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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)

 

 

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TVB drama review for ‘Lord of Shanghai’ (2015).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Lord of Shanghai’ (梟雄) is a 2015 Hong Kong television pre-modern period drama by TVB, and it is the last of the four anniversary series marking the 48th birthday of the television station this year. It is also a grand production featuring heavyweight casts that include Anthony Wong (film king), Kent Tong (one of five ‘tigers’ of TVB in 1980s), Wayne Lai (triple TV king) taking on main roles accompanied by many supporting roles portrayed by Kenneth Ma, Myolie Wu, Ron Ng, Alice Chan, Louis So, Jade Leung, Eddie Kwan, Natalie Tong, Pierre Ngo, Lau Kong, etc. The drama with a total of 32 episodes is set in 1930’s divided Shanghai when many troubles hit and tells the story of three powerful business tycoons who are friends and also enemies within themselves. The story is loosely based on real people (the 3 tycoons) and events in Shanghai around that particular decade.

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When I first heard of the development of this drama about a year ago, I was very excited because Anthony Wong is in it. He had won multiple best actor and supporting actor nods in past film awards and it would be refreshing and cool to see him in small screen now (television). This is also Kent Tong’s first drama in 30 years. The storyline of the drama which is revealed not long ago also further put me in a position to anticipate desperately for it. Time flies. The series has now ended with the broadcast of its final episode just now. Maybe I came in with high expectation, and so in the end, I think the series is just good overall with nothing truly breathtaking as expected earlier. Even the ending is a bit ordinary but still a good conclusion to this drama.

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Before the drama began few weeks ago, this drama somehow reminds me of ‘Rosy Business’ and its unrelated sequel ‘No Regrets’, the two highly successful series few years back. However, ‘Lord of Shanghai’ failed to live up to the quality found in that two mentioned dramas despite having a huge cast of professional actors and actresses. The storyline is good but I’m slightly disappointed that there aren’t much climax-reaching parts in this drama. I remembered I enjoyed watching ‘Rosy Business’ very much because it has intense scenes in almost every episodes and I don’t find it here in ‘Lord of Shanghai’ to my surprise. I felt emotionless watching the series besides than enjoying the great performances by the cast. I’m only slightly more interested on the major flashback scenes depicting Kiu Ngo-tin in his younger days and how he eventually chosen the path to be a mean tycoon.

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Yes…the cast helped a lot on the series. Everyone from the major to minor characters contributed very well to the drama. Anthony Wong delivered subtle expressions and is very convincing as the main lead of the drama. His expressions are very minimal but displayed a lot of emotions. The only thing I’m not fine of him is his usage of Shanghai accent sometimes in his dialogues while no one else do the same. Wayne Lai on the other hand used exaggerated approach to convey his role as the main villain of the story. Some people disliked his overly done expressions but I think that is what best for his role and he nailed it. Kent Tong’s character is a bit overshadowed by Anthony and Wayne. Alice Chan who resembles the late Anita Mui is also very good as Sister Kwai Sang. This is my first time seeing her and she is already that good. As for Kenneth Ma, first I was annoyed by the dubbing of his voice by other actor (why not use his original voice?) but his exceptional acting as the young Kiu Ngo-tin had me forgetting the voice. Ron Ng is given an ordinary role that turned evil out of sudden in the last one and a half episode that means nothing to me.

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The theme song named ‘Regretless’ by Alfred Hui is a good song to listen to and the score matches quite well to the series. In this drama, we also get to see many scenes depicting Shanghai back in 1930s and it do bring us back to that particular era, getting us more engaged to the setting of the story. Expected since it is a grand production. Overall, the series is still interesting to watch with top-notch acting performances and solid plot. However, in my personal opinion, ‘Captain of Destiny’ is still the best series in 2015 while ‘Lord of Shanghai’ is only my no.2 this year as the former surprised me in many ways while the latter ended up being just good and nothing spectacular. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Lord of Shanghai’ a total of 7.8. I still think this series is going to be the biggest competitor alongside with ‘Captain of Destiny’ for Best Series award in TVB Anniversary Awards next month. Let’s see which one will win…’Captain of Destiny’ had already won in Singapore and Malaysia. I guess Hong Kong one will be for ‘Lord of Shanghai’. What’s your thought on this? You can share it in the comment section below.

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

Just finished ‘Master of Destiny’, a Hong Kong joint China TV drama.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2015 by vincentloy

風雲天地 (Master of Destiny) is a Hong Kong joint China television drama created by famous Hong Kong director Wong Jing. At China of which it is aired earlier, the series has a total of 40 episodes as per information from its wikipedia page. However, we in Malaysia (also for Hong Kong) get to watch the version of the series that has only 32 episodes (8 episodes shorter) and the series had just ended with its finale yesterday.

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When this series was at the early planning stage, I’m very excited by news reporting that award-winning actress Deanie Ip will be heading huge list of famous cast in this series helmed by director Wong Jing. Kenneth Ma will also be in the cast. However, both Deanie and Kenneth dropped out and Liza Wang and Edwin Siu were brought in to replace them. Lesser impressive cast, but I would still watch it because it’s refreshing to see a drama by Wong Jing whom is famous for producing brainless yet funny movies back in the 90s.

The series chronicles the rise and the eventual hardships of the affluent Cho family from Hong Kong, which eventually, they fight the corruption that reeks inside their family while being entangled in various troubled relationships. The series starred Liza Wang, Angie Chiu, Hawick Lau, Kenny Wong, Edwin Siu, Kimmy Tong, Natalie Meng, Monica Mok, etc. I thought Angie Chiu, a great veteran actress would have a heavy role here, but in the end, she is more of a minor supporting role only. I thought I would see more of her after her last TVB drama ‘Point of No Return’ 12 years ago that I have watched. Anyway, she is still amazingly beautiful at her current age of 60.

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I decided to watch this series because of its kind of storyline. Revolving on a wealthy family with a huge business background would means a lot of quarrels, scheming and dramas. This series had all that but they are not up to my preferred way or style. There are too many story developments that are not making any sense; the villain (Song Chi Wah) can have so many money on ‘buying’ all the people around on helping to achieve her evil plans like she had nothing else to do besides that, the good girls being too naive (or I should say dumb) for the boys they blindly love, etc. And the thing that I don’t like is the dubbing. Well, I have to get over with it since it is a joint production and it involves cast from mainland China.

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Liza Wang, is as usual, good on her lead role as the tough mother to the family. This year, we saw her in ‘Limelight Years’ and in this one and she was awesome in both of the series. A hardworking veteran actress with solid acting. Hawick Lau is getting more popular now but I think his acting is still not excellent. Just average. Even Kenny Wong and Edwin Siu (as his brothers in the series) were better than him in terms of performances. Also average level of performances by the girls (mostly China’s actresses in this series). I would like to praise Selena Li who portrays the younger version of Liza Wang’s character in the series. She is absolutely fantastic especially in her emotionally-heavy and crying scenes. She should be more acknowledged by TVB by now.

The title of the series suggests something epic, intense and dramatic but the series couldn’t really pull it off especially with the non-engaging storyline and draggy developments as it progresses. I felt bored and uninterested in most of the episodes. I’m left slightly disappointed and now I’m glad the series is over. The happy ending still could not save much of the troubled content of the drama. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Master of Destiny’ a total of 6.8.

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

Gilded Chopsticks; my review to this food-themed palace drama.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2014 by vincentloy

‘Gilded Chopsticks’ is a 2014 palace drama by Hong Kong’s TVB that starred Wong Cho Lam, Ben Wong, Nancy Wu, Joey Meng, Louis Cheung, etc. The 25-episodes series follows the adventures of a lazy but gifted “golden-tongued” imperial chef Ko Tin-po (Cho Lam), whose clumsy activities lead him to befriend Emperor Yongzheng (Ben Wong).

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This drama somehow reminds me of another TVB series produced over a decade ago which sets in a dynasty and revolves around food and palatial chefs. The drama had Bobby Au-yeung in it. I couldn’t remember more. Of course, this ‘Gilded Chopsticks’ is on similar theme but with different storytelling. This 2014 drama tend to focus more on the political fight while Cho Lam’s character as the chef only acts to support the development of the main story and also to put a little comedic touch here and there. Quite a vital role also.

I am also surprised of how the story had Tin-po met Yin-Zhen (4th prince) before his innocence and kind heart helped the latter to rise to the throne over the rival, 8th prince. A very interesting plot to keep us engaged all along. Due to that particular emphasis in the plot, I find the need to look into more food-related issues. Perhaps, adding few more episodes to this drama with inclusion of more of such content would make it much better and stays true to the food theme.

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The casts generally did a very good work here. I felt like ‘Inbound Troubles’ (a successful modern drama last year) was transported few hundred years back to Manchu-led Qing dynasty for this ‘Gilded Chopsticks’ because most of the casts from the former were here (Cho Lam, Joey Meng, Louis Cheung, May Chan, etc). Looking at Stephanie’s role as Mai Siu-yu here reminded me of Ivana Wong’s character from ‘Inbound Troubles’ too. Their first acting role, and some may find them performed very well, while some may get annoyed easily by the over-acting and fake expression. I’m on the latter side. Ben Wong contributed another outstanding performance here too as the 4th prince and later as the emperor. Also not to forget Power Chan’s great performance in the first few episodes.

Whenever Cho Lam is around, there must be many hilarious scenes going around. Yes. I’m happy he is here. But I had something in mind that Cho Lam’s acting couldn’t excel any further. Anyway, I had just watched its’ ending and I’m quite satisfied. The only bit of disappointment is that I can see TVB is trying to pull off some unpredictable twists particularly when the series nears its end, but it is quite obvious to know what they are planning. Hence, in the end, there is still no surprise or shock. But I still appreciate the effort on doing so to get things more interesting and climax-reaching. Generally, this is one of the very few good dramas by TVB in recent time. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Gilded Chopsticks’ a total of 7.4.

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

Return of Dayo Wong in ‘Bounty Lady’ series

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by vincentloy

‘Bounty Lady’ is a TVB series that centered on Kwong Nam, a public relations genius whom is known to help single ladies to find their Mr. Rights. However, he himself is single and would rather pursue short-term relationship until he met his new colleague, Fa Lui. It is a modern comedy production of 20 episodes that stars Dayo Wong, Kate Tsui, Sharon Chan, Benz Hui, Louis Yuen, Elena Kong, etc. This is the last TVB series for year 2013 that I had watched, and it ended the year with pretty good TV rating and positive feedbacks.

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I’m always looking forward to Dayo Wong’s work and his return in ‘Bounty Lady’ is certainly refreshing and welcoming. I recalled his great comedic spark with Dodo Cheng at ‘War of the Genders’, a critically-acclaimed series in 2000. His previous involvement was in 2009 on ‘You’re Hired’ with Charmaine Sheh. He was also good in 2004’s ‘To Catch The Uncatchable’ and 2007’s ‘Men Don’t Cry’. And can you guess how old is he now? I couldn’t believe he is now 53 years old. And I do see that he ages in ‘Bounty Lady’.

Let’s get back to this particular series that I had completed watching over a week ago. I do expect many hilarious scenes from this series. Some are really interesting and gave us a good laugh. However, there are also some that are a bit awkward, too exaggerated and forcefully put off. Dayo is always promising on delivering comedic stuff, but I would wish to highlight on the effort by the supporting casts on doing so, particularly Benz Hui, Elena Kong, Grace Wong, May Chan and the girl that portrayed ‘Laura’, Kwong Nam’s ex-girlfriend whom is the show-stealer in the final few episodes. All the casts did very well on their roles, and I can see Kate Tsui had proven herself to be a solid actress with his first comedy role here.

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This series only had 20 episodes and so things are a bit rushed, but the plot is still carried out well with all the characters properly developed and had its own interesting side to present to audiences. As for the drama’s theme song, I prefer the second theme, sang by Sharon Chan over the first one sang by Dayo. The second one had more feel to it. This light-hearted drama is generally entertaining and interesting eventhough there are still some parts that I couldn’t put my attention into. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bounty Lady’ a total of 7.0. Comparing this to Dayo’s former works, I prefer his previous ones that are more outstanding and appealing. This is rather slightly plain and ‘short’ of excitement.

Nevertheless, a big congratulations to Dayo Wong for winning the Best Leading Actor and Benz Hui for the Best Supporting Actor in TVB Anniversary Awards 2013 last month for their roles here eventhough it is a bit surprising, especially when Dayo Wong was not even present at the ceremony. But they do delivered great job in ‘Bounty Lady’ and should be recognised too.

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

HK drama review: Inbound Troubles (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2013 by vincentloy

This very much favourable Hong Kong drama had its finale two weeks ago, but I only managed to finish the whole series up just now since I’m off for a long break oversea during the Chinese New Year holiday. Now, it’s time to sum up on what my thought over this drama is. The series tells the story of a tour guide (Roger Kwok), whom had a travel company with his long-time girlfriend, and was in last few months in state of bankruptcy. He then encounters several issues, like betrayals from his best friend and his fiancee, meeting new friends and relatives, and problems in marriage and family.

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The drama starred Roger Kwok, Wong Cho Lam (first time as male lead too), Joey Meng, Ivana Wong, Angela Tong, Helena Law, Mimi Chu, and several others who are mostly new to most of us (which is good as we get to see new fresh faces with talents). Roger Kwok certainly did a usual good job in acting. For Cho Lam, this is his first role as a male lead here and I admire his effort in contribution to this drama. Besides than acting, he also contributed to the scriptwriting for parts of the story to make it much more creative, fresh and comedic. Yes, I can see it. The script is very well produced and he equally balanced out every character’s portion in this series without emphasizing too much on his own role too. For Joey Meng, it’s been a long time since her famous role in My Date with a Vampire, and I think she needs improvement, but still okay overall. Ivana Wong was seriously looking too fake in acting. She should go back to her singing path. Her crying and attitude of pretending to be cute is annoying sometimes as seen in this drama.

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The story introduces us to the tour guiding job by Roger with his best friend and his long time girlfriend. Then, as the series progresses, there is nothing much concerning their job anymore which I find a bit disappointing. It’s a waste. There can be a lot of potential for the development to the story that surrounds the tour leader job but they didn’t explore it. Instead, the story runs elsewhere to singing (to suit Ivana most probably), fashion (as obvious on Ivana’s former boyfriend), and others unnecessary stuff. Yes, this drama is very relaxing and sometime entertaining, but I find there isn’t any focus or strength it is going to. And then, there is nothing exciting I watched from every episodes of this drama. Well, there are some touching moments, but this series needs some climax, man.

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It goes plain all the way, only to be saved by Cho Lam’s comedic dialogues and appearance. But to be honest, I still don’t like him. I am still wondering how come this series obtained such positive and mostly favourable reviews from the audiences. Yes, it’s quite a good comedy drama, but I don’t see any reason this drama could get that much of praise. Anyway, it’s a light-hearted and peaceful 20-episodes long drama of family, love and friendship (as so usual in every dramas) added only with some great humors. That’s it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Inbound Troubles’ a total of 7.2.

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

 

Wedding of the year: Lee Chong Wei with Wong Mew Choo on 9th and 10th November 2012

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2012 by vincentloy

Lee Chong Wei, the world number one men single badminton player and national icon was finally tying the knot with his girlfriend, Wong Mew Choo early this month. A big congratulation to both of them! Lee Chong Wei first announced few months earlier that he had planned to marry soon probably by next year. However, the wedding is brought earlier as one of Wong Mew Choo’s relatives had passed away recently and she had to marry within 100 days or wait three more years. Not to waste anymore time while not breaking the Chinese tradition, both of them then decided to tie the knot in November.

 

(Image source: http://www.alifebe.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Dato-Lee-Chong-Wei4.jpg)

They first met in 2001 when they were not popular and only perform as the back up national badminton team. Then, Lee Chong Wei rise to occasion after winning multiple titles and then ranked world number one player. Mew Choo on the other hand, manage to perform quite well too, particularly winning the China Open in a year. Then, she retired from badminton, but still remains by the side of Lee Chong Wei, giving him support no matter where he is competing at. Both of them had gone through a long 11 years in ups and downs, with even report of them breaking up in 2009. But fate reunited them together, and the bond between them grew stronger ever since then.

Lee Chong Wei reached 30 years of age and it’s certainly time for him to start his own family after enjoying many years of success in badminton. However, he will not stop on his career, but would continue on his pursuit for more titles, particularly eyeing on World Championships, Asian Games, and Olympic Games that he had never won before. It is reported that he will be back on court on upcoming Hong Kong Open and Macau Open in the end of this month. Hence, he mentioned that he would spend his honeymoon with his newly wed wife later.

The wedding of the year, is held in two days on November 9th and 10th, 2012. The wedding is of course organized in a very grand and spectacular scale as Chong Wei is the national icon and the two-days events would also be broadcast live to all Malaysians who are excited to watch a bit of their wedding despite not included in guest list. The first day of wedding dinner at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre saw the presence of the King and Queen, the Prime Minister and his deputy, as well as many other officials, ministers and corporates. Wow…so you see how high profile Chong Wei is. Today’s dinner which is at the same venue, would then be dedicated to the family members, relatives and close friends.

 

(Image source: http://www.miricitysharing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Lee-Chong-Wei-Wedding-Photo-set-1.jpg)

Earlier, both of them have taken lovely wedding images at Sepang Gold Coast Golden Palm Tree Resort. And this is my first time seeing pictures of Chong Wei in formal attire and he certainly looks good on it. On the other hand, Mew Choo looks impressive with her gown on and the picturesque background certainly enhances the images. Anyway, congratulation again to Lee Chong Wei and Wong Mew Choo on their marriage. Their wedding is no doubt the nation’s wedding of the year.