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Fox Volant on Snowy Mountain 雪山飛狐

Yes I am certainly a sucker for Chinese soap opera, especially a Wuxia one, even if it is overly sappy and ridiculous. I mean this one seems to teach that heroes will have a terrible life, and villains a much better one, and most people who fall off mountains survive, but I still did enjoy it. I was psyched to see it was shot in 16×9, but depressed to realize the disks were mastered in 4×3, so there was no anamorphic to it, which would have looked much better. I picked this up because of the amazing cast of Hong Kong actors who are in this. This is a terribly sad, and a bit repetitive soap opera, but I still enjoyed it overall, even if it does seem that the villains mostly do better than the heroes because the heroes are too righteous for their own good.

This starts off with grand Master Wu Yidao (Anthony Wong Chau Sam) and his Pregnant wife going to battle Grandmaster Miao Renfang also known as Unbeatable (Alex Fong) at the Snowy Mountain. The are fighting because of an ancestral promise, where 4 adopted brothers were fighting for the Han Generals against the Manchu in a losing battle. The General split their books of martial arts into 4 books and hid a clue to the treasure of Kublai Khan in each one. Then Wu’s ancestor pretended to kill the Gerneral, but actually saved him, leaving the other brothers thinking Wu was a traitor. Miao doesn’t particualarly like his other 2 adopted brothers, especially the evil Tian Guinong, who has secretly started working for the Manchu emperor and is working to kill both Miao and Wu so he can get their books and his hands on the treasure. Wu and Miao fight for 5 days, and quickly become great friends, but keep fighting. Wu even goes off and kills Miao’s biggest enemy during the night, and they decide if they are still even after 5 days they will be friends, and stop, but Tian has an evil doctor poison the sword of Miao, and in the battle Wu is hit, and instantly dies. Then Tian has the Emperor’s men come in and Mr’s Wu is killed, though he is son is saved by a man who Wu saved named Ping Si. Ping Si loses an arm and one page of the manual the evil doctor named Yan Ji who later becomes a monk, Ping Si manages to escape with the child Wu Fei, who he will teach to hate Miao and seek revenge. Miao spends years looking for Wu Fei, but can’t find him so eventually leaves.



Wind & Cloud 2 (風雲 2), Chinese Soap Opera (2004)

I had to see this. I am already a huge fan of the Andrew Lau Wai Keung film THE STORMRIDERS 风云, and ever since I heard there was a Television series that starred Zhou Wen Zhou I knew I had to see it. Unfortunately the first series did not have subtitles, and this version of the second series, while it has English Subtitles, it is cut down to 30 episodes from over 40, so there are some parts that don’t make perfect sense, but even with that this is still an incredibly enjoyable series, and I hope they do a 3rd one and release a translated version of the 1st. And yes it is still soap opera like, it has characters dieing and coming back, and losing their memories, but it also has bad ass action, a lot of depth to the characters, and a plethora of cool locations. The CG effects are pitiful, but the story is good, and the characters likeable, so it is well worth watching.

As with the film, this is the story of the great martial artists, Wind Nie (Nie Feng played by Zhou Wen Zhou) and Cloud Bu (Peter Ho Yun Tung), they have defeated their evil master Tian Xia Tong, and are planning on stepping out of the world of Marshes and Lakes (the martial arts world). Wind laments the death of his wife Second Dream or Di Er Meng (Betty Huang Yi), while Cloud lives with his wife Chu Chu, and her son Cloud’er Bu (who is actually the son of Jack Chen, who along with Cloud were the only students of Lord Nameless Wu Ming, and he was given an aphrodisiac by Duan Lang, who was another student of Master Tian Xia Tong, and raped her). They are living a fairly idilic life, until their lives are uprooted by the evil of a strange man who wears an ice mask, and who calls himself God, as well as Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, or Mr. Mystery, but whose name turns out to be Di Shi Tian, the leader of the evil Tian Gate. He is tormenting Wind and Cloud, and gives Second Dream a pill to awaken her from death, but when she awakens, she doesn’t remember Wind, and in fact thinks he murdered her husband.



Strange Tales of Liaozhai 聊斋

Yes I do enjoy Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwanese Soap Operas, though the ones I watch are nothing like American soap operas. Most featuring crazy martial arts, and this one being a supernatural tale, or tales I should say. In fact this is actually 6 tales, all adapted from the STRANGE TALES OF LIAO ZHI novella, the first of which was adapted into Tsui Hark’s A CHINESE GHOST STORY, so of course I had to see it, and like all Chinese Soap Opera’s I have seen I loved it. Of course some stories are better than other’s, but they are all enjoyable. This is an excellent series that I recomend highly. with 6 stories, it has something for everyone. And it is really long, which is why I have not been posting too many reviews of late!



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The Seven Swordsmen – Qi Jian Xia Tian Shan – 七劍下天山 (2005)

This is the Hong Kong, Korean and Chinese co-Production of the Television Series that is based on the same story as the recent Tsui Hark ?? film called the Seven Swords (he also produced this and is listed as one of the screenwriters, unfortunately I can’t say which is more accurate to the original story but I have a feeling it is this series, because the story is far superior, and I might even be able to say the best martial arts story I have ever seen. I got so into this story it is ridiculous, and even saying I am a sucker for these Chinese Soap Operas, but this one is exemplary. Such a good story, and so well done. Sure you can tell it was shot quickly, but even with knowing that and that it was shot on video, I have never seen so many crane shots in one thing ever, and these in remote locations all over China. I wish I knew more about this to know if this is really the end of the story or if there is more to find out what happens after the series. The box set DVD includes English subtitles, and is well worth checking out. I watched the Mandarin version since at least some of the characters lipped synced, and I have gotten used to watching these in Mandarin (while I always used to watch these in Cantonese. IF YOU CAN SEE THIS, DO IT, THIS SERIES IS AWESOME! And it has 39 40 minute long episodes, so it is an epic that you must see.

The Manchu’s have recently taken over China from the Han Chinese, and have placed their own Emperor on the throne, though the current Emperor is inclined to make piece, but he really doesn’t have the power. The Prince Duo Geduo is waging a war against the Han, and martial arts have been declared illegal, and the Prince has sent out his armies to destroy the remaining martial artists, he also believes that the Martial Arts Village and the Red Spear Society they are part of has Little King Lu, who would be the last Han emperor, and could threaten Manchu power, so the Prince has sent his General Nanlan Xiuji to take out Martial Village and all of it’s inhabitants.



Kung Fu Soccer, Hong Kong Soap Opera (2005)

This show was so much fun, sure it doesn’t ever have real soccer going on, it has a lot more in common with Shaolin Soccer, than anything to do with actual soccer. And the cast, damn this show has a cast, it seem so many people at least make cameos in it, the Twins, and so many people show up it is like a whose who in Hong Kong right now. What a fun show, I am kind of sad that it over, but not sure if I will watch the next on as I want to catch up on some DVD’s and 45 minutes a day will certainly help me do that!


Number One In the World (Hero) Taiwanese Soap Opera (2005)

This is the 3rd Taiwanese soap opera I have watched in a row, and I must say by far the best. Sure this one has some silly elements, but overall it is an intricate martial arts drama with great characters, great twists and awesome fight scenes. I absolutely loved this show! And it was sad, and still very good.

Review Contains Spoilers….


Emperor’s Banquet, Taiwanese Soap Opera (2005)

I really enjoyed this Taiwanese soap opera comedy. It is completely off the wall silly, but has romance and action and adventure. I highly recommend this show.



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Mars – Taiwanese Soap Opera (2004)

OK I fell for this show. My girlfriend Nan Lan from Chengdu, China kept calling me a fool for liking this show, but is her fault. She was watching THE YANG FAMILY the Taiwanese soap opera that had Ti Lung in it, so I have been checking channel 18, KSCI at it’s 7 PM Mandarin Drama slot, and started watching Mars a couple of episodes in, and really loved the show. Not only did I enjoy the drama (I was waiting with baited breath for MARS every weekday, and dying to see more over the weekend), but I got into watching how well it was done. The only thing that needed work was the sound, which always whatever they recorded so not always the best, but I enjoyed the rest, and all the locations, not like an american soap at all!
This soap is based on a Japanese Manga from 1996 of the same. I haven’t read it, but have checked out the first 6 pages, which are at Tokyo Pop

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