The Legend of Lady Chung


Reviewed by: sukting

September 02, 2003

Rating: three-point-five

Chinese title: 钟无艳 (Chung Mo Yim)

15 episodes/4 vcds

Foreword
Have you ever seen Dodo Cheng Yu Ling in a period drama? Some have complained that she is too modern-looking in ‘Lui Sai Niong’ but surprisingly, they can accept her in here. This may be because her image is so special. One part of her face is black while another part is normal. I apologise for the short review here as I watched it many years back and can’t recall it that well.

Introduction on characters/story

1. Chung Mou Yim – Cheng Yu Ling
Initially, Mou Yim is a deity in the heavens. But she fails in her attempt to catch the 9-tail fox. The fox is so daring as to spit fire at her face. This is why her face is disfigured. The heavenly empress is so mad with her that she banishes Mou Yim to earth to seek the fox out.

So she is now in earth as a normal village woman who knows martial arts. One day, the emperor is in danger and she saves him. The emperor is attracted to her beauty because he can only see the normal half of her disfigured face. Upon seeing her real looks, he regrets but has no choice to keep his promise to keep her as his empress.

She is then neglected because of her looks. I laughed at the part when she is so troubled for not being able to produce an heir. So a deity gives her a pearl, which is said to be able to beautify her looks in one night when she looks at it. So, the emperor sleeps with her for the night upon seeing her beauty. But he is so disappointed that she is ugly again after that night, so he goes back to his concubine, Ying Chun.

Finally, it is discovered that Ying Chun is the fox while Mou Yim is the deity. But alas, Mou Yim is poisoned and loses her senses. She even injures her own foster brother, who cares so much for her. Another surprise is in store for him when he is thrown into prison after being labeled a rebel.

However, Mou Yim comes to her senses finally and spars with Ying Chun. Both perish in the end. All the people miss her as she has sacrificed herself to save the country from turmoil. But in fact, she has accomplished her mission and can return to the heavens again.

Cheng is very impressive in the role. She really portrays her chivalrous character well. No wonder there is a time she is so well known as Mou Yim. She is also outstanding as Ms Mo in another serial, 'War of the Genders'.

2. Ha Ying Chun – Chan Sau Chu
She is Prime Minister Xia’s younger sister. Her brother has been eyeing the throne for long and persuades her to help cause the emperor’s downfall. She is pretty but vindictive. She has wanted to be the empress and that is the emperor’s intention too. But Mou Yim comes at this bad timing to remind him of his vows. So he has to make Ying Chun his ‘Sai Gong concubine’ instead.

She never stops dreaming of being the empress. However, tragedy strikes when her brother accidentally poisons her son instead of Mou Yim. She starts blaming Mou Yim for the tragedy. She learns that she is the 9-tail fox at this time. That is why she practices evil skills to subdue Mou Yim. She succeeds initially but is later killed, to the joy of many.

Chan is remarkable in the role! What a change from her turn in ‘The Smiling Proud Wanderer’! No wonder she is scolded by passers-by as the ‘evil concubine’ whenever she is outdoors when the serial is shown in Hong Kong.

3. Prime Minister Xia – Tam Bing Mun
He is a power-hungry person who will do anything to achieve his aim, including making use of his own younger sister. But fear not, he is still killed in the end by Wai Ying. Tam manages the role well.

4. Wai Ying – Lo Hoi Pang
This man is also the Prime Minister. He is witty but is a hunchback. That is why he sympathizes with Mou Yim, who is disfigured. So they become sworn siblings. He is the man who leads Mou Yim into the palace. He is wise as he knows that Mou Yim can help the emperor to rule the country wisely. A pity that the emperor turns a deaf ear into his advice and nearly loses the country. It is not easy to act as a hunchback but Lo does it so well that I simply forget about it!

5. The emperor – Lee Long Gei

A lustful emperor who is only interested in skirt-chasing. Many will be angry with him for believing Ying Chun’s words so easily. Lee displays fine acting in his portrayal of this character.

6. Si Ma Ping – Tong Chun Yip
He is a swordsman who loses his love when she is poisoned to death by Ying Chun after becoming the emperor’s concubine. Still, he helps Mou Yim to defeat Ying Chun. Be prepared to see a haggard Tong in here. Quite a refreshing change.

Favourite character
Mou Yim. She doesn’t have the looks, but she is wise to see through all plots and protects the emperor from danger.

Most hated character
Ying Chun. She does so many wrong and yet forgets to blame herself for causing her son’s death.

Song
It is sung by Tsui Siu Fung. Quite a nice song although the background music can be too modernized.

Conclusion
You must watch it as it shows many battles of wits between the two women – either for men or power. You may not find the special effects impressive as compared to those seen in serials nowadays. Still, it is a pleasure to see how two famous actresses shine in this serial, especially Cheng, who sacrificed her image for this serial! It is not easy to catch both of them in the same serial anymore.

Ratings :

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

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


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