Friday, September 07, 2012
Tong Shap Yat (Kevin Cheng) was once a champion in Muay Thai. He won all his matches, and was gaining money and fame fast. Unfortunately, in one freak accident, the blows of his fist killed his opponent. Kevin was sent to jail for 7 years, and was tormented with guilt throughout his sentence. When he was released, his wife (Kate Tsui) has already passed away, leaving their 7 year old son. Kevin vowed never to box again and to spend all his time and effort to raise his son well.
Kevin works as a security guard in a sportsware firm, where he met his enemy-become-friend But Ka Shing (Raymond Wong) Raymond is a lazy bum with no plan for his future. One day, he picked up Thai Boxing and fell in love with it. His enthusiasm reignited Kevin's long hidden passion and he became Raymond's personal teacher.
Kevin also meets Ting Yan Tze (Nancy Wu), a deaf and mute girl, with the same passion for boxing. She became Kevin's second student. Kevin does everything he can to help them succeed to become a good sportsman, and good person.
Meanwhile, Kevin gets to know Chai Pak Fai (Selena Lee). Kevin, Selena and Edwin Siu engage in a tormenting love triangle. Raymond meets 'Ball Ball' (Natalie Tong), the daughter of Kevin's teacher. They fall in love very fast, got married fast, and even had a daughter. Raymond was forced to mature and become a responsible man who wants the best for his family. Unfortunately, his quick success made him too ambitious, and arrogant...
Kevin is the only reason to finish this series with an average story. It seemed like to producers wrote the story to make Kevin shine like a hero, and he did. From his character, appearance, to his performance, you will love everything about Kevin in this series.
From the start, he is a tough, quiet guy with a tragic past. Soon, you will see his warm side, and be touched by his passion for boxing, his love for his son and his determination to be a good teacher. The only downside is that he does not handle his relationships very well, but that matches his personality. The producers were not very kind to Kevin's character and made both his relationships end in a sad way. But you will love the way Kevin loves and cries for a girl. For all Kevin fans, this is a series you will love.
For a second love factor, I cannot think of anyone other than Nancy Wu's 'Ah Ting'. Nancy does not look very pretty and this series, but she matches her role, and her character is lovely. Nancy plays a handicapped girl from a very poor background, and sought shelter in Kevin's boxing gym. She is hardworking, honest, and easily contented. Towards the end, Nancy also develops a crush on Kevin, her teacher. But she is willing to hide it in her quiet little world, and direct her passion to boxing.
Dislike factor (spoilers)
Raymond is a great actor who puts in lots of tears and sweat for his role. But this is just not the character you will enjoy the most. He was too irresponsible at the start, too arrogant towards the end, and too impulsive throughout the series. Also, he became 'bad' pretty fast, and immediately after losing his match against Kevin, he became 'good' again in one split second. ??!? Maybe time was a bit short... Anyway, the producers make Raymond's character go through so many ups and downs, and then decided to end it in a tragic way, by killing his wife. What can I say...
Power was a humble guy at the start. It is then revealed how unhappy and jealous he is because he thinks people think nothing of him. He then does many stupid and hurtful things which I cannot keep track of, including causing the death of Natalie.
From the moment she appears, you know this is not a good character. And true enough, she was evil from start to end, inside out. I don't know why the producers want to create a crazy slutty villain like this. She is so man-hungry and sadistic that it is slightly disturbing. I also don't understand why Raymond could fall for this kind of girl. And strange enough, after a car accident, she turns over a new leaf. You must be kidding me...
Pity factor (more spoilers)
I liked Edwin from the moment he appeared. He is a true gentleman, with a good temper, and very devoted love for Selena. I felt Edwin and Selena are the true good match, in terms of everything. Unfortunately, life is never easy, and the producers want Selena to fall for Kevin, suddenly, deeply and madly. Edwin did nothing wrong, but his life is tragic. The girl he loves never loves him the same way, their marriage is less than happy, he gets into a car accident and becomes paralysed, and he finally commits suicide because he can no longer bear the pain...
Like Raymond says, 'Ball Ball' is a simple girl. When she marries someone, she means it for life. Her husband cheats on her, but she is willing to forgive him, and died indirectly because of him. Her death came to me as quite a surprise, because she is a funny character you don't expect to die. Poor Raymond, has spend the rest of his life alone!
The Lame factors (new)
I did not have this section in my previous reviews. I created this section specially for this series, because there were some parts of the series that was really lame and I have to point out. Well, this is TVB. But still, there is always room for improvement
She was having a quarrel with Power Chan, Power pushes her away, she falls and hits her head on the corner of a rusty metal bar, and she dies in a split second. In the end, her death was an accident, that seems quite difficult to happen in real life.
After the whole struggle with her failed marriage and Edwin's death was over, Selena goes to Switzerland for a 'holiday'. A few months later, she comes back with a really weird amnesia disease, that makes her forget things , and the people around her. Maybe without the disease, Kevin will never have confessed his love to Selena. But the disease felt quite out of place.
How come factor
Kate Tsui's death
How did Kevin's first wife die? I've been wondering for the longest time but it was never explained.
What sort of disease is that? She still appears very healthy and well and beautiful even when she has forgotten everything...
The deja vous factor
The love story between Selena and Kevin really reminded me alot of Tavia and Alex Fong in 'The Building Blocks of Life'. Both the guy and girl truly love each other, but one person is already attached, and the third person did nothing wrong to deserve a break up. After all the struggle, when they can finally be together, the female gets some kind of disease. For Tavia, it was understandable, because she had an accident. For Selena, her disease felt really out of place. The only explanation I can think of is that her whole struggle with Edwin really caused her too much stress , and her brain was slowly getting damaged.
Towards the end, there is even more similarity. Selena tells a lie to Kevin and leaves him for a year/indefinitely, like how Tavia left Alex. Kevin then finds out the truth through a video, like how Alex did. They both watch the video, and shed tears from their heart. Cheesy as it is, my heart ached for both Kevin and Alex.
The ending scene was almost identical. Kevin meets Selena at the church where they got married. Selena appears, and does not recognise Kevin...
After all the deja vous I felt, I checked it up a bit. And realised both Gloves Come Off and Building Blocks of Life are produced by the same producer. Does that explain the similarity?
Gloves Come Off is not a spectacular series, but good enough for killing time. If you are a fan of the cast above, it will be worth your time, especially for all Kevin fans. I personally do not know anything about Thai Boxing, but the way the portray the sport seems pretty real. Worth watching?- I did not regret watching this series, but be prepared to fast forward some scenes from the second half of the series. :)
Monday, April 25, 2011
Growing through life
Growing through life talks about the struggles of 2 families over 2 generations. Hoi Leung (Damian Lau) has always felt that his father is biased towards his older brother Hoi Yeung. He felt even more betrayed when the woman he loves left him and went to marry Hoi Yeung. Damian was devastated, but was determined to set his life back on track. He met his current wife Liza (Cecilia Yip) and had a perfect family. His business became really successful too. But his picking on Yeung’s family causes the 2 families’ relationship to sour.
Hoi Sing (Raymond Lam) is Hoi Yeung’s son. His deceased father left him with a small factory, and Raymond is determined to run it well. Yet, Damian continues to cause trouble for the factory, worsening the tension between the 2 families. Damian continues to try to ruin Raymond’s factory until Raymond’s mother (damian’s ex-lover) revealed a long kept secret. Raymond is actually Damian’s son! Damian is shocked, and determined to nurture Raymond into a successful businessman like him, and mend the broken ties between him and his son. However, he did not use the best methods, and Raymond only walked further and further away from him.
Meanwhile, Raymond’s good friend Lam Dai (Bosco Wong) starts to feel jealous as Damian gives Raymond many privileges. After several setbacks and humiliation, ambitious Bosco decides to craft a long intricate plot to climb up to the top…
HOI SING (Raymond Lam) and his mother HO WAI-SUM (Lui Yau Wai) have been running a domestic appliance manufacturing factory. SING’s uncle HOI LEUNG (Lau Chung Yan) is a money-minded snob who has been seeking to acquire the factory by whatever means. LEUNG’s wife CHENG MING-CHU (Cecilia Yip) and daughter HOI MEI-SZ (Toby Leung) try to intercede for SING and finally manages to convince the man to put the acquisition on hold. Eager to covet the plant site, LEUNG has placed a spy FONG LAI-KING (Zhao Ziqi) in the factory to wreak havoc. To make LEUNG give up on his acquisition plan, SUM decides to reveal a long-kept secret to him. SING invites his friend CHUNG LAM-TAI (Bosco Wong) to join his factory so that he no longer has to fight alone for the family business. But who would have thought that TAI is in no sense a blessing but just a wolf in sheep’s clothing? SING gets betrayed by TAI, and worse than that, his fianc?e CHUK YIU-KWAN (Song Wenfei) asks to cancel the wedding all of a sudden. The cold reality has eventually forced the lad into the fiercest commercial wars with his next of kin… (SOURCE: TVB)
The title of the series is called ‘growing through life’. Surprisingly, I feel Damian’s character is the one that ‘grows’ the most throughout the series. I’ve never really hated him from the start. But his changes throughout the series really impress me and touch me a lot. From a relentless businessman who looks down on people, to a desperate father imposing his ideas on a long lost son, and slowly to the forgiving, sacrificial father who quietly waits for his son to accept him. I really enjoyed every moment of Damian’s performance in this series.
To be honest, I really didn’t like Raymond’s character much at the start. His hair looks old-fashioned, and he is impulsive and impatient, and made many wrong decisions. In comparison, Bosco is much more composed, and smarter. Raymond’s character was sweet sometimes, funny sometimes, irritating sometimes. It was only towards the end when he matured and toned down, did I really like him. I feel that Raymond’s acting has matured a lot in this series. Great performance, great tears, and I can really feel his difference at the start and the end of the series. His performance was especially good when he is going through the ‘down points’ of his life, like when Song Wei Fei left him, when his mother died, and when he found out Damian is his father. I liked Raymond’s performance in this role, and am looking forward to even more improvements in the future.
I have some mixed feelings about Cecilia in this series. Cecilia’s character undergoes DRASTIC changes at different points of the series. She started off as the perfect wife- caring, forgiving, understanding. After she lost her baby and found out that Raymond is Damian’s son, she becomes a totally different person. She becomes really mean, really crazy, and slightly frightening to watch. She thinks Damian does not love her at all, and treats him like an arch enemy. She yells and screams a LOT. And then when Damian got into an accident, she realized how much he actually loved her, and became her original self in one episode. Cecilia’s crazy performance was really intense, and I have to admit that I did enjoy watching those scenes. She became crazier and crazier each episode, until it was finally revealed that she is actually seeing a psychiatrist. Her performance was really good, but part of me feels that it was a bit over the top. There were too many of those crazy scenes, and also, she recovered way to fast!
Zhao Zi Qi
ZiQi is Damian’s ‘spy’ at first, sent to ruin Raymond’s factory. Zi Qi is a really cute spy. She is bold, she is smart, yet no one can ever tell she’s the spy, because she looks very honest. She betrayed Raymond a few times at the start, yet it’s hard to blame her. She has a family to feed, and her medical bills to pay for. Later on, she starts to like Raymond, and never left him no matter what. This is a cute and likeable character. She and Raymond make a cute bickering couple. But after 30 episodes, I still cannot get used to the dubbing, I really dislike the dubbing…
At the start, I am very supportive of Bosco’s character. He is smart, calm, a good friend, and filial son. I felt bad for him when he went through many setbacks, like when Damian fired him, and ZiQi rejected him. I could understand why he turned bad, but of course, he did go too far, and make it hard to forgive him. But throughout the series, we know he just wants to prove his capability, and did still have a conscience. Even when he did really bad things, like killing Damian (twice), you can see his remorse and regret. I always thought Bosco suits the ‘cute’ characters better, and never thought he would pull off a bad character. But I was wrong, and Bosco really did surprise me. This must be one of my favourite roles for Bosco, and I’m also surprised that Bosco can cry well. When his father died at the end, I could really feel his pain, and I cried with him too. Great job, Bosco!
Toby looks good in this series, and her acting did improve from the first time I saw her. But no matter how, I just can’t seem to like her. Every time she appears, there will be some tears, some slow music, and some cheesy lines. Her scenes are always so draggy, and make me want to fast forward them.
Song Wen Fei
I never knew who she is before this series. She’s a mainland artist, who spoke in Cantonese for this series. Song Wen Fei’s character is really beautiful, yet pathetic, desperate, and sometimes slutty. It’s a relatively small character, but I find her very interesting to watch.
Damian lau and Raymond lam
Even though Raymond only called Damian ‘dad’ twice in the series, those 2 times meant a lot. This is the second time Damian acted as Raymond’s father, and both times, they look really good together as father and son. Great chemistry, great development… I loved their interaction the most towards the end, when they finally stopped arguing and we are just waiting for the moment for Raymond to accept Damian.
Raymond vs Bosco
Raymond and Bosco have different backgrounds, and different characters, yet they are ‘good friends’ (at the start).
Raymond grew up in a more well-off family. His father is the boss of Bosco’s father. Thus Bosco’s father always calls Raymond ‘little master’. It does get annoying, but who would have known that Bosco minded it so much… Raymond is the self-righteous one. Though he is not stupid, his thinking is more straightforward, and he is less ambitious. All he wants is to ‘keep his father’s factory’ and ‘work with Bosco’.
Bosco, on the other hand, grew up from a less well-off family. His first love left him because he is poor. Bosco said ‘It’s fine if you leave because you don’t love me. But if you are leaving because I am poor, I will never forgive you!’ Later on, there was Damian who humiliated him many times. There was ZiQi who rejected him because she likes Raymond instead. And importantly, he feels that his father sides Raymond more than him. I really can’t blame him for wanting to climb up and get people’s respect. But he went too far, and hurt way too many people…
Raymond and Bosco have good chemistry at pals. I’m glad they never explicitly fought over the 2 girls (ZiQi and WenFei) as that will be really clichéd. I’m glad they didn’t have many big confrontations, and Raymond merely distanced from Bosco quietly, because that is much more real. I like how the producers portrayed the changes of their friendship. It is real, and not too dramatized.
Damian and Cecilia
They were a really loving couple, unfortunately their relationship turned REALLY sour in the middle, mainly because Cecilia went crazy (thanks to Bosco). I was so glad to see them make up. Their conversation at the poolside (somewhere in episode ~26) was really touching. Great chemistry there… It’s sad that Damian had to die and leave Cecilia alone for the rest of her life.
Raymond and Zhao ziqi
Cute bickering couple. Their chemistry reminds me very much of Raymond and Li Qian in ‘Twin of Brothers’. (Is it because the female dubber was the same?), especially when Ziqi stares at Raymond with her big eyes. I’m not a fan of them for sure, but yes they are cute at times… but for some reason, I feel Raymond doesn’t really like ZiQi that much. Sometimes it seems like he’s just ‘settling’ for her…
Bosco and Toby
Bosco never loved Toby from the start to the end, but Toby loves Bosco so much. From the start, Bosco was already lying to her. But Bosco is so good at lying, he can get almost anything he wants from her. Poor Toby…
Dominic and Bosco
A naggy geeky father, and a smart ambitious son. As the audience, we can tell how much they care about each other. Unfortunately, Bosco does not feel Dominic’s love so much, and Bosco does terrible things which broke his father’s heart.
On the whole, the story isn’t perfect. It has its flaws, and some room for improvement here and there. The first few episodes were really not too appealing. And sometimes, I find the series being a little too preachy (same problem in ‘The Drive of Life’). And the theme of ‘letting go’ was brought up way too many times. Nevertheless, the story is special in its own way. I really like how they show each character’s growth and changes, and how they portrayed all the different relationships, plus some twists and turns here and there
Performance wise, I’d like to commend every member of the cast for doing a great job! Damian is the shining star once again, I can’t emphasize enough what a great actor he is. Younger stars like Raymond and Bosco seem to have matured a lot. Thumbs up to their performance too. Cecilia’s crazy performance reminds me of Christine Ng in ‘the building blocks of life’. I can’t say I like it, but it really was respectable. I’d also like to mention Dominic Lam. I’ve never seen him play this kind of nerdy fatherly role before, and I think he really nailed it. Great job!
The ending is less abrupt than many other series, but still a little too abrupt. Bosco turned good so fast, and Raymond and Toby forgave Bosco for KILLING their father too easily. How many years will you take to forgive someone for taking your father’s life? Maybe never. Yet Toby was actually thinking of visiting Bosco at the hospital before his liver transplant. Is love really that blind? Yes, I know the producers want a happy ending, and want Bosco to turn good at the end. But he seems more relieved than remorseful. In his last conversation with Raymond in jail, he was talking about how good he feels and how well he sleeps every night because he had ‘let go’. As the audience, it’s a little hard to accept…
The Best Scenes (there are many, but I can only remember a few for now)
- When it was revealed that Cecilia was actually seeing a psychiatrist, it was quite a dramatic and sad scene…
- When Damian and Cecilia were having a conversation at the poolside, it was a very poignant conversation, and Damian was hinting that he had recovered his memory
- When Damian was begging Toby not to break the law to win her case against Bosco, he told Toby how he didn’t let go in the past, and how that caused him to lose many more things. It was gradually revealed that Damian had regained all his memories, and how sad he is that he cannot acknowledge Raymond as a son. And the next moment, Raymond was standing there, he heard everything. That was quite an emotional scene.
- Before Damian died, Raymond called Damian ‘dad’ twice. The first time Damian couldn’t hear it, and then Raymond said it again. It was so touching! Who would have known that was the last time we’ll see Damian alive…
- When Bosco’s father was dying, he told Bosco ‘Son, I’m proud of you’. Bosco was crying. On the other hand, Raymond was somewhere else reading Damian’s diary. Damian said Bosco is like a reflection of himself, and asked Raymond to forgive Bosco. That was such a touching scene! And the perfect emotional climax for the last episode.
Compared to the Drive of Life, Growing through Life has a much smaller cast and smaller budget. It doesn’t really have the ‘grand’ feeling, but it is a good series in a different way. Worth watching? I would say yes
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Charmaine She- Lau Sam Ho
Tavia Yeung- Yiu Kam Leng
Susanna Kwan- Yuen Cui Wan
Michelle Yim- Chung Suet Ha
Moses Chan- the emperor
Kevin Cheng- Ko Hin Yeung
Supporting Characters: (many many!)
Lee Kwok Lun- Ma Yuen Tze
Selena Lee- Man Bo Yin
Susanna Tse- empress kwok
Ram Tseung- Bou Gung Gung
Mary Hon- Empress Cheng
and many more
What, When, Where & Who (from http://main.tvbsquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=224&Itemid=35) Inside the palace, within the walls, there are wars between beauty and power. In order to survive, people uses different strategies to gain control. The story mainly focus on the Imperial Household Bureau, which is responsible for Embroidery, Jewelry, Food & Beverages, and Furnishings. It's a story about power struggles, and a group of girls who needed the power to survive...(and a group of guys we can ignore)
The main character, Charmaine Sheh, who always uses "Speak good words, do good deeds, show good will" as her motto, her motto also helps her survived inside the palace, and she was able to make good friends with almost everyone. Well, almost everyone admires her motto, but her evil best friend Tavia Yeung, who can care less about the motto, instead, Tavia uses many harmful ways to get what she wanted... The story not only focus on Charmaine and Tavia's struggles, it also focus on the power struggles between Michelle Yim, the head of Embroidery and Susanna Kwan, the head of Jewelry. Their arguments, acting skills and misunderstandings shine the entire series. Without the two of them argue with each other, the whole series will be awfully boring.
Charmaine She vs Tavia Yeung
Lau Sam Ho is the perfect saint. She does all the right things. On the other hand, Yiu Kam Ling is the ultimate villain. She does all the wrong things. In fact, almost every good thing that happened in this series has something to do with Charmaine, and every bad thing has something to do with Tavia. Charmaine and Tavia are great actresses. They have brilliant chemistry when they were best friends and when they were arch rivals. Unfortunately, I think the script writers did not do the best job crafting their characters.
On one hand, Charmaine's 'goodness' in the series is seriously overemphasized. She also gives off a 'weak helpless girl' image, often bitten by a snake, hurt by an animal trap or knocked down by evil people. She lacks the special factor like Dai Cheung Gam, which make the audience want to remember her character.
On the other hand, Tavia's character is rather intriguing at first, when she was still good, but has many different values from Charmaine. I loved the scene when she was crying and laughing at the same time when Charmaine got promoted over her. Tavia may not be a living goddess like Charmaine, but she was real, and made the audience empathize. BUT, all of a sudden, Tavia becomes really wicked. She no longer do things to defend herself. She becomes a sadist who wants everyone dead except for herself. She is already a concubine with only ONE rival, Selena Lee. Don't other emperors have 3000 concubines? Yet, she's never happy with what she has, and she becomes extremely petty. She kills people like drinking water. I was wondering throughout the series, what made Tavia so evil?
I would also like to comment on their outfits. All the outfits and accessories are nicely and intricately designed, you can't deny the efforts. But, sad to say, I think Tavia looks ridiculous. Her make up is way too thick, her hair is in a funny shape, and her eyes look scary. Wouldn't it be more interesting if the producers made Tavia the concubine look more gorgeous, and Charmaine the servant more plain-looking? I thought the message is that goodness lies in the heart and looks are not as important. But this series is totally trying to prove otherwise.
Susanna Kwan vs Michelle Yim
Like Charmaine and Tavia, Susanna and Michelle were also best friends turned enemies. But unlike Charmaine and Tavia, their misunderstandings are cleared at the end. Both Susanna and Michelle are great actresses. They can argue really well. I especially liked Susanna's character. She's the more forgiving and understanding one, with a secret romantic history which she keeps to herself. Michelle, on the other hand, misunderstands her good friend easily. As a result, their misunderstandings never end. It keeps the story going, but it's also tiring to watch. For some reason, I feel a bit uncomfortable watching Michelle's performances in some scenes maybe because of the exaggerated expressions and movements. But all in all I think they both did great jobs
Moses Chan and Kevin Cheng
You can say that the male characters in this series are rather forgettable. I liked neither Moses nor Kevin, but Moses' character is more interesting of course. He starts off as a prince, and has to pretend to be stupid for (is it 20?) years to protect the lives of his mother and himself. Lee Kwok Lun wanted to make use of Moses' character to be his 'puppet emperor'. On the day Moses becomes the emperor, he surprises everyone with his intelligence, making all the evil people very angry. For the rest of the episodes, Moses struggles to overthrow evil Lee Kwok Lun's powers. It is an intense and interesting fight. In terms of love, Moses knew Charmaine way before Kevin. It is Charmaine who helped him survive his toughest years. However, Charmaine loves Kevin and only Kevin. Moses forgivingly hides his love and only tells charmaine at the very end. Unfortunately, Charmaine did not accept the emperor's love. I love the last scene in the last episode, when Charmaine walks out of the palace, and Moses looks at her from behind, and his eyes were red. What a bittersweet scene...
Yet another stupid villain- Lee Kwok Lun
Basically there are only 2 villains in these series doing all the bad things, Tavia and Lee Kwok Lun. I simply can't stand watching Lee Kwok Lun's character! He's and arrogant man who thinks he can have anything he wants in the world and he is convinced that anyone against him deserves to die. He also likes to humiliate people to show his power. I just hate watching this character because he is ridiculously evil. The scene I liked the most is at the end when Tavia kills Lee Kwok Lun. It's absurd that the emperor could not kill this guy for 32 episodes, but Tavia does it in 1 second. But, I still love that scene because of Tavia's crazy performance. She insults him as a 'castrated man', and tells him, "Not only did you lose to the emperior, you even lose to a woman like me!". He totally deserves to die in humiliation, for all the sins he has committed, but I still think it's not painful enough. Just a stab? Way too easy!
The ending- too fast, too easy
Many things were happening, everything had to be settled fast. The thing which I really can't accept is Tavia's ending. I don't understand why the emperor cannot kill her. Tavia killed SO MANY people. And of all the people, she killed Selena, who is the emperor's wife, Selena's unborn baby, who is the empror's child, and even the emperor's mother who has always treated her so well! Tavia killed 3 very important people in Moses' life, but Moses spares her life for a stupid reason. Before Charmaine leaves, Charmaine even asks Moses to be lenient on her, and Moses agrees! Lucky Tavia, she just turns crazy and live in her own happy world, to me that is way too easy for her. Now that is driving me crazy. This has happened many times to TVB villains. I really don't know what's the message they are trying to drive at.
The Series vs Sales Presentation
As we can see, there were some differences in the story in the sales presentation clip and the series itself. I obviously prefer the story in the sales presentation. In the sales presentation, charmaine and Tavia were junior servants at first. The seniors had their own fight and caused Charmaine and Tavia to suffer a lot. Tavia, having suffered so much, wants to rise to power and have her revenge. Charmaine, on the otherhand maintains her goodheartedness. In the series, Tavia did not have to suffer THAT much. She abruptly became another person, incredibly selfish and greedy. She lacks the 'human factor' and inner struggles which i was looking forward to. In the 2nd half of teh series when Tavia was bad, she lacked the depths and layers which she had at the beginning. It was rather disappointing, no matter how awesome Tavia's performances were.
I do not have the energy to comment on the other characters because there are so many of them. In short, this series has many plus points. The great ensemble cast, the novel villain performances from Tavia, the carefully crafted dialogues, the grandness, the beautiful decorations costumes and accessories, all these efforts are highly commendable, and impressive. On the other hand, this series also has many ways to improve, I just cannot bring myself to call it a 'classic'.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
13 years ago, Chung Kwok Keung (Alex Fong Chung Sun) was a highly talented and ambitious architect, who had lots of dreams, who believed architecture can change the world. He also has very high expectations and a bad temper. One day, because of a small argument, he quit his job and left his teacher, Kong Shing Yu (Chung King Fai).
Alex settled down as a designer in his sister's construction company. Over the years his temper changed, and got more and more comfortable with his unchallenging life. He also had a girlfriend for many years, Wai Yee (Christine Ng), and were going to get married. For 13 years, Alex never thought of going back into architecture despite his talent, until he met Cheung Man Jing Freeda (Tavia Yeung), a young and passionate architect, who reignited his passion. Alex finally decides to make a comeback, and become colleagues with Tavia.
Meanwhile, Tavia and Alex help each other through many struggles, and as expected, they are in love. It is difficult for them not to fall in love, because the get along so well, from the moment they met. Both of them know that there is no way Alex can abandon his girlfriend. They try really hard to suppress their feelings, but fail sometimes. As the audience, we know it is almost impossible for them to be together, but the way they love just touches your heart. All these develop into a bittersweet love story, which is surprising, and difficult to forget.
What a great actress! Tavia's performance in this series is totally awesome and I just can't think of a second person who can portray ah Da like her. In this series, Tavia's character has to go through many struggles from the start to the end. From the first episode Tavia already starts liking Alex. When she realises that Alex has a girlfriend, she is so disappointed, but has to keep everything to herself. Next, she had struggles with her family and her grandmother's death, in which Alex helped her a lot. And then, her relationship with Alex starts to get complicated, and Tavia gets torn between guilt and confusion. Tavia portrays her internal struggles of being the 'third party' so well, you can totally feel for her, and can't bear to blame here. And then finally, Tavia runs into a car accident, and becomes a new person. She doesn't want anything except for peace and health. You get to see her less and less, and miss her more and more. But you know, Tavia's heart has never left Alex all this while. Tavia's performances (which include lots of tears) are memorable. Her outfits (and herself) are gorgeous (except for the last scene). Without Tavia's performance to pull off the script, this series will not even be close to good.
Alex Fong Chung Sun and his chemistry with Tavia
I've never expected myself to put Alex Fong on a 'love factor' list, because I never found much connection with him, but now I finally did. Alex's character goes through some changes throughout this series, both in career and relationships. At first, he is laidback, he likes to eat, but he is a responsible and good man. You will not expect him to fall for another girl, including Tavia, much less cheat on his girlfriend. As soon as Alex got back to architecture, things started to change. He found his 'fire' back, even though his temper is much better than before. Meanwhile, he starts to like Tavia without himself realizing. This is when I start to like his character, and how he is always there to help Tavia when she is in trouble. I like the way Alex talks. It sounds funny, yet it makes a lot of sense. Without him, Tavia will not find her kinship back so easily, neither will she get over her grandmother's death. I love the scene where Tavia was hiding at the bay/beach, and Alex found her and told her not to cry and wiped off her tears. Tavia said 'why do you always care for me'. Alex said 'because you are very troublesome'. I love that line so much! Contrary to many people who find them a mismatch, I think the two of them match very well and have great chemistry. The age gap is not a problem, it is somewhat intentional and even value-adding
honourable mention- Christine Ng
Christine is a great actress, no doubt. It is difficult to deny her efforts in acting, especially in the scenes when she was being crazily jealous and paranoid. Her character is simple and nice. Her only fault is to love Alex too much. I'm happy for her that she could find her own happy ending eventually.
Don't care factors- certain parts of the story and some supporting characters
Beware that some parts of the story are rather boring at times, and I have fast forwarded certain scenes. For example, I don't care about the office politics and power struggle in the firm. I don't care about Chung King Fai's struggles because it is not even well developed and his performance was unimpressive. I don't care about Power Chan's villain character because I don't see the point in his existance, though his performances were great. And of course, I don't care about Natalie Tong's messed up relationships.
Power Chan and Natalie Tong- what kind of relationship is that?
Natalie dates Sam Chen at first. He did many things for her. They even have a baby, but she doesn't care. Meanwhile, Power Chan snatches Natalie over using lies and more lies. All of a sudden, they are together, they are getting married, and all of a sudden, Natalie loves Power like crazy. I don't understand how she can forgive him for all the bad things he had done. But TVB just wants Power to turn good in 5 minutes and Natalie and Power Chan to end up together, and there is nothing I can do. Hence, like I mentioned above, it is better to put this part of the story under the 'don't care' factor.
The ending including Tavia's ugly outfit
The ending was rushed as usual. Though acceptable, it did not do the story all the justice it should. The concept of Tavia slowly losing her memory and recording everything down on a CD is nice, but it is way too rushed! The CD was way too short. And then, in the last scene, when Tavia and Alex met again at the beach, Tavia's outfit and hair was so awful! Why did she have to look so awful? And Tavia was acting more like she has become stupid, than she has lost her memory. The ending is not horrible. But it could have been better to give the audience a better sense of completion...
For the best actress, I have to choose Tavia over Christine even though they are both great. Tavia's performance really touched my heart. Alex is a great actor, and I did not realise this last time. His character is both old-fashioned and charming, and Alex captured the balance very well. His emotions are subtle, but can definitely be felt. Anne Heung plays a small role, simply and convincingly. Timmy Hung, this may be the best of him I have seen. As for the other supporting characters, I don't really want to mention them much. Power Chan deserves best supporting actor, but I really don't care about his character.
To sum up, TBBOL may have low ratings, n some negative comments, but for me was totally worth watching. There are boring scenes I don't care about, but there are even more touching scenes I remember. It is a different kind of chemistry, and different kind of story. The characters dialogues are always interesting to hear. Most importantly, the 2 leads, Alex and Tavia, gave a performance which is stemmed from their hearts. Last but not least, it has a great sound track and themesong! ;)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
After being hit by lightning, Roger, a policeman, found himself with an unusual ability. He can communicate with the dead! If someone is murdered and has grievance, he or she is able to send certain signals to Roger. However, these signals are usually very brief and vague. Hence Roger has to use his detective skills to find the real murderer…
Meanwhile, a new department D.I.E. is formed. The department, which comprise Roger and Sonija, is made up of rather capable people. But due to various reasons, they cannot work well with people, and got ‘exiled’ to D.I.E. All unclosed cases are sent to the D.I.E. Roger then uses his special ability to solve all these cases, making D.I.E. more and more famous…
I thought Sonija can only play the ‘beauty’ character. In the end she plays the boyish character very well. Some of her funny expressions are great. Her action stunts are also nicely done. I’m starting to respect Sonija more and more as an actress. Ever since Land of Wealth and On the First Beat, and now D.I.E, I’m liking Sonija more and more.
Derek Kwok (Righteous)
What a cute character! Derek’s name is ‘righteous’ in this series, and indeed, he lives up to his name. His idol is bruce lee. He dresses and fights like him. Righteous is one of the best supporting characters of the year!
Mimi plays a very vain character who only cares about her looks and marrying a rich guy. I have no idea how she managed to become a policeman. But I soon realized that she is actually quite smart! Mimi’s comedy performance is wonderful. Her expressions are hilarious. Every time she appears, it brightens up the screen.
The entire D.I.E.
Every person in the department is very funny. They are so cute together. Their chemistry is sparkling.
Can’t help but notice Stephen Hyunh
Stephen plays a pathologist. He is very cool, very professional, but also very cute. It is just a small character, but I can’t help noticing Stephen. His acting improved, and he is really cute in this series!
I think the story is great! Sure enough, there are ridiculous and unbelievable parts, but in all the story was highly entertaining. The cases are refreshing and exciting, just that sometimes it is too complicated, I get a little lost…
A rushed marriage, an abrupt death, a surprise baby… all these happened way too fast!
How Come factor
The producers did not explain, how come Roger’s powers failed in the very last case? What happened?
The little ghost Siu Yee, why does she look the way she looks? Isn’t she supposed to look younger?
‘Big Mouth Ying’
There is this guy Sonija is chasing from episode 1 to episode 25, but he still hasn’t gotten caught. This guy is very lucky! It’s funny how Sonija chased him SO MANY times but failed. It’s also annoying seeing Sonija rushing to chase him without even thinking!
Roger shines in any performance as usual. He looks so young and handsome it amazes me. Kenneth Ma is not bad, first time seeing him play such a high-ranking role. But tje high ranking policeman is weak in love, unfortunately. Derek Kwok is the best supporting actor. Sonija Kwok… she is not the best, but for some reason I just enjoy watching her so much, I am going to become her fan soon. Mimi Lo is the best supporting actress. It is great to see Margie Tsang come back. Her performance was unnatural at first, but got warmed up soon enough. She is very pretty!
This is a very original story, with unique settings and characters. I think this series is totally worth watching. It is a very refreshing change from the usual TVB cop series. The style is SLIGHTLY similar to To Catch the Uncatchables.
Damian Lau- Hua Wen Han
Liao Jing Sheng- Hua Wen Hong
Michael Miu- Hua Wen Shuo
Joe Ma- Wei Yong Biao
Raymond Lam- Hua Zhen Bang
Feng Shao Feng- Hua Zhen Min
Ng Wai Kwok- Wei Tian Xing
Ron Ng- Xi Jie Qiang
Charmaine She- Rong Xiu Feng
Sheren Tang- Wang Shao Fen
Jessica Hsuan- Hua Qing Yu
Myolie Wu- Fang Bing Yi
Toby Leung- Hua Qing Lin
Chan Mei Kei- Wei Chang Ping
Chiu Ngor- Qian Qian
This is a story that spans from 1994 to 2007, about a family’s dream, national pride, and the China car making industry. The Hua family has dreamt about creating local motor cars, that are safe, durable and affordable for the Chinese. It is about taking the future into your own hands, it is about pride, it is about driving on your own path with your own car. For many years, there wasn’t much breakthrough, until the generation of Damian Lau and his two brothers. The 3 of them, with the help of many other members of the family, set up ‘Hua Zhe’ to realize this dream. While embarking on this long journey, they inspired many people around them to make a contribution. Meanwhile, there are the good people, the bad people, and those struggling between good and bad. There are relationship problems, misunderstandings, and tragic events. The characters learn from these challenges. They grow up as a person, and their relationships only become stronger.
Damian is definitely the best actor of this series. His performance is so solid! He is an amazing father and leader, and his air and expressions totally show the power he has. At the beginning, he is also very stubborn. He assumes everyone should live the way he thinks is right. Of course, all that changed later on. All in all, it was a stellar performance. Liao Jing Sheng has a very gentle and refined disposition. I liked his performance very much. Michael Miu is such a charming and handsome actor. His portrayal as the young and fun ‘small uncle’ was charismatic. I don’t like his mad or emotional scenes though. Raymond Lam and Michael Miu’s characters are a little similar. Sometimes he is a man, sometimes he is a little boy. I think Raymond did a wonderful job. The tears he shed are heartbreaking, and I find Raymond specially handsome in this series. Joe Ma is the character to hate. Before Joe Ma killed Ng Wai Kwok, Ng made a very insightful description of Joe Ma’s character: He is a petty and stupid man. Someone (Damian) treats you a bit well, you become so loyal to him. Someone (Damian) rejects you, you bear such a heavy grudge. This statement made me understand Joe Ma’s character a lot better. Besides being petty and stupid, Joe Ma is very evil, and he only cares about himself. He doesn’t know how to love at all. He can even risk the life of his own wife and child! Such a man does not deserve to be forgiven, but he was, and there is nothing I can do. Feng Shao Feng is cute, not much comments. Ron Ng’s character is small, but he is very cool(when driving) and likeable (he is a very good person). Ng Wai Kwok’s villain performance also stood out a lot. It is great having him back. Look forward to more great performance from him!
Jessica Hsuan is always likeable, but I still feel slightly disappointed that Jessica’s character is stupid. Jessica suits the smart image much better. Charmaine She stood out the most among the female leads. Her character was full of spice and excitement. Her eyes are full of spirit. Her chemistry with Raymond is sparkling. Myolie Wu is likeable once again. I like her gentle and caring character, and subtle facial expression. Her usual characters are too active, it makes me a bit tired watching. Sheren Teng is another one who stand out. Her character matured so much from the beginning to the end! I love watching the changes. And I love her character at towards the end. Gigi Wong is the number 1 disappointment. Her character is petty and stupid, her hairstyles (all of them) are bad, and her performances were mediocre. Her performance in ‘Golden Faith’ was much better. I totally do not understand why Damian chose Gigi over Chan Mei Kei. Toby Leung is the number 2 disappointment. Firstly, I do not understand why Toby must act so emotional over her parents quarrel. She is already a grown-up girl. Secondly, I find it very hard to find any enjoyment in watching Toby act. Chan Mei Kei Charmaine’s mother, Damien’s old lover, a very refined, beautiful woman with a dark past. Her death was the turning point of the whole series. I really love her character, but I also pity her a lot. I like how she loves Damien so wholeheartedly, and is willing to sacrifice anything for him. I also like how she is so refined, so kind, and so forgiving. Unfortunately, she does not have a good life, and she had to suicide. Her past is very pitiful. No wonder Charmaine took so long forgive the Wah family… I liked Chiu Ngor’s innocent, eager-to-learn character at first, but soon she becomes an annoying girl who is weak in love and easily cheats on her boyfriend. Her character adds very little to the series.
Very close-knitted family. Very sweet to watch. I see the most chemistry among the 2 kids and their father Damian. I especially like the father and son relationship between Raymond and Damian. It stood out a lot to me.
I am surprised to be putting them in the love factor list. Before watching this series, I didn’t really pay much attention to this couple. At the beginning, I even hated their scenes together, because their marriage was very screwed up. But I didn’t know that a great story was unfolding. Michael and Sheren learned from their failed marriage. They started afresh from friends. They learned to improve on their own weakness and accept the weakness of each other. They learned to understand and care about each other. Finally, Michael is trying to win back the heart of Sheren. The process is so sweet. In the end, Michael and Sheren became one of my favourite couples in this series.
Charmaine She and Raymond Lam
What awesome chemistry! At the beginning, Raymond and Charmaine like to challenge each other on their wits, then they became partners and think of ways to earn money together. Soon they became attracted to each other, because they found each other smart and charming. However, because of 1 recession, Raymond disappointed Charmaine and they separated. After some time, Raymond changed from a playboy to a responsible man. He tried to convince Charmaine that he truly loved her and can give her happiness. From then their relationship became built on love. After that, Charmaine’s hatred for Raymond’s family and the loss of their baby drove them apart. Raymond was shattered. When he finally picked up the shattered pieces of his heart, Charmaine came back to cause more trouble, and they started going against each other. That was so painful to watch. Finally, it was selfless Myolie who made them realize that they still love each other very deeply, and brought them back together. From then on, you know nothing can separate the two of them anymore.
Myolie Wu and Feng Shao Feng
What a refreshing chemistry! This couple only started developing towards the end, but it was a pleasant surprise. Myolie and Feng were both withdrew from their relationships because their partners love someone else. They confided and sought each other for comfort. They became the perfect company for each other. Finally, they fell in love and found happiness in each other. How wonderful!
Joe Ma and Jessica Hsuan
I don’t enjoy their chemistry. 1 is selfish, 1 is blind, I don’t want to say more
Ron Ng and Toby Leung
Ron’s character is very cool and nice. Sometimes he is cute with Toby. Sometimes I don’t really care because of Toby’s poor performance.
Damian Lau, Chan Mei Kei, Liao Jing Sheng
A beautiful love triangle, which lasted many years. I hate Damian Lau the most in this love triangle. He is so cruel to Mei Kei! Mei Kei loves Damian so deeply, even after so many years, until she decided to marry Liao Jing Sheng, until the moment she died, she only loves Damian. Liao Jing Sheng loves Mei Kei in the same unconditional way. He forgave Damian eventually. I admire his broad heart.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Kevin Cheng Ka Wing- Yau Chi Wing
Niki Chow Lai Kei- Leng Ka Yan
Bosco Wong Chung Zak- Don
Natalie Tong Sze Wing- Sasa
This is the story about 2 men, Kevin and Bosco, who are born on the same day, 7th of August. They have completely different characters, and lead totally different lives. Kevin appears aloof and indifferent, while Bosco is witty and sweet-tongued. Kevin does not care about wealth and prestige, while Bosco is a money-hungry man. However deep down, both have very warm hearts. Kevin and Bosco met their loved ones, Niki and Natalie respectively, on the same day. Each couple has a very different destiny, yet at many points of time, their experiences are aligned. Both couples go through many ups and downs, putting their faiths into test. At the end, both love stories turn out beautiful. Like the narrator said, as long as we know how to treasure the people around us, life naturally becomes very beautiful…
Kevin and Niki
Before watching this series, I was having reservations against this couple, because many reviewers found them boring. To my surprise, I love this couple so much! Kevin and Niki are simply awesome together. From Hard Fate (2004), Under the Canopy of Love(2006), and to this series(2008), their acting improves, and their chemistry rocks more and more. True enough, some parts of their story are tiring to watch, but as a whole, it was a beautiful love story, and a sparkling chemistry.
Chemistry aside, I actually liked the love story between Kevin and Niki. At first glance, the story looks too typical. Parental objections, third wheels, deadly disease… but this is okay, because the script for the story is appealing. The producers put a lot of heart into the dialogues and other little details, to bring the best out of a typical story. They managed to convince me that Kevin and Niki seriously love each other, and their strong faith in the relationship really touched me. It’s hard for me to describe, you must feel it for yourself. Basically, this is a really moving love story.
- somewhere at the beginning, Kevin never expresses his thoughts, yet he expects Niki to understand him, never caring about Niki’s feelings. It was great to see Niki get mad. I love it when Niki scolded Kevin, because everything she says makes sense. But their faith is strong. At the end of episode 5, they finally got together under the wishing tree J
- When Kevin’s father took Niki’s money… Kevin was very angry and scolded Niki. There was one scene, Kevin borrowed money from all his friends to return to Niki (even though it was obviously not enough). Niki was very upset that Kevin was so concerned about the money, and she started crying, so did I. But Kevin merely does not want Niki to be harmed, he is protective of Niki, but does not know how to express it, and ends up losing his temper. At the end of a confrontation, they hugged and Kevin told Niki not to cry. That was such a sweet scene!
- When Niki learned about Kevin’s past from Kevin’s grandmother. Niki thought to herself, ‘Kevin is a filial man. My mum once told me, a man who loves his mother will definitely love his wife as well.’ I love that quote, and I suspect it is true!
- Most of the time when Niki writes on her online diary… I enjoy reading what she writes
- The whole part when Niki tried to break up with Kevin because of her disease. It is very tiring watching her do that. But it was also very touching to watch Kevin refuse to give up. His faith is very strong, he simply cannot believe that Niki does not love him anymore, because that is impossible!
- Kevin sends Niki an email with the blue print of their ‘dream house’. The email was so touching that I cried with Niki. Kevin loves Niki so much!
- Niki finally accept Kevin back again, that is in episode 18. Kevin’s crying broke my heart. I love that scene, it was my favourite scene in this entire series. 1 line I remember the most, was when Kevin said, ‘Don’t keep thinking about your disease. We cure it once, we’ll take it as passing 1 obstacle. Then, I’ll bring you to a beautiful place, eat something really nice, do something we have never done before’. I can’t forget that scene!
Bosco and Natalie
I hated their relationship at the beginning. It was ridiculous! Their ‘motives’ of dating each other is unbelievable. I mean, Bosco is young and capable and clean, why would he even think about getting close to a rich girl to get rich? Isn’t that what jerks do? But Bosco doesn’t look like such a jerk! And Natalie… She wants to date someone to get inspiration for her comics because she ‘ran out of ideas’. But she was the one who came up with all the weird ideas to make a fool of Bosco. Why can’t she just draw the stories out directly? It is so unnecessary to play all the tricks on Bosco! Both of them indeed go to the extreme to attain their goals, it is so unbelievable!
Thankfully, Bosco and Natalie’s chemistry did improve, ironically that happened after they ‘broke up’. I started seeing the ‘human’ and ‘sane’ side of both characters. They started realizing their feelings for each other, and started missing each other. I wonder HOW those feelings got developed but they did anyway. It was nice seeing the emotional side of Bosco and Natalie. BUT I hated how Bosco dealt with his relationship with Natalie and Charmaine. He ended up hurting them both. In the end, they got back together because of a baby, what a stupid reason…
The 3rd Wheels
For Kevin and Niki, we have Selena. I have nothing against Selena. Her life is too tragic. She loves Kevin as deeply as Niki does, but it will never be reciprocated…
For Bosco and Natalie, the third wheel is Charmaine Lee. Charmaine was a very sweet girl at first. I do not know what she sees in Bosco. She ended up doing many stupid, selfish and degrading things for Bosco, it changed my impression of her character completely… The writers just had to make her do all these stupid things, otherwise Bosco and Natalie’s story cannot continue to episode 20. Haha…
The Supporting characters
The family members of the four leads are all nice to watch. Niki’s father is annoying, but he does love Niki a lot. In this series, Bosco and Natalie also each have a clique of friends. Their chemistry is okay…
There are stupid scenes, stupid events you don’t care about. But generally I still like the story. It is artsy and charming in its own way.
I did not like Kevin’s character at first because he is so cold and has a bad temper. But very soon I saw his warm heart and I can ignore those flaws. Kevin is the best actor of the series. His crying took me by surprise. It improved so much, especially at the scene where he got back together with Niki. Niki did her trademark lovable character, it is hard to not like her. But sometimes I don’t really like her crying. She whines instead of cries. Bosco’s performance is forgettable, and I do not like his hair at all! Natalie is the most improved actress. She was never bad to begin with, but this is her first leading role. It is the first time she gets to showcase her ‘inside emotions’.
Kevin and Niki fans can NOT miss this series. If you’re not a fan to begin with (like me), I still think this series is worth watching. For me, I enjoyed it very much, and I will remember Kevin and Niki’s story for some time.. If you are not a sentimental person or not very much into romantic films, then this series is not for you, and you will be extremely bored…
Thursday, April 16, 2009