The Bodyguards - Jade Dolls


Reviewed by: sukting

September 14, 2003

Rating: two-point-five

How long
30 episodes

Foreword
If you like many of the Hong Kong actors here and can stomach a long-winded plot, you may go for this one. It is a story about an escort agency daunted by troubles since the death of the two old owners. The two die after their failure to protect an injured friend, Old Yun. Their three children, Guo Xu, Cheng Tie Yi and Cheng Cai Yu have to defend the honour and reputation of it. At first, they are asked to escort an oval metal piece to a sect. Guo Xu is curious about it as it has no writings on it while Cai Yu doesn't dare to break it to see what is in it in case there are explosives in it.

They keep it later after the sect rejects it. Later they are asked to escort the jade dolls and Chu Chu back to Yun residence and face a lot of pressure and dangers. With the aid of friends, they manage to reach the destination successfully. Interested to know how they made it?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Guo Xu - Ho Kar King
He is one of the successors of 'Long Wei' escort agency. He is cheerful, humorous and can make friends with anyone. But he has no confidence in himself and often sets out to play and have fun. He leaves all the work to the other members. What an irresponsible man! But after being requested to protect Chu Chu home, he becomes serious and mature. All along, he has tried to avoid Yan Zi because he is no longer in love in with her and knows that Feng Ping loves her. Being sociable, he has all the help of his friends and accomplishes his mission in the end.

2. Feng Ping - Cheng Ho Nam
He is Guo Xu's friend and they fall out because of Yan Zi. Both men love music so Feng Ping keeps the white flute while he gives Guo Xu the black flute. He has not asked for it back since and Guo Xu knows that he still treasures their friendship. He can be cool and yet frank. Not willing to give her up, he shadows her all these years. Once, she is trapped in Weng residence and this calm swordsman can be so furious that he injures many at the mansion with his flying daggers in order to save her out.

After resolving their differences, he continues the journey with Tie Yi while Guo Xu goes to rescue Cai Yu. He is observant and leaves Tie Yi to stay with the carriage while he is persistent to fend off the other strong sects, which are also eyeing the jade dolls. He assures Tie Yi that he knows the weaknesses from his friend but Tie Yi can't help feeling worried. The chivalry shown by the two men is touching, even though Feng Ping is closer to Guo Xu than to Tie Yi. Tie Yi manages to get Xin Li to guard them while he comes to his aid when he gets injured. However, another strong support comes from Guo Xu who arrives in time. It is a wonderful sight when both men combine their flutes and can still play music amidst the fight!

However, Yan Zi's death saddens him after she declares that she actually loves him all along. Guo Xu and the rest try in vain to keep him as he wants to wander the lands to reduce his pain.

3. Cheng Tie Yi - Huang Wen Hao
Being so disillusioned with Guo Xu's irresponsibility, Tie Yi moves out of the agency and becomes a goldsmith. Under much persuasion from Cai Yu and Guo Xu's willingness to change, he returns and helps in the mission. He is a daring man who will uphold justice. Once, he sees that Weng Tai Bei's henchmen are bullying the common villagers. He teaches them a lesson. I remember one of them, Bai Li Ben, being so sore over the defeat that he tries to challenge Tie Ye again when he tries to protect Chu Chu from being captured. Fed up with this obstinate man, Tie Yi shows no mercy and kills him this time!

Actually he returns partly because he can see that Cai Yu likes Guo Xu.

Huang is very impressive with the spear and stands out in his dressing. His clothes have metal pieces sewn, signaling his name.

4. Deng Ren - Shen Meng Sheng
He is a poor hen pecked husband after marrying Xi Zhu. Although he is the richest man in the city, he feels lonely and trapped. That is why he enjoys going out with Guo Xu for drinks to have fun. They go to a brothel and meet Chu Chu there. He is attracted to Chu Chu's beauty and gives her the jade dolls as a gift.

He then finds a replica to answer to his wife. After knowing that she is Yun Wu's fiancée, he still continues to shadow her and run away from home. Guo Xu has not wanted him to be on the dangerous journey because he knows no martial arts. But when Deng Ren gets Xin Li as his bodyguard to follow them and he pays for their travelling expenses, Guo Xu has to give in to him. Deng Ren is magnanimous to forgive Chu Chu for cheating him and insists she keeps the jade dolls. All are amused but also at a loss as to how they can persuade him to return to Xi Zhu.

5. Xin Li - Koo Gun Chung
He kills for money, but is also a righteous swordsman with a sad past. He uses humour to conceal his sadness. Part of his face was disfigured in a fire on his wedding day and his whole family was killed. His dead wife resembles Chu Chu in looks and he feels close to her. Once, Chu Chu is poisoned and needs a highly skilled man to disperse the poison for her. Cai Yu decides against choosing Guo Xu and Tie Yi to do it as the agency is prone to attacks from Weng's henchmen. Moreover, Yun San can't do it too as he is poisoned. Xin Li offers to save her at the expense of losing half of his inner strength for a month.

He is quite amused at first when Deng Ren approaches him to be his bodyguard. He asks Deng Ren whether he is scared that he might kill him instead. Deng Ren is a successful businessman so he says that he is trying to make Xin Li change his lifestyle. Although he can never work long for an agency, why not start protecting him and do a single assignment on his own? Xin Li is won over by his words. Although injured and less powerful, he manages to fend off strong opponents on the way.

6. Yun San - Zhang Zheng Huan
He wants the jade dolls not for himself but for his younger brother. He is at his wits end upon knowing that the jade dolls are with the richest man, Deng Ren so he can't buy over from him. He has no choice but to ask his future sister-in-law, Chu Chu to use her beauty to help out. After obtaining the jade dolls, they are about to return home when they are attacked by killers. Yun San has not wanted to bother 'Long Wei' escort agency because he feels remorseful as his father caused the old owners' deaths and the three to be orphans when young. However, Chu Chu still approaches them when Yun San is seriously injured.

The three look upon Yun San as their elder brother and chide him for keeping the matter from them. Cai Yu improves his condition but is at a loss on how to save the poisoned Chu Chu. Yun San notices that there are Hindi writings on the jade dolls and asks Guo Xu to translate them to see if they can help to save her. Be prepared to laugh as Guo Xu isn't the one so capable and he is puzzled how this news spreads around. The person is actually Cai Yu. After translating and reading it, Cai Yu is hesitant to get Xin Li to be the saviour as both have to be naked to dispel the heat. She seeks Yun San's opinion.

Yun San knows that Chu Chu's condition is critical and Xin Li is a righteous man. He agrees to it on his brother's behalf. Xi Zhu learns that the jade dolls are in the agency. She gets so furious that she gets the henchmen to attack them. Yun San dies as a result and makes everyone upset.

7. Yun Wu - Zhang Zheng Huan
He suffers from serious injuries because he tries to master skills from the jade doll manual. He is well versed in the Hindi language but he uses the wrong method in practising. Eager to save him, Yun San and Chu Chu risk their lives to get the jade dolls as they believe the cure must be on them. Upon knowing that Yun San dies because of him, he is so grief-stricken that his injures worsen. The rest spend a long time consoling him to lessen his guilt. Chu Chu admits to him that Xin Li saved her and also Deng Ren's affections for her. Strangely, Yun Wu doesn't get offended or angry. Instead, he is amused and is willing to be a good friend of Deng Ren. Finally, he recovers and joins the gang in killing the murderer.

8. Prince Peng - Che Xuan
He is Guo Xu's good friend. Knowing that he is always in sticky situations with Weng, he always coems to his aid at the right time.

9. Weng Tai Bei - Chen Hong Lie
He is Xi Zhu's father and Deng Ren's father-in-law. He is the court protectors' head and commands a lot of power in court. However, he is very annoyed with Guo Xu for breaking rules every now and then. He also spoils his only daughter rotten. I am so glad that he doesn't teach her martial arts at all.

10. Mei Shi Zhi
He is another close friend of the Yun, Cheng and Guo families. His son witnessed the old owners' deaths and went mad. Although he is a skilled physician, he is unable to cure him. The agency feels bad for causing the tragedy but they have no choice but to trouble him as the different sects and Weng are hot on their heels. Unknown to all, he is the real murderer as he wants the jade dolls for himself! What a surprise! He is killed in the end but requests all to keep the harsh truth from his son because he doesn't wish to upset him.

11. Shang Liu - Tie Meng Qiu
He has all along been brave but he turns soft after marrying a young wife and having a son at 60 years old. Weng sees his weakness and bribes him to be his spy in the agency. Guo Xu and the Cheng siblings sense that he is unhappy and are concerned for him. They wonder how Weng gets on their tracks so easily. Feeling remorseful, he confesses to them about his betrayal and they forgive him.

12. Yan Zi - Yip Tong
We have seen many man chasers but she is the most direct among all. She openly declares her affections for Guo Xu at times to hurt Feng Ping. She even abducts Deng Ren once, just to get Guo Xu to see her! It is stange that Deng Ren forgives her for her reckless act and always comes to her wine haven to chat with her. There is nothing between them as they treat each other as friends. But Xi Zhu doesn't think it that way and tells her henchmen to injure her seriously.

Yan Zi always think of the past where Guo Xu would try to compose music for her and write poems for her. She even keeps the couplet. Sensing that he likes Cai Yu, she gives up - finally after 25 episodes. Si Ma Xiao shows interest in her and helps her to master her skills. She declines Si Ma Xiao's advances but is later killed by Si Ma Xiao by mistake while trying to protect Feng Ping from harm. It is then before her death that she realises she actually likes Feng Ping all along.

13. Cheng Cai Yu - Lau Yuk Ting
I wonder why she knows no marital arts because she runs the escort agency. She is just like Wang Yu Yan in 'Demi Gods Semi Devils' who knows each clan's skills well. Upon seeing that Feng Ping and Guo Xu are in trouble handling their opponents, she guides them and they win in the end. Cai Yu is very responsible. Even though the two men have neglected the agency's business, she tries hard to maintain it - even accepting small assignments to keep it going.

Besides being a skilful physician, she is also a master of disguise, knows Hindi and is good at embroidery. She has helped many in distress. How can Guo Xu not like her then when she has done so much? When the agency has trouble getting Chu Chu out from the city because Weng has strengthened his guard, Cai Yu gets Chu Chu to impersonate her while she stays at home.

The two men are worried. Tie Yi opposes to the idea while Guo Xu deals with it calmly, knowing that she will have plans for herself. He promises her that he will try to get her when the situation is stablised. But when Weng is hot on their heels, Guo Xu makes a comeback to find her missing. However, upon seeing that she leaves a pearl ornament on the embroidery, he gathers that it is Xi Zhu's doing to abduct her.

He approaches Xi Zhu and agrees to help her to get Deng Ren back. Only then, he gets to save her. Do laugh when Xi Zhu can see that Cai Yu isn't frightened at all. She can even joke that there is nothing to complain since she can have free lodging and nice food. This damsel sure knows how to enjoy herself and even helps Xi Zhu to curb her temper.

14. Chu Chu - Lee Yuen Wah
She can do anything to save the man she loves. Although she knows no martial arts, she is willing to be with a man whom she doesn't love in order to get the cure. She feels bad to burden the agency and has wanted to give in to the other sects but the others advise against it because they want to fulfil their promise to Yun San. She finally returns home but feels guilty that she caused Yun San's death.

15. Weng Xi Zhu - Bao Zheng Fang
She is a spitfire because she is pampered from young. She is fierce to her husband and wants to do things her way. The last straw is Yun San's death. After Deng Ren leaves home, she starts to change for the better.

16. Si Ma Xiao
She loses interest in men after an unhappy marriage. She masters her skills to the highest level and loves Yan Zi. I practically turn off the set whenever I see the scenes of them together. They make me sick. Knowing that she loves Guo Xu and thinks that Feng Ping is also a competent love rival, she attacks them and ends up dead in their hands.

Interesting scenes

The friendship shown between the different men - very touching. Especially Tie Yi who is so disgusted with Guo Xu's irresponsibility at first. He will walk away upon seeing him. Both make up after Guo Xu looks for him personally and persuades him to return home.

Cai Yu's concern for Guo Xu - wonder when he knows that he loves her. This man is smart in other areas but when it comes to love affairs, he tends to evade the issue.

I like all the fighting scenes. Each person has a distinctive weapon to represent himself. However, the fighting scenes are well shot but too few.

Conclusion

I make this review short because it is the same as other Taiwanese dramas, 70% of the film is spent on talking and I hate that. This is supposed to be a sword fighting drama, isn't it? If not for the attractive cast and good acting, I wouldn't have continued watching it. The cast will make you think that it is a Hong Kong production, but the long dialogues will assure you in 5 seconds that it is a Taiwanese production.

All act well, especially the actors, except Yip Tong. I question how she is so well acclaimed. Many say that she is good but I find her too exaggerated in her acting. She uses the exact method that Ma Jin Tao is using. I can't accept the way that she acts. Most of the scenes are draggy because of her.

The story is quite interesting but unfortunately, the pace is too slow to feed the complete details. I would've liked if the series had more suspense and not have the answers revealed too quickly. However, I welcome the ending when all have a shock when the murderer's mask is removed, that is really unexpected!

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

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


Add your own review and become a featured critic on spcnet.tv!

Or, add your comments below:





Advertise on SPCNET.TV


Buy DVDs
Bodyguards - Heavenly Charm

DVD


Shop Asian Fashion at YesStyle