The Rough Ride

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

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

Supporting:

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

Others:

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

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

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Filthy Rich

This is a light comedy and a rare gem of the ’90s. Seriously, many might not think much of it, but I thought it was awesome. Well, okay, not awesome, but probably one of those that I could just sit back and enjoy without it spoiling because of some lame ending or overly complicated, unnecessary dramas.

Main Cast:

  • Liu Wai Hung as Hung Chau Sang (洪秋生). An electrician that worked for a fussy boss. His luck turned when he rescued a wealthy man and got an opportunity to work at a large company (due to public pressures mostly because the incident was published in various news media). He seemed quite strange and possibly bordering on the greedy side initially. However, he was quite hardworking. It was just that he refused to be bullied at times and could appear to be a busybody at other times. He wasn’t despicable or scheming in any way. He accidentally got the opportunity but wasn’t too into wanting to push his connections with the big boss forward. Everything seemed to happen so fast at first and because the big boss had misled him with some promises. What I liked about him even more was how he didn’t use Yik Lian’s connection to forward his cause later nor did he go on some lame ego trip with their different backgrounds either. Yes, he was indeed discouraged when called upon by Yik Lian’s father and was given some ‘down talk’. Yet he didn’t dwell long. Instead of taking it out on her or others around him, he chose to work hard in understanding the company and their business deals even more. He also learned various languages on the side and their customs to help with business and other formal gatherings. It wasn’t like he was some clueless guy either, but it was shown that he was an excellent dancer (via the scene where they had that one dance off in the restaurant). He was just a down to earth type of guy that didn’t show off all the time like some people always putting up that ‘air’ like they were royal. This was the second time watching Liu Wai Hung portraying a character who worked for a cheap, rich boss. He delivered quite nicely and distinguished well between both characters. It made me realized he wasn’t type-cast.
  • Sheren Tang as Kam Yik Lian (金忆莲). A successful, independent career woman. Also the daughter of Kam Chi Wai yet her talent rose above that of just depending on family connections. It was just that she had chosen to help her father. She lived up to being a smart heroine. Not having that title just for the sake of some background info and then ended up losing ground like some other female leads in other dramas. She knew to stay away from certain shady parties and also knew when to apologize if she had misunderstood someone. Her only weakness–which no one could fault her for was her constant sleep episodes. I have to say that Sheren wasn’t on the top of my ‘favorite’ list among all the ’80s actors/actresses–although I had watched the majority of her dramas of back then. This one changed my mind regarding her completely. Her character in here wasn’t just on one spectrum of the scale or the other. The mixture of personalities her character possessed in here made her much more interesting and her acting lively–and real. Even if this drama wasn’t much according to some people whom rather watch the so-called ‘high quality one’ with ‘star-dubbed’ cast, BUT this one allowed me to love Sheren.
  • Marco Ngai as Lee Ching Wan (李青云). Hung Chau Sang’s roommate. He was a down to earth guy and somewhat silly at times but good in general. He was funny in his own way and seemed a bit dumb at times yet he was indeed quite sincere. He wasn’t a doormat type of character either. It was a bit hard to figure out his character at times–not because of Marco’s acting or the script either. But it was because I realized they did not make his character one dimensional (like they often did with honest characters for other dramas).
  • Wong Siu Yen as Hung Wing Yi (洪咏仪). Hung Chau Sang’s younger sister. A nurse at the local hospital. She had her moments at times yet was a nice person in general. At times she seemed like a girly girl but she wasn’t like that either. Sure, she wanted to dress nicely and impress her supposedly doctor boyfriend (whom all the nurses found out were cheating on them). Yet she wasn’t a doormat either. Like I said, she had her moments but she was just protecting herself. She wasn’t a bully either though, even if she seemed impatient with Sing Ci that one time. (He was just too fussy.)
  • Bryan Leung as Kam Chi Wai (金志威). Another silly role for him. I didn’t mind that he was acting weird and strange at times and even got into senseless arguments with his partner (of the company). However, what I minded was was when he cheated on his wife with that one woman. It didn’t matter if she seduced him or whatever, he reacted. That was all on him. I thought that ruined that bit of the story in general and how he got away too easily–and was forgiven too easily.
  • Lau Siu Ming as Mou Tin Dok (毛天铎). A wealthy man yet cheap in many ways. What was puzzling was how he had two wives. Seriously? Two wives equal more spending and much more. Or was he following the whole thing with marrying to have a son for the bloodline? If so, that would explain it. (Since Sing Ci was born after Hak Kan.) A funny role for Ming Sir in general and he delivered nicely.

Others:

  • Wayne Lai as Mou Hak Kan (毛克勤). Mou Tin Dok and Bak Lan Fa’s son. A beyond silly role for Wayne. It was still the back then days and I realized this could be a bigger role for him during that time. Yet he didn’t fail to impress at all. There were many sides of him that was hateful, like being a player and all. But it was Wayne’s portrayal that made it less hateful or annoying in many ways.
  • Bessie Chan as Kam Man Yuk (金曼玉). Kam Chi Wai’s daughter, Kam Yik Lian’s younger sister, Mou Hak Kan’s wife. Annoying in many ways yet I guessed she found her match made in heaven all right. She was fake and annoying and quite spoiled too. Of course, all that had to do with her father for spoiling her rotten. Or was that just her? Since Yik Lian also grew up in the same household yet wasn’t so. Initially, Hung Chau Sang liked her and dubbed her as his goddess. However, after discovering her true personality, he realized that she liked to put on a ‘face’ for others to see. The actress was convincing though.
  • Johnny Tang as Mou Sing Ci (毛星驰). Mou Tin Dok and Chong Hui Zung’s son. Often was sick and was restricted, but it wasn’t unreasonable since he indeed had too many incidents in the past. Yet after meeting Ching Wan, he learned a lot of things and was able to build a stronger body so he wasn’t so sick anymore. What was admirable about him was how his mother and step-mother were fighting yet he wasn’t taking side nor acting cruel to his brother. Perhaps being sick most of his life took the toll on his health already but unlike some others whom took the sickness to get what they wanted, he only wanted peace. He later became a cop and worked happily alongside his girlfriend.
  • Cho Tat Wah as Hung Yun Fat (洪润发). Hung Chau Sang and Hung Wing Yi’s father. He appeared quite greedy at times or at least his talk seemed to imply he prefer richness over all things. However, it was mostly because he had a lot to prove with one of his buddies who was always challenging him and bragging or showing off. It was clarified later that he valued honesty and virtue the most and it was all talks about ‘money’ most of the time. It was mentioned after he found out about Ching Wan and Wing Yi dating.
  • Fung So Bor as Chong Hui Zung (庄慧中). Mou Tin Dok’s first wife, Mou Sing Ci’s mother. Fussy and snarky yet it was because she had to prove herself.
  • Bak Yan as Bak Lan Fa (白兰花). Mou Tin Dok’s second wife, Mou Hak Kan’s mother. Appeared to be scheming and calculating at times yet it had to do a lot with wanting to prove herself against Hui Zung.
  • Lee Gui Ying as Rosanna. One of Hung Chau Sang’s co-workers. She was snappy at times, but it had to do a lot with how the others were teasing her with having no boyfriend. She had an attitude, but what was nice was how she didn’t care to suck up to the bosses or anyone having connections. She just did her work and that was that. Sure, she had her funny moments of sending flowers to herself (and got caught) yet it only added to the comedy.
  • Gordon Lam as Bak Kei Lung (白奇隆). Bak Lan Fa’s younger brother, Mou Hak Kan’s uncle. He was probably the slime ball of this series. The old days when Gordon was still acting in not so likable roles. He was indeed despicable and cunning all right. Yet he sure got the ending which the audience could laugh about.
  • Angelina Lo as Cheung Fung Giu (张凤娇). Kam Chi Wai’s wife, Kam Yik Lian and Kam Man Yuk’s mother. Never seen such a silly role from Angelina before. But it was indeed refreshing. However, I felt she let her husband off too easily with the cheating thing.
  • Kenneth Chan as a lawyer. I totally forgot his name in here since I watched this awhile back. But he was one of Sheren’s ex-boyfriends. At first, it seemed like he didn’t care for money, only justice, etc. Yet he couldn’t pass the temptation test either. This was in the old days so Kenneth was still very young (of course, duh, I know) and also not getting anywhere yet. But he showed great potential already.

What I found extremely funny and soon made the connection was how the majority of the characters in here were named after famous stars.

  • Anthony Wong
  • Sandy Lam
  • Sean Lau
  • Anita Yuen
  • Hacken Lee
  • Maggie Cheung Man Yuk
  • Stephen Chow
  • Chow Yun Fat
  • Nicky Wu

Friendships / Romances / Others:

  • Liu Wai Hung/Hung Chau Sang and Marco Ngai/Lee Ching Wan as friends. Although there were a lot of stuffs going on around them and they didn’t talk much except the randomness at times after work or bumping into each other elsewhere, I thought their friendship was interesting. It wasn’t trying too hard to be the supportive friend or making it like some epic relationship. Their friendship was normal and natural, something others could relate to with going from day to day and giving each other advice and joke around. It was funny how Ching Wan told Chau Sang that he was going to work for the same rich boss as Chau Sang and Chau Sang warned Ching Wan against the cheapskate boss. Indeed, Chau Sang was right. Ching Wan was in for a roller-coaster ride.
  • Liu Wai Hung/Hung Chau Sang and Sheren Tang/Kam Yik Lian as a couple. If people had told me, I wouldn’t believe this two belong in the same universe. Okay, that was mean. But seriously, when people talk about Sheren, they link her with other leads who were more in the ‘dashing’ side. Yet I thought she and Liu Wai Hung made a really cute couple in here. The fact that both of their characters were likable in here made the chemistry more addicting to watch and it was easy to relate to. They had a rough start but later become friends and fell in love. They had to overcome the hurdle of coming from different background and statuses. Yet they kept it real most of the time. Of course they were worried, like how she thought he might just disappear like her past boyfriends too, but that was understandable–with her luck and all (aka her father jumping in and sabotaging them–which he did try). Then there was how he could possibly be lured into taking the money and leaving her. Hey, no one could blame him if he just chose to run–with the money or not since her father was crazy. Yet he overcame that too. Like said in his character description, he didn’t give up so easily or let his ego get in the way. He tried harder and learned various things to prove to others he could merge in. It wasn’t just to impress her or her father, but it showed he was capable of getting there. He wasn’t the type to sit around a mope or get too dreamy. He was quite in touch with reality. So yes, loved them in here. Their mischievousness were really funny too. That one time when they tried to go around and sabotage others. Or that other time when they tried to make this one couple feel so awkward that that couple had to leave (so they could claim their table back).
  • Marco Ngai/Lee Ching Wan and Wong Siu Yen/Hung Wing Yi as a couple. Loved them. They were the funny couple in here. He could be so clueless at times or seemed kind of silly. But it was funny how he got so jealous and tried to sabotage her dates. OR possibly just getting overly paranoid. One of the funniest scenes was where she was talking on the phone and he was over in the corner taking care of the plant for her father but he almost chopped off the whole thing (or at another time shown almost drowning the plant). It was a riot. Then there was the part where they thought Sing Ci was dying so they decided to let him enjoy life a bit hence her posing as Sing Ci’s girlfriend. He had to go and monitor them and it was a riot how he got so jealous yet still allowed the whole thing. (Well, if it wasn’t too much.)
  • Bryan Leung/Kam Chi Wai and Liu Siu Ming/Mou Tin Dok as frenemies. Crazy! I didn’t even understand why they share the company when they were always bickering like that, getting at one another’s throats. Yet it was revealed they used to be best friends yet fought over some lady thus souring their friendship. Ironically, they both ran away from her when they learned she’d grew old and fat. Seriously? They were both getting old and hair turning gray or going bald too. But that was, of course, for dramatic purpose and a comical moment. It was indeed hilarious though. Silly.
  • Wayne Lai/Mou Hak Kan and Bessie Chan/Kam Man Yuk as a couple. Didn’t like them and didn’t care for them at first, especially since their personalities were too whatever. Yet I sort of found them funny later, especially how he still dared to go out and find other girls–when she was like a tiger. I guess he had a death wish or something.

Recommended? I felt it was hilarious and short. One of the rare nonsensical comedies that I actually enjoyed because of the cast’s wonderful acting.

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer 1984: Theme Song

*NOTE*: Video got taken down already, I’ll try to find another version later.

Because of all the hype lately, I just have to hunt down for one of the old versions, LOL! Since people were wandering about music (the heart of the novel), so I hunt around for the song of an old version as well. I just love the song so much. The song said it all. So jiang hu. In fact, I’m tempted to go watch again. Anyway, the song is ‘Xiao Ao Jiang Hu’ (the title of the series) and it was performed by Johnny Yip and Frances Yip.

Revolving Doors of Vengeance

I wish I could say that this was one of the better TVB series but with a lame title. Regretfully, this one had both–the title and lame plots. I must admit I was curious after reading some comparisons between this and The Brink of Law and how people say that there were similarities between both. However, I honestly think that The Brink of Law was ten times better–even if they managed to kill off half of the cast. This one was too messed up and gift wrapped toward the end. Although I must admit they wrapped it well with some plots intertwining to catch John Chiang’s character, it was not a satisfactory series with so many loops and stupidity in here. Sounds judgmental to death but I felt like morality was not even clear in here or no one had any, to begin with.

Likes:

  • Felix Lok as Ng Gam Kuen. He was the only one I actually liked in here among the cast that had anything to do with the whole plot. He was loyal to the father (Lau Dan) and was doing his best to help but would always worry to death while others were doing stupid things.
  • Lawrence Ng as Koo Ka Hyun. The kid was so cute and had a lot of potentials. His acting was great.
  • Lo Hoi Pang as Martin’s father. I think his parts were the most fun in the series since he played tricks on people so much. His attempted plot was a bit funny and his bond with his son was really touching too. Some parts with his disciple were fun while others memorable to watch.

Dislikes:

  • The fact that Kit (Ron) and Hoi Sum (Ella) ended up together. I think Hoi Sum loved to torture herself or something since he was the one who did not know what he wanted or both or whatever. But she kept wanting to hurt herself by doing that. Kit was also an idiot and a rash person throughout. Nothing was significant about him from the beginning to the end. He was also so hot-headed and did not listen to anyone. Yes, he eventually learned but it just made their relationship a joke that he was firm or stubborn with a lot of his principles but was not able to resist temptation thus going with Chloe (Elaine). Using Hacken’s song “Never Change In This Lifetime” as Hoi Sum and Kit’s song was a big insult to the song. Honestly, if he was that loyal, he would’ve more self-control.
  • Chloe (Elaine) and Mark (Derek) ended up together. WHAT?! Another dumb pairing and was too gift wrapped. Not saying that he did not deserve happiness but HER? Seriously? There were no other girls in the whole wide world? These people seriously forgave too easily or were just looking for self-torture. She no longer had anyone to rely on, that was why she chose him in the first place. NOT convinced that she was turning good. It was just that she needed someone to lean on since she had no other hope after what happened to her father.
  • Everyone kept jumping back and forth. I swear the Wong family was so wishy-washy. They kept shifting focus and all, especially fighting with their uncle and then coming back to let him use them some more.

Things that I DIDN’T LIKE but could accept:

  • Martin (Joe) and Becky (Kenix) ending up together. If we were keeping score, she lied to him right from the start–to which he just ignored it most of the time because he was interested in her. Okay, so he used some techniques to test her later but that was just to see if she was lying to him or not. So it was okay that she lied and deceived him BUT it was not okay that he tested her? GREAT. But still, it was acceptable to a level because it was all confusing and how she wanted to have enough money for her aunt’s surgery. But still…it was quite a low attempt with using her son to bait Martin.

Who got robbed:

  • Raymond Cho. It was a shame that he only appeared a bit and he was one of those with great potential and it was too bad that he did not rise as much back then. It was until recently that he got more focused but still did not make up for anything. It was because those other ‘supposed’ handsome faces that kept hogging the screen that made him lose out on opportunities. He’s quite good-looking actually and with potential also. Not to mention, he did sing the song better than someone else.
  • Nancy Wu. Seriously, I loved Maria more than the rest of the main cast in here. None of the girls in here could live up to Nancy’s fiber, except for let’s say, Kenix Kwok. Too bad.
  • Tsui Wing. It was funny how I didn’t notice him until I watched Off Pedder but I must say he’d gone a long way. It was a shame he could not rise in the earlier series.
  • Other potential cast. I think most of the bearable cast or the great characters were actually the supporting ones instead of the main cast.

So, overall, who got the most out of this drama? I swear it was Hacken Lee since they used some of his songs for the series. I had a feeling they were boosting him (which was well deserved) but other than that, this series tried to set all the hype around the characters but failed to deliver with an exact goal as an overall. It was a bunch of randomnesses thrown together. I could only feel that the ones who appeared a little were the more decent characters than the main cast combined.

Posted (on Xanga): September 11, 2009

Re-posted: Friday, April 2nd, 2010