Warriors of the Magic Mountain


Reviewed by: Floo..

April 04, 2007

Rating: two-point-five

Have you ever noticed how in wuxia serials the 'classic' theme is good vs. bad? Moreover, have you ever noticed how the concerning theme, the guys from the 'good' sects are almost always bad while the guys from the 'bad' ones are good?

Basically, this serial is yet another rendition of the good-sect-vs-bad-sect classic theme or in this case, between Chiang Mei's disciples and the Moon Mountain sect. But this serial is more simple, by letting the 'good' be good and the 'bad' be bad.

Synopsis

Chiang Mei Priest (Samo Hung), preparing to face a duel with the Moon Mountain Ancestor, tried to unite the green and purple twin swords. Unfortunately, not only could he not unite the sword, but he also got killed. His three disciples then got separated and made their own sect; the Kun Lun sect, Ice Castle sect, and South Sea sect.

Fast forward 100 years.

The Wu Lim world is in great chaos, since Moon Mountain leader, Miao Xiao Tian, disappeared. Meanwhile, the three elders of Moon Mountain (Fierce Fire and Black Face brothers and Green Robe) tried to locate the Moon Mountain sacred weapon, the Holy Fire plaque, on which the great Holy Fire style was transcribed. On their quest, Black Face killed the Yi family, who held the plaque. The only person who survived is their daughter, Ying Nan, who at the moment was sent to her aunt, an elder of Ice Castle.

In her journey, she met Se Cung Yi (Calvin Zhao), and fell in love with him. As both of them got poisoned, they were saved by Se Cung Yi's teacher, South Sea leader, Ting Ying (Steve Ma), and were brought to Ice Castle. Ting Ying fought with Yau Che Princess (Vivian Chen), leader of the Ice Castle, but eventually they fell for each other. Meanwhile, Se Cung Yi fell in love with Li Yi Chi, Yau Che's si-mei that was great with medication. Ying Nan, getting really jealous and felt alone, ran away from Ice Castle and decided to follow Green Robe instead, as she witnessed Green Robe killed Black Face.

In the meantime, Se Cung Yi and Li Yi Chi met a crazy woman who thought that Se Cung Yi was her lost son. The crazy woman was actually the wife of Miao Xiao Tian, and she made Se Cung Yi the chief of Moon Mountain sect. It turned out that Miao Xiao Tian was still alive, and lived in Kun Lun sect as a servant. His wife (the crazy woman) and Kun Lun leader were lovers and they had a baby boy, who was Green Robe!!! While Green Robe found this out, he was so shocked, killed his own parents and raped (and impregnated) Ying Nan. Ying Nan, being bitter, turned evil especially since she has learnt the Holy Fire style.

In short, Ting Ying got possessed by the Moon Mountain Ancestor and turned evil. The possessed Ting Ying dueled with Green Robe, in which he got killed. Yet, the spirit of Moon Mountain Ancestor took revenge and killed Green Robe. Yau Che, not wanting to be left alone without her sweetheart, later committed suicide.

So, the task of banishing the Moon Mountain Ancestor fell on Se Cung Yi and Li Yi Chi. Upon trying to unite the twin swords, they decided to get married. Ying Nan, still in love with Se Cung Yi, tried to separate them, told them that her baby was actually Se Cung Yi's.

On the duel day, Se Cung Yi and Li Yi Chi, using the united twin swords, fought against the Moon Mountain Ancestor. With the help of everyone (literally, including Yau Che, Ting Ying, Ying Nan and Chiang Mei Priest), they banished the evil Ancestor. Ying Nan, regretted her evilness, played a matchmaker for Se Cung Yi and Li Yi Chi.

Story:

Without any doubt, this serial has a great storyline. It has all the turns and twists (my brief overview has been overly simplified) to capture the viewer's attention. The director/screenwriter slipped some great scenes that really supported the character's characteristics, which are good and complex. But then, that's about the story, while the production is a different thing.


The serial tempo is quite fast at the beginning, although it became very much 'draggy' in the middle. It's a shame that the ending is extremely brief and abrupt. There are some 'slapstick' humor in this serial, particularly by late Chiang Mai Priest which in my opinion is not funny, although Se Cung Yi and Li Yi Chi's bantering is quite amusing.


What bothers me a lot is the fact that they cannot keep the 'dead person' dead. The late Chiang Mai Priest keeps re-appearing, same as Ting Ying and Yau Che. Come on, if they still have some lecturing to deliver, why can't they just stay alive?


Sets/Scenery:

The sets are very cheap. The halls were narrow, the outdoor sceneries looked fake. I almost could not believe that this serial is newly made!

Casting:
Apart from the script (which can make a smart character seem dumb), the casting is good. Vivian Chen played her usual role as a naive, teary-eyed girl decently. The actor/actress that played Green Robe, and Ying Nan were also good in emphasizing Green Robe's ruthlessness and Ying Nan's passivity. Steve Ma really has the great hero aura, so being the great Ting Ying fits him well. And since his body is in great shape he looked great in bare-chest scene, and looked proud doing it. The only thing that is quite disturbing is that he played 3 roles interchangeably (as South Sea clan founder, Ting Ying and Ancestor). Can't they hire just one other actor, please?


Fighting Scene:

I'm not a demanding person when it comes to fighting scene. I don't mind graphics, I can even tolerate bad graphics, but not too much of it! And I really, really hate that 'flying' swords of Ting Ying and the twin swords. It seems so unconvincing (and lazy, as the only thing the swordsman should do is pointing his finger). And again, the last duel is too brief and not represents the tense situation of a life/death duel.

Costumes:

Again, I'm not a demanding person when it comes to costumes but I laughed a lot watching this serial. For a start, Fierce Fire's headdress looked like Big Bird, Moon Mountain Ancestor looked like Batman, while Yau Che's mask looked like cheap plastics. As of make-up, gosh! I really hope the make-up artist did a little 'blending' for Yau Che's make-up. She's supposed to be beautiful, right? So please don't make her make-up (especially eye shadow) looked so tacky. Kudos for Ying Nan's make up, though.

Soundtrack:

Both the theme and subtheme of this serial are great, although difficult to obtain/download (By the way, I have the opening theme in my streamload).
The OST is sung by Michelle Chen, titled 'Tai Duo'.

Conclusion:

It's a shame. It's a big big BIG shame. A good storyline, supported by good casting, but destroyed by bad scenarios and props.


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