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Sunday, 16 September 2012

造王者 King Maker review

Spoilers alert!
Click here to see the fates of the main characters from the character map. It looks depressing. 
This series started out great: the first few episodes of this show were the highlights of the show. They were gripping and entertaining to watch. I started to get bored of it when Pierre Ngo's character when back to the palace and became his normal self again as the storyline slowed down. The last episodes got more exciting again, but I then thought the plot in the last two episodes were quite horrible!

In fact, thinking back, the whole storyline after the first few episodes was wibbly wobbly. I'm don't know what the heck what happened. I really wanted to like this show. I did at first too until I watched the last episodes. The Show shouldn't be called "King Maker", it should be "I wonder what Dong Chiu is gonna do next?". The show seemed to be revolved around Yu Jing and Dong Chiu, whilst the next to the throne was just a sub-story. Dong Chiu just creates havoc.

Apart from the first episodes, there are only two good things I remember from the show:

1) I thought it was funny that Dong Chiu called his son "Chuk Sang" (animal) and his son would answer immediately as if it was his real name. I found this funny every time!

2) Yeung Chung didn't die and got a happy ending. I was worried throughout the series that he'd get murdered trying to protect Yu Jing, but he didn't.

The ending reminded me of The Life and Times of a Sentinel. There was a big scene where there was someone trying to steal the throne and talking about who is the King's son. Also Yu Jing giving the false poison wine to Dong Chiu is like Steven Ma giving Kenneth Ma the fake poison. I also started laughing when Dong Chiu said that he would be king and his people got their swords out as once again, because I thought that but was really out of place.

It's a bit sad that there are not many character with truly happy endings. Yeung Chung does, even though he'll have to listen to Yu Ching's woes. Yu Ting does even though I think she's married a silly man.

I think the 3 happiest people will be Guai Wor, his mother and wife. Even though they got sent to a poor place, they have each other, no more schemes and most importantly, freedom.

Overall storylines and thoughts of the main characters:

Wayne Lai as Yu Jing 余靖

He is banished to an island for a lifetime of laborious work after the crown prince, Guai Sing is captured by the King's opposition. He loses contact with his two younger siblings, who he knows have gone missing. 10 years later, he is released from the island when Guai Sing is also released. By now, Guai Sing is no longer the next in line to the throne, for his brother Guai Wor is instead. Yu Jing continues to work for Guai Sing, hoping that he could still be king one day. Since released from the island, Yu Jing meets Sam Niang, a widow and clever women and they immediately bond, trusting each other with their secrets.

Later on Guai Wor gets thrown out of the palace due to taking part in a scheme designed to kill the king.  Guai Sing becomes crown prince again. Later on Ju Ying finds that his two younger siblings are two people he recently met and they reunite.

His enemy Dong Chiu is looking for a way to get rid of Yu Jing as Dong Chiu also took part in the scheme to kill the king. The two men was already in bad grounds from before, Yu Jing did not agree with the methods Dong Chiu used to get what he wanted.

Dong Chiu eventually frames Yu Jing for helping the people that captured Guai Sing. Sam Niang takes all the blame and is imprisoned and sentenced to death. Having developed mutual romantic feelings for each other, Yu Jing vows revenge.

Yu Jing finds out that Guai Sing is not actually the King's son, but still helps him as long as he agrees to give the throne to the King's third son after 10 years, and be a good king in the meanwhile. Dong Chiu finds out about Guai Sing and plans to expose this secret but Yu Jing manages to turn it around and fool everyone.

Dong Chiu's daughter and Yu Jing's old romance Yuk Kiu sacrifices herself to save Yu Jing being stabbed by Dong Chiu's servant. Before she dies, Yu Jing promises that he wouldn't kill Dong Chiu for his evil deeds.

5 years later all the men grow facial hair. Meanwhile, Yu Jing continues to help Guai Sing run the country and keeps Dong Chiu on a deserted island, giving him enough food to survive. Dong Chiu tells him that the real loser of the two is Yu Jing, as he now is trapped into aiding the King forever whereas Dong Chiu can do what ever he wants on his island.
The show ends with Yu Jing considering Dong Chiu's statement.

Apart from his little sister, Yu Jing lost everything that was important to him: Sam Niang, his brother and helping the rightful king. It's sad that he probably won't be ever happy again, his life now only consists of running the country. I'm glad he still has Yeung Chung who will stay his loyal friend forever. I don't understand why Yeung Guk sides with him instead of Guai Sing, getting rid of the killers Guai Sing got to kill Yu Jing. I thought Yeung Guk was loyal to the king, which Guai Sing would soon become, but he's working under the orders of Yu Jing now.

I like fact that there aren't any major lovey dovey scenes in any of Wayne's performances. It's not that I don't like them, but sometimes you can see affection between couples without having to have those scenes. 
I don't like how nasty he was to his little brother just because he was an eunuch. Yu Jing doesn't seem to be a person who discriminates other people!

We'll be seeing Wayne in The Confidant soon! Let's see if it's TV king worthy! As the chinese say, his next character is going to turn around by 360 degrees. I also look forwards to seeing Michelle Yim again, and the ambiguous relationship between Wayne and Nancy. I do like their collaborations!

Kent Cheng as Dong Chiu 董昭

A man who will do anything to benefit himself, he lied to his daughter so she would marry a bad man to save the family. He blames his schemes on other people and is the enemy of Yu Jing who does not like his ways of doing things. Dong Chiu gains the trust of the King, Guai Sing and the Queen. In order to make Guai Sing the crown prince, he tricks Gwok Chu, an old acquaintance of the Queen to work together to kill the king, but he actually causes the plan to fail and also cause the king to abandon Guai Wor as the crown prince.

Yu Jing guesses that Dong Chiu is behind everything, and the latter is determined to get rid of Yu Jing. Along the path he frames Yu Jing for working with the King's opposition, but Yu Jing's acquaintance Sam Niang takes the blame and is put to death instead.

He continues to plot, and when he finds out Guai Sing isn't actually the King's son he tries to steal the throne. He fails and Gets put on an isolated island by Yu Jing who regularly supplies him with food. There are subtle hints that he may have gone mad.

I don't really understand what he was evil for. He wanted status and he had it (fair enough with Yeung Chi San). Otherwise he just decided to be evil and kill random people along the way. It seems that Kent just talks very loudly every time he is angry, and occasionally waves his arms about. I didn't like his expression when he was trying to convince the Queen that he was always loyal to her at the end of the series, it just looked like a puppy face a child would pull.

I remember his hand started shaking, the first time when his daughter was really angry at him, but him insisting that he always loved her, the second some time in the palace. Nothing came out of the hand shaking, unless it was the start of him going crazy, but he never did. I think he talked to the dog on purpose as Yu Jing was there to show that being a King Maker does not bring a pleasant future.

Also I thought it was random that a dog was on the island in the end. If Yu Jing didn't bring it there there shouldn't be a dog on the island!

Krystal Tin as Sam Niang 嚴三娘

A smart and caring widow, she meets Yu Jing and even though they know nothing about each other, they quickly develop a strong friendship which later turns into romantic feelings. She takes blame from Yu Jing who is framed by Dong Chiu to have been unloyal to the king and is sentenced to death. Even though the King takes back the sentence after finding she really wan't guilty, Dong Chiu  brings her sentence forwards, and she takes the poison wine just before Yu Jing arrives in attempt to save her. She dies in Yu Jing's arms.

No comment about her character, it wasn't very memorable and it didn't seem to be important at all apart from her sacrifice. It was very sad when she died but at least she got to see Yu Jing before she did. She had many happy moments in her life.

Natalie Tong as Yu Ting 樊紅纓
The long lost sister of Yu Jing, she lost her memory as a child and was bought up by Sam Niang, and thought that Gwok Chu was her Dad. Her "Dad" finds out her real identity, and that her real father caused Gwok Chu's family to be sentenced to death and uses her to harm her big brother before telling her the truth. Yu Ting then remembers who she really is and is reunited with her brother. Meanwhile she gets to know Guai Sing who develops feeling for her.

Gwok Chu attempted to assassinate the King but failed but escaped. Since everyone thought Yu Jing really was Gwok Chu's daughter, they wanted to kill Yu Ting too. Yu Jing reveals to others that she is actually his long lost sister so shouldn't get punishment. Furthermore Guai Sing and Yu Ting lie to the King saying that she was carrying his baby so she could not be murdered.

She is then brought to live in the palace, as the Queen decides to determine her fate after she gives birth to the baby. She does later get pregnant and becomes Queen when Guai Sing becomes King.

I liked Natalie Tong here. I'm still recovering from her performance from The Life and Times of a Sentinel as I also mentioned on my review of No Good Either Way

I was not impressed by the scene where she stabs Yu Jing in the chest, and thought it was rather a fail. Not the acting, but that bit of storyline. When Yu Jing stabs Yu Jing, Pan Gwok Chu comes out all proud because he achieved his goal of seeing the Yu siblings harming each other. Apart from Yu Jing looked pretty fine and still managed to smack his head on the ground 36 times before fainting (in fact I think that's what made him faint, the headbutting, not the stabbing in the chest. Then when Sam Niang comes out she and Pan Gwok Chu seem to be equally matched in fighting, but Fan Bong Jue remains unharmed when all the other Fan people came out to fight him too. I don't understand too how he managed to escape, his loyal person came out and suddenly all the Fan men forget about capturing him? So he manages to escape with 2 people against about 20 people. Yeah right. At least she had a happy ending.

Pierre Ngo as Guai Sing 趙貴誠
He is the crown prince, but due to his brother's scheme, he gets captured by the King's enemies. He loses his status and his dignity as the capturers frequently abuse him. He is released back to his home after 10 years a nervous wreck and took a period of time before returning to his usual self with the help of Yu Jing. He becomes crown prince again after scheming by Dong Chiu. Guai Sing later finds out about the bad deeds Dong Chiu commits.

Guai Sing also finds that he isn't actually the King's son. Dong Chiu also finds out and plots against Guai Sing, however he fails. Guai Sing puts him in Jail and leaves Yu Jing to sort him out.

Guai Sing becomes king. His third brother dies of illnesses, therefore he gets to keep the throne.

Much like the series, his character was best to watch in the first few episodes. Even though what happened to him was cruel, it was touching to see. He randomly got evil for a bit in the end as he wanted to kill everyone. But I don't think the killing personality is his personality, but just there to show how greedy someone can be to become king. I'm still not convinced. But I think it might also be because he is really indecisive and can't make his own mind so when his real dad says "Kill Yu Jing" he thinks "ok then", but then Yu Jing says "don't kill me" he thinks "ok then". Without Yu Jing, he would be a terrible king as he doesn't seem to be intelligent at all. In fact, if the king is not blood related to previous king he should let Yu Jing be king instead. Silly king solved.

Elaine Yiu as Yuk Kiu 董玉喬
Yuk Kiu was the most pitiful character. Her life just went wrong after Yu Jing got sent to that island for 10 years. She got tricked into marrying a villain by her father and was not treated well and beaten. The love of her life, Yu Jing does not want her anymore. When she finally gets to leave her husband she leaves as a scheming bitter women who will trust no one at all. Which is a pity because before that I very much hoped that one day she could get together with her step son Yeung Guk. 

I thought her character would get really annoying after she got crazy and slapped her servant, thinking she was Sam Niang. Apart from nothing actually grew from that random crazy-ness so it was a pointless scene. Also the scene were she was really determined that she would never get used again and hated everyone was also pointless as she still got used and still head over heels with Yu Jing.

Then she got used again by her father, what a poor girl. Then she died for Yu Jing too.

Patrick Tang as Yu Ting 余清 (Sheung Hei 常喜)
I don't know why his big brother had to be so nasty to him at first. I also thought that Sheung Hei was a villain for some reason. The ending would have been much happier if he hadn't died, as Yu Jing would have had both his siblings alive. Sheung Hei's life is sad too, he lost his family at a young age and was deceived into becoming an eunuch. But his last part of his life was happy as he was reunited with his family, and at least he took his own life, not murdered.

Samuel Fong and Kingdom Yuen as The King and Queen

The King is quite a useless king. He listens to and then believes in everything anyone says and does not seem to have much judgement himself. I remember in the scene where the men were blaming the failed attempt of the assassination of the king on each other, everyone had their say, Yeung Chi San, Dong Chiu, Yu Jing... and the King just believed in the latest story he was told. I like the actor that played the king. He can do any character at all and be really convincing...

...I hadn't seen Kingdom Yuen for a while and she had a measurable amount of screen time here. It was quite weird for me watching her play such a proper character. I'm used to her playing those feisty and comedic characters so I just couldn't watch any of her expressions without feeling like I'm watching something weird. I can't really comment on her acting because of that, there's an image of Kingdom Yuen that has formed in my head from the past and I can't get rid of it. My Mum says that she did really well though.


miriamfanz said... [Reply]

I didn't get why Elaine Yiu was evil too, but then nothing turned out from it. I was expecting her to be the mastermind of something all of a sudden or seduce someone for power, but she loved Wayne Lai until the end.

Overall the drama was still good, but not the best. I hope Confidant will be better!

Full thoughts:

Yian said... [Reply]


I hope The Confidant will be better too! I do think I'm too harsh on the plot of KM, it just doesn't flow very well for me!

Hs Lai said... [Reply]

Hi Yian, i simply bumped into ur blog while searching for Divas In Diatress OST... But i gotta comment that Great Minds Think Alike! Most of what u wrote i felt it too when watching KM :) one more thing i noticed abt Kingdom Yuen is when she talks on the tv screen the jewelries on her head sure will made some cling-clang sound... Which is another factor i couldnt help laughing!

Anonymous said... [Reply]
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yian said... [Reply]

@Hs Lai

Thanks for stopping by at my blog! I wish that I noticed the clanging noise from Kingdom's hairdo too, it would have made the series just that little funnier to watch ;)

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