"Will the kid die? Will Ching Foong and Sam Yuen ever get back together again? Will Sam Yuen ever get out of the jinx mode? Will Ying Ji and Siu Sang get together at last? Will Siu Sang ever find a woman who will actually marry him? Will this series ever stop?"
No. of Episodes
Ada Choi-Wai Ying Ji
Bobby Au Yeung-Chan Siu Sang
Marco Ngai-Ching Foong
Joyce Tang-Chan Sam Yuen
Har Yu-Wai Ying Hoong
Ellesmerre Choi Chi Kin-Wing Siu Kai
And the rest you really don't need to know.
A never ending saga of women bearing arms in the police force .... wait! It's no longer that! So basically, it's a never ending saga of women and men in the police force is more like it. Same concept as in AR 1 but more drama, more tragedy, more love, more people, more action, more of everything except for originality.
Starts of where AR2 left off, minus the much greatly missed Esther Kwan as Chu So Ngor, who didn't die but left (the real person left TVB, the character left HK and married a doctor). But in place of Sister Ngor, we have a young and up and coming Wai Ying Ji who works in the traffic department, under the much detested Chan Sam Yuen who now heads the traffic department. Wai is a bit like Sam Yuen, except she's a bit smarter and a whole lot more calmer. Anyway, life continues for Sam Yuen who has twin (Kaka and Sasa) and enjoys a loving relationship with a man we all want as our husband, Ching Foong who is still the head of the "Heavy Crime" Department. Siu Sang is still in his old job as head of the Special Task Unit. Basically everybody is still the same, just a tiny bit older.
Siu Sang and Ying Ji who started on a very bad note ended up as close friends when Ying Ji was transferred to Siu Sang's department after a very irresponsible action undertaken by our aspiring top cop on wheels. But life starts anew in that department and soon she grew to love her job as an undercover prostitute. After a while, Siu Sang realises he could let go of Sister Ngor and begins to have feelings for Ying Ji, who in turn has a major crush on a guy she just met, that is the suave, rich, young, nice guy Mr Wing Siu Kai whom we all know will do something horribly bad because then how could Ying Ji end up with Siu Sang as the opening credits so stupidly revealed? What was the horribly bad thing? Our hero, Wing Siu Kai is the youngest son of the second wife who has no position in the family, having no respect by his older brother who hated him and a father who favours the oldest son for no apparent reason, our hero tried to find his footing in the big bad world of commercial business and gain daddy's favour. But essentially he's a good guy in choosing his own great destiny and that includes love. Not even his disapproving father or bad mouthing sister in law could stop his love for Ying Ji and finally, out of sheer honesty, Ying Ji won the heart of his strict but loving father. Everybody was happy, right up until our hero's personal pet project which involves creating and marketing some slimming pills was actually a fluke. He knew the product was no good, but desperate to gain approval of his family, he went on to see the pills to disastrous results. He changed the accounting records and thought he could get away by repackaging the product and re selling it under a different name. But one girl who fancies him found out and used it to threaten him for what else but sex and marriage, which our guy reluctantly gives, except for marriage part. Ying Ji who couldn't understand his sudden secretive and coldness turned to Siu Sang for comfort, whilst hoping all would end up well. But it unfortunately didn't. One unintended murder and burying the dead body later, our guy suddenly proposes to Ying Ji in a very public way, but by then Ying Ji who knew of his indiscretions with that woman (but not knowing he killed her) was angry enough to reject his proposal, until his father who was very sick had a chat with her and she agreed, not for love but for duty. Siu Sang rushed in time to stop the wedding and well, basically good guys turn bad guys go to jail and the good guys who remain as good guys get the good girls.
As for Sam Yuen, worse things couldn't have happened to her. Raped in AR2 and left emotionally scarred, she picked up the pieces but never really let go. Girls were again raped and murdered and she suspected foul play. It turns out that the psycho who raped her, now rotting in jail and deep in bible studies was giving instructions to some nutcase out there to punish women who he deems to be morally unsatisfactory. Guess what? Sam Yuen took the bait, ran after our bad guy and left her son all alone to be kidnapped, abducted, imprisoned and ultimately murdered, with his small body in a suitcase. Ching Foong could not forgive his wife nor trust her with their only remaining child, and they were on the verge of divorce when history repeats itself and this time Sasa was kidnapped and held at gun point (if I remembered correctly).
Will the kid die? Will Ching Foong and Sam Yuen ever get back together again? Will Sam Yuen ever get out of the jinx mode? Will Ying Ji and Siu Sang get together at last? Will Siu Sang ever find a woman who will actually marry him? Will this series ever stop?
I can give you the answer to the last question.
As of now, there are rumours of AR4 and mind you, more deaths are coming. The rest you have to figure it out yourself and to save you the trouble, the answers are No, Yes, Not Really (because AR4 Ching Foong will die) and Yes (but no marriage yet).
Will they ever stop? I watched this on TV, and the idea that there is no Esther Kwan was a bit hard to accept since I really like watching her Chu So Ngor. And of course we would have to have someone else, big sister of TVB, Ada Choi. Frankly, was this series any good or better than its predecessors?
Frankly, yes to AR2 but no to AR1. Everybody looks tired in here, and I feel tired watching the same old thing. The only appeal of this series is to watch how the relationship of Sam Yuen and Ching Foong progresses. Other than that, you have the obligatory new girl, the obligatory nice guy turned villain and some obligatory best friends becoming lovers.
Can best friends ever become lovers? In TVB world, 100% yes, and all the time and this is getting boring. Ellesmere Choi as Wing Siu Kai has been again sidelined to a role that deserves a better ending. I pitied his character. But what to do? You can't win Bobby Au Yeung.
The one character that deserves to die for the sake of something new is Chan Siu Sang. Whilst I like Bobby's performance, his character has become a bit stale. For one, his character has been given a new position in the police force which defies logic.
First of all, he is a ballistic/gun/ammunition expert in AR1, who is in a department of his very own, a class of his own, a legend and a likeable guy who loves guns. This is what makes AR1 different and refreshing. We have women trying to have the right to carry a gun in the police force, and in a way this is what the AR franchise is all about. But by AR2, all become a distant memory and in AR3, no mention at all of such basic original premise. Siu Sang becomes head of Special Task Force and that to me is a demotion. Imagine an FBI profiler made to head an investigation unit which does not utilise his talent and his expertise. I mean this is a sore point of the series and to me a very unforgivable mistake which killed the credibility of this series.
Then of course we have a really wrong casting decision.
If you want Ada Choi in this series acting as a mid 20s young rookie cop, the for goodness sake, find an older woman to be her step mom (Hong Wah looks so much younger than Ada Choi) or find an older actress to play Chan Sam Yuen (Joyce Tang looked like a young girl in uniform). Ada Choi is way past the age to play young reckless optimistic girls, more so a rookie cop. Whilst she gave a credible performance, I can't stop looking at her thin frame and dare I say, wrinkles.
But that's not as bad as the characterisation of Chan Sam Yuen, the constant source of irritation for me. Whilst I enjoy Joyce Tang's performance, her character irritates me. An overbearing mother (who of course expected only the best from her children), a bad wife (who never really understands her husband), a failure of a cop (who really has no natural instincts as a cop) and definitely the ultimate bad mother (she does not abuse her child, but left her child all alone to pursue a criminal and what happened? The child ends up dead). Of course there are many things we can't blame her, after all she too is a grieving mother, but like Ching Foong, we find it easier to forgive the brother of the rapist and the instigator who influenced the other nutcase to kill the child than to forgive the mother for one simple reason; as a cop, as a mother she did something which she should never have done; leaving her child unprotected. She is an emotional woman, an even more emotional cop pretending to be an authoritative person. I can't believe how anybody could respect this woman as a mom and as a leader when she failed so terribly in all that! But of course, like Ching Foong, we find it in our hearts to forgive her, because we all know she too lost a child. Quite unfair to put the blame on her but she is the easiest to blame. I still dislike her character though but then, can't quite hate her.
Of course there are other minor irritating elements in this series which really doesn't compute in my mind.
The same old stuff like the basis of a future loving relationship starts always on friendship and nothing else. Very rarely do I see passion as the basis, it's always best friends. Someone you can talk to, cry to, run to for protection...you know like you run to your mom or dad. That is so boring. Could be quite true but I have yet to see a modern TVB series which depicts love beginning from a real passion, sustained by romance and fueled on by real undying love. I am sure there are some things you can tell your best friend but not your lover/spouse.
Then there's of course the obligatory sisterly love between two women, namely Sam Yuen and Ying Ji. In HK, it's lovely to know you can be best buddies with your boss, which is not very true everywhere else. You can talk back to your boss (to depict an opinionated mind which reflects true character), defy your bosses' instructions (to depict personal strength and a smart mind, and best of all your boss admits own mistake which is very rare in real life) and best of all, you end up like sisters with your boss. What then would this relationship be when you make a huge mistake and your boss has to bear it? Never seen this in TVB modern series, and it would be interesting wouldn't it, to see such dramatic rift in a perfect relationship?
Then there's the obligatory car chase scenes, motorbike chase scenes (where we have an obligatory sub plot whereby our heroine, Ying Ji so happens to be an ace on wheels), plenty of big stuff with little soul.
But one of the nicest thing and freshest plot in this series is actually the fact that our good guy, Wing Siu Kai turned bad guy admits to his wrongdoings in a jiffy becomes a good guy all over again. I suspected it as such since the series was entering it's 30th episode, got to end it all, real fast. And so ends the potential good guy turn bad guy turn really mean bad guy. Which is refreshing and yet to darn boring. The second element which I like is that however strong the women may be in this series, in the end they have weak moments. Ying Ji loves terribly but is in a dilemma because she doesn't understand him. Sam Yuen is prone to bad luck...make that really bad luck. And I do really like Ching Foong. He is to me the ideal husband, friend, colleague and boss. Certainly, Sam Yuen doesn't deserve such a man. Hopefully Marco Ngai is such a man.
Too few but those that I shall mention below are those either heart tugging, funny or generally entertaining.
When the whole gang saw the dead body of Kaka, the facial expression of Marco Ngai's Ching Foong was both tremendously sad (to the point of "WHY?!?!??!?!?!" screaming out of my mouth) and anti-climatic (because I saw it all in the opening credits, so no suspense there).
When Ching Foong refused to forgive Sam Yuen and basically gave her a very hard time.
One of the best scene would be when Ching Foong went to Pao, telling him no one should be blamed for Kaka's death, and that man just looked at him and asked, "What about your wife?". I thought that was a very good scene, poignant, sad and at the same time very frustrating because you can forgive the brother of the man who ordered another to kill your beloved son but you can't forgive your wife, the mother of the dead child. It's frustrating though we all know Sam Yuen probably deserved the silent treatment.
The scene where Ying Ji sat alone, crying, blowing the whistle which Siu Sang gave her and she was crying , because she saw Wing Siu Kai with another woman and she blew the whistle and sadly and tearfully asked where is Siu Sang when she needs him. Quite pitiful actually.
Ying Ji and Siu Sang's dance lessons, very funny.
Basically, there are three that made me cringe, stupefied and scratching my head, in that particular order.
One was when both Ying Ji and Wing Siu Kai was lovey dovey in a very quiet restaurant, and they were chatting happily about some trick questions on animals (can't remember exactly what was said). It was a fine scene, showing how close they're and then of course the questions went on and on and on and on, until the background music was over and had to restart again, the camera having slowly zoomed out and had to zoom back in again, and on and on and on. Of course the actors did a fine job at portraying lovers but must it go on and on and on and on and on like this sentence of mine?
Of course then there's this really ridiculous small plot about Pao Ding Tin's little psycho brother (the one who raped Sam Yun in AR2) now in jail (shouldn't he be in a mental hospital? Or maybe he is but maybe I didn't quite catch that) communicating with this other guy whose name I won't bother to remember. Quite ingenious you know, communicating with each other through Bible ala Red Dragon except Hannibal was communicating with the Red Dragon using a cookbook. But then you begin to wonder;
One guy isn't so smart, he's just a tiny bit smarter and talks in a lower voice when he became the other psycho self. The other guy isn't smart at all. How then they know something like Morse code? Is it like eating where it's inborn? I thought that was so silly. And the police tried to trap this guy who was flashing lights at our Pao and we all know he's on top of the roof. But the police can't find him, leaving frustrated but hey! He's just lying low on top there! Don't they check every corner or they expect the criminal to wave at them in their face?
Now finally this is one really confusing element. Let me refresh your memory a tiny bit;
Ying Ji is supposed to be a young girl who loves being a policewoman. Naturally she would have read a thing or two about legends of the police force, or maybe she doesn't read at all. Who knows? Anyway, we all know Siu Sang is a legend. He became an ammunition/gun/ballistic expert when he hurt his leg arresting the criminal of the century (in TVB that is). Everybody respects him and it was very funny in AR1 when he turns out to be such a whiny guy. We expect macho man you see. But then Ying Ji didn't recognise him which would be ridiculous because that arrest of the century happened not too long ago. She feigned shock, surprised that the man she so disliked could be a legend, a hero to most police force. And I find that so hard to believe! She should know but she didn't. The writers tried to make her look smart and clever in handling matters albeit in a rash way BUT this one very sore point makes me feel Ying Ji ain't so smart after all. In fact she was ignorant.
Then of course the point about Siu Sang's role in the police force which I have mentioned in this review as well as in AR2 review. Very very silly.
Most Confusing Scene(s)
A criminal in TVB world always ALWAYS confesses to a crime and ALWAYS get sent to jail, irrespective of their mental health or whether they have assisted the police in arresting the real big crook. You never see dealings behind the doors, you never see lawyers conspire with lawyers to get the best for their clients, you never see police helping a known criminal to escape jail time....the TVB world is too ideal, too nice, too sugar coated and frankly if I am a criminal, I would never confess because there's no point to confess. The most ridiculous is when Har Yu's Wai Ying Hoong was arrested and he wonders if he will be fine. The reason for his arrest was that he conspire with some robbers because he drove the car. Everybody knows he was forced to drive the car, a hostage was used to threaten him, he confessed and assisted the police in anyway he could...no public prosecutor in their right frame of mind would ever bring a charge against this man because there's no case at all! I find it utterly ridiculous and all unnecessary drama.
Frankly, everybody gave credible performances.
Marco Ngai is a delight to watch, and he proves his versatility in this series; he can be a tough cop, a confused husband and a grieving father all at the same time. But he tends to slack a bit in more emotional scenes but that's quite ok for me, I have always liked this actor for his ability to act in almost all characters, all except for heroic characters.
Joyce Tang is a beautiful woman who when she is sulking, she looks like she's doomed but when she's smiling, her eyes twinkle and she looks genuinely happy. In this series, she is no longer the tomboy she was but she became a mother and a woman desperate for redemption. I feel she gave a strong performance, however much I disliked her character Chan Sam Yuen.
Bobby Au Yeung is his usual goofy self; you can't expect this man to give an earth shattering performance, but when he needs to deliver, he does but in small dosages. He is funny, he is cute, he is charming but his performance lacks that emotional depth. I feel Chan Siu Sang is a very emotional man contrasted to Ching Foong who is a very macho man. That is why I find it very hard that not a tear was shed when Siu Sang saw the dead body of his favourite nephew.
Ada Choi, everybody's favourite actress at this moment of time, except mine. I have already mentioned that she is too old to play young innocent girls anymore, the ever optimistic type. She fares better in more emotional scene, though this woman can't slap correctly, as evidenced in one scene where she had to slap Ellesmere Choi and she only slightly touched his cheek. Very unbelievably fake slap. For happier scenes, I must admit she has quite a chemistry with Bobby Au Yeung, but not those type where you feel there is a sexual chemistry. I miss the lethal combination of Esther Kwan and Bobby Au Yeung. As for her performance on a general level, I could only conclude she gave a credible performance but I couldn't bring myself to say she was brilliant.
Har Yu as Ada Choi's father is quite ok, though I can't buy him as a former triad member or former bad boy in a fast car because he looks too kind, too gentle, too nice.
Hong Wah though way too young to play an Auntie to Ada Choi was very pretty in this series, and as usual gave a very convincing and excellent performance of a woman pining for a man. I like this actress and I hope she will be given meatier roles later on. She can play any characters, very versatile.
Ellesmere Choi is a mediocre actor therefore you can't expect him to give Oscar worthy performance but he's such a likeable actor I really don't care much for his performance, I just want to see him. He did played very wellthe confusion and the secretive nature, avoiding questions thrown by Ada Choi's Ying Ji and may I say this? They do look very good together.
I liked AR1, hated AR2 and as for AR3, it's neither here nor there. I don't hate it, nor do I like it. There aren't anything new in here, what we have is big stuff; like big tragedy, big drama, big car chase scene, big betrayal of trust scene...all big but nothing thought provoking. At times boring, some times funny, more times sad, very rarely entertaining. I just didn't enjoy myself watching this series. Fans of any of the stars in this series will definitely like this one but I am not a big fan of anybody particular so for me, it's amounts to nothing much.
Everybody looked tall in this series, as in most other series. In a recent charity concert held in Malaysia thanks to Astro, I saw quite a few of them in person and it was quite a shock. Wong Hei looked so small, Kenix Kwok so skinny (but pretty) with old wrinkly hands, Melissa Ng was surprisingly short and no fun to watch, Frankie Lam looked normal but too thin and Marco Ngai looked abnormal; big head, big body but so short! My point is if they claim that they're 5'7" (for girls) and guys taller, believe me, they're not. Still in shock.