"Charmaine Sheh - To tell you the truth, I am beginning to enjoy watching her as she improves, series by series, though that improvement is slow-mo."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Comedy-drama, forensic and investigations during the height of Sung Dynasty, China
Sai Yun Luk II (The Book Of Purging Injustice II)
Bobby Au Yeung - Sung Chi
Charmaine Sheh - Yun Yuk Chu
Halina Tam - Yun Yuk Po
Joyce Tang - Yeung Tan Foong
Ellesmerre Choi - Chin Kit
Wong Lam - Bak Yu Mong
Stephen Au - Chau Chi Loong
Liu Kai Chi - Uncle Ming
Guest Starring Jan Lau as Princess Chi Ha, On Tak Juen as 10th Duke, Raymond Tso Wing Nim as the General and many many more guest stars.
There's one character that I specifically remembered the name as Ko Wan Hin, the henchman of Princess Chi Ha but now frankly I am not quite sure. Any mistake as to this name is entirely my own memory failing me, which means I am really old now.
It continues where we last seen WTAP. Sung Chi and his heavily pregnant wives, Tong Si and Lit Fung travel to a new town where Sung Chi correctly reached a conclusion which led to killer but the killer had reasons for committing murder. The killer killed herself and her husband sought revenge by burning the hostel where Sung Chi's wives were sleeping (they were drugged) and as a result, Sung Chi not only lost his two beloved wives, two unborn child but his confidence in himself. Being very disgruntled with God for everything, he quit his job and went traveling, only to be swept into the sea during one thunderstorm which he neither cared whether he lived or died. His body was floated shore a small town or maybe village and the coroner thought him dead. Placed into the mortuary under the care of a very lowly and greedy caretaker named Chau Chi Loong, there he slept until one night he awoke to rip open a dead woman's body and delivered a baby which everybody thought died with the mother. The town was excited by this new guy who seemed to know so much about forensic and dead bodies but cared very little for his own well being. There Sung Chi again and again stumbled into cases after cases but refused to do anything except to give some indication until one day he could not stand the incompetence of the coroner and volunteered to help. The magistrate and his men were very impressed with his knowledge though they did not know who he was and asked him to be a coroner. He flatly refused, until of course fate would have it otherwise.
When he was in town, he met with a very temperamental young woman named Yun Yuk Chu which every called Chu Yuk Yun (Pork Balls) as her nickname. She was not particularly friendly, because she was hardened by all the insults she was assaulted with for many years due to the fact that her fiancé died before they got married and she did make up for dead people, and so everybody branded her a bad omen and no one dared to go near her nor respected her. But she was very filial, she loved her ailing mother very much and though she had skin rashes on her hands, she saved money to buy her mother bird's nest in the hope of improving her mother's health. Because of Sung Chi and her own clumsiness, she lost a whole bag of bird's nest. Sung Chi felt guilty for causing such distress to her and so he agreed to be a case per case coroner to earn enough of money to repay Yuk Chu.
But as he investigated into cases after cases, he met more and more illustrious people, one of them was Uncle Ming who sold porridge for a living. When Sung Chi's head injury caused by the earlier incident of him being thrown off the boat became more and more unbearable and he was dying, the whole village gave him money to save his life by seeking the help of a well known palace doctor who was at the temple nearby. The doctor, who was married to Princess Chi Ha could not save him and so Sung Chi was sent home. But secretly Yuk Chu found out Uncle Ming knew the way to save Sung Chi and he did. It turned out that Uncle Ming was a very famous palace doctor, saving countless of life but was one day accused of medical negligence when a very powerful general died in his care. Uncle Ming was actually the Princess' husband's brother of the same sifu. Later when Uncle Ming's identity was known, he was arrested for the death of the General and he related he escaped because of the kindness of three prison guards who were now in hot soup themselves. Sung Chi vowed to save him and in the process, revealed his true identity. With the help of the 10th Duke, he successfully proved the innocence of Uncle Ming and the guilt of the princess' husband who himself killed the general out of jealousy to frame Uncle Ming years before. Before he was about to be beheaded, the princess tried all she could but couldn't save him. And so the princess vowed revenge.
Now that Sung Chi was Sung Chi again, he was restored to his previous position. Again he investigated many cases and in the process took Chi Loong as his student and fell in love with Yuk Chu who admired him even before she knew he was Sung Chi. All was well until Chi Loong was entrusted with the investigation of the death of a local rich charitable man, who happened to be Yun Yuk Po's husband, the woman of Chi Loong's dream. His investigation was marred by his being besotted by her beauty and he convinced himself she was innocent. She wasn't as she was having an affair with her brother in law and murdered her husband for money. When Sung Chi took over again and to avoid revealing any of their strategy to Yun Yuk Po, all involved did not inform Chi Loong of their plans. When their plan worked and Yuk Po was beheaded, Chi Loong felt insulted that none of them trusted him and thought him as incompetent. And so he left the town and vowed to return a successful man leaving behind his best friend Yuk Chu, friends and his girlfriend, Yeung Tan Fung, who was best friends with Yuk Chu.
Sometime later as everybody searched for Chi Loong, life began to return to normalcy again and Sung Chi became engaged with Yuk Chu. And then one day tragedy struck. Yuk Chu's mother was burned beyond recognition and Uncle Ming was murdered and his body whipped. Sung Chi could not understand the motive or the people involved. Yuk Chu thought it was her step mother (Yuk Po's mom) who killed her mother but Sung Chi explained it wouldn't have been her as it was Uncle Ming's body who was whipped. Then Yuk Po's mother died with traces of semen in her lower body and the case became more and more complicated. And suddenly Chi Loong returns as the trusted assistant of a very powerful official who was actually Princess Chi Ha's man. Chi Loong became a pawn in Princess Chi Ha's quest to destroy Sung Chi. Faced with corruption, and Chi Loong's betrayal, Sung Chi's task of solving the crime became even more difficult as all evidence pointed to Yuk Chu as the murderer who was last seen fighting the Yuk Po's mom and during the death of Yuk Po's mom, she was actually with Princess Chi Ha disguised as an old lady in some forest. Traces of blood was found in her body and she was last seen burying the murder weapon, all of which were not true. Yuk Chu was condemned to prison whilst investigation rages on thanks to Chi Loong and Sung Chi was also sacked. As Yuk Chu was tortured in prison, everybody rallied to save her but couldn't. Sung Chi took one last gamble and offered Chi Loong an offer he could not refuse; find evidence to prove Yuk Chu's innocence and Sung Chi will forever retire from being a medical examiner so that Chi Loong had a chance to take his place later on. Chi Loong accepted and yet at the same time gave Princess Chi Ha an offer she could not refuse; he will destroy Sung Chi, beheaded and all and she will recommend him for that position he so wanted so that he could prove to the world he was indeed better than Sung Chi. She accepted. And so Yuk Chu became a pawn in this power struggle and Sung Chi would have to face the fierce battle to not only save Yuk Chu or his friends, but himself.
Can he do it? Will Chi Loong ever be a good man again?
Please highlight from [ to ] to read the contents below. Warning, everything will be revealed so skip if you do not wish to know.
[Well, Chi Loong manipulated and used Tan Fung to say one lie; that 10th Duke wanted to see Sung Chi someplace, some time. But it turns out some mysterious figures saved Yuk Chu from prison and brought her to Sung Chi, who was baffled. Then they were surrounded and arrested. Chi Loong gave all he could to make sure Sung Chi get convicted, and Tan Fung lied again that she didn't tell Sung Chi about 10th Duke. Sung Chi and Yuk Chu felt betrayed and they were sentenced to death. Tan Fung was insulted and scolded by the villagers, so was Chi Loong. On the day of the execution, Sung Chi and Yuk Chu could not talk as their mouths were stuffed with walnuts, the princess' way to shut them up. But 10th Duke and the general disguised as the executioner saved them and they ran. Of course Chi Loong ran after them and took them in again. This time to not waste any more time the princess without looking ordered their heads to be beheaded.
The next scene, Chi Loong was with the princess and there was Ko Wan Hin when their guard ran in and cried that everybody who has approached Sung Chi was dying of poison, 10th duke included. Quickly the princess' face turned pale and she was indeed dying together with Chi Loong and Chi Loong cried out his frustration and his guilt and the princess fell into his trap and confessed to killing many many people just to make Sung Chi suffer. But she was happy because at least he died first. But Sung Chi appeared with Yuk Chu and everybody, giving Chi Loong the antidote and it turns out Chi Loong was always on their side, except for the first few hours when he first returned to the village. The Princess cried and said she lost and as Tan Fung gave the cure to her, she took out a knife and Yuk Chu pushed Tan Fung away and she got stabbed and dramatically cried "AHHHHHHH".."AH AAH AHH AHAHH AHAHAHAHAHAH" in a high piercing voice. Everybody panicked and the princess who thought she got the last laugh said she wanted Sung Chi to suffer losing someone he loved (as if he didn't know already?). So she died. And Yuk Chu was seriously hurt, in coma and Sung Chi who was convinced it was he who caused her bad luck went away. Yuk Chu, like some time later (like Chi Loong got a student already) woke up and vowed to find Sung Chi. China may be big but I guess crimes were scarce which was why Yuk Chu found him in another town as the coroner using another name. But he had already left. Next scene Sung Chi was on a boat when he realised he forgot something. And as Yuk Chu found what he lost (that knitting thingy which I can't explain but each of them had one given by a beggar long long time ago) she suddenly felt his presence. She turned and there he was at the door, both smiling and THE END.]
Some Questions Asked And Some Answers
I am sure many will be shaking their head as to who is who.
What is Joyce Tang doing in here?
Obligatory best friend cum girlfriend cum used girlfriend cum pawn between everybody. She's a really nice girl, loyal to Yuk Chu. She fell for Chi Loong for reasons I could not understand and was with him for some time until she realised he was too besotted with Yuk Po. He blamed her for lying to him. When he returned, he gloated about his success which she neither cared for nor felt happy for him. And yet she still loved him and hoped he would return to her a good man, until one last meeting she was drugged and she woke up naked and Chi Loong scarcely dressed. She was his woman now he said and she must do as he says. Foolishly she did but well read the ending above to know what happened.
Who is Yun Yuk Po?
Yun Yuk Po is the younger daughter of the Yun family. Yuk Chu's father had two wives, the second wife who is Yuk Po's mom schemed and got Yuk Chu's mom kicked out of the house (by alleging she caused the miscarriage of Yuk Po's mom's unborn child) and made sure he and the first wife had little contact. And so Yuk Chu is Yuk Po's elder half sister but they hated one another.
Yuk Po has a reputation of being the beauty (frankly Charmaine Sheh is so much prettier but lesser make up) and to many, a perfect being. To Chi Loong she was his goddess and he worshipped her. But the real her is very ambitious. She wanted to become a royal concubine and manipulated her way to build a good reputation to herself but her ambition did not come true. And so she agreed to marry a local rich man who has a very temperamental wife but no children. She reasoned she has only one woman to fight and she is younger so she can win. Her only condition in marrying was she must be ranked equally with the first wife.
Some time later, she devised an elaborate plan to poison her husband as he found out about her affair with her brother in law. She later even killed the first wife, the unborn child and the maid so that she could be the sole beneficiary of her husband's fortune.
She even used Chi Loong as an alibi and manipulating her way to gain his trust. She didn't win and in the end, she was beheaded but before she died, she begged to be given a chance. Poor thing.
So in the end everybody gets to be with everybody? Like Yu Mong and Chin Kit?
Yu Mong was a local prostitute but very learned whilst Chin Kit was the son of a famous bodyguard, his dad who also worked in the same town. Let me guess; it's Sung Dynasty, Mr Chin has many sons all of whom are bodyguards. Let me guess again, he must be the father of Chin Chiu, the famous bodyguard of Justice Pao, also from the same dynasty! Clever!
Anyway they fell in love but daddy said no way, no prostitute. So Yu Mong in order to make Chin Kit forget her agreed to marry a good rich man from another town. But that man died after Yu Mong was released from the bond of prostitute-hood (so to speak) and was now a free woman. She was of course accused as the killer but anyway, she didn't do it. She and Chin Kit became friends but they were bidding their time waiting for his dad to accept her. Then the charitable Yu Mong opened up and orphanage and Mr Chin was impressed. No indication whatsoever of Yu Mong talking to Mr Chin like he's her father or anything but at the end Chin Kit and Yu Mong did mention they will not marry unless Yuk Chu wakes up from her coma.
So Chi Loong really and actually raped Tan Fung??
So as not to spoil your viewing pleasure, please highlight the words below.
[I bet he didn't. After all she was naked, he was fully dressed but none of them looked like they engaged in any sort of activity at all. We knew Chi Loong was always on Sung Chi's side but I bet Tan Fung didn't. So he did what he did so that Tan Fung would do his bidding and convince the princess he was on her side, he could even stoop so low as to use the woman he loves. So nope, he didn't rape her but Tan Fung actually betrayed Sung Chi and Yuk Chu. Scary isn't it?]
But why did Tan Fung betray them? How could she?
So as not to spoil your viewing pleasure, please highlight the words below.
[I really do not know which is worse; if Chi Loong was really bad and did what he did was bad or Tan Fung for betraying her best friend and feeling guilty about it. Her reasoning was "I am his woman now ... I can die but I don't want any harm to come to you mother" and so to save her mother, she agreed to marry Chi Loong and tell that lie. Her mother feeling guilty too but did nothing. Pitiful but yet I can't help but feel how selfish they were. Can't Tan Fung volunteer to be a nun somewhere and her mom threaten to kill herself to release Tan Fung from such threat by Chi Loong? Can the story for once become more dramatically morally good rather than dramatically ambiguously pitiful?]
But in the end, happy? Really happy?
I guess so. Depends on how you see it.
The Cases In This Series
It's not a matter of who did it but rather how the murderer did it. There are of course about 1 case every 2 episodes, so you have many murders in here. It must be murders because Sung Chi's handles dead people and since this is about Sung Chi, dead people there must be.
So which is the good one and which is the worst one?
The Good Ones
Breaking News : Lovely Maiden Died Pregnant
Chi Loong saw this lovely girl crying by the river and took her home. She dropped her jade and quietly slipped away. Then she turned up strangled, bruised, drowned and pregnant. Chi Loong was accused (improbable but dramatic) but Sung Chi cleared his name when in the end it was discovered this girl was impregnated by her disgusting step father. Very pitiful case and I thought interesting as a plot involving taboos.
Breaking News : Local Rich Man Died In Ecstasy Whilst Making Love To Beautiful Young Wife
More Breaking News : Widow Of Dead Local Richman Died In Blaze With Her Made ; She Was Pregnant!
Yuk Po was having an affair with her brother in law and both conspired to kill the husband/brother. He died because of a combination of a few aphrodisiac elements when combined together is a potent poison. He was discovered naked and presumably died with an erection, as described by Chi Loong in a more refined manner. Then there's Yuk Po, in her night gown and everybody assume he couldn't "handle" her. But we the viewers knew she did it the way just described. She wanted to force the first wife to break up the fortune and then split with the money. But first wife said she was pregnant and Yuk Po, in her most evil moment drugged the first wife and her maid and burned them alive. She was caught as Sung Chi made each party convinced the other was betraying one another and she died being dragged to the podium for her execution.
Breaking News : Serial Killer runs amok, kills Women Wearing Red Shoes And Chopping Their Legs
Exactly that and the reason was because his wife was having an adulterous affair, wore red shoes, during the rain and this man went psycho when raining. Nothing spectacular but I love the gore, the blood, the one scene where the victim was hidden behind some baskets, her mouth covered with his hands and Sung Chi walked by, not noticing at all. Poor girl.
The Bad Ones
Breaking News : Former Prostitute Bak Yu Mong Suspected Of Murder
Yep, prejudice aside, Mr Chin and gang suspected her of murdering her husband for reasons I could not fathom. Because frankly they haven't marry yet and she hasn't got any benefit in a long term way yet and to accuse her of murder is ridiculous. Anyway it was a local merchant who killed him as the victim found out the local merchant sold him fake bird nests. And Mr Chin didn't even apologise to Yu Mong for framing her.
Breaking News : Sung Chi Suspected Of Murder (Again and Again and Again) Over The Same Victim
Breaking News : Local Bad Luck Lady Yun Yuk Chu Suspected Of Murdering Her Step Murder
What can I say? Whilst I immensely enjoy Sung Chi having an upper-hand over the princess and Chi Loong time and time again but the whole idea was ridiculous. Notwithstanding the ending, let's talk about this case as if the ending is not shown yet and Chi Loong was indeed a bastard.
Yuk Chu was accused of murdering her step mother whom she hated because she thought step mom caused the fire which killed her mom. But there was the unexplained death of Uncle Ming who was also whipped after he died. Sung Chi rightly concluded the crime was against Uncle Ming, Yuk Chu's mom was an unfortunate sacrifice. So Yuk Chu believed him. But everybody saw Yuk Chu fighting with step mom and these all became evidence. Let me make this clearer ....
The Emperor Of China Vs Yun Yuk Chu
Victim : Step Mom
Method of Murder : Strangulation, hung up on a tree
Physical Attributes : Bruises, semen in her vagina
Suspected : Rape and murder but no real indication of penetration
Accused : Yun Yuk Chu
1. Yuk Chu had bruises which proves she was involved in a struggle
Stupid isn't it? What if I fell down? Or I beat a guy, got bruises and that guy turned up dead 10 KM away, am I the murderer?
2. There was blood on Yuk Chu's dress.
Yuk Chu explained this one. It could be from the fight with step mom but more obviously, she said her dress was stained, she removed it and wore another dress given by a mysterious Grandma Suen. How come no one come out to testify she was wearing a different dress when she was attacking step mom and when they found her dress?? How come no one investigated perhaps someone framed her by giving her a cloth soiled in invincible blood?
3. Yuk Chu could not explain where she was when step mom died
She already said, she was with Grandma Suen. But of course no one can find grandma Suen, so she could be lying. A possible good point amongst all the stupid ones.
4. Yuk Chu hated her step mom
True but she already said she had no reasons to kill her as Sung Chi explained her mom died of come other reasons and it wasn't step mom who killed her mom. So she had no motive. Then there was the question of Uncle Ming who was whipped. Such hatred for the man, and yet step mom didn't really know Uncle Ming. If Uncle Ming's death could not be explained, Yuk Chu cannot be the suspect because whoever killed Uncle Ming caused the fire and why would Step mom kill Uncle Ming? Of course Chi Loong in a moment of brilliance gave a theory; that Sung Chi planted evidence on Uncle Ming's body as if Uncle Ming was whipped when he wasn't; he died in the fire, which was accidental. So Yuk Chu did have a reason to kill step mom. BUT that doesn't explain how a small frame thin girl like Yuk Chu could haul the body of step mom, hang her in mid air without any help. Of course again Sung Chi could have helped her but that wasn't pointed out so in the end it doesn't make sense.
But is Yuk Chu capable of murder? I am sure once in a while we all will think of murdering someone, but to cross that threshold is not easy. Possibly hatred may be a cause for Yuk Chu to kill step mom but again Yuk Chu may be rude or stubborn but she is no murderer. Doesn't make sense and believe me all these are called circumstantial evidence. As long as Uncle Ming's death is not adequately explained, Yuk Chu can never be guilty of murder or anything at all.
Anyway one unexplained factor; the semen in step mom's body. How did Yuk Chu get that if she was the murderer? I understand why she put it into the victim's body but if the great Sung Chi can come out with theories about fingerprints and DNA testing, couldn't he like create a microscope and analyze the sperm which would come to a very reasonable conclusion that the murderer/rapist is impotent (as the sperms would have been dead) and therefore make the case even more sordid and interesting?
5. Sung Chi loved Yuk Chu so he could have helped her in killing step mom
True as love can be the cause of so many destructive nature in a man BUT not in the case of the level headed Sung Chi who came with an impeccable reputation and a rank of 4th rank in the ministerial position. His credibility would have been impeccable and how could one Chi Loong, a small time nobody could make Sung Chi suffer so? Like the old saying, beat the dog must also see who's the master. In the case of Chi Loong, his master is a 2nd ranked official and this 2nd ranked official is the dog of the princess who in turn is the sister of the Emperor. Sung Chi can't beat all that pedigree stuff though Sung Chi is ably aided by 10th Duke who is fortunately higher ranked than the princess and a brother to the Emperor. This series clearly illustrates power is nothing without a powerful rank and a powerful master behind their backs.
The verdict was so confusing I don't think they had a verdict. Yuk Chu was tortured, she was tempted to admit but didn't. Sung Chi was convicted for killing some unknown nobody whilst Yuk Chu was convicted of killing step mom. Both sentence to death and all these based on evidence as flimsy as a see through negligee. Believe me, nothing defies anything more than logic itself in this series and there is none in this case.
I will honestly say I didn't quite like Witness To A Prosecution I because of many many things but Marianne Chan saved the series for me with her idealistic and innocent but capable Lit Foong. And then I heard there's gonna be part II and both main actresses will be killed off to make way for TVB current hot property Charmaine Sheh and also Joyce Tang. I thought lost two wives gain two wives, not a bad deal. So I had this pre-misconception about this series but who can blame me? A sequel is never always better than the prequel but at least this series is really a sequel, unlike Burning Flame II which is not a sequel to Burning Flame I.That being said, a second honest confession;
I actually enjoyed this series and the last 2 episodes made my blood boil to the point my blood pressure shot up so high my face was red, thanks of course to the despicable Chau Chi Loong. Apart from that there are many elements I like about this series, one of them ISN'T the cases and the logic.
Of course many may complain "AHA! Jan Lau, must be the murderer!" or "AHA! New face, famous name, HE'S THE MURDERER". No points in guessing the murderer. But this is not a WHODUNIT series but how the heck did they do it and the characters seek to give an explanation using ancient (but back in those days modern and revolutionary) forensic techniques. Revolutionary to the point of non-existing and no human is capable of that techniques. Of course the one question any viewer should ask is what kind of job Sung Chi has? I mean he holds so many roles I do not know myself.
He may be a CSI (Crime Scene Investigator), profiler, detective, coroner, medical examiner, sometimes doctor, sometimes experts in many areas other than examining dead bodies with extensive (read COMPLETE) knowledge of anything and everything related to any or all of his many roles he plays.
He's one busy fella don't you think?
Anyway, back to the series and the many many many characters. One goes out comes three more. I am surprised there are so many people in this series I could still keep up, a very good indication that this series must be doing something right. There are many reasons why one would watch and enjoy this series, the very same reasons why one would watch and hate it. I shall elaborate one by one, using Sung Chi's style which is take an element, dissect it and apply my extensive and complete knowledge to evaluate the piece of evidence ... I mean element before me to come to a logical, highly improbable but possible conclusion that may not please all but at least there is an end to all the speculation; just like Sung Chi's style.
Sung Chi aka Bobby Au Yeung
Maybe some of you may want to know what happens to Sung Chi after he rode into the sunset with 2 lovely wives, one a princess and another a marshall. I mean some viewers love to see until the intestines and this series in a way will attempt to show the end for Sung Chi without him dying, growing old or having children. I can't remember when was the last time I saw an ending with a happy wedding ceremony in a TVB series. Nowadays the end is always either a reunion of the cast in the end but never at a wedding or two main characters meeting each other again after some time, the rest is up to your imagination. If you hate imagining the real end, this series and the end for Sung Chi is definitely not your cup of tea. That being said, I find the character Sung Chi rather interesting in this sequel.
Why Is That So?
In part 2 in the first scene Sung Chi suffered a terrible blow; his two wives died horrible deaths, unborn child died also. How can that not be an interesting beginning? We know from part 1 Sung Chi is always seen as the bad luck guy with people calling his Coffin Boy as he was born to a dead mother, I can't remember whether in a coffin or not in a coffin. He was a sweet guy, who had great talent in doing the unspeakable, the lowest of the low; no not disposing off human waste but handling a dead body. He worked in a morgue after all. In part 2 he was promoted to a very high rank but because of the deaths, he blamed himself and abandoned everything, and came to a new town a very despondent and angry man. He didn't care about anything until he could not deny the injustice he saw and he must again utilise his talent. Little by little he regained his faith in himself and his talent, right up until when Yuk Chu was in a coma towards the end. The whole process of "I am bad luck, therefore my women die because of me" begin again, albeit briefly. I find this interesting because he was such a sad sad man, for once a character so burdened by his talent he simply couldn't face it anymore. Potentially a very emotional role.
But Is It?
Not really thanks to Bobby Au Yeung's inadequacies as a dramatic actor. His Sung Chi looked more constipated and a joker trying to be funnily serious rather than serious itself. What is going on with Bobby? I remember one series, "Nothing To Declare" where he played a customs officer aka detective next to the once great Wong Hei. His character was similar to this one, suffered a great loss, very angry with himself until he met Marianne Chen who renewed his faith in love, men and himself. His portrayal was brilliant because he really looked burdened. Then of course a string of comedic roles and after a while it is not because as a viewer I did not take him seriously but he himself did not take his dramatic roles seriously. I am very disappointed with Bobby and I am beginning to wonder, is it because he is too happy (married to a loving wife, great career, great friends, probably earning lots of money, very popular) therefore he lost his grasp of observation and output as an actor? Just like Wong Hei??
He had a best moment though and it had nothing to do with the actor but the atmosphere, which was the first scene in the morgue after he woke up from his short coma and Chi Loong and Yuk Chu saw him (more like his shadow) walking towards a dead woman who was pregnant, took a butcher's knife and chop! Both Yuk Chu and Chi Loong was horrified but out came a crying baby. It was a very good scene, because of the colour, camera angle and of course the horrified faces of Yuk Chu and Chi Loong.
Another one was when he was examining the body of a very attractive girl. He asked Yuk Chu to take off her cloths in front of Chi Loong and Chin Kit and both men looked away. That was probably Bobby's best acting in this series when he looked at them and in his authoritative voice said "If you do not think bad thoughts, such wouldn't bother you" and they all looked at him admiringly.
Can't remember when but it was raining and he was walking alone and he remembered his dead wives who died on a rainy day. There he was crying, scolding the Heavens, very emotional time and dear Bobby made it all look like a featherweight scene. Very laughable attempt at being unrealistically dramatic in a potentially realistic moment.
Overall, How Was His Performance?
Very very poor and inadequate. Not too bad in the sense worst acting ever but not enough for a series devoted entirely to his character. I do not see his Sung Chi as wise and all knowing though at times I do wonder "How on earth he knew all that stuff?".
One Important Question
Has Sung Chi ever been wrong about his prognosis? In the first scene, technically he wasn't wrong, he found the correct murderer it was just that that woman murdered for a very pififul reason. But why not for once who that he is wrong? Why not show he wrongly convicted a man and only to take a risk of damaging his own reputation to save that man??
Chau Chi Loong aka Stephen Au
This character reminded me of Sung Chi in part one, only more cunning and very conniving but ruled more by his heart than his head. He became Sung Chi's student with a good talent but wasted it all when he became angry when Yun Yuk Po was executed and he realised everybody knew the truth but never told him anything at all. Then he came back but this time he was pure stubborn.
Why Is That So?
He's not evil but he's stubborn. At this point I am tempted to reveal the ending but read above and you will know in the end it's all show and nothing defamatory of this character. What I like about him is when he said "I may have been angry but I am not someone who forgets gratitude, he is my sifu". Ahhhh I love that man.
But Is It?
Ok, so my blood boiled in the last 2 episodes, hated this man for framing Yuk Chu, framing Sung Chi, raping Tan Foong, helping the evil Princess, blinded by fame, fortune and of course, none of these mattered in the end. I hated his ending though a bit too rushed. I shall elaborate further later on.
Stephen Au made Chau Chi Loong his own in this series. He's cute, he's funny, he's nice and yet he's really unreasonably stubborn, but his best moment was when he looked at the character Yun Yuk Po. You could see this man worships this woman, probably kisses the floor which she stood on.
Also another really funny scene was when after Tan Foong said she didn't see Chi Loong who was standing directly in front of the sun, so Tan Foong's view was blocked in a way by the bright sunlight. Chi Loong didn't believe Tan Foong and was very angry with her. Then one day he was standing the exact same place as Tan Foong was and Sung Chi with Yuk Chi was standing where he was. They saw him called out to him but he didn't greet them back. Both were disappointed and kept calling him until he realised someone was calling him, squinting his eyes and all. It was at that moment he realised Tan Foong wasn't lying to get him in trouble. The whole scene was very very funny.
When he came back successful and all of a sudden he spoke really really slow. My patience was indeed tested but well, it's not half as bad as Bobby Au Yeung's horrible non-acting in this series.
Overall, How Was His Performance?
Very good. In fact the best in this series by an actor.
Yun Yuk Chu aka Charmaine Sheh
This is one pitiful girl, who had to work to make a living in an era women aren't supposed to work. She hates people because they say bad things to her face like calling her bad luck and the worst of all, Tong Chu Tang which basically means a girl who kills her potential suitor by way of simply being bad luck. Chau Chi Loong's brother was her fiance before he died many many years ago. Since then no one proposed, or rather no one dared to. Of course her temper didn't help and she wasn't exactly very ladylike like Yun Yuk Po. But as opposed to Yun Yuk Po, I find her very real, very honest and at times very strong when she would have been beaten many many times emotionally. Overall I think Yuk Chu is a nice girl if one just takes the time to understand her. And of course she fell for Sung Chi before she knew he was Sung Chi.
Why Is That So?
In one of best scenes, when Sung Chi gave his theory whilst still known as Coffin Boy, Yuk Chu looked at him admiringly, her eyes big with pure adulation. I thought that was a very good look by Charmaine Sheh and it shows that she was falling for his intelligence, not his looks though one scene had him shaved and he walked out and the music was as if there appeared Kong Wah by the door, if you know what I mean. He's not bad looking but doesn't deserve that kind of introductory music. Anyway, Yuk Chu was a interesting character to watch.
But Is It?
Oh yes. She could have been so frustrating, so irritating but Charmaine Sheh managed to make me feel for her character, and in the end like her. To tell you the truth, I am beginning to enjoy watching her as she improves, series by series, though that improvement is slow-mo. I hate to say this but if she gets any better than she was in An Herbalist Affair, you can say I am her fan since I enjoyed her performance in that series immensely. That doesn't mean she did really really well in this present series reviewed. It was very obvious Joyce Tang was the better actress but I must say Charmaine Sheh is improving in the acting department but not quite so in a more holistic (as in overall) approach.
I think I have mentioned this many many times and I guess I am pretty consistent in my observation of this actress.
I have maintained and will continue to say that she is a scene by scene actress. If you look at one individual scene and ignoring the others before or the ones you will see after, I am sure you will agree she has improved tremendously and at times rather good. I especially enjoyed her crying scenes, her chemistry with Bobby (yes, there's chemistry but not in a sexual way, more like buddy-buddy way) and her scenes with Joyce Tang. And I do think of her very very pretty even if in the entire series she does not have that glossy lips, pink cheeks or fantastic costume. In other words, she should have been Yun Yuk Po, the prettier one so to speak. And although she tries hard to play the tomboy or unladylike person, I am not fooled. She is more ladylike than Yun Yuk Po, supposedly the lady of the village. Oh yes, scene by scene she is fantastic. And I was almost tempted to say she's my favourite actress to observe and praise upon.
And then came the scene where her mother died cruelly and tragically. She was with an old lady moments (maybe days) after her mother's death. Then she was standing right in front of the person who planned and caused her mother's death, amongst others. She was even standing in front of her best friend in the entire world who accused her of murder, utterly unthinkable betrayal. Then she was so unhappy she cried hugging Sung Chi. And how did she perform in those scenes?
Not as bad as Bobby who is bad in the whole sense. Charmaine is different. I was very very disappointed. She has improved I won't deny it but definitely not for the better in the sense of being an actress who understands and who sees her role wholly and not scene per scene. The most telling was after her mother died, cried like there's no tomorrow. And the next scene she looked surprisingly normal, even looked fresh. The make up department may have forgotten to make up her grief on her face but certainly the actress should at least behave the part. But she didn't. And then she came face to face with the real culprit and I don't even see hate in her eyes. Maybe you could say at that point Yuk Chu gave up hope but she didn't look like she gave up hope. She frowned, looked utterly unhappy and that was it. I was very very disappointed and I do wonder did she understand her Yun Yuk Chu? Her improvement is not towards best but towards mediocre/average. Which made me realise why I loved her in An Herbalist Affair; at least she was consistent in there. In this series she's not and again, disappointingly so. As for hugging Bobby, the way she hugged him was a bit too reserved, considering she was drunk, crying like mad and very unhappy. I see Yuk Chu as someone as passionate as she is temperamental. She can hate with a passion and she can love with a passion. Don't see that which is why I say their relationship is not sexual in any way, more buddy-buddy. Let's not talk about that one single kiss scene which is more like a brush of the lips totally devoid of anything sentimental, except for being sweet but as one reviewer in Point2e noted, sickeningly vomit inducing scene. Not that dramatic for me but I do feel it lacks something. Could it be Charmaine's too old for Bobby? Well, Charmaine is not exactly young you know, no it's just Bobby is not a good kisser on screen that's for sure as I am sure Charmaine is very good at kissing as demonstrated by her many kisses with her many male co-stars. And then there's her bad habit that I noticed ever since that series about that cuckoo in Macau. She has BIG movements, big voice. I don't that in here but it's very very irritating to see her swinging her hands left right, like someone whose walking BIG steps with BIG movements just a few minutes after her mom just died. Consistency! None!
But one redeeming factor about Charmaine Sheh; her Yun Yuk Chu is genuinely cute in here especially the scene she shared with Bobby. Other than being cute, nothing else if you look at the series as one whole piece instead of scene by scene.
She was standing by the river, unhappy and Bobby was behind her and she cried for all she was worth. She cried because she is single, she is a spinster and she doesn't understand why she has to marry. She also has to pay taxes because she is unmarried and she cried and cried and cried. Really really cried, all her frustration released and poor Bobby, standing there not knowing what to say or what to do.
I don't see hate in her eyes when she saw the Princess. I don't see contempt for Chi Lung. I don't see grief after her mother died. And worst of all, almost at the end she was stabbed and that was her worst moment and worst acting with her ear piercing "AHHHHHHHHH" and when she went down she closed her eyes hard and kept screaming AHHHHHH AHHHHHH AHHHHHH AHHHHHH. Is that pain or is that AHHHH AHHHH AHHHH AHHHH? Big difference to me.
And of course as usual, Yun Yuk Chu could be such a cry baby towards the end. I am beginning to see a trend here in Charmaine Sheh series; always ends with her no matter what and her character is so clingy and dependent towards the end, even going as low as begging the woman (Princess) who killed her mom so that she can be with her Brother Sung. Urgghhhhh! Dignity woman dignity, don't beg that worthless piece of vermin! It's not her character, it's Charmaine herself. I think that's her in reality.
Overall, How Was Her Performance?
Interesting but average. A more capable actress would have given Yuk Chu layers but probably would not have made her likeable or cute.
Yeung Tan Foong aka Joyce Tang
She is so pretty even when she is sulking, more so when she is smiling happily. I always have this impression she is a very unhappy woman, and that she is very strong. In real life she is very happy, probably contented and very girly and not very strong. Not feminine but girly. I have seen her in real person, though a bit shorter than I expected, but she was so beautiful, so cute, always smiling and clearly enjoying herself, I thought she's one actress who looks even prettier in person than in the telly. Nowadays she became a spokesperson for some slimming product (I think but how slim should she get when she is already so slim?) and she dressed to kill, especially in that grand opening of new TVB studio event. Unfortunately she managed to look rather cheap and that is so unfair to this actress who is capable of being elegant and graceful. Somehow Hong Kong has this misconception that stick thin is slim therefore beautiful and that the less you dress the more sexier you are and therefore sensual. I beg to differ. Anyway, in this series her Tan Foong is uneducated, but loyal to her friend except for the last 2 episodes due to very personal but selfish reasons.
Why Is That So?
Her Tan Foong is in a way quite scary as a friend but very good as a daughter. She gave up friendship and made statements that she knew will put her friends in jeopardy but she did it anyway because innately she still loved that despicable Chi Lung and because her mother's life at stake. I do wonder if I am presented with the same situation would I have done the same? No I wouldn't because my conscience couldn't live with that. I am sure my mum would rather take whatever may come and I will become a nun rather than marry that despicable man (just because I was raped which is such a lame excuse) and accuse my 2 friends of the untruth.
But Is It?
Oh yes, whatever she said was not the truth. And the scariest of them all in light of the ending, we are told she didn't know the truth when she accused her friends of lying to the court and thus, she herself is no saint. Scary.
Can't quite pinpoint one particular scene but overall I liked her performance.
Overall, How Was Her Performance?
The best actress in this series in a very supporting role. Maybe she should be the lead sometimes.
Other Characters & Performances
Ellesmere Choi was not very good as the idealistic marshall but very observant and intelligent. I like his Chin Kit except when he went berserk when he couldn't be with the woman he loved, the local prostitute, Bak Yu Mong.
Bak Yu Mong
This character who is a local prostitute is perhaps the best woman in the entire village, who is learned, kind, soft spoken, gentle and very elegant. The joke is she's the prostitute! But very pitiful background and I love this character for her direct opposite of Yun Yuk Po. She is at least sincere. However that being said, Wong Lam's performance is I must say quite satisfying though I was hoping to see Michelle Yip Suen in this character because her gentleness reminded me of her excellent guest starring and very scene stealing scene from Treasure Raiders.
A wonderful performance by Liu Kai Chi (like as always, getting bored in praising him, hoping perhaps he will give a horrible performance for once so that I can change my tune for once) and his character, a very pitiful end.
Ko Wan Hin
I wonder what's the actor's name. He looks really good nowadays, quite handsome and his performance is getting better and better by each series. His Ko Wan Hin in here at first appeared noble and fair but in the end he did what he did because he followed the instructions of his master, the princess.
Raymond Tso as the son of a general who himself became a general looking rather too young for such a high rank. The best thing about this character is I thought he's evil but actually he's quite a nice chap, fair, brave and helpful. I do think he is rather good looking and dignified. A good performance.
I do not know the actor's name, I do know him by his many appearances as secondary characters. His performance as the magistrate in this series is my favourite of all and his magistrate is my favourite character in this series. For a moment I thought this magistrate is spineless and will succumb to bribery but towards the end as he fought to save Yuk Chu, he was the personification of justice and all things fair. I admire his guts and his willingness to do what's right even if his rank is low as opposed to that higher ranked official, Ko Wan Hin who as best is a hypocrite. My favourite scene of his was in the early scenes, where Sung Chi challenged him in procedures (that was when Sung Chi was Coffin Boy) and Sung Chi said "Haven't you read the latest manual in Criminal Procedure?". The magistrate went into his room complaining to his trusted sidekick, (again played by an actor I have always seen but never knew his name, the actor with the perpetual worried look but great performance in here as Mr Chin) "How can he question me? What manual he was talking about? There was no manual! Have you heard of this manual?" and Mr Chin replied "No" because the usual practice is magistrate reads first and then Mr Chin will read. Then he suddenly remembered, ran to the book shelf and extracted the manual which he read only a few passages and fell asleep. He did say "Oh my God! I forgot!". The funny thing was in Malay it was translated as "Alamak! Saya lupa! Saya tertidur semasa membaca buku ini!" and I was laughing so hard at his expression. In the end of course this magistrate proves fair and wise though a bit human in the sense he falls asleep reading thick manuals. Excellent performance.
Yun Yuk Po
An interesting character and though Halina Tam is not pretty (I mean for Heaven's sake, Charmaine Sheh is prettier) but she did bring out the hypocrisy and fakeness of Yun Yuk Po very effectively. I especially enjoyed the scenes where she was one minute gentle and soft spoken and the next minute in front of Yuk Chu she changed into this ogre. Her end was satisfying and very correct and I loved the fact that she had to be dragged to be executed. Was she really sorry towards the end? I doubt it. Her fear of ceasing to exist made her apologise, not because she felt remorse or guilt.
Princess Chi Ha
A very sad character in a way. She devoted all her attention and her love to her husband whom she felt is perfect until she was informed he committed murder out of jealousy. Even then she felt he was perfect. The moments before he was executed, one would be forgiven for shedding a tear for the Princess as she frantically tried to stop the execution. She may be evil, her husband may be stupid but they do love each other, totally devoted to one another. I especially like the scene where she tried to cover her husband with that Emperor's robe and the robe was blown away onto the top of a tree by a sudden gush of wind and as she tried to take the robe down her husband was executed. There she held his headless body and screamed at the executioner, the magistrate, Sung Chi, and her own brother, the 10th duke, saying how cruel could they be. And her face (I am sure this was unintended) was filled with wrinkles and for a moment she looked rather ugly. You'd knew this character will cause mayhem but I didn't knew it would be in such magnitude. As for Jan Lau, it was a pleasant surprise to see her after such a long time and also quite shocking because she aged a lot. Her acting however was rather inadequate; she didn't look like she was concentrating. Perhaps the Princess would have acted that way, that I really don't care type of personality? If yes, she did a wonderful job but she looked like she didn't care but I suspect she wasn't paying attention. However, a pleasant surprise to see her in here in a character so evil and so cruel.
The Personification of Evil : Who is Worst?
Yun Yuk Po or Princess Chi Ha? If body count wise, Chi Ha of course, since she masterminded the deaths of the prisoners, cruelly killed too many people, killed Uncle Ming, killed Yuk Chu's mom, stabbed Yuk Chu. In a way she is more than cruel, she is evil to the core. But all that because of love, she was blinded by her love for her husband and her need to make someone pay for his death not realising he came to such an end because of his own undoing. She didn't think that of course because she was the princess, therefore she is above everybody else.
Yuk Po is different. She killed her husband I assume because she knew he knew of her affair with her brother in law and also for money. That's cruel and rather stupid. I at first thought it was lust that drove her to murder, because that old man couldn't satisfy her. And then I thought it was for money but wouldn't it be better he is still alive then she will have money? In the end when she burned to death the first wife who was very pregnant and her maid, smiling as she lit the room with fire, I realised it wasn't for money or for lust. It was pure self satisfaction in thinking she had performed the perfect crime thinking she could get away and gain monetary benefits. It was her idea of fun and she felt no remorse.
Would you agree if I say both are as cruel but Yuk Po is a tad more evil than Princess Chi Ha?
There are many wonderful and funny scenes in this series, mostly when Sung Chi was Coffin Boy. I waited for him to declare "I am Sung Chi" but came a bit late though quite wonderful to watch. I specially enjoy the scenes towards the end when Yuk Chu was tortured (but of course Charmaine Sheh going AHHHHHH AH AH AH AH AHHHHHHHH was at best rather fake, she should actually be beaten to make her scream more realistically, because probably she has never been beaten before in her life, I mean who could beat dear Charmaine Sheh?). I also enjoyed the Princess trying very hard to make the charge of murder stick on Sung Chi but again and again her plans are foiled, ingeniously.
The scientific parts, all without basis. During a time when fingerprints weren't seen as important evidence, this series totally debunked it all. Illogical, and at times very silly and insulting the viewers' intelligence. And I don't believe ME existed at that time in the sense they check women's body, checked their private parts and all. I really do not believe that. But at least it wasn't as worst as the prequel where a drop of a blood onto the bones would reveal the genetic relations of the dead body and the living relative. Now that takes the cake as the worst of the worst.
Charmaine Sheh's performance towards the end and Bobby Au Yeung's performance throughout.
And the ending. The worst of the worst of the worst.
Why the worst of the worst of the worst?
Forgive me for being dramatic but please as I say the worst of the worst of the worst, please thunder lightning wind and rain, booming voice all come at once.
THE WORST OF THE WORST OF THE WORST IS THE ENDING BECAUSE ....
I know the entire series is about Sung Chi. I know Yuk Chu is also the lead because by default her boyfriend is the lead. And then somewhere in the middle we have sub plots about Chi Kin (boring), murders (sometimes interesting) and more importantly Chi Loong. When he came back evil and all and then the truth was revealed it was anti climax but they should have ended the story there or at least with a wedding. But noooooo, Yuk Chu must be stabbed and this series ended with Sung Chi and Yuk Chu looking at one another. First thing first, the end for Chi Loong was much too rushed and robbed of its significance, or our relief that he ain't a bad guy. And what's that with Yuk Chu being stabbed? So that we can feel for their love? HOW can we feel when most do not see them as a couple so in love? I see them as a couple, period. Like Seven Sisters, and in almost every series Charmaine Sheh is in, the end must concern her and always her. Why? Why make me dislike her? Why not just bloody end without always her?
I would have given it a 4 but darn the ending! Overall I enjoyed this series more than its prequel and I enjoyed the performances in here, most of them. I do like Charmaine Sheh and I do think she is pretty in her underdressed and under-makeup character which is wonderful. Hate to see MAC when she is poor and overworked and very stressed. Fans of Charmaine will love this, fans of Bobby will watch this no matter what I say and fans of WTAP I will want to avoid this series because the writers killed off 2 important characters and retained I think 2 characters from part 1, Sung Chi and the 10th Duke. Overall, enjoyable series but leave your logic at the door.
Ever notice in this series that ever since Sung Chi appeared in that little village there's one murder every 2 episodes and thus 1 murder every week or so? Why not suspect Sung Chi as the murderer?? Ok I am being funny but logically speaking probably there's no murder because there's no competent ME to recognise murder most foul when they see one!
Ok, another observation.
This scene, Chi Loong was giving his theory how Sung Chi killed that poor old man who died for no apparent reason other than the fact the princess wanted to frame Sung Chi. Theories from poison, to snake bites, to covering up evidence to acupuncture needles to binding that victim and making him run so that a process of poisoning a grown man which would takes hours will take lesser time ... at this point Sung Chi just stood there looking at Chi Loong, like he couldn't believe it all and Yuk Chu begging Sung Chi, that it wasn't true. I am very surprised Sung Chi didn't rebut it all other than just denying it all. I mean Sung Chi kept explaining and all. Why don't he just say;
"You know Chi Loong, you ran out on me and blamed me for Yun Yuk Po's death and so you're angry therefore you have motive. You know the process of poisoning as much as I do, and you could explain it well, so well that perhaps you could be the murderer, framing me and to discredit me!".
YEAH! Why not? Of course in light of the ending, this wouldn't make sense. But remember, next time in court people who has a grudge against you could theorize so many things not in your favour, don't panic and just put the burden on that theory person to prove. Wouldn't it be more fun is we have Sung Sai Kit battling it out with Chan Tai Hei with Sung Chi as the expert witness with Justice Pao as the judge.