Rage and Passion

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Rage and Passion

Details

  • Title: 中神通王重陽 / 中神通王重阳
  • Cantonese/Mandarin title: Jung Sun Tung Wong Chung Yeung / Zhong Shen Tong Wang Chong Yang
  • Episodes: 20
  • Broadcast network: TVB
  • Broadcast year: 1992

Synopsis

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Cast

Review

Beautiful young maiden's hair turns to white overnight after lover forsakes her and betrays their love. In a time when black hair was a trademark for beauty and youth, a head of white hair was considered hideous. It's a concept only seen in the wonderful world of wuxia, and probably where the English title for this series comes from. I believe this was borrowed from Gu Long's Romance of the White-Hair Maiden, but Rage and Passion is actually about the early life of Wong Chung Yeung, a respected Taoist leader. If this name sounds familiar, it's because this is one of the spin-offs TVB made based on characters from Jin Yong's Condor Heroes, but the story is purely fictional and not really consistent with Jin Yong's stories--one of these is Wong Chung Yeung and Lum Chiu Ying's love story. (Lum Chiu Ying is the Dragon Girl's master in "The Return of the Condor Heroes" who became extremely bitter after being rejected by Wong Chung Yeung, and it became a tradition for her disciples to spit on Wong Chung Yeung's portrait!)

The tone of the series is set by a brief story of the parent generation. Regardless of time, when there are such harsh lifestyle practices such as celibacy, there are bound to be challenges. Lum Ying Siu (Mary Hon) was a nun, but she was infatuated with a devoted Taoist named Wong Seung. Lum Ying Siu's ambitious brother Lum Yuen Sang "helped" them by drugging them with a aphrodisiac. His real intention was to lower Wong Seung's guard so he could steal the Tao sect's most powerful martial arts book "9 Yum Jen Ging." But as a result of the union, Ying Siu became pregnant with Lum Chiu Ying (Fiona Leung).

Facing the imminent death of the Taoist master, Wong Tin Sang (Eddie Kwan) was named in succession. At that time, he had already fallen in love with Yeuk Si (Vivian Chow), and they had also "did it" with the aid of Yuen Sang and his wretched aphrodisiac--but in this case, the love was reciprocal. Tin Sang promised Yeuk Si to leave the sect and live with her happily ever after, but when all these responsibilities were put upon Tin Sang, he didn't know what to do. Yuen Sang had his eye on the master's place all along and to learn "9 Yum" so he schemed to use Yeuk Si--this actually helped Tin Sang and Yeuk Si reunite and for a while, they lived happily in their own little world entrapped in an underground tomb. The happiness was short-lived when they left the tomb. Yuen Sang had allied with the Gum invaders, and the couple arrived just when the Taoist temple was being destroyed, and they died in it.

Wong Seung saved their baby son, Wong Chung Yeung (Ekin Cheng) and the "9 Yum" book, but was driven off a cliff by Yuen Sang while they struggling over the book. The book was torn and split among Wong Seung, Yuen Sang, and Ying Siu. After falling off the cliff, Wong Seung lost his memory and become a crazy man, but raised ah Yeung in the remote mountains. Wong Seung had still refused to accept Ying Siu after their drug-induced one night thing, so she vowed revenge. In order to do this, she practiced what she had of "9 Yum," but practicing martial arts required a clear state of mind-exactly what she didn't have--and this caused her hair to turn all to white overnight. She become even bitter towards Wong Seung for ruining her life, and plotted the ultimate revenge by having Wong Seung die by his own daugher's hand.

Twenty years later, ah Yeung had grown up to be the super nice guy, but because he had no contact with the outside world, he was very naive. Chiu Ying is now searching for Wong Seung to fulfill her mother's wishes (not knowing that he was her father). Chiu Ying is a kind-hearted, but saucy character, raised by her mother to hate men, especially Taoists. In the viewer's first impression of her, she is running after a Taoist to kill him for staring at her pervertedly. This is how she meets ah Yeung. She got by poisoned by the Taoist and ah Yeung brought her to a spring in a cave that had healing properties. You can't blame him for not knowing any social customs since the only living beings he'd been around was his father and a wolf, and this is why is unknowingly offends Chiu Ying by (1) undressing her, (2) walking around like it's nothing while she's nude in the pool. If she was going to kill someone for just staring at her, imagine what she planned to do to ah Yeung...

Luckily, ah Yeung was saved by a Gum prince named Yuen-on Fung (Gallen Lo). They quickly become buddies and ah Yeung finally gets to see the real world beyond the mountains. Once ah Fung saw a girl bathing in the river and falls in love with her at first sight. He and ah Yueng later both become attracted to this lovable girl named Hok Mo Sheung (Money Lo). Mo Sheung develops feelings for a masked man who wins a tug-a-war fashion competition and she thought it was ah Yueng. They start off on a prospective relationship, before she learns the masked man was actually ah Fung.

On the other hand, as ah Yeung gets to know Chiu Ying, he changes his view of her. When she became seriously injured by Yuen Sang, Chung Yeung is always there by her side to help her. At first, Chiu Ying refuses his help--her stubbornness is silly and makes us love her as well--in one scene, she tries to leave the Taoist temple, but is so weak she falls into a lake. Ah Yeung's playfulness brings out a different Chiu Ying. But Chiu Ying knew that Chung Yueng liked Mo Sheung. Later, fate brings them together when they get trapped in the same tomb that Chung Yueng's parents did.

Like Wong Chung Yeung's parents, if they stayed there for the rest of their lives, they might have lived in ignorant bliss, but they couldn't. And when they got out, Chiu Ying faced a dilemma. She knew that the person her mother wanted to kill was Wong Seung, and Wong Seung was even closer than a father to Chung Yueng. She couldn't kill him even under her mother's pressure, but Yuen Sang did. Chung Yeung arrived at the scene right when his godfather is killed, sees Chiu Ying there and lashes out at her for killing his godfather. He hurts her with his sword, but couldn't kill her. Chiu Ying's heart is more pained by Chung Yeung than her physical wound, and following her mother's footsteps, her hair turns all white overnight.

Chung Yeung still loved Chiu Ying, but he could not forgive her for killing his godfather. He loses all faith and decides to become a Taoist. More twists and turns create an even more tragic and sentimental ending for all this couple.

In the backdrop of the romance is the political division of Hans and the Gum invaders. Ah Fung is a Gum prince and the next successor. Mo Sheung's father is the leader of a rebel group resisting the Gum's takeover. In addition to this, Yuen Sang who has become a Gum advisor plots to take control by using the second prince as his puppet. They devise a plan to trick ah Fung, and he is framed for his father's murder. He becomes a fugitive on the run, but through Chung Yeung's help and support, he stands up as a man again and allies with the Han heroes/Gum rebels. In exchange for their help, he promises to retreat from Chinese territory if he can regain his throne. But when the time comes for him to deliver, maybe Mo Sheung's concerns towards ah Fung weren't unwarranted. But in order to shirk from this responsibility, he knew he had to get rid of his prime opponent, Mo Sheung's father...

Ekin Cheng played his part with ease. The young Wong Chung Yeung formed a new impression of the dull man who didn't know how to love. His partner, Fiona Leung may not be a great beauty, but like Ekin, this is her kind of role. I'm sure her performance in this series had some influence on her being cast in State of Divinity '96, which she also did a great job in. She has a very strong, independent appearance, but her voice and mannerisms are surprisingly feminine and gentle. Thinking of her makes me nostagic for SOD.

The other female actress, Money Lo's character was supposed to be the kind of person everyone loves, but she was somewhat of a bore, when most of the scenes she was either love-sick or blindly in love. I didn't know what to say about Gallen Lo, except that his attempt at an evil laugh was laughable. As the comic relief, Wayne Lai is a hoot as Chow Bak Tung. He actually played the same goofy character several times in spin-offs and in Return of the Condor Heroes '95 where he fights his own love dilemma.

--clouds421

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