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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



How Long : 60 episodes

Who : Kong Wah and only Kong Wah.Oh ya,Choi Hiu Yee and the rest all ATV actors and actresses that as a TVB fan,you'll never recognise unless you're an ardent ATV fan.

What & Where : During Manchurian Dynasty,it spans from Hong Hei's(2nd Emperor)reign to Yung Ching's reign(which is only like decades) during the 1600's and it's about the usual thing,this prince fighting with that prince for the ultimate prize,the Throne.And well,plus a few Han people and love stories and you have yourself an epic in the making.

The Verdict : I wanted to put this here first coz this will be a rather lengthy review so I might as well spare you the pain of knowing the obvious.My very biased opinion of this one?One word...EXCELLENT.One more word....CLASSIC.One more word...WAHHHHH!!!!What more can I say but ....OOOHHHHHH!!!!

The storyline : Hong Hei,the second Manchurian king in the Ching Dynasty in the 1600's is old,frail and weak,physically.He had chosen Prince No.2 to be his sucessor,much to the chagrin and disapproval of everybody else who can't speak their mind,because of the obvious,death by chop-chop.But that doesn't mean Prince No.2's way to the throne is all smooth,coz Prince No.8,with his posse Prince No.10 and some of the Ministers and other Princess are dying to sit on that throne.But something bad happened to Prince No.2,and it was Prince No.14 that was the next chosen heir.But by then,joining this difficult race that could cause more deaths on the way to the throne than all of them put together is Prince No.4(Kong Wah) who would do anything,and I mean ANYTHING to get to his ultimate purpose.But of course,along the way,love and lives has to be sacrificed because these guys literally crawl over dead bodies to get to this throne.Why?See futher below.

Who Is Who and Why : To better understand who is with who and who wants to kill who to get to the place they all want,below is the summary of what happenes to each principle candidate:

Prince No.2 : Played by veteran actor Ko Fung(I think this is his name),he is kinda old to be in the race,being 40+.But he is the favourite son of the King,for no good reason other than the fact that he is the only son of the Empress and the King had promised his beloved Queen that he will take care of his only son,if it means giving him the responsibility of the entire nation.He is feared by everyone coz he is the man who would be King but that doesn't mean he has all the qualities of a noble King.He kills,seduces(the King's mistress),rapes,murders,swears,is one arrogant,pompous and no talent of a Prince.You may wonder why the King chooses him but then,people are allowed to be bias for no reason.But of course,for all his intelligence and shrewdness,he is blind in the sense that he had a good assistant by the name of Nin Kang Yew (a small time follower) but because of his jelousy that Nin knows more about military strategies than him,he forced this would be faithful follower to the 'arms' of Prince No.4.And what would be his outcome?Thanks to Prince No.4 and one of his very cruel but effective tricks,this poor man was seduced by a woman who would subsequently poison him to the point of insanity and thus,the door is now open for other possible candidates for the throne.

Prince No.8 : One stupid fella who really thought he could be King but ALL of his plans to overthrow just about any possible candidates fails,miserably.He is faithfully helped by his equally scheming brothers,Prince No.10 and well,some other prince and some ministers.But some people just don't have the taste in the right horse to bet on.When the door was open for other possible candidates,he did all he could to please his father,to no avail.He tried to kill Prince No.2,tried to put the blame on and subsequently kill Prince No.4,when in the end he realised he has no chance at all to win,he joined hands with Prince No.14(indirectly) to try to win Prince No.4,whom he felt was worst than he himself,which I beg to differ.And what would be his outcome?When his second attempt to overthrow the New King failed,his brothers and him was paraded on the streets as traitors and his head was well,chop-chop.And before he died,he cursed the new King to be evil.And I find that almost comical because nobody would pity him.We even cheered.

Prince No.14 : He is the nice one,the man who has the greatest potential to be the best King and the most noble one,but unfortunately,to be a King means he has to win the race to the throne first and him being too noble in all his actions,you would understand why he would fail,miserably.He was actually the youngest of the two son of the King's favourite concubine,Tak Fei and also their favourite son,after Prince No.2 went crazy.He was also the new chosen one to succeed his father.And he at last got the support from everybody,except his own flesh and blood brother,Prince No.4,Yan Chan (Kong Wah).Whilst everybody warned him that his brother will stop at nothing to get to the throne,he didn't believe in any of them and he almost gave up the fight,until he found out how his father really died.But it was too late.He not only lost his beloved girlfriend to his own brother,he lost his throne and ultimately his life.What would be his outcome?He was imprisoned when his overthrow attempt failed and he died in his arms of his beloved ex-GF(who is now actually the Empress) by drinking the poison wine,offered by the King himself.His fate only tell us one thing which is so obvious .....He may have the kindest heart to be the kindest king,but he would never have that chance to be that King because he would lose to other people more cunning than he is.And the funny thing is,as history told us,the more cruel the way to the top that the would be King took,the more glorious the Kingdom of that King would be.See Tang Dynasty,where the greatest King that time actually killed his brother to get to the throne.

Prince No.4 : Which brings us to the man who would actually be the King.Played by Kong Wah,he was the eldest son of Tak Fei and the brother of Prince No.14.Coincidentally,he is the least favourite son of the King because the king felt that he was too cruel in his execution of some of his official duties some years ago,so after that incident,the King ignored him.And thanks to the scheming Prince No.2,he was drugged during one hunting trip with the King and all of his brothers and because of that,he raped one of the peasant Han girl,Miu Yan who would be his beloved concubine,Miu Fei.After that incident,his father locked him up and in there,he met Nin Kang Yew who was ordered by the Prince No.2 to look after him.They became friends during the course of years of house arrest.But he was released after his brother's(Prince No.2) unsuccesful attempt to overthrow the King but by then ,he was a broken man.Of course then he got news from his own mom that his granpapa is actually still alive and if he could get the approval of his granpapa to endorse him as King,his father may give him the throne because his father is a fillial son.So he embarked on this journey to this monastery (his Granpa became a monk after his favourite concubine died and gave his throne to his son) and protected his granpa from evil Tibetan Monks .His granpa truely believed he was the man who could be a good king,wrote the approval letter,and ordered his two monks(one of them is a very bloated Tong Chan Yip) to protect him and help him to get to the throne.On his way back home,Prince No.8 ordered people to kill him,unsuccesfully and the King,though grateful that he had saved his father,didn't give him the throne but instead,gave him something akin to a Dukeship.He was angry and bitter but thanks to the advise of Nin Kang Yew,he vowed to get to the throne,the hard way.And he did,by strangling his father with his own bare hands one stormy night and changing the Will written by his father from 14 to 4.And he also had the help of his father in law,who controls the military.That he gained by raping his daughter who would be Empress(she is the ex-GF of Prince No.14).And what would be his outcome?He quite literally commited suicide in the hands of his beloved Miu Fei many many years later.Of course,during that time,he was a great King and the citizens loves him.

The Unimportant People : Actually,Nin Kang Yew is very important to Prince No.4's way to the throne.He was the most loyal servant of No.4 because No.4 used all his savings to buy him a position in the army,and that gave him a chance to return home as a celebrated General.Sp oractically,he owed his career to No.4.He treated the King as his best buddy,but then the King treated him as a loyal servant.Akin to Wai Siu Bo (in the Duke Of Mountdeer series),but with less happier fate.He meddled too much into the King's affair with his Han concubine and during one time after all the dirty linens of the King was known to his Miu Fei,the woman refused to talk to him.And the king couldn't govern and so Nin,thinking that it was the woman's fault,beat up the woman until she went into coma for many many years.Whilst Nin,was demoted to the ranks of a small time soldier and at last,he was given the poison wine and he drank it,whilst thanking the King for all his love and attention and died feeling pain that the king would treat him so but still the most loyal servant.The King was actually jealous and thought that Nin was becoming too powerful and might betray him but then,a King can be a fool.And the King lived to regret his decision.

The Monks,played by Tong Chan Yip and another unknown,helped Prince No.4 but to some extent.Tong refused to help when he realised what a bad man he was but I would see it as jealousy.You see,this monk is only a monk to protect the granpa King in the Monastery so he isn't really a monk.He fell in love with Miu Yan and for a while,Miu Yan loved him.But No.4 won in this bitter love contest and he harboured this hatred for No.4.In the end,he was betrayed by his beloved,exiled,came back after 5 years and tried to assassinate the King but failed and he died.And we all cheered.

Miu Yan,played by Choi Hiu Yee is the favourite accidental concubine of the King.She was a Han peasant when she was raped.And she got pregnant,and gave him a son(Wang Lik who would be Kuen Lung),She learned Kung Fu from Tong the Monk so as to revenge by killing No.4,because she thought he was the man who ordered people to kill her father(it was actually,No.2).In the end,she forgave him,found out her father still alive(but later was accidentally pushed to death by No.4),and lived as his concubine happily for the next many years.Then she found out the truth when she read a letter by No.4's ex-advisor whom he had ordered to be killed because he knew too many secrets and she saw the Empress dying in the arms of No.14.She almost killed No.4 but was stopped by her own son.In the end,she was under house arrest,kicked by Nin until she went into a coma and woke up to realise her son is now grown up,the King is old and frail but still,she wanna revenge for all the lives lost.The King told her to kill him and she almost did,but she stopped.The King pushed the knife and thus killing himself.And she became a monk.

The HATE factor : You'll say Kong Wah if you haven't watch this one but those I knew who saw this one,cannot decide between No.2,No.14,No.8,the biased King,the lusty Monk or even Miu Yan.So practically everybody that gets in No,4's way to the throne is our vote of the hate factor,for reasons stated above.But not just that.They are all hypocrites.They call No.4 a murderer,an unfillial son,an evil King.If you see carefully,No.4 is bad to everybody except the citizens.He was a good King but somehow,he had to resort to unpopular ways to get the throne simply because he wasn't very popular.And he is not the only one killing people here.No.8/No2/the monks all tried to kill him.So what is he to do?Just let them kill him?The thing is,the winner becomes a King,the loser a beggar.

The Most Dramatic Scene : The ending,

The Hate/Love factor : It had to be Kong Wah,who gave his best performance to date,be it ATV/TVB.He was the unloved and uncared for Prince No.4,and he became the reluctant candidate for the throne because he does realise his ways is a bit bad and he was the most saddest King because he had no one to share his happiness with.And a very lonely man at heart.You'll pity him for being such a sad man that you'll wanna hug him,you'll hate him for ordering Nin to his death (in fact,that's the hate factor about him) and yet,you'll cheer when he strangles his father,became a King,outsmart those who tried to kill/overthrow him.You'll curse Miu Yan for being such a stupid woman,because this man may be evil/bad to everybody else,but he truely loved her and called her and their son his only family.Everybody else does not matter.He never regretted his actions, but he regretted killing his only true loyal friend and he regretted making his beloved so miserable.So in the end,he was actually already sick with heart problems,he wore his King's costume ,dismissed his assitant,Prince No.1(so that his son will not have any threats) and sat at his throne waiting for Miu Yan.And she came,and they talked.He wanted to give his life at her hands because he knew this was the only way she would feel peace in her guilty heart.But she couldn't do it,so he did it for her and he died at his throne and she cried.Tragic.It's strange how we would cheer for this man's quest but we cheered simply because Kong Wah made him seemed forgivable even after all the things he had done,and you'll cry for him.


Is He Any Worse Than... : For all the classic villians/good guys of similiar circumstances on TVB recently,here are a few to compare their evil deeds with No.4 and see who wins....

Louis Koo's Kuen Lung in War and Remembrance : He actually plays the son of Yung Ching(that's the name of No.4) and the story is very similiar.But the difference is,those evil deeds was done when he was a King to secure his dynasty as opposed to his way to the throne.He led all the Han members of Heaven and Earth Sect (led by the man whom help secure his throne,David Chang) who actually came to save him from threats by his own Uncle(but that was actually false news to get them all in one open field) and shot them all to death.And his beloved Han concubine,Siu Yoke killed herself.But he isn't all that bad.He forgave his brother who tried to overthrow him but of course,that idiot killed himself thinking he was going to be chop-chop the next day.So I would say,No.4 wins hands down as the worst as compared to this man who is his son.

Nick Cheung Ka Fai's Kelvin Kam in Secret Of The Heart : He was actually the poor woman's son switched with her rich man's son who is his brother(his mom was raped by the rich man) because the mom wanted him to have a better life.Many years later,he is the nice gentleman with all the education,money and future behind him until his father knew the truth.Overnight,he was ignored and he lost everything.So to get what he wanted ,he caused the humiliation of his surrogate father,almost killed his brother(the nice but really stupid man played by Sunny Chan),killed his beloved Diana(Ada Choi) and everybody else that gets in his way.And what for?Money.Modern day no more throne so money is the ultimate thing here.We all pitied him,felt he deserved better but in the end we cursed him for killing Diana.He is mad,evil and in the end,his purpose is no purpose at all and we are all glad that he died.So I would say,it's a tie with No.4 and him.

Ming Chi Kit of ATV's Flaming Brothers : He was the youngest of two son of Deanie Yip,and the brother of Michael Dao.He lived a poor and lonely life in China as opposed to his brother,who was adopted by his father's rich wife and treated like he was a King who had everything.Because of a jealous rivalry for the affection of one woman and more money,Ming married a woman he did not loved,to which he ultimately killed,caused the downfall of his brother (but that was a good thing because Dao became a better man),presurred his own mother to kill herself for his sakes,and in the end,he was involved in a serious car accident and before he died,he realised his errors of ways and begged for forgiveness from his brother.He's not evil but became blinded by greed.He is not that bad because he knew he was bad and he does have a conscience.But you would love to kill him but at the end,you'll feel almost sad for his death because after all,he was such a sweet boy,like Kelvin.So I would say,again it's a tie with No.4.

Lee Chi Hou of Kindred Spirit : He was actually the long lost son of Yung Yee,a nice young man from China but became so blinded with greed,he abandoned the woman he truly love and married the terror,Mei Mei.He did many things,like causing the bankruptcy of Ah Hoi,tortured his mom emotionally,was mean to even his own wife and child,abandoned them,took bribery,thought he killed Gwai's eldest son(Gwai Yah Loi) ,kidnapped his ex-GF,and shot to death by police(I think).Though he did not killed anyone nor caused the death of many many peeple except one but that didn't count because Gwai didn't die,he would have my vote as the worst of the lot.Worst than No.4 because he really has no purpose to be so evil to Ah Hoi since he got everything already.You'll hate him and you'll cheer when he died.There's no feeling of sympathy for him because he is pure meaness,evilness,no heart-ness all rolled into one big bundle.So I would say,he wins hands down as the worst factor in TV history,in my opinion.Even if No.4 kills like millions more,he'll still win because his actions has no real significance to any purpose or ultimate aim.Just pure jealousy.

Is it worth Renting : If you can find the title in ATV rental shops,give this one a try.So the sets are lousy,the dresses nothing compared to Huan Zhu Ge Ge,the people not as pretty and handsome as those in TVB's(except for Kong Wah of course),the Kung Fu fighting a bit ridiculous,some scenes to be really stupid(which is why I referred to it as epic in the making as opposed to an epic) ,but for the performance of Kong Wah alone,it's worth everything.The story is very compelling,and Kong Wah's performance is,well what more could I say other than hypnotizing. It's the best of all those Ching Dynasty Throne struggle story I have seen so far.

Not to be confused with...: TVB's Happy Ever After which also has Kong Wah as the King,Kuen Lung.That's a comedy but also one of the best from TVB ever.
Also,it's not the same as Yeung Kwai Fei,the new one with Kong Wah from TVB.That's a different story,a different era and definately a different King.

Special Mention : This serial was like years ago,and since Kong Wah left ATV so many years ago,you could kinda guess how old this is.ATV is famous for not keeping any old serials.But do try looking for it in the old serial section.If you can read this in Cantonese,it is Huet Yin Dai Wo Tin,or something like that.A guest informed me that there is another title,by the name of Quan Lam Tin Ha,which is also the title for this serials,for the second half or the first,I can't remember which.But if you're planning to rent this serial,use the latter title,as it is more well known as that.

Interesting Facts : About the actors,Kong Wah was like the No.1 actor of ATV before he left for TVB to be No.10 actor is you know what I mean.But he is consistently good and he made the classic JTTW there.But if you notice in all older ATV serials,you'll probably chuckle at the fact that how many TVB old actors went to ATV and how many young actors from ATV now jump ship to TVB,like the latest,Tang Ho Kwong(that bad boyfriend of Maggie Cheung in The Sky Is The Limit).

Kong Wah very recently announced that he'll be releasing his very own album.Can the man sing?He could definately act but I am not quite sure about the singing part.But to those who manages to rent this serial,the theme song is sung by Kong Wah and the female voice sounded like Choi Hiu Yee but a guest told me it wasn't her.Anyway,the song is not that great and the singing?Well,nothing to shout about.

About the facts of the historical figure of this serial,the show has many parrarels to real life.Many facts are known about Hong Hei and Kuen Lung but few on Yung Ching.Like the fiction goes,in Hong Hei's era(second King after Shun Zi,the first Manchurian King to take over Ming Dynasty) there would always be Heaven and Earth Sect ,threats from those Ming Dynasty supporters.Come Yung Cheng(the character in this story),it will be threats within the palace.Come Kuen Lung,no threats from either side coz all killed by his father Yung Zheng already.

Taken from the real-docudrama Yong Zheng,in real life,as opposed to reel life in this version,Yung Cheng ascended the throne amidst protests from the officials and ministers.But he was a modern King so to speak,introducing new system of examinations for civil servants,clamp down on bribe taking officials,ect.As a result, he was also very unpopular.He(as in this serials and in real life) pressurred some Ministers who took bribe to the point of suicide,and during one flood disaster and the government had little money to help the people,he coerced/tricked the rich ministers into donating huge sum .He died a relatively young age,in his 50's or 60's(I can't remember),and died as the most hardworking monarch in that era,known for reading and approving many official government documents in one night(the way I see it),by dying sitting at his working desk.He actually had heart disease and he probably died of a heart attack.He was succeeded by his young son,Kuen Lung who would be the longest living and ruling monarch.

Interesting Fiction : Here we have Miu Yan.In other stories,it is Lui Sei Leong.Either one and it is still a fictional character.

In this serial,he became King by killing his own father(not true though there were rumours of such) and changing the will which is impossible.According to reliable sources,the Machurian Kings wrote their wills in 2 forms,one in chinese and another in Manchurian.So even if he could change one will to his name,how about the other?So one conclusion,do not believe what TV says,though I would bet it would make for much more interesting story than real life.And there was a Lung Foh Toh and Nin Kang Yew,both who helped the man to succeed as king after they disposed off the 2nd Prince.but later,the King forced his Uncle,Lung Foh Toh to death and ordered for the death of Nin Kang Yew,when that General became too boastful.This King though may be quite unbecoming of a King on the way upa nd his secret meetings with ministers made him quite unfavourable,but he made many contributions to the Qing Dynasty.He ruled for less than 2 decades,dying at the youg age of mid-50s.Rumour has it that he was killed by a woman though some said he died of a heart attack whilst he was sitting at his working death.His successor,who was nominated whilst he was still alive was Wang Lik,the fourth Prince who later became Kuen Lung/Qian Luung,who was 24 when he ascended to the throne.By the way,this young King,was the one you see in HZGG.


2 comments:

  1. helo....I'm long waited for this deries to seen it again....I'd got it already but no subtitle...do u have an english or chinese subtitle for this series? thanks in advance...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm afraid not. There won't be since it is a very old series.

    ReplyDelete

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