Lady Warriors of the Yang Family


Reviewed by: sukting

December 08, 2007

Rating: four

How long/Year produced:
40 episodes done in year 2001

Introduction

I must declare beforehand that this review may be confusing as there are many characters. It is a joint production between Singapore, Taiwan, and China television stations. The vcds are out just when the serial is about to complete its run in Singapore. This is very fast! I will make a comparison with TVB's "The Yang Warriors" and also ATV's "Heroine of the Yang" since the characters are the same.


Characters - plenty as shown below

The Yang family:

(a) The males
Yang Si Lang - Kwok Chun On compared with Miu Kiu Wai

I will call this man a coward. I despise him -- how can he marry the Liao Princess, Ying Jing, when he is already married? His poor family members think that he is dead for good in the war. He has enjoyed so much being the consort that he has forgotten all about them!

How can he do this? He should have stated his identity when Empress Xiao approached him for a marriage proposal. It is better to die a glorious death. He chooses to keep quiet and go ahead with the wedding. His poor wife has nightmares and there he is, enjoying happiness with his son and beautiful second wife.

Does he save the situation when Empress Xiao sends him to war against his family? He just stands there not knowing what to do! I hate this man although he tries to protect Yang An from the Liaos in his attempt to save Pai Fung. Later, to seek refuge in some remote area even after being chased away by Empress Xiao is another stupid mistake. His family yearns for his return and yet he makes another silly decision.

Who's better? Of course, it's undoubtedly Miu Kiu Wai! You may say that I am unfair because I am Miu Kiu Wai's fan but the result is clearly obvious, isn't it? Miu did so well -- the anguish and despair was so clearly shown when he has to make a painful choice of choosing where he should go, which wife to choose and when the Liao princess is being killed. He DIDN'T hide his identity from his Liao wife. More importantly, his real-life wife, Chek Mei Chun, plays the princess role. They have so much chemistry together in looks and acting. So this perfect combination wins the war.

Yang Wu Lang - Wu Yue compared with Wong Yat Wah
I still don't understand why Wu Lang must be a monk to atone for his sins for killing. There are other ways, aren't it? He is stupid to do it on behalf of the forever ungrateful emperor. And also when Yang an and his beloved sister are trapped in the Liao state, his poor wife has to beg him to come out of retreat! He can be so harsh to let all his monks beat her up so badly and only helping to save them after she suffers so much. This monk does not seem to forsake all ties with his family. He tells her that he will wish to be her husband in the next life. What kind of monk is this?

But still he is helpful in helping Bat Mui come back to her true self again after sharing his past experience with her and brings her back home personally. He even helps them to go to war too. I must say that Wu Yue is good in this role in the fighting scenes and the calm posture that he shows is every inch convincing to all that he is a monk. Wong pales to him in here but can be compensated with his acting. So this war is a draw.

Yang Liu Lang - Wong Chi Hin compared with Lau Tak Wah
It is said that Liu Lang is a very experienced marshal. From I see, he is a man who is tricked easily. This is shown in several scenes. He sneaks back home after knowing that Bat Mui has offended Wang Qin. Later he wants to confess to the Emperor for leaving the borders without permission. He will be sentenced to death for doing this. Pai Fung has no choice but to knock him out cold with a pole. How can an experienced general be caught unprepared? And all the women have to go to war because of his 'death'.

Another one will be him coming back to celebrate Tai Jun's birthday. It is so stupid of him to drink the poisonous wine given by Wang Qin. Can't he smell a rat? As a result, all his family members have to search high and low for him. In the end, who save him? All his sisters-in-laws of course!

Later, he gets trapped in Tian Men trap and becomes partly insane, wanting to kill his wife and son. Who saves him this time? Jin Er, Cheng Gang, and GuiYing. He is not as capable as made out to be. Sigh -- it's crazy for all of them to worry for him all the time! The only time that he shows his intelligence is the breaking of the code of the secret message but a stupid one to break -- only having Wang Qin's name on it. The producer is mad to arrange this -- it takes so much time but not many names are there!

In "Heroine Of The Yang", Liu Lang only shows displeasure towards Kwai Ying in words, not in action. But in here, this Liu Lang not only interrupts his own son's wedding ceremony but he also fights with his daughter-in-law on the spot and after she marries into the family!

Wong Chi Yin doesn't have the look of a warrior. Although his built is tall, he is not acting as gallant as he should be. He still reminds me of the over-honest Hoi in TVB's "A Kindred Spirit". Lau Tak Wah is much better than him, in terms of looks and agility.

Yang An - Lian Kai
This is his first period drama and yet he does it so well. Not to miss mentioning that Lian Kai is handsome and suave in looks too. He also has a lot of chemistry with Lee Yuk Tong. This serial won the hearts of many female fans for him. The first few episodes makes him stand out from the crowd of females. Liu Lang is at the borders so he is the second-in-charge in the household. This man is very intelligent, calm, cautious, well-trained in war strategies and highly-skilled. Who doesn't like this perfect man?

That is why he trains all the widows to be lady warriors successfully because he is so strict with them. They want to stop the harsh training but he will NEVER give them the chance to do so. At war, he is tough as a warrior but yet he still looks out for traps. His sixth sense is usually correct. The whole Yang family trusts Jiang Bin except him. He can sense unseen traps. He is stern with Ba Mei but he is so nice to Pai Feng,always talking to her in a gentle tone instead of the fierce way of talking to Ba Mei.

Even with Ba Mei, he doesn't really behave like a servant. He always finds faults with her and both often quarrel. Despite his plus points in other areas, I really tear my hair when seeing how he fails in his love life. He is secretly in love with her but has no courage to reveal it because of his servant status. Because of him not knowing how to sweet-talk, Ba Mei falls in love with Jiang Bin. This poor man suffers from loss of love and we feel so sorry for the poor man when he is even injured by his love rival later. When she is depressed, he is always around to give her comfort and advice. It is a pity to arrange him to die in the end. I will describe several wonderful scenes of him with Ba Mei in my later part of my review.

Yang Zhong Bao - Zhang Zhi Yao compared with Jiao En Jun

Don't be fooled by his name -- he is not Chilam's brother. He is a newcomer and I think that he has done his best as the young Zhong Bao. His fighting scenes are impressive but of course, his acting isn't as comparable to En Jun's standard. Probably the producers don't have confidence in him so he only appears in the last 10 episodes. But still many like me will still adore this witty, mature, and young Zhong Bao who is pampered by his family. He tries to steal the Xiang Long stick from Gui Ying and they end up disliking each other. But later he falls for her and marries her. The way that he reveals his love -- he chooses the stick over her, making her angry at first. Only after he explains that he doesn't want to link her to it diminishes it.

There is an amusing scene of him breaking a military rule and he is punished severely by his wife, who is the marshal! How to get punished -- to get hit on his buttocks by the soldiers! However, I wonder why the producer is so stupid -- to arrange him to deal with the enemies ALONE by himself and be killed! This makes no sense at all as all along Zhong Bao is not reckless and is always calm.

(b) The females
Tai Jun - Cheng Pei Pei compared with ChoCui Fun
She is a domineering person who scares everyone in the household. She is wise and always makes clever decisions. Except on the part to be willing to sacrifice at 'Wu Ning' Tower just because Bat Mui offends the emperor and the allowance of Ba Mei to be with Jiang Bin. She can say that she will not hesitate to send Liu Lang to war but when he is back, she is reluctant to let him leave again. She even supports her daughters-in-laws' decision to persuade him feigning to be dead. Because of this, all the poor widows have to go to war on his behalf.

Even when Liu Lang is back home injured in a war again, she still tries to keep him back. Sometimes, mothers can be selfish. But in the scene she is willing to sacrifice Liu Lang for the soldiers' lives when he is poisoned by Wang Qin, I am very touched. She still measures the weight of the situation carefully. She makes a good matriarch. She treats Pai Fung and Yang An as well as Bat Mui although they are servants.

Both actresses are equally good in their acting but I must say that Cheng is better in fighting scenes.

Yang Ba Mei - Lee Yuk Tong compared with Wong Yun Yiu / Yeung Pan Pan
You won't know whether to like or hate this woman. The first half has her being so reckless, unreasonable, gulliable and always ending up into trouble. She offends Wang Qin's son-in-law and makes him a fool in front of the commoners. Later, Bei Meng Duo kills Xie and she is being framed of murder. How can this happen? She gets herself drunk and sneaks into Wang's family trying to kill him. But she is shocked to find him already dead there and she is caught red-handed on the spot! Pai Feng lies that she is the real killer to keep her company in the cell.

Yang An gets worried and goes in search for the real killer. This woman never lies low and insists to come along with him. Pai Feng is influenced and follows her out from there too. In dismay, Yang An has to get her two poor sisters-in-laws to stay in the prison for the two girls. Two to stand in for her daily when both are out of town for days. Hello, how can this happen -- is the prison a place so free and easy -- to come in and out of it whenever they feel like to? To think that the well-brought women can stand the poor food in the prison and agree willingly to undertake this torture leave me baffled too.

In the end, she is cleared of the charge and is given the task to lead the women warriors to war. Of course, Tai Jun feels that she is talented but still incompetent for the job. She then tells Yang An to train her. And my, this man shows no mercy and hit her from head to toe. She wants to give up but to Yang An's insistence, she picks herself up and finally wins the duel against Bei Meng Duo by sheer chance. Bei Meng Duo is actually admiring her persistence instead of her skills and lets her win in the duel.

As a Marshal, I really shake at the way she does her job. Too eager to succeed, she springs to the enemy's tower and injures herself. In order to obtain her father's ashes, she drags Yang an to get trapped with her. If not for Yang An's wits and quick reaction, they cannot escape. The information is being misled by Jiang Bin and yet she believes totally although Yang An tells her to check the facts beforehand. And due to her insistence, one of her men lost his arm when being chopped by his best friend when both are being poisoned in a mist and turn crazy.

She only regrets making wrong decisions when disasters happen. She often cries to apologise and express regret when the worst happens. Whose fault when the corrections can't be made? In my view, Yang An should have taken up the important task of the marshal instead. The whole army suffers under her charge when she is missing for a while too.

I really pity Yang An and Pai Feng having to worry for her so much. She doesn't listen to reason. Worst is when she is so na�ve to believe everything Jiang Bin says. Luckily later, after learning so many painful lessons, she matures and doesn't even get angry when Gui Ying replaces her position as marshal to deal with the Tian Men trap. She even offers help to her and appease the doubts of her other sisters-in-laws to make things work smoothly for Gui Ying.

But even though Ba Mei has so many short-comings, all of us still like her as the actress is Lee Yuk Tong. I am fascinated by how young and innocent she looks although she is already in her thirties. She also pairs up well with Lian Kai in looks. As compared to Wong Yun Yiu, she still makes a loveable Ba Mui. Yun Yiu makes Ba Mei to be a horrifying pest. But Lee still pales when compared with Pan Pan in fighting scenes although she is better in emotional scenes.

Yang Pai Feng - Lee Yee Hung compared with Mun Chung Han
All of us simply adore this character here. She is cute, helpful, simple, and caring. Lee Yee Hung acts so well as Pai Feng. She looks so cute here in her bright red period costume to declare her presence, not losing out to Lee in appearance, although her headgear may be simplier. No wonder she has been nominated many times for the supporting actress award for the Golden Horse and Hong Kong Academy events. Chung Han is good but the character in Heroine of the Yang is not as adorable as Lee's version. She is the forever self-sacrificing person that all will love very much.

I still don't understand why Yang An doesn't love her and ends up falling for the unreasonable Ba Mei. She is so much better than her -- another plus point is she is a good cook. When they quarrel, she tries to be their mediator. Poor her to have to hide her feelings as she likes Yang An so much. Even after Yang An knows about her feelings, he still maintain his likeness towards Ba Mei, poor her to suffer like this.

When Tai Jun decides that Ba Mei is still not able to be a marshal due to her recklessness, she chooses Pai Feng for the job. The poor girl is so terrified by the thought that she can't sleep! She is also not used to give orders to all her mistresses. Luckily, they don't mind and Yang An gives her confidence. But still, she is so relieved when Ba Mei takes over her job.

She is nice to everyone and always doing things for them quietly. When Ba Mei is accused of killing Xie Jin Wu, she worries for her safety and rashly admits to be the murderer. Both girls are locked up in jail but she doesn't mind it. I also like a scene when she keeps food secretly for the rest and decides to starve herself when they are surrounded by the Liaos. Yang An discovers that and knowing that she is a heavy eater, he gives her back his bun. How nice he is to her when he pats her on her head to assure her that he is not hungry at all while the truth is the reverse! When Yang An falls out of love and gets himself drunk, she is there to console him and lets him her lap to sleep on. This is really a romantic moment but too bad they are not destined to be together as lovers.

In fact, she even risks her own life in sucking out the poison from Princess Jing Ling's body. Jing Ling is so touched that even when she has a chance to escape when Pai Feng releases her to be with Bei Meng Duo for a night, she still returns to be captured by the Yangs. It is not easy to let an enemy to do that!

The part where she accidentally tells Cheng Gang about her likeness towards Yang An is hilarious. She shoots it out when she thinks she is alone in a forest. But Cheng Gang is on a tree and overhears her. From then onwards, Cheng Gang makes fun of her. She in turn has to cook his favourite dishes to prevent him from spouting nonsense. But in the end, she reveals it through her own mouth when the two quarrel again and Yang An hears them. Cheng Gang feels remorseful and likes her later. In the end, they become a couple. But there is no good ending for them when he is crippled in a battle against his own master.

Mu Gui Ying - Ning Jing compared with Chan Sau Mun
Both actresses are equally good. Chan displays the growing stages of Gui Ying well. As for Ning Jing, she does a marvelous job as a young Gui Ying. Young, pretty and intelligent, she leads the Mu tribe and fends off many attacks from the enemies. While watching, I wonder why Ning only appears in the last 10 episodes but then she still leaves an impressive performance.

Gui Ying is rebellious and even comes to the Yang family and demands to see Zhong Bao when he is being punished by Tai Jun. All dislike her mannerisms immediately and are baffled that she could fight with her future father-in-law. Later, they like her but Liu Lang still doesn't. She also detests this father-in-law but she can't bring herself to kill him when he begs her in the midst of a poison attack by the Liaos. She even seeks help from Jin Er and Cheng Gang to save him. He finally accepts her then.

Gui Ying is later given the job of the marshal. All don't follow her orders at first but later after discovering her talents in breaking the Tian Men trap (She is Cheng Gang's junior), they support her. When Zhong Bao dies, she tries to kill herself. But after knowing that she is pregnant, she picks herself up again. Quite a strong-willed and remarkable female warrior.

Da Niang - Cai Ying compared with Ou Yeung Pui Shan
Cai Ying has the looks but this character is not firm with her other in-laws. No wonder she never gets the marshal job. She gives me the impression that she is a person who gets excited easily. Ou Yeung's character is more convincing and younger to look at as the lead of the household.

Er Niang - Wei Yi Na compared with Seung Tin Ngor
Wei is fierce looking and this Er Niang is very impulsive too. She gets furious when the Liaos uses scarecrows to remind her of her husband's death. She falls into their trap and gets shot in the lung by an arrow. Poor Qi Niang is being accused of hurting her when she loses consciousness. But she is quick to clear the air for her when she wakes up. And she is frank to apologise to Qi Nian, not caring about her senority at all. Seung has the makings of being one of the leaders of the family too.

San Niang - Jing Ying compared with Mo Sun Kuan
She is the most self-conscious and vain wife of all. She even brings all her make-up stuffs and beautiful clothes when they are in war! Many are amused by her actions when she dresses herself nicely to meet the emperor or when she says that in case anything happens, they must die in their costumes. When Ba Mei is depressed over killing the innocent people, she even suggests to cheer her by dollying her up. Of course, this won't work as Ba Mei doesn't like cooking or dollying herself up. How funny she can be! She can be cute at times and forgets misery easily. Mo is more serious as the third wife in the Yang warriors.

Si Niang - Wang Yu Wen compared with Kung Chi Yan
This woman often cries till I can't stand it. She always has tears in her eyes -- really a soap opera queen. There is a part where she tries to retrieve a handkerchief that he gives her before going to war from a cliff Luckily, Yin Jing saves her, not knowing that they are love rivals. I must call her a very magnanimous woman to forgive her husband for being such a coward and having a wife and son behind her back. To think all this while she has nightmares of him dying and yet he is enjoying himself in the Liao state?? She even covers up for him when he secretly returns to make ginger soup for Tai Jun and sneaks to see her.

She fights with Ying Jing over him and the duel of the two women over Si Lang is so hilarious. Getting their hair falling over their shoulders and their clothes torn over him. I must worship her for being able to send them off their journey with crying eyes. She is too nice to them.

I dislike a character who is too forgiving and weak. In fact, I like Kung Chi Yan more for her character. She is prettier than Wang, who is too plain-looking. Moreover, she never gives up when Si Lang is missing. Of course, she is heart-broken when knowing that she falls for the princess but she is determined not to give up. This is what I call the spirit! And the plus point is she is as pretty here as Mei Chun. This makes it convincing to force Miu to make a painful choice to choose between them.

Wu Niang - Song Yi Fei compared with Tse Ning
She is married but is the same as being single. Why? Her husband becomes a monk and she is angry with him. She is frank, nosy and offends people easily with her harsh and sharp remarks. That is why some of hersisters-in-laws remark that because of her short-comings, he leaves her and she can't tolerate this. She hurts Princess Chai many times without knowing, chiding her for not helping the family which is not true. When Ba Mei is trapped with Yang An, she goes to the temple and begs for his help. He only does so after she is beaten up by the other monks. After her meeting with him, she changes for the better. I think Song's performance is quite okay although not very outstanding.

Tse has more emotional scenes than her. I still remember the part where Wu Niang is so shocked that Wu Lang becomes a monk. She begs him but he tells her that there is no turning back. She really cries so bitterly over his departure with his back facing her and walking away. Tse is usually wooden in her acting but she does quite well in here.

Liu Niang/Princess Cha - Tong Ai Ling compared with Lau Kar Ling
Some think that she should switch roles with Xie Yun Yi as she is too demure looking and soft-spoken. Some think that she looks sexy and with the mole near her lips, she will make a terrific concubine. Sometimes, she is really brainless. How can she bribe Wang Qin by giving him her dowry to let her off for 'killing' his son-in-law? Poor Tai Jun has to do a lot of explaining to the emperor.

Another stupid move of her is to inform Liu Lang of this incident which causes him to make a wasted trip back home. Poor Liu Lang is trapped at home, not feeling like a man when all his sisters-in-law go to war on his behalf when he feigns his death. There are also too many scenes of her crying and missing her husband. When Liu Lang is caught by Wang Qin, she can be so selfish to beg Tai Jun to think of his safety first instead of the soldiers. This is not the way that a Yang female warrior should behave.

Kar Ling makes a better choice as she has a pair of big eyes and has the mannerism of a woman warrior although she has a lot of baby fat on her face. She plays the willful role well. I like the way she tries to find a consort for herself, hitting the nuptial ball at the suitors she dislikes when they try to court her.. Who can forget how Tak Wah wins her love in the contest? A very unforgettable scene.

Qi Niang/Xie Jin E - Sun Li compared with Chang Wah Sin
She is very intelligent and is a good physician too. Unlike the Yang warriors, this version never shows Qi Lang's face. When the Yangs go to war, she turns up unexpectedly and claims to be Qi Lang's wife. Tai Jun trusts her as she has her hairpin that she gives Qi Lang. Ba Mei is touched by her sincerity. But the rest have doubts towards her till she saves Er Niang and the army from suffering from the lack of salt. At first, Tai Jun is hesitant to make her such a young widow. After knowing about the strong love of her towards Qi Lang, she gives in and accepts her as a daughter-in-law.

She is also the life-savior of Pai Feng in finding the antidote when she is poisoned. She also helps to be Zhong Bo's matchmaker. Sun is very good in fighting scenes because of her dancing background. She is also pretty too and thus stands out from the other wives.

Chang is quite good in her acting as a man with a beard. There is enough coverage of Qi Niang and Qi Lang too. I like the scene when Qi Lang is forced to marry her. A pity that Chiu Wai never gets to marry her in this serial and in true life although there is lots of chemistry between the two of them.

The Liaos :

Xiao empress - Dai Chun Rong compared with Gong Suet Far

This is what I call the REAL empress. Gong is terrible in her role while Dai is the reverse. She is very good as the ambitious and unscrupulous person. First, to press Si Lang to marry Ying Jing. Later in order to suceed, she sends her younger daughter Jing Ling to be the Song emperor's concubine and be a spy for her. She always forces people to do things against their will. Later, she even forces Si Lang to fight against his own family! How terrible this woman can be! No wonder Ying Jing later leaves her and stays in seclude.
However she admits her defeat to Tai Jun in the end and fulfils her promise of stopping the war.

Princess Ying Jing - Yue Ling compared with Chik Mei Chun
Many are astonished by how old Yue Ling has aged. She has gained weight on her face and there are many wrinkles as well! She doesn't look every elegant in her gown and headgear. But she is still good in emotional scenes, especially in scenes in finding out that her husband is Si Lang. Another will be reprimanding her mother for being responsible for Jing Ling's death, making her life miserable for being a spy and forgetting Pai Feng's kindness in saving Jing Ling. At last, Empress Xiao gives in to save her.

I also dislike this selfish character, she has wanted Si Lang not to care on how happens to his family and also the Liao affairs. But how can he when Pai Feng is seriously poisoned? Knowing that he is in a dilemma, she still presses him but soon gives in to steal her mother's hair. Of course, she is discovered and is banished from returning to the Liao state. I don't think that she regrets her choice as she seems to have little feelings for her mother.

Needless to say, Chik Mei Chun wins the battle with her younger looks and also expressive acting. Who can forget her elegant princess look after so many years? Another plus point is she and Miu were lovers then and thus they were really in top form.

Princess Jing Ling/Concubine Wang - Xie Yun Yi compared with Tong Lai Kao
At first, I disliked her as she always makes trouble for the Yang family. If not for her, the Yang family will not have had to protect the Wu Ning Tower at all costs from being demolished. After knowing her real identity of being a spy sent by her mother, She is quite pathetic as she is actually kind at heart and is not given a path to choose her way to go. She is so kind that she can't bear to kill her foster father, Wang Qin when he betrays her. She makes friends with Pai Feng when Pai Feng pities her fate. Her love with her bodyguard, Bei Meng Duo is short-lived too. Many will shed tears for her when she shields him from being killed by Ba Mei.

Bei Meng Duo - Yin Yeung Meng
He seems to be unfeeling but he is actually not so. Wang Qin wants to kill a prostitute's family after she becomes his witness in a trial but he stops him. He could easily defeat Ba Mei in a duel to prevent her from attacking the Liaos. But he admires her bravery and feigns defeat. He is very loyal to his mistress, Jing Ling all along and he falls for her when he saves her from falling from her horse on one day.

Their love for one another is a torture for him as she has to please the emperor every now and then. Duing their escape, they develop more feelings for one another. He even tries to dissuade her from going back after they have a wonderful night together. But he heeds her choice for not breaking their promise to Pai Feng. He is so heart-broken when she dies that he jumps off the cliff with her corpse. This is the part that really touches me the most in this serial! He survives the fall and tries to seek revenge with Cheng Gang's master's help. All will pity him when he dies in the end although he is a villain. Yin has all along played cool roles well so there is no exception for this one.

Jiang Bin - Lin Ming Lun
Many Taiwanese girls love this character and they find him handsome but I don't, as I find his outer appearance girlish with plenty of plaits. Does he look like a man? NOT TO ME. And although he stays in a big house, his clothes are quite tattered, old and torn. Plus that he has no chemistry with Lee Yuk Tong. The way he looks at her is too pretentious and fake to me.

He is a Song but he betrays his country/love for riches and power. I dislike him so much for causing havoc between Yang An and Ba Mei. He nearly kills her with his arrow when she tries to invade the Liao territory and later tricks her to go into the wrong place to collect her father's ashes. But he falls for her in the process of knowing her better but his intention to abort his evil plans fail as his desire for power is too great.

The next thing will tell you how scheming he is. Yang An sees him with Cheng Gang and suspects that he is up to no good when he claims not to know him before that. He is Cheng Gang's junior and is equally intelligent. Jiang then uses a lady to lure him out and then hurts him in secret. The next day, poor Yang An fails in the love-fight duel for Ba Mei. Ba Mei later tells Jiang that Yang An has known the secret of the name list. Jiang drugs her and wants to kill Yang An. He is later shocked to know that this is her trick. Ba Mei has sensed that Yang An is injured even before the duel and she knows the truth from Yang An. Both then decide to come up with this plan to test Jiang Bin since Ba Mei finds the truth unbelievable.

Many pity him when he deliberately gets himself killed by Ba Mei's sword. Well, I don't. I think that he is too proud to carry on with his life as he has all along been successful in cheating her and yet she manages to destroy him with just a trick. Before dying, he tells her that he doesn't like her at all and is only making use of her all along, which is untrue. Probably he tries to release her guilt but not knowing that this hurts her more and makes her guilty instead.

Others:

The Song Emperor - Cheung Kum Cheng compared with Long Gun Tien
I search my mind on how he can become the emperor since he has no guts and brains? Just a few words from Concubine Wang, he decides to pull down Wu Ning tower -- the symbol of the Yang warriors' bravery. How can he forget what they have done for the country? Doesn't he know that the tower is the widows' only consolation? And also trying to execute Tai Jun although she has the stick given by the late emperor? This is absolute madness to go against his late father !

He is only interested in courting pretty girls. He even set eyes on Ba Mei when she saves him from an ambush. Poor Tai Jun is helpless to reject his proposal. And Ba Mei, in searching for the name list has to play along with him by pretending to get interested in him. This stupid blockhead actually believes that she likes him! This is soooo funny when he knows he can never make her his concubine and has to be contended to make her his god-sister instead! She is so delighted while he is so upset.

I can't understand how he can spare Wang Qin over all his evil doings and yet after his betrayal, he can still keep his post? The part where Pai Feng needs his moustache for part of the antidote, he gives excuses to avoid it as he keeps it for a long time. How can he do this to them? Well, maybe this is too much of a request for a court official to ask for something from the emperor.

Cheung is very good and hilarious as the emperor, although I like Long's version who has more of the makings of an emperor and is equally successful in the way that he tries to get into Pai Feng's good books. Although he is stupid, he doesn't spout nonsense and look sleepy like Cheung.

Wang Qin - Leung Kar Yan
He is very evil from head to toe. Doesn't bother when his only daughter becomes a widow when Xie is killed and very smart to cover his tracks. He is a Liao spy and is always at loggerheads with the Yang family. Leung is a versatile actor and it is hard not to hate him. I practically applaud when Wang qin is hung by Bei Meng Duo when he seeks revenge for his mistress in the end.

Cheng Gang - Chan Kok Bong
He is very intelligent and witty. As Jiang Bin's senior, he knows that Jiang Bin is up to no good and tries hard in vain to persuade him to give up his evil plans. Worrying that he will do something stupid, he even stays in the Yang family to watch over him. He makes a funny couple with Pai Feng and loves her cooking very much. Pai Feng learns to like him too when he woos her by playing her favourite music on the flute. She always prepares his favourite dishes in return when he runs out of good plans and ideas in planning war strategy in the wars against the Liao state. A pity that his own master and junior are not as kind as him and he suffers in their hands.

Jiang Cui Ping - Yuen Chi Wai

She is the main reason for Jiang Bin's hunger for riches and power. The siblings are poor when young so he is hungry for power and riches. She is his younger sister and he wants to provide her a good life. She grows to like Zhong Bao but gives him up when she discovers that zhong Bao likes Gui Ying. She is cute and can be blur at times. She is very simple-minded and doesn't know how to handle villains. She is quite kind in helping her close friend, Gui Ying to marry into the Yang family. But suspecting the Yangs causes her brother's death, she secretly plans her revenge. She is remorseful after knowing the truth of her brother's evil deeds, she even begs Tai Jun to kill her. A pity that she still dies in the end for the family.I find it a bit weird to see her acting together with Cheng Pei Pei, not as mother and daughter but as enemies in it. Yuen definitely needs a lot of training in her acting as she can't cry convincingly.

Favourite scenes between Yang An and Ba Mei:
I like many scenes of them together but there are too many that I can't remember. The first will be how Ba Mei is punished for beating Xie Jin Wu on the street. Yang An is normally at loggerheads with her but this time round, he aids her in secret as he can't stand Xie's attitude too. But Ba Mei is the only one being punished by Tai Jun as Yang An is always known as the sensible sort. Knowing that she will have a hard time kneeling for a day, he throws in a cushion for her and then pretends to walk away in normal!

In training her to be a marshal, we see how harsh this man can be -- always beating her till she can't get up. He demands her to stand up as if she can't beat him, she will never defeat Bei Meng Duo. That inspires her headstrongness and she makes it in the end. She even thanks him for his help in the end.

When they are out at war, Ba Mei is shot and Qi Niang declares her condition as critical if the arrow is not removed from her chest. Ba Mei chooses Yang An to do it for her, saying that since Yang An quarrels with her so often, he must have disliked her and will be the only heartless one to be able to do it . He pulls it out and the poor man nearly faints when she faints!

He is relieved when she survives and sits beside her for a night. This scene is very touching as we get to see the gentle side of him, tenderly holding her hand and wiping her sweat off gently from her forehead. And when she is awake, he walks away shyly after making remarks that her blood has soiled his vest! He is so badly affected that he even uses the dirty water to wash his face!

And the part where Yang An is so worried that Ba Mei is missing in the woods due to the heavy mist, he sets off searching for her the whole night -- only to find her with Jiang Bin behaving intimately together. In jealousy, he reminds her of her job. Another scene will be getting so angry with her for missing her date with him and Pai Feng that both quarrel, without caring Pai Fen's efforts. Also angry with her for deciding to stay in Jiang Bin's home instead of the inn that his heart nearly bursts.

The other scene where Ba Mei knows that he likes her is funny too. Both do not know how to face each other in future. They toss and turn in their beds in the night, causing disturbance to their roommates (Pai Feng who's with Ba Mei and two more soldiers with Yang An). The three innocent people have to lose their sleep to give both of them their advice.

But later he is so disappointed that Ba Mei likes Jiang. He doesn't even bother to try to make efforts to woo her at all! I nearly threw my television remote at the television when he wishes them well! Stupid man to give up! Can't he see that she is jealous too when knowing that Pai Feng is in love with him and they are together too? The way that two pairs go out together to spite with each other is quite hilarious. They never stop picking at each other's faults.

But luckily, Ba Mei finds out Jiang's character and rejects his love when he finally tells her after Jiang Bin's death. Yang An is remorseful for not revealing his feelings to her first. Ba Mei is so hurt after killing Jiang Bin. He slowly helps her to build up her confidence back, to be ruined by her another killing of Jing Ling later again. This time round, Ba Mei doesn't even want to hold the sword anymore. Yang An is very helpless so he escorts her to see Wu Lang. But at the same time, he only worries that Wu Lang might persuade her to become a nun! Only then, Ba Mei knows who really treats her well and they are together. It is quite sad that Yang An dies in the end, peacefully in her arms.

Interesting facts:
Lian Kai laments of being given all the fierce horses to ride on while the actresses are given the tame horses. He and Wong Chi Yin have a very hard time with them. This is his first time making a period drama and he has to do a lot of homework. He is glad to have the help of Kwok Chun On, Chan Kok Bong, and Wong Chi Yin who are so experienced in acting in period dramas. Kwok has joked that he has suffered and thus learned a lot from 'Sun Zi War Strategy', especially in wearing the heavy armour so he is already used to the torture. Wong is happy that he can be a suave and powerful general to give orders.

Lee Yee Hung says that this is the first time of her staying in a place for 4 solid months in her years of acting. She nearly gets hit by Ming Lun's horse when it runs quickly and brushes just past her side, missing inches! The weather can shoot to 40 degrees per day. Many scenes are taken where they are only wearing the armour for the top while they are only wearing shorts for the lower part of the body!

Lin Ming Lun reveals that he finds it hard to meet Lee Yuk Tong's eyes when coming to love scenes. It looks as if she is sending electricity shocks to him. In the last scene with her, he gets so nervous that he feels faint and even his lips tremble. She is too pretty to look at so he always looks sideways which of course causes Lee to scold him for not being professional enough!

Lian Kai and Lee Yee Hung came to Singapore to promote this serial and I was there to witness the event. Lain Kai is suave looking and wins the hearts of many female fans wherever he goes. He often smiles, unlike Yang An who is so cool in the serial. He is soft-spoken and chatty. Lee is quite cute and chatty too. She tried very hard speaking Mandarin and showed a lot of improvement in the language. When the time came to distribute photographs/signed posters, the whole crowd went mad to grab them. I only managed to grab one of Lee's Pai Feng's postcard. Well, it is still better than nothing, isn't it?

There was a poll for the most loveable character. For the first few days, Yang An is in the lead. But the end result was a surprise for all. It follows as Pai Feng, Yang An, Ba Mei, Jiang Bin, Wu Niang and Concubine Wang, Tai Jun, Princess Chai/Wu Lang, Qi Niang/Zhong Bao in terms of popularity. I guess many will still like her after all. I guess many really adore Pai Feng so much so being so self-sacrificing.

ATV was so impressed by the high-ratings in Taiwan, China and Singapore and it bought it over to be shown during the golden hour.

Songs

There is no theme song -- an amazing and daring move by the producers. In its replacement, there is a piece of music which is very pleasant to listen to. It suits the heroic image of the warriors with the sounds of Chinese drums. The sub-theme song 'Innocence' -- Chun Zhen in Chinese -- is sung by a Taiwanese band, May Day, which is very worth listening too although it has no Chinese Background music for supoort.

Conclusion
This serial provides many good scenes and great acting, especially from the leads. But I don't understand why so many lead actors must either die or be injured to give the female warriors the chances to show off? It was marred by the long dialogues which are often seen in Taiwanese dramas. Ba Mei wallowing in self-pity can take 2 episodes, the conversations between the characters drag. I go zzzzzz while watching it. Many give up like me but pick it up again when it approaches the ending. It really tests our patience.

Some scenes are unbelievable too -- how can the name list only have Wang Qin's name on it and not the other corrupt officials? And the antidote for Pai Feng's poison is actually a combination of Empress Xiao's hair and Emperor Song's moustache? It is named 'long' (emperor) beard and 'feng'(empress) hair. For the sake of the hair, Ying Jing even falls out with her mother to please Si Lang. I don't understand why the Yangs can't get the hair from the emperor's empress -- must they travel all the way to the Liao's state? And expect the two to agree to it? It's sheer nonsense and when the emperor only shaves half of it, I really laugh -- what's the point of keeping the other half?

Still, this is really considered as a masterpiece in the new century. The headgear and the costumes are quite traditional and not loud like other dramas. Many fighting scenes are fantastic -- the wars between the two states, the duel between the Yang lady warriors with Bei Meng Duo, how Yang An and Ba Mei escape from the trap in collecting her father's ashes plus the duel between Yang An/Jiang Bin and many more. I was so fascinated that I taped them down. This serial is still worth watching after all.


sukting's Ratings:

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


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