One genre that never fails to entertain me is the Oriental fantasy/martial arts adventure.
Otherworldly beings with supernatural powers. Heroes battling the forces of evil. Secret identities and vengeful villains. Shape-shifters and changelings, magic and mystery. Deities and demons, goblins and ghosts. Flowing robes and windswept tresses. Intricate costumes and unique weapons. Spectacular swordplay and high-flying martial arts. The ultimate triumph of good over evil.
I could go on and on.
Chinese Paladin 5 has all this and more. But it’s also an epic 45 episodes long, which made me think twice. So, when I scored interviews with the two handsome male leads, I found good reason to start watching the series.
When the lads described what they went through filming numerous dangerous wire-work sequences, I began to appreciate the fight scenes even more. And the good thing about watching it on a streaming platform is that I’m finding it just too easy to rewatch my favourite episodes.
As a Chinese TV series adapted from the action role-playing game of the same name, Chinese Paladin 5 is actually the third in the series, but features a new cast and a storyline that is entirely different from the other two.
The story begins with the Four Great Clans and the Seven Saints of Mount Shu ganging up to attack Demon King Jiang Shi Li and imprison him in Nuwa’s Blood Jade after they conclude that he is forging an alliance with the You Min netherworld tribe to conquer the human race.
His pregnant wife escapes and leaves her son in the care of some small-time bandits among the humans. Twenty years later, the Four Great Families decide to look for the demon king’s son to take care of unfinished business.
The tale mainly revolves around the lives and loves of the two dashing heroes, Jiang Yun Fan (Elvis Han) and Long You (Joe Cheng Yuan Chang). The former is an orphan in the human world who discovers that he is a half-blood descendant of the powerful demon king.
The latter is a demon prince from the netherworld, who is on a mission to find his long-lost brother and also save his long-suffering people from a catastrophic drought.
Redhead Jiang Yun Fan is bold and impetuous, while the blue-maned Long You is level-headed and aloof. Outwardly, the two heroes may appear to be polar opposites, but they form a strong bond when it emerges that both hold firmly to a similar heroic code of honour in their aspirations.
Their respective lady loves are no ordinary women either, as both have interesting alter egos. These two have unspeakable secrets that could change the course of nature, and sometimes find themselves morphing into strange creatures. (I really don’t want to reveal too much here, as I’d hate to spoil the fun for those who haven’t watched the show yet.)
Tang Yu Rou (Gulnezer Bextiyar) is a feisty yet sickly healer who possesses magical powers and holds the key to the demon king’s freedom. Meanwhile, the young and spunky Xiao Man (Yang Cai Qi) is a descendant of the goddess Nuwa, who is out to retrieve a missing artefact from their magical tribe.
Like many other viewers, I find the secondary couple – Long You and Xiao Man – to be more compelling. Everything from their neat hairstyles and intricate outfits to their contrasting personalities and colourful family backgrounds just makes this couple more appealing. He looks especially cool soaring through the skies and she turns into a most intriguing “creature” (still not a real spoiler). When the two appear together, they are inevitable scene-stealers. After watching the ending, I just can’t wait for the sequel, if only to see this couple again.
Plus, the show has a really nice soundtrack; I never tire of listening to the opening theme Alliance, sung by Taiwan’s most enduring indigenous rock band Power Station.
Kudos to Hong Kong-born director Lee Kwok Lap, also responsible for Chinese Paladin (2005) and Chinese Paladin 3 (2009), who is quite a deft hand at creating an enchanting fantasy world with fascinating characters.
All 45 episodes of Chinese Paladin 5 are available on dimsum.my. There are subtitles in English, Bahasa Malaysia, and Chinese. Sign up and watch shows on your PC via the website, or download the app from Google Play or the Apple App Store. New registrations come with a complimentary 30-day trial. Subscription is only RM15 a month. Subscribers have unlimited access on as many as five devices, including smartphones, computers and laptops.