21 Dec 1996 - 23 Oct 2009
Tsui Hark's production is Hong Kong's most expensive TV series to date. Boasting elaborate sets and the return of three-quarters of the original cast, the series look set to propel viewers to a new height in TV entertainment. 5 stories make up the series. The synopsis for each story is featured below. 1) The Suspicious Temple
Master Wong, Butcher Rong and Club Foot head to Shaolin Temple to cure the Abbot of a strange illness. There, they discover an internal power struggle that threatens to tear the temple apart. Master Wong intervenes to prevent a disaster and to restore peace within the temple. Daniel's comment: The story is a little draggy with too much trivia in-between the main plot. Nevertheless, the 5 episodes contain great martial arts choreography.
2) The Headless General
China enters a transitional phase with the dawn of the warlord era. A visiting General to Guangzhou is found murdered and decapitated in the legendary haunted Plum Mansions where he resides. His sworn brother General Han, swears to invade Guangzhou unless the Province can apprehend the murderer within the grace period of 1 month. Meanwhile, sightings of a headless-General ghost are reported. Master Wong is more than determined to investigate as his hometown is at stake. He discovers an elaborate conspiracy... Daniel's comment: This story is a little faster-paced than the first. Still, it is a draggy 7 episodes to watch. However, the last episode is a MUST - WATCH for its over-the-top fighting as Master Wong battles an evil taoist priest and a headless general at one go!
3) The Eight Assassins
The Empress Dowager sends a Prince down to Guangzhou to recruit the services of Master Wong. When Master Wong accidentally 'injures' the Prince, he hires 8 top pugilists from the Martial Arts world to teach Master Wong a lesson. Director Derek Yee guest stars as a top Japanese pugilist (pictured on the left). Daniel's comment: The best and the most serious of all the stories aired on Singapore TV so far (23 Oct 96). Master Wong duels with at least one of the eight martial arts exponents each night. FANTASTIC and LIGHTNING FAST fist-fights and swordsfights!
4) The Final Victory
The Manchu Dynasty enters its twilight years. Master Soh, Master Wong's father's fellow disciple arrives in Canton to rally the various anti-Manchu activists. The Manchu government gets wind of the matter and plants a spy within the Tung Meng Hui
, an anti-Manchu organisation. Master Wong tries to expose the spy at the risk of being executed by the imperial court... Daniel's comment: The pace of the series picks up after The Eight Assassins. Quite a good story based on actual historical events happening in China in the early 20th century.
5) The Ideal Century
This story is a continuation from the previous. The Manchu Dynasty has collapsed. Warlords fight for control of China. Master Wong faces new challenges in an attempt to establish an ideal century... Bowie Lam (Chow Yun Fatt's cop-partner in HARD BOILED's tea-house shoot-out) stars as a sinister Military Commandant with deadly intent. Note the picture on the left, Master Wong has snipped off his pig-tail to embrace a new China! Daniel's comment: Kind of weird to see Master Wong without his pig-tail. Reminds me of Jet Li's character in Fist of Legend! Master Wong finally marries his beloved Thirteenth Aunt in the concluding episode but their happiness is short-lived...