Return of Condor Heroes: The Blight of yuma

Just when WSJ coined a new term ‘dama’ in our OED lexicon for the formidable

“bargain-hunting middle-aged Chinese aunties” who “keep a tight grip on the family purse and an eagle eye on gold prices.”  “financially illiterates” whose “pluck and knack for scooping up gold is not out of strategic calculation and risk assessment, but a matter of following the herd, whose uncouth and uncivilized behavior irks”

…the first thing that comes to my mind is a billion of damas will be easily KO’d by one peculiar irking beast:

Yuma:  nounvulgar slangexclamation !#$#%$^%*^&%$^#!%^#%&O)^&(%*&%@^E!^RT^*&%^E%!%@^&()&(^*&@E^!!!  The name he calls himself is officially 于正, 于 is a preposition 正: proper, correct, just, straight, upright.  Brilliant choice for the most shameless troll he is.  XDDDDDDDDDDDDD  His given name is 余征, where 征 can be interpreted as to invade, conquer and attack (our sanity).

I have been going W. T. F. inside, nonstop for a good day now.  It’s littering every entertainment news headlines everywhere a Chinese newspaper is in print, every hot topic in every CN social media. That, is a Fking maelstrom of W. T. F.

It officially started a day or two ago when the cast list of who’s who was miraculously ‘leaked’ but on it, the actress playing the eye of the storm heroine was suspiciously missing on the piece of paper.  Of course the yuma casting cry-wolves shenanigans loomed back a few months, whenever he needs some rumblings on RoCH, he’ll dart on a starlet in the open and lynch her through the judgmental opinion of the mob, but no one is batting much of a care anymore.  It is one thing to throw out a bunch of names and at least gauge the opinion of the majority like meter on the well known characters, and another with the yuma yardstick where what matters is how much snark and expletives the casting can attract and he will wrangle till the poor actor is beyond savageable like a pit bull with its tattered ball.  The poor thing’s back will be virtually stabbed so many times resembling a colander there is nowhere but up, and IF he/she can perform decently, and as the expectation is down the drain eons ago, it would ended up garnering some love.  The one trick of yuma.  Not even 24 hours later, rumor of the actress landing the most coveted role in wuxiadrama history is out, and it’s so unbelievably.   *Let me take a moment. Or a few.*  Up sprung an interview from godknowswhen of yuma blahblehblergh confirming, and more and more definitive proof this is actually happening.  Same old unbelievable shit.

The loudest collective outburst ever is about the casting of yuma’s XiaoLongNu in the upcoming Return of Condor Hero, produced and written by who else.  He’s been toying with every sino-starlet under the sun for the role, the prettiest block of wood ever in escapist wuxialand, whose beauty is so out of this world, aura so inhumanly angelic…etcetcetc Mr Louis Cha used most flattering words extensively describing the jaw-dropping most stunning beauty of ALL beauties (there is no wuxia heroine who is not unbelievably gorgeous on top of kickassery in many other departments), and thousands of pages in the novel to illustrate how important it is to socialize and develop competent social skills, street-smarts, wit, a functioning mind… so as not to be a knucklehead, to bet your whole life’s happiness on LOVE and nothing else, and if not getting it literally would jump off a cliff, ie, you would be like a XiaoLongNu just without her impossibly gorgeous face.  I digress.  I understand how XLN is the ultimate dreamgirl of wuxia fanboys.  She’s pure as snow drop dead gorgeous, stubbornly loyal, can wuxia dance, won’t take up space and food and perhaps most importantly, void of a critical thinking brain at the back of her flawlessly beautiful face.

I do not care much about RoCH the novel (duhhh), it is the only LC I haven’t read page to page even once.  Can’t.  I would not hesitate to use my 40+ yr old passed down copy for a toasty campfire and s’mores on a nice midsummer night in the woods.  Too bad I do care for ChenXiao, who is served his biggest break in his career as our newest YangGuo.

Yuma is my Cdrama pet HATE.  I’ve unwillingly lived through the clusterfuck of his Swordsman, a tiny bit of me is forever immune inside towards yuma and his shit and to all the silly shenanigans this time around for RoCH.
I’m giving this ‘adapt’ half a care because imo, Yang Guo is impossible to mess up and Chen Xiao is about as perfect and timely a casting.  His characterization is like a shoujo x wuxia wetdream, let me start with the tangent of his daddy Yang Kang in the fanfic-esque LoCH08.  To put it simply, Yang Kang was a spoiled boy dragged through the mud and knocked down savagely whenever he’s trying to stand up on his own feet where he fell. Boulders of misfortune keep crushing him over and over, dealing him a cruel hand of hopelessness to fight against.  He’s a victim of every adult around him lying and manipulating him ‘for his own good’ to no end, resulting in him having tremendous issues, especiaily trust, and he eventually hecked it all.  He turned to the dark side for survival and never emerged from it.  As his heir, YG inherited YK’s baggage of the Devil Incarnate in the eyes of the lobotomized Huang Rong and gang of uptight wulin honchos, Yang Guo had every reason to grow up a menace and screw them all, be a delinquent, opposing authority.  An angry young man with some wuxia skills is always a disastrous mix.  Huang Rong, the sharpest feistiest thing EVER in wuxialand, is suddenly moronic with her parenting skills.  For her to take in Yang Guo as a charity case halfheartedly and in essence, emotionally abusing him, a poor orphan her gf Mu NianChi entrusted her care, is the root of so much of my miserable rage and disgust with RoCH.   But YG the hawt bad boy grew up against all the adversities to be one fine contributing member of society, the definitive inspirational role model of The Hero of wulin.  On top of it, he is this dashingly romantic loyal puppy of a lover, pushing off all the young cuties flailing at his feet for 16 odd years on a promise etched on a cliff for his woman.  Really, just hit a few plot point of that framework, WHAT can yuma possibly screw up in his usual halfassed cheaply dull and dumb shoujo-fied makjang underneath everything he’s shat on?  Well, the worst must be the key role pet condor is YG’s OTP, half-joked the netizens, shooting this idea up in the air for immunity to the real hell still to come.  But no one ever underestimates yuma after Swordsman, so I am not counting that off as a possibility.  We are all anticipating what he has up his arse, popcorn and lots of alcoholic beverages in hand.

Any wuxiadrama fan would’ve watched at least an adaptation of RoCH.  There are 10+ adaptations lurking around.  It is very age and domain telling which adaptation you prefer and who is your favorite Yang Guo and XLN.  Most mainland netizen in their 20s to 30s prefer Louis Koo, he was too gorgeous according to their aesthetics for anything else to matter.  They also prefer his OTP Carmen Lee the most.  Me and my buddies loathed that adaptation because both of them are rigid pretty blocks of wood.  The much younger crowd or the International audience prefer the 2006 version with HXM and LYF.  In the age of internet, that one is the easiest to access.  Andy and Idy’s version is almost nonexistent on internet, if it’s available it has no subs, and horrible VHS tape/VCD quality, but that has yet to be surpassed imo.

I have expectation CX will be the best YG, still, even the best I’ll ever see in my lifetime.  My best YangGuo to date is the young AndyLau, who has everything going for him befitting the character: undeniably handsome, the right age in his early 20s, with bold, sharp features, hence convincingly wayward and commanding, his charming greenness alluringly mixed with a hint of the megalomania taking over him in my eyes later on, all contributed seamlessly for a YangGuo, appearance, aura, my vote for best casting ever for the character.  In addition, most importantly for me, he is a decent actor, having the apropos chemistry with Idy Chan’s XLN every stage as the story progresses, the only XLN that was closest to original vibe combined with decent acting chops.

Idy Chan

Their romance is not the ordinary between a man and a woman, but the taboo of a frigid respected sifu/authoritative figure and her younger mischievous apprentice she brought up since he’s a child.  There is always that tilt of female dominance at play, this undertone always present till the very last leg of the novel.

Louis Koo is arguably the best looking YG but a very limited actor (still), he could not handle the heftier part of an older YG, more damning, he had little chemistry with the equally incompetent, wooden and pretty but with very westernized features, Carmen Lee:

Carmen Lee

I’m not a fan of Fann Wong’s beauty, and she is overrated imo, but she is very believable as a couple with her YangGuo Christopher Lee, and since then they have developed a reel to real romance and now a happily married couple.  The only good thing stemming from that mehh production.

Fann Wong

Jacklyn Wu

Then there was the version begging us to scrub it from our conscience…Richie Ren (his face and lacking talent – ____ -) and Jacklyn Wu (in BLACK when LC blatantly emphasized XLN only wears white).  TTV wuxia-periods had never gelled with me anyway.

Of course there was, perhaps the most seen and popular YG and XLN, HXM and LYF in RoCH06.  There were things working like none other:  LYF is perfect in every physical contributes, looks and allure and age, her face, mannerism, stance, her dancer skills and body.  It was as if she’s leaped off a chinese brush painting of beauty of yore.  Her most suitable appearance for XLN saved her from a lot of lifting and vexing in the acting department.   The production value is way up there, they have an obscene budget, many scenes were done on location at the out of this world gorgeous World Heritage Site Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan, the rest was done in a set they spare no expense to build at Elephant Mountain,  nothing we’ve seen before and since.  HXM is a good looking guy…but when he emotes, instead of oozing emotions, it’s hilarious sleazy:

The most bizarre thing is mastermind JZJ encouraged his OTTness with his true OTP, the wind machine.  His chemistry with LYF is fine if we are doing a horror story of a pedophile seducing, grooming a young girl in his captive.  Don’t care for my opinion?  Have Louis Cha’s own dissing:

He’s clearly so disgusted by HXM’s take on YG he won’t even mention his name, saying he played YG as a superfluous flirt, gone is any respect towards his gugu in the Ancient Tomb.  XD  Ouch *burn!*  He jabbed LYF as too obsessed with her beauty, refusing to emote, when asked to cry, she would only shed a tear for fear her face would be distorted with real emotions.  Wow.  I’m not sure when exactly this was done, it was posted 4 years ago, but my guess is before Mr LC himself bowed to $$$ and sold the rights of his works to yuma, which will forever cause me uncontrollable crying fits.  WHYYYYYY Maestro~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!  I am not sure if LYF was so full of it, or she’s just technically incompetent to follow through with the directions.  I do agree LYF has never had any believable chemistry with any of her co-stars unless we are in the harmless patting puppy love territory in Chinese Paladin.

CX is, hands down, the most fundamentally talented in this mix of YangGuos.  It’s impossible to miss how technically sound he is even in the flagrant dungs he’s stuck doing all these years attached to yuma.  Bonus, he has the looks, too.  He can walk the tightrope of naivete mixed with just a hint of risque, a fearless l’enfant terrible hiding a heart of pureness, it is that innocuous innocence, the naivete that makes the connection btn a YG and XLN believable and precious withstanding all the obstacles.  The only thing I’ve yet to see from CX is to bring in a manly maturity, a stately, weary jadedness for the older YG.  If he can nail that aspect, he’s absolutely keeping my vote for the best YG forever, yes, even in a YG whatthetfuggery.

Of course with our experience with yuma, trusting the peskiest douche to pick an authentic beauty for XLN who can decently act is wishful thinking in futility.  My pick #1 pick is Tong LiYa, she has the right balance of looks and chops, so she’ll always be my forerunner for ANY period beauties these few years.   I like Liu Shishi, she will do a passable job too.  CX reminds me so much of a younger weirder Loverboy with an uncanny resemblance, I’m cashing on that ShiShi will have enough chemistry with CX.  And it would amuse me to no end if LSS is XLN and she’ll play Mu Mianchi on the side and yuma can lure Loverboy to a cameo as YanKang.

I kept an eye with bemused amusement on every poor starlet’s name thrown on the yuma’s wall of shame, because if cast by him, the shitstorm that follows is unprecedented to the point I do not understand why any established actress like a Joe Chen would stoop this low.  He claimed he’s screen tested 60+ starlets for the role and his pick absolutely floored him and everyone around instantaneously on how befitting she looks as airily breathtakingly gorgeous as a fairy <-his words. And we know it’s worth less than fart. Ha.  HA.  HAAA!!!

Lets not pretend to be nice, yuma is begging for a side-by-side when he mentioned Michelle is as fairylike elvishly gorgeous as LYF.

Bravo yuma, seriously, from ur profit margin standpoint, and stirring up as much backstage drama is saving dimes in ads in your business model.  You are a genius in conjuring up the most spectacularly shiteously unique trainwrecks now your trademark, and your comeuppance as a cancer in the industry is metastasizing more ratings in this strange depressing climate, enjoying every curse and insults hurled your way because every most furious outburst is a click on your trashy banter and a prospective eyeball on how horrible you can shock us to a stupor, still.  And you always can, you are that dependable.

So our newest XLN is Michelle Chen, aka the current reigning ‘TW goddess’ still chipping off the runaway overrated phenomenal hit You Are the Apple of My Eye, 那些年,我們一起追的女孩.  The above picture is just slightly PS’d to a pure white robe instead of the original white and peacock one (and the meanie netizens suggests a PPL tie-in like this CF), and this is from the screen test/audition, the one yuma claims she got the XLN vibe at hello.  From the original set:

那些年, the movie was an easy watch, nothing buggy, decently written, but very short of groundbreakingly amazing.  How it got to such a phenom and the wildfire of all the 那些年 memes beats me.  Michelle did not leave an impression on me both in looks and talent, she’s not ugly on screen, I don’t mind her as the object of affection of some average boy in class as the story goes, she’s pleasant enough to be the most attractive girl in a class.   She’s not beautiful face-wise by any conventional or unconventional standard, every feature on her face can be described with a word: droopy or 囧.  She does look harmless, and warm and cuddly and caring.  However none of it fit the description for a XLN: “skin as white as snow, beautiful and elegant beyond convention and cannot be underestimated, but appears cold and indifferent”, let alone her built: short with proportionally wide shoulders and a pudgy round face can not carry the period garb of a classical beauty on camera, it’s just the harsh reality.   No amount of acting can overcome this steepest physical uphill battle.  To call this an outrageous miscast is an understatement.  She has the wrong looks, and no talent to overcome any of it, not that it is possible to overcome to begin with.

I can’t tolerate a wooden actress playing a pretty piece of wood, it is a fallacy, how double whammy boring is that?!  On the contrary, if there is any heart to this remake that is, to make XLN relatable, when the characterization is quite a case of odd, alienating most female fans from the pen of Louis Cha himself, it takes a lot of skillful nuances and minute, precise bottled-up emoting.  She is a contradiction, mostly she’s stunted in EQ, childlike, impossibly naive, indifferent and unskilled with any human interactions, yet she has all these passionate, gutsy, explosive romantic feelings she has a stubborn clarity of, is not shy to express constantly and have no care of taboo for one guy and one guy only.  We, fangirls, must believe she is the OTP of our wuxiadreamboat Yang Guo, you know.  Most often, we gush endlessly about RoCH how YangGuo is this ultimate romantic wuxia hero lover we all would hopelessly flail over, shamelessly wish to have a romp with and accept the fate of being discarded by him the next morning, most romantically with a passionate kiss and not much of a regret.  However from a more critical standpoint, it is XLN who is the impossible dream most straight guy would fantasize to have and to hold.  She is this hardest to get ideal from a very chauvinistic pov and once you stole her heart, she’s yours forever as she’s this uncaring, insulated, indifferent person to the rest of the world.  We almost never got that point conveyed in any of the adaptations, of course.  Imo XLN is one of the most impossible wuxia character to cast.  She is this cold emotionless doll on the surface with all these shoujo romantic feelings bubbling inside and no tool to express it effectively to her Guo-er.  To convey all of it, takes a certain skill-set on top of her drop dead gorgeous basic requirement.   Imagine asking for a Choi!Min!Soo! set of skills who looks like a Liu Yi Fei on the surface.  Good luck with that.  It takes a lot of control and nuances to play a piece of pretty wood with a passionate heart, she is also crucial in the characterization in Yang Guo, without the perfect chemistry between the two, not just as lovers, but the undercurrent of a lady-shifu dominanting her younger boy apprentice, yet she’s the much less worldly childish of the two, YG would come across as a tool and a silly fool and all that 16 years would be for naught.   I mean haha this is just useless banter, none of this will materialize, but every XLN has at least enough beauty to cruise along and we’ll let it slide as, hey, he is shallow and he fell for the pretty, we can’t argue with it.  Yet again, not the liberty here. >________<

This is CX’s star-making role.   A year or two ago, I would want my Loverboy to snatch this role yuma or no yuma and would be a rant monster if anyone else stole it from him.  Not anymore, part is time is one’s worst enemy, YH, before hitting 3-0, can bring every ounce of exuberant fearless badboyish charm circa his Yang Kang days.  In his latest outings, he has been overthinking too much and it confined his performances.  Imo, CX is as capable an actor as YH.  CX has the advantage being in his mid 20s, in RL he is this slightly withdrawn, weird, moody manchild, he can tap into that and make it work for his YG.  I see him fail-proof, so I was going all bring it on, hit me! yuma, bring us our XLN, the worst is YSS, but it would be too risky to have 2 non-A-listers in leading roles in the perpetual most anticipated LC adaptation no matter how many there are already.  BUT, I have prepared myself for a YSS as XLN. I’ve regrettably seen them as a couple checking out a CX cut before any of this, and to my surprise CX can have chemistry even with the fugged up plastic duckface with questionable non-moving parts of YSS.  She has lots of experience in periods, in wuxia dance and as long as close-ups are kept few and far (literally) apart.  I can stare at CX’s part of screen and make it work.

Michelle is a disaster in her first ever period, a movie from the trailer I saw, as capped above.  It is not humanly possible for her to pleasantly surprise.  The movie is sorry waste of many things, but she is horrible, she can’t carry herself in the period costume convincingly, she’s hunching and every cell of her is drooping and so out of sorts I feel so sorry to laugh at her.   And a XLN has to do this, if anything canon is left after yuma is done with it:

So by picking a XLN who is the opposite of everything a XLN, CX’s YangGuo has no partner to romance with towards owning us as the most impossibly romantic wuxia hero.   We are not looking at a conventional romance like a crush in highschool between a boy and the nice girl.  XLN has nothing much likeable going on other than she’s the most drop dead gorgeous of all drop dead gorgeous goddesses in fantastical wuxialand.  There is a gender norms reversal where she is this cold, socially awkward, cranky holier than thou who does not blink an eyelash at anyone except the OTP.   But we shallow fangirls are never as lenient with our heroines as towards our hunks.  We love them relatable, good kind, nice, sweet, non-threateningly beautiful physically but everything we call inner-beauty, all these social mores we attach to our gender.  XLN has nothing to do with any of it, but a dreamboat YG still loves her unconditionally.  So in picking such a misfit, it’s not only the character XLN in jeopardy, it would definitely screw with CX’s characterization of Yang Guo and that would break my heart.

Trying to be positive.  This is his most recent job for an unrelated RPG webmovie.  Just channel this for Yang Guo and you are there! RawRRR!

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To vent their frustrations, the fans are at it with their wittiest hilarious PS:

They’d rather have CX playing both ends of the OTP.

They just stuck the head of Poet Transcendent Li Bai in every grade schooler’s textbook and viola, it works.

I am out of adjectives when 磊/Rui/ 俞灏明 from CN HanaDan joins in the lively commentary, making his own collage:

这两天不断有网友 @ 我.我想告诉大家的是.我真没去演小龙女.[委屈][委屈][委屈]不过,还真有点像.[思考][思考][思考]

I got numerous mentions these 2 days, what I want to say is, I really am not going to be XLN[委屈][委屈][委屈], but, there really is a resemblance [思考][思考][思考]

FWIW, this post is purging for me.  I’ve now calmed down.  The supporting cast is getting even more and more interesting:

Jiro will be Kublai Khan.

MUAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Gosh just when I thought the WTF!F!F! of the insanely plastic transmetrosexual invading my period dramas will be put to an end as NMW will die off soon.  Here comes Jiro and the fangirls HAVE to use my Loverboy at his most gorgeous, his Yang Kang Jin Prince still to PS Jiro’s head on my pretty! W! T! F!!!!  Sorry Jiro, my last straw.  This has to be inserted:

I honestly thought when wind is out Jiro may be joining he would play the Condor, mystified to a demigod and will bromance with CX’s YangGuo.  I’m serious.

Young Yang Guo.  Looking good.  yuma definitely has an eye for gorgeous boys.  But wtf is this outfit?!

And this outfit is Fug too unless there is a Tardis party with a disco for wuxia VIPs inside. And they dance under a disco ball to a Bollywood number. I no longer would be surprise if this actually happens.

The baby YG and GuoFu are too cute in RL!

Guo Jing/Zheng GuoLin and Huang Rong/Yang MingNa.  Both of them gorgeous, in their late thirties, veterans in periods.  Both have worked in previous Louis Cha adaptations.

Yelu Qi and Guo Fu.

Yan Kuan is Wang Chongyang.  The founder of Quanzhen Sect, whose intense professional rivalry stemmed from eros-regret with the founder Lin Chaoying (Qin HaiLu) of the Ancient Tomb Sect is the seed of the conundrum/ theme of RoCH: what is Love?  threading through the Condor trilogy: LoCH, RoCH and Heaven Saber Dragon Sword.

Cheng Ying one of the many fangirls of YG.  Her uncle Lu ‘wronged’ Li Mochou in love.  She is saved by Eastern Heretic Huang YaoShi and apprenticed under him.

Our Huang YaoShi, Christopher Lee, who was the YangGuo in the Singaporean adapt.  Interesting.

陈翔 is Lu Zhanyuan, former lover of Li Mochou.  The guy who might’ve started it all:

Above is our Red Fairy Li Mochou, XLN’s Big Sis in the sect.  Word is Yuma will do his magic shit with her character, expanding her role to a Girl2 status. That is, most probably we r forced to ship YG and Li Mochou. *muahahahahasobzzzz*

This is Song Yang, our Zhen Zhibing, moniker used to be Yin Zhiping but there was a RL Taoist monk by that name.

Poor good looking guy, stuck reprising this notorious character appearing in both LoCH and will be playing a more titular part in the story of RoCH.   No one will be surprised if he’s our ‘unofficial’ guy2 because yuma has made it blatant he’ll fluff up the characterization, making him a lot more innocent and loveable,  ‘moe’/is the word yuma used. (HA!HA!!HA!!!) I’ve also come across some leaked interview most probably from the colorful imagination of the snarky fans (one can only hope) but would no longer be surprised any of the WTFery could truly happen.

Read for yourself with a grain of salt of plenty of breathing salts, substances, booze, raid whatever necessary:

The bullet points:

  1. Yang Guo’s first love will be Guo Fu, because he’s never met many young ladies back then.
  2. He would then get into a passionate angsty love affair with Li MoChou because she’s cool and hard to get, paving for YG to fell irrevocably for XLN because she reminds him of LMC.  LMC is younger than XLN here and she would love YG till her end, not a suicide per se, but to try out a life-saving antidote for the poison in YG with her own body.
  3. XLN will be dressed entirely in white.  The relationship between her and YG is purely respect and distant in the beginning.  Her first love is Zhen Zhibing.   They can’t overcome the obstacle of being from opposing wuxia sects.  Her feelings towards YG also evolves as they spent day and night living together.
  4. ZZB in yuma’s version will be ‘more fleshed out’.  He is just a Taoist apprentice and he can not rid himself of the baggage and taboo to love freely. The only lady he’s ever met in his life is XLN, different from YG who goes on to meet every young pretty girl under the sun.  When he saw the object of his affection naked in the bushes with another guy YG, the repressed love he’s been imploding inside manifested.  That is why he makes the mistake.  Just like all of us, he makes mistake.

Zhao Li Ying is Mu NianChi

lolz CX rumored (and as fake as Angelababy’s face) OTP on screen and off is going to be his mother.  Li Chen, almost a top-billing TVstar, last appearing in a cameo for LongmenExpress is at it again as YangKang.  Why we need quite a heavy weight for a YK, who was long dead when story begins, again beats me, but I am not a yuma.  He is RL boyfriend of our Li Mochou, she’s dumped Ron Ng for him.  Just enough of low-brow gossip fodder yuma feeds on.

Just when I do a check on my weibofeed to see how shit unfolds, Yuma is just at it again, stirring things up leaking one of the past XLN will do a cameo here as well.  And he teased it needs not be the obvious Fann Wong (working alongside her hubby our Huang YaoShi).  Well, she’ll make the most gorgeous 梅超風.  In the most current LoCH revision, Louis Cha somehow wrote in a romance between her and her sifu Huang.   Ohwells, I guess his missed some crazypills.  yuma is trying to hint on Carmen Lee.

There is no firm words on the two beloved sweethearts Gongsun Lü’e and Guo Xiang.  There is a murmur Angelababy, the forerunner for XiaoLongNu, most appeasing for everyone, the one yuma is still chattering about as his first choice if not for her conflict of schedules, is going to do yuma a favor and cameo as Gongsun.  In any conventional adapt, it’s fine to hint on a adorable relationship between YangGuo and the youngest and most worthy offspring of GuoJing and Huang Rong.   Yuma can hammer on all the filling out Li Mochou as a more rounded character if he genuinely cares all he wants, it is simply he landed a decently talked about young starlet for the role.   IF he lands someone more famous for GuoXiang, or if Angelababy can spare more time stroking yuma, he’ll easily write a shoujo side romance usurping the OTP.

Nothing is sacred in yumacrazytown.

56 thoughts on “Return of Condor Heroes: The Blight of yuma

  1. When I first saw the picture of the latest XLN, I tut I was looking at the picture of her maid, lol. Then I found out she is MC. I’ve nothing against her & in fact quite like her in You are the Apple of my Eyes. However, she doesn’t have an ancient face, plus is not pretty enough to be XLN. Like LC, YMM is getting more & more crazy in his casting & storyline. My poor CX, I cannot imagine he’ll have any chemistry with MC.

    I am pretty easy & watch all kind of junks but when it comes to LC’s drama, I do have a certain std. So far, I’ve never fully watch any of the remakes !!!! I saw half of LK’s version & 1 episode of HXM’s version, that is it. Call me TVB fan, old-fashion, faithful, sentimental etc but nothing beats the original version of the TVB condor heroes. I cannot accept anyone else eventhough the remakes have my favs in them. Sorry, my dear CX, this is one drama I can’t support you:(

    1. Ah I can’t believe I have like minds here loving the 80s classics the most with its hilarious styrofoam mountains and halloween makeup!

      I do understand LC’s epics are like opening the door to another world for the unschooled, so whichever adaptation you experienced first is a sentimental favorite. There is no flawless wuxia adaptation to date, always a give or take. I’d rather go with a cast decently matching the original of actors with enough talent and turn a blind eye to the rest, because LC to me is more about the intimate stories of these characters than anything else.

  2. Thank you, Mookie, for keeping us updated with news with your usual hilarious and well-written blog posts! You know I always love reading your posts and I meant to comment on them more often, but unfortunately my health hasn’t been and isn’t all that great right now (been getting sick on and off and it’s really a big pain in the ass), so I thank you for always bringing me joy with your blog 😀

    Dear God in Heaven, I thought 笑傲江湖 2013 was bad enough … never in a million years did I see this epic fail of all epic fails coming! For one thing, 神雕侠女 is a series that’s been done 10000000000x already, plus this is the most horrible miscast I’ve ever seen! FFS can’t anybody write original scripts these days? Why is everyone and their grandparents re-making 金庸 / 梁羽生 / 古龙 for the billionth time? JC how many remakes have there been already? Even I as audience get sick of the same thing over and over again — don’t the filmmakers get sick of it too? Are scriptwriters so 无能 these days that they can’t do anything but recycle the same thing over and over again?

    What’s even worse is that every time someone films a remake, they try to distinguish themselves from the many previous remakes by changing stuff from the 原著. While I’m not fussy on changes since book and film are different so there are bound to be changes, most of the time the filmmakers change things so drastically that they ruin what was good from the 原著. Like for 射雕英雄传 2008, they had a good cast and way better technology than 射雕 ’83, but my God the script was so effed up in so many places my mom and I just LOLed our way through to the ending. I saw the remakes after the classic 神雕 ’83 and NONE could match with this old classic ’83 version. IMO out of all the adaptations of 射雕 & 神雕, the best ones are still the classic ’83 versions in terms of cast and script. I know 神雕 2006 is very popular, but HXM was terrible as 杨过 and Liu Yifei just can’t act full stop. Considering acting ability, looks, and chemistry, Andy Lau and Idy Chan are still the best 杨过、小龙女 pair IMO.

    As for this new (again for the nth time) remake, I’m cool with CX being cast as 杨过 because he’s got the energetic boyish quality that the character should have. Plus he has the right 古装 look that is needed to pull off a convincing 武侠 character, especially one as epic and well-loved as 神雕大侠!

    Unfortunately, 小龙女 (one of the most beautiful 武侠 heroines ever created, whose beauty is so epic and ethereal she’s been described over and over again as 仙女下凡、貌若天仙、etc. etc. etc.) is so horribly miscast I was struck speechless for some minutes after seeing the photos posted. Normally I care more about the actor’s ability than looks, but it’s a fact that physical appearance is sometimes just as important in pulling off the character. The actress chosen for 小龙女 has NONE of the physical qualities required: ethereal beauty, a lithe and dancer-like physique, and an air of classical elegance that befits the 仙女下凡 description. Moreover, the actress doesn’t even HAVE 古装美 (not even one bit…even CX or Jiro Wang would look prettier as 小龙女 than she does), let alone enough to be 古装第一美女.

    I ROFLed for a good few minutes when I saw that Jiro was cast as Kublai Khan, because while I like Jiro and think he can act, he just DOESN’T have the right look for a tough Mongol General. For one thing, he looks too modern and doesn’t have the right 古装将军风范 that actors like Yan Kuan or Yuan Hong have, and for another, his face is just not manly enough (dude has a man’s body but a face like a girl’s).

    But by far the BIGGEST problems I have with this epic fail Yuma creation are the plot changes. Apart from the ridiculous new love triangles and character changes, what I can’t understand is why on earth is Yuma trivializing the biggest trauma of 小龙女’s life by trying to defend a rapist’s motivations? Seriously, W. T. F??! Rape is rape, I don’t care if they were friends or whatever, if a man rapes a woman then he is a beast. Doubly worse is the fact that the rapist is supposed to be a 道士 who upholds vows of honor and integrity. Is Yuma trying to make the audience sympathize a rapist? There are so many levels of wrong and disgusting with that I’m repulsed just by reading the summary alone.

    You know, it’s really disappointing that with all the resources (sets, actors, etc.) available, the only thing C-dramaland can do is churn out the same brainless tripe over and over again, instead of coming up with something fresh for a change. I grew up on the 武侠 genre and it is (and always has been) my first and longest love, so I’m always eager to see more 武侠 films/dramas/etc. What I can’t understand is why the SAME stories are being recycled when there are TONS of other famous 武侠小说 out there (other than the usual 射雕、神雕、倚天屠龙记、天龙八部、笑傲江湖、鹿鼎记、陆小凤、楚留香、绝代双骄、七剑下天山、白发魔女传、etc.). Why not try something like 《修罗七绝》 (the fight scenes would be epic on film :D) or something by an author other than 金庸?

    Even with the mediocre 兰陵王 with its many hilarious (and later on sloppy) plotholes, at least it was something different and got people interested in this lesser known historical figure (apparently the historical figure became one of the top searches after the series started airing). I don’t know how much you’ve seen of this series but I LOLed so much at your previous post about the 40 min trailer. Daniel’s 宇文邕 turned out to be the most interesting and well-written character in the whole series so I’m lost as to WHY they called this series 《兰陵王》 when they should’ve just called it 《周武帝》 instead because they made 兰陵王 look so bad (and unworthy O_o) next to 宇文邕 ( -_-;)

    (Actually, I have many thoughts about 《兰陵王》 so maybe I should rant about it in a separate blog post instead of in your comments section LOL)

    1. Ah My DEAR FRIEND! *hugzzzzz*

      I’m so relieved you are doing better, I’ve been thinking about you and worried, hoping one of my Cdrama posts will lure you out XD. Sending loads of positive vibes your way, fight a good fight! stay healthy and positive! Add OIL!

      It’s my pleasure reading your replies on my bloggie every single time. I squeaked a little you like 柳殘陽, Let alone well versed in 《修罗七绝》! tbh I’ve only read 修罗七绝 out of his works, I agree his fights are soo devastatingly kickass, but do you trust the peeps in the industry these day to clock in the hardwork making it decent?! The CG still sucks in Cdrama not because they do not have the budget for it, but CGI takes time and labor and they hate to waste any time not pushing a half-assed product out there to make a buck. There really has very little care for quality unless pride and egos are involved and even then, they are not going to sacrifice profitability over anything.

      I am not that entensively wellread in wuxia, only read most of 金、古、梁、温, and a miserable handful of the rest like 卧龙生, 還珠樓主… I can’t get into 黄易 at all. But I doubt any of the peeps in the industry truly loves wuxia with a passion half as you. They see it as one big gold egg laying hen. The damas have the remotes and not a lot of them are wuxia fiends. I doubt a 修罗七绝 will fare that well without the usual simple to follow character constructs and the whole poor boy growing up to be hero cliche they need. That is why LC is forever a favorite, esp RoCH. It has so many elements of conventional dog blood romance sating the aunties who do not care for any of the mantras and fights. An LC drama is like the new seasonal LV bag, it really does not matter if there are 2000 more worthy unique handmade bags, and they have a dozen of them LVs, they all eye the new one.

      Technically, I do not really mind them remaking LC every few years IF they really genuinely care to remake an LC, ie absolutely not what yuma is about. Seeing what cringeworthy turds they really can do with ‘creativity’ in writing, I know your question of whether the scripiwriters are 无能 is purely rhetorical. I see it as their creativity is never encouraged in the medium, there is SARFT to wrangle with, the honchos paying the bills, often the management of an idol of a merchandize they are promoting to brownnose, so their hands are tied. Plus the climate is sick, I’m watching Mulan atvm, it’s decent, it’s nothing to write home about and it’s not void of silly scenes here and there, BUT at least the writing is not offensive…it is of a much better production value, decently directed, everything, but it’s not getting 1/4 of the ratings a LanLingWang is attracting because it has no shrilly outrageous talking points towelcome snark. Please feel free to say your hearts out on LLW here if you have the time and energy HUGZZ. I very much want to read it. I can’t stand it, to my eyes, the production value is horribly cheap and gaudy. Everything looks like a failed pinerest craft project. It was torturous for me to stick till ep6?7? To me it’s not mediocre but aggravating to my eyes and ears. It hits so many of my pet peeves. I do not care for Ariel in a period actually, and this is the last straw, she works as a RongEr because the character is so eccentric off-kilter from any conventional heroine, so all of Ariels cutesy hammy habits works amazingly for the characterization, it helps she’s under a good direction of PD Li there, who understands the workings of a period. I’m swearing myself off any future Ariel periods if this is what she’s decided to put her talent and skills to use. It saddens me to no end watching her regressing and I hate to say it out loud but with this outing, I regard her as interested in cashing in her fame and idoldom, nothing more. This character needs not be a XiangQin redux, but she chose to attack it as is. At times I wonder if she’s trying to mimick a XQ to bet on our good faith and earn likeability. I hate when it’s the same old cliched shoujo obscenely disguising as having anything to do with real historical figures, insulting the intelligence of any one of them. I see FSF’s LLW as this constipated himbo, nothing is convincing me he’s some formidable war machine. All I see is he must have spent more time every morning putting on his 3 shades too dark BBcream to compensate his lack of machismo. It was embarrassingly too full of herself for Ariel to go undubbed without ANY care to practice herself a period speak. I do not reward an artist for having guts, it has to serve a function artistically. It is not just the TWmando I’m having a problem with, she can go undubbed now till forever in every modern TWdrama, but putting on costumes does not construct a period milieu. If she’s sticking firm to her mother tongue, and the modern stance and mannerisms, then I need to see it all worked into the characterization When a character obviously dubbed is conversing with another speaking in kiddo modern speech with yo~s! and aiya~s! it bugs me to no end. She is OTTing, overtly expressive, she always has a habit of it, at times better reigned in with a more competent director or it works in an idoldrama, but not in a period. LadyPD forte is idolromance, if you are to venture into a period, you can’t just transplant the mangarish TWidoldrama model, fitting a circle into a square. How is it possible for a commoner to refer to a royalty by his name to his face?! I love my shoujo but I like to keep some commonsense and logic. I know I should park my brain and forget about it has anything to do with a historical, but I can’t.

      1. Aww thank you so much for the well-wishes! *HUG*
        Health issues have always been a big pain in the ass for me, and there’s not much else I can do apart from trying to stick to healthy lifestyle choices and thanking the heavens for modern medicine.

        Doctors advise me to rest more and stress less, so I guess that’s where books/dramas/internet comes in. It’s good that I can always count on you, my dear friend! 😀

        My knowledge of the Chinese language is unfortunately very limited, so I usually have to ask my parents to explain stuff to me. My parents are huge 武侠/historical/period buffs (we still have the paperback copies from my parents’ younger days, so I guess they must be the early editions that wouldn’t have the stuff from new revisions), and love the usual 金、古、梁 (they haven’t read much of 温 who’s relatively younger than 金、古、梁). My dad also loves 《修罗七绝》 and 柳殘陽’s style. So you can imagine what sorts of stories I got growing up – usually stuff related to 武侠/中史, which is how I got into the genre in the first place.

        You’re totally right that 金庸 is like the most famous brand name that is guaranteed to have a huge audience (and therefore $$$). If the remakes IMPROVE on the previous versions, then by all means they should keep making them. But what disappoints me is that each remake seems to be worse, with more advanced technology but lacking in the most important quality of all: heart and characters. I agree that 柳殘陽’s stories of the darker side of 武林 (reminds me a lot of Tarantino with all the assassins/orphans/avengers/lone warrior type of main characters) wouldn’t be as cash cow as 金庸, plus as you said, C-dramaland still has a long way to go when it comes to decent CG for fight scenes, so again it comes back to $$$.

        I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it, but it’s true that all the SARFT controls and pressures from investors/bosses have killed what creativity that scriptwriters have. And casting is mostly a joke these days because whoever has more connections and backing from bosses will usually get the role. *SIGH*

        I haven’t seen the Mulan series (I saw the movie version with 赵微 and 陈坤 and it was pretty good) but I did watch all of 兰陵王 (except for the middle bits that I skipped because it just DRAGGED on forever) out of curiosity – I didn’t know very much about 高长恭 and he sounded like an interesting historical figure. That and I liked the theme songs (LOL).

        ROFLMAO your comments about 兰陵王 are so hilarious and on point. I spent so much time LOLing at stuff in the series (so I guess I can’t really hate it since it made me laugh…?), like the first meeting scene in episode 1, which is one of the most epic “so dumb it’s funny” scenes I’ve seen. Like seriously, what part of FSF looks like a woman??? I was almost pissing myself with laughter at the whole WTF 美女姐姐 scene. And all that crap with the flower petals made me wonder if it was a Yu Zheng production or something.

        As for the costumes, some of it just looked really weird to me, because sometimes they didn’t even look Chinese, e.g. 5王爷’s whole look seemed more French than Chinese (long curly hair with front portion clipped back, long tailored coats with high collar and shoulder tassels); the 周国宫女 looked more like a Korean period drama than Chinese period. The armor design looked like it came from 漫画…

        My biggest criticism would be the weak script. It’s sloppy and uneven, with the first half being A LOT better than the second half. There’s such a huge disconnect between the first and second half it’s almost like I was watching a different series all of a sudden. The main characters 兰陵王 and 雪舞 aren’t written very well and I said this before but they should’ve named this series after 宇文邕 because he was the best written character in the whole series! And I didn’t really like the way they made everything feel too much like 少女漫画 – I like 少女漫画 but I was expecting the historical epic that they marketed this series as. Instead we got something like the usual TWidoldrama (which is mostly fluff and not much depth) but with the characters dressed in 古装. I have a special love for historical/period because of their richness and depth, but I felt this was lacking in 兰陵王 and so it was a bit of a let down.

        I also wonder about how they spent their production budget because there were so many repeated shots and bad Photoshopped shots edited back in, especially in the second half of the series. You know it’s sloppy when even viewers like me could tell the shots were Photoshopped and repeated.

        Bits of dialog were too modern, like the 结婚 bit in episode 20 (shouldn’t it be 成亲 instead?) And the whole “四爷“,“五爷“ really bugged me cuz 四王爷 =/= 四爷. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t “爷” only for 清朝? If we’re in 南北朝 then isn’t it supposed to be either “郎” or “君”?

        As for acting, I like Ariel but I think she’s more suited to modern than period. FSF is a good actor but I felt that he was uneven, like his crying and 卖萌 scenes were great but he wasn’t as lively in some other parts?

        BTW what did you mean by “How is it possible for a commoner to refer to a royalty by his name to his face?” Which episode was this? Is this the bit where 雪舞 finds out about 宇文邕’s real identity?

        1. Rest more and stress less! Wise wise words, plus watch more worthwhile enjoyable dramas! ^^
          My very first wuxia novel ever is The Book and the Sword, it was on my required reading list for school one summer break. Gosh. I was so immersed with it, it was back when the Louis Cha books have inserts of real historical tidbits and paintings he based the story on, I bugged my Dad to go through every leaflet of them and asking him on and on on every detail. Those were the days….ahhhhh!
          Northern Qi is a bizarre time in C history even though it’s very shortlived…the whole royal family are off kilter, but known to be the most beautiful royal dynasty ever in middle kingdom, all of them would probably be diagnosed with multiple psychological disorders and should be institutionalized. I didn’t know much about 高长恭 as well, only the key facts of he’s most probably the most out of this world beautiful general ever walking the ground, breathing the air in LuoYang, he’s known to be meticulously careful and smart, living on pin and needles as well surviving long enough around the crazy murderers of ruthless royals, who are his family, ie opposite of cutesy 少女漫画, no way he has the care to go absent for periods to 卖萌 and romance a heaven girl when his head is constantly on the line. He didn’t live long enough to be extensively talked about in history books anyway. I’ve heard fr dearKoala and many friends and cousins who are shoujo fiend for life this drama is pulling straight scenes and plots from Daughters of the Nile/ Crest of the Royal Family 尼罗河的女儿 which is THE most famous longest running shoujo manga ever. The manga is not my thing and it is not like I mind manga adapts, BUT to insert sth as seminal and well known in a whatever about RL history figures without a thing to do with it just like why I snapped watchin yuma’s gong and it’s blatantly Imperial Meteor Garden done cheap?! Big peeve of mine.

          Yes, one thing rubbing me very wrong is although this is said to have a budget of 3, 4 billions rmb, at times this looks more kitschy than a yuma crap, rem some wedding of a prince in Gong?! It has FOUR tables with no decorations and less than a dozen ‘guests’. How can I take it seriously?! And it’s not even unintentionally funny. So for the media/Ariel to make it a big deal she’s reconsider her retirement to study a degree overseas for this, I’m dumbfounded. I do not see any merits in the script nor the production to waste time over for her, especially she was just recovering from quite a health scare(brain aneurysm?!) a yr or 2 back, More rest, less stress Ariel, and no more turds.

          I have no idea why they are referred as 四爷, 五爷, I’ve never read of LLW with such a nick. *shrug*

          Tbh, I can’t remember exactly when because a lot of Heaven girl’s lines insult my sensibilities, but it was sth like that, she’s at either Qi or Chou court but referred to some royal by his name, which is such a big fat silly nonononono a 5 yo should know whichever dynasty we are talking about, no?!

      2. I was just watching legend of lu zhen and noticed lu zhen calling the emperor 你and refering to herself as 我 instead of 皇上/下官…is it normal for that period (北齐)? Too few dramas have been set in that period so i’m not sure if it’s lazy writing or just a norm in the earlier, less established period of imperial rule.

        1. Lu Zhen….sigh has absolutely no Nil NONE historical accuracy at all, ZILCH NADA. It is yuma, even if he’s read anything related to Qi, which I doubt, he would make it as historically inaccurate as a trolling douche can. There should not be any shoujo idolromance based in the Northern Qi court, it’s the most inappropriate of insults on history. The Qi royals are a bunch of murderous debaunchees who won’t blink an eye raping their own stepmoms, sistersinlaw and any woman losing their favor would be killed off. It is the most disgusting time.

    1. of course! I get it alright 😀

      The state of the quality of sino-drama is also a sad reflection of the state of the bigger picture, our society. Back in the 80s, when I was a youngling growing up, HK was a different place, there was hope and drive and a HK dream if you will, a vivacity, a soul of a city. There is a genuine care for cultivation of arts, of a spirituality, towards a more dignified existence as a HKer. Now HKers are marginalized in their own turf. The society is passive aggressively forced to morph into any cookie-cutter mainland metropolis. It was nothing particularly special about having all of that, but now that it’s forever gone, it’s regrettable. Art takes cultivation, and drama making is an artform. Even a schoolyard production can have merits working with drapes and cardboard boxes as houses or every prop if the heart is in it and there is a respect for an artistic expression. Money do not buy taste, nor artistry.
      In many of my chats with my parents, where they would commiserate how it’s so much harder to earn a meaningful living for my generation, when theirs have a freedom, of the unknown, where some of them could take risks, dream big and there were opportunities and untapped fields of vocations to be invented. Life was simplier and hard work would always pay off one form or the other. It was not as cutthroat competitive a world and standard of living was higher for the mind when leisure was not an unattainable. They have less material pleasures but that freed them to pursue other nourishment of the mind. Back then, TVB had scriptwriters who are real writers knowing their craft.
      Art truly imitates life, and how a culture regards their art forms is a very telling read.
      When something as brandname as LC, ie the bluechip of dramaland, billions of $$$ in profit guaranteed is in the mix, the peeps behind this are vultures who know nth about what the freak they are doing and it does not matter. Whoever pays the bills have a say from casting to scripting to number of scenes and characterization. It seems like yuma is hinting on Michelle is no way his pick but inserted by her backers, he’s just retweeted the manip of CX playing both YG and XLN with a mention directly to CX. And he needs not lie through his teeth repeatedly hammering in the point Michelle is very skinny and very fairylike elvish. If she is truly his choice, knowing his way, he can rewrite a warm, likeable girl next door XLN and the anguish will be tempered. So with this gigantic amount of $$$ involved, the inner workings can’t be as simple as a yuma can have free reign on everything. He seems to have the clout to cast the minor characters and looks like the b8tchy backstage tug of war is just surfacing. But point is, a lot of money is to be made. It is a parallel of the same horror tale of mixing melamine in baby’s formula for a quick buck, the big buck is made, the scapegoats are executed, and the ‘investors’ are laughing to the bank.
      TVB in the 80s is just a little local television station, everything they’ve done in the 80s, we know for a fact it was done in peanut, but because they are still finding a footing, they play the game cautiously and with care of quality, they need the word of mouths, the scriptwriters are writers, fanboys growing up reading LC ad nauseum like every kid down the block. LC is so rich with social and political allegories especially with his latter work, it’s much easier for a HKer who’ve first hand experience of what LC is trying to express to grasp every veiled interpretation. The directors are not big names and they need to make it big, the actors are all newbies, most of them joined the actor training school of TVB not because they have an unsatiable passion for the craft but realistically need to make a living desperately and there was no established idol management model like today where anyone with a face can stick a foot in with proper networking. So lots at stake and everyone involved pour every ounce of heart and soul in it, because it’s a make or break deal, that is what’s making those classics insurmountable and precious. TVB in the 90s have already evolved into an enterprise, it’s a well-oiled factory with assembly lines churning out fast food like dramas with their tested formula with a precision… everything is decent to good with a few terrific, but gone is the heart and soul in many, they no longer take any risk and everything follows careful business calculation, working within a box, especially when they are feeding off a brandname franchise like LC. By then, TVB is a listed company with shareholders and profit margins to cater for, they will cut every corner and it shows in how subpar the technique in many of the stars are, clearly from little to no training and pushed to the limelight of leading roles before they are ready. . Without the proper resources to train future producers/directors/writers…a talentless vacuum is looming. A Louis Koo is not ready for a leading role just with a pretty face, and perhaps if he has the luxury of numerous takes with every scene the end product might have been superior, if the director/producer had the eye or care, that is, but quality no longer matter enough because TVB is a profitable brand name on its own. And the downfall begins.

      When a ZJZ ambitiously reinvent LC. He has almost unlimited financial resources at hand and a maniacal lofty pipedream, to outdo all previous adapts, which should already have us alarmed because a true auteur work on his own craft, every adaptation is unique a witness of the time and artists behind, make the best of your work and let the audience be the judge, I do not see a Wong Ka Wai bragging his Grandmaster will reduce all movies about Ip Man obsolete.
      Too bad a ZJZ does not have the directorial skills nor the depth, he might be a well read historian, a trained actor but he has no talent as a director behind the lens and most damningly his ego prevents him from a thorough understanding of LC to pull it through. To be very politically incorrect he is like a dama who will pile in excess, every luxury brand name on without a regard of fit and occasion to compensate the lack of taste and skill. LC’s novels at heart are not about fancy fights and extravagant wire works acrobatics, luscious beautiful travelogues but simply put internal human dramas. What is going on inside the character shaping his/her actions and growth. ZJZ is a horrible storyteller, he has no awareness of tension and pace and how the camera should be used to capture internalized emotions instead of the superficial. He started off good enough in DGSD, but after a sweet first try, his ego got the best of him and his every LC production hence deteriorated to the point of unwatchable. DGSD is an expansive epic, but the wuxia mores are actually simplier, characters are more set pieces and the pathos easier to tap into. LC’s works got increasingly personal/internalized, more ambitious and abstruse…with Duke of Mt Deer no longer straightly an escapist wuxia but a cautionary tale of survival in dire times.

      1. I have relatives and family friends living in HK so what you said about HKers being marginalized in their own turf is sadly very true. Life is really hard over there 😦

        I agree with you about HK culture being chipped away and so do my parents and family/friends. It’s really sad that individuality, creativity, and artistry is being destroyed this way. You’ve described the fall of TVB perfectly and my mom says the same thing when she laments every now and then that she misses the old days when productions actually had heart and soul. On viewing the old classics and comparing them with new versions, I have to say I totally agree. The 80s era of TVB productions were great because the filmmakers actually gave a damn about their art and the actors chosen for the roles could act, instead of the idols of nowadays who mostly depend on their looks. Same deal with music and singers. My family and I are huge fans of old-timers like Anita and Leslie (who are forever my idols, bless their souls) and the great music of the legendary Wong Jim & Joseph Koo duo.

        You’ve summed up the sad state of today’s society beautifully with your comparisons to the scapegoats being executed while the head honchos laugh all the way to the bank. I would say that this is the case with not only Asian cinema but also Hollywood too, with most of the billion dollar productions being brainless tripe or part of soulless huge franchises. Unfortunately as long as they make $$$, they’re not gonna care about artistry or quality, which is just sad because it’s like they’re poisoning the minds of the public with this crap…

        LC works are great because of not only well-written stories and interesting characters, but also because of the historical and cultural detail that he puts into the stories. What pisses me off about crappy remakes is how something as rich as LC classics are turned into shallow soap operas. The Condor trilogy are beautiful wuxia epics that showcase themes of honor, love, family, and duty with a detailed historical backdrop. Duke of Mt Deer is a brilliant piece of work not because of the awesome wuxia that is trademark of LC’s style, but because of its satirical story about modern survival, a social commentary using the main character and his adventures as an example.

        I haven’t seen much of Zhang Jizhong’s works, and what I did see (ROTC06) I didn’t even like. My mom and I couldn’t even finish ROTC06 because it was nothing like the story and characterization of the ROTC novels, for pretty much the reason that Jin Yong himself stated. If ZJZ is as arrogant as you said, then it’s no wonder that his works are crap. This is the same criticism I have towards the new Hollywood movies and it’s exactly as you said: fancy fights, CGI, technology, SFX, etc. does NOT equal quality storytelling. To me, the most important thing is STORY. I don’t care how fancy it looks, if it has no depth then it’s not enough to keep me watching – I normally don’t have very much time or energy to follow series/movies (unless like now when I’m stuck at home resting), so I’m quite picky. My mom is a much more patient viewer but even a huge drama buff like her is quite disgusted with the crap that’s been coming out these days.

        1. Out of sth bad, comes sth good. yuma had pissed off the entire web so devastatingly peeps are posting everything related to the classics, as if to express the love fondly …until it’ll be tarnished by associating with first swordsman now this.
          And CCTV music did a series on music appreciation on each of the LC novel’s adaptations. Each ep is ~30 min and the one on LoCH has 20+ min of Wong Jim and Joseph Koo. Forever GOLD! The lyrics are perfect poems on their own, giving the most apropos synopsis of the novel on top of the music being a perfect harmonious marriage btw folk music, the classical and pop, and they stay as good now if not better by comparison! How long since a themesong is memorably?!

    1. Seriously, but with the aunties clicking in, watching and tolerating the heck of this, or nosy silly things like me checking this out just to snark, making it a ratings/online hits sensation, boosting this cray behemoth to flaunt around as if his stuff has a worth is the vicious cycle that needs to stop. Now. I think we the people should rise and take back our dramas. There is no joy nor any meaningful kind of entertainment if we are swarmed with nothing but this, it insult my aesthetics to no end for one.

    1. beautiful, sweet smell of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ indeed. yuma is kekekeing all the way to the bank. Sad state of affairs. yuma should put out 50% of his earnings on a public charitable fund for the trauma he’s cashing in on us, and for every uncontrollable expletive in gentile company or jump of 10 mmHg in blood pressure we get a penny or sth, so we can throw it back at him.

      1. I usually find Tian Ya a bit mean, but I do enjoy their Mr Yu hating. Ngl, I feel kind of sad that LC sold his rights to somebody like YZ who obviously doesn’t even respect the spirit/theme of his works(I mean, I don’t think he needs the money but I don’t know). T_T

        1. I still can’t wrap a finger around WHY LC would do such a disservice to his masterpiece. The last thing they need is the worst trampling by yuma. I can only think maybe he’s under some pressure from the honchos in the C ent.biz?! But when yuma posted a pic of LC smiling along with Joe Chen and claiming he’s fine with her as DFBB, I lost it. LC was openly jabbing he’s not fine with Brigitte Lin’s revamp. :/

  3. Hi Mookie! I was just wondering who YSS is? And yuma is a well-known mainland director I take it? (Sorry for my ignorance)

    1. Hi there!
      Yuma is YuZheng, he’s behind a number of rating hits last few years like Goong which he lifted entire dialogues and scenes straight from HanaDan and inserted it into the fakest shell of a Qing dynasty period. He’s notorious in serving up the most ridiculous silliest rewriting of REAL historical figures screwing whatever that is documented in history books, peeps watch on for snark. I am still dumbfounded how anyone can sit through any of his stuff. He is fresh off ‘reinventing’ Louis Cha’s arguably best loved masterpiece where he changed up the sex of the baddie, and invented a romance with the hero…just imagine how much hair is pulled off from the fans of the original.

      YSS is Yuan ShanShan, argh…she is under yuzheng’s management therefore he’ll insert her in leading roles in dramas he’s producing with no regard whether she’s suitable or not, 10 out of 10 times NOT. Instead of working on her craft, she opted for the easy way of PS, her face is so plastic she has a perpetual stare and her lips are mostly nonhuman stuffing. On top of having less than servicable talent, it is traumatic to watch her on screen. I’m not really being mean, I swear, I won’t suggest you watch her in action and see for yourself …this is her arsenal of emotive faces:


      Uploaded with ImageShack.us

      *headdesk*

      1. OMG Gong -_-;
        When I saw that series, the first thought I had was: this must be the bastard child HanaDan & BBJX where 8ye is basically Doumyouji and Qingchuan is a mix of Ruoxi/Makino. Even the plot was similar – with the frenemy, the waiting in the rain/fever scene, 8ye getting beat up while Qingchuan is held hostage, the whole rivalry with 4ye (like a more sinister version of Hanazawa Rui). Then there’s the whole fighting over the throne thing that’s basically BBJX and with Qingchuan being the the palace maid….

        FSF and Yang Mi are very likable and there were some fight scenes and funny bits (that were copied from HanaDan and BBJX!) – that’s pretty much the only thing good about the series…

        HOLY CRAP I never actually saw what YSS really looked like, but now I see that she looks like an alien O_o

        I really wonder about Yu Zheng’s eyesight when it comes to casting: the alien-looking YSS as Ren Yingying, and now even worse: a pork chop Xiaolongnu -_-;

        If I was Jin Yong I’d be puking blood right now.

        1. Gong really was the cutoff of me transitioning from able to casually watch a yuma drama to snark if I was bored enough to HATE, if I could vomit all my disgust on him, I would, literally.

          It was such a lowest of blow with no respect of the industry he’s in to blatantly throw together a half-assed cheap copycat haphazardly just to beat BBJX in airing thus fooling everyone not in the know he’s a conning troll. I could have nothing to do from him and I swore myself off properly watching anything he’s doing from that point on. I won’t ever give sucha scum and cancer in the industry any benefit of a doubt.

          And just when I was about to be my most charitable and be disgusted at myself kinda wanting to check this RoCH out because of CX, yuma is pulling out all his stinkiest tricks. And now I hate myself more being fooled, again, by a tool.

      2. You know I just wished that taiwan and hk would collaborate more and initiate a wuxia production/direction movement lol

        I find mainland scripts lack a LOT of things like characterisation, nice background music, scenes that build upon each other so that you feel like you’re watching something progressive rather than just mundane plot to script writing, casual comedic moments and the list could go on. I recently watched a chinese ghost story which i know had its flaws but it made me feel very nolstagic and all four characters were developed and differentiable. Then I watched more of WU Jing mainland dramas and he had like the same flat persona and facial expressions jn all three with poor supporting cast that had no screen presence and character at all… I know there have been bad taiwanese production but even the train-wreck that was chor lau herng was enjoyable in the very beginning. Maybe im trying to emphasise the homey-ness tone if these dramas in comparison to these distant-feeling chinese productions where they dont really place much feeling into establishing its character as an integral part of the series, but rather just figures to move the plot forward (in the most robotic fashion).

        Its soo sad yes i agree and now that tvbs gone down down hill, i only have jdramas pretty much. I miss old tvb and think Taiwan should step up and make wuxia heaven rather than idol fluff.

        1. I have no faith anymore with HK drama production if it’s going to stay monopolized by TVB. There maybe ONE rare watchable gem out there a year, but it’s always an anomaly, often TVB is trying to lure some talent back on a more binding contract and let him take the reign and some liberties in creativity (eg 王祖藍) and if the gamble pays off, the star is then forced to churn out sequels, but TVB would take the tight control back and dictate it to include every element they thought would get them ratings like the original as if it’s a dead merchandize. There won’t be the soul the spontaneity, the chemistry, no nothing. TVB periods have not been watchable since War and Beauties and that was freaken 9 years ago. They simply have no muscle nor the resources to pour into a decently produced wuxia nowadays.

          TW still can do things homey, idoldrama mangaish cute and romantic but no TW epic wuxia was palatable for me. The producer behind was trying to fit the genre in the same old homeland breed, it was one note weepy, angsty, familial turmoils, missing the grander picture. It has nothing of the spirit of wuxia. I can’t stand a DemiGodsSemiDevils turning into pure shrilly cryfest of a signature QiongYao. TR tried to turn LoCH into a period idol drama and it works to an extent just for a tiny snippets when the characters are teens, when they advance to the much messier cruel jiangwu, the drama fell apart spectacularly. I’m weeping inside just thinking of the possibility if I live to be forced to see a TWidoldrama-esque Duke of Mt Deer.

          1. Hay again Mookie!

            What you say about tvb is so true. I’m watching TITS 2 and was just laughing about the vitamin drink sponsors. (yes shame on me for watching that) but I guess no matter how bad tvb becomes, they do know how to make me laugh with their jokes.

            So I take it you did not like Dicky’s Duke? LOL in this way my complete ignorance allows me to enjoy just the comedy and whatnot. I grew up in Australia and am not at all as knowledgeable as all of you here when it comes to Chinese history and classic LC/ JY stories but that makes me appreciate your post and the opinions of everyone else here as well.

            I love wuxia series just because I find great escapism from them and I guess I just want some mainland productions to give me a warmer feeling? lol i.e. no drum rolls and cold b/g music.

            Anyway I just want to say that your posts and your follower’s comments crack me up! Keep enlightening me and entertaining all of us with your blog and really appreciate that you take the time to reply to everyone.

            Oh and if you have any reccs for any wuxia dramas I should check out please let me know.

            Please don’t judge but I enjoyed Fox Valant so anything similiar is good:)

            1. Lord, that v water wall is totally bringing PPL to a new ‘high’. I’m not a sugary beverage person, but I’m so sick of it to try it. TiTS2 is such a disgrace to anything that makes a drama. The scriptwriters and editors and producers should never be allowed to work in the industry ever! I’ve taken notes of their names and they would be on my unforgivable list. Nancy Wu is one of the talented actress with the right look at the right age to deserve much better than this bastardization of her Coco, and she’s still doing such an earnest job working on nothing but the silliest plot EVER. Poor poor thing. She has so much lovely chemistry with Ron Ng, and I’ve not seen Ron attacking a role with so much heart in years (yeah his skills set is still negligent, but it doesnt matter much in a TVB!)…and this is what TVB is serving him…lesigh. IF TVB still has any care, they should make them the next screen CP in every drama they are in. It has sacrificed EVERYTHING to insert new starlets TVB is trying to forcing down our throat (coffee girl) when ChiLam’s character had nothing to do for stretches of 10+ episodes, the characters will go randomly buy a watch, twice, and we’ll get more memorable closeups of watches. I actually know the consultant behind the airline sponsoring this, and I didn’t say it to him but geez, we get it, the airline is the sponsor, but we REALLY did not need another cameo of a Cheung Kwok Keung at 11th hour just to throw in half an ep of cockpit scenes when Fala is being the most annoying entitled brat and still getting away with it. I’ve been only watching it as a distraction doing other stuff, but STILL I can go on and on with my rants. This started DECENT, no one is delusional to ask for it to be masterpiece, we only need some lively lines, interesting characters and an hour of Canto a day watching Chilam Francis and Ron sashaying in the uniform, or the pretty ladies in theirs for the boys. And they still can fail so deliriously in every way possible.

              Oh! No, actually I had a ball with Dicky’s Duke, they based it so loosely on the original and did not pretend to be anything authentic but it was cute and fun. Wong Jing was the mastermind of that, so was it a TW/HK collab back then?! The book itself has nothing much to do with wuxia, as in WXB is not a wuxia hero by anything definition of the word. There are characters practicing that doctrine still (eg Chan JinNam) but they are marginalized. If you put it in context JY wrote it in the dead heat of cultural revolution. It would shine a new light on how marvelous an escapism fairytale that was…living in a most stifling dictatorship under a ‘charismatic’ emperor, where the social orders are reshuffling to a holocaustic devastation… KangXi is widely considered the best in wits of the Qing emperors, he led Qing to a hundred years or so of stability but it’s not without ruthlessness, and it’s almost like a parallel universe JY was trying to portray…what if we all get along, down from all our ‘patriotic’ ‘revolutionist’ high horses, allow all cultures and ideals to coexist?!

              1. LOL! That wall is hilarious!!! They sure know how to be subtle LOL!!/?!?!

                I agree with Ron attacking this role with heart. Poor guy lol. I also watch this for the same reason as I love seeing the guys and girls joking around in canto as I miss listening to it so much. With my streaming of j and C dramas, I hardly hear Canto at all as I pretty much speak English. I can still hack coffee girl, but what I really couldn’t swallow were the scenes where Adrian brings out the guitar and starts singing. Cringe worthy scenes like that and their proclivity to soak the dialogue in English cement the fact that TVB will NEVER be the same. (I think back to Secret of the Heart:( )

                Ooooh that was merely an assumption LOL. You would probably know more than me. Maybe it was a C production with hk and tw actors. If you enjoyed it as well that means they did something right lol Or maybe I’m just more attached to hk actors because I find their acting to be more natural and they have more screen presence (from the limited series I’ve watched anyway).

                Maybe that’s why JY’s stuff is so popular? Same reason why BYJ has become a YOn-sama in Japan. People just LOVE fantasy. We all wish we were in some parallel world~**Cue JIN b/g music lol

                I wish I could read Chinese because I know I would definitely enjoy reading the novels so much more! But oh wells, I’ve still got my jdramas.

                1. What worked for Dicky’s Duke was there is a respect for the original, not saying it’s nearly as good as the Tony and Andy version. Dicky’s WXB is close enough to the essence of the character. For a lot of peeps not knowing a thing about LC or RoCH, the bashing on Michelle seems distastefully harsh and they are jumping on the high horse of we are not allowed to criticize an actress on her unsuitable look and weight. I jabbed the casting of HXM as WXB from the moment that Royal Tramp was in production, HXM, widely considered one of the most handsome leading man in Cdramaland (but so not my type) is as horrible a miscast for WXB. He is the opposite of looking the part, nor has the chop to pull off playing a polygamous low-life with a optimistic vivacity we can’t help but admire some striking qualities of him against the judgement of his other unsavory parts.

                  JY’s stuff is popular because it’s not just escapism, his work is so well researched and at the heart of it with so much respect of history. To balance it being a pure creation of his imagination while honoring historical facts is not a simple feat. Plus his work is so knowledgeable in so many elements of CN culture it’s really a treasure trove of lost art forms from music, to cuisine, to fengshui, you name it, it’s all so interestingly interspersed in his works. His books are worth learning Chinese for because none of the adaptations as much as I love the old TVB 80s classics, they are far from perfect. They got the most important elements right (the right cast, decent scripting, perfect use of music) but it did take liberties that were hit or miss, then there was the shoddy homey small studio production values back then which I can overlook, but I also understand perfectly why it was not watchable for the current crowd.

                  1. Not watchable now partly due to the prehistoric CG effects where the current crowd will laugh?? Lol I would probably laugh as well and I understand why they may not be able to enjoy it but it just depends on what people value I guess. I value decent actors, script and music more than anything else. So even though it may be hilarious to watch some of the scenes and the cheap sets that the actors were given to work with, at least I was able to appreciate the execution under such limitations. I mean HSDS 2009 looked pretty good aesthetically but boy was the protagonist a log and a half with his portrayal as the heroic lead. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the two and was really NOT feeling the music or any of the supporting characters for that matter.

                    I never checked out HXM’s duke but I will take your word for it lol (he couldn’t even pull off the playful vivacious element of WXB’s character? ) It’s funny, ever since this conversation I’ve even taken up abbreviating everything.

                    Although I may have annoyed you for a while, I just want to express how good it is to even be able to talk about these things. Everyone around me only knows Korean dramas so its been refreshing to talk about something so deep in my poor old-school heart.

                    1. Oh nonono, never annoying, you! ^^ It’s a delight to chat.
                      I’m a weirdo who fell asleep watching Jurassic Park when it was out eons ago, so even with the most amazing CGI of the time, if the story not engaging enough, I just shut my brain down completely. I take the old classics from the 80s as stage plays so minimal fake sets, plus the fact I lived that decade, nothing is too foreign and fug when you’ve seen your mother in similar makeup LOLZ
                      I’ve read a very good take at Tianya from a Cnetizen who had a good read of what is the most darling quality of an 80s TVB, the director has a keen eye for capturing minute genuine flickering emotions of the characters perfectly timed and paced, in turn inducing what we call chemistry between the parties interacting, which draws you into the story like nothing else. It is these subtle intangible nuances they captured so effectively in their lens that made them withstand time. They focus on casting suitable characters whom have sparks working together, instead of the Cdrama way of pitching leading roles through managements and a lot of backstage muscling, a bigger star, the more popular idol, the top artist under the management must lead and the hierarchy follows in packing order. It is one thing the industry insider work in this cutthroat manner, but another when fans and audience actually agree this is the way it should be and see no compromise of artistic integrity.

      3. OK technical question: how do you comment on Koala’s blog using WordPress account? I’m not very familiar with WP functions and even when I’m logged in (like right now), I can see Koala’s posts on my Reader feed but I can’t comment on them? Thanks 😀

        1. Hi sweetie, it’s just the same as visiting other blogs for me though…

          At the bottom of the post there is a prompt to leave a reply and you have to enter a handle and email and website/your wordpress acct is optional.

    1. I think he’d be AWESOME as a XLN, better than any of the rumored ones seriously. He can out-act them for one, and we have eyes, he’s NOT shabby looking…(urmmm, but yuma just did the impossible of fugging him up from the leaked bts… a r g hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

  4. Thank you mookie for the greatest laugh I’ve had in a long time omg I feel so bad for MC she’s just sooooo horrible as XLN and if I were her I’d quite the shaming will be hellish… sadly I’m born in the 90s and cant in any way swallow the stuff made in the 80s cos of the lousy props and devilish makeup >< I dont think I've been able to watch a single cdrama happily in recent years they've been going from bad to worse I can't seem to fathom the extent of the horribleness. I suppose ppl really are that greedily corrupt? is it possible at all to make "indie" stuff and get it aired? sigh…

    1. This is sucha lucrative business you need a lot of clout, connections to make do. There are still slice of life dramas made but it’s getting rarer and rarer and you need to be in the mood of the same topics on eg deterioration of our nuclear family structure, aging, tension btn the generations, the stress of the ‘middle class’ …..feeding the intellectual sector of the ‘aunties and uncles’

      haha not to be a hard sale but do try out Deer of Mt Duke with Andy and Tony. It’s my vote for the best Louis Cha adaptation bar none. It has so much going on and the synergy of charisma btw those 2 really makes you forget about the shoddy set/production value It’s still my fav role of Andy.

  5. you are hillarious, really 😀
    now after i read this post, i just realize that my local tv channel here in my country had aired four versions of ROCH (Andy’s, Louis’s, Richie’s and HXM’s,, oh my country surely loved ROCH adapts i think XD) and made myself proud with watched the 3 of it (Andy, Louis and HXM,,, and like you And-Idy favorite of mine too and not to mention the awesome OST :D) though tbh i dont really remember its plot aside of Yang Guo loves his XLN Gu Gu so much and how awesome XLN slept in a ropes bed and how much i despised the horny monk for rapes her XD
    now i wonder if this newest 2013 adapts will make it into my tv screen LOL

    1. The romance btn YG and XLN is the core of RoCH so you remember the important facts! I was sooo traumatized watching that twist of that yucky monk as a kid!
      What was more interesting for me was also the usual trials and tribulations of hero in making, jaded, no desire to make his mark in the jiangwu along with his gugu, but ended up saving his country (there is also the epic battle of the reigning patriotic hero CP GuoJing HuangRong holding guard of the city of LuoYang). It is almost that romantic saying love can aspire a person to make himself or herself to use in a society he/she has kthxbai long ago.

  6. How eloquently expressed by that Cnetizen! I hate saying how everything is so true but it just is! The subtlety and little insignificant scenes that are sequenced appropriately and moderately throughout a drama really make the older series back then much more endearing and also inextricably engages the audience into the heart and mind of the characters. Such engagement is not observable anymore and simple things like casting a pair together that has even the TINIEST bit of a spark is too much of an ask. And if that’s not bad enough, even casting the right antagonist for a drama is a task that many can’t accomplish adequately.

    I know most of us are shallow, but what makes it worse these days is when there is no look AND no talent. (Too traumatised by HSDS “09). I know it’s all our fault but can’t somewhat stop this?? Can’t someone disagree to the way dramas are being produced?? I don’t think ALL of us want to compromise.

    1. The no talent and no look dilemma is what I’m refusing to compromise and in that order, and hence my endless ugly rant on any actress like MC. I am one to admit it full on if I’m being mean but not here, other than the fact she’s the most hideous choice for a XLN, her talent is paltry at best, does not meet any standard of pretty, charming, charismatic on my screen. She is a non-factor, I see no ‘STAR’ quality. There are a dozen TW actresses on the top of my head who could’ve taken her place in Apple and served it better. EVERY TWidoldrama actress that have led a show and I’ve sat through will do, and I’ll list: JoeChen, Ariel, Alice Ko, Janine Chang, Rainie, Ella, Ivy Chen, Tiffany Tsu…I can go on and on and on. Even a LinChiLing <she was surprisingly tolerable in a turd like Say Yes! (101次求婚), and that at least show me improvement.

      Deng Chao (the Zhang Wuji) is actually not a bad actor (yes hard to believe if you've only seen him in DSHS09) but he is not suitable for periods and has not had his luck with decent dramas honing his skills. He did not cause much outrage when he’s cast. But when he’s stuck with that sorry hairdo and costumes, peeps started to be afraid. And what is scaring me the most with CX, ie the only thing I care about this RoCH really, is the netizens are saying this reminds them of Deng Chao’s treatment so much in DSHS and I’m getting queasy with just the thought. I would blame it mostly on the lazy bigheadstamp of ZJZ and surrounding the ZWJ with the most questionable bunch of talentless faceless actresses stuck there again because of their connections. It's a revolting business.

      1. LOL! Yeah the hair is just sad. Wonder what the atmosphere on set is like…

        While I do think that there are particular dramas/ series that actors would excel in, for Deng Chao to fail at portraying a pretty straightforward and heroic ZWJ does make me doubt his level of acting ability. No matter how faceless and talentless the actresses and supporting cast were, I still couldn’t excuse his log-face and equally absent execution of anything resembling feeling on screen. So I would have to disagree with you on that one Mookie! lol

        What I do agree on is the disastrous choice for XLN. Not even because of her looks but because she doesn’t even have ANY aura. So that’s a triple fault! Tbh I don’t really think that any of the mentioned actresses can really act all that well but my fav from that list would be Ivy Chen just because she does have a natural way of being.

        I just hope for CX’s sake, (and yours!haha) that his experience is still enjoyable rather than tedious.

        1. I do blame it more on ZJZ though. I’m not saying Deng Chao is an amazing actor, less so in a period esp but I’ve seen him decent in quite a few of his earlier works before he started to heck it esp in DSHS 1) that script was horrendous 2) sometimes the appearance and costume is crucial for an actor to get in a character, even a Tony Leung was quite meh as ZWJ imo and his miserable do there was not helping 3) imo ZWJ is the opposite of straightforward heroic, I thought of him with the diplomatic leadership qualities, a born politician almost, therefore can package his wishywashy-ness neatly. That is, he could not be read like an open book. Of course ZJZ failed to give any layers to him. Plus, as a director, he is shockingly skill-less in capturing emoting. He’s more into framing an aesthetically perfect scenery than injecting any genuine emotion. It was especially blatant in his RoCH06, where there was absolutely no connection between the OTP, it was entirely by luck almost LYF might nail a scene convincingly but HXM would be terribly off like a prankster on set, and vice versa, it was so bizarre no director should not spot the lack of cadence, but not a ZJZ.

          Oh, you can’t see a Rainie, an Ariel in MC’s role in Apple?! The list is so not for a XLN. I just did not see MC offering anything unique those mentioned can’t bring to the table for that role. None of them is half-qualified for a XLN though. None. I guess TW actresses honed their skills in too many idoldramas where a relatability to the fanbase is crucial, there is almost an eagerness that can veer to OTT to engage, very wrong for that aloofness, withdrawn of a character like XLN, where one would never see eye to eye to, nor aspired to be, at most we can understand her feelings, but she was never relatable to us earthlings.

          1. Mookiehyun I am looking for some great 80’s’/90 cantonese movies and dramas (every genre). I love cantonese language the sound is sooo original 😀 please can you help me ?
            Thank you
            Ps : I just finished “the four” 2008 and it was nice I think. Four boys have nice chemistry and Kate Tsui is beautiful and badass here 🙂

            1. OH! Where do I begin?!?! Lets stick with movies. I have a page on my favorite dramas on the top of my head..

              I love and rewatch any Stephen Chow all the time. I just rewatched his Journey to the West/Chinese Odyssey 1, 2, very thought provoking. When I was younger, I adore his Fight Back to the School(s) From Beijing with Love, his satire on the 007 franchise is perhaps his sharpest and most political. His best all-rounded works are God of Cookery and Shaolin Soccer imo.

              I love wuxia, but I’ve yet to see a perfect movie adaptation.

              Shanghai Blues (1985) and Peking Opera Blues (1986) are my favorite Tsui Hark. His Butterfly Lovers is my favorite rendition of the tale and still my fav job from Nicky Wu.
              Merry Christmas (1984) has Leslie Cheung and Danny Chan. Young, fun, cute.
              金枝玉叶 (He’s a Woman, She’s a Man) 1994. Role reversal romcom. Leslie and Carina and Anita Yuen at their prime gorgeousness and can sell star charisma by the truckload.
              富贵逼人 (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World) 1987 comedy with a bit of slice of life thrown in about a family living in the projects obsessed with $$$$$ as the stereotype of HKers in the 80s go.
              表姐,你好嘢! (Her Fatal Ways) 1990. Hilarious satire dabbing on the tension between locals and mainlanders,
              最佳拍档 Aces go Places (1982) action comedy. Trademark HK cinema at its most fun in the 80s.
              我爱夜来香 All the Wrong Spies (1983) is along the same line but this time poking spies with Brigitte Lin being drop dead gorgeous.
              开心鬼 (The Happy Ghost) (1984) comedy about…ghost.
              整蛊专家 (Tricky Brains) my favorite JingWong x Stephen Chow and a super dashing Andy Lau.
              家有喜事 (All’s Well, Ends Well) Feel good comedy for the holz
              92黑玫瑰对黑玫瑰 Legendary La Rose Noire (1992) has the other Tony Leung dancing, and singing and weird characters played by a bunch of award winning thespians having a ball paying homage to the 60s classics in HK cinema.
              射雕英雄传之东成西就 (The Eagle Shooting Heroes) A satire weird thing with the ultimate list of who’s who. It was tooo out there bizarre for me when it was out, but now it has taken a dear spot in my heart.
              纵横四海 (Once a Thief) 1992 heist, action, breezy fun, gorgeous superstars.
              新难兄难弟 He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father! (1993) The two Tony Leungs as father and son.

              Drama:
              暗战 ( Running out of Time) 1999 Sean Lau, thriller, perhaps my favorite Johnny To (it changes all the time)
              忘不了 (Lost in Time) Romance. Cecilia Cheung, Louis Koo, Sean Lau
              新不了情 ( Cest la vie, mon chéri) Sean Lau and Anita Yuan. I cried and cried and cried.
              暗花 (The Longest Nite) Tony Leung x Sean Lau
              旺角黑夜 (One Nite in Mongkok) perhaps my fav performances of Cecilia Cheung and Daniel Wu
              喋血街头 (Bullet in the Head) Tony Leung in a John Woo.
              辣手神探 (Hard Boiled) Tony Leung and Chow Yun Fat in a John Woo
              阿郎的故事 All About Ah Long (1989)
              滚滚红尘 Red Dust (1990)
              Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996)
              As Tears Go By (1988) WKW’s debute.

              Heart warming/Slice of Life:
              似水流年 Homecoming (1984) A city dweller visits her hometown in countryside for the funeral of her grandmother.
              女人四十 (Summer Snow) (1995) Director Ann Hui, I would throw in Boat People (1982) if you are in the mood
              ChungKing Express is my WKW pickmeup
              南海十三郎 (Mad Phoenix) 1997 On the passion and trappings of an artist, a Chinese Opera writer/star.

              Nostalgia (just because I miss them):
              Rouge (1988)
              WKW and Leslie and Tony collabs. Days of Being Wild, Happy Together… I basically rewatch WKW like a ritual
              Farewell, my Concubine (1993)

              1. Oh the good old days! I watched most of these growing up and I always have fond memories of them! LOL @ Stephen Chow – 星爷 is my King of Comedy. His movies ALWAYS make me laugh my ass off even on re-watch, that’s how awesome he is! 😀

                And yes to all the good old TVB classics from the golden 80’s! 😀
                I’m glad you like Sean Lau too – my parents LOVE his movies and also Tony Leung is always a favorite. Andy Lau and Chow Yun Fat too.

                My FAVORITE IDOLS of ALL TIME has got to be Anita and Leslie. They are incredible by themselves but even MORE AMAZING when together! 胭脂扣 is one hell of an awesome movie with a beautiful story and wonderful acting. Oh and the 倩女幽魂 movies are awesome too 😀

                Michelle Yeoh is my queen. I watched all her movies growing up from 皇家師姐 all the way to her wuxia movies (I even watched Tomorrow Never Dies just because she was the lead in it, when back then I don’t even watch James Bond movies). Brigette Lin is another old favorite of mine – the best 东方不败 and 白发魔女 in my eyes. I also love all the wuxia roles she had as a kickass heroine 😀

                Jet Li is another old favorite. Our whole family watched pretty much all his kung fu movies together and he had many great collaborations with the HK action filmmakers. We watched all the Tsui Hark and Ching Siu-tung movies too. We also watch Donnie Yen movies.

                1. *Sweetie, I edited your post fixing the tiny typo ^^*

                  haha it’s so obviously I’m a silly and HUGE Sean Lau fangirl, since a teen. Weird child I am, when I’m hit by the case of hormones, out of everyone still at TVB then, I have hots for Sean Lau. I was teased to the bones when it was almost a whole class of LeonLai fangirls against lone me.

                  I’m not too floored by both Michelle and Jet as actors. Wuxia masters, wuxia dancers, absolutely, and they are serviceable actors but they never absolutely captured my soul and my being and draw me deep into the slew of pain and torture and feelings and emotions swishing inside the character like a Leslie or a Tony, or even a Brigitte Lin could with one single glance. Again back to the conundrum to cast a wuxia character…they need the physicality and immense acting chops.
                  Gosh I rewatched Rouge last week. Leslie’s birthday is coming up and I do not even know why a scatterbrain like me just remember it and it hit me from nowhere. Sorely I miss and miss him and Anita. The movie has such an overwhelming place in my heart nothing will ever come close. I am a HUGE Lillian Li PikWah fangirl, I still read her articles daily and it’s been a habit gosh since I can read?! Needless to say I love the original novel, and when she was hands-on involved in this movie and the perfect casting of Anita and Leslie both her RL deardear bffs and the very dependable Stanley Kwan was hemming this production, I was swept away, completely speechless. And when the final product is this glorious, magnificent ode, so authentic to the novel and the characters. This is love poured in and love leaped from the screen hitting me. This is what a classic is about, it is irreplaceable. And the serendipity, Lilian just wrote on her column the other day about CN production companies hankering her for the copyright to remake Rouge all the years and she has refused them incessantly. I respect her more for blatantly writing she is never going to agree to a remake out of respect of Anita and Leslie, they are unique and forever. I love this spine of hers to death. Juxtaposed her attitude to that of LC. It’s night and day. I can understand it’s hard to refuse the lure on LC’s part, or perhaps he’s still not satisfied with any of the adapts and hence him selling the rights for remaking his books to death, but I lost respect for him. Li PikWah once jabbed the remake of her Terracotta Warriors in such eloquent writing and in interviews prior to its airing I have yet to see half this kind of ballsy from LC.

          2. I guess TW actresses honed their skills in too many idoldramas where a relatability to the fanbase is crucial, there is almost an eagerness that can veer to OTT to engage, very wrong for that aloofness, withdrawn of a character like XLN, where one would never see eye to eye to, nor aspired to be, at most we can understand her feelings, but she was never relatable to us earthlings.

            *clap* I agree most wholeheartedly with this comment!
            Taiwan has talented people but I feel that they make too many idoldramas when they should be honing their acting chops in more meatier roles. I watched a few idoldramas (because I ran out of decent wuxia/period dramas to watch) and IMO there’s a very obvious difference between idoldramas and the really epic dramas in terms of quality and production. Which is probably why 兰陵王 failed as a historical drama because it was more like a typical “idoldrama based on shoujo manga” but with everyone dressed in period costume. I had such high hopes for 兰陵王 especially with its big budget but dammit I feel so disappointed with the sloppy script and sloppy production. *sigh*

            1. I will be blunt TWidoldramas = rehashing ad nauseum the most cliched trope of shoujo: ugly heart of gold duckling beating the gorgeous goddess, at times evil but often kindhearted too girl2, nailing the cold handsome rich prince, with a side of an adorable puppy of a guy2 loyally pining after her. Therefore, the big names in the industry that side of the pond groomed by their TVland has always been, very plain, girl-next-door type. Ariel, Joe Chen, Rainie, Ady all graduated and can decently be winning in a TWdrama but imo all of them are not watchable in a period maybe with the exception of JoeChen.

              I cringed at LLW from the get go, yes the only one in the entire internet perhaps, nothing speaks to me could be anything but a trainwreck. I used to like this ladyPD in home brewed fluffy dramas. But I’ve tasted how she can majorly fall apart disastrously even handling a fluffy romance like Material Queen, which started the strongest I’ve EVER seen a TWidoldrama. LLW is horrendous not because it is not straightly a historical, I’m not asking for historical accuracy for it to be watchable, but when you are planting a straight modern shoujo with its construct and sentiments so crudely and other than throwing the mystical element of Heaven Girl in it and calling it a day, that is offensive. How every actor is carrying himself or herself so wonky, other than Daniel, as if XiangQin and a waxier ZhiShu and their pals were at a school play, put on some costume and lets pretend to be some period peeps. Even in a fluffy shoujo period, you need to carry yourself, convince me you are from that certain time, that world for the stakes, however silly to be convincing, that is called building a character, a world ie the basic job of the actors and the producers and writers and directors. Instead they sold me a syrupy vehicle hammering me on the head constantly Ariel is so cute you should not care about anything else and FSF can be cute too. WTF

          3. Sorry Mookie!!! I misread! For Apple, I understand.

            I do agree with everything you said about the script affecting the portrayal of a character and thus the actor’s ability to convey the certain emotions and connection that he has with the audience and the supporting characters. I know there are other actors out there that have suffered the same fate. Do you have anything that you could suggest before he lost it in HSDS?

            But I’ve still got a little reservation towards his acting. I guess I mean that I personally think ZWJ is a character that is straightforward to play because its a classic character and you can have fun with it. Maybe I’m just trying to say that he had no screen presence for this particular drama and he didn’t connect with the script. The scene where the pair had their first drink, he was just so log that when I compared it to the the versions, I felt they really fell short here. I feel that if you are a good actor, you are able to at least emit some sort of believability in your acting.

            I find him in this series really A4 and so I guess if you saying he is not a really amazing actor, but there are also OTHER factors to blame then yeah, I would agree to that LOL. But if you are saying that his acting has just been affected by the other factors, and ONLY they are to be blamed for his log-ness, then I’d have to disagree. Because I felt the inner-logness too much LOL With all this log talk I feel like walking through the forest and get warped into a wuxia story!

            1. I trust you. I’m pretty sure I would have your complaints if I soldiered on but I could not. I did not last more than 2 eps with HSDS2009 to judge it fairly. I only know there is no way it is watchable with everyone attached sucking. It must be a combination of DengChao not even caring to perform but imo the most damning offense is ZJZ being a horrible director, he has his strength in framing a picturesque scenery, then lazily lifting pages off the novel without adapting, editing it to the medium. It works for his best LC work DemiGods SemiDevils 2002 somehow, but even steady performers like Zhou Xun who usually is scene stealing and can hold her own is under-performing in his LoCH03, let alone a lesser actor as Deng Chao. I saw Deng Chao first in 少年天子 it is a shoujofied retelling of the young Qing Emperor ShunZhi (Daddy of KangXi). The whole production was several leagues above what we have to deal with now, every single performance was good, nothing to nitpick. Then I saw him in 甜蜜蜜 (2007) with his now wife SunLi. It’s is a romance, watchable, not perfect and I suspect DC has to work with someone he has feelings for him to bring it. That is why my impression of him is he’s decent when he’s working with the right crew, and I’m not surprised at you mention he’s loglike awful in HSDS2009 because both the actresses are terrible. (He worked with his then gf 郝蕾 Hao Lei in 少年天子)

  7. i love reading your post. very funny and informative at the same time. i feel more enlighted about these chinese dramas now. 🙂

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