Okay, I finally watched it after much-failed attempts. I had to hunt down the Viet-dubbed version so I could watch with my mom. (LOL!)
First things, the starring cast:
- Vic Chou as Chen Zai Tian aka Pi Zi. Hilarious! A totally different role for Vic aside from his other morbid roles or borderline of morbid? I actually really enjoyed his role despite his character’s loud-mouth at times. Typical good guy with a smart mouth that could make others hate him, BUT I honestly didn’t. He made it so funny that it was hard to hate him. There were also serious scenes worth mentioning, quite emotional. But to be fair (since I picked on Ivy/Chen Lin too), I had no idea what his character was up to at times. Perhaps, it was the effects of his mysterious nature and not really sure if he was indeed the mole OR some other characters with an alternative aside from the surface with his laid back nature. I swear! He made it so suspicious that it got my nerves since I was so scared they did this approach–IF that was the case. But I have to credit Vic for pulling it quite well with deceiving us. And should I say it was really nerve-racking waiting for his real identity to reveal? Sure was intriguing all right. There were so much going on with the twists and turns that I felt among all in here, he was the most pitiful because everything he thought he had and was supposedly be real was not. BUT somehow he got through all of that. I’m so going to miss him in the movie sequel.
- Mark Chao as Wu Ying Xiong. Okay, it was getting really creepy when I was trying to watch the Mandarin version because his voice sounded really like Sam Wang SO after hunting down the Viet-dubbed version, it eliminated the little distraction. Mark sure had to run a lot in here! He got to do a lot of cool stunts. Darn! I’m not sure what to say about the character really since I’m not really into the ‘hot-headed’ characters as much BUT I guess I do understand his righteous nature. (I prefer the quiet, observant type more SO it’s not like I’m siding with Vic’s character to pick on him. But I guess it’s part of the chemistry with the whole Pi Zi Yi Xiong SO Ying Xiong just have to be the hot-headed, serious one while leaving the comedy part to Pi Zi.) One thing I have to give him credit for was not caving into Chen Lin’s temptation and crossing the line. I meant okay, he liked her but he wasn’t obsessed to the point of helping her blindly, etc. He wanted to do everything the right way, not wanting to change his principle for a girl, etc. But somehow, it was a bit ironic to fall for Mu Sha’s schemes later. I guess it was understandable since they had a past and he thought she really liked him. (AND she really did later.)
- Ivy Chen as Chen Lin. I don’t know. It was very, very hard to get into her character though I realized how cool her character could be with being able to kick ass at times too. YET I think it might be Ivy. NO, not picking on the newbie since she wasn’t a newbie technically (since she appeared in various dramas before). Perhaps it was harder to see her cute side at times or her attempted cute scenes. Oh yeah, what was even harder was seeing how her character development was going downhill after the initial kick-ass scenes at the beginning with her slamming Pi Zi/Vic at their first meeting–and then those other scenes where she fought the other guys. It gradually passed but the dragging with the relationships was killing me–or more like my patience. After all, I wasn’t so sure if it was Ivy or the character development that made it more confusing to sympathize with. SO it was colorful and interesting in its own right, but like I said before, the character totally went downhill or somewhat got side-track. Conclusion: The scriptwriters killed her character major time by trying to make it complex YET failed miserably. AND oh yeah, Chen Lin’s other crime was being mad and bossy toward Xiao Ma. (What the heck was that telling him to report to her when he found more info? That was the scene near the end where her father was kidnapped.)
- Janine Chang as Lan Xi Ying. I actually liked her character. And how she portrayed it. A passive character yet not too passive because she only talked or acted whenever she needed to. And like I mentioned above, I usually like the observant type SO she fitted my type of favorite more. (Even if this was a male character instead of female, I still pick a character like her.) I was pondering if she was the mole at times too. I swear! Even if it made it like she was framed. NOT because that one dude made it like that was her who faked everything, but I suspected her before that. Or maybe I liked her character too much so I was afraid she might be the mole. The mole was usually the quiet ones who were being helpful and quiet (so as not to draw attention) so that was why I thought it was her at first. There was also the whole idea of her being used by the others to get information with Pi Zi’s fingerprints, etc. It was too frustrating. Like driving me insane. But I guess because she really thought those superiors were working for the good. Still, her trusting nature was too much–and I guess she had to pay for it later. The near ending scene was cool though since it was unexpected that she knew how to shoot like that. I guess it was really one of those life-threatening things and the opportunity presented itself (aka there was a gun available) versus past times when she did not have anything to fight back with.
- Kingone Wang as Gao Yi. I didn’t care if he only appeared in the first few episodes. His performance was still worth mentioning. He really convinced me with his portrayal as the psycho who unleashed the drug ‘Dreamer’ and wanting to take everyone to ‘Heaven’ as he claimed. It was creepy and it wasn’t just because of how the make-up team did a great job with the image, but his crazy behaviors throughout.
- Paul Chun as Lao Tou. Honestly, love Paul. He never lost it! Never failed to deliver regardless of how long he appeared. This is called professionalism. This is called the love of acting. A great veteran actor as always. Love the parts where he appeared.
- Xiu Jie Kai as Ma Xiao Ming aka Huang Shi Kai aka Q. His intro scene was hilarious! Come on now, no one would know he was some shooter, LOL! Maybe that was the whole point, appearing least suspicious as possible. His boyish aura really blocked the whole threatening vibe at times. I meant like how he was acting so innocent when they were talking to him when he was at his hotdog stand BUT he seemed so much scarier when he was out and about, lurking in the dark, etc. Oh yeah, I especially liked the stunts created for his character, like the part where he did the backflip to try and get out of Ying Xiong’s grasp. So slick! Another scene was when he was rescuing Chen Lin from BOSS and group. He was just so awesome–without even trying. So what if he got shot later? His character was just so awesome. (TO ME.)
- Sonia Sui as Lei Mu Sha. OMG! She was so scary. She creeped the world out of me with her technique. It wasn’t just being a beautiful agent. It was her menacing looks and actions that made it so chilling. And I never doubted the emotional scenes she had with Mark the other times. A character bordering on the edge, not sure if we should hate her or pity her.
Why didn’t I list the main cast? Um…hey, they were the main cast. They got to be the main cast, so I don’t think I need to say much more. Mark also won ‘Best Actor’ and also got recognized so I think that should already say something. If I say more toward or against it, it would end up being either I’m sucking up to him OR I’m being a sore loser (aka rooting for someone else). SO playing safe to only talk about the supporting cast and/or guest stars.
- Allen Chao as South District Director. I didn’t doubt his acting–ever. But thanks to my mom, I finally remembered why he looked sooo familiar. He used to be in those Bao Qing Tian ones, BUT I stopped watching TW stuff for a while so it didn’t catch on with me. It wasn’t surprising that he was the mole though. ‘Cause honestly, he had too much power and the way things kept happening around them. Not to mention even the North District Director was involved. It would make sense that he was involved too.
- Xiao Lu was the mole. Eh…this was definitely something shocking. I kept suspecting Xi Ying at times, lol. BUT it made sense since Xiao Lu kept playing the role of an innocent and cute girl. And how she kept insisting on helping them, but it was just her way of asking questions and/or extracting for information in her own way.
- The part where Mark was climbing on the train, trying to get inside. Whoa, sure lived up to the hype of the action.
- The part where Mark and Kingone had their fight on the train. Another intense scene. Kudos to the production team.
- Vic tried to talk Kingone into surrendering. Then Kingone turned around and shot Mark BUT Vic shot him (Kingone) in time so Mark was able to arrest Kingone. Sort of a hint of possible collaboration for the future. BUT of course, Pi Zi had to run his mouth and ruin the bond again. That was probably for the intended formula of the show creators though.
- Vic running after Reen when he spotted her in the bar. Emotional scene though not sure what was going on yet.
- Vic mourning for Reen’s death. This was after the explosion. That was worth a lot of points. It was devastating and traumatizing rolled into one. (IF only someone would stop appearing and yakking too much. Lucky he escaped and mourned on his own again.) I totally felt it and almost cried with him. (ALMOST…) Then those scenes in between with his devastated state, browsing through the streets mindlessly. AND okay, I did cry at the part where Ying Xiong finally confronted Zai Tian after having found him already–all beaten up. I think only Ying Xiong had the right to yell at Zai Tian though. ‘Cause I was a tad confused if Chen Lin was addressing him as a friend or a jealous girl. Though what she said was right to an extent, I kept having a feeling she was just jealous of Xiao Mei with her implication of saying that Xiao Mei was ‘just some girl’. Too sour to even sound like a friend. But the most touching part must be where Ying Xiong finally hugged Zai Tian and comfort him and how Zai Tian finally cried out. One of the classic phrases must be the part where Pi Zi said, “None of these are real, only she is.” (Referring to his past and current identities.)
- The part where Vic was confronting Paul regarding his identities. Totally worth a lot of points. Should I even say more about Paul’s acting? (Guess not.) But Vic was really good during the scene. I especially liked the lines used in this part too. (Kudos to the scriptwriters of course.) What if he rather lived the life that he had earlier? He still wanted the choice to be made by him, not controlled by others.
- The part where Vic was confiding with Janine regarding his feelings of losing a family member (aka Xiao Mei). A really touching scene though it seemed so, so subtle but worth a lot of tears. She didn’t just say those comforting words about “don’t be sad” or those lame phrases. She just shared with him the time she lost her father. And the stories really tied in with one another. It made him realized they were indeed going through the same feelings. Though her father passed away ages ago, that did not mean it would fade away.
- The part where Vic found Janine and carried her into the hospital and its following parts. Another touching scene. He couldn’t believe she went through so much for him. NOT because she had an alternative motive, but because she knew what was like to want to find out the truth, i.e. like her father’s case.
- The part where Vic and Ivy found out they were siblings. Well, sorry to say but I never cheered any louder. Just because I didn’t have to see Vic and Ivy together anymore. It was really sad for Zai Tian since he was suddenly tortured in between being a cop, being abandoned and suddenly having a father–and a sister. Too much to take in. And how he had to choose between being a cop and going with his gangster father.
- The part where Mark confronted Vic with crossing the line. It was hilarious yet sad at the same time since Zai Tian said how lucky Ying Xiong was, etc. Ying Xiong had no idea how Zai Tian had to choose and all the conflicts.
- The part where Vic said his subtle goodbye to Janine in the lab. I don’t know. Every time seeing their interaction was just so touching and meaningful. Not many words were exchanged but the feeling was so genuine.
- The part where Mark confronted Vic on the bridge. Ying Xiong had no idea. Zai Tian finally revealed his identity as Lao Tou’s son. What a shocking one for Ying Xiong really. And the hallmark of the scene was how Ying Xiong told Zai Tian to beat him. He really didn’t want to let them go yet with family, it was so hard. I finally could see the bond between the two. A genuine friendship. I was glad it took that for Ying Xiong to cave in and NOT because Chen Lin begged.
- Mark drinking at the bar and mumbling away incoherently. Subtle, short, but said a lot.
- Vic and Mark’s talk at Mark’s car. It was so meaningful yet not too serious. Zai Tian actually asked about Ying Xiong’s well-being with being demoted again, NOT like someone who only cared about whether she had a brother or not. (LAME!) Anyway, it seemed like their interaction was smoother than the past. I was getting more addicted to watching them–mostly as a team.
- The part that Vic and Mark were talking in the parking lot after Mark got kicked off the force. Another scene where they were bonding. Ying Xiong could feel the irony of the situation since he always thought Pi Zi would be the one who got kicked off first, considering how he was always not serious about his work, being careless, etc. Then Pi Zi vouched that he would hunt down ‘that woman Lei Mu Sha’ and make her pay. That was really touching. It showed their bond had gone up another level. Beyond just being partners aka on the same team. But it was about being friends.
- The part where Vic found out he wasn’t really Paul’s son AND that his world was turning upside down again. Another worth mentioning scene. Could Vic get any better than that? (Yeah, I was just amazed since this was just my second time watching his series SO…) The scene was indeed very emotional. From having a family to losing it all again. False hope was the worst of it all.
- The part where Vic was walking along the streets and remembering about the past. I totally felt that one though there were no tears, not really. Just anger and frustration. From having a mother to seeing her pass away. From not having anything to having. Then from thinking he found his family again YET it was all one big mistake. The world tumbling down all on him at once. The world was becoming confusing again. Yet it was possibly because he was so numbed now that he no longer could cry? Just frustrated–which he had every right to. Though he benefited from all the luxury all these years, his emotional state had been so badly damaged.
- The part where Vic made the decision to pull the electricity wire together so Ivy could open the door to save Mark. I didn’t care about her reactions since it distracted my observation of the guys’ bonding. Yet it was really something seeing Pi Zi making such a huge decision in risking his life like that. The admittance with Pi Zi afterward of losing everything was really something also. What I really liked about the whole thing was seeing how Pi Zi admitted his wrong (though it was because he was hurting) and even apologized to Ying Xiong for betraying him (Ying Xiong)–previously. Then the conversation between how Ying Xiong was asking about their mother. Indeed, they were brothers in a way.
- The part where Sonia died. I must be crazy to even cry but seriously, it was that tragic. All the things she did wasn’t even forgivable. Yet what she said at the end was really something, which was: “I never got to choose, but now I get to choose not to kill you.”
- The part where Mark was talking on the phone with Vic after Sonia’s death. That was really something. And yes, finally Ying Xiong was breaking through, giving up hope about uncovering the truth. An emotional scene indeed. We often saw Pi Zi breaking down a lot more than Ying Xiong but I guess Mu Sha’s death was the ultimate breakdown for him. The only person who loved him (aside from his mother) and left him just like that.
- The part where Vic and Janine were hugging each other goodbye. Well, it was more like Xi Ying was hugging him instead of him initiating it, but it was so genuine between them. Man, I never waited for anything longer than that. Seriously, it’s mega-cute despite the situation. I was also glad they didn’t exchange those “I love you” or anything OR it would be too fake or too much. Since I knew that they were relying on each other for support and understanding because of similar situations they went through. I didn’t mind at all if they had hugged all night. LOL! But that would be unrealistic though.
- The last battle. Totally worth the wait though I didn’t like the dragging parts in the middle. Honestly, it was too exciting! Xiao Ma’s opening scene with the battles. Then later Pi Zi scenes–of course! How could he be so careless as to get shot down so quick? Awww…I was looking forward to some awesome scenes BUT he got up again and saved Ying Xiong so I guess that should make up for it, LOL! But still, the following parts of the fight with the three guys and then the battle with BOSS made up for it all. Those scenes were awesome! Pi Zi still found time to be funny? LOL!
- The part where Vic realized Reen wasn’t dead yet. Man, only flashback images could capture the scenes. And they did it really nice. Imagine the shock. Imagine the last piece of his life he thought that was genuine also being part of the fake picture as well.
- The chase! Yeah, the one on the boat. But I swear it reminded me of Tokyo Raiders so much. Still cool though. Hahaha! Pi Zi was killing me with his taunting and his shooting method! LOL! And their arguments were present again.
- Ying Xiong didn’t bother clarifying that it was actually Zai Tian who carried Chen Lin on his back on the train scene. WHAT?! Okay, I rather see Mark and Ivy together since I was sort of rooting for Vic and Janine. BUT seriously? Why didn’t Ying Xiong clear it up with Chen Lin when she asked him? (So he cleared it up later but that was when he was so mad he didn’t care about pleasing her anymore. Still…LATE!)
- Ying Xiong let Xi Ying edge out of the get together awkward moment on her own outside the bar. SO Ying Xiong didn’t know that Zai Tian invited Xi Ying as well. BUT Ying Xiong didn’t like Xi Ying, right? SO why would he let things drag or act guilty all of a sudden? He looked like he was guilty of something. What was even worse was how Ying Xiong offer to see Xi Ying off YET he did not have to do it AND did not have to encourage her more. (I didn’t say he had to force himself to like her since it was his choice after all, but it was not cool encouraging her at times, leading her on with not saying anything. Trying to be the nice guy didn’t help.) AND of course, she knew her case was already hopeless so she had to try and edge out of the situation and reduce the awkwardness on her own. So much for being a ‘hero’. (OR he liked Xi Ying before BUT not anymore since he found a better choice? BUT that was too lame still…)
- Chen Lin kept nagging Pi Zi regarding how important Xiao Mei was to Pi Zi. She had no freaking right regardless of how she tried to defend herself. Honestly, to say, like he said, would she take a look at him with half of an eye IF he was still in his previous image/appearance? Like looking decent right now. Regardless of who Xiao Mei later came out to be, she was still a person of great importance to him because she did not look down on him when he was not in such a good condition. Like he said, aside from his mother, only she (Xiao Mei) treated him well.
- The Zai Tian-Xi Ying-Ying Xiong triangle. I found it truly amusing at times with this triangle even if Ying Xiong wasn’t interested in Xi Ying in that way. It was funny how Ying Xiong had to protect Xi Ying from Zai Tian’s pass at times. And what was that with Ying Xiong questioning Xi Ying when he saw her using Zai Tian’s cup to drink water? Hmmm…OKAY…
- The Zai Tian-Chen Lin-Ying Xiong triangle. Honestly, I didn’t care. Like I said earlier, I was rooting for Vic and Janine so it didn’t matter. Moreover, I found it strange that Zai Tian and Chen Lin could be a possibility because didn’t they have the same last name? Even if they were not blood-related, it was still weird. But this is just me. So, of course, I would prefer the Mark and Ivy pairing and couldn’t care less. But I was utterly confused at the beginning from time to time that Chen Lin seemed to like Ying Xiong yet she was eyeing Xi Ying with some sense of jealousy when Zai Tian was being closed to Xi Ying AND NOT because Ying Xiong was interacting with Xi Ying. Huh? Too distracting. I don’t know. It got even more and more confusing throughout–from time to time. Like it was on and off between who Chen Lin decided to be with or cared for. Too ironic. Her worrying for Zai Tian wasn’t just about friends BUT it went way past that. She needed to choose one guy and stick with him or convince better as of who she liked. (*NOTE*: Okay, so we found out later that Pi Zi was not really Chen Zai Tian aka just a fake name BUT I just didn’t want him to be the interruption or in-between factor of the other two, making others hate him.) Oh yeah, I thought she was confused with her feelings at times, which might be true YET it felt like she was using Ying Xiong to make Pi Zi jealous. It seemed that way. I don’t know. It was just too confusing and distracting–like I said before and many times already. AND then it was revealed that she actually liked Pi Zi BUT so what? Using Ying Xiong was so wrong. OR she was confused. Yet I guess it was obvious that she liked Pi Zi but that went right back to me saying how she was using Ying Xiong. SO messed up.
- Vic and Janine. OMG, they were so cute! I didn’t care if they had such a short gap of time together. It was just too amusing seeing how he teased her at times. He even gave her a cup for drinking purposes, instead of using those similar glasses to the ones they used at the lab. (YUP, that experience at his first visit was already too traumatizing, LOL!) The fact that they were more in sync with one another made it addicting to watch. Yes, he was loud and all at the beginning. But as the story developed, they seemed to have more in common and understanding the pain one another went through more than anything. It was a bond others could not understand.
- Mark and Ivy. The typical tragic pairing. I meant regarding how he was a cop and she was the daughter of some triad boss. I guess they did match. Yet I was not too involved with their relationship. Just call me confused! ‘Cause I was too distracted with other things to pay attention. AND I can’t be forced to like every single pairing out there, right? I meant regarding their story. That’s all.
- Mark and Sonia. I don’t know. It seemed so different–OF COURSE. Yet I felt their chemistry right away upon seeing her arrival at the police headquarter. I don’t know. It was their brief exchange with her smile and his stare. This is not just because I’m a major fan of Sonia. BUT because for some weird, weird reason, it just clicked with me just seeing them together like that. (I must confess I was a bit against it while reading spoilers and not knowing the gap of the story in between. So yes, I was really surprised to enjoy their chemistry.) Regardless of how twisted their story developed and turned out, I was still more convinced in regard to a romantic relation. The most tragic scene must be her death scene, which was already mentioned above, with her being able to choose finally.
- Vic and Mark as Pi Zi and Ying Xiong. Okay, that was hilarious. Typical approach with putting them into the same team. Yet I guess they achieved the effect. One of the funniest scenes must be when their boss tried to think up of a name for them, BUT then he scratched it off as being too long so he changed it into two words instead, LOL! The numerous times where Ying Xiong had to yell at Pi Zi was so funny too. I don’t know! Aggravating Ying Xiong was just too priceless SO it might be the reason why Pi Zi kept doing it in the later parts of the drama? LOL! At first, I found it hard to get used to them but around episode 16, it was a different story. I found their bond more genuine after seeing Ying Xiong let Zai Tian go at the bridge scene. It was because he knew what it was like and how Zai Tian had to sacrifice himself to save his father, save the only family he had left. The previous parts with the plot and the crazy triangles were too much of a distraction to see their bond.
- Vic and Xiu Jie Kai as Pi Zi and Xiao Ma. I don’t know. Their chemistry was just more convincing for me. (Though I don’t disregard the formula the creators tried to lay out with the other two.) Perhaps because they’re good friends outside as well. Their constant exchange of words were amusing. Especially found it somewhat strange that Xiao Ma was the one taking Zai Tian home when he was devastated with Xiao Mei’s death that one time. Interesting part. Subtle but something to think about. And not to mention their collaboration during the time when Xiao Ma saved Pi Zi and Xi Ying; and the two guys ended up attacking the base with Xiao Ma’s guide. It was really something. I just love their collaboration. (AND man, I was so glad that my mom mentioned it since that meant I wasn’t the only one thinking they they looked alike in here. I swear!)
- Three guys liked Chen Lin? Unbelievable. NOT because she wasn’t pretty nor wasn’t spunky enough for the guys’ attention. But I was still not convinced. It was missing something. I could believe why Ying Xiong would like her since opposite attracts but Pi Zi and Xiao Ma? Maybe Xiao Ma liked her because she was so lively. BUT I still didn’t get what was the big deal about her. The inconsistent about her character made it harder. (Blame the scriptwriters for not covering that part well.)
- They put us through the drama of the triangles because…? I don’t know. YES, I guess all movies/TV series have to have some degree of romance or it would turn out too bland (for some people) BUT what was the point if no one end up at all? OR perhaps they were trying to clear the schedule for the sequel? OKAY!
- NO Pi Zi/Vic and Xi Ying/Janine unite scene? Okay, this was more of personal opinion since I felt robbed when the ending parts didn’t include a follow-up with the talk. I meant with when Pi Zi and Xi Ying said goodbye before the last battle, there was the talk and then the hug. What about after they succeeded? Come on now! At least give us a scene! OR maybe because they understand one another more than any words or actions? And that any other side talk was unnecessary because they didn’t need it like the others in here? I don’t know. Like I said, personal opinions!
Other thoughts? So it was worth the attention it received thus far, considering how everyone worked so hard to make it happen. It was sure an action pack! For the most part. Also, the cast was really huge all right since they needed a lot to make it more convincing and the whole powerful vibe between several parties. I guess I must cut them some slacks with letting us down at some parts. The whole large scale of everything was already something to think over and how they did with the set and all.
I guess the most puzzling question going into the sequel must be: How in the world are they going to work Pi Zi out of the script? I meant okay, my mom was suggesting how it would be with saying he had to work on another case so couldn’t chase these people with Ying Xiong anymore. I thought of that. OR he could have died. (Which would be a lame one.) OR just not mention him? Why was it hard to imagine if they were to pull one of those scenarios? Pi Zi finally found out that Xiao Mei wasn’t dead. With all the things that had been leading up to the ending, would he just walk away like that or agree to work on another case instead of finding out the truth? OR at least the whole face to face confrontation? If he died, it would make more sense as to why he wasn’t around anymore to get to the end of it. BUT that would be too typical and reminded me too much of a TVB easy exit for those formulas with cutting an important character out of it all. It was not about Vic, BUT about the smooth transition of the plot. There were a lot of draggy parts in this one so it wasn’t perfect with the series. (I made it through so I don’t care anymore.) BUT it must at least make sense with some of the parts with the continuation. So good luck!