Ben Wong, Elaine Yiu, Evergreen Mak, Hong Kong Entertainment, Steven Ma, Wayne Lai

Safe Guards

That was a very great and satisfying ending. There were so many conflicts and hardships during the last few episodes but glad they found a clever way to resolve it instead of making it rushed like previous series. Really loved Ram Tseung in here as Ching Mun. He was so clever and carefree. Too bad his wife died but NOT for nothing. He managed to try harder and made others proud. His dedications toward the business was greater also. Plus they finally get their reward by getting the contract signed.

Really like Steven and Wayne in here as Tzi and Joong. Like I said in the previous reviews, really like Wayne’s acting and he’s a great team with Steven throughout–no wonder they’re singed up for 2 more collaboration after this series. It was a great decision.

Steven & Elaine – I don’t know why people are against it so much. They compliment each other so well with him being the strong/ ruthless and fearless leader with a sense of righteousness while she is the kind and understanding wife. Yes, she might appear to be such a weakling and seems useless for the series, but she does know a lot of things since she used to worked with her father before. She has the experience. Plus, I think this is a guy series so her character as Fung shouldn’t and wasn’t supposed to overshadow Steven, Wayne, or Ram’s characters. Plus considering during those ancient times (that was a LONG time ago), women aren’t supposed to participate in stuffs as much, especially business matter so it’s only correct that she shouldn’t be the strong type who stands around and talks away 24/7. So in conclusion, really like this pairing (of course it doesn’t top Steven & Bernice) but still a good pairing–even IF Steven has to pull most of the weight of the acting but it’s all right. He’s capable. Elaine wasn’t terrible but she needs more work in playing a calm character. I think she improved A LOT during The Gentle Crackdown II ’cause I thought she played out the kind and nice weakling better. (And she was a cute couple with Johnson Lee in there as well.)

Lai Lok Yi – I swear I don’t know why he’s in here. It’s like give or take. But maybe ’cause his character, Yee, caused Steven’s character, Tzi, to realize the importance of expanding their business to the seas instead of land like they’ve been doing. For the first time I can only say average from him–maybe ’cause he appeared too late in the series and didn’t get to contribute as much.

I must say that was a shocker when they revealed Ching Pung’s real identity. It was really hard to believe yet so convincing at the same time. ‘Cause it doesn’t justify for anything that their grandpa should believe in such omens as bad luck all these years. And even their father believed it, Ching Tong’s kind to his brothers, and would have gave Ching Pung great responsibility. The ending point explains a lot. It serves Ching Pung right for being so greedy. I think that it was such a grateful thing that the grandpa did to still raise and gave Ching Pung such a position (aka giving him access to the assets/ money) all these years. If a man found out he had been tricked, he would have kicked the kid out already but he didn’t. He still continues to raise Ching Pung and only made the “unlucky” thing as an excuse to cover up so Ching Pung could get a share of the family fortune in the future. Ching Pung himself was the one responsible for his downfall since he drove everyone to the wall, causing the mother to take such actions.

Ben Wong as the villain in here was interesting since he takes quite the big role. (Haven’t seen him in such big roles recently even if it’s as a villain.) Interesting portrayal and he was great portraying the calm and supportive brother at the beginning and later breaking away because he couldn’t take the failure. Hau takes the turn for the worse and thus leading him to cause more damage and to his downfall in the end. I like it that his ending wasn’t too lame, considering he learned to repent after he known of his son’s existence and began to see how good Tzi treated his son in the end. The scene was just right before his death also, not too dramatic or subtle.

Love Law Lok Lam’s last scene–although brief appearance,  but it is the most important part of the whole series, causing a turn back and a HUGE surprise for everyone. The role he played is of importance since he’s the only one to prove the credibility of the evidences gathered.

Considering how many years have passed with each of the events and conflicts going on, it makes everything more believable since TVB just jumbles conflicts in stories within months. The series overall was really good for recent ancient series. Although it wasn’t best but because of its flaws, it shines out in the sense of realism.

Posted (on Xanga): November 23, 2008

Re-posted: Saturday, April 17th, 2010

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3 thoughts on “Safe Guards”

  1. I just finished watching this series a couple days ago and couldn’t agree more with what you said in your review. Even though I didn’t exactly watch the entire series, since I missed some episodes here and there (that’s what happens when I watch on TV — luckily, I have the DVD for this series, so can always re-watch), but from what I have seen of the series, I definitely liked it.
    **
    Like you said, this was definitely more of a “guy” series in that the male characters were more important than the females, so I was actually ok with Elaine, as long as the other male leads were strong (which they definitely were). I absolutely loved the Steven / Wayne / Ram combination (all three have always been great, solid actors) and definitely felt they complemented each other perfectly. Their acting did not disappoint and made this series so good.
    **
    The final episode was really climactic — especially the scene where the father’s will is read (the same part you described) which was really suspenseful. The way the will ended up being read was very clever — basically Pung brought it upon himself because of his evil actions of pushing the family to give him part of of the business and all their earnings. If he hadn’t pushed them to the edge, no one would have known that the will even existed (except Xuet Nei and Law Lok Lam)…
    **
    This series is one of those rare gems that TVB neglects (like Greatness of a Hero) but the acting and storyline are so good that it reminds me of the quality series of the 80s and 90s. I’m actually not too surprised that this series was so good because it was produced by Lee Tim Shing and written by Cheung Wah Biu — they already proved their abilities with “Rosy Business” last year. It’s a shame that Cheung Wah Biu is leaving…I guess TVB won’t be producing any more “good” ancient series after “Rosy Business 2” is completed….

  2. I didn’t realize that this one from the same team (aka producer & writer) that was involved with “Rosy Business” since I probably neglected to read the details, lol. But I didn’t watch “Rosy Business” because of the whole hype surrounding it. NOT that I don’t trust the team that created it, but sometimes when there are too much hype, I would end up getting disappointed (many times in the past actually) so I have this little psychological thing set in already. So maybe I’ll try it in the future?

    I’m glad to know that you like it though since this series was like average to most people, considering how they kept criticizing on Elaine’s side. And YES, for Steven, Wayne, and the other male cast, it was definitely a strong pull. Or maybe those who didn’t like it were pushing toward the romance side? No idea but I thought it was worth watching and one of the best in my book too.

    More later? Since I lost my train of thoughts…lol.

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