Revolving Doors of Vengeance

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

Likes:

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

Dislikes:

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

Things that I DIDN’T LIKE but could accept:

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

Who got robbed:

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

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

Posted (on Xanga): September 11, 2009

Re-posted: Friday, April 2nd, 2010

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The Greatness of a Hero

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

Like Factor(s):

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

Dislike Factor(s):

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

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

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

Posted: August 8, 2009

Re-posted: Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Last One Standing

Must agree that this is one of TVB’s best series of 2008. It got both brilliance and suspense. This was an awesome collaboration between Roger and Kevin. Although I kind of doubt it if Kevin was up to it since reading up on news during the series’ filming (even if I know Kevin’s acting abilities already). However, Kevin proved it that he was up to the part. He really did well opposite Roger. This was one of the most intense series that took it up to the max with sacrifices that I’ve seen for a while now–without holding back on several matters, causing it not to be cheesy at all. And maybe they never gave Yoyo a big enough role (except for the conflict in the beginning) that made this series better. (I’m not saying I dislike her since she’s one of my favorite actresses.) But I’m saying it made the rivalry and conflicts between Kevin and Roger rise to another level–with schemes and mind games throughout, mostly brain-work and silent wars.

First off, Kevin as Cheung Sing Hei. I must say this was one of the most challenging roles ever for Kevin but considering how he already pulled off such a villain role in The Ultimate Crime Fighter, I must say I’m proud of him. He has gone past his other roles and portrayed such an intense character. His emotional state throughout were apparent and led us into believing and experiencing Sing Hei’s state of mind as the series progressed. It was so vivid and tragic at the same time. If anything, Kevin should have won an award for this role instead of all his roles from the past years (which I swear he could portray with both of his hands tied behind his back). This was a more challenging role and required more time and effort to pull off.

This was the first time in a series that I enjoyed watching a villain character like Roger so much. He had played villains in the past and most of them were of characters who were driven to the wall and had no other choice but to do some “wrongs.” Those characters usually had to improvise in the end to fit the situation and mostly do rash things thus leading to their downfall and/or facing different consequences. However, in this series, Roger’s character, Tong Lap Yeen, has been planning out all his traps from the beginning to the end. He has never been careless or reckless in his behavior. Every word and action was planned and consequences came out as a result. Sure, unexpected things happened, but he soon cooked up a scheme just as quick to resolve the matter in a snap. He possessed both of intelligence and vigilance toward everyone around him. The fact that his character never shown an ounce of regret, in the end, made it even scarier and suspenseful. It made one guessed even more about his character. It just didn’t end there. It followed a somewhat eerie path that he was one of those criminals who didn’t regret anything–and might take up on revenge or doing more wrongs after he got released in the future. A very well crafted character in fact. One of the best villain characters by far. No wonder Roger was having trouble sleeping at times during the night while filming the series because this was one of the most challenging villain roles for him–especially after all those silly and/or goofy roles he portrayed in the recent years. And he pulled it off to the point of flawless!

Other things I like about this series:

  • The partnership and/or companionship between Kevin and Ellesmere in this series as Cheung Sing Hei and Yeung Kin Yip. Although Ellesmere didn’t appear much (or it seemed that way to me), he played such an important role being Kevin’s ally in here, assisting him in finding out different things on the side while Kevin had to pretend he was on the same side as Roger. They were a great duo because they were actually forced to collaborate because of the murder slate Roger pinned on Ellesmere, causing Ellesmere wanting to bring Roger in for justice more than anything else and bringing out his sense of righteousness also (although somewhat too comedic as how he portrayed it). They were funny as bro-in-laws and also as a team. Always having to bicker in front of others or show signs of disapproval yet always getting together to discuss cases when others weren’t around. I wasn’t as impressed with Ellesmere’s performances before but in recent series and especially in this one, I really like him as an actor and feel that he was really up to different and bigger roles–even if he doesn’t get as much chance.
  • Eddie Lee and Elaine Yiu – I already knew and sense it in the beginning already but it was really nice and cute and somewhat a subtle point to the series. It wasn’t too much either considering the mood set for this series itself. There were also some conflicts between them during intense times, but really enjoy it during the other times and somewhat near the end where they reunite again.
  • Evergreen Mak and Fiona Yuen – The fact that they paired up numerous times already made it feel weird to not pair them up again when they’re in the same series together. But still fun to watch and probably for the last time or so since Fiona has left TVB already.
  • Sherming Yiu as So Lai Fa aka Tseng Shu Leung (Law Lok Lam)’s mistress. No one in their right mind would like the person who ruined someone’s marriage, but in this case, I have to make an exception. And no, I’m not making this exception because Sherming portrayed this role. It was because although Lai Fa was involved with Shu Leung, she took on a stronger responsibility for her son and probably and possibly loved Shu Leung’s character more than Kiki’s character did–even IF he didn’t deserve it. Lau Kit Yee (Kiki Sheung) was just using Shu Leung as a lifesaver at that time after her husband died and she needed a male figure to support her because she couldn’t find ways to stand up on her own or take care of herself–thus leading to her seeking and finally finding Shu Leung, who was not only a restaurant owner but he was single (aka available or so he said). She forced her kids to like him and accept him because he was their financial asset. (He probably deserved it too considering what kind of person he was.) Plus Kit Yee didn’t even believe her kids when they told the truth many times to her (and had been through thick and thin with her since young–not complaining of the hardship). She only wanted to cling on to the man who provided to her every need, causing many misunderstandings and broken hearts. (Although she finally found out the truth at the end and tried to make up for it, it was NOT like it was going to erase everything. IF she had believed her kids earlier, a lot of things wouldn’t happen.) Lai Fa, on the other hand, cared for her son no matter what. She wanted Sing Hei to take care of her financial matters also BUT because she mistakenly thought he had murdered Shu Leung (as everyone did except the killer). She actually treated Sing Hei like family (although they were not related at all since Sing Hei was just Shu Leung’s step-son) when she came to Sing Hei’s apartment and ran into Kit Yee. She said that to Sing Hei, “This is your brother, you have to take care of him.” Although it seemed ridiculous and funny at that time because she desperately wanted to find someone to help her take care of hospital fees for her son to get the treatments he needed, that was a desperate attempt of a mother–in any way she could find–to save her son. She treated Sing Hei like a relative and honestly believed in his word when he said he would take care of things. Her caring nature as a mother was undoubtful–unlike Kit Yee who only cared about money. Another thing that Lai Fa topped Kit Yee was she never re-married again after ten years. (I have to clarify here that I’m not trying to shame people who remarry or whatever, BUT what I meant in this situation was how Kit Yee had used others to her means hence the marriage, NOT because she found love again or whatever. She was just using people. It was a despicable move and tarnished the name of marriage in general. Not to mention how she only cared for herself and disregarded all her kids’ opinions and thoughts. It was ridiculous since she should understand her kids better than that. If she didn’t think something was possible, she should still investigate the matter instead of disregard everything like that. She thought that the kids made it up because they didn’t like him, but what about when they were older? Would her daughter do such things? Considering how obedient her daughter was through all the times.) Yes, maybe people who know about Lai Fa’s past wouldn’t dare to touch her or socialize with her. But she had moved away (aka practically disappeared) until recently but she still kept to herself and raised her son despite all the hardships–not seeking out any other man. (There wasn’t much information disclosed but considering how young and attractive she was, she could find anyone she wanted and knew the right tricks. But she didn’t do it.) She also had a lot of debts, but she still stood firm on caring for her son, etc. It seemed that after Shu Leung died, her life revolved around her son. She looked weak and wishy-washy or seemed that way from some flashback scenes with Shu Leung but yet she possessed a stronger personality than hold the eye. This was why I really like her for who she was. She was NOT perfect in any way, but the fact that she had set out some goals and actually tried to act like a responsible mother made her very brave in every aspect. And to add the last point to this one, I honestly think Sherming Yiu is getting tossed aside by TVB again–although I must say she did well and convinced the audience that she was such character, but how could they promote so many inexperienced actresses nowadays and NOT her? Strange. Very strange but on the other side, she gets more experienced with different roles than just the same, repetitive ones like the usual main leads get.
  • The fact that Kevin doesn’t end up with Yoyo or Macy. It would be too lame or overdone and definitely defeats the purpose. Considering after so many things has happened, how could Yoyo accept Kevin just like that after she found out and broke up with Roger? And the fact that how could Kevin accept Macy–even if Macy doesn’t mind–just like that? He can’t just end up with her just because of guilt and harm he caused for her and vice versa, plus there have been so many conflicts going on. Even if in the future, they should meet again and reconsider, they honestly need more “cool off” time and think about it more carefully of the consequences and/or resolve conflicts of their minds first. But I honestly don’t ever think they could end up together even if she didn’t meet someone else and is getting married soon. He had used her and she also took revenge on him. Both parties couldn’t be blamed. But what I dislike the most was when he did try to withdraw several times, she kept coming back and forcing him to accept her. Yes, can’t blame her for liking him, but she provided the opportunity for him to use her even more. And then when he finally told her they couldn’t be together for real, she would slap him and then go back to him again. He already came clear but she still acted like it was his fault and assumed that he was with Yoyo, etc. Even if he was with Yoyo afterward, they’ve already broken up. What was with that? It was a great choice for Yoyo not to accept Kevin either. She would keep thinking about the conflicts between them all and what had happened. Probably something will happen in the future, but not at that time.
  • And because it wasn’t as gift-wrapped as it was supposed to be with typical TVB series. This could count as one of TVB’s highly anticipated series considering both Kevin and Roger are in it, but it didn’t disappoint like most highly anticipated series would be. Very well scripted throughout and answered all the questions without leaving any loose ends.

Aside from those things, I would like to bring a point up also–or probably yet another point (lol). I usually don’t like to pick on new actors/ actresses but I must agree with some people that Yvonne Ho as Kevin’s sister is a poor choice. I swear she could be his older sister and making her a tad more childish at times doesn’t help either. (I know she worked very hard and shouldn’t be blamed but the pressure put on her to portray this role is somewhat unfair.) At first, I thought she should have swapped roles with Elaine or at least pick Elaine to be Kevin’s sister and pick someone else to be Roger’s sister. However, I could see towards the end of the series that Elaine as Hoi Man plays a bigger role after Roger sheds off his mask slowly to the others.

The only complaint I want to make is making Law Lok Lam the villain for like several minutes as the awful step-father makes it almost insulting although he was convincing as always.

Overall, this was a very good series and for the first time–I wouldn’t mind a sequel–IF there is going to be one in the future.

Posted (on Xanga): November 25, 2008

Re-posted: Thursday, March 18th ,2010