The Rough Ride

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

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

Supporting:

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

Others:

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

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

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The Wild Bunch

First off, I had to scratch my initial comments since I felt I was still too lenient with the criticisms. Having watched most of Felix’s series already, I think I have the right to have a say in this. Like his other series, it usually starts with an interesting idea and it seems promising. Yet sooner or later, it would go downhill–minus all the Jin Yong adaptations and a few rare series. This was supposedly the Golden 80s so I expected A LOT. I just have to agree that they have good acting (for the majority) and nice costumes for ancient series. Those were the highlights. Plot-wise? NOT so much. It’s just that series nowadays at times lacks in the acting department so the plot sticks out like a sore thumb if it sucks. The good acting and the good costumes often masquerade some of the plot flaws back then. What was the whole deal about the plot that got me so disappointed? For the first ten episodes (aside from the first or so episode of the somewhat fast pace of introducing some key characters), the pace went from slow to a halt. Sometimes, there were somewhat of a happening that could be considered mystery because of the suspicious mute guy trying to assassinate Lei Hak Yung (or it looked like it), which I thought was the true hightlight of the show–since I expected the side dramas among the other adopted sons (with their competitions and all). Yet they waited until the almost last episode to reveal more about him and wrap up the series loosely. Seriously? Of the things that happened in the first ten episodes, about five (exaggerating but not too far from it) of them were focused on disagreements or side bickers between Felix and Idy’s characters. Then there was the obvious conflict between Lei Hak Yung and Jyu Wan–whether regarding the woman they supposedly “love” or for power. It was bouncing back and forth about how both paved the other out to be the monster yet I felt it was on the dot when On Ging Si’s adopted father said that both weren’t any better with their senseless fights. Oh yeah, did I mention it was never revealed what was the purpose of all these whole conflicts until near the end? It was revealed by the mute guy that Lei Hak Yung wanted to eliminate threats and major powers before overthrowing the current king to become the king himself. Sure, most of his recruitment of various talented characters in here showed that he was in for some big plan YET it wasn’t focused on to see where the plot was going. I didn’t mean that the plot was confusing, I just meant the writers didn’t know what they wanted so they just tossed in some random stuffs until the end to wrap it up. It was just a mess, like so unorganized that by the time it was wrapping up, you didn’t learn much or care anymore. I’m saving other rants for later.

Main Cast:

  • Felix Wong as On Ging Si. It wasn’t like he was dumb, not totally, but his character like some in here lacked consistency. Sometimes he was bright–or seemed that way. Yet another time, he was just plain clueless. I’m not talking about love stuffs either. I’m talking about the whole knowing Hong Kwan Lei was a devious character and not knowing how to draw up a good plan for it.
  • Idy Chan as Princess Wan Lo. Mixed feelings throughout. Like others in here, the writers didn’t know how to develop her character either. At times, we could see she was righteous and care for others (the part where she helped with that one case of the missing women). At other times, she was the typical spoiled brat (which was the recurring theme throughout). Yet it wasn’t all that either. I got it that she was complicated and have the right to be just like any one of us. But I felt either the writers were trying to get us to hate her or was just unclear of what they wanted for her. The constant arguments with On Ging Si at first had fused a lot of frustrating moments to say the least. Although I was glad they didn’t make Idy boring BUT I didn’t think it was a good idea to make her character so inconsistent either. I didn’t mean she had to act one way or another at times, but some of the things she said in one scene conflicted itself in another scene. One could argue she had matured since some previous episodes, but it just didn’t make sense or allow for character developments to convince.
  • Kent Tong as Hong Kwan Lei aka Ching Lung. He was beyond despicable and possibly even scarier than Lei Hak Yung. Yet too bad they decided to not use his character well in the last few episodes. It was like building his character up and ready for the final battle yet the final battle was SOOOOO anti-climatic.
  • Stephen Tung as Sik Seut. The comedian in the series. Yes, every series had one of those yet he delivered nicely and was probably my second favorite character in here. He was much, much smarter and it helped a lot more since he was cunning. It was a good one to have when trying to go against Hong Kwan Lei. I was scared he was going to die at one point since every other characters were dropping dead left and right. Sure, I know the consequences when they were all stuck in the mess, but that didn’t help with hoping that at least he survived. Ironically, I got my wish and the other characters’ ending were tragic.
  • Austin Wai as Si Ging Si. He was actually my favorite in here yet he just had to face with another tragic ending. Yes, his character was my favorite and he used to be one of my favorite actors. He was both smart and talented in his martial arts. He was just hot-headed sometimes thus leading to some of the major problems later. I was impressed with him when he managed to help his “siblings” avoided the falling down the spikes trap in one of the episodes.
  • Paul Chun as Lei Hak Yung. It was obvious he was up to something from the start, but the execution of the plot just made him less powerful. I know, they had to focus on developing other characters and subplots in here too, not just focus on him all the time YET like I said, it felt unorganized when the writers didn’t focus on the right stuffs regarding him–as well. His character was menacing, but when it mattered, the writers didn’t go forward with it. They just showed some cunning and scheming here and then moved on to another story-arch and then kept downplaying his techniques so he became somewhat of a background character for Hong Kwan Lei’s traps (and interestingly HKL also got tossed aside like I said earlier to make way for some other story-arch to wrap up the series).
  • Lau Siu Ming as Jyu Wan. At times, it wasn’t really clear if he was any better than Lei Hak Yung but I think he had loyalty on his side since the majority of his “brothers” were always there for him versus the whole betrayal thing on the other side.
  • Maggie Li as Sam Mung Sin. She was part of the reasons the men fight but I thought that was just a lame excuse to fight so I didn’t blame her on that front. What I did blame her for was not keeping her words with Lei Hak Yung. Yeah, it would be insane to say that I side with Lei Hak Yung for anything. But I felt it was despicable of her to trick him into saving her husband that one time and then saying that Lei Hak Yung was despicable. You can’t criticize him or think the worst of him when you’re using him in the same way for your means. Seriously?

Others:

  • Elaine Chow as Ling Lung. I never  got over how she got killed off just like that. I knew it was inevitable since they needed to move on and sacrifice her so he could enter the Lei resident and also somehow fall in love with Wan Lo. But seriously? I felt like Ling Lung ended up being a plot device to enhance Ging Si’s character with how loyal he was, still keeping her old gifts, etc.
  • Bak Man Biao as On Gaai Fu. On Ging Si’s adoptive father. I think he was the most right about both Lei and Jyu when he told Ging Si about about the fighting with both sides. Yet I guess that was why he had to be killed off to further other people’s means.
  • Isabella Wong as Siu Fung. She wasn’t really my favorite for some series I watched of hers, but I felt this one was more than meets the eyes. Yet they also made it somewhat inconsistent like Idy’s or trying to go into a loop with the plot at times regarding her situation. But what was outright obvious at the end was her bravery. I knew something was up when she was looking at the structures. Like I knew she was forming a plan in her mind yet didn’t realize she went that far.
  • Lau Mei Man as Ah Taan. Wan Lo’s maid. I thought she was cute at the beginning. Didn’t realize she became a major character later, which was cool. Interestingly, she made it to the end. Not that I didn’t like that but like once the plot finally moved forward, I thought she would get trapped in the ongoing battles–which she did–and somehow lose her life too (which didn’t happen).
  • Lau Kwok Shing as Lei Chyun Gong aka the 3rd general. Got killed off by Ching Lung in one of the earlier episodes. He was used as a tool to fuse the others’ hatred for Jyu Wan. Although Ching Lung did the killing but Lei Hak Yung was tenfold more despicable on that front.
  • Cheng Ka Sang as Lei Chyun Lung aka the 4th general. He was seriously in for good as well, thinking he was on the right side by the time the plot was wrapping up. Yet too bad.
  • Tse Ming Chong as On Yau Yau. A servant. He was overlooked by others (and even viewers) from the start. Then near the end played a major part, which was a nice twist yet wasn’t properly developed.
  • Stephen Yip as Mou Yin Hung. Jyu Wan’s general. One of the loyal people by Jyu Wan.

Relationships:

  • Felix and Idy. The fact that their somewhat of a romance started right after Lung Ling died didn’t help their case for me, especially with Mister I’ll-Never-Love-Anyone-Else-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life. Yes, I had to put that in since there was one point he was talking to Sik Seut and Sik Seut asking him if he wanted to consider Wan Lo. Yet later on, I just had to get used to it. It could work, but Lung Ling left an impression on me so I wasn’t really sold on this couple. The other reason was that I kept thinking the whole time while watching was Felix/Barbara and Andy/Idy. YES, although this one was before the other two series, but I watched those first and it had left an impression on me (as well as others who had watched it ages ago). Their chemistry wasn’t too bad but I felt it was somewhat lacking comparing to their other co-stars. Although I must say she was a better match with Tony (although I didn’t like her in The Grand Canal at all.)
  • Felix and Elaine. It wasn’t like their chemistry was amazing or anything, but their simple story at first stuck with me. Many might say she was boring, typical “good” girls of back then–and usually I hate those gentle ones too (just because they were usually fake with how the plot loved to develop it or tried so hard) yet Elaine’s acting had pulled me in with her character. Although she just appeared for like two episodes but she made an impression for me throughout. I seriously like her with Tony more, of course, but plot-wise for in here, I really liked her.
  • Austin and Isabella. The tragic couple. I had a gut feeling they wouldn’t make it. I meant the happy ending theme, considering how his past stories went in other dramas I watched–although this was before. I think they were considered an actual couple in here that no one had doubts about, most series has one. They were it and somehow with their story, it managed to move the plot forward. Whoever called it, it worked. Yet I wished they had made better decision for the main plot.
  • Lau Siu Ming and Maggie Li. Creepy. Okay, that was mean, but I’m not used to watching older people getting all mushy and cuddly, lol. I guess they weren’t bad together but I was just more interested in the main plot. I thought they along with Lei Hak Yung would drive forward the plot but it kept bouncing back and forth between who was right or wrong or whatever.

Flaws/Goofs/What-in-the-world moments:

  • Inconsistency. A LOT of it like I said throughout this review. If it wasn’t character inconsistency (minus people trying to keep secrets–of course–or if there was a reason for them to change their minds, I got that those parts were essential), it was plot gaps. So they managed it with some of the mystery, but the whole conflicting details at times made it frustrating. Not to mention mind boggling since I wonder if they had anyone to check the whole product before they released it. The problems didn’t start with recent series, BUT it had been way back.
  • Obvious GOOFs. One of the scenes it happened was when Hong Kwan Lei tried to poison Jyu Wan at the bath/spa room/whatever the world they called it back then that I forgot (lol) and he ran out after having somewhat recover. The battle continued up until the confrontation with On Ging Si and Si Ging Si at the arranged meeting location for some battle, which On Ging Si had convinced Si Ging Si not to kill Jyu Wan when he had been injured like that (i.e. not using despicable means or take advantage of the situation). All that made sense, but I’m talking about the episode jump. Like the beginning of the next episode, Jyu Wan was still running YET he was now fully clothed. He was wearing the white robe earlier SO how in the world did he manage to stop for clothes in the mist of running? They had an invisible rest stop I wasn’t aware of? Seriously? What were they trying to pull? Again, does anyone ever watch it again to check? (This had happened in LOTCH too and that was a major production so don’t start throwing excuses around.) Anyway, there were other goofs but this one stuck out the most with me.
  • WORST FINALE EVER. NOT because the majority of the cast died, including the leading lady. First, they killed Hong Kwan Lei with just two people–who were defeated by him previously. Okay, that one could be explained that over time On Ging Si’s skills had improved and even Sik Seut’s skills improved after the last attacks. However, On Ging Si said that he was afraid he might not win since Hong Kwan Lei’s skills had reached another level. SO what was that? Him lying to Wan Lo so they have more cuddle time? Or was that just his pessimistic nature? Then there were the other two who helped Hong Kwan Lei during the battle. I got it that Hong Kwan Lei could have won in the past because of his underhanded techniques and tricks. I got that throughout. Interestingly, Hong Kwan Lei was the only formula that never changed in the whole plot. He was consistent throughout–with his skills and personality. Yet I felt the final battle was so anti-climatic and ended in just seconds. Then what did the writers do for the rest of the time? Finally revealing that On Yau Yau was the actual son of Lei Hak Yung, which was a major surprise–and a good move. YET it went downhill from there (like it could get any worse but it did). Because they soon let him become Hong Kwan Lei #2–well in the making since he didn’t have the cunning that was Hong Kwan Lei. But it was just a mess after trying to rush forward with convincing us that the focus was on him, which wasn’t really. He lacked the trickery of his father as well so it wasn’t like we could see him as a threat for anyone. The mute guy was finally revealed in like the second last episode (or so) and a rush of explanation of his role in this. It made sense to keep the suspense going for a while with his identity BUT I felt it should have been revealed a little earlier so the final focus would be them trying to go against Lei Hak Yung. They let Hong Kwan Lei ruled the scenes for the majority of the time and then killed him off in seconds, then decide that they should now focus on bringing Lei Hak Yung down? Seriously? Not to mention the scenes leading up to how things became the way they did, which led to my next point.
  • WORST HOSTAGE SITUATION EVER. I felt that was really insulting the viewers. I think it’s safe to say that not all of us have been in hostage situations, but we at least get the idea what it’s about. How in the world did the writers make our hero that dumb? On Ging Si had a good plan–supposedly to save Wan Lo. He won Lei Hak Yung by element of surprise and captured him. He eventually used Lei Hak Yung as a hostage to save Wan Lo. Then he had to blow it! What possessed him to go in the house AND not request that On Yau Yau bring Wan Lo out as an exchange? Didn’t he see all those guards surrounding the house? Another thing he could have done was tell them to bring out the horses (which it was a request later BUT after they were trapped in a cage already). Seriously? Yes, I said that a lot already but I couldn’t believe it got dumber and dumber by the second. Then talking about On Yau Yau’s side, I swore they all knew Lei Hak Yung was in On Ging Si’s hands YET they still shot a bunch of arrows up there? What were they expecting? That the arrows bounced right back? Seriously! I initially thought On Yau Yau wanted to use the chance to off his father as well so he could take over sooner. YET it didn’t seem like the case and it was an accident with the incident. All of it was dumb and unnecessary. Yet the only explanation was to let Sik Seut show off his skills in fending the enemy and helped with the getaway.

Recommended? Ignore the freaking damn plot (or lack of it) and you might enjoy it for the cast. Just look at the beautiful people and forget about logic and reasoning or what the world the purpose is supposed to be. Yeah, that was it for me.

Filthy Rich

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

Main Cast:

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

Others:

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

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

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

Friendships / Romances / Others:

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

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

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer 1984: Theme Song

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

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