I haven’t watched anything that inspired me to blog about it in awhile. At least not the HK related ones. Yet this one just made me jump to blog without caring if it was good or not. I meant I started writing since I started the series and continued watching on throughout. Hey, ATV addict alert, so yeah…always so good to see the old gang portraying different roles. Not to mention it was a cop one so I was glued from the start.
Main Cast/ Characters:
- Stephen Au as Bat Ga Yung (畢家勇) aka Bat Sir (畢Sir). It had been a while since watching a Stephen role that was worth mentioning. Glad that I stumbled upon it. Anyway, he was clever and witty. But that didn’t mean he was so into the cases that he forgot to live his life (like as often portrayed with those main guy cop roles). We got to learn more about him throughout and between the cases. For instance, he was such a good chef that he would use his delicacies to bribe his team to work harder, lol. Then it was later revealed that he used to be a chef at some restaurant hence his good culinary skills and laid-back nature. He also had a spunky sister (who was kind of on the nut side, lol).
- Joey Meng as Bonnie. A cop role and not to mention a stubborn, kind of smart-aleck one. YES, fitted all of her usual roles at times, mostly the stubborn and smart-aleck combination. Yet it was different because she was not a pro like some of the other ones yet still ran her mouth at times. It didn’t mean she was not good at anything though since her advantage of being transferred from the Missing Persons Department helped them and got Bat Sir quite impressed with her during the first meeting (after the initial fallout since she was late to the crime scene). Her comments at times and her analysis helped drive the case forward also. ‘Cause her perspective was different from them so it helped with some missing details or how they would think too complicatedly about certain matters. Her connections definitely helped also. Though she was from a rich family, but she was not spoiled at all, kind of sarcastic at times, but not rude or plain disrespectful to anyone on the team. Then there was her huge appetite that made it so hilarious. We also learned that she was allergic to flowers when her lawyer boyfriend sent her some flowers and she sneezed on sight and even tossed it into the trash afterward.
- Yung Kam Cheung. Finally a role worth watching after years. I meant I remembered him portraying bigger roles for ATV than the usual for TVB. BUT like that was news so let’s not even go there, right? A very sharp character, always knowing his way around and proved to be a great senior for Bonnie and others. Though it seemed like there was not much background information on him but his history came forward with the third case regarding how he became a cop because of his brother.
- Yeung Chak Lam as Uncle Kong. One of my favorite veteran actors and funny that I don’t remember seeing him in modern series as much as ancient. Really enjoyed his performance as the veteran cop in here, knowing his way around yet trying to adapt to the changing technology around him. And this was proving to people that he honestly didn’t need an exaggerated script or like super ‘breakthrough’ role to make his character shine without trying too hard. He had his own part in the team and how his character was so brilliant yet sarcastic made it so hilarious. It was interesting to watch him portray a comedic character–at least off-work. Then professionally, he was just so brilliant and cunning. People nowadays were so dept on wanting an important role and the right script, but he proved that he didn’t need those ‘overhype’ roles to make his character interesting. It was all about good acting, NOT those caviars.
- Gilbert Lam as Robert. Cute. LOL! Though projecting a nerd look but he still managed to make his character so charming and brilliant at the same time. He didn’t appear much but I loved the little that he did since it managed to bring forth some hilarious and/or witty exchange between him and the rest of the team. Though he was not really considered to be a main character, since he was part of the team, I just wanted to include him.
- The bond between the four main characters. I loved it that they could get so random that it turned into being ridiculous yet also maintained its charm between the cases. Their conversations filled up the character background and some developments throughout.
- Uncle Kong and Bonnie. It was funny how he often used his ‘veteran’ status to ‘teach’ her. LOL! It was really funny and not overly done. Like she was willing to admit that he was right though they didn’t say as much (or it would be overkilled). Or he would be willing to admit that she had some talent. But then there were signs that he was willing to help her with all his sincerity at times, like opening that one drawer for her. Or how she was giving him compliments.
- Stephen Au and Joey Meng as Bat Sir and Bonnie. It was funny that she was joking about following him for the rest of his life upon tasting his delicacies. And that was messed up that his sister teamed up with the others to play a trick on him regarding how she said she confirmed that Bonnie liked Bat Sir. LOL! I had a hard time believing that she didn’t like him though since she seemed really suspicious. Plus how she reacted upon knowing about his sister, she got all friendly instead of somewhat of an awkward situation and somewhat wanting to distance herself from the so-called ‘girlfriend’. If there were more episodes, they might have gotten together? Still funny.
- Gilbert Lam and Joey Meng as Robert and Bonnie. I found it interestingly cute that he was introducing himself to Bonnie before proceeding to tell them of what he found out through the search on the computer (while they were discussing some details of the case). Then there was also the part where he was roused up in the middle of the night by the others to search some information for them, so he was getting kind of touchy (but just slightly) because they kept rushing him. But when Bonnie made a request for him to zoom into the photo, he said, “Anything for you” with a smile. That was cute all right. (This reminded me of Crossborder Daddy though this series was before that. Need to hunt down past series where they were actually a pair–and for a longer time than that of what happened in Crossborder Daddy. Were there any?)
- Case #1: A warm-up, right? Seemed too easy. Catfight, kidnapping, accident, murder, and cover-up. But it had some character development with the main cast and how each used his/her talent to work the cases. Sometimes it didn’t take technology to solve it, but brainwork. Average regarding complexity but showed that they didn’t need to rely so heavily on technology to solve the case.
- Case #2: I think it was supposed to be Case #1 since they were focusing on this one serial killer but got side-tracked ’cause of the copy-cat schemes from the other one. Sad, very sad ending really.
- Case #3: It really emphasized the point of the bonds between the sworn brothers yet too bad someone had to use their trust for his own benefit. Quite meaningful and touching on some levels.
- Case #4: Tragic to death.
- Case #5: Great one since it was very confusing and complex with how everyone was moving the body around. A lot of brainwork involved.
Careless Bits (YES, they had these. Though I’m an ATV fan but I’m not delusional, I know when they’re not perfect.):
- GLOVES. Hello, people. They were going to get their fingerprints on there too if they handled the evidence found at the scenes like that. Though during the first case, it was shown how they were carefully using a pen to lift the hair out of the bathtub but might want to wear gloves to make sure it was not contaminated. (Weren’t they prepared for anything when they were doing a house search?) Then during the second case, I noticed how Bonnie was being scolded for not wearing gloves. It made sense since they had to be careful. Yet what was odd was they only wear gloves or seemed to be wearing gloves when they were investigating the crime scene like the first time during discovery. Then other times, it was like they didn’t need to or didn’t care to. Not sure. But should’ve been more careful than that.
KEEP IN MIND:
- Time frame so NOT as advanced technology. So you might want to check it out for the cast (or some of the cast) BUT don’t be stumped by the outdated technological tools/devices/gadgets. PLEASE keep in mind it was 1996. What did you expect?
Even though it was really short but I really liked it–regardless of its careless flaws at times. There was more brainwork that made up for it. Then there was also the lack of side-story. YES, people might think that it was annoying with so little of character focus with the main cast and there were no love relations–at least not so intense like other series. Yet I found it really nice that way since I hate it overlapping cases, making it a romance more than a cop story. So that was good that they didn’t stretch it out to the point of annoying on relationships. They managed to get in character development with the main cast throughout. It wasn’t like anyone of the cast was robbed yet they still created a vivid personality for each. Through the cases and some side conversations, we know of their personalities. So it was a great one for me with most of the focuses on the case.
Not a disappointment at all. This series started out as a typical goofy comedy but weaved itself into the intensity of family conflicts with business rivalry yet never losing its elements of comedic touch at all. There were many subplots that led itself into many climaxes and tied itself back to the major plot. I really enjoyed it and was glad I picked it up in the first place. This was so goofy at the beginning with the main characters and seemed so despicable and intense with some other characters playing mind games, but later it turned into something more meaningful. I really liked it that there wasn’t the main focus on anyone in particular but there were many characters in here and they each had their own story. The realistic element of it was there was no main point (like said above) but there were only people who followed their own goal and trying to survive. Their paths leading them to expected accomplishments or for some others–consequences and things might or might not work out in the end.
Several notable performances:
- Nathan Chan as Lo Ping Ping: Contrary to many of his serious roles–Who Is The Winner was among them–he played a very humorous person in here who had a very smart-mouth yet a kind heart deep down. Nathan really brought out Ping Ping’s character very well and also with charm, making us both liked and hated him at the same time. (Heard there were some problems with him and ATV in the past, but I guess they reconciled or possibly a misunderstanding so they reached some sort of understanding to collaborate again?)
- Anita Lee as Veronica Xiang Huan Zhu: Anita-although she had played various comedic roles too, but this one must top it all since she took her arrogant as well as girly-girl side to the max, making us laughed and cried with her. She did really great as the vain girl in the beginning who only knew how to dress up and look pretty, a spoiled rich girl (although she did have a kind heart) to a mature and clever young lady. It was honestly really hard to portray her since there were many scenes that were very, very funny and ridiculous but she pulled it off very well. (And of course, I enjoyed the fact that they poked fun of Huan Zhu Ge Ge thing since it made my day with all their comments referring back to that series and this series’ character.)
- Kristal Tin as Crystal Shen Jing Jing: She first appeared as a somewhat irresponsible mother and an easy person, but there was a story behind it all and it really brought out her character as to how she portrayed it. She didn’t seem to care much about anything and seemed to love money more but deep down, she was someone who really valued friendship and family–although she only had her baby. Kristal did great as the strong-willed person who could turn into a weak mother at times. And she did very well with the comedic scenes also. She was probably the best-supporting actress in this series that did really well (aside from Wong Oi Yiu) who had made it very worth watching her and how her character unfolded and developed throughout.
- Cheung Kwok Keung as Song Man Ting: A typical cunning and/or scheming character that we often saw in those business rivalry movies or series, but his character seemed much more than that. It first showed him as a greedy guy who had only one goal in his mind–to conquer all aka the Xiang’s business thus causing him to go against Lo Wah Long (Lawrence Yan). However, there was this whole thing with his family and how much he cared for them. He had this soft side that said a lot more about his character. Although he seemed harsh and cruel, he cared a lot for his brother and really knew his benefactors aka the Xiang family (especially the grandfather). He worked really hard for the company and probably the most deserving among those fighting for the CEO position. An excellent performance from Cheung Kwok Keung since he seemed to bring out his character really well with the cunning and deceiving nature with a gist of cleverness as well as his caring side as the oldest brother and also the lonely man fighting for power. The most tragic part must be knowing that he only had so many months to live and working so hard to make it happen, reaching his goal of introducing his family company into the market. There was also the whole thing with trying to get his brother, Ben, to turn his life around. However, the saddest part must be knowing Ben’s betrayal and continuing on until the very last day. His death was really a turnaround in some people’s life also–most importantly Ben and probably Sam also–for taking it so seriously in helping the family business expand.
- Ricky Chan as Ben: I have always liked Ricky Chan after watching Project Ji Xiang and this was probably before that but it really showed that he was up to his part in acting as the rich playboy who only leaned on others and cared for nothing but money-and then turning his life around after his brother’s death. He was a big jerk for the majority of the series but really learned and repented himself after he got out of jail, but it was so convincing and not forced at all–thanks to Ricky’s acting.
- Lawrence Yan Chi Keung as Lo Wah Long: He was probably the most despicable character in this entire series and I must give Lawrence Yan credit for making the character so lively and so hateful at the same time. He seemed like the typical good-looking dude who everyone wanted a piece of but his heart was so dark that it scared people into having second thoughts. He only cared for himself and no one else, even willing to eliminate anyone who stood in his way. It was very frightening and maddening at the same time. Seeing him having such an ending might not be as satisfying but relevant since it made him become helpless–the thing that he hated the most.
What I liked about the series:
- The bickering couple Ping Ping and Huan Zhu: Although it seemed like the typical bickering couple falling in love, later on, I liked it in the fact that they didn’t force the two into falling in love although there were subtle implications toward the end. It didn’t come up with reasons why they began to like each other later on or pave the way like the typical series. It just happened. It seemed more obvious with Huan Zhu for the turning point of their relationship but less obvious ’cause Ping Ping seemed to like Michelle until the end but the final twist still involved elements of comedy and somewhat the time frame that things happened that made it convincing. It was part of life and what could happen.
- The friendship and possible love between Ping Ping and Crystal: It seemed to play a lot into the elements of letting us believe romance could possibly happen between this two through time spent together and their shared dream and/or goals, plus some implications and pushing from family members. However, their friendship stayed true until the end–through comedic times as well as many hardships.
- James and Crystal’s relationship: It started out just as a one night stand thing that happened one Christmas but through separation and many things that happened, they met again and James finally learned who Crystal really was and developed feelings for her. Their relationship was easy and slow. It seemed unrealistic but at the same time not impossible as they lived like any strange couple but learned many things about each other throughout the time.
- The friendship between many characters in here: There were many characters in here that had been united through family members or circumstances but it seemed very real and true that not all were amazing people according to people who measured them by their achievements but their hard work and shared goals have pushed them together.
- The bond between Ping Ping and his family: They seemed to be a normal family just surviving and thriving on, trying to make a living. But the mother was a really great person and she didn’t discriminate anyone and really understood them. She cared for them and sympathized with them ’cause she had been in such a situation before in the past. Ping Ping seemed like a smart-mouth and unmotivated since he only wanted to be a bus driver, but it was only because he was satisfied with who he was and really cared for the people around him. An An was very hardworking and had always wished to reach the top thus creating more opportunities so her family would have a better life. They were a normal family but a very special one also because they knew how to cherish people around them and the things they have.
- The Song family’s relationship: Although it seemed scattered throughout the series, their bonding was strange and yet it seemed that they’d struggled a lot to actually finally reunite for real in the end–even if the oldest brother passed away already. A very strong message that Song Man Ting often said throughout the series was: “We’re brothers, we have to look out for each other.” It was a very simple phrase yet so true and he had really lived up to his words until the very end of his life.
- The unforced drive of the story: The plot didn’t seem to be special in any sense but it implied a lot of important elements in it, making the whole story seemed more real than anything.
- The many conflicts and unexplainable behaviors of many characters: There wasn’t a real purpose for everyone’s behaviors and how NOT all things could be explained and reasoned. That was how life was and it was portrayed really well in here.
- The life messages associated with the bus such as “Life is like a bus ride, it is a long one and there aren’t any two stops similar to each other.”
There were many other things that I really liked about this series also but didn’t want to list it all. It was a really great series overall and not over-done. Even if ATV didn’t have the technology or budget like TVB to make it all high class, but the plot itself beat TVB any day. The way it was filmed, it seemed more realistic and could be related to, unlike the glamorous gist that didn’t seem real enough because of the “trying too hard” part TVB often put in.
The most unexpected thing that happened in here was the death of Ah Man. I honestly thought they were keeping him until the end ’cause of how series often wrapped up with everyone pairing up nicely. However, it was very tragic and the most heart-wrenching scene of the series to see Ah Man’s death and the suffering afterward. The mother was very unforgivable and they were still being lenient for letting Michelle and her father forgive her in the very end but still it was very frustrating to see such a mother but it was NOT unbelievable at all. The mourning scenes were done quite well also with everyone reacting differently and the song playing in the background–which was supposedly composed by Ah Man–made it all so memorable at the same time.
This series not only had an excellent cast but also an excellent story to go with it.
Posted (on Xanga): November 17, 2008
Re-posted: November 30th, 2010