Line Walker: Bull Fight

This followed the story of Line Walker and Line Walker: The Prelude. This season tied up the last two installments by having characters from both merged and worked together for different cases. The elaborate planning to tell the backstory of some characters with another was kind of nice to see. Although, it also created some complications and repetition–as I will be going into more details below. I appreciated the efforts of joining the teams together and see how they worked with one another. However, some parts were so unnecessary that it should have been like 30 episodes instead of 37. They were stretching it out on purpose with some people that I didn’t think was necessary in any shape or form.

Main Cast:

  • Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (卓凱). His principles weren’t so cut and dry anymore. It wasn’t about how he had interacted with Chum Foon Hei either. Or how he cut the corners when he tried to save his wife. His conversation with Ah Mui when she offered to stay and help him said it all. It highlighted some of the key points that they had visited in the past two seasons. It wasn’t just plain black and white with everything. There was a gray area that was often brushed aside because many didn’t care to think of it. Like Cheuk Sir said, there was also white in black as well. Everything wasn’t so clear. After all that was said and done, Cheuk Sir had emphasized that Ah Mui didn’t have to help him. They joked about it a little, but he was serious that they weren’t going to get some type of compensation, except this was a way for him to help society in general. If someone wanted to redeem themselves in any way, he was willing to take the chance. He wasn’t going to be held back by the old ways of thinking anymore. He wasn’t going to lose a chance to convert someone to conduct in a more legal manner with businesses by clinging on to the old ways. In short, prison had changed him. He saw many things there was to see while he was in there and realized how if people were presented with more choices or proper guidance, they wouldn’t choose that path either. In a way, he wanted to be a good role model or be the person that was there to pull someone back from the pit. At this point, do I need to go out of my way to praise Michael’s acting anymore?
  • Raymond Lam as Suet Ka Keung (雪家強) aka Bao Seed (爆Seed). Strange to see Ray with such a hairstyle. But I guess it made sense that he changed over the years and had become a handler even. They gave him a more mature image in a sense. Yet he didn’t lack his sense of humor when called for. I feel like his comeback brought the balance back where the leads were concerned. I meant Michael’s performance had proven solid already, no complaints about that. But Ray’s return also cranked the drama up several more notches. It was obvious they needed him like how it wouldn’t be the same without Michael, Charmaine, or Benz either. They were the golden four for the series and missing one or two wouldn’t be the same. Substituting others in and building an interesting story did help. But missing them as characters made the series felt it was lacking something. Yet I seriously don’t want to be greedy, so I would settle for three this time. Having Ray back felt like the series was lifted up even more. The character still had lots more to develop. His grace, his charm, his natural moves. It was what the series needed. A boost. Oh, what was clever was having him continue to pose as a gangster and only came into contact with them from time to time as an informant. Only some knew about him being a UC. So that kept him safe for the most part. But how did they explain the information leak from the other part? Or was it by saying the leak was fake? Or that it didn’t get to release his name yet? Because he was protecting Ah Ding at that time, so I guessed her name was the one being exposed, not his. It was explained in episode 20 when they met up with Tai Reis to discuss business together. Tai Reis mentioned Bao Seed once dated a cop, etc. Bao Seed said that they broke up because he found out she was UC that tried to investigate him. So, it answered that she was the one getting exposed with the list being released, not him. His reaction to knowing Ding Jie was dead showed Ray’s acting skills. It was indeed a very emotional moment. Who could blame Bao Seed for reacting? Luckily, Cheuk Sir pulled him back. His mourning for her after in private? Another heartbreaking scene. He didn’t want to believe. Who could, right? His complete breakdown in front of Cheuk Sir brought all their links back into consideration all over again. The flashbacks contributed nicely to their past relationship. It wasn’t overdone. It reminded us a little about their stories yet said so much more. Cheuk Sir was probably the other person who understood. So that scene was well done for both of them. Vouching to avenge Ding Jie’s death? Hello, Dark Bao Seed is back. Well, he was always known to be a rogue character regardless. But his dark side was back. He had tried to stick to the codes since Cheuk Sir made the sacrifice for him. But now? It was fair game. Having him back was a much-needed move like said before, but it made me so addicted to seeing what was to come.
  • Benz Hui as Chum Foon Hei (潭關喜). He was one of the golden four who made the series so much livelier and more enjoyable overall. Benz once again delivered brilliantly with his character’s cunning nature at first but later had become one of their companions in the very end. He’d become even wiser over the years. Well, he’d been through a lot and his intelligence was shown many times already. No one needed to prove that. But his deep talk at times with various characters in here showed that he’d seen a lot and had come to realize what was more important. I was so scared they took him out of the game. If they did, there was no way the fourth installment was going to happen without taking a major hit. His plans at the end with building more schools for kids and doing more good deeds got Cheuk Sir joking about him trying to make money out of it somehow was funny.
  • Priscilla Wong as Cheng Shuk Mui (鄭淑梅). Funny that she seemed much more interesting now that the timeline moved forward, lol. That was sad, but I could see her transition from a newbie cop to a much more experienced one in general. Even if she wasn’t a cop anymore but was an investigative journalist now, she seemed more confident of herself and what she did. It showed she was at a good place in life. Also, possibly because of the time between the prequel and this, Priscilla seemed more comfortable with her acting as well. It showed. I was glad. It was visible with how she interacted with Michael versus in the past. She’d always been comfortable interacting with Benjamin so I never doubted her scenes with him. But I always wondered whenever she interacted with Michael (like I had said in the previous review). So yeah, this sort of proved my point that she seemed uncomfortable with him, not just initial scenes like how she panicked at first either. It was awkward in the past. It seemed more natural for this part. Not to mention her emotional scenes were more convincing as well. The scene where she and Tin Tong finally talked about their feelings showed the depth of her acting. She sure improved. However, her character got dragged down when they revisited trying to develop a good romance story for her. I didn’t need that. I was fine with her not being with Tin Tong. She was so strong and awesome away from Tin Tong. I liked their friendship too. But I just didn’t like how the scriptwriters tried to pull them together just based on history. So, that had dragged her story down in general for me.
  • Benjamin Yuen as Tsui Tin Tong (徐天堂). I don’t know what to say about him anymore. Mixed feelings for him throughout. I think it was because he got overshadowed by both Ray and Kenneth. Yes, I believed that was indeed true because I think he was fending fine in the prequel. Then his interest factor went down several notches. The story around him and his past and how the Internal Affairs Bureau dragged him through hell were interesting. However, it also got somewhat sidetracked and distracted by other elements in the story. Like how I wished he was with Ah Luen even in the present timeline than Ah Mui. So that was a terrible idea that the scriptwriters didn’t think through. I also was more interested in Ah Mui being Wing-Cheong than him. So yeah, it turned into a mess. After his past was explained and sorted out? His side story just went into flames. Because it lacked energy after that, even till the end. So yeah.
  • Kenneth Ma as Wai Chok Wing (韋作榮) / Ngai Tak Lai (魏德禮) / Klein. The thing that made it really anti-dramatic about his character was that we knew he was the younger brother of Victor from the start. So that took away all the suspense. We already know the who. It was only the how now. I think my brain’s too wired into the “who” part that I became less interested in his character than expected. I mean we already knocked out the who and the why during his brief appearance in the second installment. So whatever he did, it was for Victor and his family–as he claimed. Kenneth’s acting was solid though, no doubt. But I was never that interested in Victor anyway, so having another family member in the picture didn’t interest me with that branch of the storyline as much. Also, bad hair runs in the family or something, because his hair in here reminded me somewhat of Moses’ hair in the other one. Seriously, lol. Circling back to Kenneth’s acting for a bit, I think his portrayal was the sole reason why the character became much more interesting later on. The previous comments I made were like for the first few episodes. However, his portrayal somehow cranked the character up a little more. So I think I was more curious about what his character would do later. And technically, he was just a killing machine to his grandpa. The old man had no use for him aside from that. It was pathetic to say that no one wanted him except his grandpa. Or like no one mattered except his grandpa and his older brother. That was his own skewed version of how his grandpa told him. Who knew if that was the truth about his mother as well. He was just used like his brother to carry on the Ngai empire’s legacy. His grandpa was getting old and feeble, he needed mini replacements hence grooming the next generation to take over for him. In that sense, I do pity both siblings for it. But both still sucked in my book regarding killing people to advance their agendas. They had a chance to travel the world yet their views couldn’t be changed? Yeah, constant brainwashing and grooming did that to them. But it was pathetic to see their demise without trying to change their own fate. Well, in some ways, Klein did try really hard to do it, but he was too far gone to even try to undo it the normal way. Instead, he resorted back to violence whenever he was threatened. If he didn’t want to let go, there was nothing anyone could do to convince him.
  • Mandy Wong as Cheung Kei Gee (章紀孜) aka Madam G. It was a different role for Mandy, considering how the mental disabilities she had and her childhood traumas. I found that Mandy had done a good job. However, I couldn’t get into her character regardless. It was hard. I didn’t want to pick on her so much since I did like some of her past performances. It wasn’t because she took the bullet for Klein either. But some of the things she did earlier in the drama made it very hard to cut her some slacks just because it was portrayed by Mandy. I got it why she ended up being bias or crashed emotionally because of what she found out regarding her sister. But I felt she didn’t cut other slacks when it was their weak spot, so I didn’t do it for her either. Fair game, right? What I was surprised about was the writers almost killed her. Or I thought it was an all-out killing with the ending closing up and the writers just wanted to give up with the killing spree. It had a major vibe with the ending of the second installment where Victor was going all out. However, she survived and was in a wheelchair, which they didn’t explain too much if it was permanent or not. Saying that she needed to make the best of what she had wasn’t much. It could mean that she had to move on after all that happened. To back up a little bit, I didn’t like how she put Ah Dau on the spot for the mission earlier in the story. She was a terrible handler. It reminded me of the handler who Chum Foon Hei had that eventually forced him to choose to go rogue instead of hanging on for the sake of the mission. Sure, it was Ah Dau who agreed to go back and continue her mission, but Bao Seed made the right call by pulling Ah Dau out of there and waiting until she cooled down. Because Bao Seed was better at reading the situation, he used a better method to help. I once again remember how Ah Dau had asked Bao Seed if Bao Seed wanted her to sleep with Pong too if it came to that for the mission, and Bao Seed obviously didn’t want that. Sure, when Madam G watched the first time they reunited and Ah Dau finally accepted Pong, they were only kissing. But how far was Madam G willing to go for some piece of information? This was why I didn’t like it that she was part of the CIB team. She was an effective boss to the others for enforcing the rules because she was good at sticking to the books. But she was a terrible choice for reading more sensitive situations. Also, the writers were getting really lazy with some of the female characters or something. Because Madam G totally was channeling her inner Madam Chan when she pulled the “trump” card on Cheuk Sir to help CIB. Yes, Ah Mui did break the law by using Madam G’s identity to get inside and seek some info, BUT knowing how to hold back and use that card until later was seriously something Madam Chan did. So yes, I was saying how lazy it was they made those two similar and hateful in that sense. I seriously thought it was Madam Chan pulling that move to force Cheuk Sir into helping. Madam G worked under Madam Chan and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she ordered her to do that. But Madam G didn’t deny it was her own plan, so I took her word for it. The saddest thing about her character was how she became the weakest link in here. I think the writers overestimated themselves and gave her too much mystery with her mental disabilities and how she would overcome it etc. In the end, she broke down and was taken out of the game until almost the end. It was a nice turnaround and Cheuk Sir was right to say that she was their last hope. Yet it seemed weak. Well, she did choose differently than how Scarlett did with Victor, but that was about it.
  • Sisley Choi as Dau Nga Hei (竇亞希) aka Ah Dau (阿兜). At first, when I was reading the news about her replacing Charmaine or other rumors, I felt unease and had this bias. It was mostly due to the fact that they returned to the main timeline instead of doing a prequel. So yeah, not sure what to think. I tried to put it aside but it was kind of hard. However, when I actually started the series, I liked her immediately.  It was really strange. I looked up her past dramas and realized that I actually liked her in quite a few of the ones I did watch in recent years. So, I was glad that she showed consistency and was able to hold one of the lead roles in here. By the time I got to episode 9, I learned that she had won TVB Awards for best actress. I was so happy for her. It was strange to be excited about someone’s award for a while now, so yeah. I felt like if Sisley had appeared more, the plot would have been more interesting. At first, I didn’t want her to appear too much to hog the scenes because that might have backfired and caused her character to become annoying. But the more the others appeared after her case was done and she was out of the way, for the most part, it felt boring to death if it wasn’t for all the backstabbing with various parties. Her character was tenfold more interesting than some of the major characters in here. Sisley’s strong acting had lifted up the series at the beginning and her character also helped that she was so lively. Even at her worst character-wise and how she felt guilty after her case was over, her recovery journey was much more interesting than some subplots in here, which was sad.

Supporting Cast:

  • Owen Cheung as Pong Ho Yeung (龐浩洋). He had some ambitious goals to reform Sung Luen Society. Too bad that his plan was thwarted by both people within the triad and also the cops. But in the end, he did learn a lesson with turning around–mostly by his own father–and the promise that he will keep with turning a new leaf once he got out. I actually got a little teary-eyed during the brief reunion between father and son in the hospital.
  • Tony Hung as Wong Wing Cheong (王永翔). An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. I was so glad he had a story in here and a tie-in with some of the characters that appeared in here. However, I was still very sad that there wasn’t any teeny-tiny bit that he could still be alive. Because I liked his character even more than some of the ones who appeared in here. It lifted up the series and became a shining part to look forward to whenever Ah Mui received a new package.
  • Shiga Lin as Cheung Yuk Luen (張玉瑄) / Birdy. An undercover agent and one of the team members who died after the mission in Thailand. I also liked how they included more stories for her in here like how it was with Wing Cheong. It made me have this same reluctant feeling of wanting her back for this series in general as in the present timeline. Too bad.
  • Serene Lim as Lam Lam (藍楠). I thought she was going to be Bao Seed’s neighbor and someone who would end up being in some weird business rivalry with him based on their first encounter. Yet it turned out that she was really gentle and patient after working at his massage place. She was quite cute at the beginning and quite thoughtful as it showed later with helping him. It was also quite unexpected that she died. Seriously, it was so random. It made sense, but it was sort of overkilled with getting rid of half of the cast involved. They sure wanted to clean house and start fresh with the fourth installment, lol.
  • Elena Kong as Mok Sin Ching (莫羨晴) / Katie. Her death was probably the most shocking and the saddest for me. Why? It was at the beginning of the series. I didn’t realize they would kill her off so Cheuk Sir had more time to browse around and get himself into various conflicts in here. I guessed the Korean soap pattern continued with her liver disease. So dramatic. Aside from that, she indeed wasn’t able to live with herself nor could she allow herself to become a bargaining chip for Klein’s own good against her husband. A solid character throughout yet had ended that way. And how sad was that? She was cut out of the show? Did she not want to be involved in the series anymore? Or was there a conflict in the schedules again? I haven’t paid attention to TVB-related stuff for years, so I’m seriously confused, not being snappy here. Too bad though.
  • Geoffrey Wong as Leung Kin Pong (梁健邦) aka Leung Sir. He was funny at first. It seemed like he was there for the comic relief of the show mostly, considering how he scolded Bao Seed for being so young and rash and all, which Madam G pointed out that he was using the 60-ish as middle-age range, lol. But when the series got serious, he sure proved that he was a reliable boss and a person with strong principles. He rather quit than betray the UCs.
  • Kelvin Yuen as Lui Hup Sing (呂合星) aka Lui Sir. Ching Chik’s stepfather. Mixed feelings throughout. I didn’t like his smug look and his mocking of Madam G at first (since it was mocking her disability). I didn’t like his high and mighty vibe either. Well, he didn’t know. But still. Later, though, when he finally realized what was going on and had the talk with Bao Seed, I realized that was his redeemable point. He was just too stubborn and by the book at times. At least, he was honest in that sense and was willing to admit his blind spot, unlike some people in here.
  • Li Shing Cheong as Wai Kit (韋傑). The founder of Sung Luen triad. He was the only person who wanted to help Klein after Klein had nowhere to hide or run to, but was shot by Klein because Klein didn’t believe him. It was indeed tragic. Sure, some might say it was karma for all his past deeds. But hadn’t he paid for it in prison all these years?
  • Anthony Ho as Mui Sze Kwai (梅小貴). He always acted like he was the boss, lol. He was a great comic relief for the show though. His chiding at times made it funnier. Oh yeah, Bao Seed kept calling him Moose Kwai so some of them ended up calling him that too. What was a bit off was that he wasn’t there for Lam Lam’s sent-off scene. It would make sense if he was there, considering their bond at the massage parlor throughout.
  • Alex Tse as Chow Man Ding (周文鼎) aka Ding (). Chum Foon Hei’s right-hand man. Really dislike him at first. Mostly it was because of the rivalry between Cheuk Sir and Chum Foon Hei. But he was all right later. At least, he was helpful.

Others:

  • Eddie Koo as Hon Kin Yi (韓建義) aka Dr. X. He was a ruthless leader and a creepy doctor. He was seriously even more powerful than Victor could ever dream of. Sorry, lol, to stomp on Victor too much. But I think this was because of Eddie’s experience of over four decades of acting that backed his character so nicely. He scared the world out of me too with his gradual change of character. I swear, I thought he was portraying a regular doctor this time. I actually was convinced when he said that he and Bao Seed were similar regarding holding knives and all. But then bam, he changed his tune just like that. His brief appearances actually creeped me out more than Victor’s appearances throughout the second season. And that said A LOT.
  • Mimi Kung as Fan Hiu Wah (范曉華) / Madam Fan. It was so interesting and somewhat funny to see her back with TVB after all these years. Not to mention how I thought she was just passing by as a guest star yet she became a key character for one of the cases. She, obviously, didn’t disappoint. And was anyone laughing during the scene where Cheuk Sir confronted her at the church? Okay, it was a serious situation and it was heartbreaking for Cheuk Sir with what was happening and his wife was equally heartbroken after they were given false hope. However, I was thinking about their relation in other past series they’d been in together and she’d never got to be with him, so now it was major revenge time for her? Just kidding here, but yeah. Character-wise, she sure was crazy. Yeah, I get it, who could stand it when their loved one was dying and the feeling of helplessness was the worst. Yet to sacrifice another human being for that? I think I could say that Cheuk Sir was not really in the right to scold her either. I meant, sure, it was just that his wife didn’t need a heart hence no one needed to die to save her. But he crossed the line too. So the others could scold her but not him. (And Bao Seed was right when he said he understood why Cheuk Sir did it BUT wouldn’t trust him in the future to be more involved with the case.) Mimi sure delivered. I didn’t realize she was back with TVB. Also, shows how much I’ve been paying attention to TVB series in general nowadays.
  • Savio Tsang as Yam Sheung Yu (任尚宇) aka Yam Sir. Madam Fan’s husband. This was one of his last full roles. It was really sad when I heard the news. Was this a jinx? I mean he’d more tragic roles before. It wasn’t news. But it hit a bit closer to home when I watched it and was thinking of him. He delivered well once again. No doubt about it.
  • Lam King Ching as King. Pong Ho Yeung’s assistant and also his best friend. He was stingy and reckless at times. However, he was really loyal to Ho Yeung so I guess it was hard to blame him. He was in a gang after all. How could he take the high road? I swear he reminds me of Roger Kwok. Especially his various expressions at times.
  • Oscar Leung as Cheung Muk Wing (張木榮) aka Muk Sat (木蝨). He appeared in one of the flashbacks stories and one of the reasons why he became so loyal to Bao Seed later on. Well, there was a betrayal situation but it wasn’t like he wanted it. He was really apologetic and all. Glad to learn that little story.
  • Brian Tse as Tat Q. I really liked him in the previous installment as comedic relief for the show. So I was glad to learn another backstory about him. What was hilarious was his run-in with Mut Sat.
  • Joseph Zeng as Yan Tin Hup (殷天俠) / Madman. I said it before and I will say it again. He looks like a very young version of Felix Wong. Did Michael make the connection when they were filming together? Did anyone else? LOL! All in all, though, I was surprised to know he was participating in this production. I was looking forward to his appearance. I saw some BTS interviews. He was so cute, all shy when one of the fellow cast members complimented his Cantonese but he was saying how he could learn so much more from everyone. So humble. His role? Very creepy. He looked so harmless during the scene he got captured yet he did it on purpose to see who the opposing party was. Then he totally hexed Nine-Fingered Keung up. That was soooo creepy. His nickname wasn’t wrong after all. He was indeed crazy. If what he said was true about killing Ding Jie already, that meant TVB just killed Charmaine’s chance of coming back to the series–if they decided to make another installment, that was. Then again, they plugged in the side story to distract us about him actually being a UC from New Zealand. So? It was a gray area because it created doubt. It reminded me of that time in the first season when one of the UCs defected and they had to test her. He wasn’t an agent but was posing as one. So, who could take his word for anything? It was kind of surprising that they didn’t test him though. Or was it because he was too experienced with being an international threat that it was hard to catch? Considering how they were focusing on too many factors. Then I realized why. It was such an elaborate plot. Then he died out of nowhere. So that was hard to do anything else until later. I must admit, though, he was a nice addition to the already complicated plot. It wasn’t overdone though. It made sense as to why Chum Foon Hei was investigating the organization and he became another piece to the whole puzzle. Solid acting. No doubt about it. He got shot and taken out of the game by episode 24, but that wasn’t really it. It was shown in the final episode that he wasn’t an undercover agent nor Madman. He was someone completely different. And the others didn’t know. So, that was why. That meant he will return in the fourth installment if they make one?
  • Lee Kwok Lun as So Chi On (蘇子安) aka So Sir (蘇Sir). He seriously was greedy and crazy. I didn’t have any empathy for him at all. He killed his own daughter. Well, considering how his crimes and all. But usually, don’t those people usually use their loved ones as excuses for committing those crimes? Like “I did it for you to have a better future” kind of talk? Or like “If it wasn’t for me, would you be so well off right now?” kind of guilt-trip technique? Or just capture her and detain her for the time being. Yet he went all the way and sacrifice her. She became another pawn to use against his supposed enemies. We found out according to the flashbacks that it was an accident but if he wasn’t so adamant to stop her, it wouldn’t happen. It was inevitable.
  • Emily Kwan as Madam Chan. She was a real piece of work all right. She should be looking in the mirror with her accusations. She pimped Ah Luen out to investigate Tin Tong yet came back to accuse Ah Luen of sleeping with Tin Tong hence taking his side now? What a bitch. That was what her head was always thinking of hence projecting on others. Also, Ah Mui was right when she said Madam Chan’s only purpose was protecting herself and trying to advance her career. Not to mention how she had a fallout with So Chi On hence now using Ah Mui to take So Chi On out. The whole power play was pathetic, to say the least. She was no victim. She knew everything yet allowed Tin Tong to take the fall for it. She deserved prison or worse for her part in the whole scheme. I knew it even before So Cho On said it that Madam Chan was full of it. Her actions and behaviors during flashbacks said it already. She was just covering her ass and trying to beat So Chi On to a promotion or some higher-ranked position. Like she was always so righteous or something. Seriously. So sickening. Hated her throughout regardless of her intention. So her half-ass apology at the end to the team wasn’t really that convincing to me.
  • Penny Chan as Lee Man Hung (李文雄). He was part of the CIB team and shown his support for Cheuk Sir from time to time whenever they discussed Cheuk Sir.
  • Bak Piao as one of the gang members of Sung Luen Society. It was hilarious to see him there and participating like that.
  • Chan Wing Chun as the advisor of Sung Luen Society. It was hilarious really. Because when he was talking and Cheuk Sir showed up to expose Nine-Fingered Keung, I was thinking Chor Lau Heung and Wu Tie Fah were reuniting, lol. Aside from, brief appearance but I guess that was how the plot was.
  • Sophie Yip as So Miu Miu (蘇淼淼) / Melanie. So Sir’s daughter. At first, I didn’t know where the plot was going and if she was in it with her father too. I mean everyone in here was mysterious one way or another so yeah. When I realized where it was leading toward, I felt really bad for her for being used like that. Even if Tin Tong admitted his guilt in using her to extract information, but I didn’t forgive him for that one. I guess that sort of tainted how I see him since then too. I meant in the past, we saw him using different means to woo the ladies to tell him various secrets too while he was UC. But now? It repeated again and it had caused her life. Even if he didn’t do the killing, I felt it didn’t help. Sure, she chose to help, but she wanted to prove a point. Not to mention how her feelings for her were real. Even if he didn’t do the actual killing, I thought his short time in confinement sort of was payback for using people. Or were people thinking what happened to her was karma for her father? Because she was innocent and didn’t deserve any of that. She tried to stop him–for his own good–and paid with her life. It was tragic.
  • Ron Ng as a customer at the massage place. It was hilarious. Ron was so cute. Being random and asking Ray stuff. He also said at the part where they were taking pictures, “Hey, you look like Lam Fung.” LOL! It was kind of lame to plug that in, but I forgive them because of the brief reunion between the two.
  • Matt Yeung as a customer at the massage place.
  • Tsui Wing as a customer at the massage place.
  • Raymond Chiu as a customer at the massage place.
  • Akina Hong as Cheung Kei Wan (章紀泓) / Wendy. Madam G’s older sister. The Core’s owner. OMG, I almost couldn’t recognize her. It shows how long I haven’t watched anything TVB, lol. Um, her sister’s introduction of the boyfriend was seriously a shocker, lol. Not laughing as in something funny but how tragic was that and Madam G brought it up like it was nothing. And how nice was that? Her organization worked with Infinity or collaborated in the past. Interesting how things turned out. Almost everyone was connected, one way or another. I thought she was just an extra character to give Madam G a side story, like some of their stories were in here. Yet she created another mystery to the already crazy web. OMG, I was literally on the edge of my seat when she walked to Klein’s car. Really, lady? Are you crazy? OOoo, so Infinity funded The Core? Wow, okay, rich background story. Too bad they were all crazy together. Oh well, the mystery lasted for about five minutes. Oh yeah, it would have been really a kicker if she had defected and was just by Klein’s side to search for the seal while pretending to still be loyal to him because he had funded her education and was the one responsible for the establishment of The Core. It would have been a real surprise. At least, I thought that was more interesting than having weak subplots dragging out. It was revealed later that she was the one who called the cops on her father. However, it wasn’t the merit for her to become a criminal later. She couldn’t bear the abuse anymore and had to do it to save them both somehow. What she did later was what mattered. She admitted that she hurt her sister and somehow finally realized she should have left, which was too late. But she did leave some evidence for them.
  • Kent Cheng as Sun Chi Kin (辛志堅) aka Kin Gor (堅哥). One of the founders of the Cheung Hing triad. Funny intro but we all know most innocent-looking characters in here aren’t that innocent so yeah. He was the co-founder of Cheung Hing and got kicked aside? Served those idiots right for being so arrogant. Who got the last laugh now? He is still alive. Over half of them are dead already. Also, his appearance made things tenfold more interesting when he appeared to take over the story versus the other boring subplots. They needed him to carry the story and the ending home. Because I’m sorry, Kenneth couldn’t do it alone. Even if Kin Gor failed in the end to get Klein BUT the point was they needed Kent with his strong performance to carry them past a certain point. The other already strong characters couldn’t carry all the dead weight alone. No pun intended, considering how Kin Gor turned out.
  • Michael Tse as the sniper who killed Klein. What? It was somewhat a repeat of the prequel’s ending. Well, it was different because Klein was just using the gun to aim and vouching for revenge. But same vibe. Who was this character? Was he part of another mystery organization? Possibly Ah Hup’s organization?

Relationships/ Friendships/ Romances, etc

  • Michael and Elena. Loved them. If it was possible to love them even more. I didn’t agree with his resorting to other ways to save her, because it made him looked like a hypocrite when he scolded Fan Hiu Wah. However, what they’d been through and tried to work things out, it was nice to see. Perhaps, it was somewhat refreshing in the past few years with watching Michael mostly and his pairings didn’t really click for me. Even if it did fit, but some other parts of the plot killed it for me. This one gave me a balance that I preferred. OMG, their ending was the saddest. Again, Korean soap material. Seriously. It made sense with what happened but didn’t make it less sad. Their last dinner, their last dance, their story as an overall. The song brought back from season 1 aided their moments and summed their story nicely. This was one of those times I didn’t mind the flashbacks because it has been a while since season 1 and it was suitable for such a moment. Both of their acting was really on par at that point. Okay, I admit, I cried buckets. It was really tragic. Seriously? Frustrating, but also really worth a few tears. Okay, maybe lots of it. Just grab the whole box of tissues–just to be safe.
  • Raymond and Charmaine. Although she wasn’t around but was mentioned a lot and some of the major characters were looking for her. Not to mention how he thought of her at various points throughout the story, so I thought it made sense to put them in here. For once, I want to give credit where credit is due and the writers made the right call for not replacing her yet hence their relationship was still ongoing. The mourning for her and the memories of them, so many things happened and he thought he lost her more than once. We could see their relationship through his point of view. What about the ending when he had the showdown with Klein? He thought of her before he lost consciousness. And the song that once again used to tell their story along with flashbacks was used, instead of saying any more words to drag out the scene. It was nicely done.
  • Michael and Benz. Round 3, right? LOL! It was hilarious that they were eating together again and how they actually joke about it, lol. I meant after the previous encounters? Ten years since they ate together? LOL! Cheuk Sir brought up the past by saying Chum Foon Hei went back on his words after Victor’s death, lol. What about this third time bumping into one another? It obviously wasn’t simple. Interesting how they kept hopping back and forth between sides. Well, it was for the first part of the story when they were backing the opposing sides for the seat of the chairman regarding Sung Luen Society. But it was hilarious to see them once again facing off. It became even funnier when they were almost working together to see what Eternity was about. Their exchanges and different methods that they would use to achieve that goal. Obviously, Chum Foon Hei was too driven at times and didn’t want to be patient with the regular path, so he did doublecross Cheuk Sir by using Tin Tong and Ah Mui to get Cheuk Sir to go along with it. Yet in the end, somehow, they were on the same side where the others were concerned?
  • Raymond and Benz. I always wondered why Chum Foon Hei never exposed Bao Seed as an undercover cop. Sometimes, I suspected if there was a plot hole somewhere in there. However, I realized that was on par with Chum Foon Hei. After all, he didn’t want to play all out with everyone. In case there was something down the road, he needed a way out. Maybe an unlikely ally as well. Somehow, though, they once again reunited later to find Ding Jie. That was their common goal and their link to one another. They had a few drinks together after learning of Ding Jie’s death. I think they needed that moment. The other time they talked, it was with Cheuk Sir. That time, it was just the two of them. Chum Foon Hei really knew how to pick the time. Because Bao Seed was ready to seek out revenge for Ding Jie. Or did Chum Foon Hei already predicted the move? That was what I initially thought. Then Chum Foon Hei went into this rant about how Cheuk Sir was wrong about retribution. Sure, he was upset that Ding Jie died, but he wasn’t helping with fusing Bao Seed’s determination even more with his revenge plans. Then Chum Foon Hei just brought the topic to the surface. It was unlikely of him because he loved those subtle hint games. Yet this time, he was honest with Bao Seed. Their mystery and their link to Ding Jie might have done that? When Chum Foon Hei just wished Bao Seed luck for the upcoming mission, I wanted to scream. I thought for Ding Jie’s sake, Chum Foon Hei would stop Bao Seed from doing anything rash or less helpful to the main mission. They were so close after all with trying to unearth the mystery behind Eternity. Yet when he handcuffed Bao Seed, I cheered. Because that was so on par with someone so sneaky like Chum Foon Hei. This time, his move was much welcomed. He knew talking Bao Seed away from the plan was useless. So he had to try another method. What Chum Foon Hei said to Bao Seed afterward also made sense. Their connection was too strong. Ding Jie was his god-daughter after all. He couldn’t let go either. Yet he couldn’t let Bao Seed be the person making that move. He wanted to protect Bao Seed, even reminding Bao Seed that he was a cop. It was almost like what Cheuk Sir did for Bao Seed. Because Bao Seed wasn’t tainted like them. Not yet regarding breaking the codes or cutting some corners at times to achieve their means. Even if Bao Seeed did go rogue during some events leading to the ending of season 1, but it was still not to the point of no return yet. And what Chum Foon Hei said was almost an answer to what Cheuk Sir asked him a long time ago. That conversation they had in the prequel with Cheuk Sir asking him if his revenge for his wife was worth it. It was worth it to him, but he also knew he had strayed so far that he couldn’t really return versus how Bao Seed still had a long path ahead of him.
  • Michael and Eddie Koo. It wasn’t until episode 6 when they had their confrontation aka their first meeting that I started laughing. Because I realized they were both in an old Taiwanese series called Flaming Phoenix (浴火鳳凰) together. They were love rivals. So, it was hilarious seeing how they were once again facing off, but for different reasons. I don’t know if they were in other series together in recent years but like I said, I haven’t been watching TVB stuff or paid attention for the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.
  • Benjamin and Priscilla. If you don’t succeed, try again, I guess. Because the writers really tried to push those two for this series. If the writers wanted these two to be together, it should have been in the second installment where their story would have worked out better. However, they chose to strike during the third installment and ended up reaching too far that it became some duplicate versions of the other characters’ stories.
  • Owen and Sisley. They were the cutest and probably my favorite couple in here despite their tricky relationship initially. It started as a trap but she realized she’d fallen in so hard it was hard to pull out. I knew it would turn into tragedy. But I low-key wanted it to work. Like somehow, my optimistic side wanted his plan to work with going clean and all. It was indeed a good teaser for the production team. They had a decent story though, which was also the reason why it was harder for both during the confrontation when he found out that she was spying on him with the phone. She couldn’t let him go either because of her duty as a cop. I knew it was a slimmer chance that they would somehow accept one another because of how the plot had steered away from them and it was also going off the cliff with killing so many characters. In short, it was hard to recover from the intensity of it all. Yet in the end, they managed to work it out. Or at least, they have some sort of ending. He had already forgiven her or he had said that he should have seen it coming as a gang member. She was promised to wait for him. Hey, they got the best story to tell their grandkids, right? Something like, “How did I meet grandpa? Well, he was in this gang and I was a UC. I had practically helped put him in prison. But then it was cool. I waited for him to get out before we got married.” LOL!
  • Kenneth and Mandy. If it was any other circumstances, I would have rooted for them. This? Nah. It was really boring. Klein and Madam G were like two robots learning to be humans. Mean. But seriously. The way they talked and operated. I was surprised she didn’t agree with Klein’s assessment about how it was more reliable to use technology for analysis versus leaving it up to humans for errors.
  • Tony Hung and Priscilla. Hear me out, what if those two were together instead? I meant it was too late now with them both dead already. But what they could have done to revive his character in this season was say he somehow made it out of the building or when it exploded, through some outrageous mean, the explosion tossed him outside so he was just unconscious and lost his memory but was safe. Yes, I know if using the memory loss formula, it would be too overkilled. But that might explain why he was missing for the longest time. Then if they want to stretch it and bring Ah Mui back, they could have said she wasn’t really dead. Someone wanted to experiment on her, so they took her body out and actually somehow resurrect her. Hey, we all thought Ah Hup was dead too and he wasn’t dead. So? Anything was possible. Seriously though, I thought if Tony and Priscilla were together with how their characters were, I would ship them more. They were getting along so well with those brief scenes. It was a romantic comedy formula waiting to happen with how they met, bumped into each other, joined forces (sort of) to go against the person who snatched her stuff. So, yeah. Too bad.
  • Benjamin and Shiga Lin. Once again, hear me out, I swear they had more chemistry than when they were with the supposed partner that the scriptwriters wrote for them–supposedly the endgame. I liked them together when watching the flashbacks of years ago. So, they had a rough start and there were misunderstandings. She was just doing her job to check out some leads for her boss but soon learned that he wasn’t like what her superiors thought. I could see their chemistry before they were together for real. They promised to get back in touch and travel together once their missions were over. That scene when he cried in the rain because the lady who got up on the scooter and rode away reminded him of her, I could feel his pain and all for her and how she lost her life just like that. They also lost their chance.

Likes:

  • The songs. I’m soooo glad that Ray got to sing for the third installment. Because I was surprised he didn’t participate in the soundtrack for the first season. With his return, there was a bonus along with it. I was also glad that they used the song “Love is Not So Easy” (越難越愛) by Jinny Ng only for the characters in season 1, because that would have killed me (NOT really, but still) if they allowed that to be used for the new characters too.
  • Ray and Ron reunited briefly in one of the scenes at the massage place. Ron said to Ray, “Hey, you look like Lam Fung.” LOL! Corny but funny. (As I said above, I forgive them, lol.) The group of friends told Ray to join in with the group picture, lol. That was kind of crawling over to the lame side with their tangent moment but kind of fun to see a Ray and Ron reunion–briefly. Did Ron volunteer to enter the scene so he could troll Ray? Just wondering, lol.
  • The Shadow Warriors team. Although it was set up by Madam Chan initially to cover her own ass and to further her agenda by claiming the credit yet the majority of the members were a true team. They’d been through so much together. Soooo funny when Chum Foon Hei arrived, everyone was giving him a long face. He said it was all right they didn’t throw a party to welcome him, but giving him that long face? LOL! He was hilarious really. They were acting like he was the one bringing bad luck. Great to know he wasn’t being forgotten as one of the key characters. They needed him. And when they were celebrating–sort of, only Ah Mui was trying to celebrate, Tin Tong was trying to act sweet to Ah Mui and Chum Foon Hei reminded them that there were other people around too, not just them, lol. He couldn’t stand the sweetness anymore, lol. Poor dude. What was worse was how Madam G said that was how Klein treated her behind closed doors AND Bao Seed was yelling for her to stop because no one wanted to know what they did behind closed doors, lol. Tin Tong was a pervert and wanted to know, lol. Ah Mui couldn’t say that about Tin Tong though, she was with him, right? They also joked about how Klein was a savior because he took in Madam G. Those were the days before they found out the truth about Klein though.

Intriguing subplots:

  • The investigation into Tin Tong in the past. Ah Luen and Tin Tong met and we got to discover some of their backstories before coming into the events of their timeline, which led to them finally landing in the current situation. Wing Cheong also had to investigate Tin Tong, which led to them meeting and becoming friends. It was really fun to watch how they all linked together one way or another. Too bad they didn’t know they all knew each other one way or another. Also, how Ah Mui knew Wing Cheong as well. It was just too bad that they didn’t know anything else aside from some details here and there.
  • Joseph Zeng’s roles as Madman or Yan Tin Hup. He was neither since it was revealed in the final episode. However, who was he really? The person who worked for Michael Tse’s character? Or was Michael just a sniper for some other big boss? But his appearance also created another mystery for the overall series. It led us into believing there was something else out there. Also, a hint for season 4, obviously, lol.
  • Kin Gor’s return to take over Hong Kong and manipulate the world in general. It was a good one. Because it forced the story to move forward and drove it into the ending. Because I think the story died down a bit after some hype here and there. It needed a boost that some of the major characters couldn’t save.

Subplots that were a complete waste of time:

  • Tin Tong and Ah Mui’s love story. If the only purpose of their story was to teach the rest of us a lesson about not wasting our time and cherish one another, then okay. But other than that, I didn’t see the purpose of their characters getting together. Apart, I liked both of their characters. Together, it was sooooo boring. Besides, I already discussed above that I preferred them with the characters mentioned before, so yeah. Not to mention how their story was somewhat a copy of both Bao Seed and Ding Jie and somewhat a version of Kobe and Yan as well. That scene at the hospital trying to find each other and it got super dramatic and dragged out? It reminded me of season 1 when Kobe rescued Yan from that explosion and they found each other afterward, except Kobe and Yan’s version wasn’t forced. It was indeed intense and I finally appreciated Sharon’s acting more than ever because I realized Priscilla couldn’t carry through–and neither did Benjamin. I’m sorry. It just felt so forced. And when I say they resembled Bao Seed and Ding Jie was because they couldn’t catch a break with spending some intimate time together, it was never the right time, etc. It was funny when Ray and Charmaine did it even if it was a tad cheesy at times YET I felt once again, I’m sorry, Benjamin and Priscilla couldn’t carry through. They were playful, etc. I think I should blame the scriptwriters for the poor planning. Because season 1 allowed for those scenes to be included at the right interval of the story, unlike this one where they were captured or were just at an intense part of the story. The hospital scene was supposed to be really tragic and sad but I wasn’t affected at all. Only Michael’s and the others’ reactions made it seemed tragic enough. Also, that scene became the reason Bao Seed cracked the code regarding Ah Hup’s gesture before he died. It was when Tin Tong placed the ring on Ah Mui’s finger that he figured it out.
  • Bao Seed’s son. Aside from distracting us, there was nothing there really. He chose to return to help the others, that was it. So, it wasn’t like there was much to go on. It was a side plot to increase more episodes. Sounds harsh, but it didn’t contribute to the major plot even if you take it out. That was how terrible it was. The idea was nice and a good distraction, but that was about it. Not to mention how it stole from Kobe and Yan with having a child without the former knowing yet this son survived, obviously. But it was a wasted plot. I mean Ray’s acting was good and we saw another side of him as portraying a fatherly role and their interactions were cute, but it was a weak subplot overall. Like I said, if you take it out, it wouldn’t make a difference to the overall picture.

Discussions:

  • Katie’s luck with actually finding a boss who finally has a backbone. Good luck with that! Seriously. The asshole expected her to grovel? He was an asshole through and through, not even hiding it at all. Well, I guess the previous boss had bigger fishes to fry, so of course, he kept some sense of secrecy and patience initially. This one just didn’t care to show his true face just like that. And I clap her on once again for not caving. Well, she was floored by his request and was still thinking. But then she couldn’t live with it since she was struggling inside the whole time. So she finally chose to stay with justice’s side. Brilliant! But that high only lasted for like two seconds because thanks to Wai Chok Wing, I also remembered why it was really a bad idea to call Fan Hiu Wah as well. Ugh. Life, right? It was also really frustrating that she was forced to walk back on her stance regarding justice and all. It was indeed heartbreaking and frustrating. When Bao Seed went to talk to her, it highlighted their feelings vividly.
  • Raymond Lam/ Bao Seed vs Kenneth Ma/ Klein – LOL! I wanted to laugh the first time they met up. It was hilarious. I meant they worked together in a bunch of series already. But just funny to see them again like that. Oh yeah, CIA vs SIA, lol. I thought that scene was hilarious. At least the initial exchange. Bao Seed asking if Klein wanted him to join CIA and Klein was saying, “It’s SIA.” Bao Seed was like it was about the same, just one different letter. LOL! He wasn’t wrong, lol. Still an intelligence committee.
  • When the old team met the new team. Interesting or what? LOL! It was funny to see their interactions and reactions to one another. Bao Seed trying to bring up his status on the team YET failed somewhat because according to the timeline, Ah Mui was actually his senior. LOL! Even if that was really funny though, I felt that the writers did that on purpose timeline-wise made it too much of a stretch. Bao Seed, obviously, was more experienced as an undercover cop regardless. He only cracked near the end. Like who wouldn’t? They were at a dead-end. However, the rest?
  • When Bao Seed found out Cheuk Sir wanted to go rouge and help Pong Ho Yeung to claim the Sung Luen’s leader seat. It was hilarious to see Bao Seed’s expression. It was like, “Seriously, man? You were the one who told me not to cut corners or cross the line. Now you’re playing this game?” And the fact that Cheuk Sir pointed out that they might become enemies if Bao Seed was going against Pong Ho Yeung. That was why the betrayal regarding Ah Dau was even more heartbreaking. Bao Seed reminded Cheuk Sir what Cheuk Sir told him previously and how Cheuk Sir had steered him toward the right path. So how could Bao Seed be calmed to face such a change with their roles? Cheuk Sir was right that he was no longer a cop. But that didn’t hurt any less. Cheuk Sir had a point when he said that he had nothing to lose with the way things were, so he was much freer to do what he wanted. Even if he failed, it was just him. However, what a way to mess with Bao Seed’s head. That was a powerful confrontation between both, though. Even if it was all an act from Cheuk Sir, but it still made everything more complicated than before. Like I said, it was messing with Bao Seed’s head big time. We all know this was a short fallout comparing the rest of the madness later on. But at that time, how was Bao Seed supposed to act?
  • The main cast seemed a tad bloated. However, I thought it cranked the hype up a bit compared to the prequel. The shifting back and forth between various characters made it interesting. But I thought the writers got a bit cocky and some of the subplots got away from them hence some subplots were less desirable than others. It was discussed in the points above already. So I don’t want to rehash again.
  • When Ah Dau confessed to Bao Seed that she’d fallen for Pong Ho Yeung and wouldn’t be able to do her job properly. It was indeed a change. I thought she would sneak around until it got out of control. She’d been struggling for a while. It wasn’t like she didn’t know what was going on. But that moment was indeed different from other dramas with how she went out of the way and said it. Bao Seed, obviously, already knew. And his reaction was why he was the most suitable to her handler and not someone who couldn’t care less about her and her well-being, except to be able to climb the ranks and all. Their talk after the whole operation went down without his involvement said it all as well. He was indeed a very good handler, taking in all angles, considering her feelings. Because he used to be a UC and still is, he could understand all the complications going on everywhere and how UC work was very hard. He didn’t use her to exploit the chance, knowing it would be very hard for her to pull out and deal with the fallout afterward. His words to her summed up his philosophy: UC is human after all. Many had forgotten, especially what happened to past UCs. So, yes, it indeed needed to be said, even if it seemed obvious. They moved on to talk about Ding Jie and how it had subtly hinted that Ah Dau was never going to replace Ding Jie regardless of the situation. They were all waiting for her to come back–whenever that was.
  • Leung Sir and Madam G as mentor and student. The first time I saw Madam G showed real emotions toward anyone–aside from her sister. The part where Leung Sir quit and Madam G wanted to follow him yet he told her to stay. She promised but had clung onto him. Many might think that was a childish gesture but that was her way of showing her emotions and how important he was to her. He was her mentor and partially the reason why she’d been around for so long.
  • They killed Goblin! I was watching the one with English subs so he was listed as Goblin. OMG, they were going all out on killing everyone to let us see how terrible the situation was or something. I was surprised that he was apologizing to Cheuk Sir and saying how he couldn’t say no to the grand reward prize. However, he was just using that as an excuse and later diverted attention away from Cheuk Sir and onto himself so Cheuk Sir could escape. I liked him. He was a fun addition to the cast and comedic relief for all of us when it got too intense.
  • They never mentioned Moose Kwai again at the end when Bao Seed told Lam Lam he was going to seek out Ding Jie? Really? They dragged out some other stuff yet didn’t give us some clue as to where he was going after that? Just a tad, considering how he did appear at some hilarious scenes throughout. I mean, I’m sure he would be fine looking for another job. But he was part of the massage place and cared for Lam Lam deeply as a friend as well. He would want to know or would cry over it.

Recommended? I thought it was worth it for the major plot and some of the subplots with the new characters. Plus, there were some gaps they needed to fill to tie it together for some characters involved and how they all got to that point. There was also a cliff-hanger which would lead into the fourth installment. So, you know, you could wait until they actually make a fourth one so it would be less of a wait? LOL!

Year 2015 in Recap

year_review

Oh joy, I’m bringing this back since it’s another year of madness. How did it go? Let’s check the number first, lol. Yes, before I start bragging and realized it wasn’t worth bragging over, lol. But before I actually go into the stats, I would like to thank The New World and iHero for making some of the impossibles happen. Because if it wasn’t for the dramas, I wouldn’t have updated so much or kept it so consistent for the better half of the year. Also, anyone wanting to check out the stat report from WordPress, click here.

Total Posts in 2015:

365 (35% of all time). Yes, I took the challenge of trying to keep up posts for 365 days SO had to brag here. It wasn’t easy and some posts were less impressive than others. However, I think it was already tough that I managed it all year long. For this year, will I be continuing on this pattern? I want to but I would say no. Since quality trumps quantity so I’ll still be updating, still be my random self at times, but I won’t force it as an everyday thing. If it happens, it happens. Now, moving on to the breakdown of different categories.

poll_collage2

Times Updated on People on the Poll:

284 (78% of overall). I took out Ady and Hu Ge early on so I didn’t feel like I needed to include them in this section. Anyway, because I did the 365-day challenge, everyone benefited–one way or another. However, Achel had a surge, leaving Jun Ya behind with only 22 posts, because Wallace, Joanne, Bianca, and Jacky ended up having more posts than him for the year. That knocked him off top 5 for the year yet didn’t damage his overall record too much. Talking about that, he was the reason why I held off so long of not publishing this post since I needed to calculate some of the posts again. Yet I decided to gamble and take out some and possibly double back next year to correct it all. Oh yeah, I didn’t count general updates for some people, especially those with higher numbers already.
Wallace Huo: 26 (9% of the year)
Janine Chang: 16 (6%)
Vic Chou: 12 (4%)
Joanne Tseng: 25 (9%)
Nicholas Teo: 18 (6%)
Xiu Jie Kai: 12 (4%)
Angela Chang: 12 (4%)
Zhao Jun Ya: 22 (8%)
Yvonne Yao: 7 (2%)
Penny Lin: 16 (6%)
Achel Chang/ Zhang Xin Yu: 34 (12%)
Sophia Chou: 6 (2%)
Ruby Lin: 16 (6%)
Van Fan: 9 (3%)
Eric Suen: 5 (2%)
Bianca Bai: 25 (9%)
Jacky Chu: 23 (8%)

Books Reviews:

Music Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

I will say that I was both proud and also a bit ashamed because I was cheating for several dramas by inserting placeholders. I was trying to motivate myself to watch faster and/or fill the spaces yet things got in the way and I fell behind once again.

Fan Fiction:

Songs Translations:

I think that it was too obvious that it was a Phil Chang year for me. Yes, I love that guy. Okay, mostly his songs, lol. But he is funny. Getting back to this, totally outdone myself on some levels. Overall, I translated 51 songs. OMG, that’s like a major achievement for me in this area. The previous year, I only did 12, but that was because I didn’t really take it as a challenge. I think this number will drop the upcoming year since I won’t be forcing myself to update every day.

Chinese: 46

Vietnamese: 5

Side Updates:

130 posts – My randomness seriously has gone way past normal. I didn’t count some of the side stuff. But The New World and iHero obviously dominated the scene for the beginning of the year.

For this year, I hope to bring out more quality posts, like I said earlier. I also hope to finish up the placeholder posts that I haven’t previously. Wish me luck and see you all next year!

Liao Zhai 3

Since I was on a Liao Zhai binge, I had to hunt this one down and watch too. Too bad that other stuff got in the way so I was off track with this. Now back to watch properly.

Hua Bi (畫壁)

  • Roy Qiu as Meng Long Tan (孟龍潭). First time watching Roy properly since other ones, I skipped around or gave up. But he wasn’t bad.
  • Zhang Pei Ran (張沛然) as Zhu Xiao Lian (朱孝廉). Hilarious despite his playful nature. What made his character redeeming for me was his extreme loyalty to Long Tan. Yet I still didn’t think he deserved to be saved at all. Yes, cruel but seriously? I agreed with the monk how he revisited the snake demon time after time so it wasn’t anyone’s fault for lack of trying to tell him to stay away. (Especially how the monk had emphasized many times already.)
  • Gong Mi (贡米) as Meng Fan (夢凡). A fox spirit. She was nice and kind and was one of the good demons within the portraits. She didn’t want to harm others but couldn’t do much because of that one powerful dark demon. Yet she tried to help many times.
  • Ben Ng (吳毅將) as Qing Shui Ju Shi (清水居士). Long time haven’t seen him. But he was indeed quite awesome with his portrayal in here. His story was so shocking (but not unrealistic) and how he learned his lesson (after a tragedy) was really moving.
  • Wang Yuan (汪芫) as Meng Su Niang (孟素娘). I didn’t think much of her from the start except that she was sure a doormat for her husband to do whatever. Taking in the fact that women back then didn’t have much say in anything at all, I didn’t care for her either. I just felt a bit sorry for her for having to marry such a person. It got even more annoying that she later kept chiding the monk about justice and righteousness when she wanted him to save her husband. However, in the end, I think I admired her determination the most. Regardless if Xiao Lian deserved such a wife or not.
  • Zheng Yi Tong (鄭亦桐) as Meng Yan (夢艷). A snake demon.
  • Wang Yan Su (王妍蘇) as Shen Yue Jiao (沈月嬌). Cruel all right. She defined the cruelty and despicable nature in here. At first, I thought it was the actress that couldn’t act hence the wandering eyes at times when she communicated with Long Tan. Yet it wasn’t so. Those were little traces telling the audience that she was up to something. She was a mastermind of it all. Even scaring her father with her thinking and scheming ways.

OMG, could this get any sadder? I watched the stories out of orders so this one was the third story that I watched. It was like sooooo sad. Although Zhu Xiao Lian finally learned his lesson and promised to listen to his wife from now on and protect his family YET the main couple? Okay, Long Tan had nothing else to live for in the real world and he rather stayed with Meng Fan yet it seemed endless with how they had to deal with the demon. The monk decided to go back in and help them but still. Not to mention how things weren’t really solved in the real world. Like how they weren’t able to expose the pair of cruel father and daughter and some other conspirators. Only some of them knew what was going on. Yeah, it was indeed true how it seemed impossible to go against some really strong forces within the royal courts and all. But this was Liao Zhai after all. There had to be at least a better explanation for it. Yeah, the injustice in life happened and it wasn’t new. But that was just too frustrating. Oh yeah, Long Tan’s father died for nothing!

Gongsun Jiu Niang (公孫九娘)

  • Akina Hong as Gongsun Jiu Niang (公孫九娘). She had the right image to be the main lead. The background story aided her character greatly. She was gentle and graceful enough at times as well. However, I think the plot made her character fell short of being awesome for some reason.
  • Tony Sun as Du Huai Sheng (杜懷生). He was too naive for his own good at times, thinking he could just use his power as an official to bring down Hu Xiao Tian. However, he did have the stubbornness to continue on with trying to bring the latter down.
  • Doris Lai as Hu Cai Ling (胡采靈). Supposedly spoiled, rich girl. However, she was shown to have a good heart from the start. She was also quite mischievous in her ways yet she wasn’t too over with other people. Very cute in her own way. I really liked Wei Ru’s portrayal in here and one of her roles that I watch till the end to this day. I was actually quite impressed with her when she was possessed and acted quite strangely, looking all suspicious–not like the usual loud Cai Ling. What was more impressive was the moment when she found out she’d been used as an excuse so the others could enter her house and search for the other guy and then carrying out the rest of the revenge plot. It was indeed quite tragic and shocking for her. Her reactions were justified. Those moments made her performance even more brilliant. It really tugged at the heart with how much she had to endure just because her father was the big, bad dude.
  • Zhang Dong Sheng (張東升) as Hu Xiao Tian (胡嘯天). Despicable scum. It was obvious to hate on him since he was the villain. But what was strange was how he caved into his daughter’s demands. Well, it was his daughter after all. But still. He did slap her that one time, which showed that he was just putting up an exterior or try to. Or he couldn’t believe his daughter would betray him. Regardless, he didn’t deserve an ounce of sympathy after what he did to many, not just Jiu Niang’s people.
  • Du Yu Ming (杜玉明) as Ling Yang Zi (凌陽子). A Taoist who had gone haywire. He thought he was getting rid of ghosts and demons and putting balance to the world. But he was scarier than the ghosts and demons he tried to exterminate.
  • Zhang Jin (張進) as Zhu Kang (朱康). Creepy. He was Huai Sheng’s friend and later got used by Ling Yang Zi to search for Jiu Niang’s corpse to perform the rituals.

What should I say about this? I swear this one was my third most anticipated story. However, it was disappointing on some levels. Maybe it was me being impatient but I felt the story was too slow. I didn’t mind that Akina looked sort of older than Tony in here since I still felt their chemistry was refreshing. However, it seemed anti-dramatic in many ways. The revenge plot was enough to drive many characters on. Yet it sort of stopped there after a while and then picked up again by the end of episode 4 and then going into episode 5. I felt that Wei Ru’s character, Cai Ling, was the saving point of the story. I was already prepared for her character to be bad or even aiding her father when she learned of the truth about him. Yet she wasn’t so. Yes, she was spoiled and loud, etc. However, she had a good heart, wanting to help others despite her constant tantrums toward her father at the beginning. I felt she was funny in many ways, not annoying like I would often think of overly loud characters. It would be interesting to see Tony and Wei Ru pair up in the future (if ever possible again). Anyway, back to this story, it was soooo sad to see how things turned out in the end yet it had to be that way in a sense. Many things had happened, so how could it turn back to a better time for them both? Even if the story let them both move on–or perhaps her, they still couldn’t be together. What happened to Cai Ling, in the end, could be said to be karma YET she was the one receiving it. It wasn’t her fault, so why did she have to go through so much? That guy sure knew how to pave the future for his daughter. Cutting all her paths and only caring for himself. Now that he was gone, there were too many backlashes to ever move on from that.

Mei Nu (梅女)

  • Stephanie Hsiao (蕭薔) as Pan Xue Mei (潘雪梅). I can actually say that I watched her act growing up. LOL! Not trying to say she’s old, but it says something. She proved her strong acting in here with her various personalities. It was so convincing that when she was Xue Mei, I sympathized with her and felt she was a very cute, nice and gentle girl versus when she was Zhan Min later on with her attitude. It wasn’t Zhan Min’s fault, but the demon’s fault for being so convincing–and Yun Ting didn’t seem attentive enough to her. However, I felt like she was annoying in a way with her not being able to see past some stuff, just taking one person’s side just because he knew how to flatter her. What was even more convincing with Stephanie’s acting was the part where she was still the somewhat dumb Zhan Min, wanting to be a waiter.
  • Frankie Lam as Feng Yun Ting (封雲亭). I also grew up watching Frankie, lol. Frankie once again proved his solid acting in here. There was a phase I will admit that he was going through (with TVB) that he seemed somewhat bland taking on repetitive roles (but it wasn’t his fault since TVB sort of wanted to recreate some sort of phenomenon but failed). He gained my attention again for delivering a solid performance in here. Many might think there wasn’t much. But there was this naturalness in his acting in here that I missed dearly during the last few years at TVB. (At least the years he was still active.) So yes, finally a role worth watching for.
  • Siu Chuen Yung (邵傳勇) as Han Ji Zu (韓繼祖). He usually portrays jerks or on the side of villain roles. (Or whenever I saw him in some dramas.) He portrayed Yun Ting’s best friend in here. Convincing in a sense of being funny at times and being plain annoying when he was possessed (and did struggle to fight with the demon to regain his body).
  • Cheng Yong (程雍) as Wang Zheng Xiong (汪正雄). Despicable slime. He and his goons were responsible for Xue Mei’s death–or part of it.
  • Hou Jie (侯傑) as Ni Ren Nu Yao (泥人女妖). Ugh, it’s no surprise that he was the most hated one in here. Duh, right?

OMG, this story compensated for some of the other ones. Although there were some frustrating moments near the end, the ultimate ending compensated for it. The beginning was tragic and then the sweet moments between Yun Ting and Xue Mei (even if subtle at times since she had to focus on avenging her death as well as others). The ending got me laughing so hard I forgave them for the other stories’ bitter outcomes. Seeing how Ji Zu struggled to call Yun Ting ‘Father-in-Law’ was a riot. Funny how things turned out, right?

Jiang Cheng (江城)

  • Jia Qing as Jiang Cheng (江城). Jia Qing’s acting in here was really top-notch. The quick switch in characters and how she was possessed from time to time showed her acting talent. She was very convincing.
  • Li Wei as Gao Fan (高蕃)/ Lin Feng (林峰). There were mixed feelings throughout. However, I think he did enough for this one. He actually looked quite suitable in ancient attires.
  • Victor Chen (陳司翰) as Wang Zi Ya (王子雅). At first, I didn’t like him at all. Especially disliked him even more after the meds in the wine incident. Although Xiang Lan was lucky enough not to drink it and all and the plan blew up in his face, but I still thought that was a despicable move. However, later, I was less against him. Mostly because of his loyalty to Gao Fan and didn’t get all jealous because Xiang Lan might have liked Gao Fan. He also was a scaredy-cat but had tried to help as best as he could. So in a way, he was a comedian for the story.
  • Wang Gang as Priest Nie. Having seen him portrayed too many villainous roles, it was hard to get used to seeing him in this role. However, he didn’t appear much so that helped, lol. But indeed, he did show his capabilities throughout. Maybe he had underestimated the snake demon. In the end, he managed to put a stop to it all. He also wasn’t too arrogant about it but had advised others to do more good deeds, etc.
  • Zhang Bo Jun (张柏俊) as Gao Fan’s father. I felt bad for him. At first, I wasn’t into it since I hated how he kept forcing Gao Fan to marry to forgo his connections, etc. However, when he finally caved in, he was indeed confused. Yes, the majority were confused and upset (rightly so) by Jiang Cheng’s behaviors. Yet he didn’t deserve all of those traumas. Luckily he–along with everyone else–learned the truth behind it and managed to move on. Unfortunately, Jiang Cheng’s father didn’t get to see how they’d finally figured everything out and their lives were back to normal.

I thought this story was decent. There were mixtures of romances and the conflicts with demons or the so-called fantasy world. Being six episodes helped the story along. Other characters worth mentioning were Xiang Lan and Judge Ma. I thought that Judge Ma (Zi Ya’s uncle) was a villain at first. Mostly because of his sneaky ways. But after seeing how the locals were so into burning Jiang Cheng and not really understanding the demon stuff and all, I totally got why he wanted to hide his practices from them. The hilarious scene must be how he tried to apply the supposedly ‘magic water’ to see demons and ghosts and all. He ended up as a joke to the whole town (or at least the ones who came to see the cases). Xiang Lan, I kept suspecting her mysterious ways at first. But when she let Gao Fan see the truth, it all made sense. Well, as much as it could in the nature of the story. She was cute and likable in her own way. And lastly, Li Wei and Jia Qing sure made a cute couple. I was surprised. Jia Qing had good chemistry with most of her co-stars and this one was quite refreshing. (Or at least I thought so.)

Geng Niang (庚娘)

  • Jess Zhang as Geng Niang (庚娘). Loved her in here. She was not only kind and gentle but smart. She just seriously incurred such bad lucks.
  • Ehlo Huang as Jin Da Yong (金大用). Um, I liked him with all the past lives and then the current one. Yet he sure moved on fast after Geng Niang’s death. Yeah, it was cruel to let him just live a miserable life always moping over Geng Niang yet seriously? He seemed to love her so much and had fought for their lives in the last few minutes, wanting her to run first. (Even if we take out the part where the dragon girl didn’t interfere, the majority was accurate.) So I was disappointed, but luckily Ehlo’s acting didn’t disappoint at all.
  • Berg Ng as Wang Shi Ba (王十八). Haven’t seen him in ages and he sure still lived up in the acting department.
  • Sun Jia (孫嘉) as Xiao Niang (肖娘). When she entered the scene, I suspected her immediately because of her wandering eyes. Yet she ended up being a victim as well. She decided to commit suicide later to end the cycle of having to keep witnessing different schemes of her husband, Wang Shi Ba.
  • Du Jun Ze (杜俊泽) as Wang Shi Jiu (王十九) / Shang Zheng (尚正). At first, I was really annoyed with him. The righteous talk and all but it turned out he was avenging his brother. That sure changed things. The flashbacks didn’t help at all–although I knew he didn’t know what his brother had done to Geng Niang’s family. It wasn’t until he listened to the dragon girl’s story and then eventually realizing that people had also sacrificed in saving him that he understood. He blamed himself but also the fates for being so cruel. It wasn’t until Geng Niang chose to sacrifice herself to let their fates returned to its course that he began to see things differently. In a way, it was a relief that he remembered both versions of what happened, so he could really understand what was going on and appreciate what Geng Niang did. (Well, technically if the dragon girl hadn’t intervened, things wouldn’t turn out that way YET what was different was how it happened so he understood why his brother had reaped what he’d sown hence not blaming Da Yong.)

This story was one of the most anticipated for me. Mostly because I’m a major fan of Ehlo. It was interesting to see him collaborate with Jess. They were surprisingly compatible in here. Loved their relationships throughout and I so felt for the green dragon when she was upset over what had happened. So I didn’t blame her at all when she interrupted the flow of nature or whatever it was to help Geng Niang. It was so frustrating how such good people keep incurring such fates. I didn’t accept the ending for Geng Niang–even if that meant every other person’s fates were back to their original course. How could such a gentle and kind person have to go through so much? The fact that they ruined Da Yong’s character didn’t even justify the means. So yeah, he had to move on sooner or later. Yet he sure moved on fast after Geng Niang’s death. Seriously? The explanation was how Geng Niang had incurred bad karma in some other past life hence having to endure the three tragic lives (or something like that). Yet they don’t remember after reincarnation anyway, why continue to torture them like that? So did Geng Niang end up being a fairy or what? If yes, then okay, I could consider that ending. But again, seriously?

Bai Qiu Lian (白秋練)

  • Fiona Sit as Bai Qiu Lian (白秋練). At first, I felt she was somewhat interesting and then it seemed to be kind of bland. But later, I quite liked her because of how she liked Mu Chan Gong but didn’t force her way into his heart. Sure, she was around, but she didn’t force it (despite her sister’s urging). She also tried to save Xiao Mei, which was admirable.
  • Jin Jia (金珈) as Mu Chan Gong (慕蟾宮). At first, I didn’t really like him since he was too emotional and caused his lover, Xiao Mei, to suffer even more than before. Later, it was revealed he wasn’t that useless of a character. However, he still was not forgiven in my book since Xiao Mei had suffered so much.
  • Mao Lin Lin (毛林林) as Bai Qiu Ju (白秋菊). Cute and funny. Lively and mischievous. There were many funny moments with her and Zhen Jun. I especially like those scenes of hers. Yet what I disliked about her was forcing Mu Chan Gong to acknowledge her sister. Yes, I know she was thinking for her sister, but wasn’t that like what the Dragon Prince did to her sister? Like forcing marriage upon Qiu Lian? What I also disagreed was how she dragged Mu Chan Gong to see her sister that one time, stating that he kept thinking of Xiao Mei and not caring about her sister. Seriously, Chan Gong and Xiao Mei knew each other since ages back, so how could she use such words? It wasn’t like Chan Gong had abandoned Qiu Lian or anything like that.
  • Wang Xiang Hon (王翔宏) as Zhen Jun (真君). Funny! He was super hilarious. He kept misunderstanding the Bai sisters of doing evil yet later realized his mistake, seeing there were exceptions. His final determination in not lumping all demons together into the bad category was during the Bai sisters’ mother’s death. He tried to amend his actions.
  • Zhang Ming Ming (張明明) as Crown Prince Long. Liked Bai Qiu Lian and used his father’s power to force her into marriage. Despicable like the other dude who forced Xiao Mei into marrying him.

How was this one? I say it was in the middle. There was a mixture of happiness and sadness. Yet what was most tragic was Xiao Mei’s fate. She suffered so much, more than anyone could see. Then she sacrificed herself for them all.

So wrapping up, what was the best story? I say it was Mei Nu for its story, pace, acting, and ending. Yes, that was how I rated ’em all. Jiang Cheng ranked second–despite the fact that her father died. It was a minor detail I was willing to forgive and I had to take what I could get. Not to mention, they already wrapped up quite well. Third was Geng Niang–after I calmed down and thought about it more. Then Bai Qiu Lian–although there were some parts I was frustrated with but thought the pace wasn’t bad. That left Gongsun Jiu Niang and Hua Bi, which Hua Bi had to be shoved to the last slot. Why? As said already, although I liked the chemistry between Roy and Gong Mi, the pace wasn’t too bad, and the story was unique enough YET what killed it was the ending. It got me choking and it just never recovered from there. I just felt so sad for Long Tan and Meng Fan. Gongsun Jiu Niang lost on pace major time, but the ending made up for it. Yes, it was tragic and very sad for Cai Ling BUT the others got their revenge. It wasn’t all for nothing like I felt with Hua Bi. (Although to be fair, Xiao Lian did learn his lesson and all, but what about the other two? Don’t they deserve better?)

I liked the majority of the pairing and how some were especially refreshing. One of the reasons why I like watching Liao Zhai saga because it created the opportunity for some stars from different regions to collaborate. My favorite pairing though had to be Frankie Lam and Stephanie Hsiao. At first, it was Ehlo and Jess, but they lost points with me because they didn’t end up together. Well, NOT at the last bit. Although after I calmed down, I accepted their ending more, I still felt so sad for them. Second favorite would be Ehlo and Jess. Yes, I decided to place them second after having watched all stories already. Third would be Jia Qing and Li Wei, loved their chemistry–as said before. I was surprised. My last favorite pairing would be Roy and Gong Mi. They were compatible and their story was touching–despite the tragic ending. Tony and Akina did have chemistry and I so felt for them, but they didn’t click for me as much. Just personal preference. And I didn’t feel anything for Fiona and Jin Jia–although I liked them individually.

Miss Hong Kong 1994

I only managed to catch the top 12 this year. The top 12 consisted of:

#1. Halina Tam Siu Wan (譚小環)
#2. Theresa Lee Yi Hung (李綺紅)
#3. Astrid Chan Chi Ching (陳芷菁)
#5. Kitty Chung Kit Yee ()
#6. Annamarie Wood Lai Ming (活麗明)
#9. Maggie Cheung Ho Yee (張可頤)
#10. Bui Hon Mei ()
#11. Chiu Mei Yu ()
#13. Akina Hong Wah (康華)
#14. Natalie Wong (黃紀瑩)
#17. Kwong Ching Che ()
#18. Dorothy Ng So Shan (吳素珊)

The hosts for this part of the show were: Eric Tsang, Natalis Chan, and Lawrence Cheng. The theme this year for the top 12 was pirates. The guests were Jacky Cheung (of course), Leon Lai, Faye Wong, and Kenny Ho. Alan Tam was one of the judges. The opening of this part was quite lively and the humor wasn’t over. Eric made a good team with Lawrence and Natalis. The twelve contestants were princesses like last year but this time they were princesses under a pirate captain. The first part was seeing who wanted to be the next captain but the princesses wanted to vote for one another, lol. Most of the girls voted for #3, Astrid Chan. (I know I’m slow but I just realized it was Astrid! I meant I didn’t realize it was her until I re-watch it this time.) Then the others voted for #1, which was Halina Tam. There were, of course, others too, but Halina and Astrid were the most popular among the girls. While they were deciding which one to make as captain, the island was invaded and was threatened. So Eric and the others were thinking of ways to defend the island. Lawrence jumped in finally and told the others that he found a famous swordsman to come and train the princesses for the upcoming battle. This was the part where Kenny Ho came in. He got to show off his swords moves as well as his singing skills. Refreshing indeed since there was a mix of singers.

Shirley Kwan came into the scene shortly after as Medusa. Well, I like to give her that name since she has snakes on her head and all. She was just one of those sent to sabotage the island and paved way for her people’s take over. It was funny that Eric won with his mirror! That was funny!

Now they finally found an excuse for the questioning part, lol. There was definite disparity with their answers. Leon came on after that round of questions as the son of the God of the Sun. Man, he was so lucky, getting all those kisses from the girls. (YES, I’m probably the rare few who thinks so since come on now!) Leon was singing one of the rare few songs that I liked of his. The princesses were supposed to convince Leon and borrow his sword. This was also the part where they got to show off their evening gowns.

So after they convinced Leon with the kisses, Leon agreed (of course) to let them have the sword. Then they have to give the sword to Jacky so he could fight with Faye Wong (who was the real leader pulling all the strings in trying to take over the island). Awesome performance! How could I complain, right? It’s Jacky and Faye! Jacky was singing one of my favorite songs when he appeared aka 餓狼傳說. (I rewinded it around two times before letting the program continue! LOL!) I don’t know. For some reason, I enjoyed the performances more than the contestants’ answers, except for some. AND Jacky did not need the Leon sword to defeat Faye! (He’s awesome by himself!)

After that performance, they, of course, reverted to the modern time again to continue the last part of the program. The usual announcing the Miss Friendship first before announcing the top 5. Dorothy Ng got the title, which made sense since she seemed friendly enough. Top #5 as announced: #6, #9, #14, #1, #2.

The last part of this year was more enjoyable (to me) since they had a variety of challenges for the top 5. First part was the persuasion thing. Theresa was hilarious in her responses. Maggie couldn’t convince Theresa to cry but it was still cute seeing Maggie tried to convince while Theresa was staying firm with her belief, lol. Annamarie couldn’t convince so she gave in! LOL! Honestly…

The next part, the contestants had to change into sportswear to answer questions. Halina and Maggie dominated the scene. Annamarie had a disadvantage because they were too fast. Maggie got the highest score for that round with 160. The second part was they had to run to get the questions. Speed and intelligence were required. Halina and Maggie dominated again but this time Halina was leading. Understandable. Halina was honestly smart. And Maggie was sort of nervous so she reacted a tad slower during the second part.

While waiting for the result, the hosts made the contestants write down the possible winner. The difference from last year was that they had to write who was going to be #1 and then who will lose out. Halina wrote #2 for the win and #9 and #14 lose. WOW. That was strange but she was right regarding the other two. Theresa wrote down #1 as the winner (which she was smack on) and #9 and #2 would lose. Theresa’s answer, lol! And it was kind of predictable that Maggie wouldn’t win. (TVB had to haul her regarding her potential actress prize.) Theresa got her wish! She didn’t win the crown, lol. At least Halina won and not #14. I’m sorry, but #14 didn’t impress me at all.

Au Revoir Shanghai

The series itself was surprisingly good. It started out a bit slow and I thought it was just those typical Shanghai triads and those gangs going against each other. But its many twists and complicated stories were entertaining enough. It sure showed a different side to the genre. I honestly think that TVB is better at those Shanghai series more than its modern series in recent years. Sure, there has been good scripts and all of the modern series but the ending will always kill it. But in the Shanghai series, so far–I found them all nicely scripted and the ending was well planned–like The Charm Beneath, The Price of Greed, and now this. I’m sure there are many others in recent years, but these three so far met up to quality.

Unexpected one but I somehow restored my faith for Michael Miu after watching this. He managed to carry out his character convincingly enough. I guess it was one of those old group vibes from the ’80s or whatever else that made it happen. There were others also. And his chemistry with Anne Heung was interesting also since I didn’t expect it to work out. Quite a bit tragic and all, but not overdone. I was glad also that he didn’t end up with Anne’s character. Although I love to see them together as a team, I don’t like it if it was too gift-wrapped or it would be beyond cheesy and unrealistic, considering what had happened. At least both parties had come to accept what happened and still maintain a pure friendship.

Anne Heung did pretty well unlike her other bland out roles as a sacrificing party or the kind and nice person. Although this was somewhat like her previous roles as well, she was weak on the outside but very strong on the inside. She really matched wit per wit with Michael’s character. Great performance from her here and the ability to bring out the role so well.

Bosco and Shirley were a cute and funny pair. Nice ending also since it wasn’t too cheesy. Not sure if this was before or after The Price of Greed but they were really funny together in here as well and did give off a different feeling aside from the bro/sis sibling feeling like the other one. Bosco’s acting was decent as always, bringing out enough of the character without making it corny like some actors nowadays. (One of the good choices that TVB decided to promote really, considering their NOT so wise choices.) Really like his voice also as he did the theme song for the series itself. Luckily, they didn’t try to impress Michael by letting him sing, lol. NOT like it’s a bad thing, but might be over-doing it. Shirley sure improved and unlike what some others think, I actually agreed that she got the Most Improved Actress award. She really came a long way since she first started out with confusing expressions and gestures. But she really nailed her character recently, bringing out the emotional state as well as many other complex aspects that her character went through. Looking forward to future roles of her.

Derek Kwok – This was one of the roles that I felt he wasn’t robbed, lol. Great performance like always and very natural. A great role for him also. Can’t say much about his character ’cause I’m just impressed and don’t want to be repetitive.

Jimmy Au – A little disappointed that his character shall die but somewhat reasonable to the plot itself. It’s one of the rare roles that I like him in. Although he starred in a few series in the good old days, he wasn’t that impressive. In this one, it is one of those series I can say that he’s good. He makes his character real and funny at the same time in the beginning and quite tragic near the end.

Eddy Ko – If they cast him in any more villain roles, I’m going to assume his features stay that way, lol. I can’t distinguish if he’s acting or it’s his real expression anymore, lol. But it’s all right. Got to give him props for looking sincere enough at the beginning to deceive people, etc (like how he did to Michael’s character) and his colors showing more and more near the end.

Power Chan – Umm….another role for him although it seems major, it’s like they have nothing else to give him so decides to throw this at him. Nothing impressive but he seems quite uncomfortable or was it his character? Can’t tell. Love his performance in Lethal Weapons of Love & Passion more.

Sonija Kwok – Ummm…having her guest star as Michael’s wife is a bit OUTRAGEOUS. I don’t mind it since probably she met him when she’s quite young and those relationships do happen but it’s so funny that Shirley’s portraying Sonija’s daughter. They’re more like sisters. But luckily that they didn’t have scenes together or I’ll fall off the chair already. But still interesting to see her pair off with Michael at the beginning.

Although I have a bit of doubt about cast at times, but the whole plot was pulled together quite well and captured my attention somehow and got stuck till the end. Great series overall about Shanghai conflicts and those days when the police departments can be quite corrupt. Somehow it reminds me of Catch Me Now–maybe ’cause I watched that before and know that Catch Me Now is after, but still with the whole cop and robbers being friends. Somehow, I really like the friendship between Michael and Derek in here. They both only know of their friends and groups at the beginning and they couldn’t really co-exist, but later learn much more behind it and the gray areas, considering all the corruption going on at that time. Luckily, Derek’s character managed to stay true throughout without giving in to those bribes stuffs and all. The Shanghai background–although not really showing much but different stores and the inside of houses at times, but still entertaining to watch a different side of it.

Posted (on Xanga): September 24, 2008

Re-posted: Saturday, March 6th, 2010