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Subject: Storm in Shanghai ATV 1989

The characters
Ma Xiao Tian (Adam Cheng)
Suen Xiao Dong (his lover)
Lu Fo Shen (his servant, considered as his brother by Ma Xiao Tian)
Boss Cao
Wong Yu Lan (this latter mistress)
Xiao Hao (a young vagabond)
She Xiong (Xiao Dong’s best friend ; he loves her but never tells her due to her love for Xiao Tian)
Chang Bun (Ma Xiao Tian’s best friend, son of a magistrate)
Ma Yi Wen (Ma Xiao Tian’s elder son)
Ma Yi Wu (second son)
Ma Yi Chuen (third son)
Ma Yi Sai (last son)
Ma Yi Mei (Ma Xiao Tian’s adoptive daughter)
Yu Hong (love interest on both Ma Yi Wen and Ma Yi Wu)
Ku Yu He (Wong Yu Lan’s son)
Hua society members
Xiao Hao’s godfather (a former skilled gambler)
Boss Huo (Lee Tao Hung)
Tien Ze (Fo Shen’s son)

Ma Xiao Tian is the son of a rich family and his best friend is Chang Bun, the son of the magistrate of the town. One day, an officer comes to the Ma’s and tries to steal two jade horses and Xiao Tian threatens him with his own gun in order that he leave the horses and his father lectures him and tells him that they will have problems due to what he done.
During a students’ march, while Xiao Tian and his servant Fo Shen return at home, their carriage hurt a young girl, Suen Xiao Dong and Ma Xiao Tian remarks her. Xiao Dong is the best friend of her neighbor She Xiong and she helps him to take care of his blind mother. She Xiong is a teacher who leads the students’ march and he is hurt by the soldiers.
Ma Xiao Tian has a pocket watch and he has a friendly sword fight with Chang Bun who wants the watch, but it’s him who wins. Later, the two of them go to watch an opera show and Xiao Tian recognizes Xiao Dong among the artists, but Chang Bun is also interested in her. However, Xiao Tian goes to see her in the back stage and he offers her his pocket watch in order to compensate for the accident. Later, he meets She Xiong and wants to help him to escape the soldiers, but She Xiong doesn’t have any confidence in him because he is a rich man.

Chang Bun’s father wants to take revenge on the Ma’s and he frames the old Ma, telling that he hides drugs (actually, it’s him who deals with the drugs) and he puts him in jail, while Xiao Tian escapes according to Old Ma’s orders and he hides in She Xiong’s house.
During the night, the magistrate Chang asks old Ma in order to know where his son is and as he doesn’t want to talk, he puts the prison on fire, though Chang Bun asks him to not do so. Fo Shen succeeds in escaping from his cell and he tries to save his master, and when Ma Xiao Tian, She Xiong and several students and people of the Ma’s arrive, it’s only to find Fo Shen escaping with the burnt body of his master on his shoulders. Old Ma dies in his son’s arms and Chang Bun is as sad as the Ma’s people and Xiao Tian want’s to kill his father, but he has to escape due to the soldiers and their guns.
Later, during a show of the opera troupe, Ma Xiao Tian plays an artist in the troupe and with She Xiong, Fo Shen and Xiao Dong’s help, he finally succeeds in killing his father’s murderer, but Chang Bun swears that he will take revenge on him and the four of them have to escape, She Xiong being hurt by a gun.

They arrive in Shanghai without any money and they witness a young vagabond stealing a woman’s purse and some bandits chasing him. The young vagabond takes the money out of the purse and leaves a note book. When one of the bandit finds the note book, he sees that it’s full of informations regarding his boss’ business and he decides to sell it to another boss of the town. Later, Xiao Tian sees the guy selling the note book to the other gang.
The four fugitives find a shelter under a bridge but they are almost chased by the young vagabond, who tells them that it’s his place, and they finally become friend with him. His name is Xiao Hao and he leads them to a restaurant in order to have a good meal, planning to steal another purse in order to pay. But Xiao Tian don’t let him steal again and they are about to be chased from the restaurant when a boss arrives and his men recognize Xiao Hao and they want to kill him, telling that it’s him who stole the note book. Xiao Tian and Fo Shen fight in order to save him and Xiao Tian explains what he saw to the boss, who decides to help him and gives him some money in order that they can find clothes and a place where to stay.

Later, Suen Xiao Dong finds a job as a singer, and Ma Xiao Tian becomes a rickshaw puller and he meets boss Cao, whose mistress Wong Yu Lan has a crush on him. As Xiao Tian helps Boss Cao several times against the other boss (I forgot his name), he becomes his chauffeur.
Meanwhile, the other boss wants to take revenge on him and Fo Shen, Xiao Tian, Xiao Hao and Xiao Dong find a shelter in a kind of shanty town where lives Xiao Hao’s godfather, who welcomes them without any problem, though he is very poor.
Wong Yu Lan tries to seduce Ma Xiao Tian, but he doesn’t want her, first, because she is Boss Cao’s mistress, and second, because he is in love with Suen Xiao Dong. She makes him believe that she understands, but she does all what she can to cheat him. She pays men to rape Xiao Dong, and then, on Fo Shen’s wedding day, she pays the same men to rape the bride, but Fo Shen and the others arrive and Fo Shen kills two of the rapists. The other two are so angry that they kidnap Wong Yu Lan and Ma Xiao Tian, Fo Shen and She Xiong go to save her and She Xiong realizes that there is something wrong when she kills one of the kidnappers in order to avoid that he tells the truth. He tells everybody that she isn’t a good person, but nobody wants to believe him. When she discovers that it’s Yu Lan who planned her rape, and when Yu Lan tells her that Ma Xiao Tian won’t want her anymore when he’ll know that she isn’t pure anymore, Suen Xiao Dong leaves the shanty town and Xiao Tian is devastated.
In order to find money to pay back the “ owner “ of Fo Shen’s wife (who was a prostitute and was pregnant when Fo Shen saved her), Xiao Hao’s godfather, who was a great gambler in the past and had his hand cut due to some rules in a gamble, decides to play again and he meets his former opponent and then, it’s Xiao Tian who plays thanks to his teaching and he wins. The organizer of the play was Boss Cao, but Boss Huo (who seems to be his friend but is actually his enemy) pays men to kill the old man and on the night of the funeral, they put the shanty town on fire and Fo Shen’s wife dies when trying to save him. Ma Xiao Tian is so angry that he believes that it’s Boss Cao who did it and he wants to kill him, but his daughter Pei Shan (who he met a while ago and who has a crush on him) tells him that it’s impossible and Boss Cao promises him that he will find who the culprit is and that he will punish him.
Boss Huo has a crush on Suen Xiao Dong and he takes her to his house. Meanwhile, he has a secret basement where he experiments some mortal gas. She Xiong meets a former teacher he knew and she tells him that another teacher has disappeared when he was investigating on Boss Huo’s business.
Ma Xiao Tian and She Xiong finally discover what Boss Huo does and they go to tell the French legation what happens, but when they arrive, everything has disappeared.
When he finds that Xiao Dong lives now with Boss Huo, Xiao Tian is even more devastated and he is so drunk that he sleeps with Wong Yu Lan.
Meanwhile, Boss Cao finally discovers that Boss Huo has paid people to put the shanty town on fire and to frame him and he tells Xiao Tian the truth, and he also tells him to marry his daughter who is in love with him and that if he refuses, his relatives would suffer. So, Xiao Tian agrees to marry Pei Shan, but this latter hear a dispute between Xiao Tian and Xiao Dong, who has told the truth to She Xiong. Xiao Tian wants her to return with him, but she doesn’ t want to because Boss Huo, after raping her, has agreed to not kill Xiao Tian as long as Xiao Dong will stay with him (but she doesn’t tell that to Xiao Tian, of course. Before the agreement to the marriage, they had planned to escape, but Boss Huo discovered that Xiao Dong was still in love with Xiao Tian and that’s why he raped her) and Pei Shan is very sad, but they still marry.

On the wedding day, Boss Huo’s men kill Boss Cao and this latter shows him with his finger to Xiao Tian before diying and Xiao Tian swears to take revenge on him, but Pei Shan asks him to give up because she doesn’t want to loose him. So, despite all the bad deeds Boss Huo does, Xiao Tian holds on his revenge until he finally succeeds in proving to the French legation that Boss Huo has this mortal gas in his possession and then, there is a fight between the two men and Xiao Tian finally kills Boss Huo who wanted to take Xiao Dong as hostage.
Then She Xiong and Xiao Dong decide to leave. Ma Xiao Tian asks Xiao Dong to stay with him, but she says that he is already married and that it’s impossible, so, he is even more sad than before when he sees her leaving.

Chang Bun appears in the town and he wants to take revenge on Ma Xiao Tian for his father’s murder and he begins to try to ruin all Xiao Tian’s business. When Xiao Tian finally finds out who is trying to ruin him, he tries to explain Chang Bun that he had been him, he would also had avenge his father’s death by killing Xiao Tian’s father, so, he asks him to forgive him, but Chang Bun doesn’t want to. Meanwhile, the Ma’s have met a young girl and have given her the job of teacher of their four boys, Yi Wen, Yi Wu, Yi Chuen and Yi Sai. It appears that this girl is Chang Bun’s lost fiancée and when she discovers that her fiancé wants to kill her boss, she tells him that she doesn’t want to marry anymore. For the sake of her love, the two men finally decide to forgive each other and they become friends again. However, it doesn’t please other bosses of the town (I don’t remember if this happens before Boss Huo’s death of if it’s him who plans what I describe after this) who try to frame the two men by making them believe that they want each other’s death.
The Changs are now parents of a little girl, Yi Mei. During a chase, a guy tries to kill Chang Bun, who faints near a cliff, and Xiao Tian and Fo Shen go to save him and Xiao Tian kills the killer, while Chang Bun’s right hand man has been hurt. When he awakes, Chang Bun sees Xiao Tian with the gun who comes near him and he thinks that he wants to kill him and, without listening to what Xiao Tian says, he attacks him and they fight and Chang Bun falls form the cliff. Xiao Tian tries to save him, but Chang Bun falls and dies and his man sees only one thing, his master is dead and Xiao Tian was there, so, he believes that it’s Xiao Tian who killed his master.
When she learns about her husband death, Miss Chang doesn’t want to believe that Ma Xiao Tian has nothing to do with it and she decides to kill him. Unfortunately, instead of killing him, she kills Pei Shan and she is killed by the French police. Before diying, Pei Shan asks Xiao Tian if he really loved her and she also asks him to take care of Yi Mei and she dies when he tells her that he loves her. Of course, Xiao Tian is devastated…

Years later, in the 1920’s
Ma Xiao Tian is now a very famous boss in Shanghai and one of the other bosses is jealous of him because his son looses to Yi Wen and Yi Wu in a fencing competition.
The fourth son, Yi Sai is very capricious and seems to be simple minded. Though he loves his father and his father loves him, they can’t communicate properly because Yi Sai thinks that his father doesn’t love him and he is always crying and shouting. One day where he is drunk in a bar, he meets a guy, Tu Huan (if I heard well) who is the boss’ son and he offers him money to drink, play and go to the girls. There, he meets a prostitute and falls for her and he becomes addicted to opium. In order to get more money and more opium, he hides opium in his father’s merchandises and when the other bosses discover that, they tell Ma Xiao Tian to go to his warehouse and see if they tell the truth. When he discovers what Yi Sai has done, Ma Siao Tian is furious and the other bosses ask him to kill his son, but of course, he can’t do it, and while he is arguing with his men, Yi Sai steals his gun and kills himself.
Fo Shen’s son, Tien Ze, and Yi Wu decide to avenge Yi Sai’s death and they kidnap Tu Huan and make him being addicted to opium as he had done to Yi Sai.
Meanwhile, Xiao Dong’s friend, Xiao Ming, arrives in Shanghai and she goes to the Ma’s in order to give a letter to Xiao Tian, in which Xiao Dong asks him to take care of Xiao Ming. She immediately falls for him, but he only sees her as a friend. Tu Huan’s father kidnaps Xiao Ming and Yi Mei and agrees to an exchange for his son, one for one. He then releases Yi Mei, but keeps Xiao Ming and there’s a fight and finally Xiao Tian kills him when he was about to kill Xiao Ming. As Tu Huan is already punished by being drug addicted, Xiao Tian tells him that he won’t kill him and he let him go.
A Japanese guy called Ku Yu He appears in town and he approaches the Ma’s by becoming Yi Wu and Yi Wen’s friend and by courting Yi Mei. First, she doesn’t want him, but he acts so well that she finally falls for him, but he is only interested in Xiao Ming and tries to seduce her too, but she doesn’t want him.
Ku Yu He has a supposed cousin, Yu Hong and when they see her, both Yi Wen and Yi Wu fall for her, but Yi Wu acts first and they begin to date, while Yi Wen gives up for his brother’s sake. However, Yu Hong makes each of the brothers believe that she in love with him and she even tells Yi Wen that Yi Wu has raped her and there is a fight between the two brothers, and later, when she makes them believe that she is pregnant, Ma Xiao Tian and Ku Yu He agree on the wedding between Yi Wen and Yi Wu. Of course, Yi Wu is desperate and none of them is aware that Yu Hong is actually Yu He’s mistress and that he has planned all that. On the wedding day, Yu Hong makes Yi Wu believe that she wants to kill her and Yi Wu takes the gun in order to avoid that she does it and when Yi Wen arrives, they fight and Yi Wu accidentally kills his brother during the fight. Of course, Ma Xiao Tian is devastated and he asks his men to lead Yi Wu out of Shanghai, but he escapes from the train and returns to Ku’s house and tells Yu Hong that he wants to escape with her and marry her elsewhere. When she sees that he really loves her and that Yu He has only eyes for Xiao Ming, Yu Hong decides to agree.
Yi Chuen loves women and he falls for a supposed drunken woman he met in the street and when he awakes in the morning, he discovers that the woman is dead in the bed and a photograph takes a picture of him near the corpse and asks him for money if he doesn’t want that all the town believe he has killed a woman. Yi Chuen tries to rob his father, but he falls form the window and he stays handicapped.
Meanwhile, Ku Yu He has planned a kind of war clans, making some bosses believe that their men are killed by Ma Xiao Tian and making Ma Xiao Tian believe that his men are killed by the Hua society’s bosses, so, there are a lot of misunderstanding and during one of them, Fo Shen cuts his own hand in place of Ma Xiao Tian. This latter later agrees to go to see the Hua Society’s members for another reunion, and Ku Yu He tells Ma Yi Wu that he’ll give him money in order that he can escape with Yu Hong and leave the town only if he helps him to kill someone he hates and Yi Wu agrees, without knowing that it’s his father that Yu He wants him to kill.
So, Ma Xiao Tian’s car is trapped and there is a gun fight. When she understands that Yi Wu is about to kill his father, Yu Hong hurries to the place where there is the gunfight and she is killed, as well as Yi Wu, who tells his father that he didn’t know that it was him in the car. Xiao Tian goes to the Hua society with his son’s corpse and tells them that since they have killed his son, they will see how he takes revenge on him, but they all say that they aren’t the murderers. Among the society’s members, there is one who is loyal to Xiao Tian and they go to another room in order to discuss and they make a plan in order to discover who tries to frame both the society and Xiao Tian.

Ku Yu He discovers that Yi Mei isn’t Ma Xiao Tian’s daughter and he also finds Chang Bun’s right hand man and when he is supposed to take a walk with Yi Mein they meet the old man who tells the whole story to Yi Mei, and tells her that it’s Ma Xiao Tian who killed her parents. She is so furious that she wants to kill Xiao Tian, but of course, she can’t and she leaves and goes to Ku’s house.
Xiao Tian finally discovers that it’s Ku Yu He who has planned all what happened to his sons and to him and the Hua society’s members and he is about to kill him when Wong Yu Lan appears and tells him that he can’t kill Yu He because he is their son. Both men are furious, because Xiao Tian doesn’t want to accept this monster as his son, and Yu He doesn’t want to be a Chinese and doesn’t want Xiao Tian as father.
While he is prisoner in Xiao Tian’s house, one of his ninjas takes his place and kills himself with a bomb, making everybody believe that Ku Yu He is dead. Wong Yu Lan tries to kill Xiao Ming in order to avenge her son’s death, and she finally kills herself in Xiao Tian’s bed.

I forgot to tell that Xiao Hao has returned from England and that he has become one of Xiao Tian’s men and has helped him against Ku Yu He, and that he has fallen for Yi Mei. After Yu He’s “ death “, Yi Mei returns at home, but only to tell Xiao Tian that she doesn’t want to stay and that she leaves with Xiao Hao to England, and Xiao Tian feels so sad once again.

After his mother’s death, Ku Yu He reappears and there are other deaths among Xiao Tian’s people and Xiao Tian is framed for a murder and discover that his illegitimate son is again behind all this. While Xiao Tian and Tien Ze are away, Ku Yu He and his men go to the Ma’s and they kill Yi Chuen, and Fo Shen’s wife and when Xiao Tian, Xiao Dong (who has returned on the same day Xiao Tian married Xiao Ming), Xiao Ming and Tien Ze arrive, Tien Ze sees that there is a bomb on Yi Chuen’s corpse and he jumps on it in order to save the others. Xiao Dong, Xiao Ming, Fo Shen and Xiao Tian goes to the loyal boss of the Hua society in order to hide and cure Xiao Tian’s wound. Meanwhile, Fo Shen decides to avenge his son’s and his wife’s death and, after disfiguring himself with vitriol, he attacks Yu He when he leaves the Hua society, where he killed one of the bosses and threatened the others if they help Ma Xiao Tian, and he takes Ku Yu He in his arms in order to explode with him, but Yu He pulls off electrical cables and poor Fo Shen dies electrocuted and exploded.

When he learns that, Xiao Tian is devastated and he goes for a duel with Ku Yu He. Meanwhile, Xiao Ming has gone to see this latter and has offered herself to him if he doesn’t kill his father, but Yu He doesn’t want her and there is finally the duel, but Xiao Tian only hurts his son and he goes away with Xiao Ming and Xiao Dong.

Yu He’s chief in the Japanese legation has finally learnt that he is Ma Xiao Tian’s son and he doesn’t want him anymore because he is Chinese and Yu He shouts that he is Japanese and he finally kills himself with the samurai sabre in order to prove that he is a real Japanese.

As they both love Xiao Tian, Xiao Dong and Xiao Ming have a long discussion, but I’m unable to tell what they said. The result is that Xiao Dong leaves again, though Ma Xiao Tian asks her to stay, but she doesn’t want to, since he is married to Xiao Ming. But Xiao Ming also leaves him because she knows that he still loves Xiao Dong, so, poor Ma Xiao Tian stay alone, without any wife nor children…

What a superb series, full of twists, fights (sword, knives, bare hands, guns), and emotion !
I said in another review that I wasn’t really interested in triads’ stories and that Once upon a time in Shanghai had made me change my mind a little bit, but this series is even better than Once upon a time in Shanghai and I enjoyed each second of it. Of course, there are some parts of the plot that I didn’t tell and what I wrote is only a part of the plot, since I don’t understand everything and there are no subtitles, but what a plot and what a wonderful series !
The beginning theme is excellent, and the ending one is a little bit less good, but still good. And the locations are beautiful.
For those who speak Mandarin, don’t miss this series, it’s worth watching !!

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Posted: July 2, 2018, 4:03 pm
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