The Swordsman Lai Bo Yee


Reviewed by: sukting

October 22, 2008

Rating: two-point-five

Episodes: 20

Foreword
If you don’t have enough of Lai Bo Yee’s adventures in ‘Fortune Teller 1 and 2’ in the 80s, you might want to watch this 90s version. Lam Mun Long also produces a 2006 version ‘Face to Face’.

This is Ho Bo Sang’s another drama on ‘fengshui’ besides ‘The fate of the last empire’. Coincidentally, Siu Bing is also involved in this drama. I find this drama having a striking resemblance to Cheng Siu Chau’s Kuet Jin Wong Sheng so I shall make some comparisons too.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Lai Bo Yee – Tam Yiu Mun

He is Dang San’s son. Bo Yee passes away one night. Elder Dream sees his coffin being washed away by a storm and saves him. Dang San knows being a fortune teller means that his life is at risk because he acts against the heavens. So he never wants him to be one in the first place but this was his fate, his destiny to be a fortune teller and help people just like his father.

He helps others but is unable to save himself as he often lands into trouble. Dang San dies later on, so it's up to Bo Yee to help people, and most important help the Emperor and the Kingdom. Bo Yee is later conferred as the grand tutor after saving Chung Zak. This causes Tin Wah’s jealousy. Tin Wah conspires with Chun to deal with Bo Yee. Bo Yee is highly skilled but is helpless to stop tragedies from happening.

Although two princesses are in love with him, his heart lies with Ching Mui as he is forced to marry Fung. But it is destined that he still stays lonely till old age. How should he deal with his love life? How should he help the court and also change his own fate. I shall leave all to find out as I have spilled too many beans for too many dramas.

I am very disappointed in Yiu Mun. Probably, he feels as uneasy as Mei Fung in acting in period dramas. He comes across as bored and tired. Unlike Miu’s version that has a good sense of humour of Mun Long’s interpretation which makes him very mature and wise, Yiu Mun’s image comes across as weak and vulnerable to attacks. He relies too much on the sword to decide on the fate!

Gao Han Xing by Cheng Siu Chau – their fates are so similar. But Han Xing is only a swordsman and general. His father is also a general. Both pairs have the same ‘occupation’.

2. Fong Ching Mui – Leung Siu Bing

Ching Mui is Bo Yee’s buddy since childhood. At first her skills are better then his but later on he becomes a real fortune teller and his skills surpass her. She and her father owe the Lai family some debt, as they have helped their family. Without their help, her mother wouldn't have been able to give birth to her. She is initially at loggerheads with her young master but Bo Yee ends up to be with her after so many troubles and hardships.

As for Siu Bing, she never lets us down. Although her screen time is little, she plays her part well. But this character is far from likeable as Ching Mui is very sarcastic. I can’t stand the way she keeps harping that Bo Yee is lowly in skills than her. Luckily he proves to be superior than her later to hold his head high again.

Wen Xue Ji by Wong Yee Kum – they are siblings – unlike this couple who end up as lovers. She dies while Ching Mui survives. But both women know martial arts.

3. Fu Tin Wah – Ho Bo Sang

Tin Wah is Bo Yee's childhood friend. He starts out as an innocent young man. But he had no fortune or skills. He can’t save his dying mother. He is jealous of Bo Yee. As he gets everything, he starts becoming more evil. He even takes Chun as a master and learned how to tell people's fortune but in the wrong way. This is fate, as in their previous life, they both are destined to always be enemies.

The breakthrough is from Bo Sang who completely calls the shots. He finally proves himself as a good actor after a few unsuccessful attempts in other dramas. Credits must be given to him for not minding to take up a villain role – even at his prime when many popular actors will choose not to do.

Liu Can Yang by Leung Kar Yan - unlike Tin Wah, he is kind. The similarity is that they are friends with the main male lead and are poor.

4. Princess Chiu Yung – Lee Mei Fung

Bo Yee becomes involved with the public affairs and decides to help the Emperor. Yung falls for Bo Yee. This causes Ching Mui and Yung to dislike each other very much. Yung later marries Tin Wah, and then discovers his true intentions but nonetheless she still loves him. tin Wah has a crush on her, but she always pays attention to Bo Yee.
So this is another reason he hates Bo Yee so much later on. Tin Wah dies in Bo Yee’s hands and she becomes a nun.

Mei Fung looks ill at ease in the period costume. She is definitely not elegant enough to be the princess although it is suitable for her to act as a rich court official’s daughter. When standing beside Siu Bing, we know immediately who will be the loser in love. She is the only misfit in the drama.

Furthermore, she also looks older than Bo Sang or Yiu Mun. Why is she given a period drama role?

Jing Kang by Tse Ning - Both are princesses who fall for the main actor but she dies. Yung knows martial arts but she doesn't.

5. Lai Dang San – Lai Hon Chi

The famous fortune teller, Dang San helps Chun to look for a fortune burial ground. But upon seeing how evil they are, he knows that the family will bring misfortune to the country. Thus he attempts to add some magical powers to destroy the luck. But Chun is vicious to force him to make a vow – if anything happens to the Chun family, misfortune will befall on his own family first. Dang San loses a couple of sons before Bo Yee’s arrival so he doesn’t want him to follow his footsteps. But who can go against the fate?

6. Mrs Lai – Fung Suk Bo
She is overprotective towards her young son but who can blame her as she loses so many before him?

7. Chun Hui – Bak Piew
He is the very man who sends General Yue Fei to death. So we expect him to do harm here.

Qin Hui by Lok Ying Kwan – what more can I say? Even the villain’s name is the same.

8. Mrs Chun – Mah Hoi Lun
She comes up with all sorts of ideas to harm the innocent.

Madam Wong by Liu Ying Hong – also another wicked character.

9. Emperor Sung – Lee Long Gei
He is the brainless man who trusts the wrong official to preserve his position.

10. Siu Yuk – Cheung Mun Tun
She is Tin Wah’s sweetheart but is ditched by him. Quite a tragic role.

11. Yuen Ngan Fung – Lam Kei Yan
She is the princess of the Kum state. Bo Yee later becomes involved with her. They both have feelings towards each other although the Kums is trying to take over the Song country. She dies after saving Bo Yee. Kei Yan is suitable as the ill-fated Fung. Her role name suits her image indeed. She is definitely elegant as a princess. No wonder Bo Yee chooses her as his wife instead of Yung.

Yuanyan Leng Yue by Tang Shui Man - Both are Kum princesses. Both die and fall for the male lead and also marry him. Both also know martial arts.)

12. Fong Wing – Kwan Ching
He and his daughter, Ching Mui are the Lai's servants although their skills are not great.

13. Elder Dream – Yu Ming
Elder Dream is Bo Yee’s master. He teaches him all he knows and even gives him a dragon searching sword. He wants Bo Yee to save the weak. So Bo Yee knows everything on fortune telling and fengshui.

14. Chung Zak – Tam Yat Ching
He is the emperor’s elder brother who introduces Bo Yee to work in the court.

Song
It is ‘the flower in the mist’ by Wong Hoi Kan. He has a wonderful voice. I wonder why Yiu Mun doesn’t sing as we know that he sings well too.

Conclusion
If I add on the TCS period drama and also ‘Kuet Jin Wong Sheng’, this must be the third time for me to watch the same story. That is why I nearly gave up watching midway. I am unsure if it comes from the same producer but how can script writers be so lazy to recycle plots? Please allow me to borrow a Chinese phrase – it is like putting old wine under a new packaging. But the harsh truth is – this wine isn’t as presentable as the former.

I had to convince myself to give a new cast a chance to write a fair review. I have expected more from a TVB production. But it really lets me down with the half-baked development and I feel that I am being transported to the 80s. The special effects are so similar to ‘The fortune teller 2’. At least ‘Kuet Jin Wong Sheng’ offers nice fighting scenes. But this one has absolutely nothing!!

This is super annoying. This drama doesn’t explore on the characters. Neither does it focus on fortune telling. The love hexagon is also loosely linked as all lack the love essence. The weak court power struggle presentation is worse than ‘The fate of the empire’. The 90s is definitely a dark and downhill period for me in watching TVB dramas. This drama proves this fact.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : ** (Scale of 5)

On song : *** (Scale of 5)


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