S Storm

It has been a while since I watched a serious movie. I especially watched this because of Vic. Yes, I liked some of the other cast members too, but when I saw Vic’s name while browsing on Netflix, I had to jump in. And for the record, I didn’t watch the previous movie, Z Storm. Like I said, I was just jumping in for a Vic movie, considering how I haven’t watched him since The Flame’s Daughter. So how was it?

First off, the many familiar faces were making me feel nostalgic for some reason. Then there were the fresh faces to keep the balance with the rest of the audience as well. It was a typical cop movie yet brought forth many interesting characters to crank up the hype for the plot. I especially enjoyed Louis and Julian’s, Luk Sir and Lau Sir, banters at various points. I also loved Ada’s Wong Man Ling’s cleverness and her quick-witted nature. She proved to be a great asset for the team with her deduction skills and her fast reactions at times. Moreover, Tammy Tam’s kickass scenes brought another level of greatness into the movie. We got to see her contribution to the team as an overall when she was with them, but also individually when she was sent to Shenzhen to track a certain lead. It was intense and showed her capabilities at the restaurant. Although she occurred a setback during the fight scene, it showed a realistic side of the situation. That little delay didn’t deter her though since she soon got up after having some help and chased after the two suspects and managed to get their license plate as well.

Perhaps, the weakest link among the many characters and/or cast was Dada Chan’s Ebby Lau. I felt her best scenes were actually with her brother, Lau Sir, and not Vic. The highlight of her appearance and it showed through her acting was the part at the bar where she confronted her brother–even if she didn’t say it out directly in regard to their relation, but just told their tragic story from her point of view. Moreover, the scene where she called Luk Sir to the bar wasn’t too much of a scene for her, but it showed that she cared for her brother, despite her tough words previously. It was hard not to soften a bit after witnessing her brother’s devasted state. Her second touching scene with her brother was obviously the scene where he came to negotiate the terms and exchange himself for her. It showed their bond and it made her realize that he had changed, no longer the gambling addict like in the past. He was willing to sacrifice himself for her, that they were family. If I was able to list all the good parts of her, why was she the weakest link, right? I thought her playful scenes were a bit out of place for the rest of the movie–although that was just a part of her character. I felt she was a bit unnatural when she was interacting with Vic’s character, trying to get him to notice her more. Perhaps, her playful side and her carefree nature were what drawn Song Yan Sheun in, and made him realize other things in life. Yet Dada’s performance wasn’t as solid as the scenes that I mentioned above. I liked the serious talk at times that she had with Vic’s character though. In those scenes, she seemed more natural. Perhaps, she wasn’t that good with comedy? I never watched her before so I don’t know. But that was my interpretation when I saw her in this movie.

Although I said Dada was the weakest link in here, she was still crucial to the plot–especially tying back to Vic’s character. However, I felt the most irrelevant character must be Bowie Lam’s Terry Lun. Sure, he was the one who leaked the information to ICAC about the misdeeds within the Jockey Club thus leading to the launch of the investigation in the first place, setting forth a chain of events. Yet I felt if it wasn’t him, it could just be anyone else discovering it and leaking the information out. That same principle applied to the pen that he discovered later thus leading to his death. Anyone else could have discovered and died too and it wouldn’t make a difference if his character wasn’t there. I felt having the character around was just a notch too bloated for the already crowded star-dubbed cast. It didn’t really contribute much to the plot as an overall. It only stretched out some more details and a side distraction regarding Luk Sir’s background. Sure, having his character there made him suspicious and sort of covered up who the real culprit within the club was–as it was revealed near the end. Yet again, as I mentioned before, they could have just plugged some random person at that club and it would have the same effect. Considering how he wasn’t the main villain–or wasn’t even one of the masterminds of the grand scheme anyway, it was a waste of time for his story arch, to say the least.

The ending? It made me feel like I was choking by the time the final battle scene rolled around. The fact that they teased us with allowing Vic’s character, Song Yan Sheun, to be present for the most crucial moment was clever in some ways. However, it turned out to be a major disappointment as seconds passed and he was out of the picture again. It seemed like a slap in the face for Vic fans. I knew that Luk Sir and Lau Sir were the highlights of the movie, considering how they were introduced and their story played out later. However, considering how Vic was listed among the top three main leads, I felt it was justified that the rest of us felt robbed. He also appeared first as a setup for the first nerve-racking chase scene and later became the reason for half of the police force’s headaches. Perhaps, having him appearing less throughout created this mysterious aura for him. Yet it didn’t make me feel better with all the teasing throughout with the occasional scenes here and there of his background. Then, it was humanizing him during the scenes with Ebby. To finally, dismissing him completely as another character among all these twisted schemes by the so-called masterminds.

What saved the ending for me was knowing that Shek Sau’s character, Ha Chi Yin, didn’t escape in the end. He was caught by Luk Sir’s team when he was at the airport, attempting to make a clean exit out of the country. If he had escaped, I don’t think anyone would’ve lived it down. But I had to admit having him being the villain was a surprising twist for me, considering how I was betting (pun intended) Bowie Lam’s character to be the villain-aka the one being in cahoot with the other dude.

So recommended? I felt it was a really good movie on its own. Since I didn’t watch the other movies relating to the theme–as said before, I can’t comment. But by itself, it was good. It was just not a good movie to catch for Vic fans. Sure, his role was unique in its own way. I felt he lived up to the challenge of taking on yet another role in a serious movie. However, if you were fangirling, there was no point, lol. Let’s face it, any fangirl would be greedy to want more of their favorites. I’m guilty of that too and I’m not going to lie.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.

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The Maverick

This was one of the rare ancient series that Chow Yun Fat participated in ages ago. It started out quite promising with the mystery and suspense building episode by episode and the major characters appearing one by one. But then it deteriorated because of some inconsistency. However, I think after watching some other series that I will not mention right now, I think this had somewhat gone up on my list. Moving along, lol.

Main Cast:

  • Lau Kong (劉江) as Shui She Wo (舍我). The reason why I placed him first was because how he appeared first. He was the storyteller and ended up being their leader for the majority of the story–with his vast knowledge and all. So I thought it was suitable. Not to mention he also closed the story with his narration. He was the level-headed one throughout and tried to guide them along as much as possible. Well, he was seen upset at one point or another, but it didn’t lead him into doing some stupid stuffs like some characters in here. He was just blaming himself for not seeing things faster or stopping some events from unfolding, but that was like impossible to stop or predict. He wasn’t only their leader, but also the glue to their group since he kept them focused and reminded them what the purpose was, etc. He was the voice of reasoning for most of them.
  • Chow Yun Fat (周潤發) as Liu Chi (柳迟). A mysterious wanderer whom had a mission of helping the weak and solving various conflicts in the name of righteousness. The story didn’t start with him, obviously, but he became one of the major characters throughout. In fact, he was the key to the puzzle all along–whether it was because of some superstition that had paved the path of the story. CYF showed his acting abilities throughout, no doubt about it. His character was a mixture of humorous moments (mostly at the beginning) and intensity. He had his intelligent moments as well as rash moves. With all that said, I didn’t think his character was boring at all. Far from it. It wasn’t like one-dimensional hero kind of thing that other dramas often depicted. He wasn’t the type of hero that was hogging the screen from episode 1 to episode 20 either. He was indeed absent from the main conflict at various points of the story, which made his character less “showy” and in a way more realistic.
  • Susanna Au Yeung ( 歐陽珮珊) as Tang Lei (唐蕾). A strong, hot-headed character then later turned into a very understanding, level-headed person. I think this was probably one of my favorite characters of hers–outside of the Condor trilogy realm, that was. She appeared mysterious and intelligent during the initial scenes because of her background and how she was on her way to investigate matters to clear her family’s name. Yet later it somehow showed she was more rash than the character appeared to be. That was all right since it showed her own personality unfolding and how she was different when not carrying out assignments for her father. What made her character real for me was how she was really jealous at first and was persistent to cut herself off from Liu Chi–not all talks; then later when she realized what was going on and all the misunderstandings were resolved, she owed it up to her past behaviors and apologized to Die Yi (although I didn’t think Die Yi was that innocent in the whole matter–or even Liu Chi was that innocent).
  • Oscar Lam (林偉健) as Hu Bu Xiao  (胡不肖). An inexperienced wanderer who was really ambitious with proving himself and becoming the best of the jianghu realm yet later learned to curve back his impulsive nature. He was probably the comedy relief in here–along with Zi Jun later on. Yet what was so unexpected was his death near the end. It was like totally uncalled for and only wanted to create some hype and/or frustration toward the main villain in the end. I mean, I already hated that other dude, no need to pile it on. What was ironic about Hu Bu Xiao’s death was how I didn’t really like him in the beginning. I meant, I thought he was funny but I didn’t like how he was so rash in interfering with other sects/clans conflicts at the beginning when he didn’t understand the rules. But his character slowly grew on me, especially how he’d become an odd team with Shui She Wo along the way.
  • Shirley Yim (雪梨) as Ou Yang Zi Jun (歐陽紫君). Liu Chi’s half-sister. I liked her the moment she appeared. She was brilliant and charming with her acting and her character helped heaps with a mixture of maturity and immaturity at times. Although I must admit the hype sort of died down when it went on and on with the family conflict and how I realized this was going to be a battle within the resident, with her being edged out because she was the only girl. However, she managed to shine past all her siblings, because her father finally realized she was the only capable one among all her siblings (minus Liu Chi since they didn’t know about his existence or relation to them until way later).
  • Kwan Chung (關聰) as Ou Yang Meng Fei (歐陽夢飛). He appeared to be weak (according to most people) at first, then progressed to posses a lust for power, wanting to conquer everything regardless of techniques. One could explain that he was driven to insanity by others around him. His master didn’t help either. Yet some of the flow of his character didn’t make sense. It was like they were convinced to make him the bad guy already so the other main characters could go ahead with their plan to take him down. Or perhaps, it was Kwan Chung’s lack of acting, I swear, lol. ‘Cause I do feel for his character at times, but the lack of emotions made it hard to relate. Or maybe the script-writers/directors/whole team wanted to rush the plot along, not working on some minor details that could impact the whole picture.
  • Patricia Chong (莊靜而) as Die Yi (蝶衣). I seriously thought that this would be her second role that I would like of her, but I was majorly disappointed after her initial appearance. She showed a promising start when she appeared to be knowledgeable of various subjects and her endurance and patience of others. Her analysis of Ou Yang Meng Fei was also spot on when he tagged her at the beginning. But I lost all respect for her when she tried to tag Liu Chi knowing that he was married. (NOT blaming just her since I thought Liu Chi was over the line as well, even if he had said it was nothing.) I didn’t care if she tried to cover it up by being extra helpful to others.

Others:

  • Samuel Kwok Fung (郭鋒) as Tang Kai (唐開). Tang Lei’s older brother. It was funny to see Samuel and Susanna together as siblings like this, knowing their real life relations. But I thought they weren’t a bad team. As far as the story went, I thought that Tang Kai was far nicer than what others depicted of him. Of course, that also had to do with all the fake stuffs Shan Zhong Lao Ren tried to pin on him by sending out different people to impersonate him. He was a really good brother to Tang Lei and really cared for his family. Such a tragic ending, but was glad others solved the mystery of his death.
  • Chu Tit Wo (朱鐵和) as aka  Guo Da Yu (郭大愚) aka Shan Zhong Lao Ren (山中老人). Very cunning from the start. However, his supposed “intelligent” had pushed him too far hence not seeing what was coming. Then I wonder if his name was on purpose, lol. He was the one who tried to drive Ou Yang Meng Fei insane and pushed him to the other side. Even if it was Meng Fei’s choice, but I thought he didn’t help at all with the constant pestering. He miscalculated because he thought he had everything under his thumb, thinking he could control Meng Fei yet it was too late. He lost the battle.
  • Andy Lau (劉德華) as Xiao Sha (小煞). He appeared in episode 14 and then a little more in episode 15. He was obsessed with wine and somehow got drawn into the mysterious place. He wasn’t mentioned again as the story moved on. But I had a feeling he had been used for other causes in that weird place. He was very easy to spot and Andy’s early acting roles showed great potential. I was almost reluctant to see that he was only appearing a bit, lol.

Relationships / Pairings / Friendships / Whatever else:

  • Chow Yun Fat and Susanna Au Yeung. I think it was a odd pairing at first yet they grew on me. To think of it, they weren’t the worst pairing of one another, because they had worse. I thought their acting made their chemistry work since they were quite compatible as characters. Although they were hot-headed and unreasonable at times, but they were indeed a match made in Heaven. I was glad they didn’t break apart regardless of what happened. Sometimes, I question if he really loved her and missed her or was just feeling sorry for her, considering he did cause her to lose her family at the beginning (by leaving them) and later how tragedies fell upon her whole family. Yet CYF’s acting had convinced me that he did indeed love her and miss her, and later appreciated her for who she was. In a way, they matured–for the better, because they truly understood what was more important–and not because they forced themselves to change to get along with one another. So all the times they were apart wasn’t for nothing.
  • Chow Yun Fat and Patricia Chong. I will have to admit hat he matched more with her appearance-wise hence it made me feel that he didn’t really love Tang Lei but felt sorry for Tang Lei. But later, I realized it was different. Sure, he probably liked Die Yi at one point and got along with her well. Yet Tang Lei’s absence from his life probably made him realized where his heart truly lied.
  • Kwan Chung and Patricia Chong. I don’t know what to say about them since they were probably a match on the surface yet were so different on other levels. I think what irked me was how it seemed like she was settling for him since she realized it was hopeless it was Liu Chi. Forgive me for receiving the wrong message, but her actions made me doubt her in many ways. Regardless of how he turned out later, I didn’t think it made her anymore likable by turning him into a complete asshole. I think I’m better off blaming the script-writer because the characters were so inconsistent. Or perhaps, it was because he really wanted to win her over, it was more of a challenge for him than loving her. Since it was like suddenly he wasn’t so into caring what she thought of him anymore, but just did whatever he wanted. It was explained many times that he changed, etc. But I think it was hard to convince. Again, inconsistency.
  • Oscar Lam and Shirley Yim. They were obviously the fun, bickering couple of the group. I loved them since their first meeting. They helped me get through all the boring scenes of Die Yi and Meng Fei. Also the frustrating parts as well. I thought they were the most convincing couple in here, because of how their story was. It was sort of typical that he wanted to prove to her and the others that he could be the best, etc. That was also his downfall throughout the story. When he finally was fighting for something worth it, he ended up losing his life. It was indeed quite tragic for them. The reason why I was so mad by the end. It was so sad for her, having to face the world alone after all they’d been through.
  • Lau Kong and Oscar Lam as master and student. Perhaps, it was a jinx that Shui She Wo finally accepted Hu Bu Xiao as a disciple near the end? Well, Shui She Wo did say that he would never accept anyone as his disciple. Like I said in the other section, I found their relation funny and enjoyable along the way. I thought it was odd that Hu Bu Xiao was suddenly listening to Shui She Wo, but it made sense that he wanted to survive and learned from the best. Their scenes were comic relief for the series (along with Bu Xiao and Zi Jun’s scenes).
  • Lau Kong and Chow Yun Fat as friends. Well, the former was more experienced in the jianghu realm and the latter relied on him for information–like the majority people in there would. However, I think their relationship was of equal, more like friends than an elder trying to pass on some knowledge to the younger generation–like how it was with Hu Bu Xiao. I felt like they were best friends or tea buddies, lol. They trusted one another throughout, not second guessing the other. Even if the other wasn’t around at the moment, but they stuck up for one another throughout.

Discussions / Questions / Others:

  • Did Liu Chi really loved Tang Lei or was that just out of gratitude for all she’d done for him? Was the the person he loved actually Die Yi? These two questions had been circulating in my head throughout the series. And I did mention this several times in the other sections already. I just wanted to put it here again to bring some attention on its own. Anyway, I couldn’t shake it off, considering how he was so interested in Die Yi at the beginning, like even neglecting Tang Lei to go talk to Die Yi. They indeed clicked and seemed to have an understanding. It seemed like he was really feeling responsible for Tang Lei and how he’d caused her to lose her family so I felt it wasn’t as strong. However, I think I believed him when he realized how he couldn’t live without Tang Lei after she left that one time–what was with their misunderstanding regarding her brother and all. Or perhaps CYF’s acting was so convincing with his longing for Tang Lei. He really tried to stay away from Die Yi from then on or didn’t seem as interested in her anymore. Perhaps he felt bad for leading her on so he actually was gentle toward her that one time when she was chasing after him to get him to talk to her when he was hiding from them all (after he chopped his own hand off).
  • Was the plot getting lame or what? I thought it was. It was like near the end, the writers didn’t want to try anymore. I meant like how it was super lame that Liu Chi killed his father just like that. Okay, so he saw the masked man revealing himself as Old Master Ou Yang and it was his right to get mad–if he was really deceived. Then he rushed back to confront the old man. Usually, I would laugh at people for talking too long with confrontation scenes since it would lead to the other party escaping. But this time, I think they cut it TOO SHORT. It was like, “How dared you deceive me!” and then chop chop. I got it that his anger was getting the better of him, but considering how he was really intelligent in the past, I would expect him to ask first and then kill. Regardless, the old man couldn’t get away anyway. Not like that guy was that innocent anyway, BUT that didn’t justify the really lame, short scene. If it was excuses, hear him out first. What else? I wasn’t surprised that Die Yi died since Ou Yang Meng Fei was getting more and more temperamental, but it was REALLY short too. Again, usually I roll my eyes at really long lovey-dovey goodbye/death scenes. But this time, it was really, really short too. Like she didn’t struggle, he didn’t struggle either, just “wham” kill her and get it over with. Even if he killed her in the heat of the moment, it would make sense to at least show some sort of like, “Omg, did I just kill the girl I love?” Or like, an emotional/over-dramatic, “Why did you make me kill you?” But NOPE. I didn’t feel anything. I think I felt more when Liu Chi had the funeral for Die Yi, even though I didn’t cheer for them. Which comes back to me pondering was it just Kwan Chung’s terrible acting or was it the script? But once again, another scene involving him proved my point. (OR so I like to think, lol.) That was the part when Hu Bu Xiao died. Again, NO major reaction, just the whole, “You want to die? I’ll kill you.” Then he beat him to death right in the cell. Um, he was waiting for Liu Chi to come. Sure, he didn’t need to keep his promise. But what kind of villain wouldn’t keep a bargaining chip around so he could make the main dude reconsider about going against him? Sure, one could argue he has no emotions so no emotions are needed along with his reactions, BUT I felt everything he did was in monotone.

So recommended? I will say it could be worse (after seeing a certain series), but I think you have to be a fan of the people mentioned here to watch it. It is one of CYF’s rare ancient series. The beginning was sort of worth it with the mystery and all. By my rant, of course, by the end it had deteriorated. But up to you really.

HKTV: Voting In Progress

For fans of HKTV, super good news! They’re finally launching! That’s not all either because they had set up a poll on their website, asking the public to vote for which TV series should be broadcast first. Go here if you’re interested. Yes, people who have been tuning in–even if vaguely, might have learned that Ricky Wong managed to find a way so they could finally launch. The phrase “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” rings true in this case.

Anyway, the deadline for the voting is November 9. Results will be announced on the 10th.

NOTICE: HKTV died already, go here for the news article and analysis provided by llwy12.

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.

A Watchdog’s Tale

Against my better judgment, I watched it. Actually, it was more like I missed watching Maggie Siu so much that I decided to watch it anyway, considering how it was a comedy after all so it shouldn’t be too bad, right? WRONG…it was a real torture, especially when I wasn’t a fan of the pairing. There were things to consider and enjoy YET I did not enjoy the storyline or some characters as much so it was hard to hang on. Lucky some characters kept me watching until the end OR at least tried to hold on.

Likes:

  • Steven Ma as Chow Yung Kung. His portrayal of the character AND not the character itself. I couldn’t believe Steven was able to do it but I didn’t know why I doubted him anyway. YET I did not like the character at all despite all the righteous things that he did at times. He wasn’t all bad BUT I felt like he was too rude at times to forgive. Too over. Probably more realistic since he couldn’t change overnight BUT honestly, it was really hard to endure. But like I said before, Steven managed to let us see that character well.
  • Steven and Ching Hor Wai as mother and son. I really liked their relationship. Despite all the times Yung Kung upset her or made her mad, she was still able to forgive him. She raised him all those years and really cared for him, teaching him all the ropes, etc. He was rude and arrogant at times BUT I liked it that he respected her and treated her well. Also, must clap him on for staying with her at the end too. I felt it wasn’t just because of love that he wanted to stay BUT it was because of her. Their bond was important to him and he valued it very much.
  • Raymond Wong as Ho Tin Yau. I really liked his character at first with his hardworking attitude and how honest he was, etc.
  • Raymond and Shermon? Come on now! Honestly, I was rooting for them. For once, I want to see a pairing worth rooting for, just because Natalie portrayed a bigger role didn’t mean he had to end up with her. Raymond and Shermon did look cute together.
  • Lee Kwok Lun as Cheung Tin Hung. Though he did kidnap his sister, I could forgive him since he was just trying to get some money and establish himself. He just wanted to do something to prove to his family that he wasn’t worthless.
  • Maggie Siu as Cheung Tin Ngo. I really liked her hardworking attitude though she was too much of a workaholic. BUT it was hard to blame her since she was the only one that her father could depend on. I thought her overly obsessed with cleanliness was funny. I didn’t really agree with her being with Kent though. I meant they were funny together and all, but I just didn’t like Kent’s arrogant streak at times. (Okay, he was smart BUT he didn’t need to act so high and mighty.)
  • Bowie Wu, Lee Kwok Lun, and Maggie being in the same family. I loved this idea and collaboration really. It was really fun to see them like that. What was funnier was when Maggie was trying to search for the truth behind her kidnapping AND she was getting clues about the familiar ringtone. Then she realized that everyone in her family had that ringtone! Even the butler! What was even more interesting was Bowie and Maggie were father and daughter in The Blood of Good and Evil as well. (Wonder if they were father and daughter in other series too.)
  • Koni Lui as Ma Cheuk Ling. I really liked her in here and found her NOT fake like some people. Yes, she was an undercover cop BUT she was so down to earth. She had to play that role since she needed to blend in YET it showed much more when she wasn’t being a cop anymore. She was professional when she met up with her supervisor and Raymond that one time. But other times, she was really lovable.
  • Lee Kwok Lun and Koni Lui as a couple. I thought it was really cute and lovable for some odd reason since I usually don’t favor odd pairings. BUT they had great chemistry and their story was really innocent and funny. Couldn’t believe that they had something in common as collecting Hello Mimi! That was worth a few laughs all right.
  • Fred Cheng as Kwok Wing. They were wasting his time, right? He was still not getting anywhere.
  • Kwok Fung as Chow Wai Wai. He was too funny. I enjoyed watching him at times. He was such a bully and was doing illegal stuff BUT he was still hilarious to watch. He redeemed himself later and was so overly friendly that it was funny. AND not to mention how the bar was converted into some coffee shop or bookstore.
  • Queenie Chu as Steven’s ex-girlfriend. Man, she scared the world out of me and I thought Queenie did really good making that happen. Didn’t expect her to be able to pull it off with being so creepy and psycho. I’m not comparing her with others, but just basing it on her own performances thus far.

I won’t even bother with the ‘Dislikes’ since it would be too much and I would never stop SO I’ll just leave it at that, for the most part, to spare even more negativity into the whole thing.