Saturday, February 1, 2014

2013 Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils concludes with a dramatically poignant ending

Contrary to the naysayers who harshly criticized this remake as worthless trash, I am quite in love with Wallace Chung's Xiao Feng (aka Qiao Feng) and Jia Qing's A'zi/A'zhu. I admit that this series is plagued with a plethora of flaws including some very cheesy dialogues and disappointing fight scenes. But for the most part, the development of the drama stays true to the spirit of the original story.

I tend to like remakes because every adaptation give a different perspective to the same story. It allows me to delve deeper into the original story. While the 1983 and 1997 TVB versions represent the core of wuxia  and Zhang Jizhong's 2003 remake added historical vibes to the wuxia genre, the 2013 adaptation also has its value. One aspect the 2013 remake excels or arguably surpasses previous adaptations is the emotional level the storytelling is able to emote to the viewers. The plight of the characters feel personal thanks to the moving musical score. I read that many netizens tended to be more emotionally distant to the Xiao Feng in the past. Now they feel more connected to the Qiao Feng character with Wallace Chung's portrayal. For me, I have always been attached to the Xiao Feng character as kid; consequently, my endless rant about Xiao Feng.
Although the suicide of Xiao Feng is fitting conclusion to his tragic life, past adaptations did not spend much time expounding on the inevitability of his suicide. He always died a swift death without saying much and without much foreshadowing. The 2013 remake added greater details to the events leading up to his suicide. Xiao Feng witnessed the destructive violence of the Liao military and the sacrifice of the many individuals who came to his rescue. These details deepens the emotional depth of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils.

Xiao Feng confronts his sworn brother and Emperor of Liao, Yelü Hongji, about the unnecessary destruction of war and the meaningless sacrifices if the Liao emperor proceeds with his ambitious plan to invade the Song Dynasty.
Xiao Feng blackmails his sworn brother with death if he does not rescind on his order to invade the Song land.


Xiao Feng resorts to a desperate plead to urge Yelü Hongji to spare the innocent people of both Liao and Song from ruthless violence. 

Although he succeeded in extracting a promise from Yelü Hongji to not invade the Song Dynasty in his lifetime, Xiao Feng knew that he committed a grave offense against his king and treason against his birth country. Yelü Hongji's departing words to Xiao Feng becomes the final catalyst for Xiao Feng's suicide. Fully conscious of the serious consequences his sarcastic words would bring, Yelü Hongji gave sworn brother no mercy for his actions.  In the end, politics and power win over the bond of brotherhood.


He could only sigh in silence over Xiao Feng's imminent demise. Yelü Hongji's political acumen tells him that he cannot allow Xiao Feng to live and return to the Song territories.


A'zi  attempts to save her dying brother-in-law, but her effort is futile.

Moments before his last breath, Xiao Feng calls out to A'zi and apologizes. "A'zi, I'm sorry" were Xiao Feng's final words. He has failed to fulfill his promise to take care of A'zhu's little sister.
A grief-stricken A'zi sits eerily still, not knowing how to react to Xiao Feng's death.


Though A'zi could never hold onto Xiao Feng's heart in life, she made sure he would always be with her in death.
The hawk that appears in the opening scene of the series reappears again. As Xiao Feng's symbolic guardian (according to the director), the hawk watches A'Zi plunges into the deep valley with Xiao Feng's body from the high above the cliffs.

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