"I swear this is his (Kwong Wah) best performance ever."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
ATV series, 1994
2 parts, 30 episodes each
Kwong Wah as Prince no. 4, Yung Cheng
Erica Choi as Miu Yan (Miu Fei)
Annie man as Princess Kong hui
Yan Chi Keung as Prince no. 14, prince no. 4’s blood brother
Kent Tong as the monk, Man Kit
I don’t know most of ATV actors/actresses’ name so this is the best I can do
Set in the Ching dynasty, during Hong Hei’s reign for the first part and Yong Zheng’s reign in the second part.
The first part of the story concentrates on the fight among princes to get the throne. Also, the first part portrays the transition part of prince no. 4 from a good prince to an evil son. The story began with the hunting festival. Prince no.4 refused to give a hunted fox to the crown prince, prince no.2. Because of this, Prince no.2 tricked him to unintentionally rape a Han peasant, Miu Yan. Then prince no. 2sent murderers to kill her and her father (fortunately, Man the monk saved her just in time). The king’s really angry and arrested him for quite sometime under prince no.2’s control. Prince no.4 met Nin Kang Yew, who will be his best friend and most loyal general later on. Nin Kang Yew’s best war strategist and also good at kungfu but Prince no. 2 envied his ability so he didn’t use him properly. So Prince no.4 and Nin became friends at their hard time. Prince no. 2 planned to overthrow Hong Hei but failed desperately as Prince no.4 sent Nin to inform Prince no.14 and prevent this event. Why Prince no. 2 tried to overthrown although he’s the crown prince? Simply because he can’t wait to be the king. Stupid man, isn’t he? Because of this event, prince no.2 is arrested and prince no.14 became Hong hei’s new favorite son, biased father, right? Prince no.4 is only set free. He then tried to look for Miu yan. However, he can find only his son from Miu yan (some villagers tried to kill Miu yan and her son so they separated). He brought his son back to the palace and caused his father really angry (again). Prince no.4 had to leave the palace in exchange with having his son to grow up in the palace. His mother, Tak Fei, suggested him to visit his grandpa, who became the monk after the death of his favorite concubine, at Mt. Ng Tai. He can gain his grandpa’s favorite and got the letter recommending him to get the throne before the death of his grandpa (He used some tricks suggested by his advisor though). Then he went back to the palace and the two monks (Sin and Man) became his followers. (The trip is not smooth though, prince no.8 and co and prince no. 1 tried to assassinate him and steal his letter). However, Hong hei refused to let him be the crown prince but promoted him to the Duke instead. Later, Lung the minister set a dirty plan to blame prince no. 1 that he used the black magic which caused prince no. 2 became crazy and tried to overthrow his father. Hong hei believed this stupid claim so he promoted prince no. 2 to the crown prince again and arrested prince no. 1. Prince no. 4 used Lan Yu Fong to seduce prince no. 2 and poisoned him to become crazy. Hong Hei then decided to give the throne to prince no. 14. Knowing this, Prince no. 4 raped Su Lan (later became the empress) , Lung’s daughter and Prince no. 14 girlfriend to get the assistance from Lung. He also accidentally killed Miu Yan’s father to get his powerful weapon. Prince no. 4 then killed his father and changed the will to get the throne.
The second part revolves around how princes and ministers try to overthrow Yong Zheng’s reign and their ultimate ending. First, Prince no.14 together with no.13, no.8-10 tried to overthrow him using his army and the Duke Yee sin’s army (Annie man’s father). However, Prince no.14 can’t really believe that his own blood brother killed his father so they left the army to Yee sin’s follower and went back to palace to examine Hong hei’s death body. Prince no. 14 found out that his father is murdered and about to kill Yong zheng but failed. In the meantime, Nin can persuade Yee sin’s follower to cheat his boss so they failed to overthrow. Yong zheng decided to set free all of princes except prince no. 14. He was arrested at Hong hei’s funeral. After that, Prince no. 8,9,10 and 13 tried to overthrow again. Thanks to prince no. 1, Yong zheng knew their plan and they failed miserably. Prince no. 13 can escape but other princes were paraded to the street and people lynched them to their death. Then prince no. 14 pretended that he’s sick so Yong zheng released him to Mt. Lu. Prince no. 14 together with Prince no 13, Lung the minister (the empress’s father), Man the monk and some other generals planned to overthrow Yong zheng. Thanks to Miu Yan’s help, Yong zheng can catch them all. Prince no.13 is killed by Sin the monk, Lung, Prince no. 14 and the empress drank the poisoned wine, offered by Yong zheng. However, before her death, the empress told Miu Yan that Yong zheng raped her and such so Miu Fei tried to seek the truth. To uncover this truth, Tai fu is offered poisoned wine as well but he sent the letter telling everything to Miu Yan before his death. Miu Yan then tried to assassinate Yong Zheng but failed. She’s arrested and later harmed seriously by Nin, thinking that she caused the king to ignore his country.Miu Yan was unconscious for a long time. Nin is then offered poisoned wine. Before his death, Yong Zheng promised that he’ll be a good king. 6 years later, Miu yan regained her conscience, she tried to kill Yong Zheng but can’t. Yong Zheng then put her sword to kill himself. Literally, he committed suicide and the end.
Prince no. 2
He’s the crown prince simply because he’s the most favorite son, born from Hong hei’s beloved empress. He’s evil, ruthless, scum, too arrogant, etc. He murdered, raped, looked down, tried to overthrow his father even he’s the crown prince, yet his father still loved him so dearly. Blind man huh! When he became crazy, I think all viewers are happy. He deserved this ending the most.
On acting wise, I don’t know this actor’s name but he portrayed the ruthless prince quite well. I saw his arrogance in his eyes. He overacted sometimes but overall is ok. He had very limited screen time though.
Prince no. 4
He’s a good guy in the beginning, a bit arrogant and hot-tempered but good. See, he’s so sweet to Miu yan first time they met and he felt really guilty when he did rape her. He nearly can’t lie his grandpa to get the throne. But he faced many events and changed to ruthless, unfilial and evil man.
The turning point of his character : Two points I must say, the first one is when he went back from his father’s room, knowing that he’s promoted to the duke, not crown prince even he had his grandpa’s will. At that time, his beloved stepmom is dying, thinking that he’s already been the crown prince. Therefore, he sweared to get the throne no matter how. The second one is when prince no.2 became the crown prince again, he forced prince no. 4 to drink his piss. After that, he became the man who can do everything to get the throne.
Is he evil? Yes, but he is a good king, isn’t he? (at least in this series). Is he the most evil guy in this series? I beg to differ. He might used many dirty plans but other princes used dirty plans (or worse than that) as well. Prince no. 1 and 8 tried to kill him several times. Prince no. 14 pretended to be sick, knowing that his brother will set him free (meaning that prince no.4’s still kind-hearted, right). He might kill many many people but almost all of them tried to kill him first. You don’t expect him to sit and do nothing when others tried to threaten and kill him, right. The hate factor comes from killing his two loyal followers, Tai Fu and Nin Kang Yew though. These two didn’t deserve to die. Is he unfilial? Yes but his parent is really biased. No matter how good he did, compliment and rewards always belongs to other princes. Anyway, his love is real. He really loved Miu yan and his son. This is the positive side and all viewers forgive him in the end.
Kwong Wah as Prince no. 4 aka. Yong Zheng : One word, Excellent!! I swear this is his best performance ever. He can portray good-turn-evil prince really well. His eyes, body language, the way he talked, walked just suit his role really well. One scene where he heard his mother told his blood brother the way to overthrow him. He just stood and his eyes can tell you how sad and angry he is. I think Kwong wah is very good at portraying grey character like this. Unfortunately, he’s never gotten this type of role again from TVB. So this is the peak of his career, I assure.
Prince no. 8
The scheming prince who thought that can be the crown prince. He got assistance from prince no. 9 and 10 and some ministers. However, he lost to king’s beloved son, prince no. 2.
On acting wise, this actor portrayed his character quite well. He looked calm, yet cunning which suited his character perfectly huh!.
Prince no. 14
Prince no.4’s blood brother. He’s the most kind-hearted prince. He’s a man of dignity but he’s too kind-hearted to be the king. That’s why he lost his girlfriend, throne, and eventually his life to his brother. Some might feel that he didn’t deserve his tragic end but I beg to differ. He should know that his brother is a good king and he should stop when his first attempt to overthrow was unsuccessful. Second attempt is kinda stupid in my opinion, and he didn’t even think about his people. Just want to overthrow and revenge for his father and mom, that’s it. How about his people? They want to live peacefully, right?
Yan Chi Keung as Prince no. 14 : I saw him in Who Is The Winner III before and I think he overacted at that time. Again, in this series I still felt that he overacted sometimes, especially his crying scene.
Nin Kang Yew
The most loyal follower of Prince no. 4. Why? Because prince no. 4 gave him a chance to show his ability and then used all of his savings to buy a position for him. After that, he vowed to be loyal to prince no. 4, no matter what. He even killed his own sister to protect Yong Zheng. He always pointed out Yong Zheng’s mistakes and Yong Zheng always listened to his suggestion until Nin harmed his beloved Miu Yan. Nin should know that harming Miu Yan is something more than the King can accept. However, he’s loyal to the king and willing to accept his death.
On acting wise, again I don’t know his name but his righteous look suits his role quite well. His friendship with Kwong wah is the most touching moment in this series, in my opinion. They fought together in their hard time, they encouraged each other. It is so sad when Yong Zheng offered poisoned wine for Nin.
Man Kit, the monk
He is the monk but he is not really the monk, confused huh? Well, basically he’s forced to be the monk to protect Hong Hei’s father only. So when he met Miu yan, he had fell in love with her. I think Miu Yan’s never loved him but she wanted to thank him, that’s why she accepted him for some periods of time and finally found out that she only loved Prince no. 4. He is a man with principle and dignity that’s why he helped Prince no. 4 at first and left him when he found out that prince no. 4 became scheming and evil. But you might think that he, in fact, envied prince no. 4 since he had his beloved Miu Yan ha!
At last, he tried to assassinate Yong Zheng but failed and died.
Kent Tong as the monk : This is the second time I saw Kent played a good guy (the first time is DGSD 1982). He is very talented actor. Sadly, he always portrayed evil guys again and again. He looked so compatible with this righteous monk. Unfortunately, he has no chemistry with both Erica Choi and Annie man. Kinda too old for both. Also, I think he gained some weights, right?
She’s only a Han peasant at first. I think she developed some feeling at the first time she met Prince no. 4 but, because he raped her and she misunderstood that he killed her father, she vowed to kill him. Then she knew the truth and accepted him, only to know that this man became evil. Quite sad huh. But she should know that regardless of how he treated others, he really loved her.
Erica Choi as Miu Yan : She overacted a bit at first when she portrayed naïve Miu Yan but she looked much more comfortable as a girl full of vengeance. She is good at crying scene as usual. Overall, I think her acting is good.
Princess Gong Hui
I think that her role is quite irrelevant to the series. She loves Man the monk but he never loved her back. Even he accepted her at the end but that’s because he thanked her for many sacrifice she made for him.
Annie Man : She looked compatible with this energetic role as usual. She always gets this kind of role because of her look, I think.
The most touching scene
- The death of Nin Kang Yew
- The ending
- When prince no. 2 forced prince no. 4 to drink his piss
- When Tak Fei told prince no. 14 how to win prince no. 4, look at prince no. 4’s face , so touching
My favorite characters
- Prince no. 4, this is his story anyway huh!
- Nin Kang Yew
- Tai Fu, he’s clever till his end!
My least favorite characters
- Evil prince no. 2
- Biased Hong Hei
My favorite actors/actresses
Kwong Wah, of course
Yong Zheng and Miu Yan. I think Kwong Wah and Erica are compatible since I watched return to the truth. This series proves my opinion!
My final opinion
This is must-watch series!
Where to buy this series
Part I - Cantonese [VCD]
Part II - Cantonese [VCD]