Not a 1999 documentary edition of some flying foxes living in some mountain covered with snow. It is a story based on Jin Yong's novel,about love,hatred,forgiveness,revenge and plenty of really stupid people who can't see past their own differences and greed and letting bad people getting their way 99% of the time.It is also a serial about pedigree.Set at the end of Emperor Qian Lung's reign.
40 episodes/20 tapes
Lots of people,so I'll say it one by one.
Sunny Chan.............Wu Fei
Felix Wong...............Wu Yat Dou
Wan Yeung Ming........Miu Yan Foong
Charmaine Sheh........Miu Yeuk Lan
Maggie Siu...............Long Kim Chau
Eddie Cheung...........Tin Kwai Loong
Liu Kai Chi................Uncle Peng Sei
Lau Hiu Tung............Yew Yat Yat
Joyce Tang..............Lip Song Ching
Marco Ngai...............Chan Ka Lok/Fook Hong Onn/Emperor Qian Lung
Others....................Sam Yin,Lam Lan,Yim Kei,King Of Poison,the Fan beggar clan
Being a typical Jin Yong story,you should expect lots of people in all scenes,some heart wrenching love story,some really boring love story,some heart wrenching sacrifice,some really mean people,some really greedy people,some great heroes,some weak women,some strong women,some really big misunderstanding,lots of people dying,a really clueless hero and a really big climatic scene that is really anti-climax,but essentially happy endings.Oh yes,some great kung fu fighting scenes as well.
How shall I begin?It's so bloody complicated at first,I must give credit to the director who directed this one.Everytime you thought you're lost,there comes the short flashback seqeunces.Anyway,for what it is worth,here goes.
It was the end for Ming Dynasty and the beginning for the Ching Dynasty.Having been sold out by their own Han General Ng Sam Kwai,the reigning king named Chor Wong had no choice but to flee and stash away some gold for future war purposes.Only 4 trusted men knew of this,they are the Miu,Fan,Wu and Tin clan,trusted and honourable sidekicks of the Chor Wong.However,Wu thought that perhaps there must be away to kickstart the "overthrown Ching,restore Ming" campaign,so he voluntereed to kill his own good name and became a dog for Ng,and succeeding in causing a rift between the Ching and this biggest traitor of Chinese history,Ng Sam Kwai,causing his fall later.However,poor guy,good intentions were interpreted as traitor-ship.The Miu,Fan and Tin poisoned him before he could explain,and having regretted their actions when they knew the truth,they seeked to protect the gold and the Chor Wong.Unfortunately in one ambush,they all were killed,Chor Wong having realised that he is wasting his time with the campaign and retired to be a monk and the secret of the gold was only known to the Wu clan.Over the years,rumours about the gold's whereabouts caused severe hatred and hardship to these 4 families,and thinking that the Wu was the traitor that caused the King's death,they went on a trail of "you killed my father so now I'll kill your father but what the heck?!you killed my father and now I'll your father" routine,until the end,it was really quite surprising that they even had descendants at all.And decades past,it was the reign of Emperor Qian Lung and all is left of the 4 families are one reculcitrant and useless Beggar Chief(Fan),one greedy evil man(Tin),one big misunderstood hero(Wu) and one great hero who only wanted to seek vengeance thinking that Wu killed his father(Miu).
And cut to the present time,we see Wu Yat Dou(Felix Wong)'s only son who knew little kung fu,Wu Fei and his trusted side kick and frequent reminder of his big duty of revenge,called Uncle Peng Sei in the Gold chamber that they stumbled upon accidentally and saw the book written by his dead father urging people to stop the hatred.
And the flashback mode,how then did his father died?According to Uncle Peng Sei,he was poisoned by someone ordered by Miu Yan Fung.Anyways,here we got to see the truth.
Wu Yat Dou met his future wife,Long Kim Chau through this race for the gold.They both found it and they fell in love,not before Long Kim Chau broke off the engagement with one useless man and proposed to him.They lived for a year happily and about to have their first child when Miu Yan Fung came and seeked revenge for his father's death which was actually caused by their own greed.The fight was in a way fueled on by Tin(Eddie),Fan,and the King of Poison.But as the days went by,the man fought and stop for rest and became great friends and Miu began to not think about vengeance but was entertaining the idea of a great friendship with this man named Wu Yat Dou and vice versa.Alas,it was not to be.The final day of the fight,they exchanged kung fu and swords and they fought each other fairly and Miu managed to just cut Wu on the arm and suddenly,Wu went into cardiac arrest and died of instant poisoning,and Miu promised to take care of his newborn son and his wife.But Tin,Fan and that Poison King refused to let go and whilst Miu tried desperately to save the child and the mother(he was fighting like a lot of people then),Tin managed to kill Long Kim Chau.Miu thought the baby died but the baby was saved by a grateful servant,who later became Uncle Pin Sei,not before he was slashed in the face and his arm was cut off(I think).They hid in Long Kim Chau's former fiancee's house under a different name,until one day,a young man claiming himself to be the descendant of Wu Yat Dou goes killing a lot of people and Wu Fei had no choice to come forward with the truth only to have people disbelieving him.And along the way,many great misunderstandings became just some trivial stuff when the Han people's safety was put into test by the Ching,thanks to Fook Hong Onn which I shall elaborate below.
So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe?
Not really.All has a part to play,but I really do think if I were to put all in here,it will take you 3 days to finish reading this review.So I'll concise,short and sweet.So one character at a time.
Wu Fei : Son of Wu Yat Dou,he grew up thinking Miu Yan Fung killed his father only to have met that man himslef and beginning to disbelieve everything he thought he knew.Compared to Miu Yan Fung,he seemed more like a crying baby than a would be Big Hero(Dai Hup) and compared to his father,his level of intelligence is like below normal standard.Anyway,he could never have survived the cruel world if not for an orphan by the name of Yew Yat Yat,but he treated her like she's not worth his breath talking to her.He then fell for Lip Song Ching only to be rebuffed by that woman again and again and again and lost her to the sleazeiest character in this serial,and so he went into kung fu overload and he survived the ordeal and became a big hero.And then he became blind(thanks to Miu Yan Fung),nursed back to health by this girl he called Little Grasshopper who turned out to be his enemy's daughter,Miu Yeuk Lan.So at the end,everything is fine but he had to go through deaths of his most beloved woman,his trusted friend and his only relative.And he had to wait 4 years before he could be loved by the woman he realised he loved the most.And in the end,and only then he became a big hero like his father,not in terms of kung fu but in terms of his greatness of his heart.
Miu Yan Fung : He lived with the regret of killing his only friend,Wu Yat Dou,that he failed to save the wife and Wu Fei.But he lived on hoping to find the real killer.Then one day he met his future wife,Lam Lan,the daughter of a rich businessman who so happens to be travelling the same path as he was.But poor man.He was killed for the sword he acquired,and the daughter was saved thanks to Miu.Miu felt grateful all his life for a woman like his wife who was willing to suck the poisonous blood from his leg and subsequently married her and was blessed with a daughter that he blamed himself for whatever happened later rather than his unfaithful wife.He is the most honourable character I've ever seen,and when at last he fell into a coma tyring to save his daughter who was jumping off the cliff and when he drew his last breath,I cried.But when he suddenly reapperead,I said Thank God for TVB for having the sense to give us a happy ending.A true hero and perhaps the only true Big Hero of this serial.
Tin Kwai Lung : The only reason Miu didn't kill him for seducing his wife was because the wife stood in front of him,thus shielding him.Anyway,this is one sleaze bag who deserved his ending,even if I would have wished for a much more horrifying death.Anyway,he was the person who caused the rift between Miu and Wu,all because he wanted power and he wanted the gold.He became a traitor for Ching,killed his own sifu to take over the Clan,killed his own wife,wanted to kill his own daughter,Lip Song Ching,and even seduced Lam Lan because he thought she knew where the gold is.The joke is even Miu didn't know.At last he realised his own stupidity when his wife laid dying and told him what he has always wanted and all he could do was to run,scream and fall to the muddy floor and scream some more.Anyway,he died which is good news to me.
Lam Lan : An educated rich man's daughter with great manners,she left Miu Yan Fung because Miu couldn't sweet talk her like Tin could.Only to give up her own daughter,and years later her own daughter didn't even want to talk to her.But when she realised at last that her husband is a scum bag and is using her to get to Miu,she couldn't take it and became a bit insane.She ran away,saved by Wu Fei and gave Wu the sword that years before was the reason why she became an orphan and begged for forgiveness from Miu and realised she left a good man for a bad man.What a bad bargain.Anyway,she was once again held hostage by Tin who demanded from Miu the map to the Gold,but if Miu knew he would've given him then.But she knew,so she took the knife plunged it into her stomach and laid dying,and told Tin that the map is all along in teh Miu's family treasure,the clip that she has been wearing on her hair for all these years and which was returned to her daughetr just minutes ago.Knowing that he could never get to Miu Yeuk Lan(her BF is Wu Fei and her father is Miu Yan Fung,so how to get even 500 metres near her?),she got her greatest and sweetest revenge.
Miu Yeuk Lan : The only child of Miu Yan Fung who knew no kung fu because her father didn't want the kung fu world to have a reason to continue the hatred between the four families.She is the most strongest character in this series.She served her father loyally,ignored her mother,and knew who is a good guy and who is bad.She felt great regret for Wu Fei's predicament and has alwyas promised herself that if she were to find him alive,she would be his Little Mother.And so when he was blinded,she took care of him,never complaining only to have him ignoring her when he knew who she was.Saddened,they became just friends.When they do finally got together,she became the object of desire of Fook Hong Onn who subsequently raped her and she thought it was Wu Fei.When she knew it wasn't him,she tried to jump off the cliff but her father jumped to save her and he fell into a long coma.Feeling guilty and feeling that there is no more love and ashamed that she is no longer a "pure girl",she lived in the monastery hoping to be a nun.4 years passed before she finally agrred to get back with Wu Fei when her father before he drew his last breath said "Go back to him,stop torturing yourself' but she refused and almost became a nun when Wu Fei came barging in and tried to explode himself to death with some inner kung fu thing.She begged the real King Of Poison to save him but the King OF Poison said,"why must I save him whe he is better of dead than alive with you not accepting his love".So they went back together and lived happily ever after,like Wu Yat Dou and Long Kim Chau,though the latter only for a year.
Yew Yat Yat : An orphan who knew only 3 steps of kung fu,she is the street smart girl who helped Wu Fei through his journey of self discovery.She fell for him but had to be a sister instead.She didn't like the idea of Lip Song Ching with her Brother Wu but she liked Miu yeuk Lan so much,that she sacrificed her own life to suck out Wu Fei's poison that was killing him so that ,one he remembers her for the rest of his life and secondly,if Yeuk lan were to be the one to suck out his blood,he would definately live with regret all his life.So much so that she went against the wishes of her husband,Sam Yin whom she had marreid so as to please the dying Wu Fei,and she died in Sam Yin's arms.
Lip Song Ching : Spoilt brat of the Red Flower Association,she could fight better than Wu Fei but she could do better with a much more clearer eye glasses.She was crazy over the leader of this underground movement,Chan Ka Lok but only to be rebuffed by this man older than her for generations.Then she was wooed and seduced by Fook Hong Onn and became pregnant only to realised she was just a toy to him.She married a good decent man only to have him humiliated and taunted into killing himself by Fook Hong Onn's men,and her twin sons kidnapped.She had no choice but to follow him home,only to have Fook Hong Onn's mother poisoning her and was rescued by Wu Fei only to have to lay there dying,calling her twin children's names.She never loved Wu Fei,but Wu Fei was crazy about her.If only she married him.Anyway,on her death bed,she called out Fook Hong onn's name,and Wu Fei begged Chan Ka Lok to dress up like him.In her final moments,she told him she never hated him but loved him and the fake Fook apologised for what he did to her,and she said she forgive him and proceeded to hug him and told that man that she realised all along,the man she is in love with was Chan Ka Lok,and she knew the man she was hugging was Chan Ka Lok himself.And she died.
Fook Hong Onn : I don't know how to describe this man.He seemed genuine at first and then not so genuine.He seduced Lip Song Ching but only to dump her,wanted Miu Yeuk Lan but was rebuffed so he raped her instead.However mean he was,he was a good father.He truly loved his sons.I guess the his worst nightmare was to have his own sons calling Chan Ka Lok,Ah Die(father).So he not only lost his power play,a woman who adored him,a woman hated him,and his own two sons,he would be childless.He lived at the end but how much is living for a man who is left with nothing?Not even his own flesh and blood would want to walk near him.
The Most Hated Character
I can't decide.Between Fook Hong Onn and Tin Kwai Lung,it had to be Fook Hong Onn.Scumbag,sleazeball and really overall bad bad person,for reasons stated above.
The Most Pitiful Character
Lam Lan?Lip Song Ching?Yew Yat Yat?Lam Lan brought it to herself.Lip Song ching brought it to herself.Yew Yat Yat brought it to herself.But they all share a common fate.They died not under voluntary circumstances and for reasons that are really heart wrenching and sad.But my vote would go to Lip Song Ching.I guess before you fall in love,remember to wear your contact lenses and look at that man really carefully.A woman's greatest nightmare.
The Noblest Character
Which is also my favourite character of all Jin Yong and all martial arts stories,Miu Yan Fung.He is my definition of "What a man!".Sure he ain't good looking,he may not know how to read or write poetry but he has the integrity that Mount Everest isn't high enough to compare.He is the reason why I watched this show,and endured all thsoe ultra long love stories and the reason why I cheered at the end.A truly great Big Hero that Wu Yat Dou could've been if only he lived past 2 episodes.Anyway,next to him,Wu Fei is like a little boy.This is one man who could see clearly,who when he found out that all leads to the real murderer of the Wu husband and wife was lost,he siad his good byes and wanted to see his ex-wife one last time.But Wu Fei knew and stopped him.He had wanted to kill himself in front of Wu Fe's parents' grave as a sign of asking for forgiveness,for something that wasn't his fault.And he jumped to save his daughter,and he saved Wu fei countless of times.What a man!My hero indeed.
The Most Honourable Character
Could be Miu Yan Fung but I'll write someone else here.It had to be Miu Yeuk lan.Like father,like daughter.Though she knew no kung fu,she is never weak.Though she has never seen much evils in the world,being constantly protected by her father,she knew who was good and who was bad in just one glance.
It could've been Lip Song Ching here which is a direct contrast to Miu Yeuk lan.Lip Song Ching could fight better than anyone else but she has a weak heart and really bad taste.Miu Yeuk Lan couldn't even kill a fly but she has a strong character and very accurate judge of people.Lip Song Ching fell for the antics of Fook Hong Onn and gave her his life and she didn't even considered killing that evil man.Whilst Miu Yeuk Lan who was also seduced with the same antics but she simply walked away.And at last,when she was again about to be poisoned just like Lip,she pretended to be so and Fook thought that she was and came to her side and she very barvely took out a small knife and plunged it into his back 3 times or so.I cheered.This is one woman that Lip Song Ching could've been but will never be because though blessed with great kung fu skills,she is still the weakest character in this serial whilst Miu Yeuk Lan is my defination of "What a woman".
My Most Favourite Characters
Miu Yan Fung and Miu Yeuk Lan.And also Yew Yat Yat because she is funny.
Most Wimpish Character
It had to be Wu Fei.So can't get the girl,so live on.Noooooooo!HAd to drink himself to the brink of death and never even realised what a jerk he was.So the girl that he later likes is his enemy's daughter,but this is one ungrateful soul.Ignored poor Yeuk Lan,what a jerk.So Yat Yat may be like his sister but did he have to treat her like she's not worth even a second of his time?He was rude to this girl.What is it with men huh?The more sister a girl is to them,the more casual their manners are?But one thing fo sure though.He tells Yat Yat everything,so I guess there is a plus point to being his sister.
The Best Scenes
All the fighting scenes.Beautifully choreographed and very imaginative,though a bit silly at times.And any scene with Miu Yan Fung.And the scene where Lip Song Ching died which was touching and that scene where Yeuk lan stabbed that Fook Hong Onn.
The Worst Scenes
Everytime Miu Yeuk Lan is with Wu Fei,the scenes are so bloody long and so bloody slow.I couldn't stand it.And so you were raped.But hey,the guy said it's ok so why must you go torturing him and inducing him into being a time bomb with his own body,causing him to "Arrrgggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!.......poom!poopm!poom!poom!poom!poom!.....
Most Favourite Pair
I have to admit,Sunny Chan and Charmaine Sheh do look really good together.
I can't remember much but there was this one after the last line in the Worst Scenes category,and Miu Yeuk Lan was frantic and she begged the real King of Poison to save his life and that old man just looked at her and said,"Why must I save him when after he is saved,you'll continue ignoring him?He might as well be dead than alive."Which was exactly my point.
In this serial,you'll notice that the older generatiosn is so much more better than the new ones.Felix Wong was good,Maggie Siu was good,and Wan Yeung Ming was good.People complained that he looked like a gangster,which is perfect because he is supposed to be a misunderstood Big Hero.
Liu Kai Chi was ok,but Lau Hiu Tung was funny.
As for Marco Ngai,you must be asking me,why he played all 3 characters?
Chan Ka Lok is supposed to be the brother of Emperor Qian Lung.And Qian Lung is supposed to be the father of Fook Hong Onn.And also because Lip Song Ching fell for Fook because he looked like Chan.And also because TVb didn't have enough actors I guess.
Anyway,MArco Ngai as Fook Hong Onn was excellent,as Qian Lung it was ok but as Chan Ka Lok,now that's not ok,because he has this look that I thought anytime now he's going to betray the whole Red Flower Society though he's supposed to be a big hero also.
Not so Good Peformances
Sunny Chan.Doesn't strike me as a big hero,more like a wounded puppy dog.
And at first I didn't like Joyce Tang.She looked wierd in costume dramas so one thing she should never do,costume dramas.She's too thin and totally unbelievable as a kung fu chick.She sulked too much that when she is supposed to be this vivacious,impestious and spoilt brat,she doesn't strike me as one.Vicky Zhao would have been perfect for this role.Anyway,as the serial progresses,she became sad,sullen and unhappy.Now then I would say Joyce Tang is good,because she has this really sad and suffering look,almost arrogant but not.
By a leading character,which would be Charmaine Sheh.I mean I love her character but the way I described the character I was putting a lot of my own words into it,her acting is not that emotionally expressive.Don't get me wrong.As the sweet Yeuk Lan,she was good.Smiling like a miss HK I guess is her best virtue.But when it comes to the later parts when she is supposed to be this woman consumed with hatred for Fook Hong Onn,that's when you see her flaws.At first she was too unbelievably sweet,and now too unbelievably no emotions whatsoever.She has the best character to play and she didn't excell in it.Frankly,this serial marks her first real acting job,and if I just ignore everybody else,she has improved.Unfortunately,I can't and she paled in comparison with everybody else.It;s her voice and her "I don';t know where I should put my hands" that's the problem.Everytime she screamed,"Wu Dai Kor", I could feel myself shivering.If she just stand there and just smile,she is good.She can be expressive through her face and I see potential with her eyes but like I said,her body language and her voice spoilt everything.And to be given such a good role to play and she almost killed it if not for the excellent writing of her character and the excellent acting around her that covered her flaws just barely,this review would have been very unfavourable indeed.I see Ruby Lin,but for HK counterpart,it should've been someone else,someone who can act better.Perhaps she should have played this role a few years later,maybe then she could interprete it better.But I do wonder,does she ever really look at her characters that she played and analyse them as to their actions rather than say,remember the lines,action,smile,scream,run and cut,job well done?A great pity indeed.But she has potential and she is pretty.
Is it worth Renting
I would rank this the best of all Jin Yong serials I have seen thus far.It's fast paced,there is no time to even breath before the next event happens,with great acting,nice sceneries,great great kung fu scenes and some really memorable characters,this would give your dull aday a good shaping up into a great day.But I warn you,it's a bit boring in some scenes,towards the middle and the ending is one big anti-climax but it is still the most entertaining of all Jin Yong-TVB story.I love this one and I'll recommend it to you.But if for budget contraints,then rent the first 3 tapes to know the past,and the last 5 tapes to know the ending.That should be enough.
Jin Yong and all fans of the previous versions hated this one.It seemed that a lot of changes were made.I don't know what kind of changes but it surely is fast paced.It's a great pity that Jin Yong didn't watch this one.They cut out a lot I guess,and they could have just finished with just 18 tapes,so it's a wee bit too long winded in some scenes.But this is a good one notwithstanding for what I've said about some performances.A great pity indeed.
Sunny Chan has left TVB for greener pastures,and for money.Can't blame him.
Charmaine Sheh is still here and she is begging you to watch that Macau whatever with Julian Cheung because she said that's her best acting there.I really do doubt it.She as a tomboy?Shorter hair doesn't make you a tomboy,wearing pants doesn't make you less feminine.I hope she goes for voice training.Anyway she is one lucky actress to have been surrounded by good actors that make her look less worse than she is.She even admits that she has a Chicken voice,meaning small voice.At least she knows her problem.I would wish I can write a review with her in it and eat my own words,or whatever you say to mean that you regret what you've said.But so far,as of 29/7/2000,none so far.So we'll see.
We are always bombarded with serials based on novels written by Jin Yong and Chung Yao.Though they may be world's apart in their themes,but both writers write about circumstances that no normal person would be in and with scenes with lots and lots of people.So what are their differences and similiarities?
Similiarities : If you notice carefully,both writers advocate monogamous relationship,though they may have departed from it as well.
Like JY's Duke Of Mountdeer where the hero has 7 wives whilst CY's Princess Xin Yue Ge Ge where the hero has 2 wives.
But other than these two departures,they always talk about one man,one woman.Always monogamous and the relationship is supposed to be happily ever after.
And in both writers' serials,plenty of people is involved in one particular matter.
And they never ever write about modern times,though CY did write some for modern times.But CY's time is always at Ching Dynasty,whilst JY's time is always ,almost one dynasty,one story.
And both writers' heroes have friends in many many places.Like every one meter,there is a good friend somewhere.
Differences : Now it;s a lot in here.
CY places a lot of emphasis in love,and love only.When she tries to talk about some political issues,always with some "love" issues in it,it becomes silly and totally unbelievable.And the storyline becomes weak thereafter.
JY always talks about one man's struggle to find his own place in the kung fu world and always,you'll see politics everywhere.Love is not such a big issue but it is merely some time off for us to take a break,take some snack and then resume watching the more important stuff.
CY loves to concentrate on the royalties whilst Jy loves to concentrate on ordinary folks who so happens to be the descendant of somebody great,thus the pedigree issue in here.
CY loves to talk about uncomplicated stuff,and straight forward issues where the only great complications would be when the music suddenly plays behind the scene to connote a rather grave and serious atmosphere.JY loves to talk about politics,the government being the villians,ordinary folks oppressed,and really confusing stuff where when the music suddenly plays behind the scene,you'll know that it will be more complicated.
Cy's line between good and bad guys are very clear,and mostly the bad guys are almost emotionally motivated i.e jealousy.Jy's line between bad and good guys is a bit blur and mostly the really bad ones are almost always motivated by either greed for money or greed for power.Revenge is only an excuse.
And the most important difference of all,JY is almost always great when it is made byTVB whereas we only see adaption of Cy's novels in Mandarin.
What does the title mean?Flying Fox?Flying in cantonese reads as Fei.Fox as Wu.So Wu Fei then.And it is set in some snowy mountain,though 99% of the scenes are like Malaysian climate.