Black Heart White Soul

This series brought me back to watching TVB series again. Since I haven’t watched Roger’s stuffs for a while now and really want to see what this one is about, just like how I tried to watch each time he comes out with a new series. And I was glad I could finally watch something Roger’s in without having to bite my teeth down and trying to just wait and see if it improves. Because this one with its intense theme had worked like a charm from the beginning to the end. Even if there were some side shows I rather not care for. So I will start with my usual character analysis before jumping into more details of the plot/theme, etc.

Main Cast:

  • Roger Kwok as Matthew (Matt) Ko Chit Hang (高哲行). The complexity of his character just compensates for some of the past roles he had taken. His character in here reminded me of the role for Last One Standing in a sense of his manipulation and cunning nature had gone to the max. Yet the differences were: a) he was driven to fight for his own future and b) he repented in the end. What made it so chilling about his character was how he had transformed from being a pitiful victim to a notable model after his lost and then eventually turning into the scariest villain in the whole web of madness. Roger delivered brilliantly from the beginning to the end. Like there was a doubt about it.
  • Ron Ng as Cheung Lap Fan (張立勳) aka Funny. Totally impressed. NO, I’m serious. I don’t know what happened with some other productions, but this one really blew my mind away. I meant it wasn’t like he was phenomenon or anything in that sense. But comparing to his past performances, this one even surpassed my expectations. I meant he was doing fine at one point and then what was with the swinging back and forth with his body movements at times that I mentioned he was doing in Wax & Wane when I was comparing his performance against Forensic Heroes III. Yet this one, the character created wasn’t just to make him shine and show off his good looks or whatever else. This character had challenges and depths, not just showy/cute and/or hot-headed like his typical past roles. He had a lot to work with, considering how he was stuck in a lot of moral dilemma right from the start, whether with his family, friends, or colleagues. What made me really like his character even more was how he wasn’t reduced to a dumb character later on just because of a lot of complications going on at the same time in the end. He was conflicted, that was true, but he didn’t steer from his righteousness and his duties as a cop. That was what was different about this cop role than some past ones.
  • Kristal Tin as May Tam Mei Ching (譚美貞). There were mixed feeling for her throughout. Yet I must say it was very interesting and complex to see how her character change and grow. Like she wasn’t just suddenly changing to super good but it took a lot of time for her to start over after her past failure and how she had caused trouble onto herself by mingling with someone like Fire. What was even more ironic was how she had changed her lifestyles and had considered what she really wanted to do with the rest of her life yet she was thrown into another conflict. This one, much more intense than ever. Kristal once again delivered.
  • Kiki Sheung as Sin Hui Ying (冼慧英). WOW! At first, all I could say was that. Because she has been typecast in the last few years into housewife roles or just plain scheming woman roles. SO I was surprised to see that they let her portray a cop. Not just any regular cop but the madam. I was glad for that as the plot moved on, giving some sense of freshness into the whole thing.
  • Waise Lee as Henry To Yee Hang (杜以鏗). Haven’t seen him for a long time. Maybe it’s mostly because I haven’t been watching TVB stuffs for a while so didn’t know when he came back. Anyway, scary indeed yet I realized he wasn’t that scary after all. Because he was just a big bully standing on the top of the world, trying to control everyone around him and taking out others who oppose him. And people are dropping their jaws, thinking I’m mad for saying he’s not scary with his destructive abilities. I felt he was scary at first too, but later, when Marco confronted him, I realized Marco was right. Marco said he already been to prison so he wasn’t scared and the person who had to be scared was Henry. Indeed, Henry was soooo used to being on top and giving orders and being in the spotlight. But could he handle prison? It’s a scary place–regardless of if it was only a setting in the series or real life. There was also Matt, whom Henry, couldn’t predict would be his death.
  • Louis Cheung as Marco Ma Kai Yuen (馬啟源). I don’t know what to say about him. I don’t remember watching him before. So let’s say this is the first time. In a way, I pity him. Yet I felt it had to be that way. Maybe it was his own ending because he had betrayed Fire when he obeyed Henry’s orders? Although Fire didn’t die because of him, but he had chosen, even if he did try to delay the inevitable. Other than that, love the song he sang in here.
  • Leanne Li as Scarlet Sze Ka Lei (施嘉莉). Wow, seriously? I swear I tried to get into her story and felt she was really pitiful. She was, at one point. I didn’t really blame her for trying to push Marco into taking out Henry since she was indeed living in hell the way things were. But what shocked me was when she didn’t want to flee with Marco but chose to crawl back to Henry. I guess the person who understood her the most was Henry, not Marco. She indeed was just using Marco after all. Although in a way, it was a good role since it showed that the female side could subtly manipulate in here too, not letting the guys dominate the scenes all the time, but I felt as an actress, she was once again typecast.
  • Jason Chan as Alvis Yung Chi Chung (翁子聰). I was a bit disappointed that his role didn’t get elaborated a little more. I guess it was just a little side show to introduce Roger’s character a little more. Not that I want every single character to be involved in the end, since characters indeed come and go, and some just plain died along the way. But it was a bit disappointing to see that he didn’t get taken care of by Matt too. I meant, come on, the guy was a jerk to Matt from the start, so it was strange he was let off so easily.
  • Vivien Yeo as Icy Yeung Man Bing (楊漫冰). OMG, I loved her entrance since the beginning, so cute and funny. I thought she was going to play an important role in here. Well, again, NOT like I want everyone to be up front and in our faces kind of thing. But I swear Vivien had been soooo robbed since whenever. Yet I guess I should be glad she wasn’t playing some nonsense role like that one time I was watching. Too bad, but can’t do anything about it anyway.
  • Lisa Lau as Gillian To Cheuk Chi (杜綽姿). I don’t know what was going on here but I felt she was a really weak part of the cast. It wasn’t always so obvious and I didn’t look her or any other new people up before watching this. So I didn’t know how creepily she looked like Suet Nei until I saw her. Then when her character cut her hair in the show, Lisa was looking sooooo much like Suet Nei that it got creepier. The fact that they both lacked in acting made it funny too. But not too funny. It was so sad and hard to endure her parts. She was too trying in a lot of ways. Although there were some scenes that could be said to be better but she didn’t impress me at all throughout. Or show even a tiny bit of potential, unlike some newbies that the majority picked on and I was fine with (because they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb, lol). Her character didn’t help at all either. It wasn’t like I would expect her to be the perfect chick alongside the main leads. But she was like so self-destructive at times that made it disturbing, clinging onto Funny like that. I got the part about her being depressed over Sap Zai’s death since she really thought she was responsible because she had used reverse psychology on him not long before the fall. However, the other elements later on made it so bad that I didn’t want to bother with being patient anymore. Like how she went along with the others, trying to use death on Funny, etc. Suicidal episodes and thoughts are real psychological issues of this world, but people who used death on others so they could get what they want? Well, she felt bad for tricking Funny, but she went along with it anyway to get what she wanted. So I didn’t empathize with her at all. Although I guess the most pitiful thing about her was not knowing what kind of monster her father really was. Or was that better to not know? Or would she eventually know if she were to wake up one day?

Others:

  • May Chan as Lau Miu (劉淼). Mixed feelings at times. Yet what I admired about her was her loyalty to May. What May really wanted, she didn’t mind. Even if May wanted to stay with Matt at one time, knowing or having suspicions that Matt killed her brother, etc. She was indeed annoying at times and was even overboard with her words, but she was also right in some of the things that she said about Matt.
  • Matt Yeung as Lau Yim (劉焱) aka Fire. Don’t know what to say. I thought he was creepy at first, but later realized he was just a pawn in the big puzzle.
  • Claire Yiu as Yip Ying Sum (葉應心). Didn’t like her an ounce in here. Yeah, I got it that she was scared and didn’t want to get involved and her boyfriend/later-husband didn’t want to see her involved either. Yet I felt that she was really a doormat at times. She didn’t say stuffs out yet just blamed it on others as well. Yes, May was aggressive at one point, but she didn’t have to hang out with May. If she chose to be a doormat, then don’t get bitter about it. What made me super mad about her was how she said it was okay that her husband beat her. Well, she didn’t say it like that, but she said she shouldn’t leave him in time of hardship, etc. Yes, it is true that people try to work relationship out since she indeed did say they had good times in the past, how could she leave him when he was having obstacles, etc. BUT that still didn’t make it right for him to hit her or abuse her in any other way. Didn’t he realize that they were a team and they should work it out, not drenching himself in alcohol and beating his wife? Aside from that, will Claire ever make her way up again? Just wondering. NOT that I want everyone to be main person, but seriously, Claire’s roles have been just plain whatever since I don’t remember anymore.
  • Becky Lee as Denise Chiu Man Fai (趙敏暉). In a way, I really pity her. I meant she was really loyal to Marco and had to endure a lot. In a way, it was her choice, but I couldn’t help but feel sad for her.
  • David Do as Ng Shing Yee (伍承義) aka Sap Zai (十仔). Um, I swear I feel pity for a lot of people in here. But for some reason, I couldn’t even pity him. He was pathetic in a lot of ways. It made it hard to watch. NOT that I wanted him to die, but I swear it made sense. There were just too many complications going on and he didn’t take actions in time so he was pulled in anyway. He didn’t know, but as a cop, he should have some kind of instinct. Or even have the nerve to do something about it. Besides, Funny and Madame Sin were always by his side, why did he choose to trust the other dude to cover his ass than his family?
  • Parkman Wong as Siu Wing Kwong (蕭永光). Um, I couldn’t feel anything for this dude either. Just another pawn in the whole mess. He thought he could get out of it alive–and then gaining some. Yet he was wrong. So wrong.
  • Derek Wong as Benjamin Ko Chit Ming (高哲明). Matt’s younger brother. Sometimes when he appeared, I just want to hit him over the head with something. Yet ironically, he finally turned a new leaf and then his brother was all bad-ass. Although I really wanted to say he was just pretending, Derek’s expression really convinced that he had really changed–even if it was only a brief time in prison.
  • Jennifer Shum as Ada. The poor woman. Just a few days and she would be happily married. OR so it seemed. Yet things didn’t turn out that way.
  • Koo Koon Chung as Kwong King Cheung (鄺景昌). He’s back! I didn’t realize it since again, I haven’t been watching TVB stuffs. But I really enjoyed his role and performance in here. It has been awhile now. I felt he was the coolest, for a villain that was.
  • Joe Tay as Leung Ching Wah (梁正華).
  • Lau Kong as Ko Lam (高霖). Don’t know what to say except a reunion between him and Roger for a father and son relationship once again. Then I guess I could forgive him for not allowing Matt to drain his retirement money over a hopeless surgery (or so they thought at that time). Yet what was really pitiful was how unsupportive he was in other matters, always siding with the little one. At least that seemed to be true with real life stuffs, considering how at times parents do favor one over the other (no matter how they try to say it was NOT true).
  • Gregory Lee as Choi Chi Fung (蔡子峰). I like how he was involved with the cases. Yet I felt it wasn’t enough. It was more fun watching him at times then oh let say some person I really don’t want to keep picking on. But I guess it was fine since didn’t want to get too random.
  • Momo Wu as Lung (綸).
  • Man Yeung Ching Wah as Yip Ying Sum’s boyfriend/later husband. I just plain hate him no matter how I look at it. I try to reason of course the past May was really scary and unpredictable and he wanted to stay on the so-called “respectable” side of the society. Yet I swear I can’t like him regardless.
  • Burmie Wong as Bonnie.
  • Glen Lee as Hung Gwok Dong (洪國棟). Only appeared a bit and then was killed off. Yet the impact of his death became really large scale later on. Considering how the story moved along to tell us all the pieces eventually with the puzzle moving and emerging.
  • Stephen Ho as Satay. Another gangster role. Nothing new. But contributed somewhat to the plot. At least moved some things forward.
  • Geoffrey Wong as Yip Chi Kit (葉智傑). He got a somewhat cool role in here. Undercover and all. First, I thought he was tossed into this for a random role and once again a not so likable character. Yet his role wasn’t so senseless after all.

Relationships – Family, friends, and romances

  • Roger Kwok and Kristal Tin as a couple. I wasn’t sure about this couple when I saw the cast list. But I was proved wrong and I was glad of it. They were refreshing and funny in their own way (when they finally become a couple, that was). And cute too.
  • Ron Ng and Lisa Lau as a couple. Seriously? Is this Ron’s worst pairing ever? I never thought the day I would side with Ron or pay that much attention to his pairings. I thought as long as it worked somehow with the plot, it was fine. Yet Lisa seriously was a disappointment as his pairing. NOT talking about character either, but that had gone against her even more with her nosy nature and using Sap Zai to extract information–both regarding police stuffs and about Funny.
  • Ron Ng and Kiki Sheung as mother and son. Refreshing for me since I haven’t watched them collaborated in that manner before. But that didn’t sell me until near the end as things got even more complicated. Because at first what I saw was just a typical pair of mother and son with expectations and pressure to do good and her nagging of him as a parent/madam. Yet what stepped past all that was the whole responsibility of being a cop. Then it tied it right back to both, with him having to prove to her that he wasn’t the greedy type already being pulled in by the other side–and also being a good son. What happened later on was really tragic but really touching. Both really convinced me of their relationship as mother and son.
  • Roger Kwok and Ron Ng as friend-enemies. Real interesting and nerve-wrecking on many levels, especially seeing who would win the battle later on in the plot. And for those thinking Ron got robbed with not appearing more than Roger, I swear it wasn’t like that. Anyone want to get technical, go ahead. But I thought how the plot was crafted, it was really fascinating and intriguing to watch and see which side was going to win in the end.
  • Ron and Vivien? Why not? I mean come on! I swear they would be paired up, considering how they came into the department on the same day, and she sort of chided him with a shove to greet the other members as well! LOL! Icy was really cute and funny in her own way and he was just teasing with not letting her know he was their new boss, etc. Then how he dragged her into posing as his girlfriend. But that ended up as nothing. They always like to do those ‘fake turning into real’ kind of thing, so why not? But I guess it would be too cliche with them working together and all. Such a shame though, since they would be a cute couple. They do not have to be focused on so much, but just a side cute thing for the rest of us among all the intense battles in here.

The finale? Very satisfying for me as in intense and chaos, etc. Who was the winner in the end? Kwong King Cheung. Yes, I swear he won. Since he managed to dodge all the prison terms and other things, successfully taking out Henry and completing his mission. Because seriously, the others either died, went to prison or had other casualties. Aside from the intensity and confrontation with Marco at one point, he didn’t have any true enemies, always collecting money and doing his deeds and then that was it. He didn’t need to worry who was after his head, he only sided with money. I was actually rooting for him to win in the madness of all those battles among different forces in here. At least where all the villains were involved.

But kidding aside, it wrapped up quite well. Not only it wasn’t rushed but it paced itself just fine throughout, not saving everything until the end. Although there were even more intensity and conflicts playing out in the end, but it had been that way since the start. The whole not knowing who could be trusted and the side battles between different groups. I had to go and read spoilers to see what might come out of it in the end, and thinking it might be rush with Ko Chit Hang turning good again. But it wasn’t too unreasonable when the scene came around. It made sense, considering how he really did love May. It was just that he was too into twisting facts to his own benefit. So when he learned to finally let go (thanks to the nurses who were taking care of him in prison), anything was possible for his case. And if Roger doesn’t win the “Best Actor Award” this year, I’ll hang my hat. (LOL!) Okay, I’ll just hang one since I have several hats, LOL!

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Speech of Silence

The series itself was unexpectedly good. Although many still complained about Kate’s acting, but I think she had really gone far from her previous dramas. There had been traces of her improvement in several dramas already but this one was by far her best performance. She was able to express her emotions mostly through her eye contacts and interactions with Kenneth and the other actors and actresses around her, considering how her character–Tong Tong–was deaf and could only use actions and her eyes, facial expressions, and voice to express herself. It was really touching especially toward the last five episodes of the series. Things were going up and down and we as the audience thought it was just another happy ending where Tong Tong’s hearing would be restored again but no it didn’t. She had to learn to live with another disappointment after the unsuccessful surgery and go on with her life, appreciating other things around her and the people in it. It was really nice to see her bravely face it after many failures. It was even more meaningful than just watching just another one of those perfect endings. It was a semi-happy ending but still a satisfied one. Definitely liked both Kenneth and Kate’s performances in here. I was really touched by their interactions. Kenneth had really gone far as well since he was WAY better than his days in The Driving Power and previous series before that.

Other things aside, I really liked the fact that Ga Ji didn’t go all the way with Herbert and actually still didn’t lose herself totally but only suffered an embarrassment. I really loved watching her and Cheung Yau bicker on an ongoing process. It was so funny to see how he bullied Herbert back in the end for going after his girl, lol. Still great to see that things turned out all right in the end toward family and friends–NOT too gift-wrapped although it still felt that way. But it was all right since Cheung Yau was really funny and probably didn’t hold grudges if the other party already realized it. I thought Elaine had really improved since her days of Hearts of Fencing although it seemed so late. I have seen her improvements in the several last series she was in but didn’t really recognize her until now that I checked up on her profile again and realized she was in HOF. But still, better late than never since she seemed more natural than before in her playful scenes instead of somewhat awkward performances like in HOF. Lai Lok Yi–unlike many I heard say about him–seemed still good as always like his days in HOF because he managed to deliver every single one of his characters well–whether in comedic roles as this one or an honest person or a cunning person even, etc.

Claire Yiu’s performance in here was really brilliant also. I really liked her character despite the fact that she sort of went the selfish way toward the end. It was really understandable and I don’t blame her. She actually revealed the truth in the end since she realized how much Tong Tong was willing to sacrifice for her. Claire Yiu was probably the second lead in here (in my opinion) and I think she should receive more roles like these so it would be up to her talent.

It wouldn’t be a comedy in the end if there wasn’t the whole drama with Seung Fung and his wife. It was way too funny to add that part. He had to learn his wrongs so he would know better than act stuck up in the future.

Really liked this series as an overall with tons of touching scenes mixed in with drama among families and comedy as well.

Posted (on Xanga): November 5, 2008

Re-posted: Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Steps

Just finished the series itself and must say that although it was a very nice series in general, I was quite disappointed with a certain part. Again, I should have known and shouldn’t have expected so much, but can’t believe they let Victoria end up with Dat in the end. Yes, he was a nice guy and all, but can’t they just stay as best friends? She rejected him once and now since Dickson wasn’t around anymore, she was back to Dat? I know it wasn’t like that and Dat had helped her and been there with her through thick and thin, but it was somewhat unfair for him because it was like settling for him since she didn’t have any more choices. The fact that Anita succeeded in playing the pity card made me even more mad. It wasn’t like Dickson had forced her into those actions when they were younger. They fell in love ages ago and she also made a choice to be with him and also made a choice to quit her dancing. It wasn’t like he brainwashed her or manipulated the situation to make her life worse. Whether those choices were good or not, she still made them. But it was made to sound like he owed her. He owed her nothing. Yes, separating a family and destroying the little girl’s family was a sad thing, but it sucked major time that they have to make things turn out that way. Why couldn’t Anita have been more independent and also make the little girl understand that her mom and dad were now separated but still loved her? It was dumb to separate two people who loved each other to go with responsibility because of guilt. Dumb plot. But very touching scenes between Dickson and Victoria with their parting scenes and their last dance. It ruined the story by making her end up with Dat–as I said already. It was like TVB needed to gift-wrap so they make it all nice at the end. On a lighter note, Kate did improve surprisingly. She did bring out her character really well regarding her smart and professional side, plus her vulnerable side as well. Really starting to like Matthew Ko also since really see his acting potential. He was able to portray his cute personality as well as the last few scenes of a responsible father. I was a tad disappointed of Stephen Wong Ka Lok as Dat since he seemed to be doing all right in Love Bond and all, but now he seemed to lack something in here? Couldn’t really see his difference or wasn’t impressed in the most touching scene of him either. I got confused with what he was trying to do. It was like he didn’t improve or something.

Another thing that made me not satisfied with this series was not exposing Judy. She was the manipulative hand behind many scenes in helping that one dude to embezzle the company’s money but she was never exposed although she did get what she deserved in the end. Since TVB love gift-wrapping so much, why didn’t they make that happen? Lame! Caring too much of one thing but not another.

Luckily, Tsun and Keung reunited as best friends again at the end, plus Tsun and Sum Ying were awesome together. They were a really great bickering couple as well as supporting each other in the end. The dance during the competition was very touching.

I also liked Sum Ying and Victoria’s friendship. It was very nice to see something that actually looked like true friendship in here. They can talk about everything and could support each other through different things. A very great scene between them was Victoria confronting Sum Ying to tell Tsun about her eye conditions, but Victoria ended up keeping the secret for Sum Ying instead.

Fala Chen as Ka Man was just amazing. Yes, her acting was really up to it since she was only in a few series but wasn’t raw like some new ones. She managed to show her menacing side but also her somewhat vulnerable side. Her past was a great obstacle to get past but glad that in the end, she knew when to stop and didn’t listen to Amanda to play dirty tricks on Sum Ying because she could see that Sum Ying wasn’t feeling well. In a way, her going to jail wasn’t a bad thing since she learned to take on responsibility and face the consequences bravely. Plus starting over.

Stephen Huynh – Unlike Stephen Wong, I could see his acting a lot better since he managed to play out each role really well. Been in quite a few series but wasn’t disappointing at all. He knew what he was doing and could bring out his character.

Wayne Lai and Claire Yiu’s chemistry wasn’t all that, but still not bad at all. Like their little story. A bit funny at first and later more serious.

A very nice series overall, except a few things were still unknown and others were too gift-wrapped that made me feel kind of mad.

Posted (on Xanga): Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Re-posted: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The Greatness of a Hero

Another TVB mistake in warehousing a series. But I think I could understand this time because of the possibility of the complex language used in ancient series versus the modernized language we’re all used to. This was surprisingly good from the beginning to the end–even when there were hints of frustrations from several characters.

Like Factor(s):

  • The cast. I was doubtful if it was going to work and was one of the reasons why I did not watch this when it first came out. But I was glad I did since the cast worked together really well. There were roles that you thought not possible but it was nice to see the collaboration.
  • Kent Cheng and Sonija Kwok as Dik Yan Kit and Cho Yuet. It was very strange that they were actually my favorite couple in here. Maybe because their relationship was on a more mature level than the rest of the couples in here. It was also possibly because of his age and her responsibilities for the family. However, they complemented each other really well despite the age difference. Their story was touching and memorable. At first, I thought it was the pity thing that he took her in and somehow married her later. But it was not that. There was an actual indication that when his wife passed away, she matched-made them, saying that they shouldn’t hold back and lose the opportunity. It showed they must have grown to admire each other for their personalities instead of just the whole ‘pity for her’ factor or ‘repaying his gratitude’ element.
  • The Dik’s family. I liked how they got along with one another with support and care for the majority of the series. And it was a bit unrealistic that everyone treated Cho Yuet so well but they probably wanted to portray the loyal family with the well-behaved children, plus an understanding mother-in-law who could sympathize with the daughter-in-law’s past and would not pick on Cho Yuet in unreasonable manners–although she admitted that she was hesitant of their marriage at first.
  • Sunny Chan and Bernice Liu as Sung Ting Yuk and Dik Ching Lyun. This was the second time I saw their collaboration and it was not bad at all. Liked their scenes for the most part.
  • Wayne as the villain. Okay, I usually do not like seeing my favorite actors as villains, but Wayne is an exception since it’s a good reminder that he isn’t just portraying all these silly guy roles. He was so convincing as the evil guy.

Dislike Factor(s):

  • The costumes/ hairstyles. I know they probably tried their best with the colorful outfits and the sophisticated hairstyles and trying to make everything worked, but it looked so bulky with the hairstyles that it was a bit disturbing. It made me feel sorry for those people wearing such thick hair pieces, especially the female cast in here.

Anyway, it was a good series overall. It was not the best but because it wasn’t trying to be cheesy that made it more likable on different levels.

*The funniest thing was I was watching it about the same time as The Threshold of a Persona so I was thinking ‘same cast’ and it added to the craziness of watching both of that and A Great Way to Care at the same time.

Posted: August 8, 2009

Re-posted: Sunday, March 28th, 2010

The Threshold of a Persona

Was I the only one who thought that this was a waste of the majority of the cast’s time? Honestly. I’ve never suffered through a Roger Kwok series before. (Even the ones that he portrayed the villain.) I think every time TVB does a series on the Immigration Department, it becomes draggy because they fail to focus on the main points of the plot. I do not want them to twist some major facts about it to make it more interesting. But I mean they should’ve cut it short if they do not know where to focus on. 30 episodes of this?

First off, the theme song of the series, Conceal (掩飾). I like collaborations, especially between singers for a song but Roger and Patrick? I heard that TVB’s trying to promote Patrick but pick one or the other. Their voices do not go well together. I think one of my favorite ones is Steven Ma and Ron Ng’s collaboration for The Brink of Law and I do know that Ron’s not that good but their voices flow well for the theme song, making it memorable and suitable.

Let’s start with the likes before I get any further.

The Good:

  • The friendship revolving around Kit (Roger), Kei (Yoyo), Lun (Power), and Yu (Raymond). I actually like how their friendship was given to us at the beginning and how other factors influenced their path throughout the series. It really came to the question of if they could pass the test of obstacles or not. It was unbelievable that Yu turned so evil toward the end, killing everyone and destroying everything that dared to stand in his path, but it was not out of nowhere. We could see that he had a strong sense of ambition through his actions and words to others (although ambition is not a sin). However, he easily wavered because he did not have a strong sense of morality. He did not care how things were done as long as it got done and would use others as stepping stones. He would also violate the laws to get where he wanted to be. (It made it double bad because he was a cop.) Lun, although he had a foul mouth at times, he was just very straight-forward and wasn’t good with words. It didn’t mean he wasn’t clever. Despite all his criticisms about Yu and their disputes, he still helped Yu at the end because he valued friendship very much. Kit and Kei were on the same line as Lun that they tried to keep their friendship intact. They always tried to keep in check with one another, especially the part where they helped Lun with getting him to stop gambling. However, Yu broke that bond when he decided to target his friends and not back down from his actions. Their friendship was somewhat typical that one or two within the group would turn bad, but still a nice one to see. The only complaint I have is they should’ve been focused on more to develop the climax rather than focusing on subplots too much that reduced their significance until like the last two episodes.
  • The friendship between Kit (Roger) and Shun Fong (Patrick). It seemed that they were casual friends and co-workers but they did share this special bond with each other. I liked how they often gave each other advice with solving cases to lessen the stress from one or the other. Also, the whole thing with Shun Fong trying to help Kit with patching up his family again regarding Chi Yan.
  • The brotherly bond between Kit (Roger) and Wing (Ben). Although they weren’t related by blood, their actions showed a deeper relationship than that. I liked it that it wasn’t just another typical thing with brothers who were not from the same parents would argue non-stop or would plot against each other, etc. There was an admittance of being shocked or confused about being put together because their parents got married. But the acceptance of it because of their parents’ happiness and of having a family brought them together as brothers. They really cared for each other–not just for the sake of the parents. It showed through many times like Kit always supported his brother and tried to get along with his sister-in-law when Lai Man was being unreasonable. Wing would always support Kit, especially the time he almost beat up Wu Shum to save his brother or trying to stop Kit from shooting Yu and be blinded by revenge. One of my favorite scenes must be the part where they were both in the hospital and wanted to beat Yu up. It was rash of their behaviors, but it showed a bit of their unification and bond. They not only cared for each other but for one another’s loved ones and friends as well.
  • The relationship within Kit and Wing’s family. Although things seemed hectic at the beginning, later on, it seemed like they were really close. The father only asked one question, “Are you okay with it?” Then if the answer was yes, he would make sure that everyone supported the person in the situation. He won’t question otherwise. But it will depend on the person, just like in Kit’s case with his wife. Yes, there were many other barriers that they couldn’t get past but it still counted that they tried their hardest to make it work for everyone. Lai Man seemed very unreasonable and wicked at the beginning but only her words sounded mean because she was harmless for the most part. I liked the parts where she supported Kit’s kid, Hei, when the kid was bullied by his classmates. It really showed that she cared but sometimes her words were sharp. There was also the part where they know that Chi Yan was not really related to the father but Lai Man still told her husband, Wing, to look after Yan, saying that she was still his sister after all. For the most part, their family encountered a lot of problems at first but could overcome it all with their sincerity and determination.

The Bad:

  • Creating the whole story with Shun Sui (Joey Mak) and Kelvin (Ruco Chan). Do they need this too? This reminded me of the character Ruco portrayed in Project Ji Xiang where he landed in prison at the end of the series. However, this time, it was because of other stuff too. To get back onto the subject at hand, I admit that Kelvin was a spoiled guy and could not stand firm when he encountered obstacles, but he should not be blamed for what happened between him and Shun Sui in totality. “He was drunk” was not a good excuse BUT in this case, that qualified as part of it. He did not like her and made clear of that from the very start. He might be spoiled, but he wasn’t a playboy. He didn’t flirt with other girls just for the thrill. His weakness was probably his father since he wished to prove to his father that he could do it, but when his father only delivered lectures and expectations, it made him feel inferior and frustrated at the same time. He didn’t have proper guidance because both his parents were busy or doing other things and I don’t blame them. But he just seemed like one lost guy. He still had a good heart in general. How could they just listen to one side only–aka Shun Sui–and blame it on him for what happened that night? Shun Sui was a spoiled kid (although they weren’t rich), plus she did whatever she wanted. It didn’t matter if her brother yelled at her or not. She was just that way. Why did the mother act super dramatic? She could’ve used all those times she used to run around on her own to look after her daughter instead of blaming the other family after what happened. I don’t expect her to be perfect, but I just hate that she wouldn’t look at herself first before pointing the fingers at others. Only Shun Fong would care enough to yell or look after Shun Sui–yet he was yelled at for being naggy. That was just messed up. Yes, he should’ve handled it better and not yell, but it did not help either that he was very much on his own to care for his sister instead of the mother doing that. So, Shun Sui should take the partial blame too yet Kelvin was dubbed out to be the bad guy without a chance for explanation. When he did say it wasn’t his fault–which it wasn’t–no one believed him. What the heck? Like she was that innocent. She ran away once. (I know holding the past on her head was not a good idea but they should at least consider all angles instead of just listening to her blindly.) All in all, no one had the right to yell at Kelvin in this case, except for Shun Fong since he seemed to be the only one to care enough. The only thing I saw fit in this was that they did not make Kelvin marry Shun Sui in the end. That would be too lame.
  • The draggy parts of Shun Fong (Patrick), Kelvin (Ruco), On Yi (Natalie), and Chi Yan (Toby). I know they (the writers) wanted to do a friendship and another quartet with this group–like how they did with Kit’s group, plus other stuff, but it was just too much with the irrelevant parts, not to mention they didn’t have that good of a friendship to begin with except being random. Maybe that was some sort of bond and innocent friendship at the beginning too. But what kind of friends were they not to trust Kelvin but just jump to the decision of thinking him as a spoiled rich boy? Only Shun Fong could have a say in this or could react fiercely because he was Shun Sui’s brother and couldn’t control his anger. But On Yi had no right since she knew that she was playing around with Kelvin’s feelings and giving him hope. She knew she didn’t like him but didn’t say it. She didn’t agree but not saying anything was misleading. Why didn’t she just say it first or clarify it? But she had to give him hope until it was too late, which made him feel betrayed with the whole misunderstandings, leading to him getting drunk in the first place–and leading to the worst of it all.
  • More romances than cases. This was a crime/ law show after all. Why did I see more of romances here and there, especially senseless ones than the main point? I like to see romance and all too but they weren’t developing with the right couples. I understood the essential of Kit’s story but I hated it that the subplots and other characters got more in the way with dumb stories.

Who got robbed?

  • Ruco Chan. This was personal opinions of course. This was honestly insulting him and wasting his time. I know he has to start somewhere since he just came back to TVB but honestly? Casting him in a typical rich spoiled boy wasn’t helping. This was the effect of watching Ben Xiao Hai right before I dive into this series. Since his portrayal took me away in the other one, but for Threshold, I felt like, “What the heck was that?” TVB probably wanted viewers who do not watch ATV series to get used to him but must they cast him in this role? I see people who act poorly gets meatier roles than this. I just hope he isn’t typecast for these roles in the future. Since it has been TVB’s ultimate habit to cast people in similar roles that it’s boring to the point of dullness that either makes people ponder if it’s just the similar roles or the actor could not act.
  • Raymond and Yoyo. I do not mean their characters either since they are like part of the main cast of the drama. However, I thought that this is like the second time around and they do not end up together–once again. (Maybe TVB was compensating for Roger and Yoyo regarding to Last One Standing.)
  • Ellesmere Choi and Queenie Chu. I know they were leading Team A of the three teams involved in the cases but I felt I rather see more development of their characters than seeing the draggy parts of the other characters. I actually liked this pairing very much but too bad not enough scenes of them. I liked their subtle fights and conflict of interests. Then later they became more understanding of each other and thus came to peace with each other. (We could see hints that they will end up together but still would love to see that part rather than the other relationships in here.)
  • Roger and Yoyo. They were like the main couple but I feel like they were robbed major time because I would rather the plot speed up a bit, leaving more room for Roger and Yoyo to be together.
  • Power Chan. I know he was one of the major characters too but somehow he only had one story of his own–the gambling problem. There was also the one with his grandpa. But it was like other than being their friend, he didn’t have other side stories. It was sad. I don’t mean to give him a romance story–that would be a bonus, but it was like he seemed to come and go for the most part. I rather they create other stories for him than focus too much on other people. He played a great part near the end but it didn’t count either because it tied in with everyone in the story also, not his own story.

Having said all that, I do appreciate the entire cast and production team’s effort in their hard work in bringing us such a series with the major issues and subplots involved. It was really complex on some levels but some parts could seriously do without–like mentioned throughout this review many times already. After all, it was better than A Matter of Customs on some level since the other one was more draggy with revolving around a certain plot too much. I must admit also that this series had a very good cast. It was just that the story-line could’ve done better. They should’ve cut back instead of dragging everything out to the point of dullness. The fact that only the first few episodes were relevant for the purpose of the plot and then the last two episodes were where the excitement kicked in was just lame. Shame.

Posted (on Xanga): August 6, 2009

Re-posted: March 26th, 2010