VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

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.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



Dissecting the Title
The English title differed from the Chinese Title. Originally Luk Ding Gei, it is now "Siu Bo Yu Hong Hei" which basically means Siu Bo and Hong Hei. The more important question is already answered in this title. Who is the main character in this series? Since Siu Bo's name came first, indeed it was Wai Siu Bo. But the way I see it, the character of Hong Hei was as important, because without this one character, the whole story would not exist as it will not justify the actions or inactions of our Wai Siu Bo.

Length
20 tapes/40 episodes

Origin
Taiwan/China but distributed by TVB which is why this review is under TVB database & Taiwan database.

Based on...
The very popular novel by Jin Yong, a man who consistently have his novels made into series but also consistently and dramatically altered to suit TVB's/producers' taste, much to the chagrin of the author and fans of his original works.

Casts-Characters
There are many faces that I recognise but I can't or I do not know their names. But I can name a few. At least now there's a name to a face you'll see. If you know the rest, do please E-Mail me the names.

Wai Siu Bo - Dicky Cheung Wai Kin
Siu Kam Yu - Shu Kei
Princess Kim Ling - Ruby Lin Xin Ru
Lung Yee/ Empress Dowager - Monica Chan Fatt Yung
Emperor Hong Hei - Patrick Tam Yiu Man
Chan Kan Nam - Ekin Cheng Yee Kin
Fong Yee - Mak Ka Kei
Seong Yee - Wu Chen Jun
Ping Yee - Zhang Si
Ah Oh / Chan Yuen Yuen - Athena Chu Yan
Hoi Tai Fu/ Chief Eunuch Hoi - Ng Man Tat
Wu Tak Tai - Leung Ka Yan

So Who Is Who & With Who
Below is a simple chart as to the names of the characters and the sect/society that they owe their allegiance to, at the beginning of this series. Towards the end the chart would look very different because everybody is a "Demi God & Semi Devil" in here. Just bear in mind that everybody is against our Hong Hei, whilst everybody is also against everybody for the chance at the throne. Meaning everybody is against everybody. Period.

By the way, the names and the names of the societies/sects were all my own translation and therefore were not entirely accurate. If you read a Mystical Dragon Sect somewhere in here, I was referring to God & Dragon Sect.


Cheng Family (Taiwan)
Cheng Seng Kung
Cheng Hak Song
Chang Hak Hong
Foong Sek Fan
Heaven & Earth Society
Chan Kan Nam
Wu Tak Tai
Seong Yee
Mr Kwai & Family Mok Family
Mok Kim Ping
Fong Yee

The God & Dragon Sect (San Lung Sect)
Chief of Sect
Lung Yee

Russians ( I am not sure as to their nationality but I assume that they were Russians)
Princess Sophia & gang
Chu Family(Ex-Ming Dynasty)
Princess Cheung Ping/Gau Lan
Ah Oh The God & Dragon Sect (San Lung Sect)
Chief of Sect
Lung Yee
Ng Family (Yunnan Province)
Ng Sam Kwai
Ng Ying Hung
Yeung Tat Tzi
Chan Yuen Yuen Aison Gouro Family (Qing Dynasty)
Hong Hei
Kim Ling
Hoi Tai Fu
Old Emperor
Tor Loon
Now...Where IS Wai Siu Bo? : Everywhere would be my answer. Basically he's with Heaven & Earth Society and the Qing Dynasty officially, though he also held a position in that Sect of Mystic Dragon. But as to his wives who scattered everywhere at first, the final list of the Wai household would be as such :-


Wai Siu Bo & Madam Wai
Siu Kam Yu
Princess Kim Ling
Lung Yee
Seong Yee
Mok Kim Ping
Fong Yee
Ah Oh

Summary
Same as in my Duke Of Mountdeer review, the less expensive looking version produced by TVB some years back. But with a few minor adjustments here and there, the summary for this series is as follows :-

This is the story which spanned 10 years about an ordinary man who led an extraordinary life when he became involved in a stroke of (good/bad) luck in the power struggles between the people and the government and made worse when he became emotionally and personally involved with the people on both sides. In the end, he has to choose between his loyalty for his sifu, and his loyalty for the Emperor, his self professed best friend, and it was a position he wished he was never in because it was not an easy decision. And also more on his quest in finding and marrying 7 women, 6 of them later became his wives.

This is also a story about the passage of growth from a young man with little confidence to an extraordinary man who would later lead an even more extraordinary life, where he had to make decisions that will greatly affect his Kingdom and the People. But the decision was made more difficult because of his personal involvement emotionally with a man who works for both sides, a man he saw as his real and only trusted best friend who could betray him and who could save his life. In the end it was a decision between friendship and Kingdom and for this Emperor Hong Hei, it was a relatively predetermined decision.

But if you take away all those drama, take away everything, the emphasis of this story, apart from the adventures and dangers that Wai Siu Bo faced, would be LOYALTY and LOVE since everything in here, all his actions, revolved around these two words, loyalty and love. But the question is loyal to who? Love to which one?

The Plot/Storyline
The way I see the story, it involved two main leads, and the rest were there to give some "colours" to the story. As mentioned in the above Summary, I could write the plot in two ways, the viewpoint of Wai Siu Bo and the viewpoint of Hong Hei, but I'll write in the former viewpoint for consistency sake and because it was all about Wai Siu Bo. But I prefer to do this in a Q & A fashion, because doing it by paragraphs would be way too long. In fact I have just demonstrated the fact that I have yet to enter into the proper plot line and by now I bet you would be wishing that I just stop blabbering away and give you what you want. Ahhhh........not so easy! Read every word of my review and I bet you'll come out as if you have watched this series and never read my review at all, though I might have missed a few minor points here and there.

Basically, Wai Siu Bo, the illiterate son of a woman who worked in a brothel who married 7 times was a man with the greatest fortune/misfortune to have met Hoi Tai Fu and Princess Kim Ling whilst they were out of the palace searching for a capable swordsman to help kill Ao Bai and who helped him embark on an adventure and journey of his life. Hoi Tai Fu liked Wai Siu Bo because though he can't fight one bit, he had brains and wit to always save the day. Being an old fox that he was, he tricked Wai into going to the palace with him disguising as an eunuch with the sole intention of using him to steal the mysterious and wanted Book of the 42 Buddhist Scriptures, one of the 8 was with the dreaded Empress Dowager. Little did Hoi Tai Fu knew that this Wai Siu Bo, whilst in his disguise as Siu Kwai Tzi would meet the Emperor in the gym room one night and ended up being great friends with this man he called Siu Yuen Tzi. Together, and out of pure friendship and loyalty, Wai helped this young Emperor faced many many obstacles in securing his throne and Empire, from killing Ao Bai, the dreaded and feared Manchurian General to finding the long lost father of the Emperor who was now a monk in the Five Mountain Monastery, to destroying many many enemies including the universally hated Ng Sam Kwai. And along the way Wai Siu Bo picked up his wives like he picked up veges in a market, and vowed to marry them all, all of whom had different personalities. Along the way he also picked up sifus like he picked up fruits, like Wu Tak Tai (who on a promise to Chan Kan Nam, the chief of Heaven & Earth Sect to train this young cunning man, a man that Chan Kan Nam met even before Wai met the young Emperor) & the Nun with one arm, Gau Nan who was actually Princess Cheung Ping. Any problem came his way he would always find a way to make everything right, until the final test of loyalty came. His sifu wanted him to kill the Emperor whom he called his friend, and his Emperor upon knowing he was a member of the rebel gang dared him to kill his fellow members. He could do neither both, and that was when he knew he was cornered by his deep sense of loyalty to both sides, not because of politics, not because of power play nor greed, but purely because this man called Wai Siu Bo, however much a scoundrel he may have been, how ever many wives he may have had and lusted after, how ever much he was uneducated and knew not how to read nor write, this was a man who was as passionate about love, money and women as he was about friendship and loyalty. What then would a good man like him do? Betray his friend of an Emperor and help the rebel gang to "Overthrow the Qing, Restore the Ming" or help the Emperor to destroy the rebel gangs and secure the Qing Dynasty? Would the Society forgive him if they knew he had such deep feelings for the Emperor? What would the Emperor do if he knew he had been sleeping and had impregnated his beloved sister, Princess Kim Ling and more importantly, when he knew that Wai Siu Bo was a double headed snake and a potential traitor and threat to his own private agenda against the rebels? Oh yes....WHAT WOULD THEY ALL DO?!?!

Questions Asked & Answered
For those with little time to watch this series,or are dying to know the ending, below are some of the major questions asked and answered.

So..how did Wai met his sifus?
Chan Kan Nam was being pursued by the Qing army when he was seriously injured and was hiding in the brothel where Wai was working as a story teller. Wai helped him to hide from the army and upon knowing he was Chan Kan Nam wanted to join the Heaven & Earth Society but Chan refused because he somewhat realised Wai was not potentially a good rebel. But he agreed upon many pleas and sent Wu Tak Tai to be his sifu, because Chan himself refused to be his sifu. And much later into the series he was kidnapped by the one armed nun who wanted to kill the Emperor and when the nun knew he was actually the chief of a small section of the Heaven & Earth society, having bravely killed the dreaded Ao Bai, the nun looked at him with respect. Wai played his cards well and the nun was impressed by his sincerity and took him in as her student though she never taught him any Kung Fu.

Who is Ao Bai?
Ao Bai was one of the 4 trusted Manchurian officials who was appointed by the Old previous Qing Emperor to assist the young Hong Hei in the administration of the young newly found Kingdom. And Ao Bai was the one who also helped the old Emperor in fighting the war and winning the Han people's land, that was China. But over the years he used the young Emperor's fear of him and his powerful influence and misused his own power and began to openly ridicule the young Emperor. Hong Hei would shake when Ao Bai barged into his study room without any notice. But Wai who was now the Emperor's trusted eunuch taught this old geezer a lesson about respect to the Emperor and of being humble. Hong Hei plotted to get rid of Ao Bai and Wai was one of the many reasons why the Emperor succeeded. When Ao Bai knew he was poisoned, he flew into a rage and screamed that the Emperor was ungrateful and thus vowed to kill him, but was instead caught by the Empress Dowager. He was imprisoned until his fellow men from Tibet, the Tibetan Lamas came to save the day for this man and when he was released he went straight to killing Hong Hei. Empress Dowager was there to save the day again (actually she was trying to save her own skin) but she couldn't quite stop him, and Hoi Tai Fu who was crazy at that time went to help on the orders of Wai and was instead killed in the kung fu fight. In the end it was the cunningness of Wai that saved the day where he pulled out Ao Bai's pistol that he took when Ao Bai's property was being seized and Wai simply shot Ao Bai straight into his temple. But the problematic Lamas was far from over.


How come the Empress Dowager knew Kung Fu...
Hoi Tai Fu suspected it for a very long time that the Empress Dowager was a fake and that the real Empress Dowager who knew no Kung Fu and who was educated and refined was hid somewhere in the palace. The Emperor and Kim Ling suspected that their mother was strange, less affectionate and was younger than she was 2 years back but refused to see the truth. Wai didn't suspect anything, and was instead ordered around by the Empress Dowager to steal the Book of 42 Buddhist Scriptures from Ao Bai and Hoi Tai Fu, but Wai did none of her request,and instead saw her naked, TWICE. Finally when she was out, Kim Ling and Wai found a secret passage way in her room and discovered the real Empress Dowager in there. By that time Ao Bai escaped from prison and our fake one was busy fighting him when she was defeated . The Emperor was waiting for Wai's signal to shoot the whole darn "Qi Ling" Palace when he successfully shot Ao Bai and came out safe and sound. But the fake one escaped and later we knew she was Lung Yee, the first disciple of the power crazy Chief of the Mystic Dragon Sect and future wife of Wai Siu Bo.

What about the wives? Who and how they met?
Siu Kam Yu (Little Goldfish) was actually Wai's childhood sweetheart who unfortunately died shortly after he left with Hoi Tai Fu for greener pastures in the big city. She was forced to marry a rich man and on the way to being married, she escaped and committed suicide by jumping into the river. We didn't get to see all this but this was told by Mdm Wai to his won when he came back much much later as the successful right hand man to the Emperor. He promised her at her grave that she will be his first wife.

Wai met Princess Kim Ling whilst she was in disguise as a man with Hoi Tai Fu and back home in the palace, she seduced him and she had the privilege to be the first potential wife to have had sex with Wai first. He regretted his rash actions but the Princess used this fact against him and threatened to tell her Brother about everything each time he delayed in seeing her. But much later she was forced to marry Ng Ying Hung, the only son of Ng Sam Kwai.S he didn't want to but she was forced and she did something drastic and she was sent home to Beijing. By that time she was pregnant with Wai's child and she told him so but he was more shocked and in fear than happy.

Wai met Ping Yee, the Ming Princess of the Mok family when one member of the Heaven & Earth Society kidnapped this Princess when their man was insulted by the Mok family, both owing allegiance to different families. She was smuggled into the palace but instead Wai successfully sweet talked her into falling for him, because she was naive and young and because he was really that good in those sweet talking stuff.

Wai met Fong Yee and fell for her when he met her in one of his outings, but she was crazy about her Big "Brother". Later in one failed attempt to assassinate the Emperor, her lover was caught and Wai made her swear that she will marry him and only then he will save her lover. Reluctantly she said yes but after much consideration she realised she was falling for her and was willing to share him with other women. But not quite so as I shall explain much later into this review.

Wai met Seong Yee when she was assigned by her adopted father, so to speak plus sifu, Wu Tak Tai to protect Wai in the palace. One look and he was besotted with her beauty and she was the one who was the easiest to sweet talk to. Easily she began to call him "husband".

Wai met Lung Yee when she was in disguise as the Empress Dowager and fell for her beauty , more so when he saw her naked, TWICE. But she hated him and was deeply loyal to her Chief until much later into the series when Wai told her to confront her Chief as to whether he ad teamed with big traitor Ng Sam Kwai to take over the throne and Wai went in to look for her only to find her Kung Fu being erased and she was seriously hurt. Lung Yee fell for him there and then when he gave her the anti-poison pill and he himself risked being poisoned by cooking poisoned stew to the mad Chief who had kidnapped both of the them.

Wai met Ah Oh when he was sent to the Five Fingers Monastery to be a monk and protect the Old Emperor and he was a this restaurant when he smelled a beautiful fragrance, heard the most beautiful voice and saw the most beautiful creature that was AH Oh. He swore that he would marry her but it was not that easy. Ah Oh had really low opinion of him and though highly of a Mr Cheng Hak Song, who so happened to be Chan Kan Nam's master, so to speak. Being insulted slapped and almost killed didn't stop Wai from trying his best to make Ah Oh love him. In the end, it took the greatest rejection of love by Mr Cheng for Ah Oh due to fear of death (Wai was threatening that Cheng Hak Song of bodily harm when Wai overheard their plan to kill his sifu and Chan Kan Nam and Wai successfully caught them using his many tricks) and one poisoned dagger that hit Ah Oh and Wai's frantic expressions and actions in finding a cure for her that she realised that "why was I so blind to have fallen for Mr Cheng when I got this great guy before me eventhough he had 6 other women in his heart he still cared so much for me and after all my insults still want me?", and she accepted him and thus Wai's collection of 7 precious wives were complete.

Phew! Two more wives and this review will take an hour to load!

How come the wives fell for him?
He used tricks I guess into getting them to marry him. But he has never touched them, only kissed them and that was because they wanted to. Charm I guess is one factor. Perseverance is another. He did a lot just to get Lung Yee and Ah Oh's heart. The rest he did very little before they fell for him, especially Seong Yee and especially Princess Kim Ling. He did practically nothing for her but she was crazy about him.

Which one he loved most?
If I say equally would be inaccurate though Wai always said he loved them all. My guess, the way he would look at them and the effort he put into loving them would be Siu Kam Yu first, Ah Oh second and Lung Yee third. Siu Kam Yu because she died so he can't have her forever and ever, Ah Oh because she hated him and so it was quite a challenge to win her heart and Lung Yee because she was the first and only to consider leaving him.

How come Ah Oh hated him and why Lung Yee wanted to leave?
Two questions so two answers.

Ah Oh hated him for a very simple reason; he was in his disguise ( he was ordered to be a monk then) drinking one day when Ah Oh openly said she wanted to kill the "Dog of an Emperor's faithful sidekick, Siu Kwai Tzi" which was actually Wai himself. Wai volunteered to take her to the Five Mountains Monastery and took her running everywhere and then kidnapped her and revealed his true self, as a monk. She was deeply offended by his wanting to marry her and though of him as a lusty monk, and when she knew he was Siu Kwai Tzi, she hated him more for his inappropriate behaviour towards her. Moreover she was crazy about Cheng Hak Song. It didn't help when he tagged along with her sifu to everywhere and annoying her. And Ah Oh was a very stubborn girl and blind perhaps.

Lung Yee wanted to leave because when Wai took his for wives back home (Lung Yee, Seong Yee, Ping Yee and Fong Yee) to his mother, she was the one who didn't know how to say the right things, cook, etc. Plus Fong Yee who bore a grudge against her was especially mean and harsh towards her not so feminine ways, and was always talking about her and referring to her as the fallen princess, losing all her Kung Fus and therefore useless. She was heartsick when she overheard Mdm Wai making comments as to her rather stiff personality and she ran and ran and Wai came running after her and after much persuasion, she was the first wife who had the guts to suggest of leaving him. But Wai did all he could and in the end, she was the first "wife" whom he took before toe grave of Siu Kam Yu and introduced her to Siu Kam Yu and too her before his dead 7 father's altar to pay her respect. So I guess she should be considered as the second wife, Siu Kam Yu being the first.

Wait! Wai became a monk?
He was actually sent to protect the old guy, but the Emperor went further and didn't tell him his mission until he reached there and the mission was read out, that he must be a monk. Wai screamed.

WAITT! What old guy?
Sorry..the old Emperor. He didn't die of some illness as the Emperor thought but after his favourite concubine was poisoned by the Queen, the Queen then killed herself and he became disillusioned and decided to be a monk.

The Queen died? So what was Monica Chan playing?
The Queen died, so what? Can't the Emperor find another Empress?

Who is Cheng Hak Song?
The jerk of this series. He is the second son of the Cheng family and the descendant of the famous Ming General, Chen Sing Kung who obviously was dead when he was born. He belonged to the Taiwan gang, the gang that Chan Kan Nam and his men pledge their allegiance to. But Chan Kan Nam pledged his allegiance to his big brother, Cheng Hak Hong, and so this little scheming bastard, who had neither the looks nor the bravery to fight his own fight wanted to kill of Chan Kan Nam and gang so that when the Qing were forced out of the country, he could be King! What a big head he had don't you think?Anyway, he met Ah Oh when he saved her from the lamas, and though his sifu, Fong was famous for his "One stab there's blood", this little bastard learnt nothing at all! Couldn't fight his own fight. So when Wai drugged him and Ah Oh and his sifu when they were looking for him IN WAI'S OWN brothel!! When they woke up, Wai threatened bodily harm unless he screamed that Wai could have Ah Oh and that boneless Bastard screamed. Ah Oh cried and still hated Wai, until that Bastard later came back and threw a poisoned dart towards Wai but Seng Yee kicked Wai and he fell down and the dart went straight to Ah Oh, who was standing behind Wai. That bastard escaped and Wai immediately went into big time panic and quickly took Ah Oh back to Beijing and into the palace with the hope of asking the Emperor for a type of flower that can cure her but that flower only opened every 50 years. Ah Oh became touched by his sincerity and concern for her and asked Wai to treat her as well as he did for the past few days for the rest of her life. Wai emotionally said "Sure!". I mean Ah Oh was in desperate need of a place to call her own since she had none.

But didn't she have a sifu called Gau Nan? You know the nun with one arm?
Yes yes she DID. But that all ended, the relationship and all when Ah Oh found out that her sifu had never loved her and had kidnapped her from her mommy and daddy so that when she grows up she can kill her own daddy. You know, her daddy was none other than Chinese history's biggest traitor, Ng Sam Kwai and mommy was the blamed woman for Ming's Downfall, Chan Yuen Yuen.

Who the heck is Ng Sam Kwai?
The father of Ng Ying Hung, the man that Princess Kim Ling was forced to marry but she ended up castrating him, an act that Wai approved of because the Ngs killed his friend, Yeung Tat Tzi. Anyway, Ng Sam Kwai was a loyal Ming General during the Ming Dynasty and he fell for a prostitute named Chan Yuen Yuen. Whilst he was busy fighting off the Manchurians, Lee Chi Seng, a Han rebel took over the reign and also too over his woman Chan Yuen Yuen. Ng flew intoa rage and swore to get back his Chan Yuen Yuen and the only way to do so was to let the Manchurians into the final strenghhold of the Ming Dynasty that Ng was keeping guard of and he became the Manchurian defeated Lee Chi Seng, gave Ng his woman back and Ng became the Ping Sai Wong; the Lord of Yunnan Province. He wanted to marry Chan but he couldn't because of her background, and Chan understood his difficulty. But she became a bit disillusioned about his love for her when he said he will have to marry a proper woman to be his proper wife. That was the unseen wife who gave him Ng Ying Hung. Chan moved to a nunnery and lived there for a while but one day she was walking on the street when she Lee Chi Seng, who has now become a monk when he realised his fight for the throne was like so over and he literally dragged her into committing the sordid adulterous act with him. She became pregnant with Lee's child and she moved back in with the unsuspecting Ng, gave birth to Ah Oh and when she was kidnapped, Chan went back to the nunnery, for good.

I thought you said Ah Oh was Ng's daughter...
Yes, but apparently she wasn't. And what a life Ah Oh would have had as Ng's daughter. Anyway, Ah Oh was so upset, and quite logically so. If Ng was her father, she would have been the daughter of the most hated Han man in Han land. If she was the child of Lee, she would've been the daughter of a rebel who dethroned Ming Dynasty, even for a short while. Now she had Ng as her fake daddy, Lee as her real daddy and the woman that was blamed for all the Ming mess, Chan Yuen Yuen's daughter. She couldn't take it and ran and ran and ran, refusing to acknowledge all her parents and went straight to that little Bastard. And whatever written about that Cheng Hak Song was he continuation of her story after she knew of her true identity.

So Chan Yuen Yuen was that loose a woman huh?
I guess so. I mean they didn't show it but you can imply that when Lee Chi Seng took over the Ming kingdom and kidnapped Ng's family, including the well known of a beauty Chan Yuen Yuen, he must have either raped her or had sex with her. Why I said either was because of how Chan Yuen Yuen reacted towards Lee when they saw each other again. There was no fear, more like old lover meeting again. So I guess she was indeed a very immoral woman, though the writer tried to make as if she was noble by becoming a nun.

So who did Chan Yuen Yuen really loved?
Wai asked her and she said she didn't know.Until the nun, Gau Nan aka Princess Cheung Ping challenged the both of them to a duel to end the matter once and for all and they fought like crazed men, but Lee almost win and almost killed Ng when Chan ran to Ng and hugged him tight and said he'll have to kill her first. I guess she loved Ng BUT when Lee who was in shock and looked deeply hurt asked her what about if he was the one about to be killed?(Something like that). She said the same words" I would die with you". So in the end I am not sure who she loved more. But Lee Chi Seng left, Gau Nan left to be a real nun this time and let go of the revenge thing for her dead daddy, Ng went back to being his lord and to start a war against our Hong Hei, Wai left to take back the Princess back to Beijing, Ah Oh had already ran away and Chan went back to being a nun, walking feet apart from Ng to "remember my sins and find forgiveness".

Ng Sam Kwai really started a war?
Which will lead to why Lung Yee lost all her kung fu. Earlier Wai challenged her to go back to her Chief and ask him if he was combining forces with Ng Sam Kwai and off she went. Then Wai received a new assignment by the Emperor to bomb the God & Dragon Sect's island to smithereens with his newly acquired cannons. Wai reluctantly went but promised Lung Yee that as long as she did not come out of the island, he will not bomb the place. She didn't come out and later he and Seong Yee went in and found her in a pitiful state. Her chief thought she was betraying him by asking those questions and erased her of her Kung Fu and thus all she had left was her years of training in terms of inner strength, all she gave to Wai to blow the prison gate. They tried to escape but experienced near death experience and that was when Lung Yee realised Wai indeed loved her and was willing to die for her, as mentioned somewhere above. Anyway they succeeded in blinding that crazy Chief but he was still very powerful and he kidnapped Seong Yee and used her as a guide to reach Russia to get to him and Ng's biggest supporter, Princess Sophia and her gang who would have gotten some pieces of Han land if the overthrowing of Hong Hei was successful. Wai traced Seong Yee's footsteps, successfully saved her from the nutcase and stumbled upon the Princess Sophia on a hunting trip and kidnapped her back to Beijing, threatened her to end the partnership with Ng only to realise though she was supposedly the ruler, she was actually being controlled by her brother. Hong Hei promised that he would send army to Russia to overthrow her brother and she would stop conspiring with Ng and she readily agreed, when she was faced with prospect of being a prostitute if she said no (thanks to Wai of course). And thus Ng lost his biggest supporter.

So did Ng Sam Kwai won the war?
As history showed, he lost miserably. As in this series, he lost miserably, but not through war but rather, he died of a heart attack, induced by the death of his only son Ng Ying Hung who was killed by a shooting arrow that was part of a bigger scheme of lies to tempt this old fox into his own downfall when Siu Bo on the orders of the Emperor, tricked him into believing he was betraying the emperor, and thus led Ng into the supposedly real treasure of the Qing Empire that everybody wanted.

How come Ng believed him?
A very long story because in between lots of things happened to Wai. For example, the Emperor found out he was a member of the rebel gang and confronted him and demanded that he destroy the the rebel gang. He refused and was locked up only to escape and realise that his own house, where his sifu and the gang was in it was surrounded by cannons with a very eager Fung Sek Fan. He persuaded his stubborn sifu who wanted to die like a hero to crwal out through the "shit" tunnel to escape, only to encounter Cheng Hak Song and was arrested for treason. Wu wanted to go back to Taiwan to explain and was willing to be tied up and at that moment Fung Sek Fan arrived and arrested them all except Cheng Hak Song who escaped. Hong Hei agreed to let Wai and Ah Oh and his Sifu go on the condition that Wai go to Ng's territory and kill him. Reluctantly he go and pretended to be a traitor and asked Ah Oh to call him father. We all know AH Oh ain't his daughter, and Ng knew too but Ah Oh created this wonderful lie that he wanted to believe in that she was actually his daughter and her mom told her so. After testing Wai's loyalty (this you have to see for yourself) he believed Wai and followed Wai to the treasure. The treasure was the one that everbody seeked, that was the very secret of the Book of 42 Buddhist Scriptures. But Wai went there before and discovered to his utter disappointment there was nothing in there. The Emperor confirmed his disappointment, as the terausre was already in the treasury of the Qing and the story about the Feng Shui thing was only a story to confuse the mind of the rebels. Anyway, once the Ngs were dead, Wai went back to confront the Emperor and reluctantly Hong Hei let his sifu go,. But Wai discovered his sifu lost all his Kung Fu (thanks to Fung Sek Fan and nothing got to do with Hong Hei) and they decided to go back to Taiwan to the Chengs and was treated with disrespect. Cheng Hak Song's mom wanted to kill Wu and in the end, Wai saw through their deception and Ah Oh kidnapped Cheng Hak Song. But Wu being an honourably stupid man demanded Wai to not harm Cheng and Cheng took this opportunity to stab Wu once, and he was seriously injured. But Wia took Cheng as a hostage and made it to the harbour. But Wu succumbed to his serious injury. Wai wanted to kill Cheng but was stopped by Wu's 3 sidekicks. Only then did Wai knew that these very same three men that he had known since he joined the rebel gang was actually spies sent into the rebel gang even before Wai first went to Beijing to work for the Emperor. NOW we all knew how the Emperor know so much of everything. They took Cheng back to Beijing but Hong Hei played his cards right and gave Cheng a title, just to show to the Han people that he was a reasonable good Emperor and he will use persuasion instead of force as the way o govern his kingdom. A very smart move. Anyway Fung Sek Fan led an army to Taiwan and won the war.

What happened to Wai Siu Bo and wives then?
They ran away and lived in a far away land, away from politics for two peaceful and happy years. Kim Ling gave birth to a daughter named Seong Seong, Seong Yee to a son and another wife to a son. Ah Oh was heavily pregnant when Hong Hei's men came and asked Wai to go to Beijing. it seemed that the Emperor officially forgave him and gave him his title back. So they all went back happily, only to find something was amiss. King Ling and the wives except Lung Yee went to see the Empress Dowager whilst Wai went to see Hong Hei. But things were very different. From a respected Lord Wai, now the court was controlled by Fung Sek Fan and gang. Wai discovered Tor Loon who had helped him 2 years before to escape from the cannons that destroyed his house now was demoted to the rank of a small time official, but Dor Loon did not regret his actions. When Wai finally saw Hong Hei, they talked about old times, laughed and happily talked about their friendship when Hong Hei told him he needed Wai to take over the now weakened Heaven & Earth Society as their new leader since Chan Kan Nam was already dead and so was Wu Tak Tai. And then he was to destroy the rebel gang. But he said no and the Emperor looked at him coldly and asked him to say hello to his wives. It was then Wai realised that Hong Hei held his wives and children hostage, with the exception of Kim Ling. He reluctantly did as he was told, and saw his sifu, Gau Nan nun there and became the leader. he led them into the palace to kill the King but they were surrounded by many men and was attacked. Wai went and looked for the King and held him hostage in one of the most intense scene in this series. When everybody escaped, Wai simply threw down his sword and knelt before the King. Wu Tak Tai took this opportunity to beat the crap out of him and he was imprisoned.

One question. Lung Yee pretended to be Kim Ling's mom for 2 years and Kim Ling could live with her knowing that she kidnapped her mom for 2 years??
In fact Lung Yee said sorry to her but Kim Ling was not an unreasonable person. She knew why Lung Yee did what she did and she forgave her. Moreover Kim Ling reasoned that for 2 years she did nothing bad to her brother and Kim Ling and thus Lung Yee must have been a good person.

Ok. ...WAITTTT!!! Chan Kan Nam DIED?
The most pointless guest starring by an actor ever. Yes but don't ask me how. One scene we have Cheng Hak Song saying he burnt Chan to death and killed his own brother and he seemed to regret that. Next scene we have Wu Tak Tai saying that Chan died of some serious illness 3 months before. Then there was this scene that seemed to imply that Chan Kan Nam retired and was hiding somewhere. What I do know is he died.

What happened then to Wai? Couldn't he just escape?
Technically he could because he now possessed great Kung Fu thanks to his sifu, Wu Tak Tai who way before he died gave Wai all his years of inner energy. But Wai didn't want to, not even when his wives begged him to run. He simply had to "give his life back to his best friend". The Emperor was reluctant to order for his death, and he went to see Wai and they talked hard and long in one of the best scenes in this series. The Emperor looked at Wai and asked him "What do you think I should do?" and Wai said very seriously "You are now thinking whether to kill or not to kill me. And if you do order for my death, you are thinking whether to do this privately or openly. I have been thinking in your shoes sire, and I would order for my own death. I just want it to be a very open death, for all to see. Go back now and write an edict for my death sire". The Emperor nodded and he went away and Wai simply walked back into his own cell.

What about his wives? Why Wai himself asked for death?
Simple. He was thinking in the King's shoes. Imagine this. He was the King's best man, he was his most trusted and most loved official and in front of everybody he threatened to kill the King and let the rebels go. The King technically no longer have any respect of the masses. So if the King didn't kill him, then this could send a message to potential traitors that "hey, it's ok to be a traitor". So Wai had to die to give some respect back to the King. And he was thinking about his wives, but he didn't want to live as a coward and he preferred to die as a hero.

Was Wai executed and did he die?
Yes and no. The King after drinking himself silly tearfully approved his death sentence and cried the whole night and he even saw Wai's head in the box given to him by Fung Sek Fan who oversaw the execution. But sometimes what you see is not what you get.

So.....did Wai Siu Bo die?
All this happened in the last episode. I won't tell you here. You will either have to watch it yourself or simply find it somewhere in this review. I won't give you the ending THAT easily.

Funn....Let me just say this.....I HATE YOU!
I'm touched. *sob* *sob* *sob*

Biggest Complaint(s) & A Bit Of Comparison
I did not watch the universally applauded as the best version of DOMD starring the then very young Tony Leung and an even younger looking Andy Lau. I managed to watch an episode or two and these two actors clearly had the looks for the part and the chemistry as well. But I have seen the universally criticised new TVB version, DOMD 1998 and thus, whatever comparison I make will be between DOMD 1998 and DOMD 2000. But before I proceed I thank the person who created the numerical representations of years, if not having to spell DOMD 1998 and DOMD 2000 each and every time I make a reference to them would certainly bore you to death for reading this already too long a review and most certainly will drive me to insanity because the titles aren't just one word.

I have read some unedited comments in the Forums, other reviews site and I realised that the only review that I came across that did not really proclaim this as a classic was DOMD 2000 was in SPCNET. Perhaps the reviewer was of the older generation, who certainly have seen original DOMD. Most comments were paying too high a compliment to this series; saying it was a classic, the best series ever, the best DOMD ever, the best everything. And then there were many who commented that DOMD 1998 was horrible, and it was a well known fact that the press hounded Steven Ma for his poor performance, screamed that the wives were inadequate in terms of everything and that the only watchable one was Jordan Chan. Some points I agree some I did not. For whatever it is worth, below are my biggest complaints of DOMD 2000 and my explanation why I think DOMD 2000 didn't deserve such great applause and why I liked DOMD 1998 eventhough many didn't. I am looking purely at characterisation first. For comparison of performances, look under The Performances Rated.

Titles and Names
This DOMD 2000 was very inconsistent in terms of the delivery of the lines, and certain scenes.

When a King speaks to his subjects, he would refer to himself as "JUM" meaning "I". He would never use "ngor" which is also "I" used by common people. When the officers speak to the King, they would call themselves as "Bei Jik, Jin Pei, Sun" all referring to "I" for officers or servants. They never say "ngor" which was considered rude and was punishable for disrespect to the Emperor. Wai saying Ngor was an exceptional case since the Emperor let him be. But to have the Emperor saying "Ngor" instead of "Jum" would be so wrong even if this was fiction. More so when this Emperor saw himself as a cut above everybody, being the Son of Heaven, symbol of the Empire. I find it ridiculous when Patrick Tam switched from Jum to Ngor every other scene. What was he thinking? And one scene had the father meeting the son again, and the son called his father "Foo Wong". Nothing wrong here...IF YOU'RE IN MING DYNASTY! Well known word, after HZGG, it is WONG A-MAH! And the son when referring to himself when talking to his father, he ain't gonna say "San Yi" , meaning I, your son, but "Wong Yee". No difference between the two but the latter would connote his status as the Emperor. And Princess Kim Ling. Is it Kim Ling Gong Ju(Gong Ju) or Kim Ling Gak Gak (Ge Ge)? Take a wild guess and after watching HZGG for millions of times and if you still get this wrong, e-mail me your address and I'll come personally to strangle you plus burn your HZGG VCDs! I find all this supposedly trivial complaints to be big time complaints. So much attention given to the dresses, the sets, the sceneries, the history BUT they screwed up the most noticeable thing of all; the dialogue! It was so infuriating when Patrick went "Ngor.....".then "Jum......." then "Ngor....". It annoyed me big time and because of such a careless oversight, this series could have been a silly joke if not for the ending. You have to give it to Qiong Yau though. She always got the titles right. And you have to give it to DOMD 1998 for being more consistent in this aspect.

The characterisation of Wai Siu Bo.
I love Dicky, I really do as I have unashamedly declared my adoration for him in my Co-Stars of the Co-Stars in All About Yue Ling.

BUT

I really do not like the way the writers try to make Wai Siu Bo into some sort of a noble lovable brave refined hero. In fact they tried so hard to make him into a passionate loving man, his heart full of love that he can't help but fall for 7 women!! This character reminded me so much of the character Dicky played in Young Fong Sai Yuk and that is bad because both have very different agendas and personalities, on paper that is.

In the book, and even DOMD 1998 and original version, Wai Siu Bo was unrefined, uneducated, ruthless, cunning, full of tricks and sometimes had little conscience, except that he was bound his only virtue; loyalty for both sides. He cared nothing for the Rebel's cause nor did he cared that the Emperor was a Manchurian and he a Han. I find him to be a disgusting anti-hero, lusting after women, even raping them (DOMD 1998). His only redeeming quality was his unconditional friendship with the young Emperor. In this DOMD 2000, many many things were done and told to justify why Wai deserved all of his 7 wives; that he believed in the Rebel's cause; that he was greedy but not too much; that he never touched his wives and it was all talk only; that he would show his temper to the Emperor and some scenes hinted that his friendship with the Emperor was not entirely unconditional. That he knew such great kung fu. To make Wai into a justifiable fearless kung fu hero would be to take away the entire magic of the character; that this man was so despicable and disgusting who used his cunning wit to save the day but still we like him.

The Relationship between Hong Hei and Siu Bo
Siu Bo's relationship with the Emperor was a bit weird in DOMD 2000. No build up as to his friendship with the Emperor. It was all much too fast. No growing up and maturing with the Emperor. It was always "Siu Bo, do this...Siu Bo do that" and off Siu Bo went, almost too fast and too eager. I admit there were some scenes where the Emperor treated Siu Bo well, in fact calling him his only trusted friend, which you would understand why Siu Bo would die for the Emperor. But compared to DOMD 1998, something was seriously fake and contrived about their friendship.

In DOMD 1998, the best were the portrayal of the relationship between the young Emperor (Steven Ma) and Wai Siu Bo (Jordan Chan). In there you could really feel their unconditional trust and friendship for each other and when they fought you will feel heartsick for them. In DOMD 2000, there were scenes where when Patrick was not happy he would just slap Dicky. "Slap slap slap",and then they were still genuine friends? There were also plenty of times that Patrick reminded Dicky that he was the Master and Dicky the servant. There were many moments you have this feeling that if you were Wai Siu Bo you would feel like a servant rather than a friend to this man who could decide whether you live or die.

In DOMD 1998, it was a very different relationship. I can't remember Steven slapping or raising his voice towards Jordan when he felt like it. In fact DOMD 1998 had something that this version seriously lacked; Wai teaching the Emperor on how to enjoy life. We all know what a boring life that a young Emperor would have, and when he met Wai, who was of the same age (in the book, I was told both were 13 years old when they first met), Wai being the street smart one, the Emperor in a way learned how to be cunning from Wai. How Jordan taught Steven how to swear, take away all the pretentiousness and just squat and discuss politics. I find their portrayal of the friendship much more sincere and genuine than that of DOMD 2000. I loved the scenes where Steven would playfully scold Jordan for not learning how to read or write. These scenes showed the closeness between them two. So it was very believable for the Emperor to be genuinely hurt when he found out of Wai's triple identities and felt betrayed as well. But he forgave Wai and even went personally to ask Jordan to come home. Until the very last scene where Steven thought Jordan had given away the location of the treasures of the Qing Dynasty, where they fought and Jordan for once screamed at the Emperor and felt hurt that the Emperor believed his set up for the members of the Rebel gang. Sometimes in Jordan's version I had this feeling that Wai Siu Bo felt more for the Emperor than for his sifu/rebel gang. He cared nothing for the cause. He was never political. And you could understand why Jordan would die for the Emperor because he was a prostitute's son, nobody respected him but this Emperor sought his advise, called him his friend, shook hands with him, shared secrets with him, would listen to him, talked to him in a very respective tones, let Wai take bribe monies; for once Jordan had someone of a higher position giving him respect and trusted him with important missions. In DOMD 2000, I couldn't see those scenes except for once or twice where all of a sudden the Emperor called him his friend. Something seemed contrived an forced with the relationship in DOMD 2000.

But one common thing about both versions and very real fact. Both had no friends in the beginning. In a way you would understand why Wai would die for the Emperor and went through great lengths to save him and even his kingdom. And the Emperor loved Wai for the very same reasons as well. In life it will be impossible to find genuine friends who are loyal and trustworthy. Wai loved the Emperor simply because everytime he did something really wrong, Hong Hei maybe mad and angry but he will always forgive Wai. And Emperor loved Wai because even if the Emperor went to the extreme, Wai was always there for him. In the end, in their eyes, they are not Emperor and Servant but Siu Yuen Tzi and Siu Kwai Tzi.

The Characterisation of the Emperor Hong Hei.
In DOMD 1998, the Emperor started out as naive, young and intimidated by Ao Bai. Then he grew up to be a matured Emperor. Though I admit that version seriously lacked a ruthless conniving Emperor which we could all see in DOMD 2000. In one scene that DOMD 2000 did not have, but in Jordan's version was to me a pivotal scene in the story of their friendship, Jordan wanted to see the Emperor and the Emperor simply dismissed him and went back to his study table to work, and his face was all serious business. Then Jordan narrated that he realised at that moment that his best friend had grown up and has stopped being his best friend and was now truly an Emperor. That scene showed the defining moment, when Jordan thought their friendship changed and that Jordan could no longer play buddy-buddy with the Emperor anymore. DOMD 2000 did not have such defining scenes. In fact I thought Patrick looked a bit too mature to play the naive and inexperienced Emperor who grew up to be who he was. His Hong Hei was bit too sinister looking, and it was a great wonder to me how Siu Bo could trust him when he looked like a person you can't quite figure him out. Perhaps that was the real Hong Hei and I would have liked it if such transformation took place at the end of the series. But this seemed to be the case even from the beginning. I didn't like that and I see it as a major flaw in this series. But I loved the ending scenes because that should be how the Emperor be but somehow the starting scenes of the Emperor was not very well written or well acted. And mind you, Wai Siu Bo is defined by his love for his wives and his devotion to the Emperor, and lacking the latter part could put one big hole in the story.

The Story of Ao Bai
One really big complaint, which was how they dealt with the story of Ao Bai.

Stupid stupid stupid!

IN DOMD 1998, that Ao Bai may not be scary, and he was power crazy wanting to be King and was therefore arrogant because he thought he was the one who gave the Manchurians their Kingdom, therefore he had little respect for the young Emperor, though he was still wary of the Emperor. Scenes as to how the Emperor played by Ao Bai's rules were nicely shown, and it showed how shrewd the young Emperor could be. And quite a classic scene how Ao Bai was damn rude to the Emperor, and the Emperor backing further and further away because he feared Ao Bai and then Jordan leapt to the Emperor's defense by scolding Ao Bai, which was then that Jordan realised he was the Emperor and it was also the start of a wonderful friendship. This important scene could also be seen in DOMD 2000, and was what I termed as The Ultimate Classic Scene. Anyway, the Ao Bai in DOMD 2000 was plain mad as in insane. When he knew the Emperor wanted to poison him, he flew into a rage and wanted to kill him for being ungrateful. All we had was one mad dissatisfied Ao Bai. But what about him wanting to be the Emperor? How about his plot to take over the Kingdom? These were dealt with intelligently in DOMD 1998 but in DOMD 2000, it was dealt with so stupidly I don't even know how to describe how stupid it was.

The occupation of Madam Wai (Wai's Mother)
In DOMD 2000 Mdm Wai was not a prostitute but some sort of an entertainer. In DOMD 1998 and in the book, she was a low classed prostitute in a brothel and Wai didn't even know who his father was, more so having 7 fathers!

The Character Missing In Action
And I was thinking which character was struck off in favour of the useless Siu Kam Yu in DOMD 2000 and then I remembered; the rebel girl living in the forest with a very stern father. Can't remember much about her and not very memorable, even in DOMD 1998.

The Characters of the Empress Dowager & Wife of God & Dragon Sect
In DOMD 1998, the Empress Dowager was a fake for almost 2 decades, where she was the one who saw the Emperor grew up, taught him politics and gave birth to Kim Ling. When the truth was revealed, she was killed together with her lover. The good scenes were the ones where the Emperor couldn't bring himself to order for her death and when she was accidentally killed, he felt sad.It just showed that what a good man that he was.Which also made it easier for Kim Ling to leave with Wai. And the real Empress Dowager wasn't as nice as in DOMD 2000.

But in DOMD 2000, no such story and Kim Ling was the real Princess. And in here the Empress Dowager became Lung Yee, younger, prettier and definitely much more attractive. There was no wife of that sect and Lung Yee though older than Wai certainly was not as old as the original character. But I like this Lung Yee and her cold treatment of Wai. Wai did a lot of things to win her love, much more than what he did for Ah Oh, the one he loved most amongst the wives who were living. He would risk being killed again and again for her. In fact I feel that the relationship between Lung Yee and Wai was the most well developed of all the relationships in here, and I just love seeing them being playful to each other; thanks to the chemistry between Dicky and Monica.

The Character of Princess Kim Ling
Much changes have been made to this rather useless character in DOMD 2000. In DOMD 1998, played excellently by Lau Yoke Chooi (though she was the noisiest in there), she was nothing much for a character. She was useless, unreasonable, lusty, slutty, demanding, spoilt and the wife that Wai cared less for a very good reason; she was simply annoying and irritating. And their relationship was a bit sadomasochistic in nature; she enjoyed being beaten by him and he just can't help but hit her more.Their relationship was purely sex,And he had to marry her because she was pregnant with his child. We feel nothing for the spoilt Kim Ling there.

In DOMD 2000, there was a facelift and I can't say I hated that aspect. This was one aspect I liked about this series, apart from Lung Yee's character. We have a prettier, younger and much more loving princess in here. She tried hard to be understanding, and there were times you would feel like slapping her for slapping Wai and kicking and ordering him around. But she redeemed herself for really loving Wai, pining for this uneducated and a man beneath her status. She was cute and energetic, and you can't help but hate Wai for the way he was treating her. Wai would remember all his 6 wives with great affection, but he never considered her as one. He might have used her for his physical needs like in DOMD 1998 but our Wai here was too noble so we can't think of him that way. So the explanation for his rather cold treatment of her behind her back and all of a sudden too loving in front of her was he was simply trying to make her happy so that she wouldn't spill the beans on their sordid relationship to her brother, the Emperor. He didn't even feel happy when she said she was pregnant, but that was understandable since she was due to be married to Ng Ying Hung. And he even encouraged her to marry Ng Ying hung, and did little to even try to find ways to stop the wedding. He seemed way too eager to get rid of her. If this was DOMD 1998, I would understand why Wai wanted to be rid of the princess. But this was DOMD 2000, and I considered it a major flaw of the story. He simply had no reason to pretend to love the Princess in here.She was adorable and though she may threaten him, it was empty threats. If she wanted to spill the beans, she would have done it millions of times but she even kept secrets for Wai. She was giving enough to have saved Ah Oh and even sacrificed herself. Even from the beginning I felt Wai's treatment of her was not logical.One very good scene had Kim Ling confessing that she knew he didn't love her as much as she loved him, and Siu Bo told her to stop being so serious because she wasn't always that serious. He felt guilty in that scene because he knew she was right. So this Kim Ling knew he didn't really love her but she stood by him through thick and thin. In fact, Kim Ling would have my vote as the Most Underappreciated Wife. He went after Ah Oh, saying how well Seong Yee treated him, how great was Lung Yee, etc, but why can't he see that before all of them, the Princess was the first to treat him well, albeit all the slaps and threats which actually came from a desperate woman who wanted him to love her? He didn't do as much for this wife as he had done for the others, and for that I disliked him when it came to Kim Ling.

The Rest Of The Wives
Ah Oh and the rest of the wives were basically the same with DOMD 1998 but in DOMD 1998, much more scenes were given to Seong Yee and there was a slight departure in DOMD 2000.

Seong Yee didn't grow up with Wai like in DOMD 1998 and Seong Yee was the typical YES woman even in both versions. She would never say No to Wai. Though there was a scene where she doubted Wai's affections for her, seeing how he treated Lung Yee, but I can't see why she still doubt him after what he did for her. They were almost frozen in the Siberian winter, and Seong Yee was hurt. She was thirsty and our hero without thinking took off all his clothes and melted the snow with his heat so that she could have a few drops of water. Very dramatic I know, almost embarrassing to watch but it just showed how much he loved his Seong Yee. And then another time she was hurt from a gunshot wound and needed some medication, he braved the winter storm and SKATED to get the medicine, risking frost bites and all. The skating part was stupid, but the rest was noble.

Ah Oh was the same old Ah Oh here. However a bit more emphasis was given to the character of Fong Yee and even Ping Yee. Nothing much could be say except that this DOMD 2000 wives had a bigger budget in clothes and better hairtsylists.

The Character of Chan Kan Nam
Very little scenes and I remembered he became Wai's sifu in DOMD 1998 but in here, Ekin Cheng was probably a very busy actor and singer and thus we have Leung Ka Yan as Wai's sifu.

The Character of Chief Eunuch Hoi Tai Fu
In DOMD 1998, Wai felt nothing for the man who brought him into the palace, threatened him bodily harm unless he helped him with locating the Book of 42 Buddhist Scriptures.

In DOMD 2000, something strange happened. They didn't seem close at all but when Hoi died, something confusing happened and I find it to be totally unnecessary and it was just there to make you cry (I didn't), make you feel sad (I did feel sad a bit because Hoi here was very funny and cute) and give Wai a much more gentler person by having him cry and calling Hoi "father" (which was why I thought this scene was totally unnecessary and was a flaw in the flow of the story).

The Character of Gau Nan/Princess Cheung Ping
In DOMD 1998 she was appropriately without make-up and looked way too serious for her own good. I like Lily Lee's sulking Gau Nan. But in DOMD 2000, she was bit too young and her lips, too much lip gloss. Not much sulking too.

Rest of the Characters
The usual such as Tor Loon, Yeung Yeuk Chi. But one character from DOMD 1998 that I liked was sorely missing in here;

The Emperor's Wives
NONE! Both versions never ever talked about the Emperor's Empress. Quite a dedicated fella eh?

The Secret in the Book of 42 Buddhist Scriptures
One thing that DOMD 2000 did better than DOMD 1998 was the length of time needed to discover the secret that everbody wanted from the 8 books. DOMD 1998 was way too fast in discovering the map hidden in each book and all Jordan needed to do was to collect all books, take out the map and give them to whoever wanted the books with the false map. In DOMD 200, even by the time you reach tape 16, Dicky who by then had 6 of the books in his possession still didn't know what the secrets of the 8 books were and all he knew was that it contained something that will lead them to the hidden treasure. I thought that was logical. Because if it was that easy to discover, woulnd't the Emperor and Ao Bai, smart people would figure it out by then?

The treasure of the Qing and the Feng Shui Plot
In DOMD 1998, this secret of the treasure played and important part in the storyline and also the breaking off of the relationship between the Steven and Jordan, so much so they wanted to kill each other; Steven because he thought Jordan betrayed him which he didn't because Jordan used his own entire savings to build a mini-treasure cave whilst Jordan because Steven threatened to kill his wives and children. It was a very dramatic scene and it was well done and well acted when Jordan looked genuinely hurt that his best friend thought of him the way they did. And the the cave began to crumble and Steven was knocked unconcious. But even then Jordan will still save Steven and that was how Steven forgave Jordan for everything and promised never to force him to choose his side of loyalty. That was a lovely scene and very touching and at the same time sad because Steven never saw Jordan again.

In DOMD 2000, there was no treasure and there was no Feng Shui whatever., It was all only a lie and I was as disappointed as Dicky's Wai when he saw an empty cave. But it was a clever twist to the story and I realise whatever drama that was going to happen will not revolve around the treasure. It was purely a red herring.

The Expression of Wai Siu Bo When He Discovered The Secret Map
This I really do not like in DOMD 2000 because it was illogical.

In DOMD 2000 when Wai knew about the secret he went looking for the treausure with the hope of grabbing the gold and whatever and he even asked his sifu Wu Tak Tai along but of course Wu Tak Tai never made it there.

In DOMD 1998, Jordan told nobody when he knew about the secret and secretly went to locate it and then decided to bury the secret by creating a false cave with his own money.

In a way I find DOMD 1998 much more logical in this respect. Wai knew the treasure and Feng Shui had a big impact on the Qing empire and will he ask his sifu to tag along? Why then was he always saying "Siu Yuen Tzi is my best friend"? Because if he was his best friend, Wai will act as Jordan did. He would carry the secret to his own grave because he didn't want to harm the King nor did he want to help the rebel gang. I find DOMD 2000's approach to this issue as really confusing and very illogical. Especially our Dicky's Wai Siu Bo was supposedly 100 times more honourable than our Jordan and at that moment he wanted more money for himself? Ridiculous!

Best Aspect
If there was any redeeming factor about this version it would be the shift in the emphasis in the storyline; DOMD 1998 placed more emphasis on the relationship of the King and Siu Bo but this version, plenty of time was devoted to the development of the relationship between Siu Bo and his wives, especially Seong Yee, Lung Yee and Kim Ling. I especially like the story between Lung Yee and Siu Bo and Kim Ling and Siu Bo. The writer tried hard in justifying why these women loved him so and I thought..well they were very successful at that.

And this series talked about rivalry and jealousy courtesy of the trouble maker Fong Yee. DOMD 1998 didn't have scenes where they quarreled big time. In fact they seemed to get along splendidly. But this version had them almost in a catfight. And Wai didn't know what to do. And his mother asked him "Who would you persuade first?", and he knocked on the door and said "Lung Yee"...but the room turned out to be Fong Yee's!

There was something in this series that DOMD 1998 didn't have. They gave definite endings to the story. We get to see Ng Sam Kwai and his son die, his kingdom fall, we get to see the situation in Taiwan and the struggle of the Heaven & Earth Sect. Also more scenes with that Bastard Cheng Hak Song. I find that aspect very satisfying for someone who likes definite endings and I am one of those that wants the intestine to be drawn instead of us playing guessing games. We even get to see battle scenes!

I loved the last 2 episodes, where there was a sudden shift again in the story back to the Emperor and Wai. Those scenes were simply the whole series' highlight and I shall elaborate when I reveal the ending.

Worst Aspect
Whatever I have said in Biggest Complaints and some more in here.

Must they be so dramatic in showing how much Wai would do for his wives?

Skating? Like did it exist then in China? And was all the ground pure ice? Illogical!

And another Biggest Complaint which will be the worst aspect. So much attention given to the sets, the dresses, the hairs BUT they dared to show Dicky wearing a big sunglasses. Perhaps they thought cute but I was so darn annoyed everytime he wore those sunglasses. Brother...it was 1600-1700 and sunglasses in that form did not exist! What a big blunder the have made apart from the titles.

And that Flying Bloody Saucers at the beginning where they could cut off heads easily. That scene was laughable man. I tell you with Asia discovering computer effects, they have done it so cheaply I just wished they didn't do it at all!

Must they have so many slow mo scenes and keep repeating the old scenes again and again and again? Boring!

The Kung Fu scenes were horrible.

The worst had to be this. I fast forwarded them all. A lot of emphasis was place on the story of Hung Onn Tung and that God and Dragon Sect island. I hated those scenes because there they gave the longest speeches like "Long Like Chief Hung, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" . His title and greeting was so darn long. I lost patience watching those scenes and simply fast forwarded them.

Excellent Aspect
The dressing, especially the wives' hairdo. Each was different from another and very attractive. My vote for the best hairdo would either be Mak Ka Kei's (Fong Yee) or Ruby's. I really like that butterfly thingy on her head, very nicely done and very imaginative. The make ups for all the wives were so good I wonder can I learn to make-up from the Chief Make-up? The dressing were all great. Even Monica's Lung Yee. But her Empress Dowager do was a bit exccegerrated, that peacock head dressing but very extravagant and again, original. And that chief of God & Dragon Sect's face (Hung Onn Tung), he had this drawing of a dragon on his face. Simply magnificent! Kudos to the costume, hair and make-up people.

The cinematography of this series. Beautiful sceneries, and if you're wondering why ALL SNOW? Well, they're all real. This series was shot during the winter in China. Breathlessly beautiful.

I loved the last 2 episodes' sceneries where I guess the production team got the permit to film in the Forbidden City. The scene where it was sunset and Patrick was doing Tai Chi in front of the main palace. The last scene where he was standing on the Great Wall of China. The scene where Dicky was carrying Ruby walking with the great palace as a back drop. Excellent scenes.

Disappointing Aspect
Ah Oh was supposed to be drop dead gorgeous, since her mom Chan Yuen Yuen kinda caused the downfall of Ming Dynasty. BUT the hairdo for Ah Oh in here was so ordinary so bland it wasn't even nice. But the hairdo for Chan Yuen Yuen was very nice though.

Kim Ling was pregnant when she ran off with Wai. And yet 2 years later only she gave birth and between that not one word was spoken as to her pregnancy. She gave birth the same time as Seong Yee. This could have been the worst aspect but I rather put it here because it was disappointing how they overlooked such a big issue. Don' tell me, in the olden days women gave birth after 2 years of pregnancy is it? What a blatantly careless oversight!

Embarrassing Aspect
I feel some scene the have gone overboard. The scene where Wai thought it was Siu Kam Yu and so he rubbed nose to nose with a very ugly woman for the longest of time. I was thinking .."Eh!Enough ler!'. Then there was this scene where he was playing hide and seek with his wives in the monastery and he couldn't see and he caught the head monk and Wai practically chewed at his nose, for the longest of time. It was damn embarrassing to watch those scenes. Very brave of Dicky. Then there was this one where he laid flat on top of Lung Yee for so darn long. And then there was this where he shared an egg role with Ping Yee and each ate one side and finally they reached each other and he gave her a quick kiss. Not that I am pious and all but these scenes would have been ok but they were all too darn long!

The HUH?! Factor
Plenty with the most glaring four.

How did Chan Yuen Yuen knew Ah Oh was kidnapped by Ng and how come she knew Wai knew Ah Oh? How come Ng said "Yuen Yuen where are you?!" in one scene and yet he had no problem of locating her and was in time to discover her and Lee Chi Seng there?

Why when Dicky was given the title that was the original title of this series, he was wearing the same robe he was wearing way before he was awarded such a title? What then was so special was that robe when Dicky hung it for his mother to hug and kiss? Why not another robe?

How come Ng Sam Kwai, by just one look knew Ah Oh was his supposedly long lost daughter? Because she looked exactly like her mom? But then why then was he so cold and unemotional towards her? Because she tried to kill him and was stubborn as hell? Why am I asking the question and the answering them with a question? because I am trying to make some sense into that rather unemotional reunion scene?

Where were the Moks? We see Mok Kim Ping the supposed princess and Fong Yee running everywhere but where were the rebel gang for the throne the Moks?

Favourite Scenes
Everytime Ruby Lin appeared in the series. She was very pretty in there.

Scenes with Kim Ling and Wai.

Scenes with Lung Yee and Wai.

Scenes where the wives fought for his attention.

Scenes with Lung Yee.

Sometimes the scenes with Emperor and Wai, such as when Wai tried his best to protect the stubborn Emperor who refused to leave when danger was only a few feet away, scenes where the Emperor felt betrayed and wanted to KILL Wai, the last episode though I hated the flow of the story in there which I shall explain when I do reveal the ending.

The scenes (however limited they were) with Chan Kan Nam in it.

The last 2 episodes between the Emperor and Wai where especially in one scene Wai tearfully begged the Emperor as Siu Yuen Tzi to not force him to do things that he didn't want to.

Least Favourite Scenes
Those all of a sudden scenes where Wai looked at the Emperor and questioned his sincerity as a friend. Those fighting scenes. I always thought Wai depended on his cunning brain rather than his kung fu ability to save the day but in DOMD 2000, which was very similar to Stephen Chow's movie version,(The Royal Tramp) he knew a bit of Kung Fu. At least enough to save the day. Which was not right.

Classic Scenes
A scene that I also loved in DOMD 1998 and I am glad they didn't edit this scene out.

Ao Bai was talking very rudely to the Emperor, demanding for the death of a loyal Minister of the Emperor's, and the more he talked, the closer he walked towards the Emperor. In DOMD 1998, Jordan couldn't stand the arrogance of that man and jumped out and gave him a very good lecture. In DOMD 2000, Dicky was already the acknowledged eunuch of the Emperor and he couldn't stand the arrogance of that man and proceeded to give him a very good lecture on manners, respect and his position as the servant and Patrick as the Emperor and reminded him that the Emperor had the power to behead him if the Emperor wanted to. Excellent scene.

Wai was forced to kidnap Hong Hei but before he did he screamed at Hong hei and was holding a sword in his hand. He said to Hong Hei "You want me to betray my people; my people want me to kill you. So I decided to leave and to not help either of you and yet you won't let me be!" and then he went into crazy mode and threatened to kill the King. And guess what? The classic scene was the King's expression. There was no expression; almost a calculative cold and cruel expressionless expression. Very good scene.

The Ultimate Classic Scene
The ending. A very satisfying ending for the relationship of Wai and Hong Hei. Hong hei was standing on the great wall of China (beautiful scene) regretting his decision to execute Wai. Then suddenly Gau Nan nun appeared and killed all his men and they were alone on the Great Wall of China, the symbol of power of any Kingdom, the impregnatable defense wall. She was about to kill him when suddenly Wai appeared. Hong Hei immediately smiled and asked "Didn't you die?" and Wai answered something like "I will never die as I will always be there for you". Gau Nan screamed at Wai why he stopped her and Wai then gave the speech of his life; the best speech in the entire series;

Wai : "Why do you want to kill him? He is a good Emperor. People have work to do, jobs with money to feed their family, the Kingdom is peaceful, there are no more enemies, the economy and politics is stable. Why do you still want to kill him?"

Gau Nan : "Because he is a Manchurian and this is a Han land"

Wai : "Does it matter if he is Han or Manchurian? Does it matter you are from this side and he from the other side? He believes in Han and Manchurian being a family. "

Gau Nan :"But they killed our people; took our our kingdom.."

Wai:" I am sorry to say this sifu, but even when your father was the Emperor he didn't do as well as this man is doing right now. He is a good Emperor. If you think he is not a good ruler, kill him and I'll have nothing more to say. Wake up sifu! Wake up!"

And then Gau Nan looked at Wai and then Hong Hei, and Hong Hei was super calm because he knew Wai was right; he was a good King and he has built a stable empire. Tearfully Gau Nan threw away the sword and ran away crying. Because she knew it was the real end to the Han struggle. The Manchurians had won by simply being better in governing the Han land and why kill a good King? Who then could be King?

Then in one of the more emotionally sad scene, Wai said that Wai Siu Bo is dead, Siu Kwai Tzi is dead. He will never see the King again and he will never enter politics again but he and Hong Hei agreed that they will be friends for life and nothing could change the years they had spent together. And 10 years may not be much, but for two men who had no friends, and to have found each other and found genuine friendship, to forgive and forget, those 10 years were indeed well spent. I almost cried when Wai walked away and Hong Hei looked on. And then suddenly Hong Hei stopped Wai and asked the question;

"How is Kim Ling doing?"

Most Hated Character
Cheng Hak Song. That little bastard.

Most Happiest News
That Siu Kam Yu died. And thus I didn't have to sit through the torture of hearing that accent and seeing Shu Kei act. She would also be the Most Redundant Character. She was in here just to show one thing; Wai Siu Bo was capable of loving someone with all his heart. That was her role,and frankly so happy when she died.

Most Unnecessary Sentimental (NOT!) scene/Most Confusing Scene
The relationship between Hoi Tai Fu (Ng Man Tat) and Wai was very confusing to me, especially when Hoi died. Because I never thought of them as close but when Hoi was about to die, Wai tearfully said he wished he was his father and he called him "Baba" (another wrong word used! Should be Ah Die! Urrghhhhh!). I was like when did he feel that way? Because I didn't see that aspect of their relationship. Very confusing and I tell you, it was there for one sole reason; to make you cry for all the sentimental b*** s**t. I didn't buy it, In fact, the more sentimental and tears inducing scene would be as below.

Sentimental & Tears Inducing Scenes
When Lung Yee was ridiculed by Fong Yee and she felt useless. In one of the more romantic scene (in my opinion) had Wai persuading her to stay. I could never say no if I were her.

The ending when Wai and Hong Hei parted ways.

The very emotional scene when Wai and Wu Tak Tai was in Taiwan and Wu realise Cheng family sent killers to kill him. he asked them WHY???? and they simply answered that he was a traitor. Wu then went into emotions overload and released his pent up frustrations and cried; "The government says that I am a traitor; The Chengs says that I am a traitor; all my life I dedicated myself to the cause of the Hans and in the end I am just a traitor in their eyes" and he cried and cried and cried.

Most Sentimental & Tears Inducing Scene
The scene where something horrible happened to Kim Ling.

Most Favourite Wife
7 wives, who is my most favourite one? It's a close fight between Kim Ling and Lung Yee. I would say both.

Least Favourite Wife
Definitely that irritating and ugliest wife of the 6 living ones (dead ones doesn't count), Fong Yee. Hated her man, especially how she tried to stir things up with Lung Yee, hurting her feelings. I can't see why Wai even fell for this woman who wanted to walk away when she thought Wai was dead. Spineless woman. And she tortured Kim Ling by forcing her to do ALL the housework. Horrible woman.Could be Most Hated Character if not for Cheng Hak Song, the more scum of the scums in this series.

Cutest Wife
Ermmmm....Kim Ling.

Stupidest Wife
That Mok Kim Ping. Everything that Fong Yee said was right.No opinion of her own.

Most Pitiful Wife
Kim Ling not for what happened to her at the end but for the things that she said in the end.

Most Naive Character
Not stupid just naive. Kim Ling. Because she didn't want to marry Ng Ying Hung and she begged her brother not to marry her off and she threatened to blow the whistle on Wai and their affair. She was naive. She didn't care about the kingdom, whilst her brother was busy thinking of ways to secure the empire, everything she did was against that effort. Could be quite infuriating if not for the fact that Ruby played her.

Most Pitiful Character
Could be Ah Oh or Lung Yee or Kim Ling but they still have their arms right? It had to be Yeung Yeuk Chi, the follower of Ng Sam Kwai and sworn brother of Wai who asked his master not to rebel against the Emperor and as a result had his arms and legs cut of. Wai was appropriately emotional, which was why he applauded Kim ling's act of castrating the son.

I almost pitied Ng Ying Hung and Ng Sam Kwai when they died. You can say anything about them but I guess we must admit this one fact; their father and son relationship was very close.

Most Stylish Character
Ohhhhh...had to be Ekin's Chan Kan Nam. He was way too young for the role but my God, just sitting there he was all style man! He appeared so briefly you can't even call him a guest star but a special guest star. I just loved that scene where the feathers were floating everywhere and with his fingertips he pushed the feathers with such force that it shot through the bad guys like daggers. Great scene. But one complain. He didn't shave his head! But then it's Ekin man. Not in a million years would he do that.

Most Unreasonable Characters
That Ah Oh for the way she treated Wai at first. She was so blinded by that Mr Cheng. What she saw in him? At least in TVB version Cheng Hak Song was played by Kwok Yew Ming, taller and much better looking. This version..ewwwww!

That Kwai family. Talking about arrogance and stupidity.

Ao Bai.

Most Stupidest Character
Wu Tak Tai. Even when he was stabbed by Cheng Hak Song, he still say to Wai "Don't kill him..protect him..". I think some people just deserve to die for their own stupidity. He dug his own grave by being loyal to a family that called him a traitor! This is what I call blind devotion, something that Wai would never do.

Most Useless Group
Could have been Heaven & Earth Sect but my vote would go to the Taiwan Chengs. Stupid people. Kill off their own warriors, kill off tehir own people, all the internal fightings and guess what? Fung Sek Fan led and army to Taiwan and killed them all in 3 months!

Most Often Quoted Lines
"He's my friend..I will always be your friend...we are friends....I Wai Siu Bo has nothing except for three words; loyalty, loyalty and loyalty...." and that poem by Dicky saying something like "blah..blah..blah..I have strong arms.."

Most Favourite Couple
In DOMD 1998 I said the Emperor and Wai. But not in here for reasons that I've adequately explained above. My vote would be either Lung Yee & Wai or Kim Ling or Wai. Ermmm...I will have to say Kim Ling and Wai. I love their playful scenes together, especially the one where they laid on the back of each other whilst talking about serious stuff. And the chemistry between Ruby and Dicky was beyond description.

Best Chemistry
If this were to be DOMD 1998 I would say Jordan and Steven Ma. But this is DOMD 2000. The choice can be quite difficult to make. I am sure though my vote would not be for Patrick and Dicky. Definitely not Mak Ka Kei and Dicky. Perhaps Dicky and real life girlfriend, Zhang Si the girl who played Ping Yee. Maybe Seong Yee. Maybe, by a stretch of imagination, Shu Kei and Dicky (NO WAY!). Perhaps Monica and Dicky. But my priceless vote would be for Ruby and Dicky.

Performances Rated
Some good, some bad, but not one Excellent Performance though.

Best Performances
Whatever I have to say about Dicky Cheung they are all in my ALL ABOUT YUE LING site under Co-stars. Wouldn't consider changing one word at all eventhough I strongly disagree with the drastic change of the character of Wai Siu Bo.

Ruby Lin was very cute, mega beautiful and was the absolute drool factor for guys out there. And her thoughtful performance of Kim Ling was touching and a breakthrough for her since HZGG I. Though when she first appeared on the screen, she seemed a bit like a flower vase, just smiling and looked dumb, but as the series progressed on, she got better and better. But I still think her best was in HZGG I.

Monica Chan as Lung Yee was very well done though as the Empress Dowager she was a bit too young and overacted in some scenes. Can't stand her screaming voice though but luckilly none in here.

Patrick Tam Yiu Man was disappointing, at first. I wanted to put him under Not So Good Performances as I have written this before I saw the last two tapes. And I changed my mind thereafter though I still maintain he was disappointing at first. Many said Steven Ma when he put on the royal robe didn't look like a King. I beg to differ. He certainly have those Manchurian Kings' looks, thin, place, small eyes. But he was an inexperienced actor. I must confess; I like his Emperor more than Patrick's. To me Patrick when he wore the King's clothes didn't look like a King at all. He looked well fed, had plenty of sunshine and looked like he had collagen injected into his lips. Yes, but he doesn't look like an inexperienced young King. Steven fit the bill perfectly, except that he can't act as well. But I find Steven's acting was much more up to par by my standard than Patrick's. Perhaps due to his obvious inexperience and perhaps Steven felt a bit intimidated by the whole process, such was clearly seen in his Hong Hei, which was a very true and genuine performance, however inadequate was his performance. But Patrick's Hong Hei looked like a smart aleck,a sinister Hong Hei. Steven looked like a good King of a Hong Hei. Therefore I would say I didn't like this Hong Hei at all. And that sinister look was suitable for the last 2 tapes where Hong Hei became a conniving scheming man wanting to protect his Kingdom. I like that part of Hong Hei who was ruthless and was willing to sacrifice friend for the ultimate aim The calm calculative looks were simply flawless. And one scene he tearfully chop his royal seal for Dicky's death. That scene was also very good because you could feel his reluctance and his unwillingness to do what he was about to do but he had no choice. He simply had to. I didn't hate this character but I pitied him. BUT I still maintain that at the beginning Patrick Tam was like ill at ease with an innocent boy type of character and it was very apparent. And he was the character with the biggest script problem. But characterisation wise Hong Hei was very good, even better than Wai Siu Bo's.

The rest of the wives and casts were all equally good, except for...

Not So Good Performances
Athena Chu was pretty but not my idea of Ah Oh. She didn't have that extra ooompph to be Chan Yuen Yuen and Ah Oh. And I am still wondering why they didn't dub her voice for her roles as Chan Yuen Yuen? I see no difference between the both of them and I a very disappointed with her performance. Perahps her role was nothing new, same old Ah Oh. But I personally liked Leung Siu Bing's Ah Oh better and I could see a very big difference between that Ah Oh and her Chan Yuen Yuen. And Leung Siu Bing looks very good in costume drama; she posesses those ancient beauty I guess.

The woman that played Princess Cheung Ping. I like Lily Lee better because she sulked more.

Worst Performance
I have never had much thought about Shu Kei as an actress. It is rather infuriating to see her in so many movies, big or small role and her cantonese is even worse than Ruby's.I never considered her pretty, not even sexy and I do think she looks weird. As an actress she is clearly over-praised and overrated. I never had the opportunity to comment about her but now I do. Did you see her expression when she had to lie to Dicky about waiting for him to come home? Did you see her pain and frustration and hopelessness when she had to marry another man? No? Exactly my point. She was so expressionless I thought wow! What an actress! Everytime I look at her, in news and in movies, I see a very shrewd woman who knew how to plan and strategise her way into the HK entertainment world. But what I can't understand is what do the viewers see in her except for her bee stung lips that practically swallows her whole face? Her accent perhaps? Or were they fans from her (albeit short) III Category movie years? Whatever your answer may be I can only say what a taste you have. Or to be more accurate,what a lack of taste you have.

Reasons To Watch This Series
Great Sceneries
Great cinematography
Learn to apply make up courtesy of the wives
Ruby Lin, the ultimate drool factor.
Ruby Lin, the ultimate cute factor.
Ruby Lin, the ultimate beautiful factor
The wives
Dicky Cheung
Definite endings for most characters
An unexpected ending, which you would already know if you have been reading reviews such as this and discussing the series in forums on the Internet.

Reasons To Avoid This One
Weak storyline as to the relationship between Wai and Hong Hei
Patrick Tam wasn't his usual best at first
Reminded you of Young Fong Sai Yuk only much better
You don't know who were the wives except for Ruby Lin
You liked Leung Siu Bing's Ah Oh and not Athena's Ah Oh
You hate series that is half dubbbed and half original voices.
You can't stand Shu Kei (but she only appeared max 20 min)
You wouldn't like the ending if you are Ruby Lin's fan.

Verdict & Recommendation
This is one series that was based on a book that had a very imaginative storyline, where Jin Yong I guess departed from his usual hero stories. He admirably put the fictional character of Wai Siu Bo into the history of China and successfully intergrated the real Hong Hei and a very fictional character into the very real events. This has got to be Jin Yong's most imaginative work, since he made it into a comedy.

This is one series however that the more you watch the more flaws you can see. I didn't like some aspects, hated many others but yet I find this series exceedingly and satisfyingly ENTERTAINING. Certainly it is worth your money and time to watch this, especially when you have Ruby Lin and Dicky Cheung in it. And you can't say that the wives are ugly because the wives are the prettiest lot amongst the 3 versions. The performances are great and the sceneries will leave you breathless. But it will not be those series that you would want to watch again and again because it was too long and too repetetive in some scenes , and tried to be overly sentimental in others. And some scenes were plain ridiculous and many were testing my patience. The writer took the simple and yet complicated comedy of Luk Ding Gei and revamped it and gave it a new emphasis by making it more dramatic and took the character of Wai Siu Bo to the extreme. I didn't like that. The joy of the book and the other versions perhaps was that ever if Wai was involved in some complicated matters, he could somehow make it lighthearted, like it took no effort. The problem with this series is that it wants to be everything and I couldn't take all that in. It doesn't know whether it wants to be a comedy or a serious drama. The writer made Wai Siu Bo into something which is disagreeable to me and for that I feel the magic was lost. So in that aspect, I would conclude that this series is worth you watch but not worth to buy because it is only good for one time viewing only. And I would say the same about DOMD 1998 which was exceedingly entertaining but of little value in watching it again.

Therefore, if you could ignore the blatant flaws of this series, ignore the book, ignore all previous versions, ignore that you are Jin Yong who wrote the original story, I strongly recommend you to watch this one, and give your brother a chance to drool whilst looking at Ruby, your mom a chance to go "Oh he's so cute" whenever Dicky appears, your aunt to go "I thought the book was much better", your uncle to go "love Tony Leung version better", sister to go "DOMD 1998 sucks big time! This one is great!" and yourself to go "Oh could you all please just shut up and let me watch this in peace?!".

If I Were The Scriptwriter I would...
Cut the sentimental crap especially the Hoi Tai Fu story. Make Dicky Cheung despicable instead of lovable. Find another younger looking Emperor. Cut the story shorter. Cut those suggestive scenes where Dicky chewed and kissed men. Though I like Monica, I would have loved this even more if Fann Wong were to play Lung Yee. Find another Ah Oh with a better voice and possibly fairer skin. Get Vicky Zhao a role in there. Get Zheng Pei Pei to play Gau Nan/Cheung Ping. Get a not so busy actor to play Chan Kan Nam. Revamp the bloody script to cut out the inconsistency. Give everybody a crash course on the Qing Dynasty and teach them the proper words to use. Do some in depth research as to when was the sunglasses invented. Be more consistent when it comes to editing scenes. Give it some original soundtrack. Compose a better theme song. Make the last song into theme song. And most important of all, get Jin Yong for some serious consultation and give everybody a copy of the book to read, though they might already have.

Interesting Facts
Not produced by TVB but gave TVB one of it's highest ratings when it was broadcast, making Dicky an even bigger star than he already was.

In the book, both Hong Hei and Wai Siu Bo were supposed to be 13 years olds when they first met!

This was Jin Yong's last book and frankly his most imaginative one. He successfully put the fictional character of Wai Siu Bo into the formative years of Hong Hei's rule and the story though a bit exceggerated but quite logical.

There ARE translated versions of Jin Yong's 3 books on Wai Siu Bo! Now if only I can find them!

Did you know that Athena Chu and Monica Chan once acted in a movie where they had this really intense kissing scene? They played lesbians and frankly that movie was quite good, the story was entertaining and My God, could Monica Chan kiss! They were fondling each other, well actually it was Monica doing all the fondling from Athena's Face right to down to....well everywhere except there was no nudity.

Interesting Sequal
If you're dying to know what happened to Wai Siu Bo and his wives when they were old, you could watch this semi-sequal of his life in War & Remembrance though you wouldn't even know the actors and actresses playing the Wai household. But at least you get some sort of a closure to his story.

Interesting Observation
One scene had ex Princess Cheung Ping going "I was once in love with a man...". Was she talking about Yuen Sing Chi????In fact I feel Jin Yong should have given Yuen Sing Chi a special guest appearance in this book.

Silly Observation
Supposed that Wai had the full 7 wives. 7 wives, 7 days in a week. One each day? Wouldn't he be so tired or exhausted? Ok forget what I've just said. By the way, can a man really love all his 7 wives equally? I guess Kim Ling's favourite question is already answered.

Interesting Comparison
Do read my DOMD 1998 review and see for yourself any comparisons that you agree on. Do read my Young Fong Sai Yuk review for completion sake. And then remember to read Crimson Sabre to get a bit of background for how Qing came to rule China. You're also cordially invited to read my in-depth thoughts on some actors you can find in this series in my ALL ABOUT YUE LING : CO-STARS site. Finally, do read my Princess Huai Yu review and write a nice letter to Jin Yong for having the intelligence and sense not to screw up the story of that era like that Taiwanese counterpart did, especially with regards to the story of Ng Ying Hung. And finally, after you have watched this series, do submit your Reviews to us for a bit of More Comparisons. Bash me left , right, centre, front and back if you prefer in your reviews but just don't write to me and say I wasn't detailed enough for this review.

Interesting Soundtrack
90% from TVB series. Some background music from JTTW I but mostly from Happy Ever After soundtrack. And the songs by Dicky wasn't that good though I liked the ending song. Anyway, not that interesting for a soundtrack.

Interesting Spoof
Two in here which made this series into almost a joke. One we could see the character of Fong Sai Yuk in the monastery and another was a reference to Huan Zhu Ge Ge, which clearly did not exist at that time. Maybe the writers thought it was cute since Dicky was Fong Sai Yuk and Ruby was in HZGG. But if I remembered it correctly, both were set in times way after Hong Hei's rule. I thought they were plain silly in doing this and their effort in making a serious dramatic classic nose dived from thereon. And look out for Jin Yong (Kam Yung)'s name being mentioned by Dicky in the last episode.

Interesting Quotes
I put these very same quotes in my ATE review and changed a few words to suit the review, and said that these quotes by our very own Chinese genius, Zhuge Liang could have been quoted by Yip Win Tim. Well guess what? In it's original forms, it could have been quoted by our Emperor Hong Hei himself, especially the first and second quote. Excellent philosophy and I just want to put it in here because I want you to read these and I suspect that the hit counter for this review will be much higher than that of the ATE review and I want to be able to reach you.....

"To overcome the intelligent by folly is contrary to the natural order of things; to overcome the foolish by intelligence is in accord with the natural order. To overcome the intelligent by intelligence, however, is a matter of opportunity. There are three avenues of opportunity: events, trends, and conditions. When opportunities occur through events but you are unable to respond, you are not smart. When opportunities become active through a trend and yet you cannot make plans, you are not wise. When opportunities emerge through conditions but you cannnot act on them, you are not bold. Those skilled in generalship always achieve their victories by taking advantage of opportunities."
(Zhuge Liang, ca. 200 AD, The Way of the General)

". . . an enlightened ruler does not worry about people not knowing him, he worries about not knowing people. He worries not about outsiders not knowing insiders, but about insiders not knowing outsiders. He worries not about subordinates not knowing superiors, but about superiors not knowing subordinates. He worries not about the lower classes not knowing the upper classes, but about the upper classes not knowing the lower classes."
(Zhuge Liang, ca. 200 AD, The Way of the General)

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
(Zhuge Liang, 3rd century C.E.)

Interesting History
I do not want to repeat myself as to the history of Qing Dynasty, Hong Hei,what really happened to his father, Cheung Ping, Ming Dynasty, Heaven & Earth Society and Ao Bai.All these you can read from my DOMD 1998 review, Princess Huai Yu review in Taiwan section and Crimson Sabre review for the one on Ming Dynasty. But I have one thing to add. Kang Xi (Hong Hei) did not order for the death of Ao Bai but because of his past contributions to the Dynasty, he was imprisoned for life. Remember to scroll to the end of the review for the history and I stand to be corrected.

Now I am curious about the names that were mentioned repeatedly; Ng Sam Kwai, his heirs, his fate, Lee Chi Seng and Cheng Sing Kung, the supposed dead ancestor of the Cheng rebel gang. Who was these men especially Cheng Sing Kung that TVB once made a series on him of the same name? Seng Kung Seng Kung.....it meant success. Success Cheng. WHO WAS HE?!?! Did some digging in Brittanica Online Library and without any alteration, here goes ....

Ng Sam Kwai
Wu San-kuei
born 1612, Liaotung Province, China
died Oct. 2, 1678, Hen-chou, Hunan

Pinyin Wu Sangui Chinese general who invited the Manchus of Manchuria into China and helped them establish the Ch'ing dynasty in 1644. Later, in southwest China, he led a revolt against the Ch'ing in an attempt to set up his own dynasty.

Wu had been the Ming general in charge of defending the northeast frontier against the Manchus. When the Imperial capital at Peking was attacked by the rebel bandit leader Li Tzu-ch'eng, Wu's forces were summoned to aid in raising the siege, but the city fell (April 1644) before his arrival. Li then advanced against Wu, who appealed to the Manchus for aid. A combined force of Ming and Manchu troops drove Li from Peking, where the Manchus then set up the Ch'ing dynasty. Although loyal Ming officials beseeched Wu for aid in restoring the Ming dynasty, he accepted high rank from the Manchus and for nearly 30 years fought for the Manchu cause.

In 1659 Wu was put in charge of eliminating the remnants of Ming resistance in the southwest, and to this end he was given civil and military control of the southwestern province of Yunnan. With these powers he created an independent satrapy in Yunnan and neighbouring Kweichow Province, collecting taxes and developing trade monopolies in the area. At the same time two other commanders set up similar satrapies in the neighbouring southern provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien, and South China became an independent power that rivalled the Ch'ing government in the north.

In 1673, when the Ch'ing dynasty tried to check these southern kingdoms, Wu led them in a rebellion. Wu chose the name of Chou for the new dynasty he set up and proclaimed himself emperor. In 1674 he advanced into central China but then hesitated, possibly because the Manchus were holding his son as hostage. The Manchus then seized the initiative, and, soon thereafter, with the battle turning against him, Wu died of dysentery. His grandson continued the rebellion until 1681, when it was finally crushed. The incident is known in Chinese history as the Revolt of the Three Feudatories.


Cheng Seng Kung
Cheng Ch'eng-kung
born Aug. 28, 1624, Hirado, Japan
died June 23, 1662, Taiwan

Pinyin Zheng Chenggong, Western name Koxinga, or Coxingapirate leader of Ming forces against the Manchu conquerors of China, best known for establishing Chinese control over Taiwan.

Cheng Ch'eng-kung was born in a small Japanese coastal town to a Japanese mother and a Chinese father, Cheng Chih-lung, a maritime adventurer who made a fortune through trade and piracy in the Taiwan Straits. Cheng Ch'eng-kung was raised by his mother in Japan until the age of seven, when his father, having been given an official position in maritime defense by the Ming dynasty, recalled him to the ancestral home in southern Fukien. There, separated from his mother, Cheng was given the conventional scholarly Confucian education, entering the Imperial Academy of Learning at Nanking in 1644.

With the fall of the southern capital to the invading Manchus the next year, young Cheng retired with his father to Fukien, where Cheng Chih-lung's military power was the basis for setting up the Prince of T'ang as pretender to the Ming throne. It was at this juncture that, as a sign of special favour, the Ming Prince conferred the imperial surname, Chu, upon the youthful Cheng Ch'eng-kung. Thus originated his most commonly used title, Lord of the Imperial Surname—in Chinese Kuo Hsing Yeh, corrupted by the Dutch into Koxinga.

When Manchu forces entered Fukien, his father succumbed to their offers of preferment under the new Ch'ing dynasty (the dynastic name of the Manchus) and abandoned the fragile Ming court at Foochow. The Prince of Tang was captured and killed; but Cheng Ch'eng-kung, resisting his father's orders to abandon a lost cause, vowed to restore the Ming dynasty and began to build up land and naval forces for that purpose.

Over the next 12 years the Manchu's preoccupation with larger Ming remnants in the southwest, plus Cheng's considerable strategic and organizational talents, allowed Cheng to build a strong position on the Fukien coast, centred on the islands of Amoy and Quemoy. Although this region was in effect his personal kingdom, he continued to use Ming reign titles and to acknowledge the suzerainty of the last Ming pretender—the Prince of Kuei in southwestern China. He also consistently refused blandishments of rank and power from the Manchus, even those supported by personal entreaties from his father.

In 1659 Cheng launched his most ambitious military campaign, a maritime expedition with more than 100,000 troops up the Yangtze River. With large Manchu forces still campaigning in the south, he achieved remarkable initial success, smashing through the lower Yangtze defenses to the gates of Nanking. There, however, mistaken strategy and failure to heed his field commanders' advice led to a disastrous defeat.

Forced back to his original base of Amoy, Cheng was still unbeatable at sea; but the collapse of Ming resistance in the southwest and the Ch'ing's new policy of forced inland emigration of the coastal population put him in a dangerous position. In these circumstances he hit upon the plan of taking Taiwan from the Dutch as a secure rear base area.

In April of 1661 he landed on Taiwan near the main Dutch stronghold at Anping (near the present-day city of Tainan) with a force of more than 25,000 men. After a nine-month siege, the small Dutch garrison capitulated and were allowed to leave Tainan safely with their personal possessions. Cheng followed this military success by setting up an effective civil administration based on Tainan and settling the island with his soldiers and with refugees brought from Fukien. His larger ambitions on the mainland and half-formed plans for ousting the Spaniards from the Philippines, however, were cut short by his premature death on June 23, 1662.

His son, Cheng Ching, used the Taiwan base to sustain the anti-Manchu struggle for another 20 years. But after his death in 1681, the Cheng kingdom on Taiwan fell to a Ch'ing invasion fleet in 1683. This defeat ended the longest lived of the Ming restorationist movements.

Thus Cheng's plans ultimately failed, but his posthumous reputation has grown to remarkable proportions. In Japan the famous 18th-century playwright Chikamatsu's Battles of Koxinga made Cheng as well known to Japanese audiences as Othello is to the English. In Europe, lurid Dutch accounts of the fall of Formosa (Taiwan) established Cheng as one of the few Chinese historical figures to bear a latinized name. In his own country he soon became a popular deity and cultural hero to the early Chinese settlers of Taiwan—Kai Shan Sheng Wang, the Sage King Who Settled the Country. On the official level, in 1875 the Ch'ing court recognized its old antagonist as a paragon of loyalty and established an official temple to him on Taiwan.

The development of modern Chinese nationalism in the 20th century has put Cheng Ch'eng-kung in the front ranks of China's historical heroes. To the anti-Manchu revolutionaries of the early 1900s he was a natural forebear. To Republican-period nationalists he was a symbol of resistance against foreign invaders. And in mid-century he continued to receive the accolade of “national hero” from both Chinese governments—from the Nationalists on Taiwan for his determination to restore proper Chinese rule and from the Communists on the mainland mainly for his great victory over Western (Dutch) imperialism.

In his own day a martyr to a lost cause, Cheng Ch'eng-kung became a hero to all sides in modern Chinese politics, although to each for a different reason.

Lee Chi Seng
Li Tzu-ch'eng
born Oct. 3, 1605?, Michih, Shensi Province, China
died 1645, Hupeh Province

Pinyin Li Zicheng Chinese rebel leader who dethroned Ch'ung-chen, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

A local village leader, Li joined the rebel cause in 1631 following a great famine that had caused much unrest in the northern part of the country. Making his headquarters in the northwestern province of Shensi, Li called himself the Ch'uang Wang (Dashing King). A superb military leader, he gradually increased his following and began to organize raids into neighbouring provinces.

After 1639 several scholars rallied to Li's cause. Relying on their advice, he prevented his troops from pillaging and began to distribute the food and land he had confiscated to the poor. Stories and legends of his heroic qualities were purposefully spread throughout the land, and he also began to set up an independent government over the territory he controlled, conferring titles and issuing his own coinage. Finally, in 1644 he proclaimed himself first emperor of the Ta Shun, or Great Shun, dynasty and advanced on the capital at Peking.

Li took the city easily because the last Ming emperor was betrayed by a group of his eunuch generals, but his stay in the capital was short-lived. Wu San-kuei (1612–78), a general loyal to the Emperor, induced the Manchu tribes on the northeastern frontier to enter China and restore the Ming. A combined force of Ming and Manchu troops drove Li from the capital. He fled into Hupeh Province in the north, where he is thought to have been killed by local villagers.


Interesting Reviews
Try SPCNET. I can name more in here but this review is already exceeding the storage capacity of Geocities so I might as well save some space for the ultimate below, the one you have been scrolling and looking for. Yes, let's bring on THE ENDING REVEALED.

THE ENDING REVEALED ...
Wai Siu Bo was beheaded but that wasn't Wai Siu Bo, The head that Hong Hei saw was the head of a corrupted official, the person that was sent as a spy by Hong Hei years before into the Heaven & Earth Sect. And Gau Nan kidnapped him and gave him a face change. Wai escaped and Hong hei thought he died. Then Fung Sek Fan sent his men to arrest the wives and become his slaves. He even tried to rape Seong Yee and then Wai appeared. Fung held Kim Ling hostage and Kim Ling told Wai to kill FUng now and forget about her. But Wai couldn't do it and Kim Ling bit Fung on the hand and Fung hurt her so bad that she was seriously injured and laid dying whilst Wai killed Fung and rushed back and held her in his arms. And then they talked and it was a very sad scene.

Kim Ling : "Siu Bo, tell me again the answer to the question I once asked you. Will you love me like you love Siu Kam Yu?'

Wai: "I already do"

Kim Ling :"I know you're lying but thank you for lying to me...."

After a long while she died in his arms.

It was such a sad scene man! Why must it be her? I understood why. To make him regret a bit. Somehow I thought he was lying when he said he loved her as much as Siu Kam Yu because he simply didn't. When he said his wives, her name never popped up. Whenever he hugged anybody, he hugged her last. Whenever she did a mistake, he was first to be mad at her. The treatment was obviously different. And yes this woman who sacrificed her title and good life to run away with him , feared dangers, shared him with 5 other women, did housework, cooked,.. she was a princess after all but she endured all that because she loved him. But it was sad that she died thinking that Wai didn't love her as much as he loved Ah Oh, a comment she told Ah Oh but Ah Oh denied it. I felt so sad for her and I felt Wai didn't deserve her.

And remember that Ultimate Classic Scene somewhere above (No? You skipped? Why????) where Hong Hei asked Wai Siu Bo ;

"How is Kim Ling doing?"

Wai turned to face Hong Hei with tears in his eyes and lied;

"She already left . "

Hong Hei : "She left without saying good bye to me and mother. My sister, always acting like that. Well, you take good care of her."

Wai : "I will always take good care of her. She is now enjoying life with her other "sisters", having fun and living a relaxed life everyday...."

Hong Hei :"Good good. I wish you and Kim Ling happiness always."

And Wai simply smiled and turned away and then his face facing the camera he wasn't smiling. And then he ran out through the palace (you do know that the palace isn't exactly situated next to the Great Wall of China right? But we shall forgive them for this one tiny geographical mistake) and said his goodbyes to everything.

THE END


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