"Just get by your disbelief that Kiki Sheung can be Roger Kwok's mother and still this series is boring to the core."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
English title is just silly. Chinese title is better; "Kak sai jui hung" which quite literally means In Pursuit Of The Wrongdoers Across Generations". Something like that.
I only know a few.
Roger Kwok - Morning Sir (because his name is Tin Kwong which means morning)
Flora Chan - Ko San / Nicole
Kiki Sheung - believe it or not, Roger's mother
Basically how estranged father and son patched things up although father has been dead for 20 years and how one man's desire to help the woman he loves changes the destiny of their lives forever.
I won't be bothered with the plot because quite frankly the plot is really out of this world and meant to be. In fact I didn't even want to write a review for this series if not for requests by my net friends and also because I just thought the last episode merit a review in itself. So I will divide this review through a few aspects but I think you already know how I feel about this series.
The concept is a 80% rip off from a not so well known American movie, Frequency starring Dennis Quaid as the father (I think he was a fireman, can't quite remember) and Jim Caviezel I think as the policeman son and the story centred on a serial killer and how they communicated through an old radio. It wasn't really that great a movie but compared to this series, it is at least consistent and coherent.
The problem with this series is it is basically a detective story. All those things about communicating with the dead father (who 20 years ago was very much alive) through an old handphone that the father was using 20 years before which was zapped by lighting in present time are just gimmick. The real story is detective work, solving cases and finding suspects with the help of the father since most cases are 20 year old and after a few episodes it got really tiring.
And when everything settled down, Morning Sir requested the father to help prevent an accident which would cause paralysis to Ko San, a perky crime writer who so happens to be Morning Sir's girlfriend because she was feeling that she was a burden to him and then zoom back suddenly Morning Sir woke up and whilst things looked the same, things wasn't. For one Ko San became Nicole, the adopted daughter of a feared gang leader, Morning Sir was going out with her sister, Sek Sau whom he saved in the 1st half was again in prison and her mother still hated his father who died naked on the bed of a prostitute when in previous 1st half they found out that the father was perhaps framed. And so we have to watch the repeat on how Morning Sir set things right, how Sek Sau got out of prison, etc etc etc and how Nicole became more and more out of control whilst Morning Sir tried very hard to explain why he seems to keen on her.
Not only were they repetetive, the entire 2nd half was like wasting time except to see Flora Chan looking rather cool as the cold blooded Nicole. It wasn't a detective story after that, it became like "Save Nicole" series.
But the ending was the worst.
From the start we all know the father died 20 years ago, in a way that brought shame to the mother and son. But through this series we discover the father was a very loving husband and father and couldn't have died the way he did. We will find out how he was framed although it wouldn't have made sense with the 1st half concept because his death is interlinked with the 2nd half concept. I will explain more on this later. But when Nicole's destiny was changed, son warned father not to go to a certain place at a certain time but the father did and then he was out of the picture. 20 years later suddenly Morning Sir was informed that the father disappeared 20 years ago and the mother who has since learn to hate the father for abandoning the family did not know where he went. Morning Sir was shocked of course because Nicole's destiny remained unchanged and yet the father didn't die. We then found out that not only he didn't die, when he was trying to rescue Nicole from the clucthes of kidnappers who kidnapped her and erased her memory so to speak and she became Nicole. Very sad alternate life. Anyway the father fell during the rescue and was hospitalised. There he was saved by a travelling monk who advised him to let fate takes its course as if he meddled with fate again, his son will not be destined to meet Nicole in future. Father was so enlightened by this that he disappeared himself and became a travelling monk. Basically his mother still hated the father 20 years later, got hooked up with Sek Sau (though not that clear in this series) whilst the father became a travelling monk happy and contented whilst Morning Sir will wait for Nicole who will have to spend 10 yars in prison for her previous triad activities.
And I thought this ending was just plain stupid.
Why would the father want to abandon the family? What exactly was so enlightening that the monk said that made a man turn his back on his wife and son? I mean ok, not save Nicole because fate blah blah yes I understand but to let go of his only son and wife just like that? That is just stupid noble thing you know. It's noble but unnecessarily noble.
4 from what I can remember vividly.
The speed of recognition
That Morning Sir has for his father without questioning on why, how, where, what, when. Perhaps this is to say Morning Sir is a very superstitious man since such man wouldn't question how on earth he could contact his really very dead father through time.
Morning Sir's repeated reason to Nicole
That he was in love with her as Ko San, that she was a cripple but kind hearted sunny Ko San before he changed her fate to become cold blooded Nicole, that she should try and regain her memory. Am I the only one who understands the concept of alternate lives? If Nicole had never been crippled and she had never grow up in the environment like Ko San, and never met Morning Sir then clearly and surely and without any doubt whatsoever she wouldn't have any of those Ko San's memory. Either Morning Sir was desperate or he didn't understand the entire concept. He kept asking her to remember and said "If you can remember please do come back to me" when she had nothing to remember in the first place!
How the father died
First half I don't think it was ever explained how the father was framed or whether he was indeed framed. I assumed he was because he was such a good father and loving husband. In 2nd half or you may call that alternate life involving Nicole, we found out he died of drug overdose whilst trying to save Nicole from the cluctches of kidnappers who will later turn her into the adult Nicole. If this is the case, that doesn't explain how in the proper 1st half timeline the father could have died since the father never went there to save Nicole in the first place since Nicole didn't exist then, as she was crippled Ko San. I find this plot just hanging like that without a proper explanation and that is why this series does not have consistency.
As Nicole she calls most older guys in here as her daddy. Her real daddy whom she hated, her adoptive daddy who was a bisexual and her daddy who found her as a little girl who turned out to be a murderous psychopath who was using her all her life. Not plot holes or mistakes but very confusing if you miss an episode or two because you see her calling another man "Daddy".
The Usual TVB Stuff
Like a gay couple (most of the time male homosexuals) thrown in, some disability, some triangle love relationship or in this case rectangular/square, loads of people dying in the most impossible way with investigation concluded with an extra detailed confession each and every time and to throw us off the course, some ambigious character that really is nothing in the end.
But the worse of the usual stuff is sometimes just how perky some people eventhough they have impossibly non perky situation. I shall elaborate but let me make it clear. Having a disability like not being able to walk is really no big deal. THey should not be prejudiced nor should they feel sorry for themselves. For the amount of energy one can use to feeling sorry for themselves, might as well use that same energy for better use like perhaps living a quailty life by surrounded by loads of love for example. Ko San was exactly that. But what really got me thinking like in not a good way is how can someone so immobilised can be so mobilised? You know what I mean? That with her wheelchair she can go to so many places in such a short time. And amazingly, not because she can drive but because in one scene pursued by a dangerous killer, Morning Sir told her to go first. I wonder go where? Climb into her car herself? It doesn't solve the problem with who is going to fold the wheelchair for her. And that she can get anywhere in the shortest amount of time is so unbelievable. Is HK that disabled people friendly?
Richest Cop & Forensic Expert (ever!)
Morning Sir is a cop, and cops are not very highly paid. His father was a cop and supposedly died 20 years ago and insurance can't be much. His mother is a CSI or a forensic expert and therefore probably a bit higher pay but still wouldn't be much. So how come these two live in really the most luxurious looking house there is for 2 people who shouldn't be living in such huge homes? Morning Sir's room is bigger than Burning Flame's set meant for Wong Hei's character (and I mean the whole flat!). I sat with disbelief and my mind just tuned off when I saw the house.
A very violent Nicole is what I like watching as she smashed the bottles on some guy's head and push the other guy's face into the boiling steamboat pot. Ouch!
Everytime the phone got connected we have the same zoom into the phone, past the lines, wires and circuits ending at a computer chip with that same music background. Once ok, twice ok but each and everytime is just repetetive and wasting of precious 5 seconds.
Everything after Ko San disappears and we have Nicole. Whilst I like Nicole's character, the plots after she appeared seems rather pointless, repetetive and nonsensical. One of the worse was how many ways can the TV love confession scene can be done and indeed in this series at least 3 ways.
She was too old for her role as the perky and optimistic Ko San. And everytime she cried I couldn't understand a single word she uttered. Her performance as a disabled person is very unconvincing as she looked like someone sitting down rather than someone who can't stand up. But she fared better as the cold, bitchy, mean and cynical Nicole. In fact I thought her Nicole was cool and calm. Her kung fu action scenes need some practising thought but I enjoyed her performance was Nicole overall. Her make up suits her age and makes her look pretty. She should take on more of such roles that requires her to be dead pan with the least amount of facial expressions and lesser crying scenes. In fact no crying scenes please!
Inadequate performance of a very repetetive type of character because this series is repetetive. The scenes where he went bonkers and pin every blame on Morning Sir was horrible acting.
This man as he gets older acts worse and worse. I absolutely despise his dead pan boring performance of an equally boring character.
An insult to be Roger's mom. She ain't THAT old and even without make up she looked at best his older sister. Her performance was very good, again repetetive because her character is repetetive but still a competent performance. I could see the sadness, the loneliness, the bitterness in her eyes everytime she thought of her dead husband.
Horrible performance at first as his Morning Sir got easily irritated at the mere mention of his dad's name that there were times I could imagine the Psycho theme as he gets madder and madder. His performance improved somewhat later on but hampered by the fact that this series repeats itself and that his only concern is "Nicole! Nicole! Nicole!" to the point of that's the only thing he has in his mind and in the end it was a manic, rushed but repetetive performance that sometimes defies logic. One of his worst actually.
The rest are ok except for
-Kok Fung and that actor whose name I do not know who were rather convincing as a gay couple. Very affectionate.
- Lee Sze Chit as an insane serial killer cum leg chopper was quite simply manic looking. I deem it as an effective performance.
- can't remember his name but as Roger's father in this series for once this actor is given what could be almost equal amount of importance and screentime as Roger Kwok himself but it is a pretty lonely performance as most scenes he is always on the phone. An effective performance.
- the girl who plays Flora's sister is particularly inadequate. She can cry, she can get angry, she can get mean, she can laugh but then everyone can do that. I do not feel for her character and find her performance simply like acting, not much presence and not much substance.
- Lok Ying Kwan, a name I have remembered since Triumph In The Skies but I have seen him many many years before turned in an effective performance as a very heartless godfather of Flora's Nicole.
- Cheung Chi Kwong had very little to do except to act as Roger's sidekick but again he was effective.
It is hard to comment much since the characters are mostly cardboard types with little else to do but the veteran actors tried their best to give the character some sense but in the end came across as lame efforts because the story itself is weak to the core.
Just get by your disbelief that Kiki Sheung can be Roger Kwok's mother and still this series is boring to the core. It is basically Frequency meets Butterfly Effects (though I have seen the former but not the latter) TVB style and since originally none of the characters are that engaging in the first place, after the 2nd reality tookover the characters rarely become interesting except for the character Nicole. The dual realities only make things more repetetive and therefore frustrating as seen that once seen it all so seeing again is like seen it twice. And most scenes are like detective work so you can also say this is DIF V if you must. This is not Roger's best work, it is one of his weakest work BUT fans of Flora Chan may want to watch this as the character of Nicole is intriguing for awhile before boredom takes over. One thing kept me going and that was how and why the father died and when he didn't die, it was how he escaped and why he never returned to the family. The explanation is I shall say stupid to the very core of common sense.
Unless you're any of the actor's biggest fan who can stomach anything and everything, give this sorry crappy series a miss and just rent the movie Frequency which is not the best movie but at least being only 2 hours long is a bonus.
The Scariest Thought
I fear the day Kiki Sheung will be Deric Wan's mother as they acted as lovers in Looking Back In Anger. But I think the day will come sooner for Maggie Siu first and that is really a very scary thought.