Friday, November 27, 2015

A Better Tomorrow (1986)

It's not easy for someone with a dark past to live a new life. People will judge with prejudice. It's even harder if your own brother cannot believe you have changed.

Ti Lung played Ho. He worked for a big money counterfeiter in Hong Kong. Chow Yun-fat played Mark, his best friend. Ho and Mark usually worked together. Ho had a sick father and a younger brother, Kit, who later would become a police inspector. Kit couldn't get promotion because his brother was a criminal.

L-R: The boss, Ho, Mark, Shing
While delivering a suitcase of counterfeit money in Taiwan, Ho was accompanied by Shing, who betrayed him. Ho was arrested by the local authorities and spent three years in jail in Taiwan. Mark killed one of the people who had betrayed Ho and because of the shoot-out, he became limp. Ho's father was also killed by a Triad member.

Three years later, Ho returned to Hong Kong. Kit was bitter because of his father's death and could not receive and forgive Ho. Kit spent his days following Shing, who had replaced Ho's position as the Big Brother. Meanwhile, Ho determined to live his new life in an honest way and became a taxi driver.

Ho, Kit and Jackie (Kit's girlfriend)
Both Kit and Jackie are clumsy
I think Ti Lung gave a good performance as an ex Triad member who wanted to earn his bread honestly. He shallowed his pain when his brother turned him down. Kit was still his brother, though, and when Kit was in danger, he did not hesitate to protect him. There was no doubt about Chow Yun-fat's performance, because he even won the Best Actor Award for his work here. With his tall features, dark trench-coat and Alain Delon sunglasses; he looked perfect as a hitman [in contrary, I always dislike how he looked in traditional costumes when he played in martial arts films]. When he talked about being forced to drink urine at gunpoint, it sounded real, because he really spoke from experience. However, my favourite scene was when Ho saw him again after three years. Mark - in rags - walked with difficulty towards Shing's parked car to clean its windshield. Ho [and I] was shocked to see Mark like this. Shing threw money to the ground for him. Compared that to the scene in the beginning, when Mark gave money to a subordinate. He did not threw the money to the ground, but gave it into his hand.

It's Lesley Cheung who was the weakest among the three leads. With a sick father, I believe it was Ho's illicit money who paid for his training in police academy. Kit must be very narrow minded, stubborn and bitter, if he hated Ho blindly. There are people who always see the best in others and there are people who always see the worst.

Kit brings someone's trash into his own kitchen to search for a clue.
Why he didn't do it outside? The house has a yard.
The theme song by Joseph Koo was beautiful. It was sung by Lesley Cheung. Lesley Cheung's was one of the most beautiful male singing voices I've ever heard.

But everytime I read this movie's title, the first thing comes into my mind is a song sung by a children choir (also in this movie) titled 'Tomorrow Will Be Better'. Back in high school, I asked my friends to write one of their favorite songs's lyrics in my book. [Actually I wanted to collect their handwritings, because I think, handwritings portray who you are.] One of them wrote this song's English lyrics:

When you wake up in the morning
When you haven't started to think
There is a whole brand new day
Open wide and waiting for you
I know in life's sorrow,
you're on the verge of drowning
May your tears flee with yesterday
blown away with the wind

It's a very inspirational song, like the song Tomorrow from Annie or You'll Never Walk Alone from Carousel.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Water Margin (1972)

I knew that this movie was based on a great novel, which considered one of four great classical novels of Chinese literature; so I had prepared myself to watch something spectacular, a colossal movie.

The sets were indeed impressive and it had a huge number of casts; but this movie was only based on chapter 64-68 from the book.

It started with a chief from the Liang-shan bandits who was killed by Shi Wen-gong. Shi Wen-gong was rich and afraid that the bandits would attack him, so he attacked them first. It happened that chief Chao Gai from Liang-shan passing nearby. Shi Wen-gong kill Chao. The bandits knew that only Lu Jun-yi, who was Shi Wen-gong's former fellow student, could handle Shi Wen-gong. The story centered on how Lu joined the Liang-shan bandits.
The arrival of two Liang-shan bandits in Lu's house 
[The Liang-shan bandits were not ordinary bandits, but the 108 heroes who fought corrupted Sung government.]

Wu Yong and Li Kui, two bandits from Liang-shan went to Lu's house to invite him to come to Liang-shan. Lu refused and pretended to arrested them, he would release them later.

Yan Ching and Lu Jun-yi
Lu's steward, who was having an affair with Lu's wife, reported his master to the authorities for having 2 of the Liang-shan bandits in the house. Lu was arrested, and his adopted son, Yan Ching, later with the help of Liang-shan bandits, tried to free him.

Yan Ching's efforts to free Lu always fails
Two leaders of prison guards, luckily, kept Lu alive; while Lu's steward, who had all his master's money, bribed the authorities to have his master condemned to death.

Two Japanese actors got the main parts: Toshio Kurosawa played Shi Wen-gong and Tetsuro Tamba played Lu Jun-yi.

Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)

Like The Sword (1980), the swordplays in Last Hurrah for Chivalry look wonderful. One did not merely bang his sword to the opponent's sword, but aimed for the body. It was attack and defend.

If a movie is made with care, if the director is not burdened with a target (like he have to make several movies in a year), with a good choreographer (or two) and capable actors; the result can be as good as this one. For scenes like in this movie only could be achieved with intensive rehearsals and many takes.

First, we were introduced to Ko Peng. He was about to marry an-ex prostitute. He had bought her liberty with 1000 taels, but apparently he had forgotten to test her love and loyalty, for she betrayed him when someone paid her more money.

The wedding ceremony was trashed by Pak Chong-tong and his gang. He claimed that Ko Peng's recent house had been his, that Ko Peng's late father had taken the house from him, and now he came to get it back. At this moment, we perhaps took pity of Ko Peng, but as the movie progressed, we would see how evil his character was, how he destroyed good traditional values. Ko Peng was played by Kong Lau. I often see him playing supporting characters in TVB series, so I was rather surprised to see how good he played the final duel vs Wei Pai and Damian Lau.

Pak Chong-tong, on the other hand, was also not a good master. We saw how bad he treated his men. He used them to kung-fu practice. He beat them and didn't care whether they got hurt, crippled, or dead.

Then we were introduced to the two protagonists: Cheung Sam 'The Magic Sabre' and his friend Tsing Yi (Greeno). Tsing Yi was a killer for hire, but Cheung Sam seemed to have retired. This latter often bullied his sister's future husband.
Tsing Yi (Damian Lau), Cheung Sam (Wei Pai), and
a waterfall between
Cheung Sam's mother was gravely ill. Ko Peng, who wanted to kill Pak Chong-tong, heard about Cheung Sam's great skill, but realized that he could not buy him with money. Ko Peng gave Cheung Sam's dying mother the best medicine and when she died, held a big burial ceremony. Cheung Sam now owed him and voluntarily worked for him.

A hitman and a prostitute
Tsing Yi and the woman who loves him
Ko Peng paid a killer of hire named 'Let It Be' (strange name...) to kill his own teacher and let Cheung Sam take vengeance for him. Cheung Sam successfully killed Let It Be and later went for Pak Chong-tong. Tsing Yi knew that Cheung Sam wouldn't be able to handle Pak Chong-tong alone, so he went with him to help.

Cheung Sam vs Let It Be
When Pak Chong-tong attacked Ko Peng's marriage, he was the only one high-skilled, but now he surrounded himself by great fighters, notably the Sleeping Buddha. After Cheung Sam killed Pak Chong-tong, why would Ko Peng not leave him alone? I don't know why Ko Peng had to remove Cheung Sam and Tsing Yi. Would it be a disgrace if the world knew he hired Cheung Sam and Tsing Yi to get his house back? Or did he just like to kill everyone around him?

Cheung Sam vs Ko Peng

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Black Magic (1975)

I had wanted to watch this for some time. I remember watching the trailer when I was a kid. This and the sequel were popular back then.

According to IMDb, the shooting locations were in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. I was wondering when I watched the opening scene. There were stilt houses (=rumah panggung) and lots of coconut trees. The black magician and his client were dressed like people here. His hair was covered with what looked like a blangkon from a far (but in close ups it was not) and he wore sarong. I think if these two characters were dubbed in bahasa Indonesia (or Malay), none would have believed they were watching a movie produced by Shaw Brothers.

From this distance, the man looks like a Javanese
In close-up: the head cover is not a blangkon

However, the paper charms used in the next scene were typically Chinese.

The story was not much different from Indonesian horror movies in the same era. Ku Feng played a black magicians who put love spells, death spells, etc. A rich merry widow (Tanny) wanted a man (Ti Lung) who had already had a fiancée (Lily Li). The widow hired the black magician to put a spell on the man. The spell would only be broken if the black magician died.

Ti Lung and Lily Li.
She is upset after finding another woman's powder compact in his car
Tanny and Lo Lieh.
He is trying to get some strands of her hair and its root
Tanny sees a big portrait of Lily Li in Ti Lung's house.
Would you really give this your boyfriend? "Put this on your wall."
Ti Lung parks his car near a little book store named
'Kedai Buku Dunia' or 'Universal Book Store'

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Book of Life (2014)

This movie is one of the most colourful I have seen. It's presented in a story-within-a-story style.

A bunch of kids visited a museum on the Day of The Dead. They were not in mood until they knew that their guide was a sexy young lady. In there they saw 'The Book of Life'. "All the world is made of stories and all of those stories are right here." Then the guide began her story.

The little town of San Angel
Below the little town of San Angel, which was the center of the universe, laid the Land of the Remembered - for those who lived on in the memories of their loved ones - and below that was the Land of the Forgotten. The Land of the Remembered was ruled by a beautiful lady called La Muerte; while the Land of the Forgotten was ruled by an old man named Xibalba.

In San Angel, La Muerte and Xibalba saw two little boys, Manolo and Joaqin, who were trying to win the heart of a beautiful little girl named Maria. They made a bet on who would win the girl. La Muerte said it would be Manolo, and Xibalba said it would be Joaqin. Xibalba cheated by giving Joaqin a medal that would kept him from injury and death. Meanwhile, Maria's father sent her to Spain to study in a convent.

Years passed. Manolo became a musician and bullfighter, while Joaqin became a soldier. After Maria had returned, her father wanted her to accept Joaqin's marriage proposal so Joaqin would stay and protect the town from a group of bandits. However, Maria seemed to tend to choose the romantic Manolo. Before Manolo could tell Maria about his feeling, she was bitten by a snake. Manolo thought she had been dead, and committed suicide by letting the snake bite him. He went into the Land of the Remembered, but could not find Maria there, because she was still alive.

Manolo arrives in The Land of the Remembered
Manolo tried to persuade Xibalba, who had become the ruler of the Land of the Remembered,  to let him return to San Angel, but Xibalba challenged Manolo to defeat his worst fear first.

Manolo, Joaqin, and Maria: best friends.
The characters are made from wood.
The music in this movie was enjoyable although the voice of singing Manolo was too pop for me. I prefer stronger voice.

The Convict Killer (1980)

Ti Lung played Teng Piao who had been imprisoned for 15 years because someone called The Black Leopard had swapped his delivery of leather goods with opium.

In the beginning of the movie, we saw Teng Piao shot the informant who told him what the one who had set him up was The Black Leopard. I wondered why Teng Piao went into prison for smuggling drugs, but not for the murder.

Fifteen years later, after being released from jail, Teng Piao went to look for The Black Leopard for revenge. His weapon was an iron chain, the one who had kept him in jail for 15 years, he said. The informant told him 15 years ago that he should go to Flying Eagle Town and look for Master Chou.

Ching Li's character looking for her husband who has been
disappeared for 15 years
Teng Piao went to Flying Eagle Town and told Master Chou that he would be waiting for The Black Leopard in Jing Ling Inn. Master Chou sent letters to invite his six brothers (a.k.a six killers) back.

Since then, there were new strangers around the inn. Most notably was a "handsome guy with modern haircut and dresses fashionably" who threw flying daggers.

Ti Lung and Liu Yung : friend or foe?
The fighting scenes were enjoyable to watch, culminated in the final duel among Ti Lung & Liu Yung vs Chen Kuan-tai.

Chen Kuan-tai as Master Chou. 

Pursuit of Vengeance (1977)

Based on Gu Long's The Black Sabre, this movie began with Ye Kai, a merry hero, met Fu Hong-xue in a casino. They and four other heroes, were invited to Wan Ma Clan.

Ye Kai (Liu Yung) and Fu Hong-xue (Ti Lung) first meeting
Twenty years ago, Wan Ma Clan and Shen Dao Clan were equally famous; but as the chief of Shen Dao Clan, named Bai, was assassinated 20 years ago, nowadays the world only knew Wan Ma Clan. That day -when the six guests came to Wan Ma Clan - was the death anniversary of Hero Bai and the chief of Wan Ma believed that Bai's son had come to avenge his father. Bai's son should be among the six guests he had invited. But which one?

Bai's son should be either Ye Kai or Fu Hong-xue. Ye Kai was the student of Li Sun-huan, whose flying dagger was invincible.[See Little Li's Flying Dagger]

Ye Kai and Fu Hong-xue got a list of people responsible for  Hero Bai's death. Of 30 people, Hero Bai had killed 23 of them himself in the fatal snowy night, so there were still 7 left. Now, these seven killers also wanted to save themselves by killing Ye Kai and Fu Hong-xue.

Lo Lieh played a hired killer who was supposed to kill Ye Kai and Fu Hong-xue, but he ended up helping these two because in order to be able to kill them, he had to keep them alive. Lo Lieh's present made the movie merrier.

Lo Lieh takes a bath in public

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Web of Death (1976)

I finished reading Chin Yung's Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre not long ago, so immediately I could see that the story in this movie was loosely based on some parts from that book.

What those people fighting about was not the Dragon Slaying Sabre, but Five Venom Spider. It looked like a giant spider sat on a pedestal. The spider could blew poisonous smoke and spurt out spiderweb. It was the sacred weapon from Five Venoms Clan, and had been hidden to protect it from bad people.

Lu Shen holding the Five Venom Spider
Lo Lieh played Lu Shen, a branch-chief from Five Venom Clan who used every means to obtain the weapon. He found out that it was kept in the ancient tomb of Five Venoms Clan's chiefs and sent out 2 maps to his people. One of the maps fell into the hand of Fei Ying-ji, a Wutang student. He found the Spider in the tomb, but was attacked by Hong So-so, daughter of Five Venoms Clan's chief - for Fei Ying-ji was trespassing - and badly injured. Hong So-so fell in love with Wutang's first student, Fei Ying-hsiung; so she felt bad that she had injured his brother. Knowing the Wutang master could heal Fei Ying-ji, she was dressed as a man and sent the wounded Fei Ying-ji to Golden Dragon Security, telling the owner, Mr Chou, to deliver Fei Ying-ji, along with the Spider - in a closed box - to Wutang Clan within three days. The Wutang master was a good person and the Spider would be safe in his hand.

Hong So-so promises Fei Ying-hsiung to look for
informations about Five Venom Spider
On the way to Wutang, the box accidentally was opened, and knowing its contents, Mr Chou abandoned Fei Ying-ji, killed all witnesses, took the Spider and gave it to Lu Shen. Lu Shen killed Mr Chou and all the people in his family. Hong So-so arrived soon after Lu Shen had gone.

Fei Ying-hsiung saw the dead bodies in Golden Dragon Security. The weapon used was from Five Venoms Clan. He was seen by Mr Chou's friend who thought that he was the killer. Fei Ying-hsiung went to Five Venoms Clan to confront them. He was wounded and helped by Hong So-so, who hid him in her bedroom. They married and returned to Wutang. Meanwhile, Five Venoms Clan's chief was killed by Lu Shen.

The newlyweds return to Wutang
Mr Chou had been an ex student of Shaolin. All major clans went to Wutang, looking for Fei Ying-hsiung, accused him that he had killed Mr Chou. Fei Ying-hsiung insisted he was innocent. At the same time, Fei Ying-ji knew that it was Hong So-so who had wounded him. He agreed to let the matter go for his brother's happiness, but in Wutang there was a female student who fell in love with Fei Ying-hsiung and because 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned', she made a difficult situation for Hong So-so.

The murder of Mr Chou and his family and Fei Ying-ji's paralysis were not Hong So-so's fault, but as she came from a bad clan, the people from major clans wouldn't listen to her. Then Lu Shen came and said how stupid they were. He attacked them with the Spider and only Hong So-so could save them.

Fei Ying-hsiung was called '3 Saints of Wutang' because he was an expert with sword, zither and chess. In Heaven Sword & Dragon Sabre book, Ho Ciok Too, the founder of Kunlun Clan, was called '3 Saints of Kunlun' for the same reason.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Murder Plot (1979)

This movie was based on Gu Long's A Fanciful Tale of the Fighting World, so there were so many to tell in 90 minutes.

The murder plot mentioned in the title was the martial arts world plotted to murder the Happy King, for the deaths of 900 heroes 15 years ago. David Chiang played Sim Long. With his fiancée Cu Jit-jit (Ching Li), first he investigated the deaths inside a tomb, but was accused with the missing of several heroes. Sim Long asked one month to look into the matter.

Beautiful costumes and background,
reminded me how I loved Shaw Brothers movies back then
Cu Jit-jit found the missing heroes in the mansion belonged to the Ong family, and met the handsome but evil Ong Ling-hoa and his mother. Fleed from the Ong mansion, Cu Jit-jit, with another beautiful lady named Pek Fi-fi, were kidnapped by a woman worked for the Happy King [but unlike the book, in this movie version, Cu Jit-jit & Pek Fi-fi's faces were not changed. The woman did not operate on the young ladies's faces.], and saved by Sim Long and his new friends, Kim Bu-hong - one of the Happy King's four emissaries, and Panda, the Beggars Clan's chief. [In the book it was a Cat, instead of Panda.]

L-R: Sim Long, Kim Bu-hong and Panda
Cu Jit-jit had a kind of badge, which could be used to draw money from banks owned by Cu family. Ong Ling-hoa took the badge. While trying to get it back, Cu Jit-jit and Panda were taken by the Ong family. Mrs Ong asked Sim Long to infiltrate the Happy King's people so the martial arts heroes could kill the Happy King on his wedding day with Pek Fi-fi.

Actor's name usually appears on his first entrance in SB movies,
even if it's in the middle or near the end.
Ku Kuan-chung as Ong Ling-hua, who loves pink costumes.
The ending was simpler than the book. All the bad guys were dead in the end.

Treasure Hunters (1981)

Fu Sheng and Chang Chan-peng played two naughty boys who ruined a gambling house and wanted by the crossed-eyed chief police. Chang Chan-peng told Fu Sheng that he knew about a hidden treasure, but first they had to steal a bunch of letters from an old man who owned an antique store.

Using a mirror to speak with an interlocutor behind you
without turning your head
Meanwhile Liu Chia-hui played a monk from Fahua temple, who a dressed in white and cleaned his hands with tissue paper after touching anything. This monk met everybody interested in the treasure, but all the people he had met were dead. A normal person would assume that the monk killed all those people. However, our two naughty boys witnessed that Master Mo, played by Wang Lung-wei, was the one who killed those people after the monk had left.

Just found out that a thief dressed like this, so
the owner of the house won't hear his breath
Now, the two boys decided to help the monk clean his name. The treasure was hidden in the Fahua temple, anyway.

The director, Liu Chia-yung, played the old man who owned the antique store. He and his brother Liu Chia-hui made the fight scenes in this movie could be compared to the works of Kuo Chiu, Chiang Sheng, and those from Venom Mob. The woman who was with Master Mo, played by Yeung Ching-ching, played double swords so well. She was as competent as the guys.

Five lohans formation
Master Mo's high kung-fu skill made the good guys had to use five lohans formation to defeat him; but together with his female assistant, Master Mo also had this flying shallow style. In all, this was an action packed movie and highly entertaining.

Masked Avengers (1981)

Judging from the title, I thought I would see some young men wearing masks avenging their dead relatives; but in this case, the title refers to a group of bandits using the name of 'Masked Avengers'.

A group of bandits wearing masks with trident as the weapon
A group of heroes led by Master Chi believed that the bandits are based on Jingyang Town. There were two important families in the town: Ling and Fang. Master Chi suspected that either Lin or Fang was the leader of Masked Avengers, but the killing went on while Chi and his group watching Ling or Fang. So who was the leader? Meanwhile, the cook in the small inn where Chi and his group stayed in was also suspicious.

Sheng Jun, Master Chi's right-hand man, befriends the cook;
believing he was innocent
The plot reminds me of a French film called 'L'assassin habite au 21'. The police knew that the killer lived on the house no.21, but which one? (It was a boarding house) When he arrested someone, someone else killed out there.

With cast like: Chiang Sheng, Kuo Chui, Chin Siu-ho, and Lu Feng; fight scenes in this movie were great, as expected.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Buddha's Palm (1982)

Now this is a fun kung-fu movie. The cgi is outdated, of course, but who cares?

The story was narrated, but the narrator sometimes scolded the characters.

Due to low budget, the battle of Tiansan scenes
are replaced with cartoons
Erl Tung-sen played a low skilled swordsman until he fell into a ravine and helped by a giant bird who brought him to a blind swordsman, known as the Flaming Cloud Devil. It could be guessed that after being taught by the Flaming Could Devil, our hero became invincible - or almost, because his enemies used dirty tricks.

He made friends with two female heroes, who had been trying to heal their master's ruined face. The big enemy in this movie was someone called Heavenly Foot, who could stretched his foot to kick an enemy from a far.
Erl Tung-sen and Yu On-on, here plays a pair of lovers
Dameng, the giant bird, liked to help. He took care of Flaming Cloud Devil in a cave. By its look, one could tell that this movie had a low budget. The bird looked like a barongsai, with face seemed to come from Bali island.
L-R : Alex Man, Derek Yee and Dameng
Must be great to have Dameng as a pet
Lo Lieh played Pi Gu of East Island, a swordsman who always came late. He announced his own arrival. It was kind of annoying after a while, but when he was badly wounded by Heavenly Foot, I felt sad and hoped he wouldn't die. He did not die. Heavenly Foot also did not die in the end because this was a fun movie and we should not take the story seriously.

Reincarnate Swordsman (1983)

I don't like the other English title at all (B4stard Swordsman) and think that Silkworm Swordsman is more appropriate.

Norman Chu played Yun Fei Yang, 20-year-old errand boy in Wutang Clan. Daily he was bullied by other students, but secretly he learned kung-fu from a mysterious masked man, who was no other than his own father and the chief of Wutang, Qing Song.

Every ten years, Qing Song had a duel with Invincible Clan's chief and always lost. This time it was no exception. Qing Song, who had been wounded, was attacked on his way home; but was helped by a handsome young man named Fu Yu Shu. Qing Song took Fu Yu Shu as his student.

But Fu Yu Shu had a hidden agenda, he wanted to avenge his grandfather's death who had died in Wutang. Fu Yu Shu killed Qing Song, two of his best students and a Wutang elder; and blamed Yun Fei Yang. Fu Yu Shu then became Wutang chief.

The most prominent Wutang kung-fu was the silkworm skill, but it was difficult to understand. The mistress of Yun Fei Yang's father had solved the secret and helped the young man to master it. Yun Fei Yang killed Fu Yu Shu and won the heart of the girl he loved. The end.

The fight scenes were great, although sometimes I think in some scenes they were fast-forwarded too fast.

The final duel between Norman Chu and Tony Liu.
Yun Fei Yang is like Spiderman without costume.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre

After watching 2 versions Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre TV-series (1978 & 1986), I wanted to read the book. Far as I remember, Chin Yung's books always contain heroic themes, how the protagonists love their homeland, which made me not too eager to read them. I enjoyed reading this one very much, though, because of the complexity of the plot.

The main plot of the novel is how the heroes fought over a famous sabre, The Dragon Sabre, because it was said that the owner of the sabre would conquer the martial arts world. It was frustating to read how greed those people were. This book has many characters (wikipedia says the number is 956), but it was not hard to remember most of them; at least that was my experience. I think it's more difficult to remember names in Russian novels.

In the beginning of the story, the Dragon Sabre fell into the hands of Jie Thay Giam, 3rd student of Thio Sam Hong from Bu-tong-pay. He had meant to give the sabre to his teacher, but on his way he was attacked and became paralyzed. Thio Sam Hong's 5th student, Thio Coei San, went out to look for the culprit and he met the beautiful In So So, who was actually from a heretical clan, who had grabbed the sabre from Jie Thay Giam. The sabre would fall into the hand of Cia Soen, and with Thio Coei San and In So So, the three sailed off to a deserted island up north. Thio Coei San married In So So and they would have a boy, named Thio Boe Ki; who was the main hero in this novel.

Ten years passed. Thio Coei San, In So So, and Boe Ki returned to the mainland. In the deserted island they lived happily, but in the mainland they were forced to tell Cia Soen's whereabout, because Cia Soen had the sabre. Thio Coei San and In So So committed suicide and Thio Boe Ki was poisoned. Helpless to help Boe Ki, Thio Sam Hong - who was at this time 100 years old - finally sent the boy to an eccentric physician, who had actually refused to treat Boe Ki because the boy was not belong to Beng Kauw. Beng Kauw was considered as a heretical clan. The physician treated the boy anyway because the case was a real challege, but after he had been healed, the boy would be killed. In this years Boe Ki learned medicine. Later he would became a very skilled physician and cured Jie Thay Giam.

The physician then died after meeting his nemesis, while Boe Ki fell into a ravine and found a long lost Shaolin book. From this book he learned how to heal himself and gained powerful inner strength. When he got out from the ravine, Boe Ki was about 20 year-old.

At this time, six clans had cooperated to attack Beng Kauw. Boe Ki saw that the massacre was not right, so he used all his power to defend Beng Kauw. Beng Kauw people then made him their chief and Boe Ki used this opportunity to show the world that Beng Kauw was actually not evil.

Originally Beng Kauw was founded with an intention to drive off the Goan (Mongol) soldiers. Under Boe Ki's leadership, Beng Kauw worked together with 6 clans to drive away Goan soldiers. Although still young, Boe Ki had the charisma to lead Beng Kauw - and later to lead the martial arts world. It was evident in both TV series, how the great Thio Sam Song was proud of Boe Ki.

Four beautiful girls loved Thio Boe Ki, but finally he realized that the one he truly loved was the Mongolian princess: Tio Beng. She didn't mind to leave her wealth, kin, and position to follow him. On the other hand, as the Beng Kauw chief, Boe Ki also knew that it was inappropriate if he was with her; so he left his position and lived happily ever after with his beloved.

In the end, Boe Ki finally became a true hero, a wise man who had forgiven all the people who had forced his parents to commit suicide. He also forgave all who had cheated him and harmed him.

After the 'rebellion' led by Beng Kauw, the Goan soldiers were gone, and the Beng (Ming) dynasty began.

Among the characters, I think the most evil was the chief of Go-bi-pay, Biat-coat Soethay. [although the main antagonist was Seng Koen] She was very narrow minded, stubborn, merciless, and thought that she was always right. In this book, those who were supposed to be from good clans, did wicked things; while those had been considered from bad clans, actually were not that evil. Although Boe Ki was kind-hearted, honest, and sincere, other characters could easily think bad of him, just because of his mother came from a heretical clan, because he himself belonged to Beng Kauw and seeing a Mongolian princess. Like when his uncles caught him red-handed holding his 7th uncle's dead body. In this scene, Tio Beng desperately tried to protect Boe Ki's good name and she was ready to take all the blame because they had already branded her as a bad character.

So much Boe Ki loved his god-father, Cia Soen, that the boy did everything he could to save him - including leaving his bride on the altar. Boe Ki always remembered how Cia Soen raised him (along with his true parents) and taught him martial arts theories (for then he was too young to practice). Apart from the fact that Cia Soen was holding the Dragon Sabre, many people also looked for him because he had killed too many - but in martial arts world, who had not? For Twenty years Cia Sun tried to solve the sabre's secret without result. Only the chief of Go-bi-pay knew the answer.

Beside the Dragon Sabre, the Heaven Sword was also a famous weapon. However, people in this book chased Cia Soen until the end of the earth, while it seemed noboby wanted the Heaven Sword. Go-bi-pay had the Heaven Sword until it fell into Tio Beng's hands.

Both TV series each had a scene how complicated Tio Beng's situation during a war between Goan soldiers vs Beng Kaw + six clans. In 1978 version, Tio Beng released her father and brother from the clans's prison (an act of betrayal to Boe Ki vs her filial duty); while in 1986 version the clans used her as a hostage to threaten the Goan soldiers. These scenes were not in the book. However, I hear that Chin Yung has revised his works a couple of times.

Watching the 1978 version in the 80's, we children wanted Thio Boe Ki (or Thio mBoe Ki as we called him with our thick Javanese accent) to end with Coei Cie Jiak, for Angie Chiu was the most beautiful among the four girls. Now as I see recent pictures of Liza Wang and re-watch how she looked like in 1978, I must say that she was also very beautiful then, and appropriate to play the clever Tio Beng. As for Adam Cheng, for years we (as) children still referred him as Thio (m)Boe Ki. Even then I was blushed to see him in the torn clothes. In the story, Boe Ki was in the ravine for four years and during that time he never changed clothes.