Tag Archives: Series Thoughts

The Wrap Up: Forensic Heroes II

3 Jul
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Forensic Heroes II/”Fatt Cheng Sin Fung II”/法證先鋒II
Genre: Modern Drama/Investigation
Release Date: 19th May 2008, 9:30 p.m.
Episodes: 30
Producer: Mui Siu Ching
Scriptwriters: Chan Ching Yee & Choy Ting Ting
Cast: 

Bobby Au Yeung Chan Wah – Tim Ko Yin Pok
Frankie Lam Man Lung – Sam Koo Chak Sum
Kevin Cheng Ka Wing – Ivan Yeung Yat Sing
Charmaine Sheh Sze Man – Bell Ma Kwok Ying
Yoyo Mung Ka Wai – Leung Siu Yau
Raymond Cho Wing Lim – Sum Hung/”Ah Sum”
Florence Kwok Siu Wan – Yvonne Mok Suk Wan
Fred Cheng Chun Wan – Leung Siu Kong/”Kong Chai”
Oscar Leung Lit Wai – “Ah Sing”
Matthew Ko Kwan Yin – Wilson
Vivien Yeo Sau Wai – Josie
Eddie Li Yu Yeung – “Sek Chai”
Macy Chan Mei Sze – Formula Fong Miu Na
Kara Hui Ying Hung – Ah Lin, Bell’s mother
Rosanne Lui Shan – Connie Yeung Sau Koon/”Connie Jeh”
Law Lok Lam – Bell’s father
Angelina Lo Yuen Yan – Bell’s annoying stepmother
Yu Yeung – Siu Yau & Kong Chai’s father
Stephen Huynh – Ben Ma Kwok Wan

Others:

Linda Chung Ka Yan – Lam Ding Ding
Astrid Chan Chi Ching – Lam Pui Pui
Savio Tsang Wai Kuen – Matt Hui Lap Yan
Ben Wong Chi Yin
Jack Wu Lok Yin
Charles Szeto Shui Kei
Joe Yau
Lei Seng Cheung
Lam King Kong
Lee Ka Ding
Poon Fong Fong
Stephen Wong Ka Lok
Shirley Yeung Sze Kei – Sharon Kwok Hiu Lam
Sam Chan Yu Sum
Ip Hoi Yan
Ram Tseung Chi Kwong
Kwok Fung
Chris Lai Lok Yi – Lee Chi Wai
Selena Li Sze Wan – Cat Lee Kiu
Leanne Li Yat Nam – Annie
Shermon Tang Sheung Man – Mabel Mui
Sharon Luk Sze Wan – Cherry Miu
Queena Chan Dan Dan
Otto Chan
Benjamin Yuen
Sharon Chan Man Chi

Note: I missed Forensic Heroes I when it was showing here, so I pretty much have nothing to base the sequel upon. Hence, this review is based on someone who’s totally new to the FH world. Oh, and spoilers ahead!

*Special thanks to TVB Guide, TVB Musings, TVB.com and Astro on Demand for the pretty screenies.


The Good

Bobby Au-Yeung

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People get so used referring to Bobby as a comedic actor, that it’s sometimes easy to remember just how fantastic of an all-rounder he is. Sure, he’s had such an impressive body of work, but for some reason people immediately think of him as a comic first and foremost. Forensic Heroes showcases his versatility once again, proving that Bobby Au Yeung can do professional, rational, calm and intelligent as well.

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Oh look, it’s Tim Sir handling crime scene investigations… with the trusty Fred as Kong Chai!

He’s what I call a character actor because there’s such distinction and such a real-ness he gives Tim Sir, through and through. He was fantastic as the indispensible, confident Tim Sir. The finesse with which he handled each case, at each crime scene was great fun to watch. What was even better is that he had chemistry with the entire cast. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

Yoyo Mung

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Pre explosion: Madam Leung still in charge, Ding Ding still alive. And hello BFFs, Fred and Oscar!

It was a terrible shame that she was only in barely half the series because I loved her scenes. Yoyo is once again effective as the tough as nails policewoman as she was in The Ultimate Crime Fighter. Classily confident and devoted as Madam Leung, Yoyo commanded the pre-accident scenes she was in as the leader of the crime unit. But what impressed me the most were her emotional scenes that came after.

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Brilliantly played and possibly my favourite Tim/Siu Yau scene (unforunately not that there were loads to choose from) in the entire series. There was such much emotion, hurt, anger – all at once – all of which were displayed splendidly by Yoyo (and Bobby too, might I add). Yoyo is always splendid as the tough, opinionated woman, but it’s lovely to see a vulnerable side to her characters because she sure can pull it off. First class.

Charmaine Sheh

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Someone pinch me because I really never ever thought I’d see the day I would’ve said this. I was never a fan of Charmaine (I blame her awful performance as Man Yun Lan in DIF IV) and would generally avoid a series that she was headlining (unless of course, it’s a grand ensemble series with many other stars i.e. The Drive of Life and this series here). To my surprise, after some initial dislike for Madam Ma, I started to be neutral about her, especially once the icy facade started melting. Her good acting started to show from about midpoint onwards. Smart and strong-willed, yet filial and easygoing when her guard is down, Charmaine did great in the difficult part of Madam Ma.

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Charmaine with her on-screen mother, Kara Hui – they were a great mother-daughter combo
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And I really have to commend Charmaine on her crying scenes; they used to be pretty awful, but they’ve gotten so much better now. I wonder if I would have liked her character so much if I had watched the first Forensic instalment, however.

Kevin Cheng & Charmaine Sheh

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Now, this was also completely and utterly unexpected. I didn’t like Charmaine. I didn’t like Kevin. (As you can guess, I wasn’t jumping for joy that year at the TVB Anniversary Awards) I didn’t even think they looked good together. Now, this could potentially be one of my favourite couplings of the year, surprisingly. I still can’t be called a fan of either, but I loved everything about Ivan and Bell. First of all, I suppose it was “fresh”, for me at least. Plucking two halves from the popular Kevin/Niki and Charmaine/Raymond fanbases proved to hit the jackpot. And then there was the story.

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Ivan sneaks a look at Bell.

As a self-admitted sucker for saccharine storylines and sweetness, there was absolutely no doubt that I’d love their story. It was sweet, touching. Adorable, even. The optimistic, dreamy, playful Ivan was exactly what workaholic, uptight, sassy Bell needed. He balanced her out perfectly, and opened her heart to love again.

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Some people might argue that Sam understood Bell more, and possibly connected with her on a very intellectual level, but I beg to differ. I truly believe that part of the connection that arose between them was the fact that they could identify with each other, with the fact that they both had their loved ones die right in front of their eyes.

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To me, it was with Ivan where Bell looked the happiest. She absolutely glowed.

Brotherhood

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I loved each and every single scene involving the three suave leading men. Bobby, Frankie and Kevin were a joy to watch together, be it after hours joking at Tim Sir and Sam‘s place, or collaborating in a professional capacity during the day. The way they worked off each other was extremely believable.

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Even more enjoyable for me was the strong “heng tai” bond between Kevin‘s Ivan and Frankie‘s Sam. The two shared a formidable chemistry, so much so that you actually believed they were best of friends that went way back. The witty exchanges between the both of them made such a big part of the series for me.

The chemistry between the cast

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Hi Fred and Oscar!

Chemistry between all cast members in such a big ensemble drama like this is so important, and Forensic Heroes II definitely had it in oodles. Like said before, the camaraderie between the three men was top-notch.

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The five main characters had great scenes hanging out too, but what I truly loved were the complete police teams and forensic teams. Their scenes were comfortable and funny and truly believable.

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The police team steamboat scenes were always funny, as were the “party” scenes where both teams would join up for some fun.


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Raymond
and Florence were great as supporting characters, while Vivien, Oscar, Eddie, Matthew, Macy and Fred, although all not that strong of actors yet, gelled really well together in their scenes with Bobby, Yoyo, Frankie, Kevin and Charmaine.

Selena Li

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Selena Li was absolutely brilliant in the final wrap-up case as the tough, smart, protective Cat Lee. I became a fan after watching her nice performance in The Master of Tai Chi and after Forensic Heroes II, it really sealed the deal for me. Selena’s performance was definitely the best out of all the guest-stars, and what was even more impressive is that she more than held her own in scenes opposite Charmaine‘s Madam Ma, which made for good explosive confrontations. She also had some good scenes with Frankie and I actually thought she would’ve made an interesting love interest for Sam.

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What bugged me, besides her weird flippy fringe, was the fact that she practically disappeared after her brother died, and she had that conversation with Bell about Sam, of course, conveniently heard by Ivan. Some closure would’ve been nice.

Raymond Cho & Florence Kwok

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You had to have seen this coming from a hundred miles away. It was bound to happen with the bickering that was going on, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. Raymond and Florence, while both turning in great supporting performances as the seniors in their respective teams, also shone opposite one another in their love-hate relationship. Raymond was hilarious as the egotistical crass bachelor, yet brave and loyal police officer while Florence was perfect as the dignified, classy and intelligent Yvonne. Brought closer because of a freak accident, the scenes of Yvonne motivating and cultivating Ah Shum were extra funny. Definitely the comic relief couple of the series.

The Veterans

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Kara Hui was great as Bell‘s sweet mother, as was the dependable Law Lok Lam who always gives a solid performance. Angelina Lo was completely the part of the evil witchy “high-class” stepmother, while Rosanne Lui was fun throughout the whole series as the kitchen-whiz. Yu Yeung and cute old uncle with the strong accent were really funny as the overprotective, grandchildren-craving fathers of Tim and Siu Yau too. All round, great jobs by these veterans. The series would have been a lesser one if not for them.

The Okay

Frankie Lam

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I was toying between Frankie in the Good category or in the Okay category and ended up putting him here after ages deliberating. I’ve never really enjoyed Frankie as an actor (except maybe in Down Memory Lane which is my first memory of him) and thought him rather cardboard for ages. Here, in Forensic Heroes II, he has his exceptional moments but still has some rather dull ones.

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I was honestly surprised and very impressed with the range of emotions he showed when Ding Ding passed away. There was so much hurt, so much anguish with which he delivered his lines and in his expressions. This is where he really earns my respect as an actor.

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He also shone in scenes opposite Bobby and Kevin. Once again, the camaraderie these three cooked up were one of the highlights of the show for me. Of course, when Linda‘s Ding Ding was still alive, Frankie did perfect too. The two of them were so sweet and adorable together. At other times however, I really felt nothing much from him again. Yes, he’s smart. Yes, he’s a gifted novelist. Yes, he’s a fantastic pathologist. And that was about as dimensional as it got.

I’m not saying he was awful because everyone knows that he’s far from it. Just that personally, I thought he paled in comparison to the other more charismatic leads, which is why he falls under Okay.

Kevin Cheng

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I have to say, this has to be one of the most dramatic appearances by a character ever on a TVB series.

A more consistent performance than Frankie, but Kevin had no major fantastic scenes, nor did he have any complete duds. I enjoyed watching him because he brought the humour to the scenes he was in and because he played such a wholesomely likeable character but at the end of the day, after thinking about it, he actually just only put in a very nice, normal performance as the very charming, very optimistic, boyish Ivan.

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I was rather surprised, however, with the good comedic timing he delivered his wise-cracks with; didn’t really think he had it in him before this. Like I said above, I really did enjoy him with Charmaine and the other guys though.

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While he’s oh-so-good-looking and charming, that still isn’t enough for me to tip him over to the higher category. Get any better looking, Kevin, and I just might the next time around.

The Cases

The cases weren’t all that. Because I had heard such high praises of the first Forensic Heroes, I expected fantastic, gripping cases. I didn’t get that. Some of the cases were completely random, some I enjoyed, like the psycho preying on disabled individuals and the kidnapping of Stephen Huynh. Nothing that is Untraceable Evidence material, and of course, not even near CSI. Just okay.

Also what kind of annoyed me with the cases was that most of them were related to the cast themselves. I know to expect a low level of reality with TVB, but seriously, a gang leader Sam and Ivan hit fifteen years ago? Ding Ding dying in an explosion? Pui Pui‘s husband being killed in pretty much a freak occurence? Siu Yau first getting involved in the explosion and then attacked by a psycho in a dark alley? Bell‘s stepbrother getting kidnapped? A murder coincidentally where and when the entire police and forensic teams are having a “war game”? Cat Lee being Sam‘s classmate from university? What is it, in the water they serve in Kowloon or something?

The two cases were just rather random, what with the both of them being found in the war gam premise. The first one with Charles Szeto was just pretty horrible, what with the motive for killing being a dog. Charles Szeto’s acting is still as atrocious as ever. The second one was a little better and served as the introduction of Madam Ma (with the faithful Wilson as the sidekick!) although her entrance was majorly corny. Slow-motioned, ripping of the dress, dripping wet with rain. Heh. Seriously? Jack Wu wasn’t bad as the clown-cum-murderer in that case.

Pui Pui (Astrid Chan) and her husband’s (Savio Tsang) case was pretty touching, if not also random. Is that not the worse way to die, killed by a pimple-squirting, greasy-haired petty thief in such a freak accident way?

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With the case of Song Kau, with the random connection to Ivan and Sam thrown in for suspense, it was rather obvious the moment Stephen Wong arrived, that he would be the murderer. I have to say that Stephen‘s improved a little more with his dramatic acting. He wasn’t bad in the confession scene.

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Now, this one with the psychotic hairdresser preying on disabled girls, I really enjoyed. The psycho was brilliantly played – once again this bit part actor does a great job. He looked crazy, possessed even. I was really confused when Bob from Steps (I can’t remember his name, but even if I did, I think he’s forever going to remain Bob from Steps or Kai Hung to me, lol.) got killed though, because he didn’t fit the trend, so this case baffled me more than the others. This one really had me on the edge of my seat.

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Shirley as pop princess Kwok Hiu Lam, Sharon

The whole Shirley case just felt like a whole lot of time wasted. And also, Shirley was good acting as the two-faced Sharon, but didn’t it feel familiar? She acted the exact same way as Sung Ka Yee in The Brink of Law. The first time it was great, fresh, applaud-worthy. The second time round here, it felt rather recycled. And how come Sam Chan actually got worse with his acting?

The case involving Ram Tseung wasn’t all that, although I did enjoy the way Tim Sir deduced that the little boy was hiding in the cupboard.

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I think this was my favourite case. First of all, I have to applaud Chris Lai. I didn’t know he could pull of something like that, especially the rooftop scene. Yes, it was obvious that the culprit would be Chris, but the execution and flow of the case, I really enjoyed. Exciting stuff. Very well played by all the other actors involved too – Charmaine, Angelina, Law Lok Lam, Kara.

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The “beautiful bodies” case, as I like to call it, was rather interesting, but probably devised so that TVB could once again parade off their pageant kings and queens. Benjamin Yuen and Otto Chan really served no other purpose other than being eye candy for the ladies. Which, I really really beg to differ because neither of them are attractive to me. Give me Fred and Oscar and even Eddie Li any day. The acting by the three ladies were really not yet up to par; Shermon Tang was the best of them. And am I the only one who doesn’t find Sharon Luk very attractive? I don’t get the TVB hype about her.

It was rather interesting, because this was another case that baffled me. I kept on switching focus as to who I thought the murderer was, but then all the actresses just started falling like dead flies. Heh. I thought it was the assistant, Rosa, for the longest time ever.

Oh, and the first case where Debby died of dietting? That felt extremely disjointed.

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Hello again, Fred! 

But random stuff aside, I did like all the on-the-scene activities. The forensic team going around collecting evidence, the police taking down statements; those were fun to watch.

The Bad

Queena Chan as Cheuk Lam

Queena Chan (and her eyebrows) played the murderer in the final case, murdering Annie (Leannie Li), Cherry (Sharon Luk), Mabel (Shermon Tang) and plotting to kill Ivan and Bell. She was absolutely terrible. Not only did she not deliver her lines with conviction, she punctuated each and every sentence of hers with a raise of her eyebrows. Gosh. “The bad” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Formula

No, not Macy Chan. I actually thought Macy Chan did very well for her debut. Very natural. What bugs is the “English” name they gave her. TVB has got to stop doing this to me. Fong Miu Na and hence, Formula? Pssh. This wins hands down for worst TVB “English” name of the 21st century.

The Random

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned the word ‘random‘ hundreds of times already in just one post, but there’s actually more!

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Matthew Ko and Macy Chan as Wilson and Formula

This was just really kind of random, throwing the both of them together. There wasn’t all that much progression except for that funny scene where Wilson kinda fumbles everything up and starts spouting nonsense because he got nervous in front of Formula.

Sharon Chan

The funniest thing is that Sharon Chan has been appearing at the FHII promotions and even has a spot in the themevideo, but she only appears in the finale for all of three seconds as a cliched potential “love interest” for Sam complete with the bejewelled sneakers and curly pigtails. Severe under-usage. Sharon would’ve been so fantastic as either the killer or one of the three actresses in the final case. Oh well, I guess they’re leaving the ends open for the third installment. Although, knowing TVB, Frankie might not even be in the third one at the rate they’re writing off original cast these days.

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This picture is here because it looks kinda cool. My turn to be random.

The Overall

I didn’t really get what I expected from this series. I heard hoards of praises for Forensic Heroes I. Everyone talked about it, it had high ratings, and it seemed like the whole world enjoyed it. Naturally, I expected more from FHII. Of course there was the necessary suspense, the necessary big action scenes for a series of this genre. However, the cases weren’t all that, to be perfectly honest. There’s was a such a high level of predictability that it really wasn’t that fun anymore. I miss the days of the Detective Investigation Files series where the whodunnits weren’t ever that obvious.

However, what the series lacked in quality material, it had in good main character acting. I thought the main five (even if Yoyo was missing for about two thirds of the series and didn’t have much to for half of the remaining third) carried the series rather well. They were also well supported by the supporting cast. On the other hand, some of the case actors left a lot to be desired, especially Queena Chan.

I didn’t appreciate the preachy parts, though. Most of the time it felt like a PSA (Public Service Announcement) shoved down my throat i.e. Formula telling someone the right way to dispose of a dead dog, Formula again telling an old uncle not to pick up food randomly off of the ground because it’s dirty, etc.) Looks like Formula‘s their spokesperson.

Definitely, watch if you’re a Kevin or Charmaine fan. You won’t be disappointed with their screen-time. Bobby as usual shines, but it doesn’t really feel like he has much space given to him for character development outside of work. I suppose it was already well-developed enough in the prequel. Also watch if all you’re looking for is some suspense and action, and you like watching a star-studded cast; there are tons of guest appearances by other famous TVB artistes in the cases.

If you want something more than just that, then I recommend Catch Me Now instead, which is a better series from every angle.

Lessons Learnt:

Aviator sunnies are a must have if you want to be a forensic scientist or a policeman. If you don’t possess a pair, you’re as well as off the team.

Madam Leung is a very busy individual, so much so that she does not have time to comb her hair.

If you are a policewoman or a pathologist or a forensic scientist, be very very careful. Also, keep your family and loved ones behind locked doors. Because evidence (and remember, in the wise, age-old broken-record words of Tim Sir, people lie but evidence never does) shows that odds are you’ll be investigating a case related to you or your loved ones.

Do not name your daughter Pui Pui, especially if your surname is Lam. She will lead quite a sad life.

Go ahead and place tables and chairs on the open rooftops of buildings and leave them there. It never rains in Hong Kong, don’t worry.

Videos of Youtube quality can be zoomed into about fifteen times or so with the equipment available in Hong Kong. So, not to worry if the tooth fairy hasn’t come just yet for that tooth you lost during a boxing match. She just hasn’t met Tim Sir and gang yet.

The one program every forensic lab needs. Nothing fancy – Windows Media Player.

Got that? You’ve just won a place to be a guest star in Forensic Heroes III. Nothing fancy of course, you’ll probably just be a fainted clown that Tim Sir will trip over while stopping to reload his paintball gun with pellets because he actually can’t see very well with aviators, just that he wears them anyway cause they’re cool.

I kid.

*

What did you guys think about the Forensic Heroes sequel? Did it live up to your expectations? Did you too play “Spot the Fred” like I did throughout the whole series? Which instalment was better? I’m dying to hear your opinions. Should I watch the first one?

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What’s Up; #2.

2 Mar

First of all, let me apologize for the long leave of absence. Last week was the first week of uni, and there was all the bustle with arranging tutorial times, buying books, finding lecture theatres and learning my way around the newly-constructed campus. Phew. That said, it’s been nice to come home after a long day at uni and after a long hour in a traffic jam and back to Astro on Demand. Boy, am I glad the parents have just fully subscribed to it because I am absolutely loving The Seventh Day.

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I’ve never thought Kevin Cheng to be a spectacular actor (or rather, he’s probably just never had a good enough role, for me personally, to justify the buzz about him), but he entertains here as Yau Chi Wing. Chi Wing is very rough around the edges, and yet soft at heart; sometimes he’s as oblivious as sandpaper, but at other times he pretends not to care. So far, it’s not been rocket science to portray, and Kevin does it adequately. And on a totally superficial note, can I just say how incredibly good-looking he is in The Seventh Day? All the females in my family swoon. Heh. Niki Chow is adorable as always. Again, not the best actress amongst her age group (although, the fact that she isn’t completely an actress to begin with should hold for something) but does a good enough job playing the very likeable, pleasant and sweet Ka Yan. But put together, these two are absolutely magic like before. They bring out the best of each other on screen. Ka Yan‘s angelic demeanor evens out Ah Wing‘s ruggedness, and the result is beautiful. Kevin and Niki really are a force to be reckoned with. And before I forget, I want to fly to Hong Kong and steal little Jack. ASAP. That dog is the cutest AND smartest little thing I’ve ever seen. Scene-stealer in every scene he’s in!

While Kevin and Niki shone in the first five episodes or so, I have to say that in the other five, Bosco and Natalie are really making the series good for me. Like every other viewer, I had my reserves about them. I love Bosco Wong, and I love Bosco even more in comedic roles like Don here. His body language and facial expressions are hilariously classic in here. As a fan of Natalie Tong, I was worried about how she would fare in such a big role, and opposite Bosco, nonetheless, whom the public has already accepted with Myolie at large, what more in a comedic viewpoint. Thankfully, Natalie proves her mettle as a steadily improving actress thus far, and I’m glad she got this opportunity to be the second lead. Hopefully this will not be a one-off chance like on-screen best friend Elaine Yiu who once got a big role in Revolving Doors of Vengeance and Safe Guards and has been relegated to supporting roles ever since. She more than holds her own against the very experienced Bosco and they generate a great chemistry that just makes you want to root for them.

The two seperate camps of 3J and DDMK provide for some great funny scenes, and while most of the forums are buzzing about Charmaine Li, Elaine Yiu is the one catching my attention. I despised her in RDOV and thought she was pretty much an atrocious actress and have since avoided any series she’s been in. However, she’s very quickly growing on me, thanks to The Seventh Day (and bits and pieces of The Gentle Crackdown II). After flying to Hong Kong and stealing Jack, my second task will be personally shaving off Sam Chan‘s hideous goatee. And really, yay for Stephanie Che. She never fails to brighten up the series.

And speaking of The Gentle Crackdown II

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I loved the first one. Moses and Niki were great in it. I wasn’t looking forward to the sequel at all, besides Steven and Wayne, but after catching a few episodes, it was funnier than I thought it would be. Steven was fantastic as usual, Wayne was nothing short of phenomenal. Yumiko Cheng, on the other hand… Hmm. I have nothing against the HK singers starring in TVB series, but please, at least let them start up from supporting roles? Niki was second female lead in Hard Fate before Under the Canopy of Love; Ella Koon was second female lead in RDOV before Survivor’s Law II, and Fiona Sit was second female lead in The Academy. Maybe someone should’ve given Yumiko a supporting role to start out with too. I tried not to watch scenes with her in it, but that was difficult, given she had maximised screen-time. That, and her cringe-worthy horrible Rihanna-esque bob hairstyle.

The Steven-Wayne partnership is one that is golden and the producers seem to know it. These two actors play off each other brilliantly, be it in comedic or serious scenes. Ha Yu and Law Koon Lan were expectedly good in their parental roles, while Lei Seng Cheung, Johnson Lee (who’s got a great dead-pan expression) and the other three were so funny as the sidekicks. I really like Johnson Lee. Seems like he’s been given more chances of late, so that’s great. Like I said above, Elaine is really growing on me – she did a great job as the soft-spoken and gentle escort. All the TVB spoofs and gags along the way were hilarious as well. I really would like to finish The Gentle Crackdown II one day for the sake of Steven and Wayne and the hilarity that comes with it. Hopefully I warm up to Yumiko soon; that would make it a whole lot easier.

That aside, D.I.E. to be shown soon? I’m actually quite looking forward to it. The trailers and the themevideo portray it to be very interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing Roger in a role like this (which reminds me of his role in To Get Unstuck In Time, actually) and you know, in a normal hairstyle instead of a bowl haircut. Not a fan of Sonija‘s and am indifferent to Kenneth, but their roles look different too from the trailers. Looks good as a whole, to be honest. And of course, there’s Derek Kwok!

I was browsing through the AF forum and I found this great fanfic, which in my opinion, is quite scarce in the TVB fandom. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way praising my amateur-ly written fanfiction, but it’s just that I really rarely stumble across quality-written stories involving TVB) It’s called Storm Chasers by jas73 and it’s well-written with a good sense of continuity and author style, and is well researched to boot. Revolves around Raymond and Tavia, with a jealous Ron, scheming Charmaine, mourning Jessica, mysterious Gallen and many other well-fleshed out characters. Really, do give it a try. Mystery, suspence, action; you won’t be disappointed.

Besides winglin.net and the AF forum, is there even any place to go to for TVB-related fanfiction? I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to navigate and it’s really not the user-friendliest place in the world. I just wish there was something more like fanfiction.net, where it’s a proper fanfiction archive where you can search for fics by author, or by the top-rated fics, or genre. That would make avid fic-readers’ lives much easier.

And as for the HK entertainment news of late, I’m getting really sick and tired of hearing about Edison Chen everywhere I go. Come on, it’s been what, nearly a month? Move on, already. So, he enjoys intercourse like every other hot-blooded male does. Indulges in photographic fetishes. Granted, it’s stupidity on his part (and on the females’ part, let’s not forget) because they are seen as public figures, but he doesn’t need to be constantly painted as the villain, which is another thing that annoys me. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes. I am as feminist as they come. And it surprises me how many females fight for gender equality on so many platforms on a daily basis, and yet when it comes to some of this nature, immediately stone the male. Gender equality and all that, heh. For me, the girls are as much at “fault” as he was. Just my $0.02. Case closed, for me, at least.

And just for the record, I am neither a fan of Edison Chen (unless watching an episode of his MTV show or remarking that he used to be “cute” to my sister constitutes me as one) nor Gillian Chung (I am most definitely not a fan of Twins either – please don’t get me started on the state of their live performances and squeaky clean images).

And, uh, well that’s all for today. I’m all typed out.

Heart of Greed – At First Glance

1 Jul

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?

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!