Tag Archives: The Wrap Up

The Wrap Up: Forensic Heroes II

3 Jul
Photobucket
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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket
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

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket
Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket
Charmaine with her on-screen mother, Kara Hui – they were a great mother-daughter combo
Photobucket 

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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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

Brotherhood

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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

Photobucket
Photobucket
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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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


Photobucket 

Photobucket

 


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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket 

Photobucket

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

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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?

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket
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!

Photobucket
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.

Photobucket
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?

The Wrap Up: The Money-Maker Recipe

25 Jun
Photobucket 

The Money-Maker Recipe/”See Lai Koo San”/師奶股神
Genre: Modern Drama/Comedy
Release Date: 26th May 2008, 8:30 p.m.
Episodes: 21
Producer: Lam Chi Wah
Scriptwriter: Choi Shuk Yin

Cast:

Kiki Sheung Tin Ngor – Cheung Yu Chu/”Chu Jeh”
Michael Tse Tin Wah – Wong Chi Chung
Dominic Lam Ka Wah – Ting Siu King/”King Sir”
Joyce Tang Lai Ming – Janette Koo Ka Chun
Angela Tong Ying Ying – Cheung Yu Po
Savio Tsang Wai Kuen – Chu Yuk Lun
Ellesmere Choi Chi Kin – Ting Siu Tim
Toby Leung Ching Kei – Mo Wing San
Law Lok Lam – Szeto Luen Fai/”Uncle”
Leanne Li Yat Nam – Queenie Szeto Hiu Sum
Chan Ching Lam – Wong Chor Sze
Rain Lau Yuk Chui – Auntie Pan
Mary Hon Ma Lei
Poon Fong Fong
Suet Nei
Fung So Bor
Rocky Cheng

The Good?

Dominic Lam

Photobucket

I don’t really remember watching a series with Dominic Lam Ka Wah in it. Sure, he looks familiar, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him around in the older series, but I just don’t remember much about him. Maybe that played a part in me appreciating his acting so much.

Ting Siu King, or “King Sir” as everyone calls him, is evil yet incredibly charismatic. He commands every scene he is in and fleshes out such an intricate character with his acting. Besides the money-motivated, no-holds-barred side of him, there’s also the filial facet. He’ll do anything for money, and although he forgets it, that yearning stems from a want to provide for his elderly father and his brother, Tim (Ellesmere Choi).

Photobucket 

Aside from fantastic chemistry with everyone in the cast, he exceptionally shines in his scenes opposite Joyce Tang. His intricate love relationship with Joyce is probably one of my favourites this year.

His best acting for me came in the finale, where he was on the rooftop with Kiki, looking down at “Fu Tak” Village, the place he once wanted to get out off so badly, and just realising everything he didn’t know about life. He came full-circle. My favourite scene hands-down would be after he was caught, and Tim visited him in prison – the stifled crying by Dominic there was just brilliant.

Joyce Tang

Photobucket

I can’t possibly lavish so much praise on Dominic without mentioning Joyce as well. I’ve always thought Joyce was a capable actress, but the past year has really seen her come into her own right as an actress. In this series, she was the epitome of a modern career woman. Independent, opinionated, strong-willed, intelligent. Her only weakness was “King Sir“. Joyce played the devotion of Janette to King very well, and displayed the profound struggle Janette often endured when King Sir went against all moral to gain at others’ expense and the hurt she felt when King Sir dated Queenie (Leanne Li) for show.

Good solid performance by Joyce. It’s nice to see her getting back on track, looking and performing better than ever after her breakup.

Little “Wong Chor Sze”

Chan Ching Lam, the little girl who plays Kiki and Michael‘s daughter, “Sze Sze” is so incredibly adorable. Ever since the formidable Jenny Shing, no child actress has caught my eye. Chan Ching Lam isn’t as good as Jenny just yet, but with her natural knack for the camera and her cute-ness, she could soon be there. All her scenes opposite Michael, Kiki and the boy who was her brother were great to watch – they made a very believable family.

While we’re on the case of the kids, great casting on the son, “Fung Fung” because he really did resemble Michael a lot in the seires.

Savio Tsang

Photobucket
Look at this picture and tell me that that does not crack you up. Seriously. 😀

A normal reaction would be to associate Savio Tsang with a villain role because time after time, that’s all he’s been given to play. While he does them well, it gets a little old. (Yes, to the extent that I proclaimed that he was surely to be a baddie, the moment I saw him in Forensic Heroes II. Heh.)

Photobucket

Thankfully, this time round, he manages to break out of the character mould of long and plays the hilarious role of the butcher, “Chu Yuk Lun” with gusto. Savio is spot-on with all the funny expressions and displays a natural knack for comedy. From the mannerisms (the constant hair-scratching, the lifting of the shirt to rub his pot belly) to the speech, he completely had the whole role down pat. The person who casted him in this deserves a gold star. His scenes with Angela Tong are really funny as well. Who would’ve thought? Classic.

The chemistry between all the “see-lais”

Photobucket

Naturally, with a series like this, you would expect a group of boisterous home-makers, and well,The Money-Maker Recipe serves up just that. Kiki Sheung is classic as the “boss” of all “see-lais”, Rain Lau is once again consistently effective as the loud feng shui-believing manicurist while Mary Hon is wonderful as the skeptical see-lai who seeks to be a state member of parliment (Or rather, something to that effect. You better not trust my translation skills when it comes to official phrases) and Poon Fong Fong balances them out nicely being the demure housewife. The two in-laws, played by Suet Nei and Fung So Bor, also gel nicely with the cast. All their disagreements, and at the other end of the spectrum, their sticking-together, are nice to watch.

The Okay?

Michael Tse

Photobucket
You know, I actually tried talking with that droopy frown and couldn’t do it for past a minute. Kudos to Michael Tse for managing it for 21 episodes.

Michael is a fantastic actor, I think we’ve all established that fact. In Money-Maker Recipe, he takes on a role years beyond his actual age and gave his character a perpetual frown to age his look. As always, he puts forth a great consistent performance as the egotistical stubborn, male chauvinist husband. However, as the focus is mainly on Kiki and the housewives, he isn’t really left with much to do and hence, falls into the Okay list.

Toby Leung & Ellesmere Choi

Photobucket

I never thought I’d see the day when I would say this, but I actually liked Toby Leung in here. Ever since her cardboard box-worthy performance in The Drive of Life, I avoided anything with her in it (which is probably why my Marriage of Inconvenience DVD is still collecting a millimeter of dust on the shelf). Toby actually improved quite a lot since TDOL, and wasn’t too difficult to watch, especially since I thought she made a cute couple with Ellesmere. She played a young mother adequately, and worked well with the boy who played her son, “Lok Lok“.

Photobucket

As for Ellesmere, he’s always been on my “like” list ever since I was young. Not leading material, but he played Tim adequately, and had great scenes opposite Dominic Lam. His silent crush and devotion to Toby‘s “Ah San” was really cute, especially when the housewives teased him about it. My favourite part was when he turned up pretending to be her husband, while saving her from the cops during when she was trying to run away to China. One thing though, he’s always had rather awkward body language while acting.

Kiki Sheung

Photobucket

I kinda had a up-down relationship with Kiki‘s performance in here. She’s great with the emotional scenes, not that great with the rest of the scenes. Granted, she did have great chemistry with the rest of the housewives and her children, but I didn’t quite buy the rest of the scenes while she was by herself. I know it’s not going to be a popular opinion, but she didn’t do it for me.

And also, maybe it’s because I just watched The Family Link at the beginning of the year, it’s just weird to see Kiki and Michael together. I keep on expecting Sheren to pop up at anytime to reclaim her husband, lol.


The Bad?

“Uncle” and his herd of girls

Photobucket

Law Lok Lam turns in a good, solid performance as ever, but what truly disgusted me was the character, Szeto Luen Fai or “Uncle” and his posse of pretty young things. I don’t know if they were trying to pull off a Hugh Hefner-playboy-mansion thing, but every time I saw the group of girls making fools out of themselves for the wad of money he would pull out of his pocket, I would cringe. The absolute worst was the mud-wrestling competition he made them partake in. With viewers often making big deals out of passionate kissing or bed scenes, and gory violence, I think this was just far worse than any of that jazz. I don’t know, it seems like a pathetic ploy to spice up an otherwise dowdy looking series.

Leanne Li

Photobucket

While very eye-catching on-screen, Leanne still is awkward and stiff delivering her lines. Although I suppose the character of Queenie Szeto Hiu Sum was intended to be a prop for Dominic Lam’s “King Sir” from the very beginning, a better actress would’ve made the character more interesting and real.

Angela Tong

I usually don’t mind Angela in series, and outside of series, I think she’s got a lovely personality. However (and I hate to say this), she annoyed me to bits here. Her character was meant to be a spoilt, materialistic brat. I get that. What I didn’t enjoy so much was her constant screaming and whining. Maybe it’s her voice. I loved her scenes with Savio Tsang, however. Great comedy relief. However, towards the end when her character, “Yu Po” changed for the better, she was so much more likeable.

Ellesmere Choi’s “English” name

Heh, sorry, I just couldn’t resist. I do find him likable, but his name just makes me cringe. Oh and let’s not forget Savio. What kind of names are these?!

The Overall.

Photobucket

I’m so glad that the series wrapped up the King and Janette storyline with her visiting him and with there being a glimmer of hope for them. Even though there was the betrayal by King Sir, at the end of the day, he really did love her. Everything with Queenie was just for show, just for money. The way his voice cracked as he told her he needed her by his side just as his entire life was crumbling sealed it for me. I truly believed that despite all his wrong-doings, he was truly and completely in love with her, the woman who did so much for him and at the end of the day, she still loved him despite all his wrongs. I’m glad they didn’t just disregard their relationship and ignore them in the finale because for me, I really like how their story was written and portrayed, it was something different for once.

The ending, as a whole was very well-done, focusing on the housewives as it should’ve. The endings this year have either been plain stupid or non-fulfilling, but The Money-Maker Recipe did not bad with its finale. Most loose ends were tied up. I wanted more on Tim and Ah San, but oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

Should you watch this series? Well, it’s difficult to say. I think the only reason I enjoyed it so much is that I went into it with absolutely zero expectations. I wasn’t even going to watch it when it premiered. The cast wasn’t appealing, the premise sounded boring, and it didn’t seem like there was any way it would match up to the Sheren Tang-powered The Family Link. I surprised myself when I watched episode after episode, laughing, crying. In some ways, I might actually prefer it over The Family Link which dragged on far too long for my liking.

But well, that’s just me. What did you think? Did you even bother to watch it?