Rear Mirror

I only wanted to catch this because of Wayne Lai. And no, it wasn’t because of the talk about how he might be getting TV King again. OR something. But it was more like I haven’t watched anything TVB related for a while so I thought I pick two series up–just for kicks. (The other one, which I started out first, was Black Heart, White Soul.) How was it? It started out fine, I guess. But I think it eventually went downhill. Or it was me being picky again.

Main Cast:

  • Wayne Lai as Sunday Kei Yat Sing (祈逸昇). Okay, I liked his character. But I think it wasn’t a breakthrough role for him or anything. Yet I liked it that he was not stupid in here, especially the part where he already knew Ah Mong wasn’t his kid. He just wanted to protect the kid after the initial shock and anger, knowing the kid was innocent. I felt it would be too dumb if he didn’t know since all the blood tests, etc, after all these years and the constant hospital trips. I also liked that he was capable of defending himself–both physically and intellectually. However, I felt his character was somehow like it was in Off Peddar, minus having the kid.
  • Louisa So as Anson Yiu Ngai Yan (饒毅昕). She finally returned to the main lead status? Or something? Yeah, I missed some gaps so not sure. But she was all right. She was able to convince me when she was fierce or finally relaxed near the end with learning to take it easy and able to put down her worries, etc. I guess the reason why they didn’t throw her under the bus for being an ambitious person was saying how she didn’t want to be in the situation, it was just that she had to take over the company for her father’s sake. And she was the main lead, can’t pick on her too much, except throwing in some constant obstacles here and there to move the plot along. So they chose to throw Bevis under the bus for making him unreasonable and clingy. (I hated that Bevis threw the ultimatum at her too but it was just part of the plot, didn’t make sense.)
  • Tony Hung as Ivan Yiu Chi Hau (饒至孝). I don’t remember if I’ve seen him before. Must have but because I haven’t watched anything TVB related recently so I forgot. But I guess he was all right. I actually liked his character as a standalone, NOT with Natalie. Sounds harsh, but I thought he was fine as a character within the Yiu clan and finally earning acceptance from his father. That was nice. I didn’t think they need to add romance to everything.
  • Natalie Tong as Mui Man Kwan (梅敏君) aka MK. I swear if the next person who tells me how underrated Natalie is will get it in the face. I’ve been seeing lots and lots of her second lead roles so it’s not like she’s underrated OR anything. At least it seemed second lead to me. Managed to almost always win the second lead guy. I got it that she was better than her sister for not pulling some despicable card and I got it that they need to make her character different, feisty but could be quite considerate. I got all those. Just that it was like the majority of her roles of recent. Always snappy on the surface yet could be quite nice. I’m just plain bored. Are we done with those yet? I didn’t feel anything for her character although they made it interesting enough. It was just me.

Supporting Cast:

  • Yiu Family
    • Chung King Fai as Yiu Siu Bong (饒兆邦). He was indeed cunning. Yet it made sense after all these years in the industry. The ending twist proved it all. However, I guess he couldn’t win over aging. Or perhaps it was better for him now? Living a carefree life? Sort of.
    • Lau Kong as Yiu Siu Wing (饒兆榮). I swear he was supposed to be the main villain. The twist made his previous actions a lot more forgiving. And made the rest of us realized things weren’t always how they looked.
    • Susan Tse as Gu Suk Yin (顧淑賢). She’s really getting typecast nowadays. But I will have to accept it anyway. Yet I swear her being forgiven so easily made me feel like Qiong Yao had somehow taken over the production and turned it into some soapy message about “forgiveness and letting go of revenge.” Sure, she did take care of Anson all these years, and seeing her cry made it okay to forgive her and justify her actions? Killing your mom (robbing your mom the chance to see you grow up) and then raising you would still qualify as earning points? WOW! Really? Well, the whole forgiveness thing made it easier for them to get along as one happy family. But seriously lacked in the reality department. Anson was seriously a goddess for being able to let go like that. (Yeah, that was sarcasm. I’m not saying it’s impossible to forgive someone. BUT I swear it seemed too unconvincing.)
    • Mary Hon as Elaine Fong Yi Ling (方綺鈴). She was sure petty but realized later on how Anson wasn’t the scheming type and really treated them like family.
    • Benjamin Yuen as Jason Yiu Ngai Chung (饒毅忠). The more capable one of the two mishaps in the family. His credibility sure ranked higher than his brother, and his intelligence was on a higher scale as well. Yet his mother’s words and his jealousy got the better of him. Until he realized how fair Anson was with letting him overseeing some projects because of his experiences and capabilities.
    • Stanley Cheung as Ryan Yiu Ngai Suan (饒毅信). The player of the family. He sure was annoying. Always causing trouble. It wasn’t until near the end that he realized his wrong ways.
  • Kei Family
    • Lily Leung as Pauline Tse Hau Lin (謝巧蓮). She sure was easy. I meant like how she didn’t mind that MK was staying with them. If it was any other traditional women, they would react differently. I guess that broke the norm. She didn’t mind that Ah Mong wasn’t her real great-grandson either. Perhaps it was after all these years of living together and bonding. Yet it wasn’t like she wasn’t heartbroken with realizing how despicable the kid’s mother was.
    • Elaine Yiu as Mui Man Yee (梅敏儀). The question I have here is: How long is TVB going to throw her under the bus? I swear, when her acting was just so-so, they let her star in stuff. Then dragged her down to play villain/semi-villain roles or annoying roles when she finally could be considered as a good actress. Not everyone could be a good person in the plot. YET I swear I’m getting tired of seeing how she kept getting annoying roles just because the character was ambitious. It was like against the law or something to be ambitious. Like each of her roles now consisted of ambitious and then added in with the formula of cunning, despicable, and then you have it, it was her fault all along. I meant I got it that her character was despicable. YET I swear I didn’t blame her when she wanted to go out and help Sunday with work and stuff. So he was going the typical traditional route with wanting her to stay home and take care of the kid and him being the bread-earner. YET it wasn’t helping her cause with feeling helpless at home. Yeah, I got it that they turned the plot into her being a scheming woman after all the failed attempts of meeting other men in her life hence saying her choice was wrong all along. But because I’ve been through suffocating moments of being trapped at home for an extended time before, I understand the helplessness. It wasn’t like she wanted it to be that way. It just happened. YET this time, the plot wasn’t in her favor. They made her the monster for wanting to go against the norm and offering ‘help’. It turned for the worst because she left, etc. And what puzzled me the most was the inconsistency throughout. Perhaps I’m biased because Elaine portrayed the role YET I wasn’t quite convinced as to why she turned out that way. Again, it’s always hard to predict human reactions to situations and how just because we believe someone is or isn’t capable of something doesn’t mean they couldn’t. BUT I swear some things were missing for me to get that she was despicable. Although the plot had told me so, I was still rolling my eyes and realizing some of the things just didn’t stick.
    • Yiub Cheng as Kei Mong (祈望). Cute kid.
  • Hung Family
    • Amy Fan as Hung Lai Sa (洪麗莎). Funny character. She was actually my favorite female character in here. Okay, Louisa’s Anson was cool (CEO and all, go get ’em, right?), but I liked Lai Sa the most because she was just hilarious and lovable in one package. She was soooo silly at times too.
    • Ronald Law as Hung Tze Long (洪子朗). I felt like he got robbed. I’m sooo serious. I really liked his character in here and felt it had potential for some development yet he was used as a tool to get MK and Ivan together. That was it. Because we learned that he was Lai Sa’s young brother–with a great sense of humor–and he was a cop. A funny character. Somewhat bordering on annoying (according to his sister, lol, since he kept sabotaging her). Yet he was also a kind and nice person. He wasn’t a doormat though since he had his own limits. He was also quite intelligent and was quite observant (obviously) from various signs he saw at times with others, and especially MK later on. He didn’t get to do anything else with his ‘police’ status and was only brushed aside to appear from time to time to cheer MK up–or talk randomly with the others. It wasn’t like everyone had to have an important role in here, but I felt if anyone’s character was to be developed further, it should be his.
  • Yiu Gong Building Materials Corp.
    • Ram Tseung as Yue Dai Chi (余大智). Mr. Yiu Siu Bong’s trusty assistant. Used to be the old man’s driver but got promoted. He was seriously cunning at times yet had to take the second seat to Sunday after Sunday joined the company. It was somewhat hilarious to see him trying to up Sunday. Yet he had to admit defeat later. It was somewhat annoying seeing how he was picking on Sunday at times. But that passed when he finally realized Sunday wasn’t the bad guy like he dubbed Sunday out to be.
    • Li Shing Cheong as Po Yung Jun (蒲勇進). Sunday’s friend. He was really funny! A loudmouth and busybody. I got annoyed at him sometimes for being so nosy too. But in a sense, he was loyal to Sunday. What was funny was that he portrayed Wayne’s master in Rage and Passion years back but now was his buddy and seemed to be under the latter’s command, lol.
    • Cheung Kwok Keung as Ben Shum Bok Man (沈博文). The main villain of the story–though it wasn’t revealed until like near the end. Well, sure, he was a businessman. We learned that throughout he could be fierce and ruthless, etc. Yet he was in the middle, for the most part, he needed convincing at times. It turned out he was the one everyone should be watching out for. However, I felt his demise was so fast. It was two seconds later and then he was off again. It wasn’t like I wanted to see the dragged out plot. Because leaving his motive in the dark until the end sort of helped with the shock factor. Yet it went from “OMG, he’s actually the cunning one, shouldn’t have overlooked him (aside from the whole scheme with wanting to steal his son back)” to “Loser, idiot, your two seconds in the sun wasn’t worth it.” Yeah, that was how I felt. If they cut out some other stuff, they could’ve developed some more side stories like a little more battle between the two sides. Like he wasn’t going to go down after one hit. His brief triumph made us realized how cunning Mr. Yiu was, but it made things worse by making him look too silly. So Mr. Yiu had more experience and was able to win with his patient and careful planning, but so what? That didn’t mean he had to go down in such a pitiful way. Then I was wondering how he could let go of his son sooo fast. I meant okay, I got that he was feeling hopeless about how the kid was clinging onto Sunday so he didn’t have a chance AND it seemed like a better choice to trade the kid for his chance to control the Yiu’s company. However, it felt loose with how he had lost a son in the past and wanted someone to take over his empire later when he was gone. Sure, he told Anson that she was stupid for believing his stories YET I swear at least some of it had to be true.
    • Man Yeung as Fei (輝).
    • Jennifer Shum as Cindy.
    • Kibby Lau as Jojo.
    • Paco Ali Lee as Yuen Ka Bo ( 阮嘉寶). Psycho. I seriously felt like she had no purpose to be around, except to pull Ivan and MK together (aka realizing their feelings for one another, etc)–and yeah, just like how Ronald’s character was, just there to help move MK and Ivan together. ‘Cause they didn’t really explain why she became such a psycho. OR not even a side story into her background. Providing the reason with how she liked spicy stuff and loved scary things wasn’t that convincing or helpful. People who liked scary movies or like going to scary fun houses DO NOT EQUAL PSYCHO. And sure, there could never be a reason to actually explain people’s behaviors. Yet I felt like they just made her up and then tossed her down along with the other female cast in here just so some people could come out much nicer.
    • Brian Chu as Andy.
    • Kyle Tse as Derek.
    • Leo Lee as CK.
    • Dolby Kwan as Leo.
    • Eddie Ho as George.
    • Calvin Chan as France.
    • Burmie Wong as Joyce.
    • Ip Ting Chi as Dora.
    • Albert Lo as Lawyer Yip (葉律師).

Others:

  • Geoffrey Wong as Bevis Fong Tin Hang (方天恒). OMG, they threw him under the bus YET again. I don’t know. Maybe I’m not watching the right series, but the ones I saw of him since TVB days have been SAD. NOT in the sense of his character, but he kept getting those repeated roles and eventually will have to step aside. The only exception was Come Home Love. Minus that, his character made me want to hit him over the head with something at times. Seriously? It made it unbelievable that they knew and dated each other all these years YET he couldn’t see what was going on? It was like leaving her in a time of need and it proved they couldn’t pass the test. Sure, I got it that there could be soooo many times he could wait and keep delaying to meet with her schedule, and he had to face his family too. Yet he seemed oblivious to what was going on in the family OR something. ‘Cause how could she go? Perhaps they were just wrong for each other because they couldn’t see eye to eye on things, I could accept that. But it seemed ridiculous that he justified his recent engagement by explaining to her everything, etc. Seriously? It made it worse and less convincing.
  • Steve Lee Ka Ding as Ha San Fu (夏山虎). It’s another gangster role for him. Yet I felt like it was soooo anti-climatic. Sure, everyone can’t be in the important scenes and all. But I swear I thought he would play a bigger role in the feud later on. Like how triads could be involved within all those business messes and all.
  • Bing Man Tam as Bing Suk (炳叔). Um, no surprise of his role. I’ve seen him in villainous roles in the past and also those despicable ones so I wasn’t surprised. His sole purpose was to make people’s lives miserable in here–to aid his cause. It wasn’t like he was all good now that Anson saved his life. He just wanted to revenge against the other lady for causing his ‘near-death’ incident.
  • Andy Sui as Wai (維).
  • Nicole Wan as Bertha.
  • So Lai Ming as Ada.
  • Louis Szeto as Lun (倫).
  • Kevin Lee as Fei Ying (飛鷹). A bully. Well, he was a triad member under Ha San Fu’s command. But it was indeed funny to see him trying to apologize to Ah Mong later on.
  • Raymond Tsang as Brother Leong (良哥).
  • Kedar Wong as Kwok Ga Hei (郭家禧).
  • Hinson Chou as Ah Dong (阿東). His sole purpose was to introduce MK into the story. Then there was also the whole picking on Taiwanese people again. Seriously.

Relationships – Romances, friendships, etc

  • Wayne Lai and Louisa So as a couple. They’re okay I guess. Their characters matched, of course, as the plot favored. Yet I didn’t feel as much chemistry versus his other strangely odd pairings, lol. Strange but yeah. I meant I felt sort of a bond when their “family of three” went out on a date with flying the kite and all. Yet I wasn’t sold on their pairing in general regarding Wayne and Louisa. Interesting, when I read that it was their collaboration after 10+ years, but when I remembered their scenes in “Journey to the West”, it was indeed funny how things turned out.
  • Wayne Lai and Yiub Cheng as father and son. I so felt their bond. It was touching in many ways. It was one of those cases that illustrated how it wasn’t just about “blood thicker than water” OR whatever they always shoved in our faces. It was about the love and care they have for one another, and the time spent together. Not just some ‘bribes’ from some people then the kid was gone. (Then they packaged it as “blood thicker than water.”)
  • Wayne Lai and Elaine Yiu as a couple. Not in the millions of years would I thought of them together. But they were actually convincing for me in the flashbacks. I actually liked their story in King Maker and felt it was a shame how things turned out. (YES, against her favor again–although that one made more sense why she turned psycho later on). The flashbacks were the reasons why I wasn’t convinced as to how she could change like that. Sure, people change, and they couldn’t stay innocent and/or naive like that forever. But I was a sucker for their story. I believed her when she said she was suffering from depression after giving birth, but the rest of the plot just went downhill with killing her character because she chose to flee. (I was upset too after realizing she left through some recounts. Yet the flashbacks didn’t help. They used a real medical situation and twisted it to make her character wrong so I didn’t like that. It was like they were trying to say all those symptoms were made-up. What made the plot weak was how it made her seeking out other men later and realized only Sunday was a decent man and she was wrong. She needed a break from all the madness of being trapped in the house, by adding the whole she ran off and met other men along the way was just to kill her character even more.) I’m not saying people don’t make up stuff like they’re sick or crazy to get away with stuff, BUT by adding in real symptoms at first and then just plain toss that aside and decide let’s make her a monster for running away and ignore those stuff just made it become disorganized and unconvincing.
  • Wayne and Amy? I can’t say that they’re a couple because she never had a chance. But I swear I could see some sparks between them more than Wayne and Louisa. Or maybe it was just me. Character-wise, they probably clashed too much–as seen already. Or perhaps it was because the main female lead had to win so that was how it was. Because if the circumstance was different, it could be opposites attract. She did try to cheer him up at times, etc. But whatever. I could dream.
  • Wayne and Ronald as friends. I really liked their friendship although brief exchanges at times. Yet I was more convinced than some dragged out relationships in here. I wish it could develop more than just that. But perhaps because it was short so it was memorable and bearable? Or perhaps because they were true friends so they didn’t need to say much? But they were there whenever that was needed?
  • Li Shing Cheong and Amy Fan. They were funny all right. I said at the beginning–after witnessing their constant bickering: It would be funny if they ended up together. And they did. Which was funny in a sense. Because they were really going after one another’s throats at the beginning and all. I loved watching them more than the other pairings in here combined. NOT kidding.
  • Tony Hung and Natalie Tong as a couple. I guess they do work. However, I swear I stopped caring for them in the later parts of the series. I meant I wasn’t even interested at all because it had started out as one-night stand (accidentally–YET AGAIN like a typical formula), and later they cleared it up, then somehow along the way realized they were meant for each other after some stuff happen. That was it. I was bored. Sure, people are saying I’m heartless or sooo unromantic or stuffs like that. But I didn’t even care about their pairing at all.
  • Tony Hung – Natalie Tong – Ronald Law – Paco Ali Lee. I swear Tze Long was a lot luckier than Ka Bo. Because he got to let go and play the “bigger” person or “do the right thing” as most plots would say. ‘Cause she seemed really petty and all later on. I swear again, it seemed so unconvincing. Or perhaps if they show more of her story or past, I would be more convinced. Yet it was like Tze Long needed to let go, Ka Bo needed to storm off angry so Ivan and MK could finally be together. That was about it. I felt so sorry for Tze Long and Ka Bo, especially how the other two were still soooo freaking close during that one hotpot get together (that they bumped into one another that one time). ‘Cause it was too obvious. I swear Ka Bo being pissed off was justified. One minute he claimed he loved you and confessed to you YET his actions contradicted everything. Um, sure, he was confused, but the whole thing with being so close to MK and totally tuning Ka Bo out at times make me feel like Ka Bo wasn’t paranoid with thinking something else was going on between the two. So why pave Ka Bo out to be the monster when she was as led on? Tze Long’s case, of course, was different–and because he wanted to stay friends or good brothers (as he stated during their breakup)–so they have to develop a little more to his story. Yet both cases were sad. I don’t know what to make of it with all these confusion except episode fillers. I swear! SO yeah, I got it that Ivan and MK were part of the main cast so it made sense to focus on them, BUT I’ve never seen a more boring story. It was tossed together to have another type of romance just because they were one of the main couples. I know that feelings couldn’t be forced, so it was all right with MK not liking Tze Long. But what I do mind was seeing how MK used Tze Long as a lifesaver. Sure, she might be touched that he cared for her all these years, but it could be the alcohol doing the thinking for her at the moment SO why was she doing that to him? Because it was like she lost her chance with Ivan hence just grabbing onto to Tze Long. She was his friend/good brother after all, why do that to him?
  • Louisa – Tony – Benjamin – Stanley/ Anson – Ivan – Jason – Ryan. I felt their bond near the end when they were gathered in the kitchen and cooked together, reminiscing about old times. So it seemed like they weren’t that bad after all. At least for the other two. Then it implied that their bond wasn’t that terrible. It was just that growing up had caused a lot of complications, and how their mothers had influenced some of their scheming nature as well.

Discussions:

  • The Ending. Seriously, I have never seen any final battles soooo anti-climatic in my life. Sure, it provided a twist in the end, allowing us to see how cunning Mr. Yiu Siu Bong was–with setting the trap for Ben. However, I felt like it was sooooooooo boring. It was like, “Whoa!” and then it went down to the gutter seconds later. (Yeah, like how I said in the character discussion.)
  • Was I sore with how MK didn’t end up with Tze Long hence throwing Natalie/MK under the bus? NO. Seriously, like I said, I was sick and tired of Natalie’s repetitive roles. Yet what I was more annoyed with was how they focused so much on developing the romance between Ivan and MK that the other elements of the plot had suffered. The ending becoming so anti-climatic was also due to the fact that they spent too much time on Ivan and MK. So the business battles became a side conflict. For a story starting out with business rivalry and family conflicts, it sure finished weak in regard to those matters. And just to state the romance side, I actually didn’t care for the pairings (like said before), I was okay with Tze Long not ending up with MK. Since I didn’t like her with any of the guys anyway. I actually liked Tze Long and wanted to see more of him, rather than the ongoing soap with MK and Ivan.
  • The case regarding Ah Mong. I understood that the “Social Services” people were deceived into believing Ben was the more suitable candidate for taking care of Ah Mong. However, it also made them quite stupid. I meant Sunday had been taking care of the kid for all these years, so how could he be so unprepared? Have they looked into history at all? They should’ve talked to the doctors and nurses and all those people having direct contact with the family all these years instead of just looking at that one circumstance. It seemed too ridiculous. (But seriously, there were cases in real life that had hinted at Social Services’ incapabilities so I’m not surprised on that part.)
  • No. 8 Bus? I know this is unfair to make such an association between the two dramas. Yet some of the similarities made it hard to ignore. Not to mention how the bus being part of the main theme, etc. Yet No. 8 Bus made more sense to me. I’m serious. Although it was long and seemed dragged out at times with the ongoing conflicts, at least it had a purpose. Sure, there were random moments too, but it made sense. Characters were better developed, not just tossed aside or used as plot devices and then that was it. Not everyone had to be romantically involved or hooked up to link them together.

So after all of that rant, I managed to narrow down to the main reason why it was unappealing to me. It was so unfocused. Like they were all over the place with some stuff. AND most of all, they tried to squeeze everything into the last episode to create tension and solve it within that episode. Seriously? It goes back to my previous point.

Recommended? Up to you. Perhaps, I thought too much so I didn’t enjoy it. But I will admit they have a lot of good ideas, just that they needed to pick and choose between combinations, not all over the place. I understood why Jason and Ryan didn’t get their own other stories because the focus was their frustration at the company–and at home. So I was all right with that. But I felt some characters hogged the screen too much just because. Again, it might be just me. Or it’s definitely me.

Advertisements

Guts of Man

I hesitated to watch this series from the beginning because I was not really a fan of either Ron or Sammul when they first started. However, this series was better than expected. The cast was a great choice and matched the characters very well. The storyline was interesting with all aspects of the martial arts and other elements combined. The comedy was not too much either since it did not aim to impress, therefore, made it through the series without making everything a joke as an overall. The storyline focused mostly on the mystery of the five ghosts (who were actually robbers–of course and not real ghosts).

Likes:

  • Ron Ng as Seung Foon. A tad different from his usual hot-headed roles. He was always kind and nice BUT was scared and/or reluctant of others. It wasn’t a surprise since his appearance and his voice made him lacked confidence. However, when he was given a chance with his scar gone and his voice normal, he was still a nice and kind person, still humble as always. He wasn’t cunning or mean BUT he wasn’t subtle or passive to the point of boredom either. He knew his own way around and had his own abilities.
  • Mandy Cho as Ying Hiu Suet. NOT her acting since she was really trying at times AND somehow was a bit passive at others. But her costume was all right and she managed. She was a stubborn person yet she had this righteous streak within her that she wasn’t all spoiled like the typical misses. (I love Mandy but sometimes I realize that she could do more to improve SO I just want to point that out and NOT be blind, lol. Just keeping myself in check, that’s all.) I really like it that she was stubborn yet she wasn’t unreasonable about things. She did have a kind heart and tried to help others.
  • Sammul Chan as Dung Fei. It wasn’t hard to figure out that Sammul was the stronger of the other two in acting. He–like some others–lacked in the comedy department BUT it was okay since his comedic moments in here wasn’t dragged out OR overboard like in some of the other ones that I’d seen. Though he went astray later, I didn’t really hate him since he wasn’t perfect. It showed a different character and a different personality than the other two. He was petty at times and was easily led astray but he managed to return to the good side again because he realized how important his sister was to him. He really learned his lesson.
  • Ron and Mandy. I’m biased here so I’m choosing them. BUT also it made sense that they ended up together though it was hard to swallow that he sort of took part in killing her father too (though she did take the stab for him when her father tried to kill him). Hiu Suet was too stubborn for her own good at times and I thought that Seung Foon’s calm personality suited her better. Slim chance but I honestly wish to see them together again in another project.
  • Seung Foon, Hiu Suet, and Dung Fei as 風塵三俠. Seriously, I loved that story and I thought they suited it well. At least in their own rights. I meant they were on the same level and how they loved to help others. It was an innocent friendship and quite admirable. There were fights or disagreements at times among them but it was shown as part of their friendship and how it developed over time. I liked the idea that it wasn’t cheesy with them getting along all the time.
  • Joyce Koi as Dung Lam. She was so funny. A strict older sister yet she was just so funny.
  • Yuen Wah as Dik Ying Wai. Interesting role.
  • Joyce and Yuen Wah. They were hilarious together all right. Always trying to outdo each other OR at least Joyce was.
  • Kwok Fung as Ying Jin Tong. I knew he wasn’t just portraying a typical cowardly and/or normal character. He was indeed the mastermind.
  • Balance between fighting and other scenes. Yes, loved it that it was like that. I do not care IF they were experts OR not. But at least it didn’t revolve around talking OR focused on love all the time. It was more about the mystery and then some fighting too. It did not linger for long OR drag it out.

Should have done the review ages ago BUT I still remember really liking it despite some of the events unfolding and how intense it was later on. BUT it was inevitable. It did not matter regarding the acting of some of the major characters since the plot was focused on and moved everything forward.

The Winter Melon Tale

At times when you’re watching this, you have a feeling why you still watch it. It’s funny and not because of the plot either. I agree that there are good things coming out of it, but somehow it’s just too random on some level. Or it’s just me. People tend to associate this one with Ten Brothers and I think Ten Brother‘s plot is slightly better in a sense with an actual plot. And interestingly it’s about the same cast.

The Like(s):
  • Sunny Chan and Louisa So as Tin Tai Kwai and Chung Pik Yuk. After watching Phoenix Rising, it was a bit funny to see these two together as a couple because of the other plot and their roles in there. However, I thought their chemistry is not bad at all.
  • Liu Kai Chi and Sunny Chan as brothers. It’s not much to say since Liu Kai Chi’s character as the brother is really selfish, etc. But I like the bonding between the two with Liu Kai Chi as Fan Tung more (of course).
  • Ellesmere Choi and Yvonne Ho. NOOOO. I do not like the context of the story. But I thought it was funny seeing them together again after Last One Standing. I thought her portrayal is better in here since the pressure of being Kevin’s sister in the other one was probably too much, causing nervousness, etc.
  • Nancy Wu as Fok Sze Sze. I don’t know but I found it extremely strange that she looks so nice in those demon/fairy characters than the usual roles. Or maybe those characters are more interesting.
  • Chun Wong as Chung Yuen Si. Every time the others call him ‘Mom’, I end up laughing. It’s just too funny. Must have run out of older cast? Or was it for the emphasis of the comedy? But still admit he’s cool to take on this type of role, trying it out for the sake of the story.
  • The ending. I rarely like these types of endings but for the sake of the comedy, it was funny. I meant like Fan Tung thought he would finally reunited with his ‘fairy’ but then who knew that Sunny’s character, Tai Kwai, is also one of the gods?

The Dislike(s):

  • The ridiculous humor. Seriously, I know they were trying to be funny, but I could not laugh at the jokes in here sometimes. More like laughing at them for being pathetic.
  • The outcome of Mimi’s character, Seung Kun Yun Yee. It was so rushed and all that I don’t know if she liked the other guy or not. They got along fine. But I felt a bit turn off that she chose beauty. I guess it might be more realistic with this ending since she has been suffering all her life with being called ‘ugly’ but somehow I feel that it was a bit unfair for the other dude. Although their relationship could develop into something deeper later. I guess it might be better than having her end up with Jack’s character, Chung Yiu Cho, since he’s WAY too unreasonable at times, blaming her for stuff she didn’t do.

Would I recommend it? Um…if you want to watch something light and laugh about the nonsense in it, you might want to consider. (Of course, there are serious moments but it’s still scattered all over the place.)

Posted (on Xanga): May 9, 2009

Re-posted: Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Phoenix Rising

As I said before in my other reviews, TVB seriously makes better Shanghai period series than those of the ancient or modern ones. This one was no exception since it was very well crafted and complex in many areas. The relationship between the three sisters and their fates really made it tragic and touching in a way.

Bad idea that I read the spoilers once again, but still it was a good series although I must say it somewhat dragged at some parts and could be quite repetitive. Let’s just say I didn’t take the ending as well as how I did for The Brink of Law since both major characters died in each of the series. But for the other one, it could be justified and actually made sense. But this one, it’s like one last step and then So Fei had to die just like that. It was unreasonable and made it all so frustrating. Yes, I know that was the turning point that Lai Nga had to finally end it all, but it was so unnecessary to make it tragic on purpose.

Other than that, ‘Like’ factors included:

  • Kristal Tin as Kong Lai Nga: Lai Nga was a very protective and caring sister toward her younger siblings. She was nice and kind in her own way. But she failed to understand and draw the line between right and wrong thus causing many problems to evolve later in the story. However, I’m glad that she actually acknowledged that in the very end instead of just blaming her sister for it (although Pui Woo actually did the killing) but because Lai Nga failed to stop Pui Woo and kept using herself as shield to let Pui Woo keep doing it or wishing that Pui Woo would change, etc. Can’t blame her since she was just knowing how to protect her sibling and maintain a strong bond. However, I thought some things didn’t have to drag out so much. Sometimes she was very rash and liked to do it without thinking, such as the scene where she was already rescued but she kept wanting to go see the wedding, etc–causing more troubles. It is called an accident and clumsiness the first time, but what about the second time at the church? She was discovered by Eileen’s character and almost create more problems (which she did in the end but for a different reason). I think as an overall, Kristal was very good and convincing in it since she brought out all the character’s personalities very well, convincing us that she was a weakling (unlike her other strong characters) and only knew to care for others, etc.
  • Leila Tong as So Fei: I really, really, really like Leila’s character So Fei in here and probably also the reason why I hate it so much when they killed So Fei off–even if it was to make Lai Nga see that Pui Woo never changed at all. She was very intelligent and could see through all of Pui Woo’s acts and her deceiving words. She did break the law later in trying to save Lai Nga, but I thought she was a very good sibling considering how she suffered her future for her sister and tried to do her best in saving her. She was very selfless in her actions and never back down even if she was threatened with death. She might not agree with Lai Nga’s actions sometimes but she did listen to her. I must say Leila was really good in here. This was one of the greater roles for her but too bad it ended quite tragically. She was so good that I really did cry during So Fei’s last struggle to survive by trying to escape from the box. Too bad she didn’t succeed but she did leave clues behind for Lai Nga. It was very sad seeing that last scene played out.
  • The sisterly bond between Lai Nga and So Fei: No need to say too much but it was proven many times that they will do anything for each other and maintain such a good relationship despite any obstacles or misunderstandings. They always stay true to each other and trust each other throughout. It was probably also the reason why it led Lai Nga to have such strength to finally avenge So Fei’s death in the end.
  • Sunny and Kristal’s chemistry as a tragic couple: Although it was so frustrating at times because of how reluctant he was to let go of his status and future, it was somewhat understandable. Although lack of screen time but Sunny still managed to carry out his character quite well. He and Kristal made quite a good couple also.
  • Jack Wu as Ma Hak: Although he was a bit dumb sometimes, he was very kind and determined to help So Fei whenever she needed him to. He was also very patient and fast-thinking that he complemented So Fei’s stubborn personality quite well. I guess can’t really blame him with how things turned out in the end. It was just a shame that he never knew that So Fei really did want to go with him and was delayed because she was killed. Haven’t seen Jack Wu for a while and it was funny to see him not pairing off with Nancy. But it was all right seeing him in here as a major contribution with the plot and various conspiracies.
  • Nancy Wu as Yip Chi Shan: I couldn’t believe that her character died in here again but another wonderful performance. I really like her in recent series more than her past ones for some reason. She seemed to take it up to another level unlike her passive expression like before. Her character seems to have more depth also–even if she doesn’t get to appear much. Chi Shan’s death was probably another tear-jerker aside from So Fei’s death at the end. It was very surprising and brief since I thought she would live after so many things happening and how she overcame the loss of her husband and lived for her child.
  • Law Lok Lam’s appearance although lack of screen time: He was very kind and bright in here but too bad he had such an ending. It didn’t say if his character lived or die in the end (but I’m guessing he’s still in a coma). However, I’m glad to see his contribution was something more than just appearing as Ben Wong’s father in here. It was probably the turning point for everything and a final break when Pui Woo decided to bring him down and also an opportunity for a trap as well.
  • Excellent cast as an overall: Even if Sunny Chan didn’t have as much screen time because it appeared to be mostly an all women series, I still thought it did quite well with picking out the cast with the exception of one–Louisa So. Although Louisa’s character, Pui Woo, was very hateful, I failed to be convinced of her acting. It seemed like she was picked for her beauty instead of her acting skills since there were other casts who could be better in that role. I hated her character through her actions but didn’t really care much after watching it. It was like it was not enough. Some of the minor characters in here did better than that. And maybe because of that, I failed to feel sorry for all the psychological and/or traumatizing events she went through during her childhood or how she had become. It was like never clear what she was doing. She can paste on an “evil” look but at minimum and could only do so much. If it was someone else, I would have felt a tad pity for Pui Woo and why she had become such a person.

Other than that, I think it was good overall. It probably would land behind The Charm Beneath, Au Revoir Shanghai, and The Price of Greed even since like I said before, it tried to be too tragic with the ending. I know it’s not supposed to be all happy near the end–because none of the other ones were (except for The Charm Beneath) but it didn’t have to be all out with deaths. Just made things so repetitive.

Since I said earlier about an excellent cast, I must say also that this is one of the most under-rated series of TVB since it seems people just ignore this type of series since they fail to see some cast that they recognize or like. But this is like The Price of Greed (a series that is good) but got ignored. People should definitely give this a chance.

Posted: December 25, 2008

Re-posted: Sunday, March 21st, 2010