Yun Yan is engaged to Zhi Gao but she is very unhappy. Zhi Gao is a womanizer and she dislikes him very much. However, she has no say to it. Ping Ting thinks that Nan Tian killed her father and seeks revenge. Unfortunately, her skills are not good enough and she is defeated. Nan Tian defeats her and lets her off. Ping Ting tries to engage Bu Fan to kill Nan Tian for her. But Bu Fan respects Nan Tian all along and refuses her. But this still brings Bu Fan a lot of trouble.

Yun Hao, Yun Yan's younger brother, thinks that Bu Fan is involved and tries to spar with him. Of course, he loses but Bu Fan gets so annoyed with him and ties him up to bring him home. He meets Yun Yan and likes her immediately. He is disappointed upon knowing that she is engaged but he doesn't give up. All should see how this Dai Hup tails her when he is free. Yun Yan can't put up with Zhi Gao's misdeeds and follows him secretly to the brothel after dressed like a man. Han Zui says that she is really daring but Bu Fan admires her guts. In fact, he enjoys looking at her while she tries so hard to hide her face with a fan!

Yun Yan sees Bu Fan at the brothel and assumes him to be a womanizer too. Thus, she treats him coldly. Bu Fan feels miserable and at this time, Yun Hao tries to assassinate him again. Bu Fan gets so fed up that he ties him to a raft and puts him in the middle of the lake this time. This scene is sure hilarious too - Yun Yan comes to request for his release. Bu Fan is already upset that he can't explain himself that he tells her to save him on her own. Yun Yan is angered and throws a stool in the river to help her cross it.

However, Bu Fan wants to make fun of her and thus uses a pebble to push it further away. Thus Yun Yan loses her aim and falls into the river. At first, Bu Fan ignores Yun Hao's pleas and continues to drink his wine. But when he sees that Yun Yan is indeed nearly drowning, he hurries to the raft and saves her. She faints and later she finally understands Bu Fan's intentions through another incident. She goes to a temple for praying and gets a terrible lot. To avoid her from getting upset, Bu Fan changes the lot secretly.

Ping Ting is interested in Bu Fan and is angered when he only sets eyes on Yun Yan. Bu Fan stays at home and is about to read a book when Xiu Zhe's two maids come to invite him to Xiu Zhe's mansion. Bu Fan rejects as he is uninterested. The two maids spar with him and seeing that Xiang Er is to be injured by Lian Er, he tries to save her. This scene is sure cool - he is so lazy that he sits to defend himself without standing up. He holds Lian Er to use another hand to push Xiang Er's sword away. But Lian Er seizes this chance to place the invitation card right at his belt. Bu Fan has to smile reluctantly as this act shows that he has accepted the invitation!

Xiu Zhe invites him to join a match to win Jin Long cup. Bu Fan gets interested as he wishes to spar with Nan Tian. When he reaches home, he is alarmed to see Ke Er on the ground. He hurries to her side and she turns out to be Ping Ting and she stabs him! Bu Fan is unprepared for this attack and faints with his face facing the ground. Ping Ting then turns his body around. Well, this time, she is alarmed that Bu Fan smiles with his eyes closed and her dagger is right in his hand. She tries to flee but Bu Fan catches her. Knowing that she still wants him to kill Tian Nan, he refuses and sends her away.

The match starts with lots of pugilists joining in. All must watch this - Bu Fan gets impatient with his first opponent for wasting time to wave his sabre here and there but yet he only gives him a kick and this fellow is out of the ring! The finalists are Nan Tian and Bu Fan. They have to get the gold cup which is right at the top pole amidst a pool of shorter poles. Both men have a great fight and Bu Fan defeats Nan Tian. Bu Fan is remorseful for injuring Nan Tian seriously in the process.

Prince Zhao's daughter, Qian Qian idolises Bu Fan but she has not seen him before. She finds out Bu Fan's address and visits him. She meets Han Zui there and refuses to believe that Han Zui isn't him. Han Zui has no choice but to admit that he is Bu Fan. Yun Hao is too eager to win Bu Fan. Xiu Zhe tricks him into practicing the evil Wuji skill and he even gets into the habit of eating Wushi powder. Ping Ting is the Purple Maiden and she wants to exchange Wushi powder for the gold.

Han Zui is caught by Ping Ting to force Bu Fan to accompany her to see Nan Tian. Bu Fan is surprised when Nan Tian refuses to tell her where her father is buried. Ping Ting is so enraged that she attacks Nan Tian and injures him. Bu Fan is unprepared for it and has to drag her away to avoid being mistakened by Yun Yan. Han Zui starts to like Qian Qian and also tries to bing Jin Zhi and Gu Feng together.

Bu Fan finds out that the Purple Mansion is responsible for Wushi powder and goes there with Han Zui. He finds Xiu Zhe there destroying the Mansion. Ping Ting manages to hide her identity. Da Gui isn't happy with Jin Zhi being so close to an agent as they are thieves. Nan Tian finds out that Yun Hao learns evil skills and thus wants to destroy his skills. Yun Hao accidentally kills him.

Xiu Zhe helps him to cover up the truth and shifts the blame to Ping Ting and Bu Fan. He has secretly fallen for Yun Yan and thus does not wish to see them together. Yu Yan is devastated to know about this. On the day of the funeral, Bu Fan comes to pay his last respects. But Ping Ting comes at this time to demand to open the coffin to find out Ying's final whereabouts. Yun Yan tries her best to stop her. Bu Fan stops her from lifting the coffin cover and reprimands her for being too much. He drags her away but the Qu siblings think that Bu Fan is responsible for this.

Han Zui finds many goldsmiths missing because they are trapped by Ping Ting to make weapons for Liao State. Bu Fan manages to save them from danger. Ping Ting uses her beauty to attract Zhi Gao and accuses Yun Yan to have a forbidden relationship together. Then she kills him and makes Yun Yan and Bu Fan to be the culprits. Yun Yan quietly let the constables lead into the prison as she is innocent. Bu Fan is worried and tries to check the case in secret.

Qian Qian ties to elope with Han Zui after knowing that Bu Fan is being wanted. Han Zui doesn't know how to explain to her. Her identity is revealed at the checkpoint and Qian Qian gets mad with him. Xiu Zhe is equally concerned and finally finds evidence to prove Yun Yan's innocence. She is released and he reveals his feelings for her. She is unmoved.

Bu Fan and Xiu Zhe capture the assassin who tries to kill the First Liao Prince, Zong De at the brothel. Xiao Die is injured and Yu Tang takes care of her. Bu Fan finds Xiu Zhe suspicious and confronts him when he becomes a masked man to feed Xiao Die the antidote. Xiu Zhe admits that he is Zong De's brother, Zong Zhe. He says that the Purple Maiden and his brother are ambitious and asks them to prevent Zong De from controlling the Song Emperor. They agree to his request.

Yun Hao is young and gets into all sorts of trouble. Once he even injures a clan leader's members seriously. Yun Yan has to apologise on his behalf but the clan leader refuses to listen to her and insists on a duel. He wants her to pick up a sword to pit against him as she is no match for him. However, she still discards it as Yun Hao uses his sword to hurt others. The clan leader injures her seriously but lets her off after venting his anger. Yun Hao says that Yun Yan is too timid. Bu Fan is concerned and visits her after knowing this.

Seeing that she is troubled, he tries his best to cheer her up. Yun Hao is enraged to see both together and leaves home. Ping Ting appears as the Purple Maiden and wants Yun Hao to work with her. He agrees in order to become famous. Prince Zhao frames Yu Tang for hindering his plan from taking place. Gu Feng saves him from prison and fakes his death.

Bu Fan finds out that this might be connected to Wuji manual at Xuan Yang Temple so he decides to go there with Gu Feng. Yun Yan also worries that Yun Hao might be involved and goes there with Xiu Zhe. Yun Hao is forced to learn Wuji skill and is trapped there. Both are attacked and trapped there. Ping Ting finds Bu Fan approaching and arranges another Purple Maiden to trick them. Then she pretends to save Bu Fan from the Purple Maiden's attack and gets injured.

Bu Fan manages to defeat the Purple Maiden and saves the rest. Yun Yan sees Ping Ting injured and avoids Bu Fan. Bu Fan has no choice but to take care of Ping Ting. Yu Tang lures the Purple Maiden out and traps her but she kills herself and the clue ends here.

I like this scene which shows how alert Bu Fan is. Ping Ting finds excuses to rest at Bu Fan's home. During the night when Bu Fan is sleeping, she sneaks into his room and tries to place the poisonous needles on his forehead. However, Ping Ting can't bring herself to kill him upon seeing his peaceful expression so she leaves the room. After she closes the door, Bu Fan smiles and opens his eyes, wondering what she is up to.

The Qu mansion can't go by anymore a day without a leader so Yun Yan has no choice but to take over as the leader. On the big day, Bu fan and the clan leader whom Yun Hao has offended turn up to show their support for her but she is being sneered by the rest. Obviously, they do not like a woman to head the clan and one even fights with her to snatch Nan Tian's sabre. Yun Hao turns up at this time with Aunt Lan (who is PingTing's maid) and defeats the fellow. Yun Yan is relieved that Yun Hao has matured. Unknown to her, he is under Aunt Lan's control of Wushi powder.

Bu Fan and Ping Ting finally find Ying's grave. They find it empty when Ping Ting wants to bring his remains back to Liao state. She is of mixed parentage as Ying is a Song while her mother is a Liao. Bu Fan brings her to Qu residence to ask the siblings again but end up quarreling with Yun Hao instead. Yun Hao even forces Bu Fan to a duel. Ping Ting worries for him but Ke Ren assures her that her master has never lost a single match before. Bu Fan also accepts the matter calmly and still drinks as usual.

Yun Hao arranges to have the duel in front of Nan Tian's grave. Xiu zhe agrees to be the judge. Han Zui says sarcastically that he needs his dead father's blessings to win. Bu Fan fights with Yun Hao, This duel can be so unfair as Yun Hao uses his father's sabre while Bu Fan has nothing at all! Still, he beats him and releases his arm after grabbing and using Yun Hao's own sabre to point at him. This ungrateful man has the cheek to attack him and slashes a deep cut on Bu Fan's arm when he walks away! He says that Bu Fan is still a loser whether he likes it or not. Yun Yan is dismayed by his action.

Ping Ting bandages for Bu Fan and is surprised that he is still in the mood to drink wine and is smiling. Yun Yan visits him and he is delighted, even standing up to walk to her. She helps him to sit down, saying that he should not move since he is injured. All should not miss Ping Ting's vicious and jealous look on her face. Yun Yan is so embarrassed when Ping Ting says sarcastically that they must thank her brother for letting Bu Fan off otherwise Bu Fan will suffer more than one cut. Han Zui says that Yun Hao has shaken the whole world in one day. Yun Yan then reveals that Ping Ting can go to Shaolin to check things out.

Bu Fan goes there with her after his recovery. You will laugh at this scene. A masked man tries to steal a Shaolin sultra and Ping ting grabs it back to return to the monks after being injured and falling to the ground. You will wonder why Bu Fan can be so indifferent to stand aside and watch like a hawk instead of helping her. He knows that it is part of Ping ting's plan to win over the monks so he keeps mum.

And true indeed, Ying is now a Shaolin monk now. He refuses to return to Liao state to visit his dying wife. Ping Ting then steals the Yijin manual to force him to leave with her. Unfortunately, her mother dies without seeing him the last time. Ping Ting gets so mad that she burns the manual. Ying is remorseful and gets punished when returning to Shaolin.

Xiu Zhe asks Yun Yan to return to Liao state with him but she refuses. Aunt Lan holds Da Gui's wife as a hostage to force Da Gui to steal the luminous lamp for her to rekindle war between the two states. He agrees reluctantly. He manages to steal it but Bu Fan discovers it. He imprisonss Aunt Lan but she refuses to reveal the lamp's whereabouts. Xiu Zhe says that Aunt Lan isn't involved but Bu Fan doesn't believe him. Prince Zhao imprisons Da Gui's whole family for stealing the lamp. However, Ping Ting uses Qian Qian as a hostage and saves Aunt Lan.

She sends Aunt Lan off but Xiu Zhe kills her. Ping Ting is angered but controls herself. The Emperor has trouble as Qian Qian disagrees to get married to Zong Yuan, a Xixia prince. Da Gui finally reveals to Gu Feng in the prison to save the whole family that Jin Zhi is actually a princess when the Emperor rapes her mother when she is a palace maid. To save her whole family, Jin Zhi agrees to marry Zong Yuan. Gu Feng is upset so he resigns his post.

Ping Ting pretends to help Xiu Zhe to woo Yun Yan. But she reveals the truth of Nan Tian's death to her. She is so furious and fights with Xiu Zhe. He has no choice but to injure her seriously - so seriously that she loses her mind and she is imprisoned. Bu Fan is worried when he does not see Yun Yan for days.

On her way to Xixia, Ping Ting kills Jin Zhi's mother and captures Jin Zhi. Gu Feng is worried. Yun Yan wakes up and Zong De wants to kill her. Xiu Zhe stops him and says that they are controlling Yun Hao to be the leader of the pugilistic world so his sister must be present. Bu Fan finds all of them together at Qu residence and he is shattered to find that Yun Yan looks at him blankly. He is very upset when she doesn't show signs of recognising him at all. However, later he can sense that Yun Yan wants to tell him something so he plans to save her.

To prevent Yun Yan from escaping, they plant an explosive on her body. Xiu Zhe rapes Jin Zhi and she kills herself. Yun Hao wants to visit Nan Tian's grave. Xiu Zhe agrees as this will disperse rumours of Yun Yan already dead. Yun Hao brings Yun Yan to offer incense. Poor Yun Yan - she has to keep mum but there are tears rolling down her cheeks at this time. Gu Feng suddenly appears and brings her away, demanding for Jin Zhi's exchange. Bu Fan wants to thank him but Gu Feng says this is unneccessary due to their close friendship.

He wakes Yun Yan up and is astonished to find her crying in his arms. He pacifies her and hugs her. Well, another shock is in store for him when she finally pushes him away and tells him to leave as far as possible! He is puzzled by the change but then realises that there is a lock on her neck. He becomes calm and brings her to Da Gui and Yu Tang. There are 3 layers of locks and Da Gui only manages to clear the first lock. There isn't enough time for him to examine the other two openings as the incense is going to finish burning.

Yun Yan finds the lock tightening every minute. She doesn't want them to die with her so she snatches the keys from Yu Tang and locks herself in the prison. She faints inside and Bu Fan hurries in after Da Gui manages to unlock the door. Usually Bu Fan is calm but now there is a lot of sweat on his forehead as he is too anxious over Yun Yan's safety. So worried that he forces open the lock when he is not supposed to do it! There he sees two wires - one red and one black - which is the one to pull out to stop the explosion?

The two old men have an argument over it. Da Gui says due to his experience, the black wire is the answer. Yu Tang replies that he doesn't know how scheming Xiu Zhe is so it must be the red wire. Bu Fan tells them to leave as he chooses to stay with Yun Yan. Both men are touched but follow his instructions. Bu Fan looks at Yun Yan tenderly and says that although they can't leave together, they may die together. He removes the black wire and hugs her closing his eyes but nothing happens! All are overjoyed except Gu Feng and Da Gui who find Jin Zhi dead later. Da Gui confronts Xiu Zhe only to get killed.

Gu Feng captures Xiu Zhe but he is saved by Yun Hao, who is then seriously injured by Gu Feng. Gu Feng loses an arm in the process. However, Yun Hao's urge for Wushi powder is so great that it starts to aggravate his injury. Gu Feng finds out that Ping Ting is responsible for Jin Zhi's ordeal and confronts her. However, he is no match for her now as she masters the Yijin skill so he flees and tells Ying about it.

Ying decides to destroy her skills. However, he changes his mind when she agrees to deal with Xiu Zhe for them. Xiu Zhe is enraged when al his secret hideouts for Wushi powder are being discovered. He kills Zong De as he wants to be the descendent to the throne. Ping Ting escapes from the palace - I forgot to mention earlier on why she has so much power. She is the Liao king's adopted daughter.

Seeing that Xiu Zhe has no more use for him, he leaves Yun Hao alone and refuses to save him. His two maids even places Wushi powder all over the bed and expects him to lick it. Ying and Ping Ting save him but Yun Hao is doubtful of them. Ying is at a loss on how to save him upon seeing how mad he has become and keeps on vomiting blood. The poison is now in his blood and he can only do a blood transfer. Yun Yan offers to do it and both siblings reconcile as Yun Hao turns over a new leaf. Xiu Zhe tries to ambush them and Ying is killed. Ping Ting grieves for his death.

Qian Qian forces Prince Zhao to meet Xiu Zhe so that all can attack him. however, Prince Zhao is taken as a hostage and is exploded to death. They want to catch the two maids but they kill themselves. Yun Hao suddenly brings Gu Feng to see him as he has betrayed the rest again. But Gu Feng suddenly knocks him out on the head. The Liao Emperor is upset to know that he kills his elder son and sentences him to death.

However, he can't bear to see him die and changes his mind later. Yun Hao gets to know about it and gets killed by Xiu Zhe. Bu Fan, Ping Ting and Gu Feng confront Xiu Zhe on his coronation day. Seeing that Ping Ting and Gu Feng are captured, Bu Fan stops fighting with him and gets hit to fall on the ground with the rest. He still brushes the blood from his mouth and remains calm even when Xiu Zhe points him with his sword. Xiu Zhe proudly shows them the cannon that he has made. At this time, Bu Fan suddenly takes his sword from his sleeve and points at Xiu Zhe. However, Gu Feng is determined to avenge Jin Zhi's death that he pushed Xiu Zhe to the cannon so they die together.

Ping Ting becomes the next successor to the throne. She wants Bu Fan to help her but he refuses. She gets frustrated and says that Bu Fan should know how she treats him. Bu Fan says that he wishes to take care of another person that needs him more. He wishes her all the best but he warns her that she will be his biggest enemy if she tries to do something drastic to the Song state.

The next day, Bu Fan waits for Yun Yan at the jetty and wonders why she hasn't arrived. Ping Ting is angry with him for wanting to leave in secret so she captures Yun Yan. They go to the same coronation spot and Bu Fan is shocked to see Yun Yan tied up right at the top of a pillar, shouting his name!

Bu Fan loses his temper and demands to know what is going on. Ping Ting says that he can't blame her for being ruthless since he doesn't wish to help her. Bu Fan says sarcastically that how can the Purple Maiden not be ruthless? Ping Ting is shocked that Bu Fan knows her identity all along but he decides not to reveal it as he needs her to deal with Xiu Zhe then. All should watch this final duel when Bu Fan tries to save Yun Yan who is tied at the top of a triangular pyramid made of wooden pillars tied with colorful ribbons. Ping Ting stops him with her ruthless strokes and they fight among the wooden pillars. She even cuts most of the wood to make Yun Yan stay unbalanced in the air.

However, Bu Fan manages to save her in time and brings her safely on to the ground. Ping Ting isn't so lucky, though. She tries to kill him from the back, gets tripped when one log loosens and falls all the way to the ground from the pyramid top before Bu Fan can reach her after holding Yun Yan. Before her death, she looks at Bu Fan when he comes and calls him 'Brother Zhuo' the last time. Bu Fan forgives her in the end.

All are sick after all these ordeals and retire from the pugilistic world for good. The three pairs get married, end up being farmers in the countryside and enjoy their life there.

Cast Performance

Zhuo Bu Fan - Ng Dai Yung

He puts up a very powerful performance. I have to confess that I might not have continued watching the serial if not for him. Actually I feel that he makes a good choice for Chor Lau Heung. I wonder why he isn't chosen for the role? He is good-looking and displays good stances for all the fighting scenes. He brings the serial alive with his humerous dialogues. TVB really doesn't know how to make use of this splendid actor in period dramas - why must they only rely on Koo Tin Lok all the time?

Moreover, he is so convincing as the witty, humorous, and calm Bu Fan. Even when he is angry or disgusted with someone, he tries not to show his expressions openly. Without him, this serial will be as plain as the other normal serials. His outlook does look like a fox, which is cunning but yet with warmth.

I find him very compatible with Lee Yuen Wah and Law Wai Kuen too. His smiles may look a little icy but it is different when he is close with friends. With Yun Yan, he can be so tender and loving. With Ping Ting, he is equally nice but tends to be fiercer with her.

Luo Gu Feng - Au Sui Wai

This character does not require much acting as the simple task is to act cool and speak very few lines. Many may still like this frank role as he admits defeat when he really loses. Au is okay in the role but I hate his long and think fringe. Can't the producer find him a nicer one like the one for Bu Fan?

Han Zui - Lee Kar Shing

No surprise as this is the usual playful role that Lee has reprised for so many times. But he makes this character look stupid as Bu Fan does most of the checking job while he only spends time to woo the woman that he likes.

Qu Yun Hao - Ng Yuet San

He is too young, thin and inexperienced to be a villain. His acting is still wooden and look at the way he handles the heavy sabre. I really shake my head.

Ye Lu Xiu Zhe/Bian Xiu Zhe - Yu Kar Lun

Although he is said to be from the same acting class as Chow Yun Fatt, I don't really like his stiff acting. No wonder he is still an unknown now.

Qu Nan Tian - Lee Kar Ding

When the sabre lands in this man's hands, he is so comfortable with it! He does have the look of a leader. What a change from his usual villain roles! He plays the role of a righteous man and a loving father well.

Wan Yu Tang - Wong Wai

This serial tells you why Wong is always destined to hold high posts in period dramas and he is never the underdog. There is no exception for this one since he has the authoritative look.

Chi Da Gui - Kong Ngai

Another refreshing change from the usual villain roles! Kong plays this tragic role very well too.

Zhan Ying - Chu Tiet Wo

He gives a satisfactory performance here although not in his best.

Zhan Ping Ting - Law Wai Kuen

Thumbs up for her acting for being a ruthless demoness! You will be amazed by her good acting on how Ping Ting can hate and love Bu Fan at the same time. Her jealousy is well developed too. I really like her to pair with Dai Yong. Great chemistry when both battle with skills and wits. You will feel sorry that both have to come to blows in the last moment. However, I would like her identity to be only revealed right at the end. Letting us know so early leaves no suspense as I can see through her face in the light purple veil so clearly. Sometimes I wonder whether 'The Martial Arts Chronicles' borrowed the story from here?

However, her headdress seems very messy and too simple. When she fights, it falls all over the place. But the pink Liao princess gown and cap look stunning on her.

Qu Yun Yan - Lee Yuen Wah

She is pretty and certain hilarious scenes of her with Bu Fan will leave you laughing non-stop. She is quite okay in the role as a woman torn between love and filial piety. I like the grave scene - nothing is said but a tear is enough to project Yun Yan's sadness.

She has prettier outfits than Law and looks sweeter than her. Sometimes, the headress gives the hint. There are cotton ornaments on hers and also Bu Fan's heads. No wonder she wins the love war in the end.

Zhao Qian Qian - Lai Chi San

I still search my mind on how a plain-looking actress is chosen for this role. Her acting is sure no good in scenes where she is supposed to be angry or upset. Luckily she appears in very few scenes.

Chi Jin Zhi - Lau Sau Ping

Another actress whose acting is also raw. The crooked smile when she shows on her face after seeing how Gu Feng is tricked to spar with Xiu Zhe is sure unreal. She does badly in crying scenes at the end too although she has improved slightly. Maybe tragic roles aren't supposed to be given to newcomers as this pose to be a very high level of difficulty.

Memorable scenes

All fighting scenes. Well-done despite of limited budget. The highlights will be matches between Bu Fan against all different opponents. (See how unfair I can be but he is the main draw).

How stunned Bu Fan is to meet Yun Yan for the first time. He gets so distracted that others have to call his name to remind him where he is!

How Yun Yan nearly gets drowned in the lake. I really laugh hard at how she missed the raft by only a few inches! And seeing how she struggles in water gives me a sense of delight and joy - I don't know what's wrong with me. Maybe this is retribution for her to wrong Bu Fan???? Bu Fan is definitely much more highly skilled than her. He gets to the raft right from the land without any help - unlike her who needs to use a stool as a stepping stone.

The part where Ping Ting thinks that she has injured Bu Fan as he lies motionless on the ground. Bu Fan's expression is so real, as if he has been stabbed deep into the chest. I was tricked too like her!

The dilemma Ping Ting is in to kill Bu Fan. She has a whole pack of poisonous needles with her and is about to plant two into his forehead. Looking at how peaceful he sleeps, she stops and leaves. Unknown to her, Bu Fan has always been on his guard against her.

Scenes of Bu Fan sensing details - especially the scene on although he is upset by Yun Yan's predicament, he is still level-headed to look for clues.

Yun Yan being trapped with the explosive. This is the only time that I have ever seen Bu Fan so unsure of himself and at his wits' end. Many will be touched on how he is going to die with Yun Yan.

Favourite Character

Bu Fan as this character is so likeable.

Most Hated Character

Yun Hao, he is too petty and doesn't use his brain at all.

Most Convincing Character

Undoubtedly Bu Fan as the well-known jade fox. He is normally the first to get evidence and the fastest to confront the villains. He also does the most thinking. Regardless of any unfavourable circumstances, he manages to handle situations well. Isn't this the same as a cunning fox?

Most Failed Characters

Xiu Zhe, he looks obviously evil right from the beginning. A close second will be Qian Qian. She is not the kind of princess whom I have in mind - ugly, rough and always getting into trouble. To think that she idolises Bu Fan so much and actually she has no knowledge of martial arts! The third is Han zui - how can he be caught by Ping Ting easily since he is an agent????

Flaws

It seems that all except Ng and Au need to go for more classes to practise their fighting skills before filming this serial. We can see how clumsy they are in handling the swords. Many are uneven and uncertain in their stances. The actresses are okay in emotional scenes but Law and Lee definitely need to brush up their skills. They don't look like swordswomen at all. No wonder all the fighting scenes are well shot because they use a lot of stuntsmen!

Very little attraction as Ng is the best known among them and although he does the job very well, the other young actors really pale so much in comparison. How I wish that they have worked harder!

The story becomes long-winded and sad towards the end.

There are too few scenes between Yun Yan and Bu Fan while too many between him and Ping Ting. Sometimes, I grow so sick of seeing her being dragged away for so many times!

How Xiu Zhe breaks Yun Hao's neck to kill him and laugh later. He really behaves like a lunatic. This is not acting at all. I wonder how Yu graduates from acting class???

Song

A very boring song by Lam Chor Lam but I forgot the title. Those who watched 'Blood of Good and Evil' will recall her as Chan Ting Wai's girlfriend in the serial.

Conclusion

The serial is still promising if you are not fussy over the cast's acting and names. Sometimes, unknowns and lesser knowns can make a serial work. You might find me singing Ng's praises every now and then. I can be biased but to me, he really deserves the credit of making Bu Fan come alive before your eyes! Same as Lee and Law. It is not easy to catch the three in period dramas as they seldom act now. I doubt they will work together again. Certain subplots are unpredictable and still can surprise you at times. So do grab the tapes if they are still available in the video stores.

sukting's Ratings:

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


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