The Dragon Chronicles – The Maidens (1994)

I completely forgot about The Dragon Chronicles – The Maidens (also known as The Maidens of Heavenly Mountains) until today when I read about it again in a google+ post. Loosely based off of Louis Cha’s novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. The beginning of the movie is a bit of a rush of fast paced subtitling (which I hate) so to break it down for you Chong-hoi and her twin sister Chau-shui both fall in love with Sui Yiu Tze who is the head of the Tin San Sect, the number one pugilist clan in Jianghu (the shared world of Martial Arts).  However Mou Hang-wan loves Lei Chong-hoi.  Siu Yiu Tze knew that Mou Hang-wan and Lei Chau-shui were nasty (that is what the translation says) so he left them but went and lived in a secluded life with Lei Chong-hoi on Piu Miu Peak.  He is eventually is poisoned by Ting Chun-chau who betrayed him. Siu Yiu Tze is dying.  That is the introduction.

The style of The Dragon Chronicles – The Maidens is more of a fantasy wuxia.  I’d compare it to be on the level of Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Green Snake, or even Legend of the Ancient Sword as they all use Chi Magic and flying guided swords with their martial arts.  This of course is just my opinion.  This is the only movie with both Gong Li and Brigette Lin starring in which is a shame.  I would have loved to have seen a serious drama with those two actors!

Over all it is not a bad film, however it just does not hold up to today’s standards.  The acting of Brigitte Lin and Gong Li is superb, Sharla Cheung’s role is pretty much the stereotyped cheeky girl but that is what the role required so she played the part well. The same can be said about Norman Chu’s character. There is not a lot of information left on this film.  The costumes are nice, and the location shoots are also nice but the studio shoots are only a step above old Shaw Brothers films.

I do remember reading that after this film Gong Li bad mouthed the film and said she would never do another Wuxia film again.  I believe I read this on the now defunct Kung Fu Cinema page.  Now I have never read Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils and the only adaptation of it that I have seen is the 2003 version.  I have no idea how this film is even loosely based on it at all.  I’ve been able to figure out that Hui-juk is actually Xuzhu from the book

Norman Chu as Ting Chun-chau

left to right: Sharla Cheung as Purple, Norman Chu as Ting Chun-chau, & Ku Tin-yi as Green

Brigitte Lin (Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Royal Tramp, Bride with White Hair 1 & 2) as Lei Chau-shui / Lei Chong-hoi. Brigitte Lin plays both sisters.

Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern, Farewell to My Concubine, The Emperor and the Assassin) as Mou Hang-wan (Tin-san Tung-lo) First student of Siu Yiu Tze (the head of Tin San Sect)

Sharla Cheung (Swordsman, Royal Tramp, Last Hero in China) as Ah-tsi or Purple, a student of Ting Chun-chau

Frankie Lam (Revelation of the Last Hero TV series, Virtuous Harmony TV series) as Hui-juk a Buddhist monk

Norman Chu (The Flying Guillotine, The Web of Death, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (1982), Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain, The Duel) as Ting Chun-chau the leader of Sing Suk Sect

Ku Tin-yi (Last Hero in China) as Green a student of Ting Chun-chau

Liu Kai-chi (Infernal Affairs II) as So Sing-ho a student of Siu Yiu Tze

James Pak (The Heroic Trio, Big Trouble in Little China) as Tai-hung a student of Ting Chun-chau

There are two actors who played characters from the elite members of Sing Suk Sect that I could find no information on.  That is the characters Li Lo and Koo Tu (according to the translations).  Both IMDB and HKMDB  could provide nothing.

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Brigitte Lin as Lei Chau-shui and Gong Li as Mou Hang-wan

Brigitte Lin as Lei Chau-shui and Gong Li as Mou Hang-wan

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