Sword Dynasty A Chinese Drama Review
This fantasy drama is set in a world based on the Warring States period of China. The story follows a young boy named Ding Ning. Due to incurable illness, he is destined for a short life. That, however, doesn't stop him from entering a pugilistic world to seek revenge for his master. Who was killed by the Emperor ten years earlier. And in the process wows everyone with his smarts, talent, and determination in spite of insurmountable odds.
Information About This Drama
Based on the novel: Sword Dynasty by Wu Zui
Genre: Fantasy, action, wuxia
Number of episodes: 34
Production company: iQiyi
Release date: December 6, 2019
This drama is exceptionally well done. It's easy to immerse yourself in the story. It grabs your attention and pulls you in from the start. The characters are amazing, and it's easy to relate with them.
First and foremost, I love that the show has dark overtones. Mainly because of the era the story is set. Betrayal and treachery are on every turn. Especially in the palace. Although the story is set in a fantasy world you can draw parallels with our own. But, that doesn't mean there is no humor in this show.
It has to be said that the costumes are fantastically done. They complement the story in the manner they are supposed too. They emphasize the dark overtones of the show perfectly.
If you expect some complicated magic system, don't. It's not that kind of show. It's more of spiritual-based magic, just through the use of swords. But, the system is intriguing and well thought off.
Li Xian did an amazing job as the main character. He played the part of a doomed youngster perfectly. He's just fun to watch. It's obvious that he had fun playing this role. It's important to mention that you know that he has some secret. You just don't know what it is. Although as the show progresses you can guess what that secret is. But, that doesn't really matter. The show build it up nicely, and the reveal is pretty good. So, the fact that you guessed his secret, doesn't take anything away from the story.
Li Yitong is solid as Zhangshun Qianxue. She played that part well and with such grace that you can't be indifferent to her. The care and love she has for the main character are pronounced in her every move.
Lou Yijun as Emperor Xuan Wu is maybe the only problematic casting in this show. At least for me. That doesn't mean he didn't play his part well. He was, but for me, he doesn't have the right face that suits that kind of a villain. Although, that might be intentional. Either way, it takes time for you to get into his story.
The one that surprised and awed me the most is Yao Di as Empress Zheng Xiu. She played the part of treacherous and ruthless Empress perfectly. She did it so well that you could find yourself forgetting that she's the villain in the story. Or villainess, in this case.
Sword fights in this drama are important on a whole different level. Since it's tied with magic. If they were done badly this show would lose a lot. Thankfully, they are exceptionally well thought off and choreographed. They fit the story perfectly.
The focal point of this show is betrayal. And this drama did it perfectly. You are offered a view on a betrayal from every point and angle. Leaving nothing to the imaginaton of the viewer. Especially, that one specific act of betrayal, that was the catalyst for the whole story.
It's also important that villains are not two dimensional at all. Like they are on so many shows these days. They are complex and even enjoyable to some degree. And that in itself is a highest compliment you can give to a show.
But, the thing that delighted me the most is the ending. It raised some important philosophical questions, that will leave you wondering long past the end credits. Plus, it wasn't at all what I expected it to be. I was pleasantly surprised by it. And that means a lot to me.
If you love fantasy stories with lots of sword fights this show is for you. But I think it will delight history buffs also. This show will make you laugh, cry and it will certainly make you think. All in all a really good drama to watch.
© 2020 LJ Milan