A must read, if you don't already know ...

Written by Funn Lim

This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


Which Is
Not the old version but the new version.It is NOT some Chinese mythology about some Gods or some Devils,but a story by Jin Yong about love,hate,revenge,and one man's struggle to find his own identity.Actually,all Jin Yong's stories are like that.

How Long
I can't remember.Should be 40 episodes/20 Tapes.

Lots of people,which is typical and very normal for a Jin Yong serial.Anyway,there's Felix Wong,BEnny Chan,Fan Siew Wong,Lau Yoke Chui,Lau Kam Ling,Carmen Lee,Wong Gei Ying and many many more men,women and.....actually,no children,except for the measely few.Strange.

I saw this like eons ago.I have wanted to write a review for it some time back but other latest serials was of more importance than this one.Then I almost didn't want to write for it because I kinda forgot about some details but I've got orders from my Sifu to write for it,so for what it is worth,and I am begging my memory not to fail me,here goes.

The Plot
How should I go about this?Eh,deja vu man,because I've said the same thing for that Flying Fox review!Anyway,how shall I go about telling you a very complicated story about 3 men and their problems with the Old China world?Should I go one by one or should I just keep writing on like this?Should I just describe the whole ending or should I just give you enough?In fact,I think you're probably thinking why don't I just "shut up" and start writing.So in no particular order as how this whole serial begins,again,here goes.....

It is the Song Dynasty,or maybe not.I can't remember but definately not Ming nor Ching Dynasty.People are fighting,government is corrupt,citizens are well,suffering.And yet Kung Fu fighting clans can still have enough to eat and have the energy to start killing each other.The main protagonist of this story is Felix Wong's Kiew Fung.He is like the Pak Kiew Fung,meaning Northern Kiew Fung,which is actually a great honour because he is the best fighter there,with his Dragon Claws(whatever).Anyway,the leader of the Beggar Clan was murdered by somebody unknown and the power struggle begins.Kiew Fung naturally became the leader and was seduced by the WIfe of the dead leader.Being an honourable man,he said no and thus begins the whole nightmare for this man.Somebody got this anonymous letter stating that Kiew Fung can never lead Beggar Clan because he is not qualified.After some soul searching,he discovered he is not qualified because he is actually not a Han but a Sit-Dan person,meaning enemy of the Hans.His father was a high ranking official and they were murdered by the Hans who ambushed them only to discover they made a grave mistake because these people were just passing by.Out of deep regret they took the baby and gave it to a nice Han family and he grew up to be a respected member of the Hans.Then his adopted parents got killed and people started to think it was him.And all this while he had only a letter as a clue as to his identity and the identity of the Big Brother who ordered for his resignation and was the the leader in ochestrating the mass murder of his parents and his men.It was not a very honourable action.Along the way he met two people who would be his "brothers",one a young crown prince of Dali,a small state in some part of China,named Tuen Yue(Benny Chan) who has problems that no men would want and a young novice monk,played by Fan Siew Wong but I can't remember the character's name.They clicked together and became friends,and they fought together even until the end.

Anyway,dear Benny,like I said had a problem that no men would want.All the women whom he fell for and who fell for him were all actually his half-sisters,thanks to his over active father,the debonair younger brother of the King of Dali.You see,in his younger days he used to travel a lot and sleep with every women he saw.He could've been a bastard if not for the fact that he really do love all of the women he slept with.One of them so happens to be the wife of that dead Beggar Clan leader,and also another wasthe object of Benny's utmost affection's mother,so he thought she (Carmen Lee) must be his sister.It turned out he is not their brother, know what,I'll leave this for later because it deserves a special mention of it's own.

As for Hui Chuk(yap,that's the name of Fan Siew Wong,I hope),he has got one tiny problem.He learned Kung Fu not from the Shaolin source,and he was forced to sleep with Wong Gei Ying,a kidnapped,and drugged princess of a small state,without even knowing it.They slept with each other until dear Fan at last realised he does not want to be a monk anymore,and you know what?He ended up marrying that girl!Quite sinful,which I shall elaborate further down this impossibly long winded review.

Anyway,each has their problems,and Kiew Fung who later found out his name is Siew Fung returned home to his own people and became semi-Lord of a small Han town,beloved as usual.Life should've been perfect but he knew his King whom he owes utmost allegiance to is planning to attack the Han people to take over the land.This is one man torn between his duty for his own people and his love for his adopted people who treated him like shit after they found out the truth.What should he do?What could he do?And can the Han people just put aside their clan fighting differences and save the country?Could the people ever welcome the man whom they thought was their enemy?Could I just shut up and give you the ending?Yes,it's right there,below....

So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe?
Oh yeah,plenty of Ke-Le-Fes in here,meaning colourfares.It's just so many and a real trademark of a Jin Yong serial.I mean in any given one scene there will be at least 50 people in it.Our Kiew/Siew Fung always had to make a speech in front of everybody and it seemd every bad things seemed to happen in front of EVERYBODY!Quite funny.

The Most Sinful Stuff
You know,if I just tell you the basic structure of this story,you would think that this is a 3rd category movie.You see,it's all thanks to Fan's character,the monk Hui Juk.I was not amused.
He was a young nice monk,and he saved an old lady and the old lady wanted him to be her student but he refused because he already has a master so to speak.So she kidnapped him,chain him up,well maybe not and forced him to drink wine,eat meat,and kill.And when that couldn't do it,and this is one great example that men may sometimes find it useful to use their mind to think about somethings rather than.....Anyway,she kidnapped this nice princess,drugged her and threw her onto the bed next to a very,how shall I put it,aroused Fan,and they ended up doing it.And again,and again,and again,and again...Do you get what I'm trying to say?Like I said I was not amused.Anyway,he ended up knowing he wanted that girl and forgot about his monk ways and became an ordinary man.I guess this means that a great way to start a relationship is to check out the merchandise first.I am really not amused by this.I find it insulting and degrading and absolutely wrong.However Fan the actor is so sweet in this role I shall forget about that tiny little moral problem and just say,he got his happy ending with his Dream Girl(Mung Koo),and that girl found her Dream Guy(Mung Long).

Now the second most sinful stuff about this serial.That would be Benny's father.A lot of pre-marital sex in here,and each one yielded a daughter for each women and this man has got the audicity to be in constant contact with all of them!Anyway,our hero's son,Benny is as cute and debonair as he was and he fell for some girls who turned out to be his sisters,all of them.And one time he almost slept with his own sister because they were drugged.But they perservered,unlike that Monk.Anyway,then he found he ain't the brother man,and now comes the funniest bit of the serial.

You see,the Mother of Benny,the future Queen became so angry one night that she told herself she was going to find a beggar,the dirtiest of the lot and sleep with him.And so she found one poor guy,whose legs were broken and he was crying for help from Goddess Of Mercy,Kuan Yin and she just so happens to dress like one.She slept with him under the tree and got pregnant with a son.That man turned out to be the real heir to teh Dali Throne but was overthrown and legs were broken and left to die when Benny's uncle took over the throne.So there's the Dali blood still in there.But the sinful thing is,the guy thought Kuan Yin came to bless
him with her body!!!!I mean,WHAT?!I find it insulting,degrading and utterly disrespectful of Kuan Yin Herself.Anyway,poor guy though.

And then even Kiew/Siew Fung has some problems.You see,he fell for this young servant girl of Carmen Lee's lookalike mother(same woman played her),that is Lau Kam Ling.Although there were complete lack of chemistry between the actors,they fell in love but then when Kiew Fung thought that the Big Brother was Beny's father,he wanted to kill him.The girl who was good with make up dressed up like Benny's father and she was given that Dragon Palm Kung Fu and before she died,he knew he killed the woman he loved and he promised her he'll never seek vengeance again and will look after the sister,Lau Yoke Chui.Why?That man is her father.And so in came Lau Yoke Chui who never knew she had parents,sisters and now a brother in law.She is an evil girl but she fell for her own brother in law.Now this could have been a sinful thing.A 30 year old man and a 15 or so year old girl.Luckilly no such thing from an honourable character like Kiew Fung.

Now it's Lau Yoke Chui's turn.Like I said,she is evil,and she cares for no one except herself AND Kiew Fung.She didn't even care when she found out that her mother died.She didn't care.But when it comes to Kiew Fung,she will do anything for this man.He tried his best to control her but actually,she is just plain evil,not naughty,EVIL.She used Mak Cheung Ching as a test,putting iron mask on his face,disfiguring her and used him a a human kite thing.And that man fell in love with her!When she became blind,she was told she could get her eyesight back by using a real pair of eyes.She entertained the idea of killing someone for it but she didn't have to .That idiot,Mak took out his own eyes and gave it to her.And was she grateful?Nooo!When she saw how ugly he was,she ran and at last took out the eyes and flung it back to him in one climatic scene.But frankly,remember that Leader of the Beggar Clan's wife?She is a slut..yes,that's the best word to describe her and she was the cause of the beginnings of Kiew Fung's misery.So dear Lau Yoke Chui(bless her for this one) went in after that woman was given the kung fu that could make someone sit still for hours and couldn't move,and she walked in and threw that woman onto the floor and exacted revenge for what she did to her beloved Kiew Dai Kor.She used a knife and scratched her face again and again and made sure she suffered.The woman didn't realise the extent of the damge until she was given a mirror and she saw her one prized possession,her beauty became like one messy thing.Her face was scared beyond comprehension and ,I dunno if this is justice,she died of shock.A classic scene though.

The Best Scenes
Plenty,but some stood out as really memorable.Like the scene where Benny's father was held hostage and each women he slept with was there and they all died,each remembering their younger days,and he died at the end,I think he killed himself.It was actually thanks to one character that I haven't mention yet,the so called Southern Mo Yong,Mr Mo Yong, a failed man who tried all his ways to restore his throne and he became crazy at last.He was the fiancee of Carmen until she dumped him for a better man,that is Benny.THat man has all the reputation but no skill to match.The name,Mo Yong suits him because it could've been Mou Yung(meaning,useless).Anyway,sad scene becasue you knew this women from day one and when they died one by one,a tear,that's all I ask from you,should be shed from your eyes.A single tear,at the very least.

And that torture scene described above.

One scene where Kiew /Siew Fung was helping his Han people escape the Sit-Dan territory and having been surrounded,he had no choice but to kill to get out of the place.And where one moment he broke the neck of a Sit-Dan soldier,the soldier whispered in shock,and called him General(or something).And at that moment,Felix Wong's expression was classic,the "what have I done look".You would have guessed he would have chosen his own ending at that moment as described below.A very good scene.

The almost ending scene when Tuen Yue knew who his real father was and he asked his uncle who has now become a monk,maybe he should leave but his uncle gave him his throne and said he is still his good nephew.Very touching.

That one scene,where Lily Lee one of the four Fierce People(direct translation),the other three consisted of one who so happens to be Tuen Yue's student,and his very own father as well.Anyway,he found out in teh most shocking way,I meant Fan that his mother was this Semi-Devil person and his father,who is also the Big Brother Kiew Fung was looking for was the respected Chief Monk of the Shaolin Temple!He became a monk out of regret for what he did to Kiew Fung's family.Shocking.

The Ultimate Classic Scene
Though I gave good reviews for Flying Fox,but this is one scene that I'll say have my vote for the all time classic scene for a Jin Yong story.The almost end,where the Sit-Dan's king is marching towards the Song city,and the Song will surely lose because they're weaker.And the government had shut the door on the warriors who were being patriotic for fear of enemies getting to them.And Kiew/Siew Fung who by this time was branded a traitor by his own people went home to help his adopted country.He was stuck in the middle between The Song and the Sit-Dan.His King was pressuring him to get out of the way,the Song was pressuringhim to save their lives.And what does a good man like him to do?He killed himself right there and then,because he did not want to betray his people and he did not want to disown the people who disowned him.Everybody cried and screamed no.And Lau Yoke Chui came to him,took out her eyes and flung it back to Mak and took her Kiew Dai Kor's body and jumped the cliff,Mak following her just seconds later.The King retreated and the Song was saved.And thsoe ungrateful bunch of people regretted their actions and Siew Fung was still Kiew Fung after all.This scene got me.I cried,because I saw this honourable man from day one and now he died under the most difficult circumstances and he died a hero's death.And when Lau Yoke Chui jumped with him,I was thinking so this girl may be evil to everybody else,but she love this man.She is still human after all.The best scene of all.

The Most Honourable Character
Kiew/Siew Fung.I love this man.And Tuen Yue.Because he stood by his brother even in the worst circumstances.

The Demi God Characters
All the good guys but could have reasons to be bad guys.

The Semi Devil Characters
Which would refer to characters such as Lau Yoke Chui,Tuen Yue's real father,that crippled guy with blonde hair.He wanted his throne but when he knew this was his son(however much Tuen Yue hated him),he didn't have hatred in his heart anymore because being the only male in the Dali royal family,he knew his son would be king and in a way,he got his throne back and he left,flying on his crutches,and I wasn't kidding.Flying!

The Best Scenes
All the fighting scenes.Beautifully choreographed and very imaginative,though a bit silly at times .And I do like that Dragon thing spewing out of Kiew Fung's arms.Very nice.And all of the scenes described above.

The Worst Scenes
The love stories,a bit draggy.But frankly,I can't think of anything bad in this serial other than my above objections with the moral issues in here.

Most Favourite Pair
Benny Chan and Carmen lee,though she looked a bit too old for him.

Best Performances
Everybody is so good in here,except for thsoe few ke-le-fes.But the main ones are good.Fan was very effective as that doey eyed,innocent Hui Chuk(or maybe this wasn't his name,so I stand to be corrected).And my God,what a body!

Benny Chan for his debut effort was quite impressive though he looked more like a wounded puppy most of the time,but that's how he was supposed to look like so I guess he was ok.

Lau Yoke Chui was simply devilishly good as the Semi-Devil girl.She was so good at one scene when she was told her mother died with her father and her only expression was "Really?!" kinda look.She felt nothing for them.But when Kiew Fung died,she was crying so hard I cried with her.She is one really good actress that it's quite a pity she is limited by her physical appearance.

And one name I MUST mention if not thunder will strike at me,that is Felix Wong Yat Wah.This man can never be evil,he can never play bad guys.Even as a bad guy he has gotta have some integrity left in him.Here he plays the Big Hero,and he was so good,I cried at the end when he killed himself.I feel for him,like I know him and I am glad he's not the one leaving TVB.Anyway,this is a serial that you must watch for Felix Wong and his expression.Mid you,he is a bit wooden at times but when he has got to have expressions on his face,My God!He deserves a Best Actor just for this one.Excellent.

And one special mention,Carmen Lee.When she first appear,she was so stunningly beautiful you would know why Tuen yue was smitten.And this girl could act,though her voice is a bit deep but she could really act.Now I wish she was available to play Miu Yeuk Lan of Flying Fox Of Snowy Mountain.I was impressed because her role isn't much but she made the most out of it.Pretty good.

Worst Performance
All the mistresses of Tuen Yue's father and all the grils except Carmen lee who fell for Tuen Yue.Really bad acting.

Is it worth Renting
I know I was a bit sarcastic at the Plot category but frankly,one of my favorites from TVB.It's fast paced,and TVB made the complicated scenes seemed simpler and easier to understand.They made it so easy to follow that well,it's just pure entertainment.And my God,so many people which is rare nowadays in all TVB productions.
You must watch this one if you have the time.It's a bit old but it's so very good it doesn't really matter.It may be a bit draggy at some parts,mostly about love-relationships but it doesn't occupy much time.Excellent.

Interesting Facts
Did you know Felix Wong played the Monk in the original?Tuen yue's father was I think played by Tse Yin,Nicholas Tse's father.Miu Kiu Wai played somebody,I can't remember.But the original,the emphasis was on the monk.In here the emphasis was on Kiew Fung.And in the original,Kiew Fung was played by this actor,I can;t remember his name.He became a comedian next to Stephen Chau in a few TVB productions and movie productions.

This was a hit.I mean if this is how remakes are going to be,then TVB do some more!Of course Flying Fox may have lesser people but I guess both ranked pari-pasu to me.The casting here is simply,I wouldn't say perfect but very good.

Interesting Observation
What observation do I have about this show>That it is all fictional and it si amazing that Jin yong can screw up the whole history of China and still looked believable and convincing?

And he has this same trend in all his books/serials.There must have been a hero looking for his identity,he must have suffered lost love,his parents must've been somebody famous,his kung fu must be great at some point,he must be respected and has a lot of friends,he must be later misunderstood,he must have a personal crisis to face,and in the end,he must make a choice that will change the course of his life.And always,it is always politically motivated.

I mean,look at all his books,or most of it.It always stars with a misunderstanding betwen a few people,which may seemed like it's the only problem existing then and THEN we will discover in the end,that problem isn't that great when National Security is at stake here.Then they'll alwyas unite to save their country,clan,society,whatever.Which just shows that a fight between two people is child's play.In the end,there will alwyas be a bigger enemy,and you will never know if they are on your side or on somebody's side,hence the title of this serial which will aptly describe all Jin Yongs' novels.

Unimportant Stuff
What does the title mean? The Cantonese title is Tin Lung Bat Bou,meaning Heaven Dragon Eight Steps.Don't ask me what it means,maybe an old proverb or something.But the English title,Demi God and Semi Devil.The good ones aren't that good and the bad ones aren't that evil.So there is no one clear line of the key to unlock a man's heart,to know if he's good or if he's evil.I like the title,very to the point and quite true to describe this serial.


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