Archive for drama

Drama review for ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2017 by vincentloy

Before going with the drama review, I would like to take this opportunity to wish to all my Indian friends Happy Deepavali! This day reminds me of some warm and delightful Deepavali open houses that I have attended in the past, some very cool ‘kolam’ (artistic creation by using rice flour) that I have seen at malls, and some Bollywood films with excessive dancing or over-the-top scenes. Living in a multiracial country like Malaysia allows me to be exposed to variety of cultures and I’m loving it. Happy Deepavali once again!

Okay, now back to the review. ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ is a Hong Kong drama that revolves on the effort of a police inspector on finding and working with his undercover agents in solving a large criminal case. It acts as a prequel to the successful 2014’s Line Walker that won Best Drama in that year’s TVB Anniversary Awards. Many of the original cast (Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Lam, Sammy Shum, etc) didn’t return but you can still catch a glimpse of their photographs in the final episode that tries to link back to the story in 2014’s series. Benz Hui and Michael Miu are back to lead this drama along with new cast (Priscilla Wong, Benjamin Yuen, Pakho Chau, Moses Chan, Jessica Hsuan, etc).  This new line-up of cast looks promising too.

Although this drama couldn’t live up to the intensity and the fast-paced flow of its predecessor, it is still an enjoyable drama to watch with decent story and performances. Moses Chan who portrayed the main villain in this drama is unconvincing. In 99% of his scenes, he only sat on a chair and gave out his speech (that’s so plain). He literally don’t need to do much for this drama. I couldn’t really see or feel his ‘bad’ or ‘powerful’ side in him except from his very quick and cool shooting scene in the very last episode. But that too is illogical. He can shoot around 10 person in a split second and not giving the others a chance to return fire in one scene (it shows how fast his skill is), and then get shot by Benz Hui’s character easily after that.

The ending is good but it could be better. The drama should just end with the scene of Kenneth Ma loading a gun and mentioning that he will be taking revenge on behalf of his brother (Moses Chan). He looks great as a villain and I really hope to see him in the next one since the ending gave a big hint that the series will continue again before the event in the first ‘Line Walker’ series. And then there was this scene of Benz Hui and Pakho Chau in Thailand. How can Pakho suddenly came back and didn’t die from severe gunshots in earlier episode? I prefer his character to die and it will give more sense and meaning to the ending. He just left Hong Kong and stay with Benz in Thailand. For me, it was a very irresponsible act especially to Benjamin Yuen, Priscilla Wong and Michael Miu. On the other hand, I think Pakho is still not comfortable in filming drama (he has acted in many films previously but never in drama before). I can feel that his performance in here is a bit unnatural and restrained. Priscilla Wong and Benjamin Yuen are good but they are still not ending up together (what a pity since Benjamin did a lot for Priscilla but she just couldn’t sense it) even after Pakho’s ‘departure’. Recent Miss Hong Kong winner, Louisa Mak has been criticized for her performance in ‘Bet Hur’ but she is actually doing quite well in here especially in her last crying scene before her death.

Generally, this drama is a good effort to continue this franchise that has also expanded on the film side (there’s a ‘Line Walker’ film last year that starred Louis Koo, Charmaine Sheh, Nick Cheung, Francis Ng and Benz Hui). I also like the ending theme song for the drama. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ a total of 7.7. It couldn’t go past 8 because it still lacks the intensity as seen in the first ‘Line Walker’ drama. I remember there are a lot of explosive or climatic scenes in the first drama but not much in this one. The first drama also sparked a lot of debates and discussions especially on questioning who is the real UC during its run. No for this one. Okay, enough writing for this review; now I have to go back to focus on my thesis work.

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

 

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

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

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)

TVB drama review for ‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2017 by vincentloy

‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ (超時空男臣) is a science-fiction comedy drama by Hong Kong’s TVB. Based on the theme of time traveling, it tells the story of three imperial officials from Ming dynasty who accidentally traveled to modern day China while searching for a missing princess. The 32-episode drama starred Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho, Matthew Ho, Grace Wong, Kristal Tin, Rebecca Zhu, David Chiang, James Ng, Tsui Wing, etc.

The series has just aired its final episode few hours ago. Finally, another TVB drama completely watched for this year. This is an interesting drama. A story about time travel. What could go wrong? The series started with many good laughs as the three officials have to adapt to the modern world. I can remember the first few episodes were seriously very funny. As the story progresses to more serious business involving Kristal’s restaurant, I am still engaged. However, I find that this drama is a bit draggy after episode 20. It loses appeal at that point but come back nicely in the last few episodes. The flow and the story would be much better if it is cut short to 28 episodes.

I noticed there are quite a number of illogical points or strange plotholes throughout the story especially when it nears its end. Well, I can ignore them since this drama is never about being logic in the first place. It was a fun premise, then added with some quick romance and challenges in businesses the modern-day characters have to encounter. I have to admit that the conclusion (final episode) was sad and appears more like an open ending. But after a second thought, I actually like this ending. It will be at least more memorable and stays away from typical happy-ending drama from TVB. Well, at least, Edwin finally admits in his heart that he do love Kristal.

Everyone in the cast did a good job in this drama. Kristal Tin has a lot of series coming up this year and I’m sure she was tired working on all of them. It must be stressful for her. However, she still managed to deliver to her role here as the anchor of the story. I’m still rooting for her to win Best Actress this year so far, not from this drama, but from ‘Destination Nowhere’ drama released earlier this year. I seldom see Edwin being good in taking on main lead role, but hey, he is actually not bad in here. His consistent posture and expression (to reflect his Ming dynasty period when he is a general) show how much he dedicated to this role. Grace Wong on the other hand is well known to be able to elevate her expression in her acting and still people don’t get disturbed by it. Due to this ability, she shined in all her recent roles including her award-winning role last year in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls.’

I do have fun watching this drama. A great and a hilarious beginning, a steady story development but a bit draggy in the middle, and an unusually sad yet memorable ending. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ a total of 7.5. I’m guessing the four of them (including the princess portrayed by Grace) have no choice but to return to Ming dynasty to avoid rewriting the history that will affect its future (the present).

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

Review for TVB drama ‘Bet Hur’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Bet Hur’ (賭城群英會) is a TVB drama directed by famous film director, Wong Jing that revolves on revenge started from a lost in a gambling match between two masters. The revenge continues to the younger generations. The drama is categorized as a gambling drama but gambling is only present on the first and the last episode of the whole 35-episodes series. I was very excited for this drama back then because it is a huge production drama and it has a great cast including those we have long not seen in television before such as Patrick Tse, Nat Chan, and Monica Chan. The drama also starred Kenneth Ma, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Wong, Samantha Ko, Dominic Ho, Carlo Ng, Joseph Lee, Connie Man, Matt Yeung, Louisa Mak, etc.

What do I think of the drama? One word: Lousy! The drama’s title itself gives a huge false impression. It is so misleading. I am expecting a drama filled with intense gambling, dramatic action scenes and suspenseful plots. I ended up seeing a drama with extremely poor story, illogical plot that doesn’t flow cohesively, and emphasizes more on boring love storyline. I can only see gambling on the first and the last episodes of the drama. That’s it. No thrilling actions or plots going in between. The huge amount of time given to develop the romantic relationship between Dominic Ho and the other two girls is so unnecessary and irrelevant to the whole story. Even the love storyline between Kenneth Ma and Charmaine Sheh is not developed to that level. Everything is not balanced.

The presence of heavyweight cast in this series is a total missed opportunity. They are some great scenes for them to showcase their acting (especially some explosive or death scenes) but they are not enough to save the whole drama. It is a waste to their talents. Nevertheless, Kenneth Ma do has one scene that is amazing but that doesn’t help to push him for any award recognition this year. The old veteran that acted as the nemesis of Patrick Tse in the drama is very poor on voicing out his lines. I always cannot hear what he said. Patrick looks cool at his age but his role is so ’empty’. Nat Chan and Monica Chan couldn’t act and shouldn’t be here at all. Louisa Mak, a newbie actress, performed badly but can be forgiven since this is her first time acting. Her crying (Nat Chan’s crying too) scenes in this drama are awful. Raymond Wong and Connie Man’s characters are very minor and it makes me feel as though they are added to the story just to join in the fun.

I can literally call this drama a rubbish. There is literally nothing going on for almost 30 episodes of the drama. And as the drama nears its ending, the scriptwriter decided to kill as many characters as he/she wants. So many deaths, and surprisingly, I’m not feeling anything. The whole story is badly written. And how about the conclusion? Another bad conclusion. Kenneth’s character has to have evil intentions and has to kill innocent people to win in the end. And he is not going to jail for that? Hmm…that is sending out a bad message to audiences. Charmaine’s character made a good decision to leave him. The only happy thing is at least that the whole bad family is now gone, and the scriptwriter decided to stress on that again and again in the last episode. That is so not necessary.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bet Hur’ a total of 5.0. Out of that 5, 3 points are for the stars and 2 points are for the production effort. No point at all for the story. It’s a total crap. Very disappointed with this series. Let’s get this series out of the mind and I now look forward to the next TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’.

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

 

 

Review for TVB drama ‘Phoenix Rising’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Phoenix Rising’ (蘭花刼) is a TVB drama that is already 10 years old but is only released in Hong Kong this year. It is first released overseas in 2007 and has been warehoused for a decade before a full release this year. It is such a strange move by TVB on releasing a 10-years old drama. Didn’t they have a lot of completed dramas in waiting list for release? Why ‘Phoenix Rising’? Nobody know the answer. And for now, I just treat it as a 2017 drama.

The drama which has 20 episodes revolves on 3 orphan sisters. They are then separated as they leave the orphanage. They were reunited, but under bad event when one of the sisters is receiving death penalty soon for murdering her foster mother. The murderer then uses various tricks and evil plans to escape the death penalty, even by sacrificing her own sisters. The drama starred Kristal Tin, Louisa So and Leila Tong as the 3 sisters and also Sunny Chan, Ben Wong and Jack Wu as other significant characters.

The drama is actually quite nice to watch. I like to watch drama with some vicious plots. I always felt that a series would not be intense or thrilling without those evil plans by the villain characters. I never see Louisa So portraying a villain character before and she did quite well here. Actually, I seldom see her in dramas at all. So, this is actually a great opportunity for me to see back some past artistes such as Louisa So, Sunny Chan and Leila Tong. I wonder what is happening to them right now…

Sunny Chan is the main male lead of the series but this series is never intended to emphasize on the males anyway. It’s mostly about the three sisters. And for that, I’m a bit disturbed by the way that Sunny Chan’s character will occasionally disappear throughout the series, most notably in the last two episodes. Ahh…it’s so nice to see Leila Tong. Eventhough I’m not that fancy of most of her characters in the past as she didn’t leave any memorable or powerful roles, but it’s delightful to watch her in this series. As for Kristal, I didn’t realize she has such good acting skill back then. She handled this lead role well and it is just that her character here that is too unbelievably stupid and being over kind, and in the end she herself ended up to be the one to suffer to protect everyone else. Well, if she didn’t do so, we wouldn’t have a drama to watch.

So, this drama is short and engaging. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Phoenix Rising’ a total of 7.2. And Nancy Wu has a small supporting role as a pregnant prisoner in this drama. Back then, she was not yet reaching her fame. Now, she is a two-time TV Queen. As for now, I’m hoping that TVB will get back to its form by releasing back its recent dramas. Or maybe TVB knew its recent dramas are mostly bad. Come on, get up on your game…it’s your station’s 50th anniversary this year!

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

Review for Hong Kong drama ‘My Unfair Lady’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2017 by vincentloy

Another new Hong Kong series is watched completely just now with the airing of the final two episodes. It is ‘My Unfair Lady’ (不懂撒嬌的女人) that starred Jessica Hsuan, Frankie Lam, Natalie Tong, Vincent Wong, Samantha Ko, Zoie Tam, Chris Lai, etc. This 28-episodes drama is TVB’s first 4K production (ultra high definition) and also saw the return of Jessica and Frankie to TVB. The series basically revolves around two strong-willed cousins who are great in career but not in romance. The older cousin (portrayed by Jessica) heads an office department with her strict and mean personalities while her younger cousin (portrayed by Natalie) is under her control and supervision all the time.

My review of the drama? Hmm…it’s a very boring drama. I’m not interested in a series that focuses too much on romance. I’m just not into this kind of genre. I think females may like this series more. I’m surprised that this drama received quite a good reception and TV viewership ratings. I felt the opposite. It’s boring, draggy and pointless. The earlier episodes are still fine with me as I’m interested to watch the office politics and the time when Molly (portrayed by Jessica) is still a mean boss. When she and Gordon (portrayed by Frankie) quit the jobs in that office, the plot starts to get really dull and I’m not engaged to it at all since then. The overuse of the romantic song when showing the Saving-Cherry pair (portrayed by Vincent and Natalie) is annoying. Even their pairing in this drama appears to be time-wasting. People who enjoyed romantic stuff will bash me for such comment.

I’m so glad that the drama is over. I first watched it because I’m looking forward to see Jessica Hsuan back in a TVB drama. She did well, but this role is not much challenging to her except in the earlier episodes when she kept on voicing out lengthy dialogues in stressed mode. Some supporting cast did good job in here such as Chris, Vincent, Natalie, Zoie and the man that portray Oscar (I don’t know his name). Their good performance couldn’t save this drama from being almost like a rubbish with nothing exciting or appealing. This is like the first drama this year when I went on to do something else while having most of its episodes playing on my laptop every evening. It’s so boring that I couldn’t have my eyes on it for 40 minutes every day (40 minutes is the rough duration of an episode).

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘My Unfair Lady’ a total of 6.1. I really couldn’t believe it receives good feedback. A lot of viewers now are desperate for some romantic dramas while I’m onto something more action, suspenseful or climactic. It looks like I have to wait till later of this year for release of some really cool dramas. Right now, the line-up of coming dramas are not appealing. It’s bad timing as I will soon have a bit of free time beginning next month as my current semester is ending (I hope it ends very soon…I want to escape from all the madness from the assignments) but have no good quality series to watch during the holiday. Good dramas will only be up by end of this year as predicted and that is the time when I’m working on my thesis. Damn…

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

Review for TVB drama ‘Mind Hunter’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2017 by vincentloy

Ohh..we have come to the month of May 2017. One third of the year is gone. I have had a very imbalanced past four months. January and February have been a very free and easy months for me since I’m still enjoying my study break. Once my study commenced from March onward, it’s been a hell. I am freaking jealous of my housemates who can be very free and don’t have much to work on for their assignments. They always hang out and chill in the living area or even go out the whole day frequently. I wish my student’s life will be like that too. Too bad, an architecture student will never be able to enjoy to that extent.

Recently, I have finished watching a new TVB drama entitled ‘Mind Hunter’ (心理追兇) and is also called ‘My Dearly Sinful Mind’. It is a 28-episodes drama about a mentally ill psychologist who goes all out to investigate the death of his girlfriend of which he believes that it is not simply caused by just an accident. The drama starred Kenneth Ma, Sisley Choi, Pierre Ngo, Grace Wong, Vivien Yeo, Michelle Yim, Mat Yeung, Raymond Cho, etc.

I always have this mindset that TVB dramas that are released at this time of the year are usually not that good. But hey…this drama goes against my opinion. It is actually quite interesting and intense at some points, and I totally didn’t expect it. The reason I watch this drama is because I don’t feel like watching the one in the other time slot and that I also like most of the cast in this series. The psychological tricks by Grace Wong and later by Raymond Cho are thrilling to watch in this series. I also enjoyed the way they put in some side stories nicely in between to support the whole flow of the plot.

This is a drama that shows off how great the acting was done by the supporting cast. How about the leading cast? Nope. They (Kenneth and Sisley) delivered only average performance. Their roles in this drama are not impressive or challenging. I just don’t like seeing the scenes when Kenneth hallucinates of his late girlfriend in his home with the same song playing all the time. As for Sisley, she is just too small and too unnecessary for a presence here.

On the other hand, Grace Wong did exceptionally great for her evil role here. I am fascinated by how quick she can change her emotion and expression in several scenes. She had some stellar roles in recent year and she had won the Most Popular Female Character in TVB Anniversary Awards last year for her performance in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’. Looks like there will be more awards for her soon. Pierre Ngo is great as the policeman who has psychological trouble with his leg and Mat Yeung is also excellent in portraying a character that has Asperger’s disease. The ending was also not bad and I’m thrilled to see Grace surrendering herself to the police in the end, right during the plan in killing her own brother who wanted to get rid of her earlier. What a scene. You will usually see bad people that doesn’t admit his or her fault or even want to walk near the police station. In this ending, Grace walks happily to the police station to surrender. The total opposite and that is cool. Kenneth’s ways of resolving the situations with ill intentions are not forgivable and hence his character attempts to commit suicide in the end. I think Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Mind Hunter’ a total of 7.5.

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