Posts tagged wuxia
When I first heard that Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse will be in this 31-episode wuxia drama, I was highly skeptical. I have never been that impressed with him, and the thought of seeing him all long-haired and waving a sword seemed weird to me. But nevertheless, I gave this series a chance because, well, I’m in the midst of wuxia fever and will watch anything with ancient Chinese robes.
The Story: Tian Si Si (Malaysian actress Li Sinjie) is spoiled, rich, and much too used to getting her way. She’s also madly in love with the great hero Qin Ge of the Meteor Clan and dreams of having adventures in the martial arts world. So, when her father insists that she marries Yang Fan, the son of General Yang whom she was betrothed from a young age, she escapes — on the night of her wedding.
Yang Fan, who has been on a secret mission to investigate the Meteor Clan, is sent after her. Somehow Si Si distracts him from his troubles; a few days before the wedding, he had returned seriously injured, and although he recovered, his memory is now a jumbled mess.
Yang Fan, to his credit, is more amused with his rebellious wife than annoyed with her, and that somehow softens Si Si towards him. As his troubles grow, and as the martial arts’ politics intrude into their lives, their relationship evolves into that of love.
The costumes: I just don’t get it. Why must some productions spoil the authenticity of a period drama by creating costumes that are not true to the time? Purple ruffles? Shiny dresses? And for the love of … a masked villain that is dressed in bright red spandex? I’m just anal this way – I need my period dramas to look realistic to be able to enjoy it fully. At one point, Wu Ji (Yang Fan’s friend in the Meteor Sect) changes hairstyles and ends sporting this weird, 1980s rocker mullet that is just simply awful. Help!
The plot: It starts out well, but after episode 12 or so, the show forgot that Yang Fan is the main character and began exploring the politics of the Meteor Sect. The exploration of the politics is not the problem; having Yang Fan absent from this crucial plot is the problem!
There were also many unnecessary scenes and characters. Hao Er, Yang Fan’s old flame, features way too much when her role should be a small one. So we get lots of scenes where she’s pining for Yang Fan, lamenting to herself that Yang Fan doesn’t love her anymore. And some scenes are too long and draggy, and while watching all this going on, I kept thinking: Dang it, they could’ve shown more of Yang Fan doing … something! He seemed more like a spectator stumbling on events and clues than a protagonist.
As a result, the fast forward button got a good workout.
And don’t let me get started on the anachronisms. Qin Ge giving autographs? Selling portraits of himself? Fans flocking to stores to buy his merchandise? Seriously. Sheesh.
And, alas, the plot is a jumbled mess. It was too drawn out, so the pacing was atrocious, but towards the end – as if they realised they were running out of time – everything came to a rushed end. So much so that some plot threads were just left dangling, unresolved. There is a major twist in the story. Some thought that it was unrealistic and weird, but although I think it was clumsily executed, in a world where people can fly and toss things around with their inner Qi, it ain’t that far-fetched to me.
The story’s only saving grace is that of Si Si and Yang Fan’s love story, which remained coherent and solid despite the chaos that’s happening around them. Fortunately, Angelica Li and Nicholas Tse have good chemistry, and when the two finally fall in love (and you know they do), it’s really quite sweet and heartfelt. Now, if only the writers concentrated mostly on that, and tightened the plot, and nixed the redundant characters … oh well. Anyway, Nicholas Tse was surprisingly good in this one – though, when he has ever not played melancholic, quiet men, and so was Li Sinjie, who was great as the bratty, spoiled girl who then matures into a young woman with important responsibilities.
Final verdict: Watch it for the romance between Si Si and Yang Fan, and be prepared to be bored by huge chunks of the drama. Your remote will get a good work out.
Rating: *** stars