"I still think she (Maggie Siu) looks too young to be playing a mother of a twenty-something year old, and deserves to be the leading female."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Ying Hung Do Siu Lin
Number of Episodes
Wong Ng - Ron Ng Cheuk Hei
Tam Chi Tung - Bosco Wong Jung Chak
Chan Do Yeung - Damien Lau Chung Yan
Wong Yuen Sum Yi - Maggie Siu Mei Kei
Princess Cheuk Lan - Shirley Yeung Si Kei
Lee Kwai - Tavia Yeung Yi
Wong Ng's father died at a young age, and he never got to know him. Wong Ng was raised by his mother, Yuen Sum Yi, who had all her hopes on her only son, and spent every penny that she had saved, on his education. Wong Ng was a active young man, and after his tutor told his mother that Wong Ng didn't attend lessons, Wong Yuen Sum Yi decided to try and enroll him into a martial arts academy. A small misunderstanding sets up the first meeting of Wong Ng and Princess Cheuk Lan, and they dislike each other very much. Tam Chi Tung encounters Wong Ng and envies his simple life, as Tam Chi Tung's father is an official, and he expects Tam Chi Tung to follow in his footsteps, and also to get married in an arranged marriage. A misunderstanding sees that Tam Chi Tung hates his wife, Lee Kwai, and she only can approach him by assuming the identity of her maid. Chan Do Yeung teaches at the martial arts school, and eventually becomes the master of Wong Ng. Towards the end of the series, Chan Do Yeung pursues what he left behind decades ago, and pretty much drags all the characters into it some how.
Despite critics saying that this show doesn't have enough "star-power" to pull audiences, I think that the newcomers perform very much satisfactorily. The story is interesting to watch, with a good mix of drama and occasional comedy, and it definitely kept me interested until the end of the series. It's also very refreshing to see some new faces on the screen. In my opinion, nobody performed below what was expected, and I enjoyed watching this series very much. Definitely a thumbs up, and I'd recommend this series to anybody without question.
His mother Wong Yuen Sum Yi (Maggie Siu) and his uncle Yuen Sum Yut (primarily his mother) raised Wong Ng. He lives his life as a simple poor commoner. He is loyal, direct, straight, and he lives by the simple principle of "If you respect me, I'll respect you. If you mess with me, I'll mess with you". After he becomes friends with Tam Chi Tung (Bosco Wong), and meets Princess Cheuk Lan (Shirley Yeung) and Chan Do Yeung (Damien Lau), his personality and views begin to change.
Ron Ng as Wong Ng
This is the first series that Ron took as a lead, and I was very impressed with his performance. His acting was very much up to standard as a TVB lead. I thought that he captured Wong Ng's determined look very well. One thing that he could probably improve on is by putting more expression into those large eyes of his. Although Bosco Wong's eyes aren't as big as Ron's, he was able to convey much more emotion in them.
Tam Chi Tung
He's father is a high-ranked official, who expects Tam Chi Tung to follow the same road in life. Tam Chi Tung doesn't mind being an official, but he longs for a simple carefree life like Wong Ng (Ron Ng). He objects to his father arranging a marriage for him to Lee Kwai (Tavia Yeung). A slight misunderstanding makes him dislike Lee Kwai, but eventually he comes to a compromise with his father regarding the marriage and his future.
Bosco Wong as Tam Chi Tung
Like Ron Ng, I was very happy with the performance of newcomer Bosco Wong. As I mentioned earlier, his eyes are very emotive (even though he wore glasses through most of the series). Although most people don't look good with the shaved head in Ching Dynasty style, I actually thought in some scenes Bosco looked better in ancient style than modern. Towards the later stages of the series, it was evident that Ron and Bosco weren't used to the grueling schedule of being a lead in a series, as they looked tired and black eye-bags were showing. To their credit though, they performed well throughout.
Chan Do Yeung
Chan Do Yeung is a man with unfinished business that he is reluctant to talk about. He once knew the father of Wong Ng (Ron Ng), and feels obliged to repay Wong Ng's father by taking Wong Ng as a pupil.
Damien Lau as Chan Do Yeung
As always, Damien has shown an excellent veteran performance, not that anything else was expected. He has this ability to just capture attention when he is on screen, I think he has such charisma. I can't really think of any faults that he had - in my opinion, Damien was a living, breathing Chan Do Yeung.
Wong Yuen Sum Yi
Wong Yuen Sum Yi became a widow when Wong Ng (Ron Ng) was just young, and she single-handedly raised her son. She is independent, and she likes helping others. Nothing is more important to her than her son, and she is willing to do anything for him to see him succeed in life.
Maggie Siu as Wong Yuen Sum Yi
As with Damien, Maggie was one of the veterans who lifted the series. I still think she looks too young to be playing a mother of a twenty-something year old, and deserves to be the leading female. But nonetheless, this character must have been a challenge for her, but she played it very well. Maggie convincing switched back and forth from a nice and innocent loving mother, to a stern mother who wanted her son to do as she asked. Thumbs up.
Princess Cheuk Lan
Princess Cheuk Lan is a Manchurian princess, who appears to her father as a gentle, sweet girl like a princess should be. Behind her father's back, Cheuk Lan secretly learns martial arts, and she loves to play around.
Shirley Yeung as Princess Cheuk Lan
This is the first series that I've seen Shirley in, and she seemed to fit her character well (although I think the character is not one that is extremely hard to play). Nonetheless, she was convincing as the playful princess, and I'm happy with that.
Lee Kwai is a traditional submissive woman. She is arranged to marry Tam Chi Tung (Bosco Wong) and she is disappointed when she finds that he dislikes her. However, towards the end of the series, she shows that she has a strong mind after all.
Tavia Yeung as Lee Kwai
The last time that I saw Tavia was in the W Files, and the character of Lee Kwai is very different from the one in W Files. I think this definitely showed that Tavia is capable of being a very versatile actress. I'll definitely be looking for future series with Tavia in them.
Wong Ng (Ron Ng) and Princess Cheuk Lan (Shirley Yeung)
For some reason, I thought that their chemistry when they were fighting and arguing was better than the chemistry that they had as a couple. The fact that these two were going to be a couple was pretty predictable, so I guess their story line didn't interest me all that much.
Tam Chi Tung (Bosco Wong) and Lee Kwai (Tavia Yeung)
At first I was interested to see how they would get together (as in fall in love, because they were already married). It was actually quite interesting…but then towards the end when they had some problems, I thought it was a little unreasonable. What Lee Kwai did was kind of out of
character, but I guess the writers felt they needed to split them up somehow.
Chan Do Yeung (Damien Lau) and Wong Yuen Sum Yi (Maggie Siu)
This is actually the couple that I found the most interesting, even though they are the older two, because it wasn't actually completely obvious from the start whether they would be together or not. They also seemed to carry much more meaning (eg their history, the fact that Damien knew Maggie's husband). Also, they were the 'comedy relief' couple, so it was really funny to watch their scenes together, even at the very beginning when they just met. Although Maggie Siu is more than 10 years younger than Damien Lau, I still thought they matched.
Minor Negatives - This is one thing that most TV series will have, and that is an overuse of coincidences. But I guess most of these can be justified as "fate" because they really believed in fate in ancient times.
- The veterans (with the exception of Damien) gained weight (which I guess is hard to avoid seeing they filmed in winter). It seemed a little unbelievable that Ben Ng's character had practiced martial arts daily, because he really had a large belly.
- The special effects aren't exactly striking. Much of it looks rather fake but I wasn't expecting anything too much, because it wasn't a big production series.