"Many would find that the idea of time travel is not all that refreshing anymore especially after the serial A Step into The Past ... many would still be entertained by this serial because ... there are many new and amazing discoveries that were invented after their (Yung Cheng & Lui Sei Leong) generation. The amusement was of course targeted at their limited knowledge and ignorance."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Kong Wah - Emperor Yung Cheng/ Lee Tai Ha
Maggie Cheung - Lui Sei Leong
Melissa Ng - Rachel Sum
Gilbert Lam - Frankie Sung
Paul Chun Pui - Sum Siu Hong
Anthony Tang - Hugo Sum
Cheung Chi Kwong - Brian Sum
Halina Tam - Tina Sum
A Qing Dynasty Emperor and his female assassinator find themselves transported 200 years ahead of time into a new era. Both decide to bury the hatchet and learn to adapt to the new age. They soon find themselves caught in the middle of a family struggle. Love blossoms between them as time passes as the bickering couple find themselves attracted to each other.
The Heaven and Earth society was a rebel clan in the Qing Dynasty. Their main aim was to assassinate the Manchurian Emperor and allow the Ming Emperor to usurp the throne. Although Qing Emperor Yung Cheng was a wise and intelligent emperor, there was constant instability within the palace as the royal brothers consistently rebelled against him.
One day, when Yung Cheng was out of the palace, he was ambushed and attacked by the Heaven and Earth Society. Lui Sei Leong, a female assassinator was caught by Yung Cheng's men. The boat which they were on was caught by a tornado in the sea and all on board was sucked into the sea.
Yung Cheng and Lui Sei Leong entered another dimension and entered a new era 200 years into the future into the modern world. They both landed up in a collided tour bus in Mainland China and were both treated as victims of the bus crash.
A Chinese librarian, Lee Tai Ha died in the bus crash and so Yung Cheng, who remotely resembled Tai Ha assumed his identity and was brought over to Hong Kong by his uncle.
Lui Sei Leong, on the other hand, joined a martial arts performance group and was kicked out of it later when she tried to assassinate Yung Cheng/Tai Ha during a performance. She tried to survive in the streets with the help of a man called Frankie Sum.
Tai Ha joined a property and interior design company owned by Sum Siu Hong. Siu Hong had three wives, one daughter and four sons, one of which died in an accident many years before. Tai Ha was often insulted and bullied by Siu Hong's eldest son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Tina respectively, and vowed not to be bullied again.
Sei Leong saved Siu Hong from being taken hostage by a mentally unstable company driver and the latter soon hired her as his personal bodyguard. The media soon mistakes Sei Leong for being the fourth wife, much to the displeasure of the eldest wife. Siu Hong's third son Frankie decided to woo Sei Leong and she accepted his love.
Tai Ha soon found that Frankie was Siu Hong's only capable son and helped him climbed up the company ladder much to the displeasure of the two elder sons. They then tried to frame Frankie's department by bribing an office worker, Lei Pei Wah. Tai Ha's cousin-in-law, Ko Kin was drugged by Lei Pei Wah and he spent the night with a mainland prostitute. He was then kicked out by his pregnant wife. He then managed to win his wife back with the help of Tai Ha.
Tai Ha also managed to clear the many years of misunderstanding that Siu Hong had with his daughter Rachel. Frankie soon became jealous and suspicious of Tai Ha and fell out with him, only to find himself losing the "battle".
Frankie blackmailed Hugo, his second brother, after obtaining a videotape containing implicit sexual acts between the latter and his homosexual partner, Kenneth Ma. Hugo and Kenneth reluctantly sabotaged Rachel and Tai Ha soon found that Frankie was the mastermind.
Siu Hong found a copy of the videotape after an accident and ordered Frankie out of the company. Sei Leong too broke up with him. Seto who was in love with Rachel was convinced by Frankie to plot revenge on Rachel. His plan was ruined by Tai Ha. Siu Hong disowned him.
With the help of young Mr Dong, Frankie managed to acquire majority of the company shares and declared himself the CEO of the company. His happiness became short-lived when Tai Ha managed to convince the old Mr Dong to return Siu Hong the position.
Sei Leong decided to back out from the love triangle between her, Tai Ha and Rachel. She spent the night with him.
Frankie soon found out that Tai Ha was Yung Cheng and gathered information about him. He tricked Sei Leong into telling the truth too. Siu Hong offered the position of CEO of the company to him in return of the promise to keep this a secret.
SPOILERS ALERT! SPOILERS ALERT!
Tai Ha destroyed all the evidence just before the two signed the agreement only to be outwitted by Frankie. Sei Leong pretended to be mentally unstable and ended up in a mental hospital. Frankie tried to kill Tai Ha but ended up in a coma instead. Tai Ha and Sei Leong left Hong Kong while Frankie woke up being mentally unstable.
Many would find that the idea of time travel is not all that refreshing anymore especially after the serial A Step into The Past by Louis Koo and Jessica Hester Hsuan. But of course many would still be entertained by this serial because of jokes created by the characters of Yung Cheng and Lui Sei Leong as they discover through their journey that there are many new and amazing discoveries that were invented after their generation. The amusement was of course targeted at their limited knowledge and ignorance.
The Parallel Story
As they say, history repeats itself. This is what Yung Cheng/Tai Ha realized only after he traveled 200 years into the future. In the past, he was the emperor who had to face the constant rivalry among his brothers. But after he arrived in the modern world, he found that Siu Hong was in a similar situation. Siu Hong was like the ancient emperor while there was constant rivalry between his sons as all of them wanted to be the CEO of the company.
Any Controversial Issues in this serial?
The first thing that anyone will notice after watching this serial is polygamy and the second thing that one will notice is homosexuality. These two issues are not accepted openly in today's society especially in the Asian region. What was TVB trying to do? Trying to promote polygamy and homosexuality??? How come Siu Hong was able to have three wives? Maybe one was legal and the other two were not. I don't know but I definitely do not support polygamy.
Homosexuality again! They probably thought that Eternal Happiness wasn't enough to promote their homosexual campaign or something, now TVB has gotten more in-depth in their support for homosexuals. Must they show the videotape of gay sexual activities to the viewers? I thought it was gross. And isn't ONE homosexual partner enough to satisfy everyone?? Why must Rachel's best friend, Seto be a lesbian too??? Must two good friends always be homo or something?? I think it truly spoils the special bond that friends have with each other. I mean a pure, straight bond.
It's amazing how gays are so readily accepted in this serial. I mean, Siu Hong was an old man, from an older generation. Do you think an old man like that can so easily accept his son as a gay? I'm not trying to stereotype anybody or anything but honestly… are you sure anyone would invite their son's gay partner home for dinner and feel like they're meeting a daughter-in-law??? I don't think so. If I saw a videotape of my son caught in the bed with another man, I think I would die of heart failure right on the spot.
The "Incredible" Factor
You know what's incredible about this serial? It's the speed at which Tai Ha and Sei Leong managed to adapt to the modern world. It's not just a little unrealistic. It's totally unbelievable. No doubt Tai Ha was born an emperor and emperors were probably born with a better brain or something, but his adaptability skills are simply incredible. Let's take it from the start. Emperor Yung Cheng was living in an era 200 years before our time. That means no television, no mobile phones, no telephones and no democracy, whatsoever. How in the world can he learn to use so many things at once? He's an emperor. Not a god. Emperors are human too. Yung Cheng may possess limitless wisdom, which allows him to rise from a position of office boy to a manager, but to be able to handle office work before he even started working?? He spends the night reading a book or newspaper and he knows everything under the sun. Also, he could live like a normal person, which was alright if he wasn't the emperor. I mean, emperors were the sons of heaven, and he had lots of maids and eunuchs to serve him. How come he could survive as a poor Tai Ha??? Also, it's amazing how he can anticipate everything that Tina or Brian or Hugo or Frankie are going to do before hand. It's crazy!
Another thing that really agitated me was that since he's adaptability speed is so great, how come he just can't accept monogamy??? He can handle anything but his own love life? I just can't believe it.
The "Pity" Factor
Frankie was Siu Hong's third son, born by the second wife. At first, he was a very timid, honest and upright character. With the help of Tai Ha, he managed to gain the confidence and win the praise of his father. Unfortunately, Frankie became blinded by jealousy when others began to argue that Tai Ha was the truly capable one. He then became the ultimate baddie of the serial. It is such a pity because although Siu Hong had three sons, Frankie was the only capable one. The two elder ones were indeed useless. The eldest, Brian, was incapable and the second, Hugo, was arrogant. Why must TVB make him a baddie?? I think he was very sweet towards Sei Leong and I was hoping that I could see them together despite everything else. Why must Frankie end up mentally unstable?? Actually, I think TVB had no choice but to end it this way because Frankie cannot be trusted anymore. He, as a baddie, always played around with people's emotions and gaining their trust. This kind of evilness is different from weak characters like Brian or Tina. That's why we don't despise them as much as we hate Frankie. People like him cannot be trusted therefore TVB has no choice but to get him out of the way. Such a pity, though.
The "Hilarious" Factor
There were two or three scenes which I thought was hilarious.
One was the scene where Sei Leong turned up for work as Siu Hong's bodyguard for the first time. She wore a traditional Chinese top and tied two red ribbons on either side of her head. Plus, she had her socks tucked outside of her pants. She looked ridiculous, I should say. The worse thing was when she escorted Siu Hong to the car, she refused to get into the car and told him she would run after the car and she would jump in later on.
Another scene was when Sei Leong got into the lift with Siu Hong. She was claustrophobic and Tai Ha had told her to sing some Chinese opera song in her head and warned her not to sing it out loud. But she forgot and sand it out loud scaring the hell out of Siu Hong.
One last scene that I thought was memorably hilarious was how Tai Ha tried to woo Rachel. He had read many romance books and videotapes on how to woo a girl and had everything planned out nicely but she ruined everything by insisting on having steamboat for dinner and the boss of the steamboat store gave him a cheap version of everything, like chrysanthemum flowers when he asked for flowers and out-of-shaped meatballs when he asked for heart-shaped ones. Later, he decided to throw paper airplanes down while reciting a love poem, only to be called a litter-bug by a small boy.
The Best Performance
Maggie Cheung, Kong Wah and Chun Pui are the only ones worth mentioning. These three are the only ones that can actually bring the characters to life. The others are not worth mentioning. However, would anyone disagree if I said nobody's performance is beyond expectation? I would have included Kong Wah in this category if only he would stop trying to exaggerate his emperor's way of walking and talking. It's funny at first but gets rather irritating after a while.
What about Maggie Cheung???
Maggie is an "A" list actress and she did win the best actress award at the 36th TVB anniversary for her character as Lui Sei Leong. Well, I thought her acting here was pretty much okay. Not lousy, but not that good either. I think she was trying her best to act unnatural naturally, if you know what I mean. The character of Sei Leong is supposed to be unnatural because of her difficulty in adapting to the modern world. But sometimes I feel that Maggie is trying too hard to exaggerate her actions. She tries to act a little rough because Sei Leong was supposed to be a pugilistic character. Yet, I think Maggie by character is not that uncouth so it seems rather unnatural to me.
The Worst Performance
Like the "Best Performance" category, I would say no one really fits this slot. I think all the actors and actresses' performance here are pretty much mediocre. Not good and not bad either.
My Perfect Couple
Romance seems to be missing from this serial. I don't really see much chemistry between the characters.
Kong Wah - Maggie Cheung
Kong Wah and Maggie are suppose to be the lead cast in this serial but what I see is friendship between them. Certainly, there is chemistry because of the fact that both Sei Leong and Tai Ha are from the same era and share the same secrets. But other than this bond between them, I don't see the sparks. Their chemistry is different from what Michael and Jessica have or the sparks Bobby and Kenix share between each other in other serials.
Kong Wah - Melissa Ng
This couple is even worse. No chemistry or sparks whatsoever throughout the serial. I don't even know when they started to fall for each other. Worse still, I don't even think Tai Ha ever liked Rachel. I thought he only decided to woo her solely because Siu Hong asked him to and partly because he wanted to climb higher up the corporate ladder. I thought this was the sad part because I think Rachel was very pitiful because I think she really liked Tai Ha. Also, the company really needed Tai Ha there because none of Siu Hong's children fit the post of CEO.
Gilbert Lam - Maggie Cheung
I thought it was a waste that Frankie and Maggie couldn't develop their relationship because I thought they looked rather sweet together. Frankie was more of the gentle, polite and high class kind of character and Sei Leong was simply the opposite. She was a rough and uncouth person without much education and I guess opposites attract. Although Tai Ha was Yung Cheng Emperor, I thought he was still kind of rough. I don't know. I guess he doesn't have the grace and elegance that Frankie possesses. As they say, there is only a thin line between love and hate. I guess, if Sei Leong had continued developing her relationship with Frankie, he might not have ended up so bad. Who knows?
I gave because I thought it was a pretty entertaining production altogether but I thought that they could do better in the choice of cast. Chun Pui was fine, Maggie was alright, Gilbert was okay and Kong Wah was acceptable, but the rest of the cast were overshadowed. I think TVB chose Kong Wah for the role of Yung Cheng because he has had lots of experience acting as emperors but as I emphasize again, his exaggerated walking and talking really killed everything. He looked so ungraceful walking with his arms stretched out and moving back and forth.
Should I rent it?
Yes, you should, if you want a laugh or two. You will enjoy it if you're a Maggie or Kong Wah fan too. Or if you are a time researcher or anything of that sort, you may want to watch it and try to evaluate how a tornado can bring you through time.