Zhou Fei is the granddaughter of a national hero who was forced to become a bandit to serve the greater good. For 20 years, her grandfather, then her mother, were charged with running a secret fort, staffed by bandits. The fort’s role is to protect the world against strange, otherworldly warriors intent on bringing their unique brand of chaos to the mortal realm However, the fort has fallen in status in recent years, and Zhou Fei is sick of being confined to the place of her birth. She longs to escape and makes repeated efforts to get away. But her life changes forever when she almost drowns and is only saved by a free-spirited young martial arts expert named Xie Yun. The duo forms an unlikely friendship and decides to hone their fighting skills together – a timely decision as malevolent forces are now plotting fresh trouble. The pair begins on an adventure. But as time goes by, they begin to unearth secrets… including that of Xie Yun’s true identity. (Source: Viki) ~~ Adapted from the novel "Bandits" by Priest. Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
Where to Watch Legend of Fei
Cast & Credits
Every Cloud Has a Silver LiningThe Legend of Fei is an intriguing drama.
This is a show that has been highly anticipated since early 2020, and for good reasons too. It is headlined by two of the biggest stars in the Chinese entertainment industry today, Zhao Li Ying and Wang Yi Bo. This is also ZLY’s comeback project since her leave of absence due to her maternity. The drama is an adaptation of the novel Bandits by renowned and award winning fiction novelist, Priest who will be having several more of her novels adapted to dramas in the coming year.
In addition to that, the involvement of a highly experienced production team led by director Ng Gam Yuen who had previously directed Princess Agents (also with ZLY) and, somewhat surprisingly although not uncommon, a team of nine screenwriters were engaged to write the screenplay based on the critically acclaimed source material which had won the Network Literature Biennial Award in 2017. All of this points to a potentially successful blockbuster drama in the making, right? Apparently, as it turns out, not many would agree.
Within the first few weeks of airing, this drama ended up becoming extremely maligned and divided opinions of viewers not only in China but also among international audience, so much so that even on the drama’s MDL page, debates and differing opinions were intensely magnified in the comments board. Personally, I feel that although the drama certainly is imperfect, there are redeeming aspects that warrant folks to cut it some slack and maybe shower some love instead.
In a nutshell, this is a wuxia drama that tells the story of Zhou Fei (ZLY), who hails from a renowned family of pugilists and the 3rd-generation heir of the Snow-Breaking Blade technique created by her grandfather, as she leaves her home in the mountains known as Fortress of the 48 to explore the Jianghu world. She meets Xie Yun (WYB) who joins her on her adventures as they encounter colourful characters, both good and evil and from various sects and affiliations.
This is essentially a coming of age tale typical of the wuxia genre where Zhou Fei, as the FL, meets many martial arts masters who help improve her skills to become stronger and finally battle the villains. Along the way, she finds love but also experiences the tragedy of losing loved ones. Themes of chivalry, heroism, brotherhood and loyalty are interwoven with the underlying romance, overarching mystery and, of course, the climax of the story - the epic final showdown. I’m not an avid reader of the recent wuxia novels but I notice the trend of late where the ML of the genre appears to be physically weaker and less of a fighter compared to the FL, as is the case in this show and another similar one, The Moon Brightens for You. But, I’m not complaining and I think female empowerment is a positive trend for a change.
The production values displayed somehow does not seem to reflect the rumoured big budget of the show, with certain set designs that appeared inferior in quality and even obviously fake. For instance the settings of the forest where majority of the action takes place, the setting of the Spinning Wire Formation of the Ximo River (specifically the “rock boulders” which do not seem all that “solid”), and various other scenes, where the lack of authenticity is visibly apparent.
Probably the biggest gripe of all is on the direction, screenplay and editing for this drama. Contrary to most criticisms that are directed at the acting especially of the leads, I think the directing of the interactions between the characters as well as the pacing of the storytelling should take the most blame. Actors can only work with what they are given and how they are directed to act their scenes. Furthermore, how it is that so much fillers and dragging out of the plot were shoehorned into the story seems rather surprising considering the quality of the production crew. Additionally, the transitions between scenes and framing of certain sequences did come across as somewhat disjointed, which is attributed to the editing department. A mitigating factor was mentioned where principal filming had to be halted midway through due to the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020. However, this is where the final editing and post production process should come in to make the necessary adjustments.
The martial arts choreography is not the finest of the genre, it has to be said. A number of the action sequences do not flow smoothly in terms of the swordsmanship, acrobatics, and overall movements. When it works, it can be spellbinding but when it doesn’t, it becomes painfully obvious to see. Granted, there were reports referencing ZLY’s lack of fitness while performing her own stunts and other physical exertions, having just recovered following her maternity confinement. Perhaps, this being the first time a blade/ sabre (dao) is wielded by ZLY’s character instead of the usual sword (jian) resulted in the execution of a different and more challenging fighting technique, the Snow-Breaking Blade.
The same observation applies to all other cast members involved where at times the fighting appeared contrived rather than naturally free-flowing. The awkwardness is exemplified in other techniques such as the Taoist Tao Teh Ching Mayfly formation, Guanxi Yellow and Green Palm, Floating Palm, and Water-Cutting technique. On the other hand, the Lotus Palm, Cloud Impelling Palm and Mountain Sword technique do at least appear more believable and convincing.
The action stunts aside, I have no complaints with either ZLY or WYB as far as their acting is concerned, and both characters I thought were well written. The issues as I mentioned earlier relate more to the direction rather than the cast themselves. The quality of ZLY’s acting and character portrayals are never in question while WYB possesses much potential to soar even higher through his upcoming projects. I like FLs that are written to be consistently strong not just in terms of physical strength and martial arts prowess but also in mental resilience and fortitude in the face of adversity and tragedy. Zhou Fei is a character that I enjoy watching and she does not succumb to the usual tropes of losing her sense and sensibility or transforming into a damsel in distress that needs rescuing. Likewise the character of Xie Yun as the happy-go-lucky charming and supportive sidekick who hides a traumatic past behind the facade.
There were grievances regarding the perceived poor dubbing particularly that of ZLY and I have to agree. The voice is provided by Liu Rui whose previous works focused mainly on modern dramas like Flash Girl/ Our Shining Days, which sadly lacked the authority and depth needed to elevate the character of Zhou Fei to more imposing levels. WYB’s voice dubbing is provided by Hu Liangwei, whose works include Heaven Official’s Blessing donghua, which is marginally better and probably matches the playful tone of the character Xie Yun.
Regarding the chemistry between the two leads, so many viewers complained about 2 things - that they are incompatible due to the 10-year age gap (ZLY is 33 while WYB is 23) and hence lacks the natural chemistry, and that the FL looked so much older than the actual age of her character who is supposedly a 16-year old teenager. Personally for me, there is no such thing as age gaps when it comes to romance, and therefore I’ll take this as a variation of noona romance which works fine for me. 10 years isn’t a lot even if the female is older and from what I can see, particularly towards the tail-end of the show, the chemistry is apparent to be seen and throughout the entire story progression, the development of their relationship has been slow burn but no less resolute.
As for the second argument, I have to agree somewhat. No matter how much make up applied or soft filters used, it is what it is and there is no escaping that. But look, this is not something that is shockingly unexpected or unprecedented. Tang Yan (37) played a teenage Xiao Yan Yan in Legend of Xiao Chuo, Zhang Lu Yi (40) depicted a 13 year old boy in Qin Dynasty Epic, Tang Wei (38) acted the role of a teenage Sun Ruo Wei in Ming Dynasty, Tan Song Yun (30) played a teenage Li Jian Man in Go Ahead, while Zhang Zi Yi (41) is currently portraying a teenage Wang Xuan in the airing Rebel Princess. For me, good acting with seasoned actors should be the benchmark and that is acceptable to me.
The supporting cast of Zhang Hui Wen, Chen Ruo Xuan, Zhou Jie Qiong, and Zhang Xin Yu gives a decent account of their respective portrayals of Zhou Fei and Xie Yun’s band of friends. In particular, the character development of Wu Chu Chu and her romance with Li Sheng is quite remarkably depicted. Li Yan, however, represented everything I dislike about the annoying females in historicals but fortunately her role isn’t significant. She and the character Yang Jin are truly made for each other, as part of the 3 romantic couples in the show.
It has to be said that a number of villains do not appear all that imposing and intimidating. I’m fine with the colour coordinated costumes and scary masks used to distinguish the bad guys but the respective leaders of the evil clans are simply not all that villainous, in form or substance. Case in point, the Demon Manor’s section chiefs comprising Blessed Dog, Giant Leopard, and Sparrow. The Four Guardians of the Mountain’s Dragon and Tortoise masters are more hilarious and comical than menacing. On the other hand, I do appreciate the Timber Wolf Shen Tian Shu as the leader of the Demons, played by Geng Le who does possess the gravitas for this role. Guo Xin’s Mu Xiao Qiao, the Phoenix master, is one of my favourite (semi)villains in the show and brilliantly gives off Dong Fang Bu Bai vibes. Other villains such as the Snow Wolf and the evil Eunuch are very interesting characters but unfortunately only had limited screen time.
As far as good guys go, I actually enjoyed watching Che Xiao’s compelling portrayal of Li Jin Rong, Zhou Fei’s mother, as a strong woman and competent leader of the Fortress of 48. Dong Xuan’s Duan Jiu Niang is a very likeable character and I suspect she had as much fun playing the slightly deranged role as viewers did watching her albeit for a short portion of the show. Hu Bing, who usually plays the villain, delivers a very charismatic depiction of the legendary grandfather, Li Zheng. I’m a big fan of Zong Feng Yan, who plays Zhou Fei’s father Zhou Yi Tang. This seasoned veteran never disappoints and he seems to excel particularly in historical dramas.
The OSTs for this drama is probably the only aspect done to perfection. Each track seamlessly captures the essence of the story and the scenes throughout. The opening theme truly sets the tone of the show while WYB’s rendition (with accompaniment by the Dizi, which brought memories of The Untamed…) evokes feelings of a dreamy ethereal romance.
1. 《逐浪 Chasing the waves》by 尚雯婕 Shang Wenjie (Opening theme)
2. 《无华 Unadorned》by 张靓颖 & 刘宇宁 Jane Zhang & Liu Yuning (Ending theme)
3. 《熹微 Weak rays of sunlight》by 王一博 Wang Yibo
4. 《如翡 Like Fei》by 王晰 & 赖美云 Wang Xi & Lai Meiyun
5. 《结 Knot》by 胡夏 Hu Xia
6. 《红尘莫欺我年少 Don't deceive me when I was young》by 希林娜依 高 Curly Gao
7. 《采莲曲 Picking Lotus song》by 陈珏 Chen Jue
Despite the numerous drawbacks, The Legend of Fei does manage to get certain aspects done well enough that even things out and, in my humble opinion, ultimately redeems the entire production. How the drama starts off may leave much to be desired but the improvement towards the second half and the strong finish at the end, with the HEA ending where all that’s well ends well, gave me the satisfaction of completing this drama. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but I did enjoy myself by looking past the flaws only to discover a rainbow after the rain.
"Remember, your fate hangs on the tip of your blade." ~Zhou FeiLegend of Fei is not only a Wuxia drama, but it has several cute love stories, an intriguing mystery, and a lesson that all of us should learn from. This drama is based on a popular Chinese novel with the same name by Priest, which I have not read before. (Translated version is only available as machine translation) Two large downsides to this drama were the the terrible editing skills, and unrealistic backdrop that was very obvious from time to time, but the lovable characters and fascinating storyline eventually overshadowed these disappointments. It is quite understandable that many would be unwilling to "wait" more than 20 episodes or so to finally get into the drama, and this is a barrier that everyone should be aware of before attempting the drama. With strong martial arts skills and intelligent thinking, Zhou Fei teaches us that we can achieve our dreams, but achievements are only the result of endless and persistent hard work. With many setting high expectations for a drama with their favorite actors or actresses, this rather low rating isn't very surprising, but I really enjoyed it.
Honestly, I don't even know if this contains spoilers. If it does, please message me about it.
With the usual pugilistic world (Jianghu), there are admirable heroes who help others, but there are also people greedy for wealth and power. Zhou Fei is born into Forty-Eight Fortress, a sect founded by her grandfather (Li Zheng) known for its good deeds and efforts toward eliminating evil. Growing up, Zhou Fei had always been taught by her parents to only do good, to work hard. Her mother seems overly strict to her, but loves her more than anything in the inside. Zhou Fei longs to please her mother, and to achieve this goal, she plans on becoming a famous heroine. After a series of events, Zhou Fei meets Xie Yun, who appears carefree, and quite annoying. Zhou Fei leaves Fourty-Eight Fortress for the first time, and along with Xie Yun, her two cousins (Li Sheng and Li Yan) and some newly made friends, they start to uncover the reasons for the deaths of her grandfather and many other martial artists. The moves for the martial arts were choreographed fairly well, and it was clear that each actor and actress had put in a lot of effort to perfect their moves. I also really liked the costumes; Although they were simple, they fit perfectly for every character, and the light-weight clothing worked reasonably well to portray everyone's personalities. Each story behind the famous heroes are very motivating, and we learn lessons along with A'Fei. The story starts rather slowly and quite boring (and a few episodes could have been cut), but to make fire, wood is needed, and I promise, as the story progresses, it becomes more and more intriguing. There is no clear plot until episode 20-something, which disappointed many viewers. The story revolves around the idea that evil may seem to win, but oh no, it doesn't. Only with a kind heart can you rule the world.
A very important aspect of this drama is the mystery incorporated into it. An item said to be able to assist one into ruling the world was coveted by countless people, and this didn't exclude the evilest of the evil. In the later episodes of LoF, the main plot is revealed, and things do not cease to captivate.
Legend of Fei has some of the most lovable characters in the history of Wuxia characters, as well as some of the evilest. There were some with some annoying attributes, such as the Third Prince, who I still don't know why he was included in the story. We have quite a few comedic duos that give us quite a show, and each and every character has their own story, no matter if their journey throughout their life was tragic, hopeful, or just mediocre. Here are my descriptions of a few of the most influential protagonists and antagonists:
ZHOU FEI and XIE YUN- A strong-willed young girl, Zhou Fei had wild ambitions, but luckily, her ambitions were to do good for the world. (and impress her mother) She and Xie Yun start on a rather bad note, but friendship quickly links them. She discovers that the world outside of her home is not all that cheerful and fun, but rather dark and scary. A hatred towards the Demons starts to grow inside her after she learns of their countless evil deeds, and she manages to kill many of their leaders through the guidance of many martial art heroes and heroines she meets on her journey. The persistence in Zhao Liying's eyes are present throughout this drama, and her acting never fails to disappoint. (I am not a die-hard ZLY fan) Our female lead matures from a girl ambitious to be the best to a young woman who is admired by the many people she had helped. (may contain spoilers:)With a complicated past, Xie Yun is not your typical male lead. He and Zhou Fei first meet when Xie Yun "steals her father". Underneath his cheerful personality hides an unforgiving identity, which Zhou Fei and everyone else learns later in the drama. This identity isn't very surprising, but is crucial to the story. He is very agile, and always manages to escape the Demons without even exerting too much energy. As talkative as he is, he is also very intelligent, although he doesn't always show this aspect of his personality. In front of Zhou Fei, he is funny but also caring. Although Wang Yibo could be considered a rookie actor, he managed to pull off the complex personality of Xie Yun, which is quite impressive.
Wang Yibo and Zhao Liying do not have that fire chemistry, but their pairing was more than acceptable. It may be disturbing to some that ZLY is 10 years old than WYB, but their interactions in the drama made me forget about this irrelevant detail. Xie Yun and Zhou Fei are our troublemakers, they are really two peas in a pod. They only want the best for each other, and will go to the ends of the earth to save each other.
LI SHENG and WU CHUCHU- Another cute couple, Li Sheng and Chuchu are very adorable as well. Li Sheng never manages to beat Zhou Fei in martial arts, and was rather jealous of her. Later, though, he discovers that he doesn't always need to be #1, because as long as he can use his strong skills to help, he is satisfied. Even though he doesn't have the strongest martial arts skills, his leadership and intelligent are two of his main strengths. I found him particularly annoying in the beginning (because he was rude to A'Fei), but his smart and caring personality eventually stole me heart. His love interest, Wu Chuchu, was born with a silver spoon, but her parents are both killed mercilessly and she spends a large portion of her time with Zhou Fei and Li Sheng on the run. Some of her early actions were very frustrating, because she was doing some really dumb things, but her determination to avenge her parents led her to even start to learn some basic martial arts skills.
LI YAN, YANG JIN and YING HECONG- Oh boy, our three troublemakers. They are quite the trio! These three never fail to make me laugh, especially Yang Jin. His motion of rubbing his head is his most famous movement, and makes him appear dumb and useless, but he has some strong martial arts skills. The actor who portrayed him did a great job in showing his funny but strong personality. His love interest, Li Yan, could be said to be even dumber than Chuchu. I love her as well, but some of the things she did were very unexplainable, and led to all sorts of trouble. She wasn't a very crucial character here, but she did manage to add some comedic elements to the show. Last but not least, Ying Hecong, aka The Poisoner. I didn't really understand his presence until I realized that he was very knowledgeable in poison, and he eventually was a very helpful friend to A'Fei and everyone else, and like the others, after undergoing a tragedy or two, he musters up the courage to stand up for what is right. I loved this trio, they are hilarious.
HEROES/HEROINES- Without the wise and famous heroes and heroines, Zhou Fei couldn't have achieved what she did. Each and every martial artist gave her priceless life lessons, as well as had some of the most beautiful stories. Although most did not have much screen time, they each played a crucial role in fighting the Demons, and passed on their skills to Zhou Fei. Li Zheng and Duan Jiuniang had an unforgivable love story, while Ji Yuncheng was an honest man who couldn't forgive himself for a certain event. Madame Ni Chang was a great woman, and saved Zhou Fei and the others quite a few times. Unlike the Demons, these wise men and women were even willing to give up their life to keep the world at peace, and they probably could have a drama just about themselves!
DEMONS- Demons are demons, evil and merciless. They do not even know what the treasure is, but spent years trying to uncover it. Without these terrible characters, the drama could not have progressed, and the actors/actresses did quite phenomenally as the evil roles they portrayed. I wish that some of them got a closure where they learned the valuable life lesson, but even if none did, their satisfactory ending was enough. Each of the demon leaders had their own detestable personality, and not all of them wanted the treasure.
The music in this drama wasn't very memorable, but it was far from bad. The OST could have been more delightful with a few more songs, and it was kind of a surprise that Zhao Liying didn't sing any of them. Wang Yibo did, and the tune and lyrics fit quite nicely. As for the background/instrumental music, they were very common in fighting scenes and calming scenes, and were also a snug fit. With the mysterious but upbeat music, the audience could predict that Zhou Fei would win the battle, or that some despicable Demon was about to be defeated. In Forty-Eight Fortress or with our Yunfei couple, the soft music showed us the beauty of peace.
Rewatch Value- 8.0
If I had to rewatch this drama, I would most likely skip the first 10-20 episodes, and go straight to when I started to actually make strong connections with the characters. I did enjoy the second half of the story, and did not skip a single part of it.
The start of the drama was a little disappointing and underwhelming but the ending was not, as well as the story as it progressed. Some interactions between the characters were hilarious, while others were tense and dark. We are given three cute couples as we followed the main characters' journey to eliminate evil and help the poor civilians. No matter what happened, Zhou Fei did not give up, and her persistence was the key to defeating the Demons. She and Xie Yun have a very valuable relationship, growing from an unfriendly encounter to unbreakable love. And without the amazing acting of every actor, this drama wouldn't have been able to portray the most important life lesson, which I'll leave for you to discover.
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