The Swordsman (笑傲江湖) 2013

I cannot even begin to describe how much Yu Zheng annoys me. The only way I can sit through his dramas is if I pretend that they are completely unaffiliated with any literature or history.

Swordsman is an adaptation of a popular Jin Yong wuxia novel. The plot basically goes like this: Linghu Chong is this happy-go-lucky disciple of the Hua Shan sect. He loves Yue Ling Shan, who is the daughter of his master. They’re childhood friends , and she sees him as an older brother figure. Once Lin Ping Zhi, the sole survivor in a massacre of his family, enters the sect, he and Yue Ling Shan fall in love.

Now here is where Yu Zheng begins to use his infamous artistic license. In the original story, Linghu Chong befriends many people from unorthodox sects. He eventually falls in love with Ren Ying Ying, who is the daughter of a deposed cult leader. Linghu Chong helps Ren Ying Ying’s father, Ren Wo Xing, to regain control of the cult by defeating Dong Fang Bu Bai, a man who became a eunuch in order to learn powerful martial arts.

Somehow, Yu Zheng has twisted this story so that Linghu Chong, Ren Ying Ying, and Dong Fang Bu Bai have a love triangle going on. Although, now that I think about it, you can’t really call it a love triangle if almost all the other female characters are in love with Linghu Chong as well (is it just me, or is this extremely common in Jin Yong novels?).

Now the problem that most people have with this plot twist is that Dong Fang Bu Bai is supposed to be a eunuch. However, Yu Zheng resolved this by making the character a girl (pretending to be a boy). This wouldn’t have been too big of a deal if Yu Zheng didn’t give most of Ren Ying Ying’s scenes to Dong Fang Bu Bai. Then the list of grievances against this adaption become: 1. fans of the novel are pissed off because this is in no way faithful to the original 2. fans of Ren Ying Ying/Linghu Chong are pissed off because their love makes no sense 3. fans of Dong Fang Bu Bai are pissed off because she’s a girl with lots of feelings 4. fans of Dong Fang Bu Bai/Linghu Chong (yes, fans of this pairing gathered somewhere along the way during the broadcast) are pissed off because Yu Zheng spends the whole drama setting up their romance and then changing his mind 5. Fans of individual characters are just pissed off because they all become so unlikable.

The love triangle also made no sense. Linghu Chong came across as wishy washy (and when the male lead is wishy washy between women, I just want to knock him in the head with a pot). He had absolutely no chemistry with Ren Ying Ying. Granted, Dong Fang Bu Bai took a lot of her pivotal scenes.

He gave me the impression that he was with her mostly because she sacrificed a lot for him. And she was easy. Dong Fang Bu Bai sacrificed so much for him but he was so quick to misunderstand and judge her. He’s so hypocritical. There was one line in the drama that stuck out to me. Dong Fang Bu Bai asked him point-blank: “You’ve been around Jianghu for so long, how can you still see things/people as black and white?”.

That’s also in addition to the fact that he’s friends with a bunch of people from ‘evil’ cults. And not to mention that his master, the leader of an extremely righteous sect, is revealed to be completely evil. Linghu Chong is such an idiot, I can’t even.

Honestly, the only things that kept me watching were Yue Ling Shan/Lin Ping Zhi and Dong Fang Bu Bai. Yang Rong was so cute as Yue Ling Shan, and she was a good match for Chen Xiao’s Lin Ping Zhi. They were adorable together.

This just kills me

Joe Chen’s Dong Fang Bu Bai was pretty controversial in terms of all the character changes, but she stood out among the leads as the most sympathetic character. She was so badass and was very devoted to Linghu Chong.

Sadly, Wallace Huo’s Linghu Chong was off the mark. He looked bored half the time, and I don’t think he tried very hard. The script was just terrible. Yu Zheng did his cut and paste thing with the scenes, where he takes snippets from different adaptions. He isn’t even very original with casting Dong Fang Bu Bai as a woman and having her romance Linghu Chong. That was the plot of the 1991 movie starring Jet Li and Brigitte Lin. And the ending was a complete ripoff of Painted Skin II. Why is Yu Zheng so shameless?

I have no words for Yuan Shan Shan’s Ren Ying Ying. I’m just sick of seeing her face.

Han Dong was adorable as Tian Bo Guang. He is really such a versatile actor. He could play the cold and calculating 9th prince in Bu Bu Jing Xin, the badass bro Shi Jin in Water Margins, the devoted warrior Dorgon (in another Yu Zheng drama), and the perverted ruffian Tian Bo Guang. I think he’s currently filming Tian Long Ba Bu as Xu Zhu. Awesome actor.

*Sigh* My list of favored actors has been through a rough time lately. First, Qiu Ze’s scandal makes him look like a player, and now I will forever associate Wallace Huo with this ugly drama. Okay, I take that back. If there is one good thing about Yu Zheng’s dramas, it’s that they’re pretty. Overused CGI effects and all, the people are pretty, the colors are bright, and it’s definitely got that modern feel. I wish he’d stop trying to make wuxia remakes and butchering history. Why can’t he just stick to making modern dramas? Then he can just do whatever he wants.

I hate you.

And what is wrong with the SARFT? They block Da Mo Yao from broadcasting, but approve junk like this? Jin Yong must be super sad 😦 Not to mention that all the young people now think this is what the original Swordsman is like. But now we all know how awesome Zhang Ji Zhong remakes are.

Note: For anyone super interested in why his/her name is Dong Fang Bu Bai (东方不败), there’s a nice phrase that explains it: 日出东方, 唯我不败 when the sun rises in the east, only I am victorious’)

Okay Wallace is adorable ❤



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22 Responses to The Swordsman (笑傲江湖) 2013

  1. mbajja mist abdallah says:

    I have never loved any actor/actress the way I love dong fang bu bai (movie version) love her even more than I love joker in dark knight rises. hurrrrrayyy dong fang bubai

  2. polin says:

    I hope that author will change little bit of the end. I know Linghu Chong finally he stays with Ren Ying-Ying, but It’s such bad thing that makes the readers or audiences disappointed. I hope that you can change to Linghu Chong & Dongfang Bubai as a couple.

  3. Chee says:

    I agreed with most viewers in Mainland China who found that this drama was very entertaining and is one of the best dramas shown in 2013. I hesitate to watch this due to many bad reviews written by bloggers and posters in forums. One was about Ren Ying Ying character that is my favorite character in the novel and the other is DFBB. So I didn’t join the rest in watching this drama when it airs but once I did so this year, I realised that I shouldn’t have listened to viewers that used forums or blogs to post their frustrations. It was a really good drama and did follow the novel like 75% of it. Apart from Jackie Lui, I find that Wallace Huo acted really well as Linghu Chong. I know how Linghu Chong feels in this version. Although Joe Chen is not bad and thankfully it turns out that DFBB here is a she not he but no one can beat Brigitte Lin in portrayal as DFBB. Most disappointing would be Ren Ying Ying character, a very important role but Yuan Shan Shan failed to portray this character well. As a result, many viewers prefer DFBB over RYY to be with LC. I think it has something to do with the actress who was somehow distracted or half hearted in her acting like sometimes she’s okay but other times she failed to deliver. Her acting was okay in other dramas she was in. I like Yue Ling San, Lin Ping Chi and Yue Sect Leader better too compared to other previous versions. I find this is the best version of all as it, was well paced, fighting were interesting but wished my favorite RYY character was just as good as 2001 version. Still this drama was captivating to watch but due to bad editing viewers who never read the novel found it confusing and messy but I likely think is not the fault of the producer based on comments made by others in another drama. But I did disliked the last ending part which was a bit creepy. Since this is an adaptation, have learnt not to take it too seriously against the novel so long the drama is faithful to the novel up to 60% or more should be fine. Just read the novel if you want the story to be 100% and you can never achieve 100% as the novel as written is never the same as screenplay. It is always easier to write than to direct a play so never downgrade a producer or director for their hard work in producing a drama to viewers that need a big team to produce. The reason I started reading the novel was I can’t get enough from the drama versions I have watched in the first place.

  4. Guest says:

    I’d have to say, this was such a messy script….I’d watch the first couple episodes, not sure but closely around up to only 7-9, then mainly roamed around the other episodes because I lost interest of the storyline…now in the tv series, if it showed a lot of the love between DFBB & LHC….might as well throw off the ending too, where DFBB & LHC ended up with each other…I mean, as for me, the love connection was some what similar to the series The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber 2003, where ZM is the bad girl who wanted to know all kungfu and be the best in the kungfu world but then gave up everything just to be by the love one in her life, ZW is the guy who is free will with no clue of love until later in the story because there was so many female by his side all the time that he couldn’t decide who to love until few had to leave his side, and ZZ the good girl who ends up being the bad girl because she took the oath of becoming her sect’s leader and so on forth..It had such a close storyline of the character’s love story, just that LHC was more dumber in this Swoardsman series…now even though the ending still allowed DFBB’s heart to able to be loved by LHC…however I can not say I enjoy it….due to the fact…there was not much connection between LHC & RYY in this drama like previous ones….to make it more reasonable, there should have been more of LHC & RYY relationship too…but either way I’d still not like that because RYY is being played be an actress that did indeed took the looks of a snob, even though she’s beautiful and a great actress of her own, just the character itself was one that you’d want to murder her if you were in the story, aha.

  5. sky says:

    first i must explain clearly . DongFangBuBai = invincible from east . its not a name . its a nickname . DongFang = east region . BuBai = unbeatable … DFBB given when he learn GuiHuaBaoDIan and become invincible . undefeatable .
    second = DFBB is a man … he cut his **** in order to learn strong kungfu . GuiHuaBaoDian … but the movie put a woman character to play the role …. so if u all insist DFBB with linghuchong . that means . LHC is a GUY . UNDERSTAND ??? even a man without **** . still he is still a MAN .
    third = WHOEVER say ren ying ying is SUCK . u must see 2000 version . state of divinity . this is the best version . i told u one secret . the best movie for chinese classic like this is 1990-2000 . after 2005+++ … its all rubbish .

  6. says:

    I wonder why Chinese drama keep remake old drama again and again. I feel bored to Chinese drama. I wonder why we have to watch a movie that we know from the start to the end just with the beautiful actress and handsome actor. Because Chinese doesn’t have any new drama everyone start to change to Korea drama. For this drama that just came to my country is very famous and everyone start to guess for what will happen to Dong Fang Bubai because in the old drama Dong Fang Bubai is a man when they watch this new drama they start to thought about the new ending. Everyone who watch this drama in my country wish for Linghu Chong end up with Dong Fang Bubai. Now I thought that if they know the end is similar to the old drama they might stop watching it. I wonder why they dare to change the character of Dong Fang Bubai but they don’t dare to change everything. It may be it just a hook for the old people who use to watch this drama.

  7. Nynthera says:

    DongFang BuBai totally ROCKED!!! She’s just amazing amazing and amazing! Linghu Chong is one of the biggest fools ever in history to chose the rather annoying Ren ying ying over DongFang BuBai. However, if you watch the ending to a positive note, DongFang BuBai only swaps her heart with Ren Ying Ying so they still end up together.

  8. hirobo2 says:

    For those who said LHC didn’t end up with DFBB… Actually, he did. DFBB’s heart is now in RYY’s body. The heart is where love originates, so technically, at the end of XAJH, DFBB’s soul inherited RYY’s body and mind. I generally don’t like praising people, but YZ is such a genius for coming up with this idea!

  9. alex says:

    Swordsman is best drama i have seen including 100 kdrama i watched. Period. Every drama has its quirks. I thought swordsman drama was best directed drama. I never even thought it slowed down on any episode. I really do not like the cult leader daughter. DFBB should be with LHC would have made the drama awesome.

  10. cdinproject says:

    thanks for this review. Didn’t know what the original story was and good thing you clarified it. Anyways I root for chen qiao en cause she makes the role look good no matter what

  11. Someone from Somewhere... says:

    The only thing good was the love scenes between LHC and DFBB, it was the ONLY thing that made me watch the movie yet in the end, he ends up with RYY -.-. I think Joe should stick to wuxia series because she improve MAJORLY in this series and she would make a good XLN because she’s hot in white. cx

  12. gretadee says:

    I loved the twist-in-the-tail at the end of the drama. Linghu may have married Ying-Ying but don’t forget Donfang Bu Bai donated her heart, so in the end she was in fact with Linghu hence that smile at the end when they both played music at the frozen lake, she got her hearts desire.

  13. kisslili Ying Ying says:

    I really can’t understand why the realisator let Dongfang Bu Bai have an love interest with Linghu Chong !!! I saw all version of this story and why is Dongfang Bu Bai steals part of Ying Ying !!!! I don’t like this version !!!!!!!! Hate Dongfang Bu Bai !!! Love the fact that the end is real and Linghu Chong choose the right girl !!

  14. Lilium says:

    Okay… I guess I’m only up to 21 but it feels like we’re watching two completely different shows. And as for Wallace, I think he’s doing a great job playing the carefree swordsman. He has loads of chemistry with Joe Chen and also with the Ren Ying Ying actress.

  15. Kangoroo says:

    oooh nooo….why everyone wants DFBB with LHC? DFBB was a man !!!

    • says:

      In this series Dong Fang Bubai is a woman who dress like a man. If you watched the part she imagine when she run with her little sister and separate with her sister. So what if Dong Fang Bubai is a man love still can be complete.

  16. Reena says:

    I love the first half of the story. In fact a friend of mine is so inlove with it that he is translating and adapting it.

    Reading chapter 4 now. Joe Chen aka Tungfang Pu Pai rocks!

  17. mimi says:

    i love this story,, but i cant think.. who is the bad guy.. Dong Fang Bu Bai that supposed to be ‘evil’ was sacrificed a lot for LHC … then,, he dumped DFBB just because she is from the bad side?,, arhh.. so confusing.. why dont they be togethar??

  18. Sonny says:

    Joe Chen made this version like Xu Qing had made the 2002 version. I love them both. They are both beautiful and hot. Xu Qing is definitely the only and unique Yinyin. No one else can portray Yinyin better than she did. And Dongfang Bubai has found in Joe Chen the best actress. Somehow I think I prefer the 2012 version storyline that allowed me to find out an awesome female Dongfang Bubai. I fell in love of Yinyin and now I’m in love of DFBB.

  19. SilverWoman says:

    I’m really sad that DFBB didn’t end up with LHC. At least there’s still hope for JoeChen and me.

  20. Dimaz says:

    I love dong fang bu bai.. i think she’s the one who belongs to ling hu chong and not ren ying-ying for the end of the story. the ending is not good. real NOT!! Could you just change the script pleaseeeee.. give the ending for dong fang bu bai. BECAUSE SHE’S THE ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Gwen says:

    Just disappointed with this ending drama, why Linghu chong choose ren ying-ying, very poor dong fang bu bai, i am agree with this statement “He gave me the impression that he was with her mostly because she sacrificed a lot for him. And she was easy. Dong Fang Bu Bai sacrificed so much for him but he was so quick to misunderstand and judge her”.
    i love dong fang bu bai characters, that’s make me still keep watching till the end, just want to know her ending, but the ending so badly. :((

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