I know I said that part 2 of the foreword would be next, but I fully blame it on the addictiveness of TVB. Three words:
Heart. Of. Greed.
So, finally, after so much hype and news about this series, I’ve finally started to give it a go. I had the first twenty episodes in my hard drive, but I refused to start watching because just from its opening theme, you can tell it’s one of those series you just have to continue watching and watching…and watching. Yesterday, I finally got the complete series from a friend of mine, and have been hooked every since.
I enjoyed Brink of Law and Dicey Business, but just after watching nine episodes, I think Heart of Greed is going to trump them both. Why?
In my opinion, this has got to be one of the best family ensembles that TVB has put together in recent years that I’ve seen. (Other notable mention could possible be the Virtues of Harmony cast, but I didn’t watch that, so this is it for me) If you asked me, I could not think of a better actor to play anyone of the roles. The chemistry is apparent between each and every member, and it is believable. The heart-warming moments are a joy to watch, and the rifts keep me glued to the screen. Kudos, TVB.
Lee Sze Kei as Ling Hao/Dai Kai
The voice of reason within the family, is a perfect role for Lee Sze Kei’s comeback. She did it so well in Kindred Spirit, and here she is again, only this time the difference between Dai Kai and Kindred Spirit’s Sin Yee, is that Dai Kai is more worldly and the animosity between family members that she has to deal with is on a larger, more dramatic scale than that of Sin Yee’s.
Ha Yue as Tong Yan Kai/Tai Bao
So far, in the other comedy series I’ve seen him in, Ha Yue tends to overact, but here, it actually works in this series and with the script he’s been given. Tong Yan Kai is just a man, with a simple wish- for this family to live harmoniously under one roof. He enjoys the simple pleasures in life, and of course, the occasional abalone. But it’s never so simple, is it? Ha Yue plays Tong Yan Kai, the pushover husband and father so well, that when in the rare moments that Tai Bao actually explodes in anger at his family, it’s great to watch.
Michelle Yim Mai Shuet as Ling Lei/Lei Yee
I watched Michelle Yim in the ‘Tai Nui Fa‘ drama ages ago with my mother and I felt she was much a better Princess Cheung Ping than Charmaine Sheh was in Perish in the Name of Love. I also remember her in a long-running comedy whose name eludes me now, but it also starred Waise Lee, and had characters named “Wah Di“. Can anyone remember that? But anyway, back to the point, Michelle has been one of my favourite veterans since. She was magnificent as Sung Kam Chi in Brink of Law, and I was afraid that she would play the same role again (because let’s face it, every drama like this one here needs a villain). But she didn’t, and her Ling Lei is a joy to watch. Ling Lei is strong, straightforward, capable and caring on the outside, but already from the beginning, you can tell that that’s not all there is to her. She is a character with many layers and possibly an unexpected history, and Michelle brings that to life. A lesser actress definitely couldn’t.
Susanna Kwan as Wong Sau Kam/Sai Kai
Wow. I’ve never watched Glittering Days, so this is the first time I’m seeing her in action. A very effective villain. I judge how good villainous acting is by how much you feel hatred for that character that is being played, and Susanna has got it in the bag, because I can’t stand Wong Sau Kam, for her greed and her jealousy. Sai Kai has plenty of pointed lines, in which the words are masked knives, and Susanna does them all with conviction. She plays a woman scorned very well. Brilliant. I enjoyed the fighting scenes between her and Michelle when Sai Kai and Ah Lei were at odds. The chemistry was so apparent.
Moses Chan Ho as Tong Chi On/Dak Dak Dei/Sai Bao
I must say, I never envisioned Moses in a role like this when I heard about it. But now, when I watch the series, and I see how perfectly he immerses himself in Sai Bao’s character, I simply cannot think of anyone else. I’ve always said Moses was a brilliant comedic actor, and this series further cements that. He’s made me laugh like a lunatic so many times just in the first nine episodes (my housemate thought I was going a little insane, lol) and I’m sure there’s more to come. All his scenes are a joy to watch; with every member of the Tong family, Sheung Joi Sum, even the Filipino woman who was teaching him to sing!
Bosco Wong Chung Chak as Tong Chi Yat/Gilbert/Gil Gil
Can I just first say that I love this look for Bosco? He looks every bit like what you would imagine the MBA-holding son of a rich family would look like. So far, I haven’t seen any of the wooden acting that everyone’s been complaining about, but that could be because the first nine episodes have been pretty comedic thus far. Even when the women are at odds with one another, the three Tong boys have been trying to add humour to the situation to solve things. The few dramatic scenes he’s had have been with Tavia, and I found those great. They’ve been acting together long enough, so there’s none of that inconsistent chemistry with the both of them.
Chris Lai Lok Yi as Tong Chi Foon
I know I’ve said this a lot of times, but here it is another time- I cannot picture a better actor for this job. Heart of Greed succeeds because the producer understood the acting capacity of each actor and casted them appropriately. Chris is not by any means the best young actor on the block, but what he can do is perfect for the character of Chi Foon. Chi Foon is your average university student- he just wants to have fun… and pass all his units at school; not having his mother at odds with the rest of the family. Chris Lai does the unaffected young adult well.
Fala Chen as Tong Chi Yan
Again, I have to commend the casting. I can only think of one other actress who would have suited this role- Natalie Tong, which I really like. But Natalie has played the youngest sister so many times, that she could do it in her sleep. Casting Fala was a wise choice, because the audience has seen Natalie so many times. Fala is a breath of fresh air, and again, does the whole unaffected teenager thing very well. I have to admit though, she such a rumour magnet, but if you ignore all that and just watch her, she’s very pleasant to watch as Ah Yan. Yet another thumbs up for the casting. This is a great break for both her and Chris Lai.
Linda Chung as Sheung Joi Sum
First of, a completely random thought; I really like her character’s name in this series, and the way they keep on saying it in whole, hee. As for Linda, I’ve never been a fan. I saw bits of Always Ready and The Bitter Bitten, and she didn’t impress me. However, she has most definitely improved since then. Her acting in Heart of Greed is better and her role is of more substance. This year would be a great year for her to win Most Improved Actress instead of last year, IMO. I still don’t see any semblance of romantic chemistry between her and Moses, but, I think she’s a great choice for this role.
Tavia Yeung as Cheuk Man Lei/Jackie
I haven’t seen much of Tavia, but what I’ve seen, I’ve liked. You can already tell that there’s a bit of a stubborn streak in her character, judging by her actions. That scene the screencap is from, between her and Bosco was so bittersweet and angsty, but very well done by the both of them. Tavia’s also come a long way in her crying since Golden Faith where she ran down the street wailing. She’s managed to master the art of crying beautifully, which not a lot of actresses can do. Again, great casting.
Yoyo Mung as Shui Mak Mak
That’s a truly awful name; someone please tell me it’s just her nickname and not her birth name? Because I would be really annoyed at my parents if it were me, hah. This is the first I’ve seen Yoyo in such an independent, extroverted, sexy character. I’ve always seen her in more subdued roles, so this is a nice change. I liked her in Burning Flame II but since then she’s neither been a like or dislike for me, but it’s a nice change to see her playing a character like this. TVB needs to mix it up more often like this.
Raymond Lam as Alfred
Yes, that’s the only glimpse of him that’s in the first nine episodes, save for the opening credits. Incredibly sad, isn’t it? I’ve been told that his scenes with Linda are adorable, and I really want to watch those. That aside, Raymond always, always delivers a solid performance and this should be no exception. It’ll be interesting to watch him act as a two-timing ass.
Louis Yuen as Ling Bo/Kau Fu Bo
Couldn’t find a screencap of him, unfortunately. As always, Louis Yuen is a great reliable supporting character. He is so annoying and irritating as Ah Bo, that you know it’s great acting, like I said about Susanna above. Again, great selection of actor (are you getting bored with me saying this yet?); I read from Lavendar_Bluez that it was initially supposed to be the equally formidable Wayne Lai in this role, but I think Louis Yuen would have been better, because the audience has gotten so used to him in his long-running part in Virtues of Harmony and this would be an intriguing change.
Again, I love the family camaraderie these actors share as a family. It’s obvious that they all get along in real life, and I love how that transpires onto film. It’s a joy to watch, and I might be saying this too early with Drive of Life and Jewel’s Splendour not even out yet, but I feel that at least one or two from this cast deserve an award at this year’s TVB Awards. But then again, who knows? TVB loves to spring us surprises during its awards ceremony, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
Also, the script is great. That’s another huge aspect as to why I’m enjoying it so much. It is smart, has heart and is witty. There’s a difference between lame humour and wit, and thankfully, it is the latter that is apparent here.
What do you think? Is all the buzz from watching the first few episodes getting to me? Do you agree with the casting choices in Heart of Greed? Come on, don’t keep quiet like the picture above (which I love, btw).
Oh, but no spoilers, please! Don’t ruin the ending for me!
P/S: All the wonderful screencaps courtesy of the lovely K for TVB. Visit her site for more insightful recaps of Heart of Greed!