"But looking for a masterpiece it's far from that..."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Chuen Ka Fook- Steven Ma Chun Wai
Lin Pak Hap- Maggie Cheung Ho Yee
Ko Fei- Moses Chan Ho
Linghu Hei- Joyce Coi Ming Fai
San Sheung Sheung- Cerina De Graca
Ping On- Auguste Kwan Tak Fai
Lam Chui Ching- Olivia Fu Cho Wai
Lau Sai Kwong- Choi Hong Nin
Wat Yan-Lau Ka Fai
Wat Po Yu- Angela Tong Ying Ying
Wan Leung- Lo Yuen Yan
Wai Leung- Lily Lee
Lin Yung- Yu Yeung
Yung Yuk Lan- June Chan Kei
Tong Man Sang - Lo Man Kit
Wing Hin- Deno Cheung Chung Chi
Fan Chi Kiu- Sharon Chan Man Chi
Yip Chi Chau- Kevin Cheng Ka Wing
Gat Cheung- Luk Ka Chun
Foo Gwai- Tai Yiu Ming
Luen Fung- Chan Man Hei
Wo Ming- Ng Wai San
Bao Wai Nam- Halina Tam Siu Wan
Chun Muk- Mark Kwok Yiu Ming
Ding Sin Yee- Chung Pui Chi
Prime Minister Chun- Law Lok Lam
Tong Lung- Lee Ka Ding
Emperor- Kwok Fung
Empress- Wan Yu Hung
Concubine- Lo Wing Han
Eunuch Ho- Chan Wing Chun
Thanks to MetalAZNWarrior's site for the full cast list!
Set during the Tang dynasty, the series revolves around the business and life of 3 matchmakers and one court marshal.
The Ling Ho family has been for many generations matchmaking officials in the imperial court, which till this day I had no idea existed. So their job is to ensure that no one is breaking any marital laws, give out marriage licenses, investigate the soon to be married couple's backgrounds etc. Unfortunately, the most current family generation runs into a problem when all their children are girls. Therefore, when Ling Ho Hei was born the first wife lied to her husband and Ah Hei's real mother that she is actually a boy. Consequently she was raised as a boy and assumed all the family's responsibilities.
Now we have the private matchmakers termed "iced people" or something like that in the forms of Chuen Ka Fok and Lin Bak Hop. Both have unique personalities but with one goal in mind, to hook people up, and of course the reward money afterwards.
Bak Hop and Ka Fok got started off on the wrong foot and at first were at each others' throats. But then both figured out that together with their blessed ability of quick and smooth talking they'll go far in the business so the two decide to team up together and now open up a matchmaking business.
That leaves the honorable marshal Ko Fei in search of his savior who he's ready to marry if he finds her. So the four meet each other have misunderstandings, mingle a while and hoila they all are working together and of course the relationships between the characters develop.
Ko Fei and Ho Hei
Ko Fei and Ho Hei develop first a friendship but at first site Ho Hei admired the honorable swordsman. So there's a lot of the chic dressed in man clothes stealing glances here and there at the hero and then him just looking at her awkwardly. In the meantime, Ko Fei found out who his savior was, a little maid name Sheung Sheung that has the strength of like 10 men and is devoted to take care of her and win her affection.
Bak Hop and Ka Fok
Bak Hop and Ka Fok have a different story. Originally, Ka Fok was supposed to marry Bak Hop but through an arrange marriage. His dad is in debt and need to pay off by "selling" his son to be Bak Hop's husband. Ka Fok can't accept that so what does he do? On the wedding day he flees out of town leaving Bak Hop embarrassed and scarred for life. However, the two never met each other so with a series of name changing and so forth they don't actually know who the other's identity is. Basically they do find out and demand a divorce, fight some more, demand some more, stuff like that. So as probably you've guessed, the two spending as much time together as they did OF COURSE they'll develop feelings for each other. Yeah, stuff we've seen.
Bouncing back to Ko Fei and Ho Hei
Back to Ko Fei, he feels that no matter what he does he'll never gain the love of Sheung Sheung so he begins to give up. Well turns out, he gets a little confused too because all of a sudden he's having these strange feelings for his Ling Ho tai. Confused and scared he tried to focus on wooing Sheung Sheung, but all becomes useless because he can't deny his feelings. Finally though, the clever Ko Fei caught on and figured out that Ling Ho Tai was actually Ling Ho mei but they still kept it under wraps because if she's exposed then her whole family would probably get beheaded for lying to the king and court and so forth.
Sheung Sheung factor
The little maid is actually totally infatuated by Ka Fok, so she follows him and tries to gain his affection. Of course Ka Fok has his eyes only for Bak Hop. So every time he tries to express his feelings to her, Sheung Sheung comes out of no where and caused lots of misunderstandings. Bak Hop seeing that she doesn't want to hurt Sheung Seung, willingly leaves the triangle. However, no worries! Sheung Sheung finally figures out that love can't be forced and finds it elsewhere in form of an 8 year old trapped in a grown man's body, Ping On, who actually is Ka Fok's uncle. (The guy was traumatized at the age of 8 and became this way all his life. Ka Fok who's partially responsible for this mishap always look after and takes good care of his uncle.)
So how did all the confusion and mess get resolved? Well, Ling Ho Hei's secret did come out and the family was put on trial and the final sentence was I think death. But with the help of Ka Fok, Bak Hop and Ko Fei the charges were dropped but now they faced with a new bigger problem. Turns out there's this court official who's been plotting for the throne and guess who comes in to save the day? Yup our lovely matchmakers.
So when that's all done with, there's a new problem. The king just went ahead and made these orders that our characters couldn't live with like making Ka Fok marrying Sheung Sheung, sentencing Ling Ho Hei to be nun, stuff like that. However, love triumphs all and all the couples lived happily ever after, Ka Fok +Bak Hop, and Ko Fei-Ho Hei.
Comments on Characters
After watching Perish in the Name of Love, I was curious to see our two leading men; Steven and Moses tackle roles that are much different. Steven played an out of the ordinary role for himself as a fast talking, quick witted matchmaker who to my surprise had some personality. Moses on the other hand was the kind of dull but honorable official who realized that true love can't be forced.
Maggie Cheung recently, besides in Police Station No. 7, has been constantly playing these overly confident and even at times arrogant, independent characters, which I'm getting tired of. Sometimes it's annoying for me to see her character that overly confident. With Steven Ma although it's amusing and funny at times to see them argue and bicker about petty things but it gets tiring after every episode of the same thing. Finally it's even more boring to see them fall in love after all that "hatred". Probably because I'm so tired of seeing a bickering pair fall in love, I liked seeing them fight but still remain friendly when it came to business. Is it that common for couples to hate each other first and fall in love later?? According to TVB it's always true! Can't they find another way for couples to get together! Almost every series I'm seeing these days has this element! From my personal experience, if I hate somebody it's so hard for me to change my views of them so why does it look so easy with TVB?
Anyways, back to Maggie. She's very pretty in here with her costumes, hair and makeup however, performance wise I don't think she was that remarkable. Like I said before, I think she's done a lot of this so it's not anything new to her, however, there were jokes here and there which forced her to be funny. I'm noticing now though, Maggie overacts at times. When it's serious or requires her to cry, I think she's flawless at that. But when a scene requires her to be funny it seems she's so forced in them with her face expressions and everything. This was especially in Burning Flames II. Man, Maggie fans are probably going to be writing me threat e-mails now. Sorry if I've offended anyone but that's what I truly think.
Steven Ma's performance actually was quite different from any other I've seen. As Chow Sai Hin in Perish in the Name of Love he was honorable, serious, the perfect guy so to speak, what he's always played before. Ka Fok is totally different from anything I've seen Steven portrayed. He's actually funny! He never once gave the impression that he was honest and upright but rather sneaky and witty. I quite enjoyed the character actually, he was fun to watch and had personality which was just so refreshing for Steven Ma. I'm not saying that he's a dull person in real life, in fact I don't think that's true at all. I just think that in most of his series he's tired of being Mr. Nice Guy all the time and I'm so glad there's a change. Steven acting wise however was the same as in Perish in the Name of Love he didn't improve or worsen. He's an average actor but at times he still is too deliberate or to forced in his acting especially when he's pouting or when he's trying to use his hands to express something. Overall however, I enjoyed it when Steven was on screen. He was amusing and I liked his character's personality.
Moses Chan I used to think always looked like bad guy. Bad as in someone who's just so sleazy that I never thought he would be able to pull the Mr. Nice Guy off. However, after seeing Family Man and Perish in the Name of Love now I think he's one of the most versatile actors there is. I mean, if you could pull off being Sonija's boyfriend in Family Man and being her dad in PITNOL, you got some talent. (By the way, I did thought it was kind of weird for them to be father and daughter in PITNOL but for some reason, it wasn't all that disturbing, probably because of Moses' acting abilities). Anyways, Moses' character in here was too good to be true. Not only was he a great swordsman, he can recite poems at any point in time, he is also true to love. Because of Sheung Sheung coincidently being there to save him he fell immediately in love with her and is determined to win her heart. He was well into his role and I couldn't ask for more. I think from now on, I'll just enjoy Moses in anything since I am quickly becoming one of his fans.
Joyce Koi I think is originally an opera singer. I've seen her in some TVB productions but mainly I remember her as Sonija's sworn brother in Step in the Past. Seeing her again as a crossed dress man is no surprise to me. Her character Ling Ho Hei I have to say that I admire her. She is the head of the family and with a bunch of useless brother in laws that supposedly are helping her she has so much responsibility to take upon. When in comes the heroic Ko Fei no wonder she fell hard for him. Her acting though I would characterize as old school acting. She sometimes has these awkward movements and it's like she's in an opera scene. Yeah, I know, but she is an opera performer! Still, I think she should tone it down a little and be more natural in her acting. I bet she's awesome when she's on the stage but it's just doesn't sit right with me. I was so scared she'll burst out into opera song when it came to it. With Moses, I can't help it but find their relationship a bit weird, probably because she was a miscast and her character seems bland at times. Some may disagree with me, but I do think she looks very haggard and tired in here. Her face looks too tight which makes her sometimes expressionless therefore Ling Ho Hei as a character was not as likable as she should have been.
This is Cerina De Grace's first series and to my surprised she didn't irk me and did decently. Oh…I like her name, De Grace. Anyways, her character was a bit annoying, just how she clung to Ka Fok when obviously he had no feelings for her. Was she that stupid to not see it? Anyways, a bit of history on her, we find out that she's actually the only descendent of the heroic Sit family of the Tang dynasty. For those of you who've seen General Who Never Was, General Father General Son, know who I'm talking about. The Sit family started out with Sit Yun Gwai who was just this normal peasant who ate so much but had the strength of 10 men. Hence, Sheung Sheung's eating habits and her abnormal strength. Anyways, Cerina needs lots of practice before I can say she's a good actress. But knowing TVB she'll get lots of work anyhow. Her face is a little weird to me too probably because she's mixed. It looks sleepy or something all the time so I don't think she's all that cute. But do I enjoy her with August Kwan? Kind of, I guess by the end I just wanted Sheung Sheung out of the triangle and let Ka Fok and Bak Hop to get together and end everything.
This is the first series I saw August Kwan in for I missed his previous series with Michael Tong which I forgot the name of. He's a very good looking guy to me even though his character was like a little kid. His portrayal of Ping On was so likable for there was some complexity to his character. Even though he thinks like an 8 year old, he can remember something that he only has seen once to the last detail, some talent!
A bunch of people were in here but as couples that our matchmakers have to set up. Some that stand out were Mak Bao's lovable widow and Winnie Yeung who also was a widow but have feelings that can't be expressed to each other. Mak Bao I heard is going to star in a series where he's the main lead! I'm so excited! Even though he isn't who I would call handsome but he has so much talent that I'm sure he'll be excellent in anything. I saw pictures though and he lost so much weight for the part and he looks very good! Anyways, all of the guest stars did their parts well and I enjoyed seeing them, especially the gorgeous Kevin Cheng. I actually thought his character was so funny, so barbaric and everything. Good performance. Also, the girl who he was paired with Sharon Chan is very pretty. Mark Kwok also had the role of a scholar who's so scared of woman talking, a childhood fear he has. Anyways, it was weird and refreshing to see Mark not as a jerk but a decent guy that you can root for.
Rent it or Forget it???
Well, cast and costume wise it was a decent production. The idea about matchmaking is also very novel but some elements are just too cliché. For example, how the matchmakers all of a sudden are wrapped into a political scheme and guess what?? They're the ones who have the ability to help the king out of it. Just too unbelievable and well, TVB has been there done that with other series. If you think about it, TVB has always done a series that centers around a theme and miraculously the main character because of possessing this talent is able to rescue the world or do something out of the ordinary because it. A little tiring and again far fetch. Ok…so back to the question right? Rent it or not. If you want laughs, I say yeah, it's funny and entertaining especially the first few episodes. But looking for a masterpiece it's far from that. Anyways, everybody probably have seen this series since it's like a billion years old!