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Yanie(layout designer, uploader, contents writer) :
Xiao Ao Jiang Hu CCTV 2001 is the second adaptation of the novel, I've ever watched. The first one I watched was SOD TVB 1984 which starred Chow Yun Fat(LHC), Rebecca Chen(RYY), Jamie Chic(YLS) and Dung Wai(LPZ). But, I'm not very interested with it, as I only watched like 10% of the whole series.
SOD CCTV 2001 broadcasted on my CableTV channel, Asia Plus on 9 PM every week-days. I got hooked with the series started from episode 24(believe it or not, I missed a lot of the first episodes >_<). The first thing that intrigued me is the atmosphere, it's very different with any other chinese ancient TV series, so I kept watching, and it really got me hooked with it!! I even taped my favorite scenes on my VCR. And, now...I'm planning to buy all the episodes when it come out in my country(which maybe will be in the end of this year >_<).
After I've watched ep. 24-40 and after I gather up other people's opinions, this is what I think(personal opinion) about the series :

1. Plot : It deviated pretty much in the beginning of the episodes. But, fortunately, it stick pretty close to the novel as the story goes towards the end. Especially, the last 10 gets very interesting and you can feel full of excitement as you watch it, made you want to watch more and more. Coz, all the important scenes happened all on the last ten episodes, so it didn't get boring. Nearly have no unneccessary scenes. And, I enjoyed very much the final battle, although it deviated a little from the novel. But, it shows the real climax of the whole series. Just perfect!!^^

2. Actors : Li Yapeng(LHC) and Xu Qing(RYY) have a very good on-screen chemistry, also with the other actors. Li Yapeng did a superb job in portraying Ling Hu Chong(esp. in serious expressions and fighting expressions ^_^ Very cool and charming! As for the ridiculous/comical expressions, can't say superb...but, it's acceptable^^). Xu Qing also did a great job as Ren Ying Ying, actually I love Anita Yuen's(Taiwan 2000) face more as RYY, but I love how Xu Qing portrayed RYY more. And, what I love the most...that the actors do accents!! The Qing Cheng people talking in Si Chuan dialect, the Mountain Hymn in Fu Jian dialect. How cool is that!

3. Portrayal, Costumes, & Make-ups : This is what I like, although the story was changed here and there, but the portrayal/characterization/appearance of the characters are close to the novel. Also, perfect specific and detailed costumes...followed the novel closely. Again, perfect make-ups, esp. for Dung Fang Bu Bai's flowers painted on his forehead. I personally, love Ying Ying's all-blue outfit, sooooo cute(esp. because my fave color is blue)!!

4. Special Effects : For once, the computer effects on an ancient chinese TV series DOESN'T look funny or stupid!!^^ Like how Yu Chang Hai shot his mask out at Ling Pin Zhi, or when a skull shaped cloud came out when he was fighting Yue Bu Qun. It looks neutral, not over-done, just plain cool!

5. Music : Unfortunately, it's not as good as the themes in The Golden 80s. I like a little part of the ending theme, though. It's not as good as the 1984 TSPW/SOD, but this one is unique and I can also feel the heroic element. Starts out with a fast melody with a male vocal, I personally love the background chorus, but the main melody itself is not that good. And, then in the middle, the melody turns slow and romantic with a female vocal, I love this one! And then...turns back to the fast melody!!^^ That's why, the ending credits last more than 3 minutes.
For the instrumental in the middle of the serial, while scenes are going on, I don't like it >_< Esp. the song when YLS died. Awful kind of song!! It's a VERY ancient Chinese kind of song! Hurt my ears >_< But, I personally love the instrumental orchestra when LHC succeed in winning the final battle!!^^ Classic!

6. Scenery & Settings : This is my most favorite element of the adaptation. Coz, the settings are ALL REAL!! Not to mention, VERY beautiful and breathtaking scenery! No in-doors!! I mean, for settings that MEANT to be outside ^_~ Just love it!

All in all, Xiao Ao Jiang Hu CCTV 2001 is ONE OF THE BEST Jin Yong adaptation!!!^O^


Lingz13(pics capturer, episodes synopsis writer, other contents writer) :
Since I was young, I have been exposed to numerous Jin Yong wuxia serials on TV. It was first through these serials that I started to develop a keen interest in Jin Yong novels and really get to know this great writer. Over the years, many serials have been produced based on his novels which by now is quality-guaranteed. To me, remakes are usually worse off, nonetheless XAJH 2001 has made a difference. The firstXAJH that I watched was the TVB 1984 version. However, it was just average on the whole. I have watched 4 versions and I could say confidently, in my eyes, XAJH 2001 is the best.

When my friend first lent me the VCDs, I was neither keen nor interested to watch it for I have always had the impression that only HK can produce a truly good sword-fighting drama whereas China is more famous for it's historical dramas like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Imperial Courts of Yongzheng etc. To my surprise, when I started to watch XAJH 2001, I was simply hooked onto it. And then, I just watched VCD after VCD, completing the 40 episodes serial in around 3 weeks.

When I saw the first episode, my first impression of Li Yapeng was : "How could he act as Linghu Chong? My gosh!". In the first scene, he was donning a fake moustache, posing as an middle-aged guy. Don't have the looks of a daxia, I thought. Nonetheless, as the show proceeds, Li Yapeng really astonishes me with his excellent acting skills. He manages to bring out the different characteristics in the chirvalrous character: fun-loving, cheerful, devotion, loyalty and so on. Love the manner in which he jokes around and when supposed to be serious and firm, he could pull it off very well too!! An extremely versatile actor. And yes, the scenes where he impersonates a general got to be the most hilarious moments in the entire serial. The way he imitates the funny accent behaviour. Real cute!!

Another artiste that has left a deep impression on me is Xu Qing. She is so natural in her acting and pretty-looking too. When she smiles, the dimples shown make her look so sweet and lovely. Xu Qing was the only artiste in SOD 2001 that I knew before watching this show as she has acted in 1 or 2 Singapore dramas in the early 90s. Personally, I like the way she portrays Ren Ying Ying, though I have heard from others that hers is not close to the novel. Most importantly, Li Yapeng and Xu Qing have amazing on-screen chemistry!! This is one huge factor that draws me to this serial. I have never felt anything for this couple in all the other versions that I have watched, but in SOD 2001, I really looked forward to their appearance and I love every scene where they are together. Before I forget, there is this particular scene which I still have vivid memories of. Where both of them are putting on an act in the inn to distract the enemies, RYY pretending to be a prostitute and LHC's immediate reaction(posing as a general), spitting the wine he was drinking when shocked by the change in RYY's behaviour. A must-watched scene, in my view. Oh, I nearly laughed my head off! It is because of Li Yapeng's and Xu Qing's perfect coordination, that Linghu Chong and Ren Ying Ying become my fave Jin Yong couple.

In general, all the supporting casts like Chen Lifeng(Yi Lin), Li Jie(Lin PingZhi), Miao Yiyi(Yue Ling San) did a pretty good job. Special mention to Wei Zi, who acts as the hypocrite, Yue Buqun, He has great charisma, in my eyes, and has the looks of a person who can accomplish great tasks. Acting wise - one word - excellent!! No one suits the role better than him.

I love the scenery depicted in the show. The vast mountains, grassland etc. Gives people a soothing feeling. All real, unlike some fake scenery in other productions. And more amazing is that they even show the ancient(but sadly declining) Chinese art of "bian lian"(changing faces). It was truly an eye-opener! The members of Qingcheng Sect even speak in authentic Sichuan dialect which is extremely interesting. And also, in this show, all the Heng Shan nuns really shaved their heads!! Wow! Quite a sacrifice, I have thought. But then, on the other hand, I really do admire their professionalism!!

The fighting scenes are well-filmed too. Real fighting with punches and kicks. U can see clearly who is fighting with whom, unlike in the TCS version, all I can see is people flying around with no contact at all. No unnecessary special effects too, which I am pretty sick of now. Personal fave fighting scenes are :

  • Linghu Chong blinded the masked men outside the temple with just a stroke of Dugu Swordplay.
  • Linghu Chong and Ren Ying Ying(playing the qin with tears in her eyes as well) fighting ferciously with 3 groups of villians outside the Bamboo Hut.
  • Lin Pingzhi, after mastering Pi Xie Jian Fa, killed Mu Gaofeng and Yu Canghai.
  • Four pugilists(LHC, RYY, RWX and XWT) fighting Dung Fang Bu Bai.
  • The duel between Ren Wo Xing and Yue Bu Qun who attacked the Sun Moon Sect in the last episode.
  • And of course, the final battle between Linghu Chong and Yue Bu Qun.
All these scenes did make my heart beat faster..... Exciting!!

Another special feature which I'm quite impressed too is the atmosphere created whenever the Sun Moon Sect is shown. A bony-looking man, with his face coloured, putting a stick of fire and spreading it across his hands. Seems stupid?? I don't quite know how to explain it, but when you see it, then you will know it.You can really feel the spooky feeling and evilness. Anyway, its supposed to be an evil cult too. Also, when the Sun Moon Sect is shown, there is always this scene when many members bow to the leader and the music that accompanies it. I guess this is only a minor observation, but I feel this minor move on the part of the producers does has an impact. It makes the whole scene magnificent. There are also many ke-le-fes(extras) in this serial. I think this is necessary so as to create the grand atmosphere and feeling. In other shows, the producers usually only use a few extras and trying to pretend like there are a lot.

The ending song also leaves a deep impression on me too. The song divided into like 2 parts, first a fast tune, then a slow melancholic one, sung by HK pop diva, Faye Wong. A song quite unique in it's way. And I like it and feels it really suits the drama well. But my fave 'Xiao Ao Jiang Hu' tune is still "cang hai yi sheng xiao", the song in the movie(Swordsman 1).

Of course, a serial, no matter how good it is, cannot be without flaws. Occasionally, I feel that some scenes are quite slow-paced. For eg, they take 10 secs to show someone walking up the stairs. And also, there are some scenes which have no dialogue and yet that take up quite a long time. I felt like fast forwarding these parts. Personally, I feel that the parts showing Linghu Chong on Si Guo Ya(Repentance Cliff), the change of Yue Ling Shan's love and her scenes with Lin Pingzhi, quite draggy.

All in all, XAJH 2001 is a fantastic show which I feel, one will not feel disappointed with, after watching it. Well, I have to admit that one minus point is that this serial starts out pretty slow (as in most China serials, I think,). Frankly speaking, I can nearly doze off. And it seems that all the artists were not at their best in the beginning. Maybe it's because at the beginning, they still haven't got immersed completely in their roles. But to my relief, as the show proceeds, all have shown considerably great improvements. Well-done!! Though it deviates a little from the novel, it is still a good catch in all aspects such as the dazzling fighting scenes, the artists' excellent portrayal, the costumes and hairstyles, the beautiful scenery, the music(especially the ending song) and most important, the storyline! Can see that the production crew put in a lot of effort!! Moreover, there is a strong Oriental feeling in XAJH 2001 that can never be found in other countries' productions, I guess.

A Review By TristeCoeur

Also called Tieu Ngao Giang Ho (in Vietnamese ) or Smiling Proud Wanderer, or some other ridiculous English names like State of Divinity Blood Cold, Proud Hot(10$ for whoever can come up with a stupider name than this).
I was bored, coudn't sleep and had nothing to do, hence this review was done, as I can see that a few still haven't seen it yet. For those who have seen this, please discuss By the way, if I make mistakes with the pinyin names, please correct me.

Just a side comment: I bought this series from after visiting Yanie's ond Lingz13's XAJH 2001 site and SPCNET (that's how I found this place). Got ripped off big time (paid $94 USD including shipping to Australia) but it was the first time I used my credit card so I didn't care Anyway let's start with the review. You will see that I do things backwards compared to other reviewers. I should have captured some screenshots but I'm too lazy, and you can find them in other reviews or sites dedicated to this series anyway.

1.Packaging, intro & ending themes.

This is the main picture on the box: .

Typical stuff for a wuxia series: the hero in the middle, surrounded by the chicks and his enemies. Maybe I'm just nitpicking, but firstly they placed the title Xiao Ao Jiang Hu (in Chinese) in the wrong place where Jiang ended up being on the girl's bright dress, hence the letter Jiang had to be white on a black background. Looks very messy. Next, call me crazy but I almost didn't buy this because I didn't like the expression on the main hero's face. He should look smiley and carefree instead of being so serious (more on this in The Cast). Might post a rant on wuxia series' posters later.

This series consists of 28 VCD's and 40 episodes (about right for a Jin Yong adaption). It's in VCD 2.0 format, which has quite good pictures, just slightly below SVCD and DVD imo.

The intro and ending themes are what I usually watch first when watching a wuxia series, since they are a special feature of this genre. I like how they made the intro with the flash stuff, but how they selected the pictures is another story. They just picked some random pictures of the two main male and female characters and put each with two other random pictures of some other random characters ! Too much randomness here, just meaningless. The music (flute) was awesome though. The ending theme is pretty well done. The song, sung by, well, some guy and Faye Wong if I'm correct, captured the main theme of the novel: smiling proud wanderer (the male singer's part) and romance (the female's part).


Mainland series are well known for beautiful scenery, so this is not an exception. I must say that I'm most impressed with how they chose the locations: they appear exactly how they are described in the book. The best ones are Yingying's place in the city of Lu Yang; Hang San (where the nuns are) I couldn't believe that that bridge really exists! Fan-bloody-tastic! Song Shan - where they fought for the Five Sword schools leader position, you can feel the thrill before the battles start.


This adaption is about 70% faithful to the novel, so it might piss off some hardcore novel fans, but to those who haven't read it, I think it's acceptable. The biggest changes are caused by Yingying, the female lead. She's supposed to appear in the second half of the book, but here they make her appear in the 2nd episode ! Initially I was annoyed, but after seeing her, I thought that was a brilliant idea ! Girls, do not let your boyfriend see this series because afterwards he will be dreaming of Yingying instead of you. Even if the whole series were a dud, you could still sit through it just to watch Yingying. Anyway because she appeared too early, many small scenes were added to make the series flow.

Although I quite like the fight scenes (see next part), I hate how they added too many unecessary ones here, by letting the Song San guys and the Evil Sect guys running rampant, crashing into each other or our heroes randomly and just start fighting for no particular reason.


Many will tell you that this series has the best fight scenes. They are correct. This series is mostly about sword arts so there are many sword fights, and the majority are very well done. What I like the most are that they didn't use stupid effects like using swords as Star Wars light sabers or like machine gu ns that can blow up big rocks etc., and that there aren't many flying scenes (gosh I hate those). You get to see real sword play, assisted with flash effects. The best performed one, IMO, is the Evil Sword art (Pi Xie sword) used by Lin Pingzi. Incredibly fast, fierce and feminine, exactly how it's described in the novel. I was also impressed by the varieties of sword arts from different martial schools: the sizes of the swords, the performing speed, the ways they are wielded... Again, almost like how they are described in the novel.

However, inevitably, there are lemons. The most disappointing is, unfortunately, Dugu 9 Swords, which is the most displayed, the main kungfu of our hero Linghu Chung and perhaps one of the coolest martial arts in Jin Yong's universe. I could sense the disappointment the first time I saw Fong Qing Yang teach Linghu Chung this sword art. Instead of applying the sword philosophy he was teaching, like how it should be in the novel (predicting opponent's moves, attacking is the best way to defense, using the sword like flowing water, floating cloud and "no move beats real moves") Fong was flying across the cave. Later, well you can guess it, Linghu was flying too, whenever he performed Dugu 9 Swords. It's funny, because most of the time he was seriously injured and could barely walk, but he could fly ! Whatever. Flying isn't entirely bad, but the way he flew was totally ridiculous. One of his favourite moves was to fly straight up with his sword pointing upwards, then after he was about 20 feet above ground, he dived head first, sword tip pointing downwards. After the sword touched the ground, he started wielding it around, and attacking the opponent.... My IQ dropped 10 points after seeing that the first time, and I believe his opponent's dropped to zero. If I were fighting Linghu, I could simply thrust the sword forward while he was flying and bye bye to our hero. I still can't understand why the kungfu choreographer could come up with such BS, seeing that the other stuff were very well done.

The other lemon is Xi Xing Dafa, another skill that Linghu and his future father-in-law, ex-leader of the Evil Sect posessed. Also known as Vacuum Cleaner kungfu....Seriously you have to watch this to see how silly it is. I can't be bothered talking about it.


Just like the scenery, mainland series usually have very good costumes and so does this series. Yingying's fashion show is enough to prove this. You can also see how serious they were when it comes to this, for example, all monks and nuns actually shave their heads. Things like that, although minor, make the series much more enjoyable.

The only lemon: someone had this stupid idea of portraying the Evil Sect...Whenever there's a scene about the Evil Sect at their headquarter, there are a few African-like dudes with funny tatoos and paintings all over their bodies, blowing and swallowing fire. You know, just to make it obvious to braindead morons that these Evil guys are weirdos. Puh-lease.

6.The cast

Linghu Chong ¨Li Ya Peng: 4/5

He is the Smiling Proud Wanderer, the main hero. While he showed plenty of pride, he always looked a bit too serious (probably should blame the script writer), not carefree and smiley enough, thanks to the extra emotional scenes he had to act (should I blame the script writer ?). On the whole, his performance was fine. The only scene that he annoyed me was the last one, when he was standing there, like a dumbass, watching Yingying getting seriously injured and almost killed by Yue Bu Qun, his martial teacher. Oh well the script writer thought he didn't have enough reason to kill Yue so....

Ren Yingying ¨ Xu Qing: 7/5

She's the reason why I bought this series (at first I thought it sucked) and I was not disappointed (although I didn't know who she was before that) ! She looks exactly like the Yingying that XAJH readers can imagine. Hey even Jin Yong himself thinks so ! She was given a bit more melodramatic role in this adaption however, but although it differs a lot from the novel, she did an excellent job. She's innocently beautiful, cute, witty and caring, although she is a terrible cook (but who cares !?). Anyway the only thing that makes her different from the novel's Yingying is that she's not shy enough. The novel's Yingying blushes all the time.

The leaders of the 5 sword schools: 5/5

They are Yue Bu Qun (Hua Shan - LHC's master), Zuo Lengchan (Song Shan), Mok Dai (Hanh San), the nun of Heng Shan school (I don't know her name) and the Taoist of Taishan. They all did a very good job, especially Yue Bu Qun, who was brilliant as a hypocrite with the nickname Gentleman Sword, and the nun - she's tough and can surely kick arse !

The Evil Sect's leaders:

Dongfang Bubai: 4.5/5 the most powerful villain, who castrated himself to pratice a very powerful kungfu manual (the more complete version of Pi Xie sword mentioned above) and somehow became a shemale. He (not sure if it's a he or a she) wasn't on screen much, but the fight scene between him and Linghu Chung and the rest was awesome.

Ren Wo Xing 2/5: father of Ren Yingying and ex-leader of the Evil Sect. I recognised him immediately. He played Cao Cao in the classic Romance of the Three Kingdom. He was brilliant in that, but here he's terrible. Someone please teaches him how to laugh...there's more than one way of just looking up and "hahahahahah" like a dumbass. Ren Wo Xing is supposed to be a cool and very smart villain but somehow this guy turns his character into a joke & constantly loses his cool and....laugh like an idiot. At first with his messy clothes as he just escaped from the dungeon, he was actually OK, but later I felt sorry for him for trying too hard to laugh and act almighty. He got killed by Yue Bu Qun in the end because he was too full of himself.

The support cast:

Most of them were wonderful. Yilin the nun was amazingly beautiful and very well chosen for such a minor role. The 6 Peach Fairies were very funny and here they have all 6 of them instead of just 2 or 4 because of limited budgets like in other adaptions. Xiang Wan Tian, the No Commandment Monk, the Shaolin Abbots, the Wudang leader etc. did very well, especially in fight scenes (I think I've seen them many times in other wuxia/ancient series).

The one deserves most of the praises is Lin Ping Zhi, a rather pitiful character (parents got killed, got cheated by everyone, had only one way to take revenge...). He makes the character much more livelier than in the novel. The scene where he took revenge and displayed the Pi Xie sword art is one of the best in this series, IMO. 5/5 for him.

There was another lemon: Yue Bu Qun's wife who was closest to a real parent Linghu Chung ever had. This actress has the right look, but she can't act at all. In scenes that had her in, she just stood there listening to others with that dumb look and no expression on her face, until the camera focused on her. Then you can see a delay of about 2 seconds (very noticable !) before she started to act ! She was good in the fight scenes though. 1/5 for this lady.

On the whole, this series is highly recommended and a must watch for wuxia fans. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first wuxia series that mainland made, and I think they did a fairly good job. I give it 4/5 overall. I think my 94$ USD wasn't wasted

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