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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Year 2015 in Recap

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Oh joy, I’m bringing this back since it’s another year of madness. How did it go? Let’s check the number first, lol. Yes, before I start bragging and realized it wasn’t worth bragging over, lol. But before I actually go into the stats, I would like to thank The New World and iHero for making some of the impossibles happen. Because if it wasn’t for the dramas, I wouldn’t have updated so much or kept it so consistent for the better half of the year. Also, anyone wanting to check out the stat report from WordPress, click here.

Total Posts in 2015: 365 (35% of all time). Yes, I took a challenge of trying to keep up posts for 365 days SO had to brag here. It wasn’t easy and some posts were less impressing than others. However, I think it was already tough that I managed it all year long. For this year, will I be continuing on this pattern? I want to but I would say no. Since quality trumps quantity so I’ll still be updating, still be my random self at times, but I won’t force it as an everyday thing. If it happens, it happens. Now, moving on to the breakdown of different categories.

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Times Updated on People on the Poll
: 284 (78% of overall). I took out Ady and Hu Ge early on so I didn’t feel like I needed to include them in this section. Anyway, because I did the 365-day challenge, everyone benefited–one way or another. However, Achel had a surge, leaving Jun Ya behind with only 22 posts, because Wallace, Joanne, Bianca, and Jacky ended up having more posts than him for the year. That knocked him off top 5 for the year yet didn’t damage his overall record too much. Talking about that, he was the reason why I held off so long of not publishing this post since I needed to calculate some of the posts again. Yet I decided to gamble and take out some and possibly double back next year to correct it all. Oh yeah, I didn’t count general updates for some people, especially those with higher numbers already.
Wallace Huo: 26 (9% of the year)
Janine Chang: 16 (6%)
Vic Chou: 12 (4%)
Joanne Zeng: 25 (9%)
Nicholas Teo: 18 (6%)
Xiu Jie Kai: 12 (4%)
Angela Chang: 12 (4%)
Zhao Jun Ya: 22 (8%)
Yvonne Yao: 7 (2%)
Penny Lin: 16 (6%)
Achel Chang/ Zhang Xin Yu: 34 (12%)
Sophia Chou: 6 (2%)
Ruby Lin: 16 (6%)
Van Fan: 9 (3%)
Eric Suen: 5 (2%)
Bianca Bai: 25 (9%)
Jacky Chu: 23 (8%)

Books Reviews:

Music Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries: I will say that I was both proud and also a bit ashamed, because I was cheating for several dramas by inserting placeholders. I was trying to motivate myself to watch faster and/or fill the spaces yet things got in the way and I fell behind once again.

Fan Fiction:

Songs Translations: I think that it was too obvious that it was a Phil Chang year for me. Yes, I love that guy. Okay, mostly his songs, lol. But he is funny. Getting back to this, totally outdone myself on some levels. Overall, I translated 51 songs. OMG, that’s like major achievement for me in this area. The previous year, I only did 12, but that was because I didn’t really take it as a challenge. I think this number will drop the upcoming year since I won’t be forcing myself to update every day.

Chinese: 46

Vietnamese: 5

Side Updates: 130 posts – My randomness seriously has gone way past normal. I didn’t count some of the side stuffs. But The New World and iHero obviously dominated the scene for the beginning of the year.

For this year, I hope to bring out more quality posts, like I said earlier. I also hope to finish up the placeholder posts that I haven’t previously. Wish me luck and see you all next year!

Mystic Detective Files

Every time I try to dive into a Felix series, I get disappointed. Yes, my expectations are just WAY TOO HIGH for his series hence automatic disappointment because the plot just plain sucks! Yes, I said it. Anyway, I like watching those phenomenal stuffs from time to time. I didn’t realize this one was so into placing everything into the mix like they didn’t have any other opportunity to do a series within the genre. So yeah, it was all over the place, especially part 2. In fact, I’m mostly picking on part 2 at this point. When I searched, because of lack of information here and there, I didn’t realize it was 2 parts until later. So I was all right with watching Michael and waiting. Part 1 itself was already enough for the installment, to be honest. It wasn’t satisfying on some matters, but it probably made more sense than what was going on in part 2 plot-wise. Okay, execution too. I felt part 2 was just episode fillers throughout and they needed to get all those tomatoes sauce/ketchup or maple syrup they had in overstock out of the storage OR something like that. Because seriously, part 2 was just about gore and disturbing imagery throughout. The plot just didn’t stick. There were indeed quite a few tragedies and I so felt for the victims hence the whole revenges throughout. Yet, I felt they didn’t think out all the plot as much as they did for part 1. Like said before, they (the scriptwriters) just tossed everything into the mix, to the point that it became unbearable and confusing all the same. I got it, but I swear some people who were watching with me felt it was too overwhelming. There was also the time travel thing. Oh yeah, if they all died, how in the world did Felix’s kid return from the future to warn him about stuffs? OR was that just another version of him from another dimension? So, what was the point of this rant? Michael was smart not to return for part 2. Well, I read there were some disagreements going on so he didn’t return. But in a way, he dodged a bullet. Okay, I felt the layout wasn’t bad for Felix’s character and all, but the elements of the plot killed it. And I do know supernatural stuffs DO NOT have to make sense, not in the real world sense. However, they have a set of rhythm to it. You break it, the audience is gone.

Main Cast:

  • Michael Tao as Yip Sing Fai (叶胜辉 ). I’m not much of a Michael fan, mostly because I kept watching the wrong series where he was the villain and eventually got killed off, lol. OR maybe he survived ’til the end but was still the villain, lol. Anyway, loved him in this role. There was this sense of if he believed everything he was seeing or if he was just following the flow. It was really hard to explain it to others when they thought he’d gone crazy after what happened with the shooting and all. However, he managed to conquer his demons and eventually moved on thus changing his fate. (Or at least that was how it was put.)
  • Joey Leung as Gwaan Suk Guen (关蜀勋 ). A mixture of personalities with his character. He was seen quite comical at times and sometimes he had this weird dark mood. However, it was later explained. One of the phrases that he said that stuck with me and defined his character was, “The AC that didn’t require bill paying turned itself on again” during the scene where there was some spirits nearby hence it was unusually cold in the room. It wasn’t about the phrase, but more like the way he said it and shivered, lol. It was hilarious watching his expression.
  • Lee Lung Gei (李隆基) as Chan Jung (陈忠). He was quite knowledgeable and resourceful in the areas of spirits and the supernatural world. His words at times implied that he might not believed all of it, but believed there were unknown forces we might not even know about. He kept an open mind for the most part yet wasn’t too blinded by it either. I had seen a lot of series from this actors from the past, mostly supporting roles and possibly on the side of annoying. However, with this one being one of the main cast made a difference in some way. He was still able to act and impressed. But he was given the proper time and space for his talent. Enjoyable overall.
  • Grace Yip as Leung Bo Yi (梁宝儿). I actually quite liked Grace in the old days. I don’t know what happened. But I did enjoy her role in here as part of the team.
  • Lee San San as Dr. Lee Jia Man (李嘉雯). I didn’t even recognize her at first. I had to google the main cast to see who she was. Then it hit me. Wow! Seriously? I used to think she had a knack for acting. Yet this one was just terrible. I wasn’t sure if it was the plot or because her acting had deteriorated. But it was a disappointment to say the least. The parts where she could possibly be possessed sort of stuck out more, but that was it. I felt her character was annoying and didn’t really sympathize with her at times. Okay, I got the part where she thought Yip Sir was going crazy with hallucinations or whatever, but the other parts were equally annoying. It improved a bit later on, but I still didn’t like her.
  • Felix Wong as Ko Dat (高達). Mixed feelings at first. Of course I knew Felix could act and he didn’t disappoint in the acting department. He made the character funny at times and somewhat rouge at others. However, I felt I didn’t enjoy it as much. Especially the plot surrounding his character. There were a lot of confusions. Well, I got it. But I didn’t think it was a good mixture. Like I said earlier in the rant at the beginning, it was like they wanted to toss EVERYTHING in the mix. It was like supernatural fusion OR something.

Things that didn’t fit:

  • Yip Sir dating his psychologist/psychiatrist. I don’t know how it is in Hong Kong (because I don’t live in Hong Kong so I wouldn’t know, not trying to be snappy here), but those things are NO WAY in the U.S. Unless you want to get your license pulled.
  • Consistency. Yes, this goes out the window ALL THE TIME, especially with TVB dramas. But I don’t know why I’m still picking on it. It’s the little detail regarding Dr. Lee going into the second installment. What in the world happened? I thought that she disappeared since the soul inhabitant incident regarding Macy and then later Yip Sir saw her in this one street area in which she had turned into another person. (That was creepy to death, really.) How in the world did she make her way back in part 2? The scriptwriters must have forgotten what in the world they did, but I haven’t. Did they do an alternate ending like most stuffs nowadays?
  • What in the world did they all see that made them freak out regarding what was found in Ko Dat’s brain? Yeah, they were trying to be cryptic and all. I watched a very old version so didn’t see exactly when it attempted to zoom. But seriously? That was lame. I finally searched up later on the effect they were talking about and understood it better. However, when TVB tried to make it all ‘omg, creepy’, it didn’t work.

Recommended? If you really must watch it, part 1 yes, part 2 NO WAY. Yes, coming from a hardcore fan of Felix. I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through it. Okay, maybe I might, depending on my evil mood of that day. But that’s basically it.

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.

Tales From Beyond

Being a semi-fan of ghost/supernatural stuff, I had to give this a try. Not to mention it was considered an old TVB series, right?

First Story: Romance Between Human and Ghost (人鬼情)

  • Sam Tsang and Elaine Ho. I always liked their “Still Friends After Bidding Farewell” (再 見亦是朋友) and was interesting to see them collaborate in here. Even if it was one of those ghost stories. Creepy in a way but still sad. And a song from them at the end of the story.
  • Gordon Lam as one of the guys. So funny to see him back in the old days.
  • Comedy. Okay, that was interesting that they added the comedy bit into the story though it was supposed to be a romantic one or so I thought. With Gordon and the others attempting to get rid of the ghost was really funny.
  • Possessed or psycho? It was interesting at how others thought he was suffering from multiple personality disorder. AND then it got me into thinking if he really encountered a ghost OR was suffering from psychological problems. Still, it was something to think about.

Second Story: Smoking Prohibited (不准吸煙)

  • Gordon Lam as a cop. It was funny to see him yet again BUT this time as a cop.
  • Ha Yu. I miss the older days of him. For some reason, I thought he was better back then. OR perhaps the roles.
  • And more comedy. Yes, it was continuing and it wasn’t that corny for once.
  • Ghost’s smoking territory/ Multi-dimensional world. Interesting concept OR at least I thought what it was. Was that the creator’s way of interpreting where people go when they die? Like how they would go to the same place IF they smoke (in Ha Yu’s case). AND it was even more interesting that he didn’t smoke when he was in that world. It was like they were portraying another dimension. It got even more interesting as it progressed so it was hard to understand OR seemed unpredictable. But was still something to think about. It probably aimed to educate and scare people to quit smoking BUT still too funny and exaggerated.
  • Adam Cheng song. One of my favorite songs and felt it was suitable for this situation.

Third Story: Men Have Responsibilities (男子有責)

  • Liu Wai Hung. I miss this guy! His sense of responsibility was too strong so he could not leave the world just like that.
  • Helena Law. It wouldn’t be a ghost story without Helena, right?
  • It was ironic that he didn’t die because of the other guy BUT because of the woman who knocked the plant pot down.
  • Also, something to think about with the power of the mind. It was like he was able to control himself and his mind was concentrating hard on stopping the event from happening and not leaving the world at all

Fourth Story: A Belief of Revival (再生的信念)

  • Another interesting story and another interesting concept.
  • Wong Wei and Maggie Chan. Interesting pairing. They did have chemistry. Even if they were an older couple but still enjoyable to watch.
  • Carol Yeung. Freaky…
  • The plot. I knew it! It was too strange and unbelievable. NOT that those stories DO NOT happen but it was a conspiracy. Yet what was even more chilling was that Maggie’s character, Jun, actually returned later. That was really, really sad that they made him believe so he went and try to make another miracle happen. That was freaky.

Fifth Story: Manipulating the Universe (運轉乾坤)

  • Benz Hui. Poor guy. Honestly, that was WAY over with how he was bullied. But that was typical of those situations.
  • Amy Hu. Haven’t seen her ages so watching old series had its benefits.
  • Benz and Amy. Funny how they were having that conversation at the beginning. He was so kidding about running/walking to work AND she was like “Good idea.”
  • Law Lok Lam. Aww…look at him in the good old days.
  • Josephine Lam. Wow…
  • Law Lok Lam and Josephine? Wow…Yup, was interesting BUT I guess they were portraying how he was successful and marrying a beautiful young wife.
  • Benz and Law Lok Lam as friends. Cool. I don’t know. All I can say is I love those collaborations between my favorite veteran actors. But poor Law Lok Lam, only got to portray the rich, successful guy for like 10 minutes.
  • This really shed light into how the rich became successful in the first place since it wasn’t as easy with all the fame and fortune as people saw BUT there must be a lot of effort going into it with a hardworking attitude combined with talents and/or abilities
  • That was hilarious that he tried to fall again BUT it didn’t work. Guess it was implying that once you made a decision, you can’t turn back

Sixth Story: The Happy, Crazy Fowl (快樂癲雞)

  • Freaky ghost house theme
  • Know some of the cast but do not know their names
  • This story actually reminded us to respect others–whether alive or dead. I totally agree–whether they believe OR NOT. But it was a given that respect should be given, especially in the situation where the girls were at the other people’s place.
  • David Siu. Wow…didn’t expect him to be in here but not impossible since it was in the old days.
  • Wayne Lai. Honestly, I did not know it was him until later when he was eating the banana and making a face.
  • Ken vs. Ryu. Hahahaha. Although it was supposed to be really hectic, I found it funny that they were fighting through the game.
  • Okay, that was a surprise ending since I thought that it was about love BUT it was because he was her father. So that was why he felt responsible for her safety.

Seventh Story: Variation of Kindling (變異的火種)

  • Lee Kwok Lun. I always have the feeling that he looked like Felix Wong. (I swear!) Anyway, always liked him and good to see that he was leading in this short story.
  • Creepy footsteps and sound effects. I think the hallmark of those ghost stories since that scared the world out of me.
  • The suspense. Another important formula since it made it creepier–IF the sound effects didn’t get to you already.
  • Blast from the Past. Wow! I miss these types of things. I meant this kind of thing how the main lead thought he was able to save everyone and undo the past. What was even more appealing was he succeeded. It was confusing YET he sacrificed his present self to save his past self.

Eighth Story: Demons (魔)

  • Gordon Lam and some others. Well, at least they appeared at the beginning of the camping trip place.
  • Gallen Lo. Gallen in those old days. (NOT that he doesn’t look good now but still good memories.)
  • This reminded me oddly of Psycho. Thanks to my mom for reminding me once again!
  • Joey Leung was the crazy kid? Really? Didn’t realize it. It was clearer when he was arrested though.
  • So was it multiple personalities OR was he possessed? Such a tragic story. Gallen delivered with both personalities and its extremes.

Ninth Story: A Flourishing Journey (發達之旅)

  • Hugo Ng. I just realized that he looked better in modern series than ancient ones. (Or perhaps those roles he was given was too morbid or tragic that it was hard to smile?) Anyway, he did have charm in here and I wouldn’t mind watching him in something else since this was a creepy one. (He honestly reminded me of Lam Lei! LOL! They looked like each other from some angles.)
  • Bau Fong. Creepy! Chilling all right. Man, he scared the world out of me, especially with his waving hands and the laugh.
  • My mom just reminded me this seemed like Early Edition. (Just that the newspaper for the other one was used to help people AND not used for other benefits.)
  • I would love to know the song used in the episode. The one where they were singing and cheering for their newly acquired fortune.
  • This definitely was a lesson NOT to be greedy. And also sometimes knowing the future beforehand wasn’t a good idea.
  • Here they were promoting Hacken Lee again! NOT that I mind. I miss that song. Sort of.
  • The ending showed how it was an endless, unbreakable cycle. Since we will always continue to ponder and be curious about things.
  • The scariest story so far!

Tenth Story: Entering Dream (入夢)

  • Ekin Cheng.
  • I won’t comment on the political status since I DO NOT know much to discuss it and wouldn’t want to offend anyone.
  • The concept of vampire/zombie. That was creepy. At first, I thought nothing was happening and was wondering what was going on. However, that was scary all right. Suddenly the bodies were just popping out of the ground like that.
  • Wolf sounds. Another essential effect to achieve fear. And could only be done at night OR no one would fall for it.
  • Ghost world/ Zombie-land. Ooooohhh…
  • The world of imagination. So that was it? No wonder he was mentioning about how that one guy wanted to live in his own dream world. He also wanted to live in that world since he was not able to escape from the real world. Ironic?

Eleventh Story: Searching (尋)

  • Jimmy Au. One of those worth-watching roles of Jimmy since he was both hilarious and clever. His trademark was shooting six bullets into suspects/murderers.
  • Another hilarious one.
  • Gordon Lam. Whoa! He came back as the other dude. NOT really since Jimmy was imagining it.
  • That was creepy all right.

Twelfth Story: Debt of Sin (孽債)

  • Michael Tao and Ada Choi. Wow, interesting collaboration, considering it was a ghost theme.
  • Power Chan. He wasn’t around all the time but really enjoyed his scenes.
  • A creepy story about curses and whatnot.
  • Moral of the story: IF you promise something, KEEP it. The price of having to pay for broken promises.
  • AND oh yeah, DON’T mess with those people who know how to do those curses. Honestly, she was creepy all right.
  • Who was the smartest one? Power Chan of course! He warned Michael against it BUT he (Michael) didn’t listen and fell into Ada’s trap.
  • I just realized that she didn’t really love him OR wasn’t really serious about it. It seemed like she was setting up this trap of seduction and other dramas just to find a way to steal his youth and his girlfriend’s too. Well, Michael should’ve listened to Power about it and be careful.

Thirteenth Story: Portrait Within A Person (相中人)

  • Know who they are but don’t know their names
  • Gordon Lam. He’s back for the last one! Great or what?
  • Darn, that was creepy…
  • Moral of the story: DO NOT take anything that isn’t yours
  • Passing it on, huh? Indeed it was another endless cycle where greed would always exist

Why did the narrator look so familiar? (Oh yeah, he was in The Hunter’s Prey as the undercover agent. Just realized it after watching him more closely.)

Anyway, missed those old days when things were more creative and seemed like there were lots to explore. A lot of interesting concepts being introduced. Short stories were always better than the draggy ones they do nowadays.