[Season 1 !Season 2 ]
Water Margin [Season 1, Episode 1]
Nine Dozen Heroes and One Wicked Man
Reviewed 26th November 2005 - Saturday
This is a big-budget Japanese epic set in medieval China. The narrator's voiceover is by Burt Kwouk (Pink Panther).
The villain is Kow Chew, a corrupt Governor in a province of China, who opens an ancient tomb and accidentally releases the souls of nine dozen heroes. These souls possess heroes across China, and inspire them to oppose the corrupt government.
One of the new breed of heroes is an army officer, framed for treason because he stood up to Kow Chew. He faces repeated challenges by a mustachioed bounty-hunter.
Kow Chew is sent a mail-order bride as a bribe. However, she can handle a weapon all right!
Lin Chun, heroic officer, arrives in the prison which contains inmates for whom the death penalty is too merciful. The toughest guard is actually a nice guy, but he severely punishes escape attempts. Lin Chun is the only one who can withstand his superhuman strength, so they bond ...
The guard accidentally kills a gangster, so he goes on the run. He becomes the Flower Priest, and hides out with a young dandy who is covered in tatoos.
Turban girl runs into some real bandits, who trap her. Luckily, everyone sees to know each other, so they can team up against oppression.
A couple of Kow Chew's underlings visit the prison, looking for the hero. Bad mistake!
The ex-army hero meets a fast-running fellow, who persuades him to go to the Water Margin.
Kow Chew demotes the head of the Metropolitan Police to lead a small garrison on the border of the Water Margin. The warrior, blue-face, is a great swordsman. He is capable of taking the heroes on, one by one.
Blue-face's soldiers capture Turban-girl and the hero's ex-wife. The two women, both in love with the same man, are put in a cell together.
Turban-girl's sister comes for a visit.
The tattoo'd Dandy swears vengeance on an evil overlord type.
The eeevil Governor taxes the population into submission. This treasure is dispatched, guarded by Blue-Skin (the eyepatch-wearing warrior) and a small army, to bribe someone so the Governor can become Prime Minister of all China.
The bandits of the Water Margin team up with a Squire to steal the treasure.
The bandits gave the stolen treasure to the Squire, to redistribute to the poor. However, the eeevil Governor finds out about it.
The Squire and his buddies take the treasure to the Water Margin bandits. The bandit leader knows the treasure will ensure the gang's survival for years, so they can liberate the region from the Governor.
The Governor has plans of his own. He discovers the bandit leader had an affair with a woman of ill repute.
Someone becomes an outlaw.
The Good Judge is captured by the villains and used as bait.
The heroes send one of their tough guys, undercover. He encounters a greedy landlord and his wicked wife. The Communist overtones are obvious - Capitalists like the landlord are evil, but Government servants like the Judge are good!
The Good Judge is still in prison.
The heroes try rescue attempts, but are repeatedly outsmarted by the villain's new henchman.
The eye-patch-wearing warrior is an outcast. He teams up with the Flower Priest.
The two outcasts face off against a gang of violent bandits.
The circus is in town. One beautiful woman is out for revenge against the evil Governor.
Meanwhile, the villain aims his cruelty at one of his own officers. The officer's brother-in-law is outlawed, and he must choose between his duty and his wife.
The evil Governor has allies, an aristocratic family. They disguise their soldiers and conduct bandit raids, to make the Water Margin bandits look like murderers.
The Water Margin team investigate, but a trap is set for them..
The Water Margin Bandits face the aristocrats' trap.
The Water Margin has a plague. They suspect that evil spirits are responsible.
A friendly travelling priest offers to exorcise the spirits. Is he too helpful to be true? Does he have his own agenda?
The Hero has left the Water Margin, and wanders China. The Governor, now China's PM, sends his Mongolian thug to hunt him down.
Meanwhile, at court, the PM has a political rival. A man sympathetic to the rebels has won the Emperor's favour. The PM realises he can turn his enemies against each other.
The Mongol is skilled at more than martial arts. He is a shaman of the Black Arts!
The hero takes a bunch of villagers to live in the Water Margin.
The Mongol leads the Imperial army in pursuit. Luckily, the heroes get a magic-user of their own.
A great General defends China's borders from a Mongol invasion.
The eeevil overlord provokes the General's son into a futile attack on the Water Margin.
The General still refuses to join the Water Margin.
Bandits are on the prowl.
Tsung, a bandit king, and his five sons seize a village. Just like in Seven Samurai.
This is a deliberate provocation, to lure the Water Margin bandits into battle.
The hero, Lin Chung, is captured by the Tsungs.
The villainous governor and his troops attack the Water Margin.
The turban girl poses as a singer, and seduces two of the Tsung brothers. She wants to turn them against each other ...
The eeevil overlord plots to undermine the boy Emperor, by supplying him with a beautiful concubine.
The Water Margin rebels send a couple of their best men to the capital, incognito. En route they encounter a beautiful young woman with her hair in bagel-braids (like in SW IV: A New Hope )!
Perhaps a reference to the night of the Long knives, this ep deals with evil Governor Kow Chew's political backstabbing and treachery.
Kow Chew sends a message to the army's best General, who is fighting the Han nomads. The General is an old friend of the Water Margin Leader, but they fell out over a girl.
The General must choose between duty to Kow Chew, who he despises, and killing an old friend. He knows that as a soldier he must never leave an enemy leader alive - we are shown the results when the Han leader is defeated.
In the end, the nine dozen heroes are all in the Water Margin. Everything is ready for the final battle against Kow Chew.
The Water Margin army is poised to march on Peking. This is what Kow Chew wants - he can solidify his support in the capital. His plot ... to kill the Emperor, and start his own Dynasty!
The hero and four sidekicks infiltrate Peking in disguise. Their plan is to contact the Emperor ...