The series itself was surprisingly good. It started out a bit slow and I thought it was just those typical Shanghai triads and those gangs going against each other. But its many twists and complicated stories were entertaining enough. It sure showed a different side to the genre. I honestly think that TVB is better at those Shanghai series more than its modern series in recent years. Sure, there has been good scripts and all of the modern series but the ending will always kill it. But in the Shanghai series, so far–I found them all nicely scripted and the ending was well planned–like The Charm Beneath, The Price of Greed, and now this. I’m sure there are many others in recent years, but these three so far met up to quality.
Unexpected one but I somehow restored my faith for Michael Miu after watching this. He managed to carry out his character convincingly enough. I guess it was one of those old group vibes from the ’80s or whatever else that made it happen. There were others also. And his chemistry with Anne Heung was interesting also since I didn’t expect it to work out. Quite a bit tragic and all, but not overdone. I was glad also that he didn’t end up with Anne’s character. Although I love to see them together as a team, I don’t like it if it was too gift-wrapped or it would be beyond cheesy and unrealistic, considering what had happened. At least both parties had come to accept what happened and still maintain a pure friendship.
Anne Heung did pretty well unlike her other bland out roles as a sacrificing party or the kind and nice person. Although this was somewhat like her previous roles as well, she was weak on the outside but very strong on the inside. She really matched wit per wit with Michael’s character. Great performance from her here and the ability to bring out the role so well.
Bosco and Shirley were a cute and funny pair. Nice ending also since it wasn’t too cheesy. Not sure if this was before or after The Price of Greed but they were really funny together in here as well and did give off a different feeling aside from the bro/sis sibling feeling like the other one. Bosco’s acting was decent as always, bringing out enough of the character without making it corny like some actors nowadays. (One of the good choices that TVB decided to promote really, considering their NOT so wise choices.) Really like his voice also as he did the theme song for the series itself. Luckily, they didn’t try to impress Michael by letting him sing, lol. NOT like it’s a bad thing, but might be over-doing it. Shirley sure improved and unlike what some others think, I actually agreed that she got the Most Improved Actress award. She really came a long way since she first started out with confusing expressions and gestures. But she really nailed her character recently, bringing out the emotional state as well as many other complex aspects that her character went through. Looking forward to future roles of her.
Derek Kwok – This was one of the roles that I felt he wasn’t robbed, lol. Great performance like always and very natural. A great role for him also. Can’t say much about his character ’cause I’m just impressed and don’t want to be repetitive.
Jimmy Au – A little disappointed that his character shall die but somewhat reasonable to the plot itself. It’s one of the rare roles that I like him in. Although he starred in a few series in the good old days, he wasn’t that impressive. In this one, it is one of those series I can say that he’s good. He makes his character real and funny at the same time in the beginning and quite tragic near the end.
Eddy Ko – If they cast him in any more villain roles, I’m going to assume his features stay that way, lol. I can’t distinguish if he’s acting or it’s his real expression anymore, lol. But it’s all right. Got to give him props for looking sincere enough at the beginning to deceive people, etc (like how he did to Michael’s character) and his colors showing more and more near the end.
Power Chan – Umm….another role for him although it seems major, it’s like they have nothing else to give him so decides to throw this at him. Nothing impressive but he seems quite uncomfortable or was it his character? Can’t tell. Love his performance in Lethal Weapons of Love & Passion more.
Sonija Kwok – Ummm…having her guest star as Michael’s wife is a bit OUTRAGEOUS. I don’t mind it since probably she met him when she’s quite young and those relationships do happen but it’s so funny that Shirley’s portraying Sonija’s daughter. They’re more like sisters. But luckily that they didn’t have scenes together or I’ll fall off the chair already. But still interesting to see her pair off with Michael at the beginning.
Although I have a bit of doubt about cast at times, but the whole plot was pulled together quite well and captured my attention somehow and got stuck till the end. Great series overall about Shanghai conflicts and those days when the police departments can be quite corrupt. Somehow it reminds me of Catch Me Now–maybe ’cause I watched that before and know that Catch Me Now is after, but still with the whole cop and robbers being friends. Somehow, I really like the friendship between Michael and Derek in here. They both only know of their friends and groups at the beginning and they couldn’t really co-exist, but later learn much more behind it and the gray areas, considering all the corruption going on at that time. Luckily, Derek’s character managed to stay true throughout without giving in to those bribes stuffs and all. The Shanghai background–although not really showing much but different stores and the inside of houses at times, but still entertaining to watch a different side of it.
Posted (on Xanga): September 24, 2008
Re-posted: Saturday, March 6th, 2010