Fans Break Down Their Thoughts on “The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre” 2018 Remake

Jin Yong (金庸) may have left our mortal realm, but his legacy will live on. Cathay Media’s remake of Jin Yong’s wuxia novel The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre <倚天屠龙记> will soon grace TV screens this year, and a three-minute trailer of the show has been revealed online.

The final installment to Jin Yong’s Condor Trilogy, The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre is set in the late Yuan Dynasty, nearly 100 years after Guo Jing’s adventures. This is the eighth official television remake of the novel, with the last adaptation being released in 2009, released in China by the Huayi Brothers. 2018’s version stars 21-year-old Joseph Zeng (曾舜晞) as Zhang Wuji, with 21-year-old Chen Yuqi (陈钰琪) as Zhao Min and 26-year-old Zhu Xudan (祝绪丹) as Zhou Zhiruo.

Although enthusiastic about the remake, fans were disappointed with the overall impression of the show once the trailer dropped. Fans said too many computer graphics lacks authenticity as a wuxia show. There were too many slow-mo action shots, making it more difficult to get invested in the show’s intense fight sequences. Many scenes were filmed with a green screen, making the overall feeling “too xianxia” (fantasy).

Nonetheless, fans did praise the show’s high production value and it aligns with the current photography trend. Fans were also pleasantly surprised with the casting, specifically the three leads. Kathy Chow (周海媚), who played Zhou Zhiruo in the 1994 remake of The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, stars as Miejue.

Check out the trailer below!


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Jayne:
    I don’t speak Mandarin (Putonghua) and, therefore, don’t understand the current Chinese pronunciations of the characters in wuxia novels. Could you please ask your writers to include the characters with Chinese writing, like Cheung Mo Kei 張無忌, Chiu Man 趙敏, Chow Tse Yeuk 周芷若, Yan So So 殷素素, Siu Chiu 小昭, etc. This would help those readers, who don’t speak Mandarin (Putonghua), understand your articles more.


  2. Lion King and Mi Jue are really good looking, I am rooting for a romance between them with Chen Kun creating a triangle with them.

    True that the kids today indeed lack a lot of these martial art skills. There was quite a bit of acrobat movements in ROCH 08 but at least XLN was able to pull off very intricate movements herself. The slow motion only paused when she put on a hard stance like doing a split or standing with 1 leg too.

    The kids today simply swing the sword left and right, then the editor will turn those simple movements into slow motion. Too disengaging… I remember years ago when Steven Ma played ZWJ, he was able to throw and flip his sword then catch it, the movements were hard and looked like real kung fu although it’s all fake. The same thing with Alec Su. They all looked like real fighters in the TV when they’re not good at it in real life. That’s part of the acting and challenge in Wuxia dramas that qualified actors have to meet. It’s not just about all the meat.

  3. The younger cast have such standard and uniform look. They have the same facial structure and very similar facial feature. It’s so different from the 90s and 80s wuxia series. I recently rewatch ‘Mythical Crane and Magic Needle’. The cast might not be all great beauties and handsome guys, but, they each have their distinctive look.

    1. @kidd yea, back then, we have such versatile looks, making it’s really hard to pick who you would like. I remember seeing the old HSDS with Tony Leung (?), and I was so impressed by Sheren Tang even though she isn’t that beautiful, (she’s pretty if you know what I mean!) then watch other drama and like wow! Even Nadia chan or whatever her name now, to me at that time was a bit Tom boyish and the series I saw her she meant to be butt ugly, yet I love her the most until now lawl! A lot of the current main land actresses seem to have the same surgeons, same pouty lips, sometimes it’s really hard to distinguish between them. And most of the guys are just average looking/too girly that without makeup, they are not even worth your time. It’s a sad stage that we are in!

  4. Okay I seriously don’t get the point of these remakes it’s a waste of time and resources. Why can’t they add some twist or just do a completely new drama instead of trying to smooch off of the older series. Saw the trailer already and I would say this isn’t comparable to the Alec Su version, this new one just doesn’t feel right idk if it the acting or the cgi but something feels off for me.

  5. Yea, most of these directors just don’t get it right. Just because slow-mo works for Hollywood, doesn’t mean it works for wuxia. Just because the big wuxia movies back then used slow-mo, doesn’t mean it great!

    To this day, the best action scenes for a tv series that give me that old wuxia feeling is still the flame’s daughter. No slow-mo, it’s fast, constant and heart racing! It doesn’t have a lot, but even the practice dance makes you believe it wuxia and not stupid xianxia!

    1. @littlefish YEP! In Hollywood, modern fighting can be in slow-mo. But for wuxia, we have to see real traditional Chinese kung fu. Of course actors won’t have that skill, so…in the very very least, the bar was already set very low enough to something like how people fight in the 2000’s. Like Vicki Zhao always played being bad at kung fu such as Little Swallow and Lu Jian Ping but look at how intricate her movements and jumps were? That was not even bad kung fu. People were easily fooled to think that she is actually so good at kung fu. It is just unbelievable today how no one can even meet that standard. Yet, they posted a bunch of news of how hard working they were to stay under the sun to do a few jumps. Seriously, actors in the past wore rags and rolled into mud puddles and looked bloody everywhere, they breathed with real exhaustion with their faces all red and real sweat. Today, everyone wear new clothes with some dirt printed on it they think it looked dirty enough…and one skinny slice on the face is considered a very big injury.

  6. Can China stop destroying Jin Yong with a remake every 6 months? Can TVB remake them? Because the only version that can stand the test of time is TVB versions.

    1. @funnlim TVB won’t be any better, at least not nowadays. It’s impossible for them to replicate the success of the past given what they’ve become (plus the severe lack of resources now) so I would rather they don’t even try.

      The best versions for me will always be the 80s TVB versions. I just finished binge re-watching Legend of the Condor Heroes (1983 Felix Wong / Barbara Yung version) and you know what, it’s been 35 years since that series was made (plus I’ve re-watched the series dozens of times already), yet the series still had the ability to make me devote 100% of my attention to it — couldn’t take my eyes off the screen for even a minute. The rest of the trilogy (1983 Andy Lau/Idy Chan version of ROCH and 1986 Tony Leung/Sheren Tang version of HSDS) — which I’m planning on re-watching this weekend — has the exact same effect. The 80s era was definitely the best era for the wuxia genre — almost all of the TVB wuxia dramas made during that time period continue to withstand the test of time even now, so many years later!

      1. @llwy12 I disagree. The budget don’t have to be high, like in the past, they weren’t exactly expensive looking. Now is the right time because they have a bunch of young actors who can play certain characters with certain veterans playing certain characters. Now is the right time.

      2. @funnlim

        I agree with you. I would like to see TVB do wuxia again too. I miss the HK wuxia series. I also agree with you on the young actors reason. TVB has a lot of upcoming young actors whose acting are not inferior to the China young actors at all.
        But, I would rather they adapt novels from other wuxia writers. JY wuxia has been done to death and TVB really can’t compete with China in terms of scenery. They should adapt some Gu Long novels. Gu Long novels focus more on characters and twisty plot. Things happen in more close spaces. They usually don’t have grand scenes like in JY. So, TVB don’t even need to go to China to film. They just need to create the right atmosphere for series. I believe TVB still has talents to do that. Just please don’t let Mui Siu Ching produce it. I don’t want those silly rhyming dialog in said wuxia series.

  7. Everything is pretty. Too pretty. I like the scenery but the actors are like paintings with no personality. I agree that the computer animations and the slow mo are so off-putting. Sigh… maybe I should give this a chance but so little time…

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