Review for TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (2017)

Hmm…I was disappointed. That’s my feeling right after watching the final episode of ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (同盟) just now. It is an action crime-thriller television drama of 28 episodes produced by TVB that revolves on a modern Hong Kong crime family, led by the matriarch Ling Hung. She reunites with his son, Ko Tzi Kit who is sent to Taiwan to avoid any danger linked to the business empire her family is owning. That leads to many dangerous events and Ling Hung’s desire to leave the crime world. This drama is a follow-up production after the successful ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’ drama last year and brings back most of the cast and production crew members.

Why am I disappointed as mentioned earlier? The series started with a ‘bang’! Things are so intense and heart-stopping in every episodes. Yes, every episodes. There are suspenseful and chilling scenes in every episode. The story is fast-paced, the action sequences are awesome, the cast is doing great job (will talk more about it later), and every ending part of each episode had me yearning for more every day. This is a sign of an exciting series.

But then, as its last few episodes near, I sense downfall. The story just went downhill after Elena Kong is revealed to be the ultimate villain. I’m not saying her character is bad but every plots that are surfacing after her character is shown in the drama are terrible. Elena Kong is actually nailing this cool villain role and its definitely not her fault. It’s the storyline after her character appears that is so poorly written and messy. Those very awesome tricks in earlier episodes pulled of by Ling Hung (Nina Paw) are what made this drama intense. However, over usage of them in the last few episodes and with each covering very short span of the drama delivers no intensity. If you watched the drama, you will know what I mean. Short-lived plot twists….

Before the release of the final episode, everyone is guessing that Anthony (portrayed by Jazz Lam) is the ultimate big boss behind Kam Tien (Elena Kong). Even I am guessing the same too ever since the scene when he whispered something very evil to his brother, Ricky (Pierre Ngo) at the airport in earlier episode. There may be something evil behind this quiet kid. Yes, he is doing something wicked in the end but his character is immediately wiped out as he is not the main focus (the ultimate big boss). That role is revealed to be a group of four unknown wealthy men. This definitely puts me off. The last few episodes are messing the whole series up. It is this TVB’s recent pattern when they usually couldn’t finish a good series nicely.

How about the cast? Nina Paw did a good job taking on the role of Ling Hung. This is the first time I’m seeing her on television drama as she only works in film industry and has been crowned Film Queen before (won Best Actress in Hong Kong Film Awards). A great veteran actress. However, I find that her way of presenting her dialogue has been very rigid and being too similar (voice control and facial expression). The other two leads, Ruco Chan and Nancy Wu won both best actor and actress last year for their wonderful performances in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’. Can their winning continues to this year with their role in this sister production? Definitely no. They have no challenging roles here and their characters are too ordinary. Ruco’s sudden transition from a very naive innocent guy to an immoral and manipulative man (not considered evil but still cunning) in the last few episodes (you will notice even his clothing style changes) is too unbelievable. Many people are praising Mr Yik (portrayed by Jimmy Au) but I personally felt he is just fine. A tough guy with cool stunts delivered….nothing more. On the other hand, I have to say Joel Chan and Elaine Yiu did well. I’m supporting them for the best supporting actor and actress awards end of this year for their roles here. They are doing great. Joel is a very talented actor and his character is very likable (I thought his character would turn evil in the end, but he is a nice guy all the way to the end). Elaine nailed her role too which is very demanding as it requires a lot of emotional scenes as her character is stuck between her family (who are plotting to kill Ling Hung) and Ling Hung’s family.

So…the series is very impressive on its first three quarters. It then goes downhill to a poor, rushed and unnatural script and disappointing conclusion. It would be much better if the production team placed more effort and thinking into the script for the plot’s ending and extends the drama to a little over 30 episodes. The drama should be fine (or even much better) with few more episodes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Unholy Alliance’ a total of 7.8. If it does well on its ending part, I could have easily given this drama over 8. By the way, there are too much sexual innuendos going on between Ruco and Nancy. I knew this pairing is very much hyped now, but in real life, they are just friends. The producers made a bad decision to put in a lot of awkward sexual-related scenes for them in this drama. It felt distasteful and very unnecessary.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)


5 thoughts on “Review for TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (2017)

  1. I also thought that this show had so much potential.
    But the Hong Kong writers just simply dont know how to finish a story! They rush the ending, kill off people, suddenly think up impossible story lines, lose the depth and ignore the existing characters that have developed over the past few episodes and make them act soooo different that its just simply a big joke!

    I think you were too generous in your 7.8 out of 10.

    As they could not finish the story properly, I would give them a 6/10
    Just because the first part of the storyline was really good….

  2. To be frank, the four mystery bosses suddenly came out of the blue. I was expecting Ruco, Joel, Nancy and Nina having a confrontation against the ‘moles’ (Mary Hon and Jazz Lam) and Elena, but nope. They could have stretched it to 30 episodes at least to provide more background and make Ruco’s development more believable. I mean, his Kit was a naive surfer who hated violence who suddenly becomes a pro hitman and is willing to use cunning measures. Will agree that Nina, Joel, Elaine and Jimmy did well here. Action sequences were certainly entertaining.

  3. You’re right about the plot going downhill after Elena Kong appeared as the villain. When the Ling family was “locked” in the house and started receiving text messages asking them to kill Ling Hung, I felt like I’m watching a bad case of Pretty Little Liars. (that’s how how bad it is!) I’m not saying that PLL is bad. I enjoyed PLL, but but for a TV series that started so fast-paced and action-packed like Unholy Alliance to roll out an episode that sounds like something out of a teen fiction,… well… I’m just disappointed.

  4. I just finished watching this series last weekend. I agreed with your comment above.
    My thoughts are almost similar to yours. In the first few episodes, I was really impressed with the Alliance leader (ling hung + Kent) Their intelligence and how often people tried to bring them down really impress me. In every scene, it really kept me at the edge of the chair. One thing that stood up, is the righteousness of the body guards and the adopted son Mr Kent. I believed this is what keeps me going to watch till the end. Else I would have stop in the middle and the later part of the series is quite a disappointment to me. I feel the producer is trying to end the series as fast as possible till the ending of the series don’t quite makes sense to me; how from a village boy overnight become a ruthless leader, and how the 4 mastermind leader could changed their mind and killed Rainman just because of what Kit told them in less than a minute; and Kit’s showing up 2 years later, sending out to the respective parties of what the 4 leaders had done simply doesn’t jive well for me.
    Ok, this is where I am quite disappointed. When I first watch how they fake their death in the first scene to escape from the Thai gangster, I was very impressed. Then the repetition of this method of faking death over and over again makes me feel “Is that all you have, TVB? No more new ideas?”

    One thing that really caught my attention in this series is Kent’s character. In the beginning, I thought that he would betrayed his adopted mum after the real son came back. But not only did he not do that, but times after times he showed his loyalty to Ling Hung. And this is exactly what I was hoping for throughout this whole series. I was utterly impressed by his character. His actions were very swift and Joel did a good job in portraying this character. Every time he talked about how grateful he was for Ling Hung adopting him, I can see the sense of contentment and gratefulness to Ling Hung. Even when all the other uncles trying to brain washed him after Kit came back, he never budged from his principal in protecting Ling Hung and loving her as his real mum. I give him a BIG like for that. Him pairing with Kate, I feel they really do make a good couple. I am also impressed at Elaine’s acting. She portrayed the character well, torn between being a good daughter and yet still maintain her righteousness to Kent and Ling Hung. I like how her brothers stood up for her each time she has a feud with the father. It is sad to see both of the brothers had to die in Taiwan.

    I feel the main characters (Ruco and Nancy) are quite insignificant here. I feel they are having more sexual scenes compared to real concrete story when compared to the main supporting characters (Joel and Elaine) Perhaps it is due to the characters given to them, but I feel their acting were much better in the Fist Within Fall Walls.

    I am not sure about you, but i feel this series has a similar story to Line Walker. Perhaps it is because I was trying to guess who the mastermind behind this whole scandal, reminds me how I was trying to guess who the last spy was in Line Walker. 🙂 Anyhow, both of these series were produced by the same producer so I am sure there will be some similarities. 🙂

    Another thing that I note is that because TVB uses almost the same artist for a specific character, that even before it reach the end, I can already guess who the bad person is; aka Elena Kong,lol.. when all the characters had come out in the series, it is easy to see who is good and who is bad.

    Overall, I give a 7/10 for this series because it was entertaining and exciting in the first half of this series. Give this series a try if you are looking for a TVB series to watch. At least I think you won’t feel a waste of time when compared to other more recent series. 😛

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