Its been a while since I last updated my review. I have been busy and have not been able to take my time away to watch dramas/movies lately. I suddenly remember about the latest remake of Legend of Condor Heroes 2017, so I took my time to diligently watch the drama till its last episode.
My review on this drama is solely based on comparison between LOCH 2003 and LOCH 2017 since I have never personally read the novel.
So here we go
*I don’t know if I should put a spoiler tag for this drama here. Any wuxia series lover would have at least watched one out of many remakes of Jin Yong novel. Condor Heroes Trilogy especially, has been remade for I don’t know how many times. Anyway proceed at your own risk here, IF, this is your first time hearing about Legend of Condor Heroes*
I would probably start the review by saying, this remake is modest. And I will explain that as we move further into the review later. The drama started off with the introduction of Guo and Yang family at the village and the day they encountered Qiu Chuji of Quanzhen Sect. Qiu Chuji later was attacked by the Jin army, however managed to wipe them off. He was later then, introduced to the wives of Guo and Yang, and was requested to name their unborn child – Guo Jing and Yang Kang -. Later on, due to the affection towards the wife of Yang, a greedy Song officer was sent to capture Guo and Yang, under the slander of betraying the country. Guo died while protecting his sworn brothers and their wives. There’s nothing much to review on this part, as it was just pretty much the origin of the main protagonist and antagonist. It was much closer to heart when I found out Yang family was using Yue Family Spear skill (in relation to the online game 9yin).
The story later on proceeds with the bet between Taoist Qiu and 7 Jiangnan Freaks. Both of them were to find the child of both families and teach them kungfu. After 18 years, both students will be having a duel. 7 Jiangnan Freaks found Guo Jing in Mongolia and started to teach him kungfu just to find that he is a bit “slow” and has no talent in kungfu (most people that watch wuxia series would understand, that there are certain things that a wushu master looks into before taking someone as a disciple, some people has that basic foundation). He was later taught internal skill by Taoist Ma Yu, the leader of Quanzhen sect, which improves his kungfu. Personally I like this version of Taoist Ma Yu. 2003 version looks pretty old (much older than Zhou Botong, I think).
As the story progresses, Guo Jing met Huang Rong, the daughter of Peach Blossom Island leader, Huang Yaoshi. From this part onwards, Guo Jing was blessed to have been taught by Hong Qi Gong, the leader of Beggar Sect. He was taught the strongest skills of 18 Dragon Subduing Palm.
kinda like the pose of 18 Dragon Subduing Palm here!
When I started watching at 18 Dragon Subduing Palm technique that was taught to Guo Jing, the very first thought that came to my mind was, this drama is very modest. I grew up with a lot of wuxia series. Some of the previous series were equipped with special effects. I did remember there were “dragonly” effect of this skill from previous drama. For this remakes, however, all the special effects were not present, with exception of using the nature, i.e sand, water, surroundings that forms a dragon or barrier of internal strength. Personally I love that they keep it this way. Wushu series, while still involves internal energy, does not need any awkward special effect. This is the biggest difference between wuxia and xianxia.
To add, the fighting scene in this version is much more refined in comparison with the 2003 version. Notable fighting scene would be at Mt Hua, where Guo Jing had to face Huang Yaoshi and Hong Qi Gong. In 2003 version, it was pretty much internal energy duel, while in 2017 version, they actually exchanged hits.
I would consider the romance in this drama cute and sweet. This could be because both the main actor, Yang Xuwen and actress, Li Yi Tong are young, creating a fresh, innocent love story. Adding to the element of modesty, I have grown up watching several remakes of Jin Yong series. I respected the modesty even in romance in this drama. No kiss scene involved in the drama (yes, call me outdated – I don’t care). I used to watch My Fair Princess (not Jin Yong series, but still chinese drama) back then when I was young. And I found out about the remake later. Turns out the remake was just too much of a romance and kiss scene.
~innocent, cute and sweet is right~
Moving on to the cast. I came to know about Yang Xuwen through Legend of Zhuxian (written in english as chusen – would review bout that if I feel like it). He played a charismatic, matured elder brother of the main actress. While being firm with his stand, he really cares about the main actress. When I found out that he will be playing the main role as Guo Jing in this series, I didn’t expect much. Everyone that have watched LOCH before would have known what kind of character Guo Jing is. I couldn’t imagine at that time, how would he play the naive, innocent, a bit dumb Guo Jing, yet very kind hearted, firm stand, has sense of justice and honor. As a contradiction, I am impressed by how well he played Guo Jing character in the drama.
As for Li Yi Tong, I have never watch any of her dramas before this. But personally, I think she is very pretty and cute ❤ xoxo lol. Certain version of Huang Rong tends to be annoying sometimes, but Li Yi Tong version, I just can’t hate her!
~my, isnt she lovely~ isnt she wonderful~ lol~
From what I read, most of the actors are new face in the industry. But whoever played the character as Yang Kang/Wanyan Kang, deserves the hate. LOL~ Whatever he did was detestable. I just couldn’t wait to watch the episode where he died. This version of Ouyang Ke in my opinion, is not bad, for someone who is supposed to be a player and womanizer. While he is quite evil, he is not that detestable compared to Yang Kang. Huang Yaoshi, Hong Qi Gong, Yi Deng, Ouyang Feng, Zhou Botong; personally I love all the Mt Hua top cast. Huang Yaoshi especially, gives extremely charismatic vibe as the leader of Peach Blossom Island.
The storyline, was pretty much what I remember from 2003 version, with exception that this version has extended 10 extra episodes in contrast to 2003 version. I am not quite a fan of filler, sad, reminiscing, love hurt, love sick moment of Yang Kang. Neither do I like watching his lovely scene with Mu Nian Ci. While he does love Nian Ci, I just cant stand his pretentious act. Most of the dialogues, does not really adding much value to the advancement of the story. My thought at least, just because I hate him. Lol. But even better, they could shorten his solo sorry, love hurt scene. Its taking too much of air time (just like the one in Mystic 9).
Not to mention, this version of 2017 has fast forward certain part of the series, which in my thought, is much more interesting than Yang Kang scene. The scene where Guo Jing applied Yue Fei War Tactic in Mongol was skipped (could be because of resources – need the usage of horses and men).
However, the fast forward scene does not impact the story line. While it would be interesting to watch if those scenes were there, leaving it out, does not change much either. The one part that was left out and would be good to show in the drama instead was the incident at Gui Yun Villa, where Ou Yang Feng burned down the place.
Being a wushu drama, LOCH is actually filled with values and on top of all, is the loyalty to your country, to serve the nation and protect it from harm. Guo Jing went through pain and sorrow escaping Mongol, choosing not to betray his country. He was provided with wealth by Mongol yet he chose to be loyal to his country. No matter how high you fly, never forget where you came from.
I have always regarded LOCH 2003 as the best remakes after watching several of the remakes before. About time it settles down and pass it away to LOCH 2017. LOCH 2003 forced the special effect (golden dragon from 18 dragon subduing palm) into the series, which in my opinion, is already at the level of xianxia. LOCH 2017 instead, though created in the era where special effect and CGI were much better, chose to dismiss those element and instead uses the element of wind and nature to portray power and internal energy. It was very modest and was not overdone, in any aspect.
So many thoughts and opinions around, but I believe that LOCH 2017 was well made, was not overdone, and close to the story line. It was an incredible journey watching the series till the end.
P.S: Let see what will happen to Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre remake next~