Inspector Gourmet

I actually watched this ages back but never found time to review it. Then I totally forgot about the plot and had to watch it again, lol. Was it worth a second watch? I think it was sort of worth it because I looked at it with fresh eyes. It also helped that the series went by the formula of a case-by-case format.

Main Cast:

  • Kenneth Ma as Bill Kei Yeung Tak Kei (楊得基). This was one of Kenneth’s loudmouth roles. It wasn’t hard for him regading acting. But the character was fun to watch because you see his humorous side come on. Sometimes, he was too dramatic–probably for the purpose of the character. Although I admitted that he did quite well in terms of acting, as a personal opinion about his role, this wasn’t my favorite character. It was too pushy at times, which created this negative effect for me.
  • Eliza Sam as Tong Ka Ka (唐嘉嘉). She was a righteous person and was always passionate in helping others righting wrongs. The fact that she was so involved with the cases because she’d been reading and watching too much detective stuff made it funnier. Her perserverence was quite admirable though. Especially how she was determined to recruit Mak Sai at the beginning. She had an eye for talent and knew they needed him, so she found all the ways to convince him. It took a negotation but she wasn’t willing to let go, knowing there were still options left. It was a good trait to have if she wanted to be a good detecitve aka not giving up halfway and all. But she wasn’t so innocent or as easily conned by Bill–as Bill liked to think. She could get so mad at him too. Actually, she used to work for a newspaper doing investigative journalism yet her boss tried to conceal the truth, fearing that they would offend other businesses, so she quit. Her past experience had helped her immensely with the current job. So, she wasn’t all talks either. She was willing to merge into different roles they took on necessary for the stalking process. It was somewhat exaggerated, but it worked in the long run. Eliza did very well with expressing those sides of Ka Ka.
  • Louis Yuen as Mak Sai (麥犀). Louis had always been a wild card to me when it came to watching him–whether it was a series like such or a hosting gig. This time, it was on the positive side. Also, I was surprised. I actually remembered his character a lot more than the other cast involved, interestingly. Maybe because he was funny but didn’t try too hard to be. That was just how he was, carrying on like usual or what he thought was normal. Yet others found him weird and all. Regarding his push to get Ah Kiu and her father to reconcile, I saw where he came from, but he didn’t agree with it. Reason? He was in the wrong years ago–even if it was an accident his mom passed away–aka his attitude was terrible and he was arrogant. He hoped to get closure and have forgiveness from someone else hence he sympathized with Ah Kiu’s father. YET the victim shouldn’t be forced to forgive just because. He didn’t understand that it was two different situation. However, I will write this off as part of the scriptwiter’s flaws, considering they always pushed and use the parent card regardless of how wrong the parents’ side was, and NOT an overall character flaw as the character was expected to follow the flow of the story anyway.
  • Priscilla Wong as Sam Oi Kiu (岑愛嬌) aka Sister Kill (Kill姐). I completely forgot about this role of Priscilla. I guessed it was because this was my first time watching her and then I steered away from TVB series for a while and then double back to watch Line Walker hence not remembering about her until I finally did this review and realized she played a major part in Line Walker: The Prelude and then the third installment, Line Walker: Bull Fight. That was a major surprise all right. I didn’t know why, but I actually liked her in this series yet felt she was awkward in Line Walker: The Prelude. Maybe because she wasn’t considered first lead in here, so it took off the pressure? Not sure. But back to the role itself, I found her hilarious and witty in here. That intro scene of her was crazy and wicked, lol. She was a natural in here with bringing out the character’s personality, no awkwardness whatesoever.

Supporting:

  • Elvina Kong as Anna Chu Sau Na (朱秀娜). Bill’s older sister. Mixed feelings. I sided with her regarding her feud with her husband and all. But as a character in general, I didn’t really like her, which was strange because I usually like Elvina’s performances regardless of character. Yet I felt her too trying or too awkward in here for some reason. Not sure why.
  • Timothy Cheng as Ko Yan (高仁). Anna’s ex husband. Another despicable character under his belt and a character created to crank up the tension between other characters of the show. He treated women like disposables yet there were still brainwashed women who followed him senselessly and thought they were going to stay young forever, thinking they wouldn’t be replaced by him as well. He sure met his match when he got trapped by Lo Tai Wai. And it really served him right with all those girls leaving him. What did he think? He was going to replace them in the future anyway. He didn’t expect them to be loyal, did he? (Their rant about him messing with underage girl was seriously them trying to fall back on moral grounds though. They only left him because he would face legal consequences and was already out of money.)
  • Eric Li as Lo Tai Wai (盧大維). Despicable. He lacked talent yet wanted to fame. He acted like a typical jealous high school kid and seemed to never grew up. His jealous of Mak Sai caused a lot of the problems coming into the story. He continued to use all tactics to go against Mak Sai yet had no problem to use underhanded tricks to get intel from Mak Sai either. A beyond pathetic character overall. Oh yeah, super cliche that he was involved with Ko Man in the final case though.
  • Oscar Leung as Cheung Kwok Wah (張國華) aka Nga Dai Wah (淆底華). At first, I didn’t know what to think of him. It mostly had to do with how cowardly he was and his fear toward Lo Tai Wai. However, after seeing the big reveal later and the reasons for the blackmail schemes, I felt sorry for him. He had a legit reason to fear that despicable guy. It wasn’t like he could do anything else regarding the loan shark situation of ages ago. It was an emergency and he did pay them back already. It was just that Lo Tai Wai was despicable enough to use that against him. Considering how he was a model cop after all, how could he let those be released like that? I do feel bad for him. He just wanted a girlfriend and wanted to get married one day, a simple family plan. Yet he had to meet with a pyscho like that. However, his expectations was a bit too high. He expected her to see the light? Really? Misplaced trust or loyalty here. But whatever. Oscar’s acting at that point was really good, though, the torn feeling and all. Omg, I so didn’t remember when I watched the first time around that he got shot and stuff. Such a tragedy. I would have liked to see the others visiting him at the end of the story. Yet they found time for other senseless side stuff instead.
  • Jacqueline Wong as Janice Chow Ching (周晴). What to say? I didn’t find her character or story necessary for the series, except to cause ruptures and became a test between Bill and Ka Ka. Sure, it became another case among all the other cases in here. Yet it wasn’t like a “must-have” case in that sense. It was just another story arch that tried to crank up its hype with dramatization and all. Her case did prove how well the team worked together. However, I still didn’t like it. Like I said, unnecessary. But the only consolation toward the whole thing was not dragging the case out till the end. Luckily, it ended early to leave way for other cases.
  • Vivien Yeo as Lee Nga Choi (李亞彩). A mentally challenged girl who tried to look after Mak Tong. Vivien actually did quite well. She was quite convincing as the nervous yet kind person, trying to communicate as best as she could. I thought this role was more along Vivien’s caliber and didn’t seem to be a waste of time last some of the past roles that were quite similar. This gave her more space for acting–even if it was just a case of the overall story. It was a matter of delivering the character and not just appearing all the time yet not contributing anything to the plot.
  • Bowie Wu as Mak Tong (麥棠).
  • Lau Kong as Sam Wing (岑榮). A typical gambler. He thought it was right that he gambled away and caused the loan shark to come threaten and hurt his family YET felt he was wronged. Seriously? It was a miracle his daugther didn’t sell him out yet still paid his debts for him. Looking down on her and thinking that it was unlucky that he had a daugther instead of a son. Typical old traditional toxic thoughts. I had no sympathy for such person AND felt it was really stupid that others thought his daughter should think him like royal after all he put them through. Just because he was the father? Really? No wonder the abuse cycle continued with so many people. Although fictional but it still portrayed a fraction of real life stuff. The parent card was always used to justify terrible behaviors. I found it amusing that he’d been torturning the family all these years living in fear YET could just redeem himself for a short while and then expected others to forgive just like that. Once again, the mentality of the using the parent card to get past all barriers. I hated that Ah Kiu was forced to forgive him just because. Seriously?
  • Angelina Lo as Fung Ching Mui (馮靜梅). Didn’t like her character at all. She was an enabler. I don’t care for her excuses. I’m just really done with those repetitive characters in dramas so my patience wore really thin when it came to such characters. Her guilt wasn’t a good reason for all that madness.
  • Mark Ma as Sam King On (岑景安). Ah Kiu’s younger brother. Also part of the enabler team, so sorry if I didn’t sympathize with him. He somehwat was stuck in between several parties. But seriously, grow a backbone and support his sister a bit. Seriously.
  • Stephen Wong as Jason Pun Kai Tak (潘啟德). Ka Ka’s cousin. That was a bit amusing to see Bill overreacting during his appearances. He was only there to get Ka Ka into that final grand event to pull the scheme on Lo Tai Wai. Then he was just taunting Bill a bit. Well, not really taunting, but more like testing Bill a bit to make sure Bill was worthy of Ka Ka. He shouldn’t have eased off so soon though.

Others:

  • Océane Zhu as Fok Ling Ling (霍玲玲). Omg, her character was too much. Yet I felt it was more fun to watch than some of her other roles. I don’t know. After they failed her in Come Home Love, I didn’t think much of her anymore because it was like she was demoted after some initial attempt to try and promote her. So the majority of nowadays roles of hers are this random. I didn’t expect much but just felt I could take whatever they tossed our way, I guess. Although her gestures toward Bill was a bit over during her intro scene, I found her cute, lol. She was accused of stealing money fromt the cash register but it turned out her lady boss was careless hence causing the bill to be stuck in her shoes instead. She totally conned Bill, lol. Well, it wasn’t her fault that he thought he would get something out of it. Yet it was still funny seeing how he lost money, considering how he paid way over the price of the tickets. She did compensate him BUT of course, how would she know he spent A LOT more for it? And she managed to get out of the date, lol. Yeah, it was sad for him, but come on. He was smart when it came to cases, but regarding other stuff, not so much. It could have been a funny character. But too bad, it pinned her with being a third-party too. So yeah, it’s been nice knowing her. Nail in the coffin part was when she looked down on Bill for being a mere chef yet she didn’t see a problem with seducing other people’s husband. Seriously? (That boss, the cheater, was a scumbag anyway, but that didn’t make it right for her to jump in.)
  • Cilla Kung as Pun Siu Lin (潘小蓮).
  • Matt Yeung as Duncan Dung Sai Kan (鄧世勤).
  • Tracy Ip as Ko Man (高敏). I pity her. I seriously do. How could she think that it be normal to suddenly rush forth all these changes? She totally got conned.

Relationships – family, friends, romances, etc.:

  • Kenneth and Eliza. They were cute in a sense. I enjoyed their goofiness at times when they were out on a mission or together. It created a sweet feeling. Then it went all to hell later because of the extra case with Janice. So yeah, I stopped caring about them as a couple later.
  • Kenneth and Louis. OMG, their trolling of one other and senseless nicknames. It was childish to some extent but somehow created the right comedic moments for the show. Their ongoing feud with one another sort of created this strane atmosphere at work. Yet it also challenged one another at times.
  • Louis and Priscilla. They were the funny couple for me. Minus the whole trying to push the forgiveness stuff, I liked them together for the most part. They didn’t like each other at first because they started out as rivals somewhat on one of the cases. Yet learned to work together and found one another’s good sides and all. They became like best buddies before starting. It was a typical story of bickering couples. But their chemistry was interestingly better than some of her so-called better looking co-stars. I swear. It was strange, but it worked.
  • Eliza and Priscilla. At first, Ah Kiu ddin’t think much of Ka Ka and thought Ka Ka was only good at being beautiful. Yet during one of the cases that they worked together, Ah Kiu realized Ka Ka’s quick thinking and resourcefulness that caused her to change her view toward Ka Ka. Since then, they worked together quite well and even maintained a comfortable friendship.

Likes:

  • The comedy. While it lasted, that was. It went downhill later, but was hanging on by a hair because of the cases.
  • The food theme. I learned more about different food and its culture, history, etc. It was a fun journey on that front.

Dislikes:

  • The ending. I know, shocking. I don’t mean how it turned out with the cases. I meant how they completely forgot about Cheung Kwok Wah. Yeah, I know, he was in a coma. He might or might not recover. But maybe at least put in a scene of the hospital visit? It wasn’t hard to do. Maybe even a five-second zoom by to tell us would be good enough. They tried to squeeze in the kidnapping scenes and then tried to put in that senseless AD hence not even having time for updating us on Cheung Kwok Wah. Also, I didn’t like the cooked up scheme with forcing Ka Ka to accept Bill again. Yeah, give her some more time. Why can’t it be on her own terms? But it had to be forced to some outrageous schemes and making her feel guilty for taking time to think. Really? So, if you twist it around, it was all right if he turned her down or ask for time apart?

Recommended? I would say it depends. If you like a somewhat light-hearted detective show, this is for you. It’s good for entertainment purposes, obviously. Just something to watch over dinner. It’s not like life-changing or expect to be deep or anything. Just a fun series that somewhat surrounded food-related debates at times.

Steps

Just finished the series itself and must say that although it was a very nice series in general, I was quite disappointed with a certain part. Again, I should have known and shouldn’t have expected so much, but can’t believe they let Victoria end up with Dat in the end. Yes, he was a nice guy and all, but can’t they just stay as best friends? She rejected him once and now since Dickson wasn’t around anymore, she was back to Dat? I know it wasn’t like that and Dat had helped her and been there with her through thick and thin, but it was somewhat unfair for him because it was like settling for him since she didn’t have any more choices. The fact that Anita succeeded in playing the pity card made me even more mad. It wasn’t like Dickson had forced her into those actions when they were younger. They fell in love ages ago and she also made a choice to be with him and also made a choice to quit her dancing. It wasn’t like he brainwashed her or manipulated the situation to make her life worse. Whether those choices were good or not, she still made them. But it was made to sound like he owed her. He owed her nothing. Yes, separating a family and destroying the little girl’s family was a sad thing, but it sucked major time that they have to make things turn out that way. Why couldn’t Anita have been more independent and also make the little girl understand that her mom and dad were now separated but still loved her? It was dumb to separate two people who loved each other to go with responsibility because of guilt. Dumb plot. But very touching scenes between Dickson and Victoria with their parting scenes and their last dance. It ruined the story by making her end up with Dat–as I said already. It was like TVB needed to gift-wrap so they make it all nice at the end. On a lighter note, Kate did improve surprisingly. She did bring out her character really well regarding her smart and professional side, plus her vulnerable side as well. Really starting to like Matthew Ko also since really see his acting potential. He was able to portray his cute personality as well as the last few scenes of a responsible father. I was a tad disappointed of Stephen Wong Ka Lok as Dat since he seemed to be doing all right in Love Bond and all, but now he seemed to lack something in here? Couldn’t really see his difference or wasn’t impressed in the most touching scene of him either. I got confused with what he was trying to do. It was like he didn’t improve or something.

Another thing that made me not satisfied with this series was not exposing Judy. She was the manipulative hand behind many scenes in helping that one dude to embezzle the company’s money but she was never exposed although she did get what she deserved in the end. Since TVB love gift-wrapping so much, why didn’t they make that happen? Lame! Caring too much of one thing but not another.

Luckily, Tsun and Keung reunited as best friends again at the end, plus Tsun and Sum Ying were awesome together. They were a really great bickering couple as well as supporting each other in the end. The dance during the competition was very touching.

I also liked Sum Ying and Victoria’s friendship. It was very nice to see something that actually looked like true friendship in here. They can talk about everything and could support each other through different things. A very great scene between them was Victoria confronting Sum Ying to tell Tsun about her eye conditions, but Victoria ended up keeping the secret for Sum Ying instead.

Fala Chen as Ka Man was just amazing. Yes, her acting was really up to it since she was only in a few series but wasn’t raw like some new ones. She managed to show her menacing side but also her somewhat vulnerable side. Her past was a great obstacle to get past but glad that in the end, she knew when to stop and didn’t listen to Amanda to play dirty tricks on Sum Ying because she could see that Sum Ying wasn’t feeling well. In a way, her going to jail wasn’t a bad thing since she learned to take on responsibility and face the consequences bravely. Plus starting over.

Stephen Huynh – Unlike Stephen Wong, I could see his acting a lot better since he managed to play out each role really well. Been in quite a few series but wasn’t disappointing at all. He knew what he was doing and could bring out his character.

Wayne Lai and Claire Yiu’s chemistry wasn’t all that, but still not bad at all. Like their little story. A bit funny at first and later more serious.

A very nice series overall, except a few things were still unknown and others were too gift-wrapped that made me feel kind of mad.

Posted (on Xanga): Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Re-posted: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The Greatness of a Hero

Another TVB mistake in warehousing a series. But I think I could understand this time because of the possibility of the complex language used in ancient series versus the modernized language we’re all used to. This was surprisingly good from the beginning to the end–even when there were hints of frustrations from several characters.

Like Factor(s):

  • The cast. I was doubtful if it was going to work and was one of the reasons why I did not watch this when it first came out. But I was glad I did since the cast worked together really well. There were roles that you thought not possible but it was nice to see the collaboration.
  • Kent Cheng and Sonija Kwok as Dik Yan Kit and Cho Yuet. It was very strange that they were actually my favorite couple in here. Maybe because their relationship was on a more mature level than the rest of the couples in here. It was also possibly because of his age and her responsibilities for the family. However, they complemented each other really well despite the age difference. Their story was touching and memorable. At first, I thought it was the pity thing that he took her in and somehow married her later. But it was not that. There was an actual indication that when his wife passed away, she matched-made them, saying that they shouldn’t hold back and lose the opportunity. It showed they must have grown to admire each other for their personalities instead of just the whole ‘pity for her’ factor or ‘repaying his gratitude’ element.
  • The Dik’s family. I liked how they got along with one another with support and care for the majority of the series. And it was a bit unrealistic that everyone treated Cho Yuet so well but they probably wanted to portray the loyal family with the well-behaved children, plus an understanding mother-in-law who could sympathize with the daughter-in-law’s past and would not pick on Cho Yuet in unreasonable manners–although she admitted that she was hesitant of their marriage at first.
  • Sunny Chan and Bernice Liu as Sung Ting Yuk and Dik Ching Lyun. This was the second time I saw their collaboration and it was not bad at all. Liked their scenes for the most part.
  • Wayne as the villain. Okay, I usually do not like seeing my favorite actors as villains, but Wayne is an exception since it’s a good reminder that he isn’t just portraying all these silly guy roles. He was so convincing as the evil guy.

Dislike Factor(s):

  • The costumes/ hairstyles. I know they probably tried their best with the colorful outfits and the sophisticated hairstyles and trying to make everything worked, but it looked so bulky with the hairstyles that it was a bit disturbing. It made me feel sorry for those people wearing such thick hair pieces, especially the female cast in here.

Anyway, it was a good series overall. It was not the best but because it wasn’t trying to be cheesy that made it more likable on different levels.

*The funniest thing was I was watching it about the same time as The Threshold of a Persona so I was thinking ‘same cast’ and it added to the craziness of watching both of that and A Great Way to Care at the same time.

Posted: August 8, 2009

Re-posted: Sunday, March 28th, 2010