I’m still shaking my head at the inexplicable success of The Magic Blade (Tian Ya Ming Yue Dao) this summer in reviving the pure wuxia genre in C-dramas, because that drama was so crack-a-doodle and nothing like its source material the Gu Long novel that the result was like watching William Hung sing “She Bangs” on American Idol. The collective psyche could not look away, especially when Baron Chen un-zombified himself and turned in a fantastic tongue-in-cheek performance, while normally gorgeous Wallace Chung was pretty much maimed and fried in pain throughout the entire proceeding. The success of TMB has somehow convinced the producers and the director that they should continue butchering more wuxia classics with their “new wuxia” style. If TMB is the benchmark of “new wuxia”, I want to spork my eyes out and dig a hole to hide myself in, because wuxia drama-geddon is surely upon us.
Next up for this bunch of hacks is tackling wuxia godfather Louis Cha’s seminal Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (Tian Long Ba Bu), which is one of LC’s novels that I am just okay with, but concede its probably just too depressing for me to want to re-read now that I’m older and can appreciate it more. Whereas Smiling Proud Wanderer is a novel I read annually as a pilgrimage of sorts to wuxia holy land. Wallace Chung must’ve made quite an impression as Fu Hong Xue in TMB, the most bad-luck wuxia hero in ten counties, because he’s been tapped as the lead of DGSD to play Beggar Sect leader Qiao Feng (Xiao Feng). The even weirder casting choice comes in the form of Super Junior member Kim Ki Bum playing Prince Duan Yu of the Kingdom of Dali. Buh? Let me say that again. BUH?
The 2012 drama adaptation of DGSD is definitely a go, though right now only the two main leads Wallace and Ki Bum have been cast. The production announced that it’s doing polls to get audience feedback to help in selecting the rest of the cast, including the roles of priest-turned-loverboy Xu Zhu, pretty-and-good-at-memorizing Wang Wu Yan, and douchbag-of-the-century Mu Rong Fu. If either of the two talentless and fugly female leads from TMB show up in this, imma going to go throw some cups at a wall for fun. I was not a fan of the 2002 version of DGSD directed by Zhang Ji Zhong, which had Crystal Liu as Wang Yu Yan and Jimmy Lin as Duan Yu. To this day I’ve only loved the 1980 TVB oldie, but that thing is so outdated it can’t even be watched anymore because we’ll all die laughing. But in terms of pathos? It was awesomesauce.
Wallace will surely love angsting even more as Qiao Feng because HOMG he might be the LC hero who is born into the worst fate in life. I love him for his fearless righteousness, but he’s also a clueless romantic leading man who I want to slap around a few times. Duan Yu is like a bucket of puppies with his penchant for collecting illegitimate sisters and having an unrequited crush on a complete bitch. It doesn’t require much acting and Ki Bum has the cute innocent face so this shouldn’t be a complete impossibility for him to pull off. I’m keeping one eye closed and the other eye peeking in morbid curiosity at this upcoming production.