" She (Fiona Sit) should marry Ron Ng and then give birth to a generation of awful actors."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
The following were taken from Bridget Au's review of the same series.
Michael Miu Kiu Wai as Lee Man Sing / Sunny (Lee Sir)
Ron Ng Cheuk Hei as Chung Lap Man (Man)
Sammul Chan Kin Fung as Wai Pak Kiu (Kiu)
Fiona Sit Hoi Kei as Ma Oi Lam (Fiona)
Michelle Mai Suet as Ivy (mother to Man)
Tavia Yeung Yee as Hor Fa (Ah Fa)
Chin Ka Lok as Kook Sir
Priscilla Koo Kei Kwan as Madam / Ann
Deep Ng Ho Hong as Ming (brother to Fa)
Eddie Lee Yu Yeung as Ryan
Law Koon Lan as Chan Yin-lan
Lau Kam Ling as Ma-cheung Wai-sum
Tang Ho Kwong as Ma Fung-tai
For the story, check out Bridget Au's review or Debbie Law's review
This has got to be one of TVB's very worst series ever, I am sure there are others worse that this crappy series but right now, this has got to be it, the one, the ultimate, the one and only. It has a promising story ala Burning Flame, where young idealistic people aspiring to join the police force must undergo training at the dreaded Academy. A mish mash of different personalities, characters and outlook that hated each other at first, with many sub plots revolving in major character, including those of the trainers and made worse with jealousy and competetive surroundings who at last bonded together and graduated having learnt the meaning of partnership, cooperation, that one man can't do it all. Added into that is also family crisis, love, friendship and ultimately losing someone. Sounds promising?
It does, on paper. The actual final product is awful beyond words. One point at a time ....
I wanted to see real training, but I got glimpses of gun traning, judo training and regretfully, a lot of marching exercises. In fact from the 1st till the last episode they were marching and marching and marching. That gave me an impression that
a. police training consists of marching only so that the young ones will be trained to march their criminals to death or maybe out-march the criminial
b. after so many bloody episodes, they're still not good at marching
c. no one can speak decent English and even after finishing the series I still can't get what was said except I think "HALT" but sounded more like "HUT" and everything was like gibberrish. Also heard FALL OUT but more like FOH AUT, spelt like German doesn't it? They might as well have been speaking French.
d. everytime they start to march that darn music comes out, end of marching that music again.
It conditioned me in such ways where when I heard that music, I just turn the channels.
And they went on marching. You can see so many variations in here; in the rain, in the sun; along the alley; everywhere in the academy. And march and march and march. Why not just call this series THE MARCHING ACADEMY or THE MARCHERS MARCHES ON THE MARSHES?
Then they had studies. Like what kind of studies? The law? The constitution? How to beat a confession out of a hard core criminal? Rights of the criminals? Right of arrest? When to arrest and search and warrant and stuff? Nope. They studied something, I just can't remember exactly what they studied. But a lot of smiling teachers and inspired faces who will then go marching.
Awful. And it was even more awful that the training lasted until the last episode. They had to graduate some time in this series, but I didn't expect to see them train until the very end.
What drama? One male trainer Lee Sir seems to be stuck in girlfriends with awful sons type of relationship. One is with Ah Kiu whom I think turned out to be his real son, like yeah yippee and the other the son of a woman he fell for. Ah Kiu was cold but the other was nasty. The worst plot in history of TVB is to make this man
a. live with one trainee
b. good friends with the mother of the other trainee
Maybe good drama perhaps you think? Sounds ideal but imagine this; both boys listening to him in school but outside of school rude like hell and even threatened him. Then back to school and there they were compliant, although still as stubborn. It doesn't work. Lee Sir in this silly plot became such a wuss. In fact he shouts, he scolds, he persuades and did any of them ever listen? Not for 89% of this series, oh no they don't. They continued to defy him whenever they can. Totally zero respect and I wonder why go to study there if you have such attitude problem that lasted so bloody long?
Then we have rivalries. Two types; male and female, both involving boycotting, gossiping, back stabbing ... hey are we watching The Bold And The Beautiful in here? The girls especially a bunch of useless complaining bimbos. The guys fared no better, more co-operation but every much the himbos. They spent almost the entire time bickering, to the point where they had to go jungle trekking and the guys failed miserably whilst there were divas in the girl's group. This is not about police training; This looks like some bitch fest to me. And the fact that it continues on and on is just so darn boring.
Then we have love. One silly subplot on the occupation of Tavia Yeung's character, Fa who comes from a family of pickpokets. Modern day Fagin if you wish. Then we have her all serious and all huffing and puffing everytime, most of the time very unreasonable and childish. Understandably Man got her brother into jail so when she played tricks on him and vented her anger at him, ok, understandable but in a way silly because she knew her brother did do the crime as charged. Instead of advising her brother to stop and just go find a real job, she felt angry that her brother went to jail. We have also various love stories and relationship stories as subplot, trainees with trainees (rich girl, poor cool boy), trainers and trainers (understanding madam and silly sir), trainer and trainee's son (two in fact, one dead, one alive) and I can't keep count so frankly I can't list them all. Too much time on relationships, too little on really real substance like when are they ever going to graduate? Will they be good policemen? Stuff like that.
Policemen or drama queens?
That's my point with this series. They're training to be policemen but they're all acting like hissy fussy sissy but never sassy drama queens. Fights, gossips, bitchings, temper flares...all seems like War & Beauty to me, set in a police campus. Generally all these fightings should be interesting since when they unite it will be like truly team spirit and all but somehow this series successfully turn all the fights into brainless boring bland activity (hereinafter the BBB factor). You can see this BBB factor in almost every episode, all of which regarding the trainees and sometimes the trainers themselves. The girls especially, I felt like what is this? Policewomen or ultimate bitch fest? No matter how many times the trainer Lee Sir said to them unity is of utmost importance, they listened and then again, the whole BBB bitchfest begins, right up until the last few episodes. Even the men had internal competition, like who can do the head stand longer perhaps, that when the trainers said stop they went on. So the punishment? Run 10 rounds around the field. If I were the trainers I fail them all for indiscipline and general stupidity.
The adults in this series
Believe it or not, there are adults in this series who acts like adults, unlike the trainees who are worse than children indulging in BBB activities. But the adults fared no better. They seem like they have problems, but in actual fact do they? I find even the adults' woes as very superficial like love, denial, familial problems. Whilst I understand a son's hope of reuniting the parents like Man's parents in this series, but after so many episodes also the same plot is almost BBB but not quite yet. Some adults acted in such a way that can stretch my patience, that like the aunt of Man. I know, forever young, a bit childlike and cute and free spirited and hippie-ish and all that trash, to actually see this woman acting like that is really frustrating because already the plot is going nowhere, we have characters who are wasting screen time with useless storyline. Like what is her purpose? Comic relief? Was she even funny in the first place? To lend support to her sibling? So why is she hogging the limelight with her antics? I don't see support. Then there was the Fagin family. Just silly.
The houses in this series
Maybe that's why pickpockets are such good business because look at their house! Huge. Every single apartment in this series is like luxury home, just how luxurious. Like they're so rich and yet we have the characters complaining of not having money. These days TVB series are too optimistic about HK real estate I suppose because their characters' seem to be living in bigger homes despite not having big time jobs. So I can only imagine how the houses will look like in Healing Hands III.
Is there at least one memorable character in this series?
Some may say Sammul's character. Most would probably say Michael Miu's character. For me, all are memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Plenty of stereotypes.
Kiu is cool. Cool and cool until he melted, still melted cool.
Man is hot headed. Hotheaded until he got himself roasted (and he does look roasted) and became less hotheaded.
The girls, like Fiona is the ultimate complain queen and did she change for the better? Less dependant you say? I don't know and I don't care.
There were of course the essential 3 trainers standing at the front facing the trainees, usually in white shirt and blue shorts as Lee Sir and gang will walk to the damn theme music. Always those 3 whose moments in this series are always in those white shirts and blue shorts and stand there pretending to train these brainless bunch when in actual fact they are never utilised at all. Like mannequins, carried out when needed and carried back in when finished.
Lee Sir, I really pity him. Not only had he to come to terms with 2 sons of one past relationship and the other forming relationship and having to speak English and giving advice nobody wants to listen, scolding when nobody cares and being supportive when nobody appreciates him, he of course then had to be killed off. This is really the most pitiful character ever. I did not see the episode where he died but I read he died in a gunfight? Which leads to my next complain ...
When will this series ever end?
From the start it felt superficial. Introducing various characters for the sake of introducing them, we immediately have the BBB activities and factors. They never seem to be close to graduating at all, the story went on and on and Lee Sir scolded and scolded and it still went on and on and even in the last episode after Lee Sir has died, they're still not graduated yet! I told myself they had to graduate because the series has to end. And to end the series with a graduation, all characters must end having achieved their goals, so all those love problems, rivalry problems and whatever has to be settled by the last episode if not the series will never end. Now they have a sequel!! A sequel!! For a moment I feared like they're never going to end this series because they want to carry on into the sequel. I don't know, I missed the last episode, except for the part where all of them sang and get this, march again. So sick of this series which is about right because the next slotted series on ASTRO was Healing Hands III, so it's like I got so sick of this series I needed to be cured, hence the doctors series but alas! Saw the 1st episode of Healing Hands III and I got sicker this time with this pretentious English class disguised as a smart doctors series. English class? Well the pronunciation are ok, I think those who can't speak English at all are banned from HH III, whilst those that can't speak well will play characters that need not see patients but just walk on the hospital grounds to fill in the quota I suppose. This HH III reminds me of Hindi movies ..."Cantonese...cantonese...cantonese... APPRECIATION ... cantonese .... cantonese ... DIFFICULT... cantonese...cantonese...cantonese... CLEAR!!" You get my meaning, and the worse was having the attending BRAIN surgeon asking an intern what is defribilator and the guy went on to describe what it is with the surgeon nodding his head. Oh please....Why am I talking HH III when I am writing about The Academy? Anyway the series finally ended, much to my relief.
Please refer to The Performances for more comments on this. Suffice to say this is probably one of the worst cast ever, because almost everybody was ill suited for his or her respective character, it was either forcing someone who can't act into a character whhich requires a huge amount of acting or simply dump an actor into a role without any consideration on the overall effect on the series, which is awful of course.
Michael Miu looks good for his age, and I was shocked to see Sammul Chan taller than he is. But he is wrongly cast as the stern disciplinarian that is Lee Sir. He didn't look stern enough, in fact he looked pained. He just didn't have those authoritative wise quality that demands respect or even fear. In fact nobody feared him in this series. I find his performance too casual, more suited for other characters like maybe a doctor in Healing Hands III because they don't seem stressed even when the patient's heart has exploded and he is screaming with all the blood gushing out like Sentosa Island's musical fountain (do they still have that at Sentosa, Singapore?).
Amongst all Sammul Chan surprised me a bit. Firstly because he looks better than Ron when he was half naked. Ron looked flabby and roasted, Sammul Chan looked, ok a bit on the slim side but he looked believably strong and athletic even if he didn't run like he ran before. Nobody looked like they can run in this series. His acting improved a lot, but after a while his character seems to be stuck in staring people to death. And his Mona Lisa look (is he smiling? Is he not smiling) can be quite annoying at times. Also very inconsistent performance, like is he happy? Is he sad? Orn is he happy after being sad? Compared to the other trainees, he fared better but amongst many others good actors in TVB, he still has some way to go.
Ron Ng was interesting because it is difficult to categorise his performance except that in the awful department. He went through many transformation in his acting which I shall summarise below...
God awful -> dead awful -> very awful -> still awful -> awful -> never going to be anything but awful
So he got better as the series went on and on but still stuck at awful. When he was like being cute with Michelle Mi, I was like cringing because even when cute he was as awful more so when a scene requires him to act angry, to act sad..and he has one look for them all..stoned look. He is the stone man as opposed to Sonija Kwok's automaton and Shirley Yeung's robot. Quite simply, awful.
Michelle Mi wasn't any better. She was much better in The Gentle Crackdown but in this series somehow something was missing. She has zero chemistry with Ron who plays her son and Micheal who plays her friend. By herself she is ok but her character is perpetually in worried mode.
Law Koon Lan sadly failed miserably in her hippie desperate for a guy role. I was just so annoyed with her presence and I was even more annoyed that more time was spent on her subplot with Michael Miu rather than showing proper training and stuff. Her over the top performance in never ending scenes just sealed her fate; her performance did nothing to enhance this series, in fact it kinda speed up its doom.
Tavia Yeung was ok. I was expecting her to play one of the trainees, instead she is Fa and the general description of Fa is she is very pretty. That in itself is a miscast. Tavia Yeung isn't so that very pretty. I mean Michelle Mi is like probably 3 decades older than her and yet look at that woman! Like she didn't age past 40! But Tavia, whose performance was like her other performances lately which is getting boring to watch is in this series the best actress in light of many awful performances. But I think she is a miscast because she didn't fit into her character's description. And she does look more mature than Ron Ng.
Chin Ka Lok was ok, but I was surprised why he is cast in this role as firearms trainer? Then I realise he didn't do much as firearm trainer, in fact his job is to walk around the campus whole day doing nothing substantial and being a friend to Lee Sir and providing comic relief. In other words, he has nothing to do. He was funny, at times but most of the time his lack of good dramatic acting, his silly antics and his non existing storyline weighs down this series and did nothing to enhance the watchability of this series. Disappointing performance.
Fiona Sit and I just learned her name talks like she doesn't bite. You know some people talk like their lips never closed? And she forever looks sweaty, probably her hairstyle. Notwithstanding the fact that I got the shock of my life seeing Jan Lau as her mom, come to think of it if Jan is 36 and this Fiona is 18, it could happen. She plays the spoilt rich girl, and she looks like one. Fullstop. Her character never advanced further. Seeing her do judo on criminals was just funny because this girl doesn't even look like she has the strength to carry a mineral water bottle more so kick and punch. That one scene where she fainted was awful. It was really poor acting and she is the entire series' worst actress and some of the worst I have ever seen. Just because she can look lost or downcast or whatever whenever Sammul's character got angry with her doesn't mean she can act. You and I can do that, maybe even better. The general feeling is this girl simply does not know what she is doing, and her performance reflects the amateur in her. Simply awful. She should marry Ron Ng and then give birth to a generation of awful actors. Maybe just maybe that awful acting gene will skip one generation. Who knows?
The rest were forgettable except maybe for the girl who plays Ron Ng's sister, she was ok and some veterans who were cast in thankless roles that are either too silly or underutilised.
This is junk. One of the worst series ever, the writing is awful, the casting awful, the performances mostly awful and the entire series awful in every way, don't waste your money on this piece of awful entertainment. This series insults the viewer's intelligence and the police workforce generally and you will probably live longer avoiding this series because watching these amateurs act may give you instantenous death by frustration.
There are interesting stuff in here. Like in the original series starring Tony Leung and gang, I remember the male trainees were mostly half naked when in training, including the trainers. How come this one so little?
There was one scene, this madam trainer whose name I forgotten has a dog, a male Golden Retriever I think. Chin Ka Lok was talking to this madam trainer and the dog was supposed to be friendly and nice. But the camera had to zoom away fast, away from the dog because the dog was busy trying to climb Chin Ka Lok's leg! You know, that stuff horny dogs do? Like mate with one's leg? I was like laughing so hard as Chin Ka Lok, poor him was trying to say his lines and at the same time his hands kept pushing the dog away! The dog is officially is love with his leg!