Li Yapeng as Guo Jing
Zhou Xun as Huang Rong
Zhou Jie as Yang Kang
Shui Ling as Mu Nian Ci
I'm sure many people know about the novel by Jin Yong or have read the comic book by Li Chi Ching. The storyline of the series is familiar and every wuxia fan knows about it.
Li Yapeng as Guo Jing : Everyone certainly compares him with Felix Wong (Legend of the Condor Heroes LOCH 83). People might think that Felix Wong's version is the best Guo Jing ever but we have to see Li Yapeng play the new version of Guo Jing. I know that he isn't handsome at all, but he could really express how stupid Guo Jing is. I love the way he acted as Guo Jing. I think the only problem was Li Yapeng's voice. It was too big and low. That annoyed me. However, he could still do his job very well. Also, his chemistry with Zhou Xun (Huang Rong) amazed me. They were very compatible. Lovely!
Zhou Xun as Huang Rong : A two-thumbs-up acting was presented by Zhou Xun, who played Huang Rong. I know Barbara Yung (LOCH83) was very beautiful, but Zhou Xun is very beautiful too! Also, she could play the role of Huang Rong very well. She was lively, cheerful, naughty, spoiled, and of course, she was very clever! The character of Huang Rong could always help Guo Jing solve problems. As with Li Yapeng, her problem was the voice. It was too soft. It should be louder and shriller. I think her portrayal is the best in this series.
Zhou Jie as Yang Kang: I saw him in Huan Zhu Ge Ge 1 and 2. He was very dashing and a kind-hearted man. But here in this series, you will see Zhou Jie act as a sly man who betrayed Guo Jing and his country. Zhou Jie acted well as Yang Kang. But I think he lacks the looks. He doesn't have charisma like Miu Kiu Wai (but he definitely is better than Gallen Lo in LOCH 94 because he looked so bad!). Anyway, I think he has done the best for this role.
Shui Ling as Mu Nian Ci : Shui Ling is a very beautiful actress, and no doubt, she's a great actress too. She played Mu Nian Ci very well. Nian Ci was always easily deceived (Yang Kang could always cheat her), and Shui Ling could do the best for this. Even though she and Zhou Jie weren't a compatible couple (according to me), they showed chemistry in this series. It was quite strong, so it made me think twice about them. Is there anyone who will compare her with the old version of Mu Nian Ci? Don't try, guys! Because I think she had the best version of Mu Nian Ci. But, it is up to you if you feel that Shui Ling is not the best.
I paid attention to another minor characters too. The most amazing minor characters, according to me, were Mei Chao Feng, Hung Chi Kung, Zhou Bo Tong and Huang Yao Shi. I love the way Mei Chao Feng showed her Bones Claw of Chiu Yun Book. It was very cool! But Zhou Bo Tong impressed me. His portrayal was attractive and so amazing. Hung Chi Kung and Huang Yao Shi really weren't disappointing. The minor characters which annoyed me were Ou Yang Ke and Ou Yang Feng. The actor who played Ou Yang Ke wasn't really as handsome as I wished he would be. His face didn't portray what kind of man Ou Yang Ke should be. No charisma at all. And how about Ou Yang Feng? He wasn't really cruel. His expression lacks cruelty and he was quite soft. How awful!
Scene and Scenery
The new scenery here was so breathtaking! I loved the Peach Blossom Island which was full of beautiful flowers and also the desert of Mongolia. But, there was something clumsy here. If you really take note of it, you will find that some scenes were repeated. Very confusing! Some scenes seemed to fill the next scene. Can you imagine that? Huh! However, the overall scenes still looked beautiful, nice, awesome.
I wish that the costumes would be the real ancient costumes. But some of them were not. They were too modern, and they were not suitable for an ancient story. I especially dislike Guo Jing's leather jacket, or Mei Chao Feng's clothes and also Huang Rong's white clothes. How could the designer do such a thing?!
I love the music very much! I think it was suitable to the story. The opening theme was full of spirit, hard, and had a good beat. The singer sang it beautifully with his husky voice. Pretty good. The ending theme is the best song I've ever heard. It has a nice, romantic touch, and is nice to hear. What a lovely song!
What a great fighting scenes! I think the fighting in this series looked so real. Guo Jing's 18 Dragon Palms and the Bones Claw of Mei Chao Feng were the best. They were so nice to see. Some fighting scenes annoyed me a little. When Hung Chi Kung and Ou Yang Feng fought on the sea, there were too many special effects which made the fighting scene look very bad! If you see the fighting scene between Yang Kang and Mu Nian Ci, you will find that it was very romantic.
Overall, CCTV's Legend of Condor Heroes 2003 is the best martial arts series I have ever seen. Don't you miss it, because it has a lot of new things of Jin Yong's work. I give it 4.5 star, because of some flaws in that series. I know it's not perfect, but almost!