The Legend Of The Book and the Sword

Reviewed by: KMD

November 12, 2004

Rating: four

Adam Cheng - Chan Ka Lok, Qian Long, and Fok Chun On
Liza Wang - Fok Ching Tong
Yee On On - Fragrant Princess, Ngak Lai Si
Lee Si Kay - Ngak Bing (4th brother's wife)
Chu Kong - Mun Tai Liu (4th brother)
Gigi Wong?? (well that's what they called her in the vcd set) - Lee Yuen Zhi

I have never seen this serial until my mom purchased the vcd set for me to watch for Christmas. I finished this movie in 3 days.

This movie is based on Jin Yong's first novel called The Legend of the Book and the Sword about the Red Flower Society trying to overthrow the Ching Dynasty. In the novel, the leader of the the Red Flower Society, Chan Ka Lok is the blood brother of the emporer of China, Qian Long. Ka Lok tries to persuade the king to overthrow the Ching dynasty because he is of the han origin. Of course, the king does not keep his word and Ka Lok discovers this too late when his beloved Fragant Princess sacrifices herself to warn Ka Lok that he should not trust Qian Long. Ka Lok tries to avenge the death of Princess Frangrance but never accomplish this task.

This adaptation is pretty close to the novel. The ending seems to have changed a bit but the overall movie is still enjoyable, nevertheless. Some of the fight scenes were unbearably slow but the storyline was great, this credit goes to Jin Yong.

Adam Cheng was great portraying the King and Chan Ka Lok. However, it was difficult watching Adam playing Ka Lok. This is to no fault on Adam because he was great with the role, it's the character that I cannot stand. Chan Ka Lok is probably the most hated Jin Yong hero, and it's no wonder, he does not get anything accomplished. His trust/loyalty to his brother costs many people to lose their lives.

Also, I couldn't stand how he handled his love/relationship. At first, Ka Lok liked Fok Ching Tong, but he didn't reveal his feelings for her because he though Ching Tong was going out with Lee Yuan Zhi, who was disguised as a man. I couldn't stand how Ka Lok was too arrogant to ask Lee Yuan Zhi's kung fu master about her even though Fok Ching Tong asked him to.

Well, Ka Lok eventually was struck by the beauty of Fragrance Princess and started to like her. When he found out that Lee Yuan Zhi was a girl, he was torn between Fragrance Princess and her sister, Fok Ching Tong. Eventually, he choose the Fragrance princess when he gave her the jade emblem that the king had given him. The king gave this jade emblem so that Ka Lok can give it to the woman he loves.

Liza Wang was marvelous as Fok Ching Tong. Ching Tong is a wise female character and I thought Liza portrayed her well.

Yee On On was very cute as the Fragrance Princess. In some scenes, she looked a little like Charmaine Sheh. She has the best costume of the girls in this serial.

Overall, the cast was pretty adequate. Many of the actors are recognizable 70's and 80's stars. The song was ok. The hairstyle was a little too bland and so was the costumes.

I've also seen the 1987 adaptation of this novel and between the two, I would probably pick the 80's version. However, this version was just as good, in my humble opinion, thanks to the one-two punch of Adam and Liza.


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