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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)

Movie review for ‘Annabelle: Creation’ (2017), ‘It’ (2017) and a big news for ‘Despicable Me 3’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2017 by vincentloy

Hmm…I’m up to some horror movies recently. Well, it is the Hungry Ghost Festival now and it further sets the mood to watch some scary movies in these weeks.

‘Annabelle: Creation’ is a supernatural horror film that acts as a prequel to 2014’s ‘Annabelle’ movie and is the fourth installment in ‘The Conjuring’ film series. Remember the freaky Annabelle doll from the first ‘The Conjuring’ movie? The real doll (by now, you should already know that there is really a true story behind the doll) actually looks much more friendlier but of course for a horror movie purpose, a new doll with scary features has to be created. And then, it became so popular that it has its own stand-alone movie. And that’s not enough. Now, we have a prequel to that stand-alone film that drives from another film. And after the success of ‘The Conjuring 2’ as well, we will have a new stand-alone movie for that creepy nun too, soon (next year).

Let’s get back to the movie. It tells the story of a family who has its one and only daughter killed in a freak traffic accident. After that, the couple experienced strange things in the house and they assumed it was their daughter. But it’s not; it’s a demon craving for some horror and manifest itself in a doll. Several years later, the couple welcomed a group of girls and a nun to their house and the demon resurfaces to haunt and possess the children. This movie is slightly better than 2014’s Annabelle. The doll itself is still very creepy eventhough I have seen it many times by now. However, I find that this film series now is showing more and more of the demon’s feature (a black figure with horns?) and that somehow didn’t quite make it that scary anymore for me. Too much have been shown. The intense horrific and heart-stopping atmosphere has been toned down in my personal opinion. However, I am still impressed by some scary scenes or old school tactics used in the movie. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Annabelle: Creation’ a total of 7.2. I also like that the ending of this movie links to the starting scene of 2014’s Annabelle for a sort of continuity.

Next horror movie I have just watched is ‘It’. What a name. Just ‘it’. That ‘it’ refers to a clown called Pennywise. It is a supernatural horror film based on a novel by Stephen King and tells the story of a group of 7 children in Derry who are terrorized by the eponymous being, mostly in the form of a clown. First of all, I have to say I hate clowns. There’s the irony. Clown is created to entertain kids, but they turned out scaring them, and that’s the point for this movie (and also for several other movies in the past too). The movie delivered an effective horror outcome but it didn’t quite scare me. But if a kid is watching this, I’m sure he or she will be very terrified. It just didn’t work out for adults.

However, I still have to compliment the movie for being very effective as said earlier. The story is straight to the point, fast-paced, and covered a lot on these characters of innocent kids. These kids gave a very good performance in this movie. Another extra point to the movie is for its emotional grasp. I do felt the friendship between these kids and the sadness of one of them for losing his younger brother and his dedication to find him. However, this movie also sends out a bad message; implying that fat boy will not get the girl while a handsome one will. You will know once you have watched this movie. There is also some unexpected funny scenes throughout the movie. The clown is creepy and without any background knowledge of this story, I would say that it is all just the fear in the mind of these kids (the clown isn’t real?). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘It’ a total of 7.8. Now, this is just Chapter One as revealed at the end of the movie and I’m looking forward to Chapter Two which is going to be set 27 years later when they all turned into adults (of course will have older cast to replace them for those characters). This movie is safe for adults. Warning: just don’t bring kids to watch this. It is going to be a hell for them.

Let’s not talk about the horror stuff anymore. There’s a good news, and it’s about ‘Despicable Me 3’, an animated movie released few months back. The movie became the 31st movie in the history to gross over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. The achievement is accomplished as this week ends. It is now the 6th highest grossing animated film of all time and also the 3rd highest grossing film in 2017. That’s impressive. It is a good news to this movie as it will be out of the worldwide theatres very soon and yet it managed to cross the milestone and join the 1-billion club.

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

Nomination list and my prediction for the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2017 by vincentloy

I was reminded by a person that leaves a comment to me here that the nomination list for the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017 is out and asking me whether I will be writing a post about it and putting in my thoughts and predictions. I didn’t realize that the nomination list is out and it marked the first of the three annual major awards presentation honouring the best of TVB series and programmes (the other two awards that will come later are the TVB Star Awards Malaysia and Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards).

I find that it is a bit too early for Starhub TVB Awards to be held in October every year. This automatically puts those usually better series released in November and December to be placed in contention for the next year’s awards. This is a huge disadvantage to these series. However, in the same time, I find that Hong Kong has been very biased and putting too much of their attention to their anniversary dramas while forgetting other good dramas released in early parts of the year. As for Malaysian voters, they tend to just simply vote for their favourites without really judging wisely which one is truly the best in terms of performance. Pros and cons to these 3 respective awards.

Let’s get back to this coming Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017. It is going to be held on 21 October 2017 and the nomination list is out two days ago. Only Singaporeans are eligible to vote for this awards. Malaysia and Hong Kong citizens will have their turn later on. Here below is my predictions for each categories: (There’s asterisk marks (*) that indicate my top 5 predictions for several categories)

Nomination list for Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017

My Favourite TVB Drama Theme Song:

Sand in Hand – Hana Kuk (My Unfair Lady)
I Would Not Pout – Stephanie Ho (My Unfair Lady)
Walk With You – Kayee Tam (My Unfair Lady) 
King – Hubert Wu (Two Steps from Heaven)
That’s The Way I Am – Nancy Wu (The No No Girl)
Insight – Vincent Wong (Legal Mavericks)
In Front Of Love – Stephanie Ho (Legal Mavericks)
The End Of The World – Fred Cheng (Provocateur)
Trigger On – Ruco Chan (The Unholy Alliance)
Alone – Gallen Lo (Provocateur)
Conquer – Fred Cheng (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Skynet – Pakho Chau (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Forgot Myself – Hana Kuk (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Behave Oneself – Vivian Koo (Line Walker: The Prelude)
After Graduation – Mag Lam (Oh My Grad)

My Pick: Walk With You – Kayee Tam (My Unfair Lady)

Opinion: I hardly remember most of the nominated theme songs above. Looks like ‘My Unfair Lady’ and ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ is overwhelming the list. I have not even heard anything from the latter since the drama is not released yet. So far the most beautiful song this year is ‘Walk With You – Kayee Tam’ that is always playing whenever there is a romantic scene between Vincent Wong and Natalie Tong in ‘My Unfair Lady’.

My Favourite TVB On-Screen Couple:

Tony Hung & Priscilla Wong (Married But Available)
Frankie Lam & Jessica Hester Hsuan (My Unfair Lady)
Vincent Wong & Natalie Tong (My Unfair Lady) *
Ruco Chan & Nancy Wu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Ruco Chan & Rosina Lam (Burning Hands)
Edwin Siu & Priscilla Wong (Two Steps From Heaven) *
Joel Chan & Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Eddie Cheung & Adia Chan (The No No Girl)
Kenneth Ma & Charmaine Sheh (Bet Hur)
Vincent Wong & Ali Lee (Legal Mavericks)
Raymond Cho & Grace Wong (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Matthew Ho & Rebecca Zhu (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)

My Pick: Joel Chan & Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance)

Opinion: I feel like Ruco Chan & Nancy Wu will win this since their relationship is very much hyped now eventhough obviously there is nothing happening between them. Vincent Wong & Natalie Tong may win this too since I remember their romance outshine even that of the main leading pair in ‘My Unfair Lady’, Frankie & Jessica. They missed out Edwin Siu & Kristal Tin pairing in ‘A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch). I prefer this pair to replace Matthew Ho & Rebecca Zhu. Very tough competition.

My Favourite TVB Variety Show Host:

Pauline Lan – Lady First Singapore Season 5
Alice Chan – Wai Gor’s Wok
Tony Hung – Retiring in Paradise
Kenny Wong, Brian Tse, Chris Leung, Mayanna Mak, Alychia Chan, Ashley Chu – Peak to Pit
Benjamin Yuen, Mat Yeung – All Work No Pay Holidays (Series 2)
Lee Ka Ding, Helen Tam – The Ahistoric Grandpa Cooking Show (Series 2)
Samantha Ko, Auston Lam – Chef Minor in Singapore
Maria Cordero, Luk Ho Ming – Good Cheap Eats (Series 6)
Gigi Wong – Eating Well With Madam Wong (Series 3)
King Kong, Kitty Yuen, Jarvis Chow – Neighborhood Gourmet (Series 4)

My Favourite TVB Infotainment Programme:

Big Big World III
Retiring In Paradise
Easy Come, Easy Health
Belt And Road Initiative
Cantoxicating!

My Favourite TVB Variety Programme:

Wellness On The Go Singapore *
Lady First Singapore Season 5 *
Chef Minor In Singapore *
The Ahistoric Grandpa Cooking Show (Series 2)
Spirits On Vacation
Peak To Pit
50 Golden Classics *
Good Cheap Eats (Series 6) *
All Work No Pay Holidays (Series 2)
Side Walk Scientists (Series 5)
TV Awards Presentation 2016
Dinner Ma’s

My Pick: Anything that has ‘Singapore’ name in it.

Opinion; I didn’t watch most of the nominated programmes. I enjoyed watching ‘Spirits On Vacation’ but I don’t think it will have any winning chance. I heard many have been enjoying the ’50 Golden Classics’ particularly in Hong Kong because those classic Hong Kong songs are mostly great (unlike now).

My Favourite TVB Supporting Actress

Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Samantha Ko (My Unfair Lady) 
Katy Kung (Two Steps From Heaven) *
Rebecca Zhu (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Koni Lui (Tiger Mom Blues) *
Alice Chan (Two Steps From Heaven)
Kelly Fu (Burning Hands)
Jacqueline Wong (Provocateur) *
Vivien Yeo (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Tracy Chu (Legal Mavericks) *
Roxanne Tong (The Tofu War)
Jeannie Chan (The No No Girl)

My Pick: Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance)

Opinion: Elaine Yiu shines in her role in ‘The Unholy Alliance’. Her character goes through a lot of things in the series and she nailed it well, particularly the many emotional scenes she had in the series.

My Favourite TVB Supporting Actor

Owen Cheung (Legal Mavericks)
Mat Yeung (My Dearly Sinful Mind) *
Hugo Ng (Burning Hands) *
Jonathan Cheung (The Tofu War) *
Luk Wing (Two Steps From Heaven)
Joel Chan (The Unholy Alliance) *
Eddie Kwan (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Kenny Wong (Dead Wrong)
James Ng (Destination Nowhere)
Benz Hui (Line Walker: The Prelude) *

My Pick: Joel Chan (The Unholy Alliance)

Opinion: This should be Joel’s year. He has been impressive in these few years and many even said he outshined Ruco Chan in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ so far. He has improved significantly and I have no doubt seeing him taking on lead roles in the future.

My Favourite TVB Female Character

Jessica Hester Hsuan as Ling Man (My Unfair Lady)
Natalie Tong as Ling Yu-ken (My Unfair Lady) *
Nancy Wu as Yuen Ching-yan (The Unholy Alliance) *
Priscilla Wong as Koo Shing-seung (Two Steps From Heaven)
Rosina Lam as Ho Ching-fa (Burning Hands)
Elena Kong as Cha Heung-sin (Tiger Mom Blues) *
Ali Lee as Wong Lai-fan (Legal Mavericks)
Grace Wong as Guo Cian / Wong Yi-san (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Sisley Choi as Chiu Ching-mui (Legal Mavericks)
Samantha Ko as Tian Mi (My Unfair Lady)
Kristal Tin as Fong Wai-chi (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Adia Chan as Law Lai-ching (The No No Girl)
Charmaine Sheh as Sze Shiu-tung (Bet Hur)
Alice Chan as Koo Shing-fun (Two Steps From Heaven)
Katy Kung as Carmen Ching Sze-Yue (Two Steps from Heaven) *
Tracy Chu as Tai Tin-yan (Legal Mavericks)
Moon Lau as Emma Yip Yip (Two Steps From Heaven)
Mandy Wong as Lung Lai-sa (Nothing Special Force)
Rebecca Zhu as Fong Wai-ling (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Elaine Yiu as Kate Wai Yee-yau (The Unholy Alliance)

My Pick: All 6 names above with asterisks (*).

Opinion: Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards presented this award to 6 characters last year unlike in Hong Kong’s awards when there is only one winner. I didn’t watch ‘Two Steps From Heaven’ but I picked Katy Kung because she is lauded last year for her crying scene that led to her winning Best Supporting Actress in last year’s Hong Kong awards. Anyway, I’m still having doubt of that and Ali Lee, Elaine Yiu or Tracy Chu may steal that spot from her.

My Favourite TVB Male Character

Ruco Chan as Ko Tsz-kit (The Unholy Alliance) *
Raymond Cho as Zuo Guang-dao / Fung Yat-bo (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Bosco Wong as Chun Sing-hoi (Two Steps From Heaven)
Edwin Siu as Yuen Chong-huan / Wan Tai-kwan (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Frankie Lam as Man Nim-sum (My Unfair Lady)
Benjamin Yuen as Chui Tin-tong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Pakho Chau as Lok Siu-fung (Line Walker: The Prelude) 
Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (Line Walker: The Prelude) 
Moses Chan as Sit Ding-kap (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Vincent Wong as Man Sun-hop (Legal Mavericks) *
Kenneth Ma as Chung Tai-yin (My Dearly Sinful Mind) *
Wayne Lai as Kong Sheung-hung / Kazuo Suzuki (No Reserve)
Tony Hung as Au Yeung Tsz-chung (Married But Available)
Mat Yeung as Tung Yat (My Dearly Sinful Mind)
Owen Cheung as Kuk Yat-ha (Legal Mavericks)
Raymond Wong as Cheung Chin-pok (Married But Available)
Eddie Cheung as Chong Fu-ho (The No No Girl)
Joel Chan as Ling Tsin-yau (The Unholy Alliance) *
Chris Lai as Wong Siu-ming (The Tofu War)
Wong Cho-lam as Choi Sum (Oh My Grad) *
Matthew Ho as Li Jin-zhong/ Li Siu-tung (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Roger Kwok as Wai yat-sing (Dead Wrong) 

My Pick: All 6 names above with asterisks (*).

Opinion: Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards presented this award to 6 characters last year unlike in Hong Kong’s awards when there is only one winner. ‘Oh My Grad’ isn’t released yet but I think Wong Cho-lam is going to be super funny again and that would make his character easily likable. I didn’t pick anyone from ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ because I have less expectations from it. Usually a TVB prequel or sequel isn’t doing well and putting in so many new major cast in the drama isn’t helping either.

My Favourite TVB Leading Actress

Kristal Tin (Destination Nowhere) *
Jessica Hester Hsuan (My Unfair Lady)
Nancy Wu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Elena Kong (Tiger Mom Blues) *
Nancy Sit (The Tofu War)
Ada Choi (Oh My Grad)
Rosina Lam (Burning Hands)
Grace Wong (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Ali Lee (Legal Mavericks)
Adia Chan (The No No Girl)
Nina Paw (The Unholy Alliance) *
Mandy Wong (Nothing Special Force)
Sisley Choi (Legal Mavericks)
Charmaine Sheh (Bet Hur)
Niki Chow (Rogue Emperor)
Priscilla Wong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Myolie Wu (No Reserve)
Natalie Tong (My Unfair Lady)

My Pick: Kristal Tin (Destination Nowhere)

Opinion: There is no other performance this year so far that can surpass Kristal’s acting in ‘Destination Nowhere’ even when you place the males into the picture as well. She is exceptional and handled the challenging role very well. The dark horse in this category would be Grace Wong and Nina Paw. Nina Paw is a Film Queen and she did a wonderful job in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ too. How about Nancy Wu that been winning a lot of Best Actress awards in recent years? Well, her role in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ is poorly written. She has the skill but the role didn’t need her to do much.

My Favourite TVB Leading Actor

Bosco Wong (Two Steps From Heaven) *
Roger Kwok (Dead Wrong) *
Kenneth Ma (My Dearly Sinful Mind) *
Ruco Chan (The Unholy Alliance) *
Frankie Lam (My Unfair Lady)
Edwin Siu (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Gallen Lo (Provocateur)
Vincent Wong (Legal Mavericks) *
Ben Wong (Nothing Special Force)
Eddie Cheung (The No No Girl)
Tony Hung (Married But Available)
Moses Chan (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Chris Lai (The Tofu War)
Pakho Chau (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Benjamin Yuen (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Wayne Lai (No Reserve)
Kevin Cheng (Destination Nowhere)
Michael Miu (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Matthew Ho (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Raymond Cho (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)

My Pick: Roger Kwok (Dead Wrong)

Opinion: Roger Kwok is great in that series and there is no particular impressive acting by the other males in the dramas this year so far. Ruco Chan is no longer getting his winning streak because his performance in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ is ordinary so far.

My Favourite TVB Drama

Two Steps From Heaven
Burning Hands
Destination Nowhere *
My Dearly Sinful Mind
My Unfair Lady
Tiger Mom Blues
A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch *
The Unholy Alliance *
Legal Mavericks *
Line Walker: The Prelude *
Oh My Grad
Dead Wrong
Provocateur
The No No Girl
Bet Hur
The Tofu War
Married But Available
Nothing Special Force
My Lover From The Planet Meow
No Reserve

My Pick: The Unholy Alliance

Opinion: So far, the best series of the year that I have watched is ‘The Unholy Alliance’. It has suspense in every episodes, it has cool actions, some exciting characters, has engaging and fast-paced storyline, and has great cast. I don’t understand why there are some harsh critics that pan the drama. After the top 5 listed above, my next 5 picks would be ‘Two Steps From Heaven’, ‘Tiger Mom Blues’, ‘My Dearly Sinful Mind’, ‘Dead Wrong’ and ‘Burning Hands’.

Once you look at the nominees above, you will notice that most TVB anniversary dramas have been left out as they have not been released yet. Hence, the result of this Singapore awards usually differ with that of Hong Kong and Malaysia. And there are no public voting for ‘Most Improved TVB Artiste’ or ‘Best New TVB Artiste’.

(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)