Page 1 of 6 123456 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 105

Thread: After 36 years, taking the SPW '84 plunge beginning Monday, 10/19/2020

  1. #1
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default After 36 years, taking the SPW '84 plunge beginning Monday, 10/19/2020

    It's been thirty-six years, but now that SPW '84 is available again on TVB's Wuxia YouTube Channel, I'm going to be taking the plunge and trying to watch this series completely for the first time beginning Monday.

    I never finished it the first time. I doubt I got more than four or five episodes into it in my 1984 viewing, and I remember it being a bit of a hot mess (especially with egregious overuse of animated effects), but I'll give it another shot and see if I like (or even understand) it better the second time around.

  2. #2
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    OK, after 36 years, this series...is still a chaotic mess.

    For starters, the problem with this series is that the first episode tries to do too much at once. Episode 1 introduced something like twenty characters at a time, some of whom were very powerful, others kind of mediocre, and some weak, but it was all such a disjointed mess. It was like a series of random sketches of separate, barely related characters edited together into a forty minute episode without much of a unifying plot. This is a contrast to how DGSD '81, LOCH '82, ROCH '83, and HSDS '86 were done. In those series, the characters were introduced very gradually, with only a relative handful being introduced in the early episodes, and the rest joining in later as the plot developed. Generally, in those aforementioned series, the weaker characters appeared first and the more powerful ones did not appear until later. Moreover, the characters were introduced as the plot required. In SPW Episode # 1, the director seemed to dump the majority of the characters into the show in the first forty minutes, but without any kind of plot that really ties them all together. At the end of the first episode, there's no STORY, just a group of loosely related character sketches that seem oddly cobbled together rather than coherent.

    Chow Yun Fat is my favorite actor of all time, and he's great in modern dramas and especially in 1920s/1930s gangster roles, but I remain unconvinced by his abilities as a wuxia actor. When CYF took on the role of Ling Wu Chung in 1984, I felt he was around seven years too old to be convincing as the character. Moreover, I couldn't and still can't buy into him as Ling Wu Chung. In DGSD '81, I felt that Kent Tong was Deun Yu, Bryan Leung was Kiu Fung, and Felix Wong was Hui Juk. In LOCH '82, I felt that Felix Wong was Gwok Jing, Barbara Yung was Wong Yung, and Michael Miu was Yeung Hong. In ROCH '83, I felt that Andy Lau was Yeung Gor and Idy Chan was Little Dragon Girl. In HSDS '86, I felt that Tony Leung was Cheung Mo Gei. I don't feel that Chow Yun Fat is Ling Wu Chung at all. I feel like he's an actor trying to play a role rather than becoming that role on screen...and that's bad news.

    I'm going to watch this series all the way to the end regardless, but if this is how I feel after the first episode, this is going to be one tough slog.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    564

    Default

    I would really recommend watching the 90s adaptation, which is also available on the TVB Wuxia channel here rather than torturing yourself with the 80s version. It is among the best of the Jinyong adaptations from the 90s, whereas SPW was among the worst of the 80s. It is also mostly faithful to the novel, though it also reorders the beginning (the beginning of the novel corresponds to about a third of the way into episode 3, when LPZ first appears) and dispenses with the massive anti-climax at the end of the novel.
    Last edited by Doc Kwok; 10-20-20 at 11:40 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    952

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    I would really recommend watching the 90s adaptation, which is also available on the TVB Wuxia channel here rather than torturing yourself with the 80s version. It is among the best of the Jinyong adaptations from the 90s, whereas SPW was among the worst of the 80s. It is also mostly faithful to the novel, though it also reorders the beginning (the beginning of the novel corresponds to about a third of the way into episode 3, when LPZ first appears) and dispenses with the massive anti-climax at the end of the novel.
    I agree that on the whole the 90's version was better but the 80's music was much more memorable.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    564

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandred Skavenslayer View Post
    I agree that on the whole the 90's version was better but the 80's music was much more memorable.
    True . Even the crappiest of the 80s TVB serials often had memorable songs and tunes, mainly by the composer Joseph Koo Kar-Fai.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    330

    Default

    The 80's still has better action choreography despite the CG. It wasn't just merely holding a sword and swinging it side to side.

  7. #7
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    I would really recommend watching the 90s adaptation, which is also available on the TVB Wuxia channel here rather than torturing yourself with the 80s version. It is among the best of the Jinyong adaptations from the 90s, whereas SPW was among the worst of the 80s. It is also mostly faithful to the novel, though it also reorders the beginning (the beginning of the novel corresponds to about a third of the way into episode 3, when LPZ first appears) and dispenses with the massive anti-climax at the end of the novel.
    Thanks, Doc. I'll perhaps check out the 90s version after I'm done with the 80s version, but I feel a grim sense of obligation to slog my way through the 80s version first. The 80s series really needed some editing and continuity work in the worst way. These were the same people who had worked on the DGSD, LOCH, ROCH, and HSDS projects during the same decade. I do wonder how they were able to handle those other series well, but completely screwed up on SPW.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandred Skavenslayer View Post
    I agree that on the whole the 90's version was better but the 80's music was much more memorable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    True . Even the crappiest of the 80s TVB serials often had memorable songs and tunes, mainly by the composer Joseph Koo Kar-Fai.
    That much is for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stance View Post
    The 80's still has better action choreography despite the CG. It wasn't just merely holding a sword and swinging it side to side.
    Yes...in terms of actual action choreography, the 80s were a high watermark.

  8. #8
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Well, I got through Episode 2 tonight. The narrative seems to have settled down a bit. At least, they didn't try to introduce twenty-plus characters at once tonight (only two or three), and the story was a bit more coherent (relatively speaking) compared to the previous episode. The editing and continuity are still annoyingly sloppy, however, and more than any other 1980s TVB Jin Yong wuxia adaptation, this series seems to constantly forget that Ling Wu Chung is supposed to be the main character. He disappears for alarmingly long periods of time as the show focuses on other characters. Granted, the subplot with Kuk Yeung and Lau Jing Fung is at least mildly interesting, but poor Ling Wu Chung gets forgotten in his own show sometimes.

    Also, I must say, Jamie Chik (Ngok Ling San)...that lady was very, very pretty back in the 80s, but her acting...meh. Her acting was basically competent, but notably weaker than other young leading ladies at TVB during that same period. At least she was better than the actress who was cast as Dream Girl in DGSD '81. THAT lady just plain couldn't act.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Jaime Chik was soooo pretty. To me, only Idy Chan rivaled her in beauty. But you are right. Her acting skills were nothing to write home about. In today's generation, she could get more lead roles based on her looks alone. Unfortunately for her though, during that golden era of TVB, acting skills were more valued and there were just so many strong actresses.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Also i agree that 84 SPW was so weak compared to the other Big 6 Jin Yong adaptations. You don't really get the grand, carefree wuxia feel from it, which is kinda ironic because SPW is the most "wuxia" of the Big 6. Even the theme song, though very nice and melodic, doesn't sound wuxia to me; it sounds like it should be the ending theme for ROCH.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    5,271

    Default

    Its weird. Chow is a great actor and he was ok as Li Mubai in CTHD but when watching 80s SPW, I kept seeing Shanghai Bund/HK gangster and not a wuxia man.

    And IIRC, this was the series where Bixie Jianfa is basically stroking your sword with 2 fingers and it becomes a lightsabre right?
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

  12. #12
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CC View Post
    Its weird. Chow is a great actor and he was ok as Li Mubai in CTHD but when watching 80s SPW, I kept seeing Shanghai Bund/HK gangster and not a wuxia man.

    And IIRC, this was the series where Bixie Jianfa is basically stroking your sword with 2 fingers and it becomes a lightsabre right?
    Yep. That hasn't shown up yet, two episodes in, but I know that it's coming.

    Ditto on the CYF comment. I feel like he's reprising his "Muk Jui Fai" character from the 1980 modern drama THE BROTHERS or Ah Lung from THE SHELL GAME II, but it's difficult to buy into him as Ling Wu Chung.

  13. #13
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdenResident View Post
    Also i agree that 84 SPW was so weak compared to the other Big 6 Jin Yong adaptations. You don't really get the grand, carefree wuxia feel from it, which is kinda ironic because SPW is the most "wuxia" of the Big 6. Even the theme song, though very nice and melodic, doesn't sound wuxia to me; it sounds like it should be the ending theme for ROCH.
    The music is very good and definitely up to Joseph Koo's high 1980s standards, but I agree that the main theme tune is a little too mellow to fit the needs of the series. It's a beautiful and memorable melody, but doesn't really carry that action adventure feel. In that aspect, it was similar to the main theme tune for DGSD '81 Part 1.

  14. #14
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    OK, three episodes in, I'm finally starting to kind of enjoy the series, but the essential weaknesses are still there. Tonight's episode focused on introducing Lam Ping Tze and his family, with a cameo appearance by Ling Wu Chung here and there. Episode 2 focused mainly on Kuk Yeung and Lau Jing Fung (both of whom did not appear nor were mentioned in Episode 3), while Episode 3 focused mainly on the Lams. I've never watched a such a disjointed wuxia series (each episode so far has focused on a different group of people, I swear), and again, the show seems to totally forget that Ling Wu Chung is the main character. He barely appears in each episode before it goes to focus on a different group of characters.

    I hope this show eventually finds its focus and remembers who the main character is.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    952

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdenResident View Post
    Jaime Chik was soooo pretty. To me, only Idy Chan rivaled her in beauty. But you are right. Her acting skills were nothing to write home about. In today's generation, she could get more lead roles based on her looks alone. Unfortunately for her though, during that golden era of TVB, acting skills were more valued and there were just so many strong actresses.
    I think Jaime can act pretty well in the right project. Her portray of Madam Wu in The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain was flawless.

  16. #16
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Some other thoughts:

    That Blue City (Ching Sing) Sect is quite a ruthless bunch of bastards.

    Ngok But Kwun hasn't yet revealed himself as a hypocrite, but he's already one uptight SOB. He gets on Ling Wu Chung and his other students'/daughter's case for the most innocuous things. He's so uptight that he makes Gwok Jing look like an amoral libertine by comparison.

  17. #17
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Episode 4 tonight, and the series is starting to find itself. The storylines of the Lam Family and their conflict with the Blue City Sect, Lau Jing Fung's imminent wulin retirement ceremony, and Ling Wu Chung's adventures seem to be on a course to intersect soon (the affairs of the Sun Moon Sect seem to have been completely forgotten for the moment).

    Starting to get a better feel for Ling Wu Chung's character. He's the humorous sort, but he's definitely a hero of valor who takes defending the innocent and standing up for justice seriously when it's incumbent upon him. I hope the show starts to remember he's the main character and have him appear for more than just ten out of a possible forty minutes per episode.

    Tian Bak Gwong seems to be an interesting adversary: definitely a perv of the first order.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    564

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    OK, after 36 years, this series...is still a chaotic mess.

    For starters, the problem with this series is that the first episode tries to do too much at once. Episode 1 introduced something like twenty characters at a time, some of whom were very powerful, others kind of mediocre, and some weak, but it was all such a disjointed mess. It was like a series of random sketches of separate, barely related characters edited together into a forty minute episode without much of a unifying plot. This is a contrast to how DGSD '81, LOCH '82, ROCH '83, and HSDS '86 were done. In those series, the characters were introduced very gradually, with only a relative handful being introduced in the early episodes, and the rest joining in later as the plot developed. Generally, in those aforementioned series, the weaker characters appeared first and the more powerful ones did not appear until later. Moreover, the characters were introduced as the plot required. In SPW Episode # 1, the director seemed to dump the majority of the characters into the show in the first forty minutes, but without any kind of plot that really ties them all together. At the end of the first episode, there's no STORY, just a group of loosely related character sketches that seem oddly cobbled together rather than coherent.
    .
    I think this is partly due to how the novel is structured. The novel starts off from Lin Pingzhi's point of view (episode 3 in both the 1984 and 1996 versions), then he starts hearing about Linghu Chong's deeds secondhand from other characters, but the viewpoint does not shift to Linghu Chong's perspective until about halfway through the first volume. Information about the past (e.g. Qu Yang and Liu Zhengfeng's relationship, Dongfang Bubai's overthrowing of Ren Woxing etc.) is brought up only when it becomes relevant to the events of the present. This approach introduces the characters gradually, and keeps the focus tight.

    The problem with the serialization is that it tries to present events chronologically, which results in a big information dump at the beginning that is largely irrelevant to Linghu Chong's first adventures. Both the 1984 and 1996 TVB versions suffer from this to a degree, but the 80's version tends to be overindulgent in fleshing out minor side-stories to the point where the main plot starts to suffer (this can be seen in LOCH '82 and ROCH '83 too, to a lesser degree).

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    564

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    That Blue City (Ching Sing) Sect is quite a ruthless bunch of bastards.
    By the way, you are aware that Qingcheng is a famous mountain in the Sichuan province, right?

  20. #20
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    23,237

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    I think this is partly due to how the novel is structured. The novel starts off from Lin Pingzhi's point of view (episode 3 in both the 1984 and 1996 versions), then he starts hearing about Linghu Chong's deeds secondhand from other characters, but the viewpoint does not shift to Linghu Chong's perspective until about halfway through the first volume. Information about the past (e.g. Qu Yang and Liu Zhengfeng's relationship, Dongfang Bubai's overthrowing of Ren Woxing etc.) is brought up only when it becomes relevant to the events of the present. This approach introduces the characters gradually, and keeps the focus tight.
    Agreed. SPW '84, at least in the first few episodes, feels like it was screenwritten by committee...or at least by an individual suffering from serious ADD. A few characters would be developed and the rudiments of a plotline would established, and then BOOM! Without warning: completely unrelated ten minute cameo by Ling Wu Chung.

    The problem with the serialization is that it tries to present events chronologically, which results in a big information dump at the beginning that is largely irrelevant to Linghu Chong's first adventures. Both the 1984 and 1996 TVB versions suffer from this to a degree, but the 80's version tends to be overindulgent in fleshing out minor side-stories to the point where the main plot starts to suffer (this can be seen in LOCH '82 and ROCH '83 too, to a lesser degree).
    Part 1 of LOCH '82 was egregious about this: it took ten episodes (spanning months of narrative time) to resolve the Yeung Teet Sum/Pau Sik Yerk situation, which I'm told happened in just one evening in the novel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    By the way, you are aware that Qingcheng is a famous mountain in the Sichuan province, right?
    I did NOT know that. My knowledge of Chinese geography is poor at best, but it doesn't surprise me. Jin Yong is known to occasionally invent islands (Peach Blossom, Ice Fire, and Spirited Snake) that don't exist, but as far as I know, he has never invented a MOUNTAIN that doesn't exist.

    Should they be called the "Blue City Sect?" It scans weirdly in English, but I think it's meaning-accurate.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-05-20, 05:21 AM
  2. Spirit Warriors (Okto, monday and tuesday at 7:30pm)
    By MsEmpire in forum Singapore TV Series
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-16-12, 07:29 AM
  3. ROCH - Why doesn't XLN age after 16 years?
    By goodrick in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 02-10-12, 08:39 PM
  4. Monday Fight Night
    By Jeffrey Ong in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-13-10, 04:47 PM
  5. I have a job interview on Monday, advice please
    By Sourplum in forum Life After School
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-19-08, 12:42 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •