Hong Kong Entertainment, Paul Chun, Tony Leung

The Rough Ride

I finally watched this series though I have it on my to-watch list awhile back. Watching this series somehow affected me more than I thought. Possibly because both Barbara Yung and Susanna Au Yeung passed away already. Not to mention Anita Mui, who sang the main theme so beautifully. There were many moments that I got teary-eyed, not because of the plot, but because of seeing old faces.
Anyway, back to the plot. At first, I thought TVB was going the daring route–because they rarely do that, mostly safe within their traditional shells as not to upset the viewers. However, I was wrong. What do I mean? I thought they were letting Lau Dan and Ha Yu portray a couple who was raising an adopted child and trying to survive in society, especially one might not be accepting them. It seemed that way with some details at the beginning. Even when they were trying to explain at the police station after that one time getting into a fight and the police officers were trying to get them to tell their story. I thought from their hesitation, the whole fighting over Jian Hong’s mother was a made-up story. Yet it seemed like it was true except for some details that were never clarified, because the plot didn’t want to focus there. Even Zhou Rong’s mother was chiding him for staying with Zhou Zhang You all these years–when he came home that one time to visit her after another dispute with the latter. Seriously, I was wrong. That was okay though since they had to move on, but I felt the plot was scattered everywhere thus causing details to be muddled throughout. I liked it that they were moving back and forth among different characters, but I didn’t like it that they were so inconsistent with different characters at times. It was frustrating to say the least.
Main Cast:

  • Tony Leung (梁朝偉) as Zhou Jian Hong (周劍虹). I felt this role wasn’t that special as in part of the Tony legacy in the old days. I think it was sort of a break for him. I think his best scene was his argument with Bi Hua/Barbara Yung when she was acting distance toward him since she didn’t want to cling to him just because he became rich. It was emotional and added more to their bond, because they finally talked about some things that actually mattered instead of feeling like they were stuck in a loop of not being able to communicate like previously. I guess his passiveness at times was a balance to some people’s extremeness in here. I liked him fine, until he listened to his father Zhou Rong to try to propose to Bi Hua so he could control her. Of course, he didn’t think it in that way, but I felt the proposal wasn’t as genuine as when they finally got back together at the end. I think he finally understood Bi Hua’s importance or realized he should cherish her more, because he admitted at one point that he used to think Bi Hua was more serious about their relationship than him. It was like a pride thing for him, but he figured he was going to have to gain her confidence in him again, not just taking her for granted like before. I guess I liked him for the most part, but what I was annoyed about was how he–along with the others–treated Shao Wen like she was Tian Wei’s possession or like a sure deal (even when they weren’t together yet). He didn’t like Shao Wen romantically and no one could force him, but I didn’t like how he and the others seemed to force Shao Wen to go with Tian Wei as well. Just because Tian Wei liked her, not letting her decide at all.
  • Barbara Yung (翁美玲) as Xie Bi Hua (謝碧華). I was watching the Viet-dubbed version so the person who dubbed for Huang Rong dubbed for her in here too so it was really funny and somewhat bittersweet at the same time. She was so stubborn and probably short of all the things Huang Rong could do and get away with, lol. But I really liked her. At least she was straightforward with her attitude. I liked that she was able to go train in England and became an even better cop with her new skills later. There were times that I didn’t like it either that she was using her boss as a shield, but I felt I could forgive her somewhat since at the beginning when she was trying to get rid of that one annoying pest, she actually asked her boss for help so he knew about it. Then later, it was her jealousy getting in the way so I felt like I should cut her some slacks and she did apologize to him (her boss) later. (I think, I hope.)
  • Ray Lui (呂良偉) as Jiang Tian Wei (江天偉). I didn’t think I could hate Ray Lui for a role he portrayed. Well, in Shanghai Bund, I think I was annoyed yet wasn’t feeling this strong hate toward his character. Aside from those assault scenes toward Shao Wen, I think the rest of Ray scenes were kind of subtle. Then it seemed interesting when he was undercover for the cops. Yet I felt the ending scenes were just there to bring his character up again or trying to make him active to wrap up the show. Or trying to make up for his past wrongs, which I didn’t care for. Yes, his character for me was fine. They had to ruin it like that. When, perhaps, the writers had this mentality about “love” or “assault” was how you get a girl OR whatever. But I didn’t want to let it slide just because. The writers totally downplayed those horrifying moments and brushed if off completely later on. Anyway, I also thought his character would become the villain later since his jealousy of Jian Hong escalated after some disagreements at the company yet it wasn’t so. In fact, he was probably the dumbass of the show. Sounds mean, but he was so easily manipulated by his uncle that I eventually got frustrated too. I got where he was coming from and felt sad for him that his mom was manipulating him and pressuring him, but the others stuffs he did, I couldn’t forgive him for.
  • Barbara Chan (陳敏兒) as Lin Shao Wen (林少文). A lawyer. I liked her having an awesome lawyer role. However, some of the plots sort of brought her character down. I actually liked the approach they (script-writers) did with making her so expressive and being almost best buddies with Jian Hong and how they seemed to have this connection. Yet the writers had to bring her character down later by making it confusing and manipulative in a way. I wondered if it was so they could somehow justify Tian Wei’s actions and then bring them together. I didn’t like the pressures people were giving her, her mother and others. Yet I didn’t like how she tried to jump in between Jian Hong and Bi Hua either.
  • Lau Dan (劉丹) as Zhou Rong (周榮). Jian Hong’s father. Mixed feelings throughout. I liked it that he wasn’t greedy and didn’t care for those fortune he suddenly stumbled into. Yet I felt he was too hot-headed at times. Also, I didn’t like how he treated Bi Hua later. It wasn’t like she was backing down, but he was seriously unreasonable. Who could stand it?
  • Ha Yu (夏雨) as Zou Zhang You (鄒長有). Jian Hong’s other father. Mixed feelings throughout as well. I was surprised he was more accepting of Bi Hua later on (brushing aside the conflicts with her father previously). Yet I was glad and in a way, he gained my point in that. I also liked that he wasn’t as greedy as he seemed to project at first. He didn’t latch onto Jiang Hong or Zhou Rong to get some advantage at the Yang family.
  • Susanna Au Yeung (歐陽珮珊) as He Pei Pei (何佩佩). It was a different role for her for me. I guess it was because I mostly saw her portray mature roles in the past so it was strange. NOT that her acting was strange, because she was a natural in it. She made her character lively and relatable. Although she was supposedly “not a good role model” or “good person” as some people had said in here or at least at first, but I really liked her. Perhaps, it was because of Susanna’s portrayal. Not to mention how Pei Pei’s character was redeemable, unlike her mother and sister whom conspired with others to trap Zhou Zhang You that one time. She didn’t have proper guidance growing up, but once she broke out of that toxic cycle and with the help of the people who truly cared for her, she was able to overcome her hardships and became  her own person again.
  • Lau Kong (劉江) as Yang Zhi Jian (楊志堅). Jian Hong and Tian Wei’s uncle. I felt like he wasn’t getting a break for the villain roles he was involved in back then, lol. Because I guess he did his part, but I felt it wasn’t anything new. Have to admit the character was indeed devious and despicable. He got what he deserved. Or maybe it was still too kind? I don’t know.

Supporting:

  • Lee Kwok Lun (李國麟) as Bi Hua’s boss. He was actually the true gentleman in here and was actually deserving of the nice guy title. But he wasn’t up in your face kind of nice guy and demanded that he should get something in return type of nice guys often seen in movies or TV series either. I felt like he was the most admirable among the young guys in here. As a cop, he was a good leader and everyone loved him. Although there wasn’t much to go on, but it was obvious with the way the other cops were reacting to him that he was a good boss and also a good friend. They really respected him during work and joked around with him when they were off work. He also liked Bi Hua, but he didn’t say it out until near the end. Yet he didn’t expect Bi Hua to accept him or anything, he was just joking that she was breaking his heart, lol. He didn’t mind that she used him to get Jian Hong jealous, but didn’t think it was good for them (Bi Hua and Jian Hong that was). People might be saying he had a doormat attitude and maybe that was why I liked him, but I felt like he was actually genuine among all the guys in here, even surpassing Jiang Hong. Perhaps, it was Lee Kwok Lun’s acting that made it so believable and not exuding any fake exterior, etc. (NOT saying Jian Hong was fake or Tony’s portrayal was poor. Just that like I mentioned above, I was sort of annoyed with Jian Hong for some stuffs too.)
  • Lau Siu Ming (劉兆銘) as Bi Hua’s father and Shao Wen’s legal assistant. Ming Sir and Barbara Yung also portrayed father and daughter in United We Stand (生銹橋王). It was interesting to see a different type of relation in here. Although he wasn’t my favorite character and was super annoying with his greedy nature at the beginning, I soon understand where he was coming from. It was so hard to earn money and all to survive. It wasn’t a good thing to do with how he was pulling his tricks at times, but I could forgive him for that, considering how he’d been trying his best all these years. Mixed feelings throughout but probably not the most hated character for me either.
  • Chun Wong (秦煌) as Da Peng (大鵬). Jian Hong and Tian Wei’s uncle. He was so cute in here, lol. He was probably the only kind person in the Yang family and truly cared for his family, unlike some others. He also was independent and had his own restaurant, pursuing his own passion. I actually thought he was the smartest because he wasn’t involved in those senseless family conflicts. And I never saw Chun Wong portrayed such a kind role before–or I might have missed it. Because he was always either too silly, stubborn, or was just plain annoying. So this was refreshing for me even though it was such an old series.
  • Bonnie Wong (黃文慧) as Bi Hua’s aunt. She was so funny and cool in here. I loved her character the most among the female side, aside from Bi Hua’s that was. She was really smart and witty. I liked it that she got guts and didn’t care what others think of her. But what sort of off with her character was how she let that annoying dude pursuing Bi Hua into the house time after time. Sure, she was just being polite, but I thought she shouldn’t let him in or give him information regarding their trip that one time. Yet that soon passed and I enjoyed her scenes majorly with Da Peng, because they both loved food and enjoyed many delicacies and fun moments together.
  • Paul Chun (秦沛) as Tian Wei’s father. He had a short story at the beginning of the story and then just phased into the background again. It was fine that no one was hogging he camera for too long, but I felt it wasn’t doing him justice. Or was it better he was one of the parties not causing trouble too?
  • Bak Yan (白茵) as Shao Wen’s mother. I usually like her role yet I didn’t really like it in here. Her acting was top-notch, but I just didn’t care for the character throughout. Yes, I felt very bad for her, having such a tragic life. Luckily, she was able to start anew in the end and knowing her family was all right again. However, I didn’t like it that she also contributed to forcing Shao Wen to get married or at least acknowledge Tian Wei. She later realized what was going on and sort of let her daughter choose, but it was sort of too late.
  • Bai Man Biao (白文彪) as Shao Wen’s father. He was sure despicable all right. They sure let him off easy later.
  • Kwan Hoi San (關海山) as Yang Zhao An (楊兆安). Jian Hong’s and Tian Wei’s grandfather. Although I understood that he wanted to protect his family and was somewhat saving face too, but I couldn’t forgive him for what happened. He knew Yang Zhi Jian was beyond help yet forbade Third Uncle to harm Yang Zhi Jian regardless. Like what? How was he supposed to help when he couldn’t take action? If he was strong enough, he could have just toss his son in prison and saved the rest of the family the trouble. Was saving face so important? Seriously. I didn’t like his miserable, pitiful acts either. Yeah, I know he was heartbroken and devastated of what happened, but I just didn’t care for him after I realized he wasn’t going to do anything anyway.
  • Felix Lok (駱應鈞) as Yang Zhi Jian’s right hand man. He was just latching on to the Yang family and only knew how to party so he wasn’t that useful. However, I thought he’d done his part of damage to the overall plot.
  • Richard Ng as a gangster boss. Well, not as much as some others in here, but he contributed in messing up other people’s lives so that counted for me.
  • Chu Tit Wo (朱鐵和) as Third Uncle. He was a gangster boss yet was somewhat too rash for his own good. He tried but he was responsible for harming Jian Hong at one point before investigating thoroughly so I didn’t blame the others for not trusting him later.

Others:

  • Bobby Au Yeung (歐陽震華) as car owner at the beginning. He was the guy who had his car inspected in the beginning yet was yelled at, lol. It was funny seeing him in there like that. He appeared later as well, but I wasn’t sure if it was the same role or just some random second role.
  • Tony Leung Hung Wah (梁鴻華) as Jian Hong’s friend. I liked him in The Return of Luk Siu Fung and Duke of Mount. Deer yet I couldn’t find anything to like him for in here. He was annoying. He was a terrible friend, having thrown Jian Hong under the bus too many times to be considered a friend. He also pestered Bi Hua to the point of excruciating that made me want to jump into the screen and slap him. He was basically like Tian Wei, except he wasn’t main so it was easy for people to hate him versus Tian Wei, but I felt they were almost the same. If Bi Hua wasn’t able to fend for herself and had others to help her, he would progressed to the point of Tian Wei too. Sure, he liked her and wanted to pursue her YET when he finally got turned down with a strong “no”, he didn’t get it and thought she was playing hard to get or whatever else. Bi Hua wasn’t that type of person and made it clear. (I didn’t like that one time she used him to extract information regarding Jian Hong either since that was seriously poor taste.) He was just trying to wear her down (like he admitted at one point). The fact that he tried to use suicide to get to Bi Hua was equally pathetic and somewhat hit too close to home. (Coincidentally, Barbara committed suicide at that time the drama was in the middle of airing using gas so that got me even more annoyed. Although I know TVB didn’t know and no one knew either regarding that, but that scene just added to the things that rubbed me wrong in here regarding the character.) And no, I don’t hate the actor, but found him exaggerating somewhat in here too versus his more natural act in other series.
  • Amy Hu (胡美儀) as Zou Zhang You’s on and off girlfriend. She appeared at the beginning of the series and then somehow disappeared and then appeared again near the end. I liked her, she was cute and funny in her own way.
  • Maria Chan (陳立品) as Jian Hong’s grand-aunt. I got where she was coming from but I didn’t like how she was acting high and mighty at times. Well, Yang Zhao An deserved it, but I didn’t think Pei Pei or Bi Hua deserved her rants at all. I got it that she was following her traditional ways or whatever, but that was so judgmental and so hard to relate to. Especially how she thought Bi Hua was jinxing her grand-nephew and how she wanted Bi Hua to quit her job just because Bi Hua was getting married to Jian Hong.
  • Kenneth Tsang (曾江) as Pei Pei’s rich boyfriend. Was that him? LOL! I swear it looked like him when he appeared briefly. The fact that he wore sunglasses didn’t help.
  • Michael Tao (陶大宇) as Bi Hua’s younger brother. I was initially annoyed with him because how he was so lazy and all. Yet I found him hilarious later.
  • Hui Kin Bong (許建邦) as Tian Wei’s assistant. I wasn’t sure if he was an analyst, a lawyer or another assistant at the office since he only appeared twice. But I thought his character had more potential for development than some in here.
  • Sandra Ng (吳君如) as Yang Zhi Jian’s lover. That was a surprise but that was back then so it wasn’t too strange to see Sandra appearing a little.
  • Shik Kien (石堅) as gangster boss. He was the real deal with all the badass gangsters in here since even Third Uncle was afraid of him.
  • Maggie Siu (邵美琪) as Anna. She owned a bar and was into Tian Wei when he was acting as a mole for the cop. Maggie was so gorgeous in here, and the role was mischievous yet playful that I felt it was too bad she wasn’t taking on some major role. What a shame yet I guess it had to be that way. Not to mention what surprised me was how it departed from her usual pitiful and/or tragic roles of back then. Yes, although her character was supposedly bad and didn’t care if Tian Wei was married or whatever, but I felt she was more honest about her motives than some people in here.
  • Wong Yat Fei (黃一飛) as boat owner at the pier. He was around at the second last episode where Yang Zhi Jian was trying to find a boat to escape. It was fun seeing him at long last. He was like Waldo of TVB, lol. You have to find him because he might not be getting an important role at times yet he was fun to watch and locate.

So, after all that rant, how was it overall? I thought Tony and Barbara Yung were cute together. Even though my mom mentioned that Barbara looked older than him, but I thought they were still cute. (Note, my mom loved Barbara too so it wasn’t like she was picking on her.) If the tragedy didn’t occur, I wonder if they had collaborated more for future series. It was one of those what-ifs in life. Second favorite couple in here must be Chun Wong and Bonnie Wong because they made me feel hopeful about humanity in general in the series’ world–at least. Aside from that, I felt that Susanna and Lau Dan weren’t that bad of a couple but their triangle involving Ha Yu really dragged the pace at one point and made me feel frustrated with the two men’s childish antics. Though I found it interesting that Susanna and Lau Dan also paired up in ATV’s The Ghostbuster Gang (捉鬼家族) years later, but I had watched that one first.
What about Ray Lui and Barbara Chan? I felt their characters ruined it for enjoying their chemistry–if at all. I got it that Shao Wen later realized with worrying for Tian Wei that she did love him, etc. (That was near the ending that she had the conversation with Jian Hong in the hospital during her mother’s operation.) Yet I didn’t like their initial start or the in-between at all. I didn’t like the emotional tortures that she had to go through with his pestering (and it was like how I mentioned it was with Bi Hua being pestered by that one guy as well). The fact that the assault scene happened and also bordering on rape (it wasn’t shown so I didn’t want to assume). I’m talking about that one time he was super frustrated and wanted to get her to talk BUT ended up force kissing her and she was terrified and yelled for him to stop and then the scene just jumped to the next day that she seemed to accept him. It was a terrible plot device and it totally thrown his character toward the hateful zone for me, even if it wasn’t before. I didn’t like that the writers used that type of setup for the characters to eventually get together and forced her to re-think. I already said that above when discussing their characters, but I felt like I need to put it here once again. The script-writers were downplaying assault and/or rape, not taking it seriously at all. What was even more terrible was how Tian Wei kept uttering out that she didn’t have to love him but couldn’t stop him from loving her. He could love her, BUT directly attacking her like that and forcing her? Even if the world was different back then, it still didn’t make it right AND I don’t have to accept it regardless. I thought it was best if they let the characters take it slowly and understand each other instead of forcing her like that. That scene was so traumatizing that it left a very bad impression on him throughout. The ending had a better setup. It seemed lame that she accepted him for saving her mother, but it wasn’t so since she realized when he disappeared that she cared for him. Why didn’t they go with that approach first? I didn’t like it either that there was plot inconsistency with people assuming they were together just because he liked her–at first. Then they dragged her character through the mud with her getting in-between Jian Hong and Bi Hua just to downplay Tian Wei’s assault scene–or all the things he did in general toward her.
Anyway, there were gaps and inconsistency at various points (as I said at the beginning of the review), like how some characters already knew each other or already got introduced yet was expected to be introduced again later. Or one of those like they seemed to have a gap. Other things, I already mentioned above so do not want to be too repetitive. But what was too obvious was the aqua/green dress with pink and yellow rims around the neck Barbara Yung wore at one episode near the beginning ended up being Barbara Chan’s sleepwear near the end. It was hilarious really.
What was fun to watch about this series that I have to admit was the majority of the cast–whether major or minor–were linked to the Condor trilogy one way or another. However, I still wouldn’t recommend as much for the plot. To me, it was one of Tony’s weaker series because I think the majority of Tony’s old series were quite good or considered good overall. It was just some details were inconsistent and frustration that I didn’t like it as much. It wasn’t the worse series of back then, because if you’d seen my reviews of my back-watching, some were worse.

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Felix Wong, Hong Kong Entertainment, Paul Chun

The Wild Bunch

First off, I had to scratch my initial comments since I felt I was still too lenient with the criticisms. Having watched most of Felix’s series already, I think I have the right to have a say in this. Like his other series, it usually starts with an interesting idea and it seems promising. Yet sooner or later, it would go downhill–minus all the Jin Yong adaptations and a few rare series. This was supposedly the Golden 80s so I expected A LOT. I just have to agree that they have good acting (for the majority) and nice costumes for ancient series. Those were the highlights. Plot-wise? NOT so much. It’s just that series nowadays at times lacks in the acting department so the plot sticks out like a sore thumb if it sucks. The good acting and the good costumes often masquerade some of the plot flaws back then. What was the whole deal about the plot that got me so disappointed? For the first ten episodes (aside from the first or so episode of the somewhat fast pace of introducing some key characters), the pace went from slow to a halt. Sometimes, there were somewhat of a happening that could be considered mystery because of the suspicious mute guy trying to assassinate Lei Hak Yung (or it looked like it), which I thought was the true hightlight of the show–since I expected the side dramas among the other adopted sons (with their competitions and all). Yet they waited until the almost last episode to reveal more about him and wrap up the series loosely. Seriously? Of the things that happened in the first ten episodes, about five (exaggerating but not too far from it) of them were focused on disagreements or side bickers between Felix and Idy’s characters. Then there was the obvious conflict between Lei Hak Yung and Jyu Wan–whether regarding the woman they supposedly “love” or for power. It was bouncing back and forth about how both paved the other out to be the monster yet I felt it was on the dot when On Ging Si’s adopted father said that both weren’t any better with their senseless fights. Oh yeah, did I mention it was never revealed what was the purpose of all these whole conflicts until near the end? It was revealed by the mute guy that Lei Hak Yung wanted to eliminate threats and major powers before overthrowing the current king to become the king himself. Sure, most of his recruitment of various talented characters in here showed that he was in for some big plan YET it wasn’t focused on to see where the plot was going. I didn’t mean that the plot was confusing, I just meant the writers didn’t know what they wanted so they just tossed in some random stuffs until the end to wrap it up. It was just a mess, like so unorganized that by the time it was wrapping up, you didn’t learn much or care anymore. I’m saving other rants for later.

Main Cast:

  • Felix Wong as On Ging Si. It wasn’t like he was dumb, not totally, but his character like some in here lacked consistency. Sometimes he was bright–or seemed that way. Yet another time, he was just plain clueless. I’m not talking about love stuffs either. I’m talking about the whole knowing Hong Kwan Lei was a devious character and not knowing how to draw up a good plan for it.
  • Idy Chan as Princess Wan Lo. Mixed feelings throughout. Like others in here, the writers didn’t know how to develop her character either. At times, we could see she was righteous and care for others (the part where she helped with that one case of the missing women). At other times, she was the typical spoiled brat (which was the recurring theme throughout). Yet it wasn’t all that either. I got it that she was complicated and have the right to be just like any one of us. But I felt either the writers were trying to get us to hate her or was just unclear of what they wanted for her. The constant arguments with On Ging Si at first had fused a lot of frustrating moments to say the least. Although I was glad they didn’t make Idy boring BUT I didn’t think it was a good idea to make her character so inconsistent either. I didn’t mean she had to act one way or another at times, but some of the things she said in one scene conflicted itself in another scene. One could argue she had matured since some previous episodes, but it just didn’t make sense or allow for character developments to convince.
  • Kent Tong as Hong Kwan Lei aka Ching Lung. He was beyond despicable and possibly even scarier than Lei Hak Yung. Yet too bad they decided to not use his character well in the last few episodes. It was like building his character up and ready for the final battle yet the final battle was SOOOOO anti-climatic.
  • Stephen Tung as Sik Seut. The comedian in the series. Yes, every series had one of those yet he delivered nicely and was probably my second favorite character in here. He was much, much smarter and it helped a lot more since he was cunning. It was a good one to have when trying to go against Hong Kwan Lei. I was scared he was going to die at one point since every other characters were dropping dead left and right. Sure, I know the consequences when they were all stuck in the mess, but that didn’t help with hoping that at least he survived. Ironically, I got my wish and the other characters’ ending were tragic.
  • Austin Wai as Si Ging Si. He was actually my favorite in here yet he just had to face with another tragic ending. Yes, his character was my favorite and he used to be one of my favorite actors. He was both smart and talented in his martial arts. He was just hot-headed sometimes thus leading to some of the major problems later. I was impressed with him when he managed to help his “siblings” avoided the falling down the spikes trap in one of the episodes.
  • Paul Chun as Lei Hak Yung. It was obvious he was up to something from the start, but the execution of the plot just made him less powerful. I know, they had to focus on developing other characters and subplots in here too, not just focus on him all the time YET like I said, it felt unorganized when the writers didn’t focus on the right stuffs regarding him–as well. His character was menacing, but when it mattered, the writers didn’t go forward with it. They just showed some cunning and scheming here and then moved on to another story-arch and then kept downplaying his techniques so he became somewhat of a background character for Hong Kwan Lei’s traps (and interestingly HKL also got tossed aside like I said earlier to make way for some other story-arch to wrap up the series).
  • Lau Siu Ming as Jyu Wan. At times, it wasn’t really clear if he was any better than Lei Hak Yung but I think he had loyalty on his side since the majority of his “brothers” were always there for him versus the whole betrayal thing on the other side.
  • Maggie Li as Sam Mung Sin. She was part of the reasons the men fight but I thought that was just a lame excuse to fight so I didn’t blame her on that front. What I did blame her for was not keeping her words with Lei Hak Yung. Yeah, it would be insane to say that I side with Lei Hak Yung for anything. But I felt it was despicable of her to trick him into saving her husband that one time and then saying that Lei Hak Yung was despicable. You can’t criticize him or think the worst of him when you’re using him in the same way for your means. Seriously?

Others:

  • Elaine Chow as Ling Lung. I never  got over how she got killed off just like that. I knew it was inevitable since they needed to move on and sacrifice her so he could enter the Lei resident and also somehow fall in love with Wan Lo. But seriously? I felt like Ling Lung ended up being a plot device to enhance Ging Si’s character with how loyal he was, still keeping her old gifts, etc.
  • Bak Man Biao as On Gaai Fu. On Ging Si’s adoptive father. I think he was the most right about both Lei and Jyu when he told Ging Si about about the fighting with both sides. Yet I guess that was why he had to be killed off to further other people’s means.
  • Isabella Wong as Siu Fung. She wasn’t really my favorite for some series I watched of hers, but I felt this one was more than meets the eyes. Yet they also made it somewhat inconsistent like Idy’s or trying to go into a loop with the plot at times regarding her situation. But what was outright obvious at the end was her bravery. I knew something was up when she was looking at the structures. Like I knew she was forming a plan in her mind yet didn’t realize she went that far.
  • Lau Mei Man as Ah Taan. Wan Lo’s maid. I thought she was cute at the beginning. Didn’t realize she became a major character later, which was cool. Interestingly, she made it to the end. Not that I didn’t like that but like once the plot finally moved forward, I thought she would get trapped in the ongoing battles–which she did–and somehow lose her life too (which didn’t happen).
  • Lau Kwok Shing as Lei Chyun Gong aka the 3rd general. Got killed off by Ching Lung in one of the earlier episodes. He was used as a tool to fuse the others’ hatred for Jyu Wan. Although Ching Lung did the killing but Lei Hak Yung was tenfold more despicable on that front.
  • Cheng Ka Sang as Lei Chyun Lung aka the 4th general. He was seriously in for good as well, thinking he was on the right side by the time the plot was wrapping up. Yet too bad.
  • Tse Ming Chong as On Yau Yau. A servant. He was overlooked by others (and even viewers) from the start. Then near the end played a major part, which was a nice twist yet wasn’t properly developed.
  • Stephen Yip as Mou Yin Hung. Jyu Wan’s general. One of the loyal people by Jyu Wan.

Relationships:

  • Felix and Idy. The fact that their somewhat of a romance started right after Lung Ling died didn’t help their case for me, especially with Mister I’ll-Never-Love-Anyone-Else-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life. Yes, I had to put that in since there was one point he was talking to Sik Seut and Sik Seut asking him if he wanted to consider Wan Lo. Yet later on, I just had to get used to it. It could work, but Lung Ling left an impression on me so I wasn’t really sold on this couple. The other reason was that I kept thinking the whole time while watching was Felix/Barbara and Andy/Idy. YES, although this one was before the other two series, but I watched those first and it had left an impression on me (as well as others who had watched it ages ago). Their chemistry wasn’t too bad but I felt it was somewhat lacking comparing to their other co-stars. Although I must say she was a better match with Tony (although I didn’t like her in The Grand Canal at all.)
  • Felix and Elaine. It wasn’t like their chemistry was amazing or anything, but their simple story at first stuck with me. Many might say she was boring, typical “good” girls of back then–and usually I hate those gentle ones too (just because they were usually fake with how the plot loved to develop it or tried so hard) yet Elaine’s acting had pulled me in with her character. Although she just appeared for like two episodes but she made an impression for me throughout. I seriously like her with Tony more, of course, but plot-wise for in here, I really liked her.
  • Austin and Isabella. The tragic couple. I had a gut feeling they wouldn’t make it. I meant the happy ending theme, considering how his past stories went in other dramas I watched–although this was before. I think they were considered an actual couple in here that no one had doubts about, most series has one. They were it and somehow with their story, it managed to move the plot forward. Whoever called it, it worked. Yet I wished they had made better decision for the main plot.
  • Lau Siu Ming and Maggie Li. Creepy. Okay, that was mean, but I’m not used to watching older people getting all mushy and cuddly, lol. I guess they weren’t bad together but I was just more interested in the main plot. I thought they along with Lei Hak Yung would drive forward the plot but it kept bouncing back and forth between who was right or wrong or whatever.

Flaws/Goofs/What-in-the-world moments:

  • Inconsistency. A LOT of it like I said throughout this review. If it wasn’t character inconsistency (minus people trying to keep secrets–of course–or if there was a reason for them to change their minds, I got that those parts were essential), it was plot gaps. So they managed it with some of the mystery, but the whole conflicting details at times made it frustrating. Not to mention mind boggling since I wonder if they had anyone to check the whole product before they released it. The problems didn’t start with recent series, BUT it had been way back.
  • Obvious GOOFs. One of the scenes it happened was when Hong Kwan Lei tried to poison Jyu Wan at the bath/spa room/whatever the world they called it back then that I forgot (lol) and he ran out after having somewhat recover. The battle continued up until the confrontation with On Ging Si and Si Ging Si at the arranged meeting location for some battle, which On Ging Si had convinced Si Ging Si not to kill Jyu Wan when he had been injured like that (i.e. not using despicable means or take advantage of the situation). All that made sense, but I’m talking about the episode jump. Like the beginning of the next episode, Jyu Wan was still running YET he was now fully clothed. He was wearing the white robe earlier SO how in the world did he manage to stop for clothes in the mist of running? They had an invisible rest stop I wasn’t aware of? Seriously? What were they trying to pull? Again, does anyone ever watch it again to check? (This had happened in LOTCH too and that was a major production so don’t start throwing excuses around.) Anyway, there were other goofs but this one stuck out the most with me.
  • WORST FINALE EVER. NOT because the majority of the cast died, including the leading lady. First, they killed Hong Kwan Lei with just two people–who were defeated by him previously. Okay, that one could be explained that over time On Ging Si’s skills had improved and even Sik Seut’s skills improved after the last attacks. However, On Ging Si said that he was afraid he might not win since Hong Kwan Lei’s skills had reached another level. SO what was that? Him lying to Wan Lo so they have more cuddle time? Or was that just his pessimistic nature? Then there were the other two who helped Hong Kwan Lei during the battle. I got it that Hong Kwan Lei could have won in the past because of his underhanded techniques and tricks. I got that throughout. Interestingly, Hong Kwan Lei was the only formula that never changed in the whole plot. He was consistent throughout–with his skills and personality. Yet I felt the final battle was so anti-climatic and ended in just seconds. Then what did the writers do for the rest of the time? Finally revealing that On Yau Yau was the actual son of Lei Hak Yung, which was a major surprise–and a good move. YET it went downhill from there (like it could get any worse but it did). Because they soon let him become Hong Kwan Lei #2–well in the making since he didn’t have the cunning that was Hong Kwan Lei. But it was just a mess after trying to rush forward with convincing us that the focus was on him, which wasn’t really. He lacked the trickery of his father as well so it wasn’t like we could see him as a threat for anyone. The mute guy was finally revealed in like the second last episode (or so) and a rush of explanation of his role in this. It made sense to keep the suspense going for a while with his identity BUT I felt it should have been revealed a little earlier so the final focus would be them trying to go against Lei Hak Yung. They let Hong Kwan Lei ruled the scenes for the majority of the time and then killed him off in seconds, then decide that they should now focus on bringing Lei Hak Yung down? Seriously? Not to mention the scenes leading up to how things became the way they did, which led to my next point.
  • WORST HOSTAGE SITUATION EVER. I felt that was really insulting the viewers. I think it’s safe to say that not all of us have been in hostage situations, but we at least get the idea what it’s about. How in the world did the writers make our hero that dumb? On Ging Si had a good plan–supposedly to save Wan Lo. He won Lei Hak Yung by element of surprise and captured him. He eventually used Lei Hak Yung as a hostage to save Wan Lo. Then he had to blow it! What possessed him to go in the house AND not request that On Yau Yau bring Wan Lo out as an exchange? Didn’t he see all those guards surrounding the house? Another thing he could have done was tell them to bring out the horses (which it was a request later BUT after they were trapped in a cage already). Seriously? Yes, I said that a lot already but I couldn’t believe it got dumber and dumber by the second. Then talking about On Yau Yau’s side, I swore they all knew Lei Hak Yung was in On Ging Si’s hands YET they still shot a bunch of arrows up there? What were they expecting? That the arrows bounced right back? Seriously! I initially thought On Yau Yau wanted to use the chance to off his father as well so he could take over sooner. YET it didn’t seem like the case and it was an accident with the incident. All of it was dumb and unnecessary. Yet the only explanation was to let Sik Seut show off his skills in fending the enemy and helped with the getaway.

Recommended? Ignore the freaking damn plot (or lack of it) and you might enjoy it for the cast. Just look at the beautiful people and forget about logic and reasoning or what the world the purpose is supposed to be. Yeah, that was it for me.

Janine Chang, Kingone Wang, Paul Chun, Taiwanese Entertainment, Vic Chou, Xiu Jie Kai

Black & White

Okay, I finally watched it after much failed attempts. I had to hunt down the Viet-dubbed version so I could watch with my mom. (LOL!)
First things, the starring cast:

  • Vic Chou as Chen Zai Tian aka Pi Zi. Hilarious! A totally different role for Vic aside from his other morbid roles or borderline of morbid? I actually really enjoy his role despite his character’s loud-mouth at times. Typical good guy with a smart mouth that could make others hate him, BUT I honestly didn’t. He made it so funny that it was hard to hate him. There were also serious scenes worth mentioning, quite emotional. But to be fair (since I picked on Ivy/ Chen Lin too), I had no idea what his character was up to at times. Perhaps it was the effects of his mysterious nature and not really sure if he was indeed the mole OR some other characters with an alternative aside from the surface with his laid back nature. I swear! He made it so suspicious that it got my nerves since I was so scared they did this approach–IF that was the case. But I have to credit Vic for pulling it quite well with deceiving us. And should I say it was really nerve-wrecking waiting for his real identity to reveal? Sure was intriguing all right. There were so much going on with the twists and turns that I felt among all in here, he was the most pitiful because everything he thought he had and was supposedly be real was not. BUT somehow he got through all of that. I’m so going to miss him in the movie sequel.
  • Mark Chao as Wu Ying Xiong. Okay, it was getting really creepy when I was trying to watch the Mandarin version because his voice sounded really like Sam Wang SO after hunting down the Viet-dubbed version, it eliminated the little distraction. Mark sure had to run a lot in here! He got to do a lot of cool stunts. Darn! I’m not sure what to say about the character really since I’m not really into the ‘hot-headed’ characters as much BUT I guess I do understand his righteous nature. (I prefer the quiet, observant type more SO it’s not like I’m siding with Vic’s character to pick on him. But I guess it’s part of the chemistry with the whole Pi Zi Yi Xiong SO Ying Xiong just have to be the hot-headed, serious one while leaving the comedy part to Pi Zi.) One thing I have to give him credit for is not caving in to Chen Lin’s temptation and crossing the line. I meant okay, he liked her but he wasn’t obsessed to the point of helping her blindly, etc. He wanted to the do everything the right way, not wanting to change his principle for a girl, etc. But somehow, it was a bit ironic to fall for Mu Sha’s schemes later. I guess it’s understandable since they had a past and he thought she really liked him. (AND she really did later.)
  • Ivy Chen as Chen Lin. I don’t know. It was very, very hard to get into her character though I realized how cool her character could be with being able to kick ass at times too. YET I think it might be Ivy. NO, not picking on the newbie since she isn’t a newbie technically (since she appeared in various dramas before). Perhaps it was harder to see her cute side at times or her attempted cute scenes. Oh yeah, what was even harder was seeing how her character development was going downhill after the initial kick ass scenes at the beginning with her slamming Pi Zi/ Vic at their first meeting–and then those other scenes where she fought the other guys. It gradually passed but the dragging with the relationships was killing me–or more like my patience. After all, I’m not so sure if it was Ivy or the character development that made it more confusing to sympathize with. SO it’s colorful and interesting in its own right, but like I said before, the character totally went downhill or somewhat got side-track. Conclusion: The script-writers killed her character major time by trying to make it complex YET failed miserably. AND oh yeah, Chen Lin’s other crime was being mad and bossy toward Xiao Ma. (What the heck was that telling him to report to her when he found more info? That was the scene near the end where her father was kidnapped.)
  • Janine Chang as Lan Xi Ying. I actually like her character. And how she portrayed it. A passive character yet not too passive because she only talked or acted whenever she needed to. And like I mention above, I usually like the observant type SO she fitted my type of favorite more. (Even if this was a male character instead of female, I still pick a character like her.) I was pondering if she was the mole at times too. I swear! Even if it made it like she was framed. NOT because that one dude made it like that was her who faked everything, but I suspected her before that. Or maybe I like her character too much so I was afraid she might be the mole. The mole is usually the quiet ones who are being helpful and quiet (so as not to draw attention) so that was why I thought it was her at first. There was also the whole idea of her being used by the others to get information with Pi Zi’s fingerprints, etc. It was too frustrating. Like driving me insane. But I guess because she really thought those superiors were working for the good. Still, her trusting nature was too much–and I guess she had to pay for it later. The near ending scene was cool though since it was unexpected that she knew how to shoot like that. I guess it was really one of those life-threatening things and the opportunity presented itself (aka there was a gun available) versus past times when she did not have anything to fight back with.

Notable performances:

  • Kingone Wang as Gao Yi. I don’t care if he only appears in the first few episodes. His performance is still worth mentioning. He really convinced me with his portrayal as the psycho who unleashed the drug ‘Dreamer’ and wanting to take everyone to ‘Heaven’ as he claimed. It was creepy and it wasn’t just because of the make-up team doing a great job with the image, but his crazy behaviors throughout.
  • Paul Chun as Lao Tou. Honestly, love Paul. He never lost it! Never fail to deliver regardless of how long he appear. This is called professionalism. This is called the love of acting. A great veteran actor as always. Love the parts where he appear.
  • Xiu Jie Kai as Ma Xiao Ming aka Huang Shi Kai aka Q. His intro scene was hilarious! Come on now, no one would know he was some shooter, LOL! Maybe that was the whole point, appearing least suspicious as possible. His boyish aura really block the whole threatening vibe at times. I meant like how he was acting so innocent when they were talking to him when he was at his hotdog stand BUT he seemed so much more scary when he was out and about, lurking in the dark, etc. Oh yeah, I especially like the stunts created for his character, like the part where he did the back flip to try and get out of Ying Xiong’s grasp. So slick! Another scene was when he was rescuing Chen Lin from BOSS and group. He was just so awesome–without even trying. So what if he got shot later? His character was just so awesome. (TO ME.)
  • Sonia Sui as Lei Mu Sha. OMG! She was so scary. She creeped the world out of me with her technique. It wasn’t just being a beautiful agent. It was her menacing looks and actions that made it so chilling. And I never doubted the emotional scenes she had with Mark the other times. A character bordering on the edge, not sure if we should hate her or pity her.

Why didn’t I list the main cast? Um…hey, they were the main cast. They got to be main cast, so I don’t think I need to say much more. Mark also won ‘Best Actor’ and also got recognized so I think that should already say something. If I say more toward or against it, it would end up being either I’m sucking up to him OR I’m being a sore loser (aka rooting for someone else). SO playing safe to only talk about the supporting cast and/or guest stars.
Surprises:

  • Allen Chao as South District Director. I don’t doubt his acting–ever. But thanks to my mom, I finally remember why he looks sooo familiar. He used to be in those Bao Qing Tian ones, BUT I stopped watching TW stuffs for a while so it didn’t catch on with me. It wasn’t surprising that he was the mole though. ‘Cause honestly, he had too much power and the way things kept happening around them. Not to mention even the North District Director was involved. It would make sense that he was involved too.
  • Xiao Lu was the mole. Eh…this was defnitely something shocking. I kept suspecting Xi Ying at times, lol. BUT it made sense since Xiao Lu kept playing the role of an innocent and cute girl. And how she kept insisting on helping them, but it was just her way of asking questions and/or extracting for information in her own way.

Worth-mentioning scenes:

  • The part where Mark was climbing on the train, trying to get inside. Whoa, sure live up to the hype of the action.
  • The part where Mark and Kingone had their fight on the train. Another intense scene. Kudos to the production team.
  • Vic tried to talk Kingone into surrendering. Then Kingone turned around and shoot Mark BUT Vic shoot him (Kingone) in time so Mark was able to arrest Kingone. Sort of  a hint of possible collaboration for the future. BUT of course Pi Zi had to run his mouth and ruined the bond again. That was probably for the intended formula of the creators though.
  • Vic running after Reen when he spotted her in the bar. Emotional scene though not sure what was going on yet.
  • Vic mourning for Reen’s death. This was after the explosion. That was worth a lot of points. It was devastating and traumatizing rolled into one. (IF only someone would stop appearing and yakking too much. Lucky he escaped and mourned on his own again.) I totally felt it and almost cried with him. (ALMOST…) Then those scenes in between with his devastated state, browsing through the streets mindlessly. AND okay, I did cry at the part where Ying Xiong finally confronted Zai Tian after having found him already–all beaten up. I think only Ying Xiong had the right to yell at Zai Tian though. ‘Cause I’m a tad confused if Chen Lin was addressing him as a friend or a jealous girl. Though what she said was right to an extent but I kept having a feeling she was just jealous of Xiao Mei with her implication of saying that Xiao Mei was ‘just some girl’. Too sour to even sound like a friend. But the most touching part must be where Ying Xiong finally hugged Zai Tian and comfort him and how Zai Tian finally cried out. One of the classic phrases must be the part where Pi Zi said, “None of these are real, only she is.” (Referring to his past and current identities.)
  • The part where Vic was confronting Paul regarding to his identities. Totally worth a lot of points. Should I even say more about Paul’s acting? (Guess not.) But Vic was really good in it. Especially like the lines used in this part too. (Kudos to the script-writers of course.) What if he rather live the life that he had earlier? He still wanted the choice to be made by him, not controlled by others.
  • The part where Vic was confiding with Janine regarding his feelings of losing a family member (aka Xiao Mei). A really touching scene though it seemed so, so subtle but worth a lot of tears. She didn’t just say those comforting words about “don’t be sad” or those lame phrases. She just shared with him the time she lost her father. And the stories really tied in with one another. It made him realized they were indeed going through the same feelings. Though her father passed away ages ago but that did not mean it would fade away.
  • The part where Vic found Janine and carried her into the hospital and its following parts. Another touching scene. He couldn’t believed she went through so much for him. NOT because she had alternative motive, but because she knew what was like to want to find out the truth, i.e. like her father’s case.
  • The part where Vic and Ivy found out they are siblings. Well, sorry to say but I never cheered any louder. Just because I didn’t have to see Vic and Ivy together anymore. It was really sad for Zai Tian since he was suddenly tortured in between being a cop, being abandoned and suddenly having a father – and a sister. Too much to take in. And how he had to choose between being a cop and going with his gang father.
  • The part where Mark confronted Vic with crossing the line. It was hilarious yet sad at the same time since Zai Tian said how lucky Ying Xiong was, etc. Ying Xiong had no idea how Zai Tian had to choose and all the conflicts.
  • The part where Vic said his subtle goodbye to Janine in the lab. I don’t know. Every time seeing their interaction is just so touching and meaningful. Not many words are exchanged but the feeling is so genuine.
  • The part where Mark confronted Vic on the bridge. Ying Xiong had no idea. Zai Tian finally revealed his identity as Lao Tou’s son. What a shocking one for Ying Xiong really. And the hallmark of the scene was how Ying Xiong told Zai Tian to beat him. He really didn’t want to let them go yet with family, it was so hard. I finally could see the bond between the two. A genuine friendship. I was glad it took that for Ying Xiong to cave in and NOT because Chen Lin begged.
  • Mark drinking at the bar and mumbling away incoherently. Subtle, short, but said a lot.
  • Vic and Mark’s talk at Mark’s car. It was so meaningful yet not too serious. Zai Tian actually asked about Ying Xiong’s well being with being demoted again, NOT like someone who only cared about whether she had a brother or not. (LAME!) Anyway, it seemed like their interaction was smoother than the past. I was getting more addicted to watching them–mostly as a team.
  • The part that Vic and Mark were talking in the parking lot after Mark got kicked off the force. Another scene where they were bonding. Ying Xiong could feel the irony of the situation since he always thought Pi Zi would be the one who got kicked off first, considering how he was always not serious about his work, being careless, etc. Then Pi Zi vouched that he would hunt down ‘that woman Lei Mu Sha’ and make her pay. That was really touching. It showed their bond had went up another level. Beyond just being partners aka on the same team. But it was about being friends.
  • The part where Vic found out he’s not really Paul’s son AND that his world was turning upside down again. Another worth mentioning scene. Could Vic get any better than that? (Yeah, I’m just amazed since this is just my 2nd time watching his series SO…) The scene was indeed very emotional. From having a family to losing it all again. False hope was the worst of it all.
  • The part where Vic was walking along the street and remembering about the past. I totally felt that one though there was no tears, not really. Just anger and frustration. From having a mother to seeing her pass away. From not having anything to having. Then from thinking he found his family again YET it was all one big mistake. The world tumbling down all on him at once. The world was becoming confusing again. Yet it was possibly because he was so numbed now that he no longer could cry? Just frustrated – which he had every right to. Though he benefited from all the luxury all these years, but his emotional state has been so badly damaged.
  • The part where Vic made the decision to pull the electricity wire together so Ivy could open the door to save Mark. I don’t care about her reactions since it distracted my observation of the guys’ bonding. Yet it was really something seeing Pi Zi making such a huge decision in risking his life like that. The admittance with Pi Zi afterward of losing everything, etc was really something also. What I really like about the whole thing was seeing how Pi Zi admitted his wrong (though it was because he was hurting) and even apologized to Ying Xiong for betraying him (Ying Xiong)–previously. Then the conversation between how Ying Xiong was asking about their mother. Indeed, they were brothers in a way.
  • The part where Sonia died. I must be crazy to even cry but seriously, it was that tragic. All the things she did wasn’t even forgivable. Yet what she said at the end was really something, which was: “I never got to choose, but now I get to choose not to kill you.”
  • The part where Mark was talking on the phone with Vic after Sonia’s death. That was really something. And yes, finally Ying Xiong was breaking through, giving up hope about uncovering the truth. An emotional scene indeed. We often seen Pi Zi breaking down a lot more than Ying Xiong but I guess Mu Sha’s death was the ultimate breakdown for him. The only person who loved him (aside from his mother) and left him just like that.
  • The part where Vic and Janine were hugging each other goodbye. Well, it was more like Xi Ying was hugging him instead of him initiating it, but it was so genuine between them. Man, I never waited for anything longer than that. Seriously, it’s mega-cute despite the situation. I’m also glad they didn’t exchange those “I love you” or anything OR it would be too fake or too much. Since I know that they were relying on each other for support and understanding because of similar situations they went through. I didn’t mind at all if they had hugged all night. LOL! But that’s unrealistic though.
  • The last battle. Totally worth the wait though I didn’t like the dragging parts in the middle. Honestly, it was too exciting! Xiao Ma’s opening scene with the battles. Then later Pi Zi scenes–of course! How could he be so careless as to get shot down so quick? Awww…I was looking forward to some awesome scenes BUT he got up again and saved Ying Xiong so I guess that should make up for it, LOL! But still, the following parts of the fight with the three guys and then the battle with BOSS made up for it all. Those scenes were awesome! Pi Zi still found time to be funny? LOL!
  • The part where Vic realized Reen wasn’t dead yet. Man, only flashback images could capture the scenes. And they did it really nice. Imagine the shock. Imagine the last piece of his life he thought that was genuine also being part of the fake picture as well.
  • The chase! Yeah, the one on the boat. But I swear it reminds me of Tokyo Raiders so much. Still cool though. Hahaha! Pi Zi was killing me with his taunting and his shooting method! LOL! And their arguments were present again.

NOT COOL:

  • Ying Xiong didn’t bother clarifying that it was actually Zai Tian who carried Chen Lin on his back on the train scene. WHAT?! Okay, I rather see Mark and Ivy together since I’m sort of rooting for Vic and Janine. BUT seriously? Why didn’t Ying Xiong clear it up with Chen Lin when she asked him? (So he cleared it up later but that was when he was so mad he didn’t care about pleasing her anymore. Still…LATE!)
  • Ying Xiong let Xi Ying edge out of the get together awkward moment on her own outside the bar. SO Ying Xiong didn’t know that Zai Tian invited Xi Ying as well. BUT Ying Xiong didn’t like Xi Ying, right? SO why would he let things drag or act guilty all of a sudden? He looked like he was guilty of something. What was even worse was how Ying Xiong offer to see Xi Ying off YET he did not have to do it AND did not have to encourage her more. (I didn’t say he have to force himself to like her since it was his choice after all, but it was not cool encouraging her at times, leading her on with not saying anything. Trying to be the nice guy doesn’t help.) AND of course she knew her case was already hopeless so she had to try and edge out of the situation and reduce the awkwardness on her own. So much for being a ‘hero’. (OR he liked Xi Ying before BUT not anymore since he found a better choice? BUT that was too lame still…)
  • Chen Lin kept nagging Pi Zi regarding how important Xiao Mei was to Pi Zi. She had no freaking right regardless of how she tried to defend herself. Honestly to say, like he said, would she take a look at him with half of an eye IF he was still in his previous image/ appearance? Like looking decent right now. Regardless of who Xiao Mei later came out to be, she was still a person of great importance to him because she did not look down on him when he was not in such a good condition. Like he said, aside from his mother, only she (Xiao Mei) treated him well.

Triangles:

  • The Zai Tian-Xi Ying-Ying Xiong triangle. I found it truly amusing at times with this triangle even if Ying Xiong isn’t interested in Xi Ying in that way. It was funny how Ying Xiong had to protect Xi Ying from Zai Tian’s pass at times. And what was that with Ying Xiong questioning Xi Ying when he saw her using Zai Tian’s cup to drink water? Hmmm…OKAY…
  • The Zai Tian-Chen Lin-Ying Xiong triangle. Honestly, I don’t care. Like I said earlier, I was rooting for Vic and Janine so it doesn’t matter. Moreover, I found it strange that Zai Tian and Chen Lin could be a possibility because don’t they have the same last name? Even if they’re not blood-related, it’s still weird. But this is just me. So of course I would prefer the Mark and Ivy pairing and couldn’t care less. But I was utterly confused at the beginning from time to time that Chen Lin seems to like Ying Xiong yet she was eyeing Xi Ying with some sense of jealousy when Zai Tian was being closed to Xi Ying AND NOT because Ying Xiong was interacting with Xi Ying. Huh? Too distracting. I don’t know. It got even more and more confusing throughout – from time to time. Like it’s on and off between who Chen Lin decides to be with or cares for. Too ironic. Her worry for Zai Tian isn’t just about friends BUT it goes way pass that. She needs to choose one guy and stick with him or convince better as of who she likes. (*NOTE*: Okay, so we found out later that Pi Zi’s not really Chen Zai Tian aka just a fake name BUT I just don’t want him to be the interruption or in between factor of the other two, making others hate him.) Oh yeah, I thought she was confused with her feelings at times, which might be true YET it feels like she’s using Ying Xiong to make Pi Zi jealous. It seems that way. I don’t know. It’s just too confusing and distracting – like I said before and many times already. AND then it was revealed that she actually like Pi Zi BUT so what? Using Ying Xiong was so wrong. OR she was confused. Yet I guess it was obvious that she likes Pi Zi but that goes right back to me saying how she was using Ying Xiong. SO messed up.

Pairings:

  • Vic and Janine. OMG, they’re so cute! I don’t care if they have such a short gap of time together. It’s just too amusing seeing how he teases her at times. He even gave her a cup for drinking purposes, instead of using those similar glasses to the ones they used at the lab. (YUP, that experience at his first visit was already too traumatizing, LOL!) The fact that they’re more in sync with one another made it addicting to watch. Yes, he was loud and all at the beginning. But as the story developed, they seemed to have more in common and understanding the pain one another went through more than anything. It was a bond others could not understand.
  • Mark and Ivy. The typical tragic pairing. I meant regarding how he’s a cop and she’s the daughter of some triad boss. I guess they do match. Yet I’m not too involved with their relationship. Just call me confuse! ‘Cause I was too distracted with other things to pay attention. AND I can’t be forced to like every single pairing out there, right? I meant regarding their story. That’s all.
  • Mark and Sonia. I don’t know. It seemed so different–OF COURSE. Yet I felt their chemistry right away upon seeing her arrival at the police headquarter. I don’t know. It was their brief exchange with her smile and his stare. This is not just because I’m a major fan of Sonia. BUT because for some weird, weird reason, it just clicked with me just seeing them together like that. (I must confess I was a bit against it while reading spoilers and not knowing the gap of the story in between. So yes, I was really surprised to enjoy their chemistry.) Regardless of how twisted their story developed and turned out, I was still more convinced in regard to a romantic relation. The most tragic scene must be her death scene, which was already mentioned above, with her being able to choose finally.

Teams:

  • Vic and Mark as Pi Zi and Ying Xiong. Okay, that was hilarious. Typical approach with putting them into the same team. Yet I guess they achieved the effect. One of the funniest scenes must be when their boss tried to think up of a name for them, BUT then he scratched it off as being too long so he changed it into two words instead, LOL! The numerous times where Ying Xiong had to yell at Pi Zi was so funny too. I don’t know! Aggravating Ying Xiong is just too priceless SO it might be the reason why Pi Zi kept doing it in the later parts of the drama? LOL! At first, I found it hard to get used to them but around episode 16, it was a different story. I found their bond more genuine after seeing Ying Xiong let Zai Tian go at the bridge scene. It was because he knew what was like and how Zai Tian had to sacrifice himself to save his father, save the only family he had left. The previous parts with the plot and the crazy triangles was too much of a distraction to see their bond.
  • Vic and Xiu Jie Kai as Pi Zi and Xiao Ma. I don’t know. Their chemistry was just more convincing for me. (Though I don’t disregard the formula the creators tried to lay out with the other two.) Perhaps because they’re good friends outside as well. Their constant exchange of words were amusing. Especially found it somewhat strange that Xiao Ma was the one taking Zai Tian home when he was devastated with Xiao Mei’s death that one time. Interesting part. Subtle but something to think about. And not to mention their collaboration during the time when Xiao Ma saved Pi Zi and Xi Ying; and the two guys ended up attacking the base with Xiao Ma’s guide. It was really something. I just love their collaboration. (AND man, I was so glad that my mom mentioned it since that means I’m not the only one thinking they they look alike in here. I swear!)

Questions:

  • Three guys like Chen Lin? Unbelievable. NOT because she’s not pretty nor isn’t spunky enough for the guys’ attention. But I’m still not convinced. It’s missing something. I could believe why Ying Xiong would like her since opposite attracts but Pi Zi and Xiao Ma? Maybe Xiao Ma liked her because she was so lively. BUT still don’t get what’s the big deal about her. The inconsistent about her character made it harder. (Blame the script-writers for not covering that part well.)
  • They put us through the drama of the triangles because…? I don’t know. YES, I guess all dramas/ serials have to have some degree of romance or it would turn out too bland (for some people) BUT what was the point if no one end up at all? OR perhaps they were trying to clear the schedule for the sequel? OKAY!
  • NO Pi Zi/Vic and Xi Ying/Janine unite scene? Okay, this is more of a personal opinion since I felt robbed when the ending parts didn’t include a follow-up with the talk. I meant with when Pi Zi and Xi Ying said goodbye before the last battle, there was the talk and then the hug. What about after they succeeded? Come on now! At least give us a scene! OR maybe because they understand one another more than any words or actions? And that any other side talk was unnecessary because they didn’t need it like the others in here? I don’t know. Like I said, personal opinions!

Other thoughts? So it was worth the attention it received thus far, considering how everyone worked so hard to make it happen. It was sure action pack! For the most part. Also, the cast was really huge all right since they needed a lot to make it more convincing and the whole powerful vibe between several parties. I guess I must cut them some slacks with letting us down at some parts. The whole large scale of everything was already something to think over and how they did with the set and all.
I guess the most puzzling question going into the sequel must be: How in the world are they going to work Pi Zi out of the script? I meant okay, my mom was suggesting how it would be with saying he has to work on another case so can’t chase these people with Ying Xiong anymore. I thought of that. OR he could have died. (Which would be a lame one.) OR just not mention him? Why is it hard to imagine if they were to pull one of those scenarios? Pi Zi finally found out that Xiao Mei’s not dead. With all the things that had been leading up to the ending, would he just walk away like that or agree to work on another case instead of finding out the truth? OR at least the whole face to face confrontation? If he died, it would make more sense as to why he’s not around anymore to get to the end of it. BUT that would be too typical and reminds me too much of a TVB easy exit for those formulas with cutting an important character out of it all. It’s not about Vic, BUT about the smooth transition of the plot. There were a lot of draggy parts in this one so it wasn’t perfect with the series. (I made it through so I don’t care anymore.) BUT it must at least make sense with some of the parts with the continuation. So good luck!

Eric Suen, Hong Kong Entertainment, Paul Chun, Sonija Kwok, Vivien Yeo, Wayne Lai

Pages of Treasures

Okay, so finally finished watching this one after putting it off for a bit. Strange that they should try to pull the “triangle” thing like toward the very end of the series. There have been hints here and there with Alex and Hillary, but to start some mess toward the end is just pointless. It doesn’t prove anything at all. (I still see the chemistry between Alex and Hillary more than Alex with Abbie. Both appearances and personalities. Maybe because Eric seems very uncomfortable around Shirley although he’s trying hard to make it natural and it seems like his character, Alex, really loves her character, Abbie. We can see that through various gestures and things he did for her, but there’s something missing. Still too awkward if anything. For once, I would like to see the second leading guy ending up with someone else instead of the second leading girl. It’s just too typical that it’s not even interesting to watch or anticipate anything more. IF they had put at the beginning that he met both girls at the same time and somehow like both girls, having to choose–it would’ve been better and fairer for Hillary. That’s another typical plot but still better to see than the pointless scenes of meeting Hillary and having her play the bad person.) I think that they’re focusing too much on the whole Abbie, Alex, and Hillary triangle that they seem to stray from the story as an overall. I would like to see more of Wayne and Sonija scenes as Ming and Chung. It’s like although they appear a lot too, I feel they’ve been robbed as of their time spent together. It’s like the script just barely squeezes in their shared screen time or something. I love to watch Eric, but I feel that Wayne is once again robbed even if this is supposed to be his first leading role.

Aside from that frustration rant, ‘Like’ factors are:

  • The bond of the Fong family. Even if the mother seems unreasonable at times and is too pushy with making the whole family stay together, but everyone has a great bond overall. They are supportive of each other, especially the father toward them.
  • The chemistry between Wayne and Sonija as Ming and Chung. They’re just too funny together and their interactions are just too much to watch. It’s one of the most joyous moments of the series itself. Yes, there was the whole misunderstanding thing at the beginning of the series, but that was resolved quickly. They’ve become friends and the constant bickering and the support for each other is just great also.
  • The message of the importance of knowledge. The most disappointing factor is that it got lost among all of the other themes in here. But was brought back into focus with the last few episodes. Still, it does no justice.
  • Paul Chun and Mary Hon as husband and wife. I find it very refreshing that for once, Paul’s not portraying a man who takes care of his own kids by himself. It’s great to see the interaction between this old couple. Yes, Mary’s character is annoying at times but it really complements with Paul’s character who’s passionate about books and his calm side makes up for her stubbornness at times (and vice versa, depending on situations).
  • Stephen Huynh and Sharon Chan as a couple. It’s just hilarious how they got together and thus leading to Pansy getting the treatment she has always wished for (i.e. her scar).
  • Eric Suen and Vivien Yeo as a couple. Yes, I have to put them in even if I hate the triangle. I love their chemistry together. Even if they meant the characters to have so many flaws, but I like them together. Eric is so comfortable with Vivien that makes it better to watch them versus when he’s trying too hard to act lovey-dovey with Shirley.

Things that they should have focused on instead of the triangle:

  • More on the importance of reading and enhancing your knowledge and less on the romance (especially Alex’s side). I really like it that they emphasize this strongly and remind us not to abandon books over technology. However, it lost its purpose and message after developing too much into the romance department. We’ve seen the importance of the books through the father and how the bookstore was opened. But it seems to only exist so they could come in and chat or socialize instead of focusing on books as a major theme.
  • Sharon Chan as Pansy. I would rather they give Sharon’s character, Pansy, more background and develop her character more. She has some good in her but because she’s so aggressive to drive for her career and the fact that she has a scar that caused her to resort to selfish means thus looking out for herself only. However, I rather see how she learns to appreciate Chung slowly and let things continue to improve between them slowly than see that it gets squeezed in the last few episodes. Probably they don’t want to tone down her lively personality by making her too virtuous but squeezing in some last minute stuff isn’t all that believable either. However, Sharon’s acting is so charming and funny that it’s hard to hate Pansy. And maybe because there are fewer scenes of her so it’s hard to hate her.

Since I complained so much about the Abbie, Alex, and Hillary triangle, I guess I have to break it down and analyze further to explain why I actually dislike this triangle so much.

First off, Alex’s character:

  • Filial son and a good brother (to both siblings). In short, he’s a family man and always tries his best to provide for his family and gets along with everyone all around. He really wants his family to be happy so he will try to do anything to make it work with everyone’s expectations. There are conflicts at times between him and other family members, but they do calm down and try to understand in order to make it work.
  • Intelligent. It can’t be denied that he’s a very intelligent person–mostly because of his educational background.
  • Tech-freak. Yes, it’s his passion and his career. It’s noticeable how important it is to let him see the knowledge in the books versus his over obsessiveness with the tech-world.
  • The too perfect exterior. We see too much of him being the filial son and the caring brother, plus not to mention the considerate boyfriend with the whole “chat” at the beginning of the series. It paves out a great image for him, which is more ironic to see so many holes in the relationship with him and Abbie yet it still worked in the end because TVB said so.

Second, Abbie’s character:

  • Career woman. She’s a career woman not because she chooses to be that way but because she has no other choice than to be one since she doesn’t have any family left (except for her nephew).
  • Pessimist. This can’t be helped since considering how her past was with an abusive father and how her mother ran out like a coward to leave her in such a mess. So this is a great setup because the pitiful characters usually get more sympathy.
  • Intelligent. It sets out a great foundation for her with her reading knowledge and how well she gets along with Alex’s father. There goes her bonus point again.

Third, Hillary’s character:

  • Filial daughter. Whether the mother deserves it or not, but must admit that Hillary is a very good daughter. She cares for her mother a lot and shows it through various actions. Their mother-daughter relationship is really good. However, it reeks of irony no matter how you look at it. It seems like the mother’s trying to make up for her past wrong with putting so much love toward Hillary. It makes it sickening sometimes too that she thinks she could be forgiven. This also sets up a death-trap for Hillary since she automatically gets blamed because she gets all the love and attention thus she’s wrong. (Oh puh-lease, could the scriptwriter grow up for two seconds?) I feel even more pity for Hillary since she didn’t do anything wrong (just because she’s the one living by the mother’s side at that point). Hillary’s a good daughter that’s why she feels the need to defend her mother and try to understand her, but it doesn’t make her the shameless sister. (So why did they put in the typical boyfriend snatcher thing for her? To make her character more hated by others?)
  • Career woman. She’s dedicated to her work and welcomes new challenges. She’s also professional toward her work even if there are conflicts among her and other colleagues. It shows that during her intro scene and various scenes later into the series.
  • Romantic. She’s probably a hopeless romantic at times thus leading to her easily getting deceived by that one dude at the beginning of the series.
  • Not the wisest. The scriptwriter sets her out for destruction and probably a guaranteed way of getting the viewers to hate her by showing us how she was involved with a married man at the beginning. However, she does learn her lesson and decides to not be a third person in relationships anymore. It does show promise in her character but the good image has already been ruined since we would always remember her as the girl who once tried to ruin someone’s marriage. (Yes, stupidity even if she does learn to smart up a bit.)
  • Wishy-washy. She tends to get easily persuaded sometimes and doesn’t have enough self-control. Why does she have to go after the guy her sister dumped? It’s lame. Yes, he’s a potential candidate or good one, but come on now! WHY in the world did she look so happy when she hears that they’ve broken up? What was that?! Ugh! (I call it the scriptwriter’s conspiracy to bring her character down with this thing and score more points toward Abbie.) Yes, she gives up in the end because she knows how much Alex cares for Abbie.

The result? A mess. Definitely. From various points, Alex and Hillary match more in that they have this undeniable tacit understanding. However, if people want to argue that opposite attracts, it’s fine too. I think because of TVB’s attempt to give more advantages to Abbie’s character that it ruins the whole thing. It turns out making Alex the bad guy and the whole triangle just crumbles down to a bunch of nonsense.

Alex and Abbie as a couple:

  • Cute. Cute is actually a nice word for childish. Honestly, yes, the cute message is spread all over their interactions and forces us into believing that they’re actually meant for each other, etc. It makes me want to roll my eyes every time I see their “cute” interactions. It’s trying too hard to show their bond. It’s too much on the surface that it becomes fake. It’s more convincing when they’re alone thinking of each other or doing things for each other–more him than her–that they really care for each other, but it’s just plain odd when they’re together. (Like I said before, lack of chemistry. And possibly because he has to jump through too many hoops for her that it’s too unconvincing. His fault for choosing it, but the script sucks big time in the convincing department with how much they love each other.)
  • History. So they have some history together. Does that mean definite success in the relationship? Yes, it helps a lot so that’s why TVB decided to pair them off from the beginning to secure Abbie’s place in Alex’s heart and us viewers have to believe that Hillary is actually the evil sister and a boyfriend snatcher. (Yes, I’m rolling my eyes again.)
  • Hot-headedness. Yes, they seem very cute together–when they get along. But when he disobeys her? There’s the whole tantrum unleashing and the only way he could calm her down is to give in to her ideas or reasoning. Not to mention that he would try to apply logic into the whole matter, which is even more frustrating. What’s with that trying to explain to her when he already made a mistake? It only adds oil to the fire.
  • No Trust. Okay, the beginning of the story makes Abbie the reasonable girlfriend who trusts Alex completely with Hillary so it automatically is his fault for lying to her. (Lying is never good but his reasons are valid because he cares for Abbie’s feelings.) She’s upset when she comes into his company that one time so his automatic reaction would be to not trouble her with such small things. (Since he doesn’t think of Hillary in that way, right?) It’s probably a wrong move to make up an excuse like that, etc but his intention was good. (I’m not encouraging for people to lie away, but in this case, I just want to clarify that part since he wasn’t even thinking of cheating on her or wasn’t even dating Hillary behind her back.) Lie number 2 (if counting by sequence, it’s actually #1) is about the song that he said is still unfinished. Whether or not he wants to conceal it as his and Hillary’s song or not is debatable. However, I think it could possibly be that he does want to create a different song just for Abbie without Hillary’s help–or anyone’s help for that matter, considering how much he loves Abbie and only wants what’s unique for her. Yes, he seems so into the song when he’s playing it with Hillary at the musical instruments shop, but it’s because of his passion for music and their common interest. (To Abbie, it must have been a heavy blow since she only sees it through her POV, but I just want to debate a little about it from a viewer’s POV.) She has every right to get mad and I couldn’t care less, but I thought just to be fair, she did lie to him about already finding her mother and what has been going through her mind. He’s too dumb sometimes regarding not taking enough hints, so it’s better off if she says it. (Considering how they dated for several years already, she would’ve known him better than react that way. Same goes for him just to be fair to both sides. He’s an idiot for not handling things better. Not wanting to trouble her with stuff is one thing, but hiding too much stuff will make her paranoid.) So the whole hiding thing just proves that there’s no trust or lack of trust in this relationship. It’s just a fake exterior the scriptwriters created at the beginning for both characters just to spice up the “cute” relationship. This leads me to the next point.
  • Fake Commitment. Another reason why this relationship doesn’t work is because of false promises from both sides. Yes, Abbie seems quite unreasonable at times and only Alex could tolerate her (until he couldn’t take it anymore), but he DID promise to stick it through with her and try to help her with erasing the past memories she had of her brutal childhood. What did he do? Yes, he tries to get her to see that it’s not all scary with family and bring her into his family so she would feel a sense of belonging. However, it’s like he’s trying to do this as fast as he could in trying to convince her to stay in Hong Kong so he could be with his family before the two-year agreement expires. (HUH?) I honestly want to hit Alex over the head with something. (So he could become dumber and it would make more sense than see him in such an intelligent suit and yet he fails to use common sense.)
  • Conclusion. They’re so not ready for a relationship–the way I see it. ‘Cause honestly he’s dedicated to his family more and she has too much past baggage in her to carry on such a relationship. She actually doesn’t need a boyfriend but more like someone to spoil her rotten and make up for what she lost in the past. (I do NOT blame her for what happened but that is what she had become.) Alex is not ready for it either since he keeps pressing her and persuading her to stay in Hong Kong and accept his family. However, he doesn’t realize that’s not the point about accepting his family. It’s about her family. He needs to focus on getting help for her–like getting her psychological help. (Cliche but better than what he’s doing since they jump into trying to get the mother psychological help asap when they found out what might have happened to her so why not apply that with Abbie as well in the beginning?) Like all his mantra about how good his family is could help her put it all behind her. It does help a bit but it just doesn’t erase her nightmares away right there and then. They’re just too wrong for each other because both want to be right. Yes, he does try hard to make it work and she probably did too but the approaches are so off that it makes me wonder about their intelligence, especially his since he’s a bright guy (or it’s what the script meant for his character to be) yet he can’t seem to do it the realistic way. He did persuade her to stay in Hong Kong so that means he’s willing to sacrifice. So although that little “ice cream” thing is somewhat cute when he has to sneak around and eat it, it’s irrelevant and immature that he would complain when he knew what he was getting himself into when he wanted to help Abbie. Why does everyone else have to pity him when he signed the contract already? It’s his choice. (I like Alex a lot, but I just don’t see the twisted reasoning behind it all. It’s not like she forced him, he agreed to it without giving it a second thought. He should blame himself.)
  • The reason why they actually end up together: Because character-wise, it has been built in by TVB to seal Abbie’s place with Alex from the start. Not considering how it would earn her mega brownie points with the whole taking the stab for Alex’s mother. I don’t hate them as a couple but I just thought the script was trying too hard to make it work.

Alex and Hillary as a couple:

  • Serious yet carefree. It makes it almost ironic that Alex and serious should be associated together, considering his childish moments at times. However, he’s very comfortable with Hillary when they’re together with how they operate–considering they have the same mentality–at work; and when they’re together as friends. It gives off a very comfortable image and how he would be so happy that he is able to eat ice cream or enjoy other things. Their topic of conversation touches on the serious side more frequent yet there are traces of a playful side as well. (This is possibly due to the fact that because they are friends that he doesn’t feel pressured or the need to impress her, but it just seems so lighthearted and refreshing at times when they’re together.)
  • Tacit understanding. They have this bond toward each other that sometimes things don’t need to be said or explained but they get it. It’s very genuine.
  • Chemistry. Yes, it sort of got covered in other categories already but just want to put it separately to emphasize my point. It’s also the reason why I don’t see that she’s a rebound. (They do care for each other, but it’s just that the script seems to convince us that he loves Abbie more.) He’s really considerate toward her with switching places with her during the employees meeting organized by their boss at the hotel conference room. He’s really happy eating ice cream with her when they’re finally dating and seems to be more comfortable. There are other gestures too so it makes me feel like he feels guilty toward Abbie near the end and sort of unwilling to part with Hillary than love for Abbie. It’s too strange. (Or it’s just Eric’s acting!)
  • Height. A bit irrelevant but this is brought up lots of time. They’re both 173 cm so they’re the same height. But it’s because she’s wearing high heels the majority of the time so it looks like she’s taller than him.
  • The reason why they’re not together: TVB said so. And also because how their characters are set like that. I know it’s supposed to set up the hospital breakup scene for Hillary to finally let go because she sees how much Alex cares for Abbie, but it’s just wrong and sad that the way Alex looks at her when she leaves. It’s like he doesn’t want it to end. (How could it be so ironic? Blame Eric for forgetting he should be caring 100% for Shirley’s character and not Vivien’s, lol. Or it could have been guilt that he has caused Hillary grief hence the look.)
  • And maybe I shouldn’t have watched the Break-up Agency mini movie between Eric and Vivien because I was really anticipating the new collaboration between Eric and Shirley before that.

If this was a Taiwanese idol drama, they would’ve already made it work for Alex and Hillary with finding someone who understands you more and fighting to stay together. (LOL) Too bad. And the most twisted thing is Alex doesn’t like Hillary in that way but because Abbie keeps rubbing the matter in his face that he realizes of Hillary’s existence. (I mean he has always treated her as a friend and even if they have this strong bond, he still thinks of it as the two of them having this shared interest, etc. It doesn’t mean anything to him–until Abbie brought it to his attention.)

With all that said, I think that Vivien must have offended TVB majorly to deserve such types of roles on her all the time. The most likable one must be from Forensic Heroes and that doesn’t count for anything either. (Into Thin Air was another likable role for her but still minimal significance.)

So with all those rants, who did I hate the most in the whole series? Abbie and Hillary’s mother of course. They make it like she had no other choice but to run off and abandon her daughter. She escaped, why not take her daughter too? It wasn’t like she didn’t have any time. Yes, she was afraid that she might not be able to provide for Abbie, but was leaving her with such an abusive father a better alternative? Abbie was given false hope when she received such a great day planned by her mother, but then it all came down to nothing. (It was almost as if because the mother wanted to follow someone else but was afraid he wouldn’t accept it that she has a daughter already so just abandoned Abbie just like that. NO EXCUSE. She made a poor choice by choosing an abusive husband–and it was not like she was supposed to be perfect–but come on now, she just fled responsibility and left her daughter behind to face her consequences?) She just has the nerve to look so pitiful. Yes, she probably couldn’t think straight or right at that point when she decided to leave. But she understood more than anything that she couldn’t stay so what made her think that her daughter–a 5-year-old–could bare so much? Apologizing doesn’t help. No matter how she loves Hillary or seems to think of Hillary as Abbie at times, it doesn’t help. (The reason why I’m saying that she’s using Hillary as a substitute for Abbie at times is because of past recounts of how she remembered back to when Hillary was lost and how desperate she reacted during those times, etc seem to be so similar to Abbie–like losing a daughter. There’s also points where she remembered back to the day she took Abbie out to the park, etc. It’s obvious she cares for Abbie a lot, but the script is just stupid to make such weak points for her reason to leave but NOT to take Abbie with her. Either she cares for Abbie or not. She was probably confused at that time, but she still remembered to care and treat Abbie well, so how could she just turn around and leave just like that without Abbie by her side?) The most frustrating part is Alex’s mother wanting Abbie to forgive her just because she wants to keep her son by her side. Yes, it’s hard not to want such a thing with family reuniting, but she’s too harsh on Abbie and doesn’t understand that Abbie also left everything behind in the U.S. for Alex. So why can’t he do the same? It’s only fair for her. But Alex’s mother doesn’t understand what Abbie’s going through and just wants to get her way. It doesn’t matter how many times she’s saying that Abbie is cold-blooded, it still doesn’t change anything with how Abbie’s mother is such an irresponsible fake person. (Alex’s father is more reasonable and understanding since he knows how sad it is to lose her mother at such a young age. Maybe it’s ’cause he has experienced so much more and read so many books? I’m not trying to discriminate against the mother but that’s what it seems to imply here. It seems that only the father is the bigger person to let Alex go back to the U.S. with Abbie. Yes, he will probably miss his son too but it’s not like they’ll never come back. And like he said, they’re always family no matter what. The plan doesn’t go through but at least it’s good to know that he has his father’s full support.)

I sound really ironic for not liking Abbie yet defending her at various times with her mother’s situation. But in truth, I like her character and pity for her, but I don’t like the unconvincing elements paved into the plot by the scriptwriters in trying too hard to convince us of certain matters. It’s just too weak. This is the reason leading to not really liking her character much in the end. When a plot is so weak, everything will just crumble away.

If you want to watch this for a family drama or a comedy, it’s all right. But it’s really not made out as what it’s supposed to be. Yes, love the Fong family (as said before) and their bond but other side things just distract the purpose of the series. Pages of Treasures–doesn’t it relate to the whole theme of the importance of reading and enhancing your knowledge? They stray from the main theme so much that the whole message got lost.

If you’re honestly a fan of Wayne, Sonija, or Eric–or just watching to see the Fong family, just use the remote and fast-forward all the scenes of the triangle and that’s good enough. The last few episodes are sort of intense and funny in a sense about the psycho woman too, but it just goes right back to wanting to give Abbie credit again that it gets a tad lame (and overly dramatic). Yes, it made Alex’s mother realize that Abbie’s a great girl after all but it’s kind of weak and somewhat unrealistic to see Abbie forgiving her mother. Yes, she’s probably tired of fighting over that just ’cause of what happened in the past. But it seems too quick considering her strong reaction before. It’s also probably because she had encountered a near-death experience but still rushed.

I thought the triangle in Life Art with Kevin, Gigi, and Queenie was weak but looking back, this one is weaker and it dares to occupy the majority of the series. (I finally understand why the triangle in Life Art was so weak because it was more on how Gigi’s character came into acceptance with her disabilities and how Kevin’s character learned to appreciate the simplicity of life surrounding him. So it would make sense that it focused less on the triangle, but this one? No excuse since they put it WAY in the back of the series and try to show us that Alex and Abbie are meant to be together. It just doesn’t slide.)

With all those talks about various characters, almost forget about acting, so here goes:

  • Wayne Lai: No doubt he’s good and could pull off his role extremely well, making us believe that’s who he is. He doesn’t disappoint at all with his first leading role.
  • Sonija Kwok: She’s really improving nowadays and shows her emotions better and it’s not overdone at all.
  • Paul Chun: Was there ever doubt since he started acting like ages ago? Well, maybe some people probably would doubt him, but I think he’s one of the veteran actors who could still pull it through flawless nowadays.
  • Mary Hon: No doubt either ’cause of different types of roles from before. This is somewhat similar to some other roles but still love her.
  • Eric Suen: The reason I put him behind the others is that I’m a bit disappointed since he seems to do better in certain types of roles versus others. He’s the reason I fail to be convinced with the whole Alex and Abbie relationship. But it’s also partially due to the weak script. Again, it’s likely due to the fact that he’s more comfortable with Vivien because of their past collaboration. However, he should take it up to the challenge in interacting with various actresses. He has great chemistry with his past co-stars so I’m not sure why it doesn’t work this time around. (Stress? LOL!) I think I’m being too harsh on him ’cause the failed chemistry between Alex and Abbie. So to say something positive, I think his overall acting is good because during his interaction with the whole family is very natural and great.
  • Shirley Yeung: Slightly disappointed because I was actually impressed by her performance in several series. It’s like there are still traces of her character from The Brink of Law left over and she couldn’t pull out of it hence the fake acting sometimes (’cause the whole pitiful look reminds me of that character too much). She needs to sharpen up a bit. I do understand the pain that her character’s going through but her acting doesn’t convince as much, making it so weak at times.
  • Vivien Yeo: She’s getting there because she managed to portray different sides of her character and how complex it is.
  • Sharon Chan: I can see that she’s able to pull off various roles more comfortably nowadays and that’s a good thing to see with variety but hope to not see her in such a role too often. Yes, in the end, it actually shows that she values her friendship with Chung a lot since she actually tried to expose Chung’s brother before it’s too late. But it still lacks something to help her character build a stronger foundation toward the end. It’s like it’s rushed and tossed in at the last minute so they can wrap up the series nicely.
  • Jason Chan: The potential actor of the series. He’s actually quite charming and his acting isn’t bad. Hopefully, he doesn’t slip and gets careless later on ’cause I’m looking forward to some of his upcoming series.
  • Lily Ho: Mixed feelings but her acting’s a bit weaker comparing the same group of newcomers. She does better in some scenes versus the others. Still, there’s room for improvements so don’t want to be too harsh on her.
  • Fred Cheng: He is robbed once again. I thought he was rising after the whole Love Bond, The Charm Beneath, and all those series that he played a major role in. Why is he sinking again to play such a role? I know this makes him more versatile by playing all types of characters, but this is getting repetitive with making him bad or unimportant all the time recently. Still seeing potential in him with how he looks so convincing with turning a new leaf at the end again.
  • Stephen Huynh: Funny, but charming at the same time! Can’t complain about him since I’ve seen him in various roles already. However, hope he gets some other different roles before his acting slips ’cause of boredom.

This is almost a good series if it wasn’t for TVB trying to be creative again. So this has gone down to average or below average by the end of the series with unnecessary plot developments.

Posted (on Xanga): February 14, 2009

Re-posted: Monday, March 22nd, 2010