I stumbled upon this and rewatched it again just for old time’s sake. Honestly, I used to think this series was average when I first watched it. But the second time around, it seemed to be extremely awesome. Maybe it was due to the fact that I’d stumbled across numerous beyond terrible series recently so this one seemed superior to the recent ones for some reason.
Some facts to straighten out matters before I get started:
- Lai Bo Yee should not be confused with Li Bo Yee. Lai Bo Yee was a real person and the series had used his background and incorporated it into the series. But of course, it was loosely based on for the purpose of the dramatic moments. Li Bo Yee was a character in Wen Rui An’s story, which was where Face to Fate was based on.
- Patrick Tam as Lai Bo Yee. For what mattered, I DID NOT think it was fair to blame Patrick for looking morbid OR seemed to be such a pessimist at times. It wasn’t his fault BUT the script was made out that way, considering how the character was young and inexperienced. He had not reached the point of enlightenment yet SO it should not be held against him for not delivering. Patrick did his part in portraying the character and I thought he did wonderful with letting us see Bo Yee’s emotional state throughout the trials and events he encountered. Michael Miu’s version was more of a comedy and this one was on a serious level. (I loved Michael’s version too BUT I thought I should point it out and do not think anyone should be so hard on Patrick for that matter.)
- Noelle Leung as Fong Ching Mui. Ching Mui, like her father, was very straightforward and had a very sharp tongue at times. YET what was admirable and probably likable about her character was just that. Everyone knew what she was thinking about and would not be led astray by her beliefs and opinions about things. Noelle carried her character through and that was what I expected, nothing less.
- Patrick and Noelle as a couple. Seriously, this was where it started and I think TVB took advantage of this pairing with the next two projects as well. They were really funny at first and they both learned and grew through time. It was really convincing with their relationship and the changes afterward. Patrick and Noelle had great chemistry in here and it showed with the other two projects also. The part where Bo Yee thought Ching Mui died was really tragic. (I totally felt that one with Bo Yee at the river and letting the paper boats drift in the water.)
- Timmy Ho as Fu Tin Wah. I just thought it was interesting that Timmy agreed to take on this role and jeopardized his reputation/image. Very brave indeed. I thought he did well to show his scheming sides and sometimes the struggles in between (like when he was still reconsidering about killing Bo Yee OR NOT). Oh yeah, NOT to forget the part near the end where he was super wooden and scary with his turning into some kind of zombie already. (I DO NOT mean his acting was wooden BUT the character since he was already learning that strange type of skill AND was turning into almost a zombie or monster.) Timmy was convincing all right, freaky enough.
- Lai Hon Chi as Lai Dang San. One of the most missed veterans for me since seeing him again with the re-watch reminded me of how many great veterans TVB had back then. One of my favorites and always managed to deliver whichever role he was given. I felt it extremely interestingly to see him as Patrick’s father in here. His character died off in the earlier part of the series but it was all right. Enjoyable while it lasted.
- Bak Piao as Chun Hui. NO, I do not like this person OR often seem in many stories and series BUT Bak Piao’s portrayal was well done. Another memorable role and performance from him.
- Josephine Lam as Yuen Ngan Fung. I did not realize how much I liked her character until this re-watch. I barely remembered some plots revolving her character but did not realize it was that great and complex. She looked great as a princess and was up to the part.
- Patrick and Josephine as a couple. Though not as compatible as Patrick and Noelle, I loved their characters together. Not to mention how he actually liked her later and it wasn’t the pity thing at all. It really showed when they were roaming around together to help people and see the sights. AND was I the only who cried when she died? I knew it was coming since this was a re-watch (like I mentioned before) BUT I couldn’t help crying at that scene. (Patrick helped drove that tragic scene forward and made it one of the most memorable scenes.)
- Wu Yuet San as General Yeung. I think this must be his best role (or so that I’d seen–might change my mind later when I hunt deeper into past series though). He had a better image in here and also the best character though was stubborn and bitter at first. BUT I really didn’t blame him, considering the times and things that were happening around them. A memorable character in his own right aside the others. I was so scared that he was going to get killed by Timmy’s character since I didn’t remember as much. Luckily, he survived and managed to get in some actions at the end as well.
- Flower in the Mist by Chris Wong. At first, I thought it was sung by Patrick–though I had no idea why I had that feeling, lucky I found out who and found this guy’s voice really warm and addicting to listen to. Really nice song for this series. (And somehow TVB had taken advantage of another good song again.)
- The fact that Bo Yee chose Ngan Fung over Chiu Yung. Honestly, I found it interesting. But it wasn’t surprising since though both knew martial arts and were stubborn in their own rights BUT I found Ngan Fung more lovable and likable. Ngan Fung was someone who loved her country and looked at the bigger picture more than just being a nagging person like how Chiu Yung was. Bo Yee fell into making the decision about marrying both girls at one time or another YET he found himself attracted to Ngan Fung for various reasons.
- Elizabeth Lee as Princess of Song aka Chiu Yung. I wasn’t sure IF the makeup team did not do her justice OR if she didn’t look good in ancient series but I did not see her elegance or grace as the princess. And she seemed quite uncomfortable in those attires as well. Maybe that was why her portrayal was all right or seemed reluctant.
- Gordon Liu as General Yue Fei. I did not mean that I don’t like Yue Fei, but Gordon Liu as him. Perhaps I’m biased since I prefer Norman Tsui as Yue Fei. Norman looked more or exuded a closer image to that of Yue Fei (or what was often believed to be that of the characteristics of Yue Fei). AND while we were at it, why was Yue Fei so dumb? I knew he was just an obedient person AND how he was being loyal to his emperor BUT that emperor was so dumb, listening to the wrong people and only cared for himself. Why sacrifice for him?
A must watch or no? Depends on what your idea of a good series is.