The Wild Bunch


Reviewed by: sukting

October 02, 2007

Rating: three-point-five

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
It is not easy to get the 2 of the 5 Tigers, Felix Wong Yat Wah and Kent Tong Zhen Yip, to act together in a drama. After their cooperation with Chan Yuk Lin in 'Demi Gods Semi Devils 1982', they worked together again. Wan Tin Chi also worked with them besides 'The Foundation'. How do they fare in this one?

Story

Credits from Kangkang website - The detailed plot can be found at:

http://www.geocities.com/televisioncity/network/7039/sap.html

Introduction on characters

1. Lee Chin Hao – Wong Yat Wah
He is a filial and simple man who yearns for a quiet life. But fate doesn't allow him to do so and he ends up becoming the 13th warlord after his fiancée's death. Cold as ice after the tragedy, he doesn't want to accept anyone anymore but Wan Long changes him. However, after knowing the true colours of his godfather, he seeks revenge but the high price to pay is to lose his beloved again.

This doesn't come as a surprise to me upon knowing that Yat Wah acts as a tragic hero again. His acting is still fine but somehow I don't see any breakthrough. What's more, he is acting as a monk again after '82 Demi Gods, Semi Devils' and also 'The Yang Generals'. It seems that TVB producers like to shave him bald.

2. Hong Gwan Ling – Tong Chun Yip
Vicious, conceited and skilful, Gwan Ling is the 11th warlord. He is confident of winning Wan Long's heart until Chin Hao's appearance. Overcome by hatred and jealousy, he tries to harm him every now and then. In the end, he is still a loser in everything.

Chun Yip shines as the villain. This is so different from his previous goody roles. But I start to pity him for taking up so many villain roles after this one.

3. Lee Chin Chek - Dong Wai
He is the 12th warlord. Unlike the rest who are highly skilled, this man is only capable in speech and theft. He longs to become a rich man and tries to influence Chin Hao. Still, he goes through thick and thin with Chin Hao to be his best friend in need.

Another playful role from Dong Wai. He is restricted partly becasue of his shorter built so I guess that is why he chose to work behind the cameras as the stunt director when he becomes mature.

4. Si King Si – Wan Tin Chi
He is the 10th warlord. He is wise and also highly skilled. Gwan Ling regards him as his strongest opponent besides Chin Hao. He succumbs to love, causing disputes between Hak Yong and Wan to worsen. His marriage to Siu Fong is arranged but both only enjoy brief happiness before she is killed. He becomes a lifeless corpse after this ordeal and is killed tragically.

Another tragic hero interpretation by Tin Chi. His role is so cool that I like it so much! He is as cold as ice when carrying out Hak Yong's missions but he is so endearing to Siu Fong. His fighting scenes are splendid and his acting improved. But still, this is no different from the usual roles that he is always given.

5. Chu Che Chang – Kam Kok Leung
He is the real son of Hak Yong. Hak Yong worries for his safety so he keeps him as a servant by his side. Poor him to endure all this humiliation for so many years. He is as ambitious as his father and Hak Yong knows that he loves Wan Long so he creates chances for them.

6. Lee See Yuen – Leung Hong Wah
He is the 1st warlord or rather the adopted son of Hak Yong. He has always thought that Hak Yong is his natural father and he does his bidding all the time. Upon knowing Hak Yong's schemes, he manages to tell Chin Hao the truth behind Ling Long's death.

7. Lee Chin Sau – Tsang Wai Ming
He is the 3rd warlord but in reality, he is the prince who tries to gather evidence to expose Hak Yong's evil deeds. All are amazed that he can go undercover for so long. When seeing Chin Hao and King Si in trouble, he saves them and gets their help to abolish Hak Yong's empire.

8. Chu Wan – Lau Siu Ming
He is considered the master of the times. Being rich and experienced in war, he also tries to bribe over Hak Yong's men. After getting Mong Sin's love, he is deemed as Hak Yong's arch rival since young. Hak Yong tries all ways to assassinate to harm him but fails. He is devastated when Mong Sin is dead and dies bitterly in Hak Yong's hands.

9. Chu Yee – Chan Dik Hak
He is Wan's younger brother who is equally experienced in war and is loyal to him. However, he doesn't like Wan to focus too much attention on Mong Sin as he thinks this affects their warfare.

10. Lee Hak Yong – Chun Pui
To build up his military strength, he adopts 13 warlords. Unknown to all, even See Yuen and Wan Long are also adopted. How scheming he is – he knows that Wan Long is the love interest of Chin Hao and Gwan Ling so he makes use of her. He can even ask his own son to wait for his chance! After his victory, he finds no use keeping his warlords so he disposes them one by one. But he becomes half-mad after killing Mong Sin by mistake. This man has a tragic ending too.

11. Lee Wan Long – Chan Yuk Lin
She is beautiful, willful and also reckless. The other warlords treat her like a younger sister although they are not related. She also treats them well. Never have I seen a woman getting into so much trouble to cause the warlords to rescue her. Chin Hao finds her overbearing and tries to avoid her as far as he can.

But she is still a kind person. Upon knowing Chin Hao's past, she feels sorry for him. Slowly, love blossoms between them when he nearly dies for her while rescuing her. After knowing Hak Yong's motive, she becomes mature overnight but has a sad fate in the end.

I seldom get to see Yuk Lin as an unreasonable woman. This sure gives a different change. Moreover, she looks stunningly beautiful in different outfits to be well dressed like a princess to attract 3 men. She also pairs up well with any actor here.

12. Ling Long – Chow Sau Lan
She is gentle and also quiet. This fits Chin Hao's nature and that is why they plan to get married. She becomes an unlucky pawn in Hak Yong's plot to force Chin Hao to work for him to get killed. Hak Yong claims that her death is caused by Wan so that Chin Hao will become his warlord.

13. Siu Fong – Wong Man Ning
She is Mong Sin's maid. She looks like a martial arts expert in her dressing but sadly, she isn't. She doesn't even know martial arts. Her journey to be with King Si isn't an easy one so that is why she treasures the time together. However, she makes a big sacrifice to die for him so that he can escape from an attack.

14. A Tan – Lau Mei Aoi
She is Wan Long's maid who always thinks of ideas to bring her and Chin Hao together. She often bickers with Chin Chek. Never do they expect to end up getting married and having children.

15. Sum Mong Sin – Lee Lum Lum
She is Wan's wife and only loves him. She has never loved Hak Yong so she refuses to submit to him when she is captured. It is sad that he kills her by mistake and she doesn't get to see Wan for the last time.

Most favourite character
Are you surprised? I like King Si! He seems distant but his blood is warm. He can distinguish right from wrong so no one can force him to do things against his will. The first A close second is Chin Hao – he is a filial man and devoted to love.

Most hated character
Hak Yong – this man only does and plans things with a motive.

Interesting scenes

Any scenes involving all the men. They sure compliment each other well.

The fighting scenes – although basic, but we can observe how skilful the actors are!

Love scenes between Wan Long and Chin Hao – sweet, cute and touching.

Hak Yong's devilish side exposed to all – his warlords die with shocking expressions, unable to accept the fact that their beloved godfather will harm them.

Interesting facts

There was a movie version by Ti Lung. I heard that it was very well received.

The producer had wanted to convert this opera production to a drama for a long time. It worked when he managed to rope in the capable actors to help him out.

Song
It is sung by the late Roman Tam. It did sound like an opera piece as it was adapted partly from it. Roman sang it well. I really like the song very much as it was sad and soothing. It could be found in 'Legend of the condors' CD. The CD cover sent waves as it had half of his face and half of Jenny Tsang's face.

Conclusion

It was predicted to be a sad story right from the start. Although I had expected it, I didn't know that it would be so sad. There were too many deaths and you will find the warlords' fate pathetic. They work so hard for a villain, getting nothing in return.

Although it has little suspense, the cast offers good acting to make it enjoyable even though they have not given in their best. Certain parts can be boring but their acting still makes up for the deficit. Polished acting by Chun Pui and Lau make you marvel their ability to make the battle scenes come true. Do not miss this average production if you are a fan of the 80s stars as we hardly see them on screen these days.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On songs : ***** (Scale of 5)


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