Filthy Rich

This was 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 pressure 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 onward. 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 put 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 typecast.
  • 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 ending 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 who 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 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. Even if I didn’t care for his indecisive character and how it became that way. It wasn’t like I could change it, lol.

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 were 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 cruelly to his brother. Perhaps being sick most of his life took the toll on his health already but unlike some others who 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 slimeball 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 a while 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 was a lot of stuff 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 a 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 these 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 on 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 backgrounds 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 and mope or get too dreamy. He was quite in touch with reality. So yes, loved them in here. Their mischievousness was 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.

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ICAC 2009: Episode 3

*WARNING*: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

This case was probably the most complex among them all because it contained a 48-hour deadline and a lot of information searching and witnesses seeking.

This case was actually about insurance fraud. A man (Johnny Tang) was waiting for the insurance company to transfer money over to his account after the death of his sister–who bought a policy that has him as the person who will benefit from the insurance if something happened. The cause of death was due to the fact that she was hit by lightning.

Every piece of information was there and seemed to be legit on the surface. However, when the ICAC investigators dug deeper into the case, they found out that not only the deceased was still alive and well, but she did not have a brother or have ever been in those places that the paperwork had claimed. The truth was that she had lost her ID card awhile back and had since replaced it with a new one. Her identity was used to commit fraud without her knowledge (obviously) and had sent the ICAC investigators on a wild goose chase. Though all was not in vain since they managed to persuade all witnesses to show up in court. The only problem was that they were not able to convince the so-claimed ‘brother’ to slip out who his conspirators were.

While Carrie (Maggie Siu) and Henry (Raymond Wong) were riding around verifying different pieces of information the insurance company passed on to them, Kenny (Pakho Chau) and Sam Sam (Fiona Sit) were trying to persuade the guy to disclose his conspirators. As the clock was ticking, everything seemed so nerve-wracking and not promising until the man finally agreed to help them. (Because he was able to see through Kenny and Sam Sam’s sincerity toward him–and it was not just about arresting the criminals and solving their case.)

This episode not only unfolded the conspiracy among several parties involved in the insurance fraud but also showed some more bonding of the ICAC team. There were also traces of a personal life out of their work. However, the person who got most out of it was Sam Sam since we were able to see that she had a boyfriend (who was portrayed by Jason Chan). We also learned in this episode that Carrie has a little daughter while Henry was already married. Although they were busy with their work, they still managed to take some time–even IF only a little–to call and check in on their family members. Sam Sam, seeing how her colleagues cherished those little moments, also made an effort to spend the little time that she could spare with her boyfriend. It led to very heart-warming scenes at the end.

*All images were captured by DTLCT

ICAC 2009

I especially like this approach to investigation dramas more than the dragging storyline of the same characters over and over. It could be nice to watch when the storyline is good with a mix of crimes and personal life, but in these cases, it’s better not to have too much randomness. This was 5 episodes long so 1 episode per case.

Anyway, the ICAC Investigators included:
Jessica Hsuan as Annie (Episode 1)
Raymond Wong as Henry (Episodes 1-4)
Pakho Chau as Kenny (Episodes 1-4)
Gregory Lee (Episodes 1-2, 4)
Fiona Sit as Sam Sam (Episodes 2-3)
Maggie Siu as Carrie (Episodes 3-4)
Mariam Yeung as Matilda Yeung (Episode 4)
Andy Hui (Episode 5)
Sammul Chan as Ka Ming (Episode 5)

Cases:

Episode 1 was about the crafty handling of money between a couple and one of the assistants at the husband’s company. There were also others involved in the acts (including Ellesmere Choi). Bowie Lam and Krystal Tin portrayed the husband and wife while Vivien Yeo was the assistant. Jessica was leading the case while Raymond Wong, Pakho Chau, Gregory Lee, and various other ICAC investigators were following the suspects. Lau Kong made an appearance as Krystal’s father.

Episode 2 involved a conspiracy between a group of friends who had inside information regarding a building project in an attempt to benefit from the compensation fees. Sonjia Kwok, Yoyo Mung, and Halina Tam were best friends while Derek Kwok portrayed Sonija’s husband and Raymond Cho was Yoyo’s boyfriend. The ICAC investigators involved in this case were Raymond Wong, Pakho Chau, Fiona Sit, and Gregory Lee.

Episode 3 was about three guys trying to con the insurance company by faking a death with all the legit information throughout the whole process of buying the insurance policy to the death scenes. Johnny Ngan was the guy who posed as the deceased’s brother. Maggie Siu was leading the team this time around with Raymond Wong, Fiona Sit, Pakho Chau, and the others involving in the case. Jason Chan also made an appearance as Fiona’s boyfriend.

Episode 4 was dealing with some clever tricks between the construction workers, the agents (which could be called middlemen), and the actual company that needed people to work on their projects. Kenny Wong portrayed the middleman. Maggie Siu was leading the team again with Raymond Wong, Pakho Chau, and some others as the investigators. Mariam Yeung also made a special appearance as one of the madams of ICAC.

Episode 5 was trying to shoot two birds with one stone since it involved two cases–one major and one side one though it intersected with each other, affecting one’s progress and both had to do with cars. Evergreen Mak and Louis Yuen were the bad guys this time around while Stephen made an appearance for the other case. Andy Hui was the person in charge while Sammul Chan and others were investigators.

*Note*: Click into the links to read detailed episode summary and analysis.