[Review] “Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain” (By Miriamfanz)

Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain <寒山潛龍>
Hong Kong TVB Drama 2014

Producer: Marco Law
Genre: Ancient, detective

Episodes: 30

Rating: stars3-5

Cast: Kenneth Ma, Selena Li, Power Chan, Pierre Ngo, Lin Xia Wei, Raymond Cho, and Eric Li

Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain 5Don’t be fooled by the sales presentation or the title of this series. This is not a wuxia series; rather it’s a modern investigation series set in ancient times. It starts off with a few mysteries which are interesting enough, though not exactly memorable. I’ve been spoiled by the thrilling mysteries from Storm in a Cocoon and Ruse of Engagement, so the ones here are only mediocre in comparison. Then the story moves into the mandatory romance part and the cases start blending into the background amidst all the romantic mess and other randomness. There never seemed to be any urgency with any of the cases. This is especially true with the final case of the Jurchen spy where the imminent threat of an invasion is never felt and the characters hardly even cared.

The real joy of this series is the characters, each with their unique background and personalities. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, making them very real people. It was nice to see the constables develop from fighting against each other to comrades who will stick together in the face of danger. The interactions between them are fun to watch and often results in comedic moments. Also a nice touch by the writers to have all the character names refer to animals.

Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain 8Kenneth Ma is fine until he has to do emotional scenes and then he can’t get rid of those puppy eyes. He has terrific chemistry with Selena Li. As for Selena, she was cute in her first role as “Tou Fa”, although a bit too loud. Her second role as “Yan Mei Leong” was manipulative and cold – a big contrast with her first role and well-portrayed by Selena. A testament to her acting skills when you hardly notice they are the same actress.

Power Chan shows off his wide range of acting skills all in one character. He is arrogant and egotistical in the beginning, but slowly learns to trust his colleagues. As the vigilante, he was kind and wise. Power even makes a brief reappearance as a eunuch, in reference to his popular role from The Confidant.

Ghost Dragon of Cold Mountain 7Pierre Ngo’s rough character is a refreshing change as I’m tired of seeing him as a wimp turned righteous hero. Lin Xia Wei is a decent actress if only she wasn’t so lovesick in every drama. Raymond Cho’s character was likeable, but I stop short of saying it’s an award-worthy performance only because it’s not a difficult role to play. Candy Chang needs to tone down her acting, but she’s already much better than other newcomers.

The review is written by Miriamfanz, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com. Visit Miriamfanz’s blog!

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  1. Some parts were funny but most of it was kind a fake. If china was that smart to invent water guns back then why did they have to buy guns from the British. But china was the first one to find gun powder.This series added alot of modern jokes ideas and inventions to the drama which made it kinda okay but wasn’t realistic enough you can’t be added modern invention to the past unless you go back in time.

  2. I agree with 99% of your review. This series was very enjoyable, light-hearted, and entertaining. Maybe it was so nonchalant that it lost the urgency throughout the whole series. Like you said, the cases didn’t seem important, not even up until the end. The way the ended the battle with the traitor is like… I was like, “what? Wait, what happened? Where’s the fight? It’s over already?” I was hoping for an epic battle and awesome fighting sequence that they showed off in the beginning of the series. They were all great kung-fu masters after all, show off your abilities gosh darn it!

    As for the casts, the male supporting actors were much stronger and more interesting than Kenneth. Kenneth should stick with comedy role because he’s funny with that; he’s not so much convincing when he gets sobby. I can’t get the deer-at-headlight look from him, IDK why lol. I like Raymond the best because his character is so lovable and I think he played him very well. No doubt Power’s character grew the most and he did well as an arrogant lonewolf to a team player. I find Pierre’s character the most annoying among the males. It’s nothing against his acting skill, just his character lol. I think Pierre is a very detailed actor, or the writers were really good in taking care of his character. Even when he was acting all scholarly (going to school, changing his cloth, talking all poetically), he still managed to portray this roughness to him; he was so in character, in a way lol. Oh and poor Eric, he’s so typecast! His acting is much better than some of the current guys that TVB is promoting (i.e. Him, Jason, Oscar, etc).

    On to the females, Selena did very well in both roles. She did clearly portrait the sisters very differently, from the way they walk, speak and of course behavior. Kudos to her, and I hope she gets some recognition for this role(s). I didn’t care much for Lin or Candy. Lin’s character didn’t make sense to me and Candy was just loud and annoying.

    Lasly, don’t forget the vets: KK, Mary, Ram, and Lau Kong. As always, they were great! The youngins should take plenty notes and tips from them!

    It’s 4/5 for me. Don’t watch for the historical/political correctness, just watch for the character developments 🙂

  3. I did not watch the whole drama series, but more than 2/3 of it. I also agree with the review in terms of the storyline and acting. Power Chan did really well in his character, so did Pierre Ngo and Raymond Cho. Raymond’s character was quite easy to act and it is more or less his own character. Kenneth Ma’s acting was a bit disappointing in some scenes, especially the sad ones. He seemed to be a childish person in the series, not a smart, intelligent, and well-planned person

    Selina Li was quite successful in portraying two different characters, but I don’t like her “Tao Fa”. It was more a 十三點 than a simple and naive girl. Also she exaggerated quite a bit. The other one, Yan Mei Leung, seemed to be a lot better …… a pretty, smart, and scheming person.

    I think highly of Candy Chang’s acting in this drama series. Though she was a bit loud at the beginning, she was able to show off that she was a rough person and has a low-class background. It is not an easy character to act, especially for a newbie. Based on her acting in this drama series, personally I think she is the best among all the newbies. It is always harder to portray a character in ancient drama series than in modern series.

  4. Why did they not releases the rating for this drama yet or black heart white souls ratings. This series been over for a week they should release the ratings by now.

    1. Final week was 24 pts peaking at 27 according to wiki. You can also check out the Asianfanatics forum.

  5. I agree with much of the review as well. The supporting cast definitely stood out more than the main cast. Honestly, Kenneth was a bore in this series (I like him overall, but man, he hasn’t had a good performance since THC – the first one, NOT the sequel – which is definitely disappointing)….he was ok in the first few episodes of this series, then I started losing interest….

    Power Chan, on the other hand, was awesome! There’s always so much depth to his acting, it’s a joy just watching him perform…plus his delivery of dialogue is always top notch as well. Oh and of course, I love the references to his memorable Eunuch Pang character from The Confident (the opening sequence where he pretended to be a Eunuch wasn’t the only TC reference – in one of the later episodes, they also managed to work Eunuch Pang’s famous saying into the dialogue as well…lol).

    I also loved Raymond Cho’s performance as Hung Sap Gau. His character was hilarious and though on the silly side (especially compared to the more ‘proper’ Ma Chun Gong – Power’s character), he wasn’t OTT at all – in fact he was very natural, though of course that’s to be expected since he was essentially playing himself…lol. I wouldn’t call his performance an award-worthy one though, since it was a relatively easy role (plus the fact that he was just being himself – though I will say that he is A LOT funnier in real life), however it was a great performance nonetheless.

    I also agree with the review about Pierre’s character being a departure from his previous roles. For once, his character isn’t similar to “Sparerib Boy” (from RB2), which is refreshing to see (hate it when TVB does their typical typecasting of their actors/actresses). Interestingly enough, I liked Pierre’s character and performance better than Kenneth’s (though if I had to rate favorite performances, I would put Pierre behind Power and Raymond).

    Argh…feel so sorry for Eric Li. He’s a good actor (way way better than many of those newbies they’ve been promoting and even better than some of the more seasoned 2nd/3rd/4th line actors)…yet TVB continues to typecast him in the same types of roles. When will those darn execs wake up and start giving him better opportunities?

    The biggest surprise for me was Selena Li – I’ve never been fond of her as an actress and I’m still not a fan, but she sure did impress me in this series with her portrayal of 2 completely opposite characters. Selena has definitely improved a lot with her acting and hopefully she continues to get better and better with each year that goes by.

    As for the other females – didn’t like Lin Xia Wei or Candy Chang…enough said.

    Lastly, about the storyline – actually, I was a bit disappointed, as the story was a bit messy and all over the place…..would have liked more focus on cases rather than the romance (but I guess it’s useless to complain, since TVB can’t seem to do a series without a romance element). Also, some of the dialogue was indeed witty and funny, but some of it was just plain cheesy too. I wouldn’t say this was a great series or even a good series – to me, it was watchable and relatively entertaining overall (I probably wouldn’t waste time watching it again though…).

  6. I was looking forward to this series too. I guess tvb screwed up again. When will they ever produce a good ancient/ wuxia series? I really miss the good old days. Luckily, I still have mainland China ancient series to watch.

  7. Marketing this as wuxia is false advertising. Hated this crap series, it’s not wuxia and also because it’S BORING. The script has zero suspense and moves like a snail. Sometimes I thought I was watching a love story.

    Kenneth Ma is a bad actor, always with his stupid look, now I know why he doesn’t have a gf. The other male actors are ok, nothing special. Candy is a bad, overacting actrice. Selena is overrated, she is too old for ‘tou fa’. Only plus in this series is Raymond Cho. He had some funny scenes.

  8. Really loved Selena in this series, in my opinion she really did both of her characters really well especially since they were totally different!!!!!

  9. I really enjoyed watching this drama, but while i was watching it again with my grandparents I realized that they never found Power Chan’s character’s sister?
    or did I missed it?

  10. TVB really has no actor nowadays.

    Kenneth Ma as a lead? Selena is gorgeous so she pass as lead female but Kenneth to me always will be second or third option in a serie. He just dont have the charisma that draw viewer, same thing goes for Ron Ng. Tvb needs more Kevin Cheung but Chilam. These new guys are just horrible.

  11. don’t you guys think selena’s character in this drama is similar to kate tsui’s character as twin sisters in relic of an emissary? who do you think is better at portraying two different personalities character – kate or selena?

    1. Selena!!! Don’t know why you even asked the question! Kate is a crap actress and is only good at showing skin. And that voice of hers, I prefer to hear scraping of a chalkboard.

  12. Selena outdid herself or rather portrayed two different characters smoothly and effortlessly. Pierre tried to be both a “badass” and then a “scholar” was too much for him to portray. Too unrealistic in such a short time to transform himself. Power Chan was smooth and methodical in his roles but sometimes the plot is so phony when he has easy access to the King Ram Chiang.

  13. i have a feeling that the script writers also wrote karma riders. it talks about karma and make references to Buddhism quite alot.

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