It’s coming. I feel this ominous gush of air headed towards me as Yu Zheng‘s upcoming The Swordsman gets an air date of February 5th on Hunan TV. While this drama filmed at the same time as Da Mo Yao, we haven’t seen any official stills or trailers from DMY because that drama still hasn’t passed SARFT review and gotten permission to air leaving me to make do with this bag-o-crazy to get my period C-drama fix for the time being. This is the umpteenth drama adaptation of famed wuxia writer Louis Cha‘s (Jing Yong) novel The Smiling Proud Wanderer which I’ve read too many times to count and still cling on to my dog-eared copy like its some sort of holy grail. Of all of Louis Cha’s novels, its my personal favorite and I think his most freewheeling work saying a lot without coming off as preaching. This latest adaptation supposedly got Louis Cha’s approval but I honestly think he’s stopped caring anymore otherwise it’s hard to imagine he’d be okay with how the story is getting reinvented here. Hero Linghu Chong has his requisite love lines with the three leading ladies of the novel, plus a very nebulous love line with the the main antagonist the gender confused Dong Fang Bu Bai. The movie version of The Swordsman II with Jet Li and Bridgette Lin did allude to the same possibility but it was done in a way that wasn’t squicky to me. Here I am totally squicked out, despite the fact that Chen Qiao En as Dong Fang Bu Bai is prettier than the three leading ladies playing actual female characters, not to mention her chemistry with Wallace Huo is off the charts. This will be interesting, in either an I-want-to-poke-my-eyes-out or an I-cant-stop-watching sort of way. The Chinese audiences are primed for wuxia dramas after the unexpected and inexplicable ratings success of The Magic Blade last Summer (the team from TMB is re-teaming with its leading man Wallace Chung and filming the drama adaptation of Louis Cha’s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils right now) so my gut tells me this one will be a hit as well regardless of quality or artistic integrity. Despite all my misgivings, there is no way I’m not watching this the moment it drops.
9-minute long trailer for The Swordsman:
Opening theme song from The Swordsman (sung by Wallace Huo):