The Drive of Life: Ron’s appearance

Lame attempt to crank my amount of posts up but it was not the only reason why I even go through the effort of letting it have its own post. The main reason why I even started The Drive of Life was because of Ron. Yes, go ahead and gasp because I was never a fan of Ron, to begin with. But I ended up somehow liking him better after watching The Brink of Law so I decided to give some of his other series a try. Since I like some other cast too, I thought I give this one a try. Big mistake after diving into it since it became excruciatingly painful to watch with so many lame dramatic moments coming into play. However, I decided to watch on and off once a while to get through this one.

I remember asking someone regarding Ron’s appearance and got the answer of ‘Episode 20’ BUT no when it hit 20 and everything just became more frustrating than ever. So I put it aside until recently. It actually paid off this time around since Ron actually appeared about 15 minutes into episode 23. YES, for a major character, it took him forever to appear. But I guess it had to be that way OR we would not get anything new. His appearance at least had us going for a while with a new character being introduced and developed.

I already knew (through some spoilers) that Ron paired up with Toby in here. Not really my favorite pairing or seemed like so but I thought that with Toby’s character in here thus far (not too overboard with stuff OR that loud), I was willing to accept.

Anyway, Ron’s appearance gave some sort of intrigue feeling to it. Though I know it was an attempt to create hype around his character, but at least it was different from others in here so I decided to be patient and see what else would happen. But I found it a tad funny that Man Shek (Michael Miu) was making a comment about how the rumors kept spreading so that was how Ron’s character became the legendary racer. (I had a laugh at that for once.)

Ron actually did not appear like officially until the scene were Man Shek took Ching Ling out for a midnight snack at this one street stall. It was really funny that some of the guys at their table were going on and on yet they did not know that the supposedly ‘legendary racer’ was right in front of them all that time. (Claiming that the ‘legendary racer’ was a woman WAS WAY funny. Especially how after that, Ron appeared and sat down at the table. It was like his cue or something.) After one of the guys was done with telling the story and trying to prove that the ‘legendary racer’ was a woman, his friend jumped in and contradicted him right away. And honestly, they should’ve seen it coming! LOL! Those two were actually trying to play the ‘dine and dash’ game yet Man Shek and Ching Ling fell for that one. Too bad they did not realize that the ‘legendary racer’ was sitting alongside them the whole time and even had to endure the accusation.

That was WAY too cliche since it was soon revealed Gai Keung (Ron) actually lived around town but was less seen until that point, considering how Ngai Ling Tai (Benz Hui) was seen visiting his friend and talking. Of course, the link was easy to guess.

Despite some lame, cliche setup thus far, I think I somehow prefer this direction aka watching Ron’s character unfold more than the other major characters. Since I felt a tad disappointed as I said in previous posts because of how they ruined several characters already. Knock on wood for Ron’s sake.

The Drive of Life: Blaming Siu Fan

Yes, another rant before I forget about it altogether. I found it funny that the scriptwriters love blaming ‘loud women’ and thinking that they can get away with it, wanting to make us pity the ‘soft/gentle’ ones.

First off, I admit that Wong Siu Fan (portrayed by Sheren Tang) was NOT the most well-mannered or admirable in here BUT pushing the blame 100% to her side was beyond outrageous. It was probably a bad idea and she probably acted against her better judgment (since her judgment had been heavily clouded by her anger) to have taken revenge on her husband, Wah Man Shek (Michael Miu), by going with another man. Because in doing that, she lost her daughter, Ching Ling (Toby Leung). But it was sad and stupid at the same time that the others took Man Shek’s side after what happened. It was like since he was part of the Wah family so he was given a chance to explain and forgiven away after he proved that he was going to change for the better. I DO NOT blame Ching Ling as much in this case since she was still young AND did not understand the complexity of her messed-up family. (AND how she was not around much during these past years. Also, how her father was such a smooth-talking guy and always cared for her, buying her ice cream, etc. He sure scored a lot of points in that area.)

Because Siu Fan DID NOT know how to act or behave in a way that others approve, she was given the cold shoulders. I admit she was such a spoiled brat and was hateful at times with keep pointing fingers at others, especially the first part of the story. YET when she was abandoned AND was not given a chance, I sympathized with her more and more as the story progressed. She did a lot of unforgivable things too but like anyone else was better in here to judge her.

I found it touching that she was willing to go to any end to help her daughter with the reporting job. It was like she, herself, had grown up after what had happened. Though she still hated and wanted to seek revenge against Man Hang, she seemed to have matured in that she had cared for her daughter more and wanted to do what was best for her daughter. Though she tried to seek even more sympathy from Ching Ling by faking headache, etc but I actually don’t blame her since she only wanted Ching Ling to care for her more. It was even more touching that she finally admitted to her scheme. It was only because she was scared that they would never meet again–IF it would be her turn to die.

And oh yeah, just as I was trying to let Man Shek off temporarily, I wanted to beat him up again at the hospital scene at the end of episode 23 since he made it like Siu Fan was in the wrong. Like he didn’t marry her for her wealth YET he made it like she followed Ngai Tin Hang because of his wealth. He was the one who cheated and broke her trust in him and just turned around accusing her of being unfaithful? Lame…

The Money-Maker Recipe

Phew! That was quite nerve-racking toward the end. The last few episodes were the most worth-watching than some other parts. The brain schemes and other double-crossing matters were what filled up the rest of the time. Not to mention how Szeto Luen Fai and his daughter turned out all right in the end. Thanks so much to Wing Shan for having such a kind heart, causing a turn of events. Not to mention the last few scenes of Chong made him worth the main character! Great set up between Chong, Janet, and Yu Ju near the end, causing things to turn out perfectly awesome. Bits of here and there with Yu Bo sacrificing herself for her family was quite touching and worth brownie points. Also funny but cute parts between her and Yuk Lun. There was also great scenes of Siu Tim and Wing Shan also. Quite touching with the whole mother-son relationship between Wing Shan and the little boy. So glad the ending didn’t turn out too lame. Cause and effects were applied and weren’t as forced. Not a bad series that was both entertaining and somewhat nerve-racking within the stock market battles. Learned a lot although most were quite exaggerated. Still not bad at all.

Acting/ Performances:

Kiki Sheung as Cheung Yu Ju was just both hilarious and witty. Although she let the fame get to her head in the turn of events, she soon learned from her mistakes and repented herself. Kiki portrayed the character really well–from scenes where she was really nice to slightly arrogant, back to the kind person that she was again. Must say her acting rocks big time versus when she was younger. Very lively and convincing.

Michael Tse as Wong Chi Chong was quite interesting. On the surface, Chong seemed to be the weak and/or unintelligent kind, but he was very smart and was just a kind person who didn’t want to harm others around him. He was a very straight-forward guy and didn’t back down even if the other person was of a higher authority figure. He was very brave in that sense. Michael Tse managed to bring out the character also and he has always been a great actor so no doubt about him. There were also funny side stories, which he portrayed really well in those scenes.

The chemistry between Michael and Kiki were quite odd at first, but it was all right and flowing later since according to the plot, they were an odd pair. Besides, they were quite a team and convincing enough for this type of story. Their interactions were funny and natural towards each other.

Joyce Tang as Janet. Her character seemed like nothing special for the majority of the series, but she was very clever and was the brain for the majority of Ding Siu Ging’s stock market wins. She had the capability to go beyond her skills, but could still distinguish between right and wrong thus always persuading Ding Siu Ging not to harm others for his benefit. Luckily, she managed to withdraw from it in time. Joyce has come a long way and I honestly think she’s one of those that have improved a lot since her first series. She used to exaggerate her characters, making it unbearable, but now she could control her expressions and delivered quite a performance. She really brought out the depth of Janet’s characters–different phases Janet went through, struggles with her father and her loneliness, etc. It was really great watching her.

Savio Tsang and Angela Tong – Quite a hilarious pair and I think this was one of the better roles for both although they seemed like odd characters, there were different levels to their characters–unlike usual typical characters. Savio’s actually wasn’t that classy compared to some of his other roles, but he did quite well with it. It was so convincing that I thought he was really those kind. It was also touching how he changed his bad habits for Yu Bo in the end. And also that through him, Yu Bo knew how to cherish the people around her.

Ellesmere Choi and Toby Leung – Not bad at all. Not sure if I’ve watched other performances of Toby Leung but she wasn’t bad at all as Wing Shan. The scenes between her and her son were very touching; and she managed to deliver out the parts with how she almost went psycho because she lost her son, etc. Her chemistry between Ellesmere wasn’t bad either. I think this was also one of Ellesmere’s better roles although he played more classy roles than this. This role’s depth was worth more than the exterior of others. It could help bring out his performance more than just wear a suit and deliver some lines.

Loved Law Lok Lam as always although he played the hateful rich dude Szeto Luen Fai for the majority of the series. But he did care about his family and would protect them no matter what. He also knew who was good to him and who wasn’t–thus leading him to finally stopping after knowing Wing Shan had a great heart for saving him although she could have died herself because of the situation. His willingness to change was really convincing and Law Lok Lam once again delivered a brilliant performance.

Rain Lau – She’s really getting better at the comedy acts and isn’t going overboard with her comedic scenes like the old days. It was really great to watch her in recent series so no complaints.

Mary Hon and the rest of the veteran cast were great also with making everything seemed lively and convincing for the plot itself.

It was a decent series overall with a mix of humor and intensity among the stock-market as well as daily life people bonding together in times of need.

Posted (on Xanga): October 7, 2008

Re-posted: Friday, April 16th, 2010

The Threshold of a Persona

Was I the only one who thought that this was a waste of the majority of the cast’s time? Honestly. I’ve never suffered through a Roger Kwok series before. (Even the ones that he portrayed the villain.) I think every time TVB does a series on the Immigration Department, it becomes draggy because they fail to focus on the main points of the plot. I do not want them to twist some major facts about it to make it more interesting. But I mean they should’ve cut it short if they do not know where to focus on. 30 episodes of this?

First off, the theme song of the series, Conceal (掩飾). I like collaborations, especially between singers for a song but Roger and Patrick? I heard that TVB’s trying to promote Patrick but pick one or the other. Their voices do not go well together. I think one of my favorite ones is Steven Ma and Ron Ng’s collaboration for The Brink of Law and I do know that Ron’s not that good but their voices flow well for the theme song, making it memorable and suitable.

Let’s start with the likes before I get any further.

The Good:

  • The friendship revolving around Kit (Roger), Kei (Yoyo), Lun (Power), and Yu (Raymond). I actually like how their friendship was given to us at the beginning and how other factors influenced their path throughout the series. It really came to the question of if they could pass the test of obstacles or not. It was unbelievable that Yu turned so evil toward the end, killing everyone and destroying everything that dared to stand in his path, but it was not out of nowhere. We could see that he had a strong sense of ambition through his actions and words to others (although ambition is not a sin). However, he easily wavered because he did not have a strong sense of morality. He did not care how things were done as long as it got done and would use others as stepping stones. He would also violate the laws to get where he wanted to be. (It made it double bad because he was a cop.) Lun, although he had a foul mouth at times, he was just very straight-forward and wasn’t good with words. It didn’t mean he wasn’t clever. Despite all his criticisms about Yu and their disputes, he still helped Yu at the end because he valued friendship very much. Kit and Kei were on the same line as Lun that they tried to keep their friendship intact. They always tried to keep in check with one another, especially the part where they helped Lun with getting him to stop gambling. However, Yu broke that bond when he decided to target his friends and not back down from his actions. Their friendship was somewhat typical that one or two within the group would turn bad, but still a nice one to see. The only complaint I have is they should’ve been focused on more to develop the climax rather than focusing on subplots too much that reduced their significance until like the last two episodes.
  • The friendship between Kit (Roger) and Shun Fong (Patrick). It seemed that they were casual friends and co-workers but they did share this special bond with each other. I liked how they often gave each other advice with solving cases to lessen the stress from one or the other. Also, the whole thing with Shun Fong trying to help Kit with patching up his family again regarding Chi Yan.
  • The brotherly bond between Kit (Roger) and Wing (Ben). Although they weren’t related by blood, their actions showed a deeper relationship than that. I liked it that it wasn’t just another typical thing with brothers who were not from the same parents would argue non-stop or would plot against each other, etc. There was an admittance of being shocked or confused about being put together because their parents got married. But the acceptance of it because of their parents’ happiness and of having a family brought them together as brothers. They really cared for each other–not just for the sake of the parents. It showed through many times like Kit always supported his brother and tried to get along with his sister-in-law when Lai Man was being unreasonable. Wing would always support Kit, especially the time he almost beat up Wu Shum to save his brother or trying to stop Kit from shooting Yu and be blinded by revenge. One of my favorite scenes must be the part where they were both in the hospital and wanted to beat Yu up. It was rash of their behaviors, but it showed a bit of their unification and bond. They not only cared for each other but for one another’s loved ones and friends as well.
  • The relationship within Kit and Wing’s family. Although things seemed hectic at the beginning, later on, it seemed like they were really close. The father only asked one question, “Are you okay with it?” Then if the answer was yes, he would make sure that everyone supported the person in the situation. He won’t question otherwise. But it will depend on the person, just like in Kit’s case with his wife. Yes, there were many other barriers that they couldn’t get past but it still counted that they tried their hardest to make it work for everyone. Lai Man seemed very unreasonable and wicked at the beginning but only her words sounded mean because she was harmless for the most part. I liked the parts where she supported Kit’s kid, Hei, when the kid was bullied by his classmates. It really showed that she cared but sometimes her words were sharp. There was also the part where they know that Chi Yan was not really related to the father but Lai Man still told her husband, Wing, to look after Yan, saying that she was still his sister after all. For the most part, their family encountered a lot of problems at first but could overcome it all with their sincerity and determination.

The Bad:

  • Creating the whole story with Shun Sui (Joey Mak) and Kelvin (Ruco Chan). Do they need this too? This reminded me of the character Ruco portrayed in Project Ji Xiang where he landed in prison at the end of the series. However, this time, it was because of other stuff too. To get back onto the subject at hand, I admit that Kelvin was a spoiled guy and could not stand firm when he encountered obstacles, but he should not be blamed for what happened between him and Shun Sui in totality. “He was drunk” was not a good excuse BUT in this case, that qualified as part of it. He did not like her and made clear of that from the very start. He might be spoiled, but he wasn’t a playboy. He didn’t flirt with other girls just for the thrill. His weakness was probably his father since he wished to prove to his father that he could do it, but when his father only delivered lectures and expectations, it made him feel inferior and frustrated at the same time. He didn’t have proper guidance because both his parents were busy or doing other things and I don’t blame them. But he just seemed like one lost guy. He still had a good heart in general. How could they just listen to one side only–aka Shun Sui–and blame it on him for what happened that night? Shun Sui was a spoiled kid (although they weren’t rich), plus she did whatever she wanted. It didn’t matter if her brother yelled at her or not. She was just that way. Why did the mother act super dramatic? She could’ve used all those times she used to run around on her own to look after her daughter instead of blaming the other family after what happened. I don’t expect her to be perfect, but I just hate that she wouldn’t look at herself first before pointing the fingers at others. Only Shun Fong would care enough to yell or look after Shun Sui–yet he was yelled at for being naggy. That was just messed up. Yes, he should’ve handled it better and not yell, but it did not help either that he was very much on his own to care for his sister instead of the mother doing that. So, Shun Sui should take the partial blame too yet Kelvin was dubbed out to be the bad guy without a chance for explanation. When he did say it wasn’t his fault–which it wasn’t–no one believed him. What the heck? Like she was that innocent. She ran away once. (I know holding the past on her head was not a good idea but they should at least consider all angles instead of just listening to her blindly.) All in all, no one had the right to yell at Kelvin in this case, except for Shun Fong since he seemed to be the only one to care enough. The only thing I saw fit in this was that they did not make Kelvin marry Shun Sui in the end. That would be too lame.
  • The draggy parts of Shun Fong (Patrick), Kelvin (Ruco), On Yi (Natalie), and Chi Yan (Toby). I know they (the writers) wanted to do a friendship and another quartet with this group–like how they did with Kit’s group, plus other stuff, but it was just too much with the irrelevant parts, not to mention they didn’t have that good of a friendship to begin with except being random. Maybe that was some sort of bond and innocent friendship at the beginning too. But what kind of friends were they not to trust Kelvin but just jump to the decision of thinking him as a spoiled rich boy? Only Shun Fong could have a say in this or could react fiercely because he was Shun Sui’s brother and couldn’t control his anger. But On Yi had no right since she knew that she was playing around with Kelvin’s feelings and giving him hope. She knew she didn’t like him but didn’t say it. She didn’t agree but not saying anything was misleading. Why didn’t she just say it first or clarify it? But she had to give him hope until it was too late, which made him feel betrayed with the whole misunderstandings, leading to him getting drunk in the first place–and leading to the worst of it all.
  • More romances than cases. This was a crime/ law show after all. Why did I see more of romances here and there, especially senseless ones than the main point? I like to see romance and all too but they weren’t developing with the right couples. I understood the essential of Kit’s story but I hated it that the subplots and other characters got more in the way with dumb stories.

Who got robbed?

  • Ruco Chan. This was personal opinions of course. This was honestly insulting him and wasting his time. I know he has to start somewhere since he just came back to TVB but honestly? Casting him in a typical rich spoiled boy wasn’t helping. This was the effect of watching Ben Xiao Hai right before I dive into this series. Since his portrayal took me away in the other one, but for Threshold, I felt like, “What the heck was that?” TVB probably wanted viewers who do not watch ATV series to get used to him but must they cast him in this role? I see people who act poorly get meatier roles than this. I just hope he isn’t typecast for these roles in the future. Since it has been TVB’s ultimate habit to cast people in similar roles that it’s boring to the point of dullness that either makes people ponder if it’s just the similar roles or the actor could not act.
  • Raymond and Yoyo. I do not mean their characters either since they are like part of the main cast of the drama. However, I thought that this is like the second time around and they do not end up together–once again. (Maybe TVB was compensating for Roger and Yoyo regarding Last One Standing.)
  • Ellesmere Choi and Queenie Chu. I know they were leading Team A of the three teams involved in the cases but I felt I rather see more development of their characters than seeing the draggy parts of the other characters. I actually liked this pairing very much but too bad not enough scenes of them. I liked their subtle fights and conflict of interest. Then later they became more understanding of each other and thus came to peace with each other. (We could see hints that they will end up together but still would love to see that part rather than the other relationships in here.)
  • Roger and Yoyo. They were like the main couple but I feel like they were robbed major time because I would rather the plot speed up a bit, leaving more room for Roger and Yoyo to be together.
  • Power Chan. I know he was one of the major characters too but somehow he only had one story of his own–the gambling problem. There was also the one with his grandpa. But it was like other than being their friend, he didn’t have other side stories. It was sad. I don’t mean to give him a romance story–that would be a bonus, but it was like he seemed to come and go for the most part. I rather they create other stories for him than focus too much on other people. He played a great part near the end but it didn’t count either because it tied in with everyone in the story also, not his own story.

Having said all that, I do appreciate the entire cast and production team’s effort in their hard work in bringing us such a series with the major issues and subplots involved. It was really complex on some levels but some parts could seriously do without–like mentioned throughout this review many times already. After all, it was better than A Matter of Customs on some level since the other one was more draggy with revolving around a certain plot too much. I must admit also that this series had a very good cast. It was just that the story-line could’ve done better. They should’ve cut back instead of dragging everything out to the point of dullness. The fact that only the first few episodes were relevant for the purpose of the plot and then the last two episodes were where the excitement kicked in was just lame. Shame.

Posted (on Xanga): August 6, 2009

Re-posted: March 26th, 2010