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.

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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.

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.