Review: Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield

Promotional theme song: Deep love is as subdued as you by Zhou Shen (still on repeat in my playlist)

Aptly titled The Infernal Battlefield, the second instalment of the Brotherhood of Blades film series brings together a talented cast of actors in one of the best wuxia epics in recent years. The story formula hasn’t really changed since the first movie, but it’s worth watching for the cinematography and action choreography alone. Minor spoilers ahead.

Chang Chen reprises his role as imperial guard (secret police) Shen Lian, who again finds himself as a miserable chess piece in a deadly power struggle between Prince Xin (Liu Duanduan) and the powerful eunuchs led by Wei Zhongxian (Chin Shi-chieh). Thanks to director Lu Yang, Chang Chen looks amazing in the film, though his character falls flat, and is quickly overshadowed by supporting characters Lu Wenzhao (Zhang Yi) and Pei Lun (Lei Jiayin).

This is Zhang Yi’s first time taking up a role in a historical production, and he doesn’t disappoint. His character is one of a few survivors from a bloody battle 8 years ago, and becomes determined to transform the ways of the world. Lu Wenzhao grovels in front of the powerful and endures acts of humiliation, only to be betrayed by the very cause he believed in. Lei Jiayin has the ability to truly inhabit his character, and it’s no exception when it comes to Pei Lun, the hot-blooded and righteous guard who eventually joins Shen Lian’s gang. All the characters are connected to Prince Xin, and Liu Duanduan perfectly captures the prince’s inner struggles as he is forced to sacrifice his loyal followers on the path to the top.

The female lead (Liu Shishi) from the first movie was a true flower vase who added nothing to the plot, and though I can’t say I’m that much more impressed with Yang Mi’s acting in this installment, her character is definitely more well-written. Rather than pine for a sweetheart who will probably never come to her rescue, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

The story could’ve been a little tighter, though Brotherhood of Blades II is still a clear stand out among the recent crop of Chinese films.

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This New Still from Yang Mi’s New Drama Reminded Everyone of “Eternal Love”

This New Still from Yang Mi’s New Drama Reminded Everyone of “Eternal Love”

China’s been on a roll with adapting novels to TV, and when it comes these book-to-TV adaptations, one can’t help but to think of the queen who started it all—Yang Mi (杨幂).

And the 30-year-old isn’t stopping anytime soon. Whenever Yang Mi is attached to a show, there’s a good chance that the show was adapted from a novel. And if Yang Mi is starring on the show, there’s an even bigger chance that the drama would become a ratings hit.

Perhaps this is why everyone’s already talking about her upcoming drama, and about one specific promotional still from the show. Her next big effort Legend of Fuyao <扶摇>, adapted from the popular novel of the same name by Tianxia Guiyuan (天下归元), is reminding everyone of her last show Eternal Love <三生三世十里桃花>, which finished its run earlier this year as the most-watched show online in Mainland China, ever.

Legend of Fuyao stars Yang Mi as Meng Fuyao, born from a divine lotus petal, who journeys through five continents to reveal a conspiracy. She falls in love with the crown prince Zhangsun Wuji, portrayed by Taiwanese actor Ethan Juan (阮經天).

The drama is Ethan’s first television drama in seven years, as well as his first attempt at a period drama. These facts are quite reminiscent of Yang Mi’s last costar Mark Chao (趙又廷), who starred alongside her in Eternal Love, also Mark’s first drama where he had to don period costumes.

Adding more to the déjà vu was a new Legend of Fuyao promotional still where Yang Mi, in men’s clothes, looks longingly at Ethan. There was a very similar scene like that in Eternal Love, where Mark looks at an androgynously-dressed Yang Mi.

Legend of Fuyao is slated for 2018 broadcast.


This article is written by Addy for

Legend of Fuyao releases stills of its main cast

Legend of Fuyao is the upcoming period fantasy drama starring Yang Mi (Brotherhood of Blades II) as Meng Fuyao, the cenral figure in a complicated love heptagon. Ethan Ruan (Candle in the Tomb – Weasel Grave) plays Zhangsun Wuji, the prince of Wuji Kingdom who also has a mysterious connection to the Firmament.

Also featured in the stills below are Gao Weiguang as Zhan Beiye, the unfavoured prince of Tiansha Kingdom, Lai Yi as the physician Zong Yue, Zhang Yaqin as Yalanzhu and Liu Yijun as the corrupt state preceptor of Wuji Kingdom.

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Character posters for Legend of Fuyao

The new posters for Legend of Fuyao make it seem like Yang Mi (Brotherhood of Blades II) and Ethan Ruan (Begin Again) are endorsing some online game – hopefully the leads will look better in action.

Costars include Liu Yijun (Lost Love in Times) as new character Qi Zhen and Gao Weiguang (Mr Pride vs Miss Prejudice) as the passionate second male lead Zhan Beiyewho has an unrequited love for the female lead. New actress Zhang Yaxin (Schoolyard Legend: Three Lives Three Worlds Peach Blossom Destiny) plays the lovable Yalanzhu, princess of the Fufeng Kingdom who has a one-sided love for Zhan Beiye.

The group of friends will travel through the kingdoms, and eventually make their way across the sea to defeat Di Feitian, the evil guardian of the Firmament (who ALSO has complicated romantic feelings for Meng Fuyao).

Directed by Yang Wenjun (So Young) and written by Jie Yanyan (City of Hopeless Love), the 60 episode drama has been filming since June 27th.

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Brotherhood of Blades II gears up for premiere

Brotherhood of Blades II stars Chang Chen (Mr.Long) as Shen Lian, a member of the Ming Dynasty’s secret police (Jinyiwei) who becomes a scapegoat for a powerful and corrupt official. While on the run, he meets a mysterious painter with a painful past, played by Yang Mi (Reset).

The film is set to premiere on July 19th.

Absolutely beautiful promotional theme song by Zhou Shen |Theme song by Tan Weiwei

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Yang Mi plays a desperate mother in Jackie Chan-produced film Reset


逆时营救 Reset is an upcoming sci-fi action film starring Yang Mi (TLTWTMPB) as a researcher and Wallace Huo (Suddenly Seventeen) as the man who kidnaps her son. Other teasers can be found here and here.

Yang Mi plays Xiatian, a single mother and researcher who is working to create a method that would allow humans to time travel to the past. As the project is about to succeed, Cui Hu (Wallace Huo) kidnaps and kills her son Doudou (Zhang Yihan, Ah Li in TLTWTMPB), and Xiatian is forced to repeatedly time travel back 1 hour and 50 minutes to save her only family.

Costars include Chin Shi-chieh (Princess Agents) as team leader of the research facility and Liu Chang (Castle in the Sky) as Yang Mi’s colleague Da Xiong.

Reset is supervised by Jackie Chan, directed by Yoon Hong-seung (Canola/Grandmother Gye-choon) and written by Zha Muchun (Buddies in India). The film was screened at the Worldfest Houston in April, and Yang Mi took home the Remi Award for Best Actress. Chinese audiences will be able to judge her performance for themselves on June 30th.

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