The good things about Yu Zheng‘s upcoming adaptation of The Swordsman (based on Louis Cha‘s novel Smiling Proud Wanderer) I can count on one finger – Wallace Huo as Linghu Chong. Bucking my initial reservations, in the official stills he’s gorgeously hot, angsty, and makes me see him for the first time as a non-bland leading man. The bad things….I don’t have enough fingers on all my appendages to count with. For those of you not familiar with Louis Cha’s novel, and how Yu Zheng is about to screw with it, let me give an analogy. Imagine if Michael Bay decided he wants to remake his own Lord of the Rings. And to shake things up, he cast Megan Fox as the neutered leader of the Orcs (forget its a male character), and then have her join in the love triangle with Aragorn (already busy with Arwen and Eowen). He furthered decided everyone in Middle Earth ought to add more color to their wardrobes so he borrowed clothes from the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to dress them in.
But he’s not done. He decides that the guy playing Aragorn also needs to play the gay lover of Megan Fox’s transsexual Orc leader, hence more angst and crossed love and battles line. Finally, in a twist of casting coup, Heidi Montag is handpicked to play Arwen. See? Who says Yu Zheng doesn’t have any originality? I can’t imagine any sane person conjuring this up, but he did when he cast Chen Qiao En as Dong Fang Bu Bai, and then had Wallace play both Linghu Chong and Yang Lian Ting. WTF seems way too restrained an epithet to swing around for this atrocity. The drama released a boatload of official stills so have a look below. It’s hella entertaining in a trainwreck sort of way. I’ll start with the super handsome ones of Wallace being all je ne sais quoi as the titular Swordsman, and then present in increasing order of insanity in the making.
Who knew Wallace had an angsty sex-muffin inside of him just waiting to bust out?
At least Yu Zheng is bringing the pretty in terms of scenic set pieces.
Ling Ping Zhi and Yue Ling Shan – never in a billion years could I have imagined these two would be the most functional looking pairing in this story. They are adorable! I also have fully behind Chen Xiao playing Liu Fu Ling in Yu Zheng’s Yun Zhong Ge adaptation. He’d be perfect.
Why are the Hua Shan disciples so….dorking looking? All of them. Come to think of it, other than Linghu Chong, they are mostly all secret power-hungry fakers or earnest puppy dogs.
Oh oh oh, the firefly scene! If done right, it makes me swoon to the moon and back.
Imma not going to mince words. I find Yuan Shan Shan grotesquely unrecognizable since she had her entire face redone. Calling her ugly would defeat why she had so much plastic surgery, but I miss the days when the middling actresses worked on their acting craft rather than expecting a knife to launch them into stardom. To have her playing Ren Ying Ying is such a travesty of miscasting.
Now we get to the super insane stuff. First look at Chen Qiao En as Dong Fang Bu Bai. Not horrible, just kind weird since she’s so feminine and all. And when in the hell did Dong Fang Bu Bai ever meet Feng Qing Yang in his cave? My brain, it hurts.
This part starts grossing me out. Seeing Dong Fang Bu Bai as genuinely trying to turn himself into a sexpot siren makes me shake my head.
And….of course I’m saving the best for last. Voila! Wallace Huo as sniveling boy toy Yang Lian Ting. I recall him being described as quite pretty boy handsome in the book, but here he looks like a tranny. Oh Yu Zheng, you really are quite a piece of work. I’m looking forward to The Swordsman because it will surely make me have lots of opinions.