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A must read, if you don't already know ...








Written by Funn Lim

"I truly give up on TVB after this series. I was already losing interest but after this, I switched to watch other channels."

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SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



Released in
2006

No. Of Episodes
25

Cast
Bobby Au-Yeung
Frankie Lam
Yoyo Mung
Linda Chung
Raymond Cho
Florence Kwok
Fred Cheng
Vivien Yeo
Oscar Leung
Astrid Chan
Jan Lau

And many guest stars.

Summary
Taken from Wikipedia:-

Forensic Heroes (Cantonese: Faat Jing Sin Fung; English: Forensic Heroes) is the Chinese version of CSI first broadcast on TVB June 2006. It was a 25-episode serial about the Hong Kong police and a group of forensic scientists who are equipped with the latest technology working together to solve many crimes. The series also follows the personal and romantic lives of the protagonists. In contrast to the US versions of CSI which use significantly darker and bleaker lighting throughout its episodes, Forensic Heroes is presented in a brighter, more clinical atmosphere. Both use a hard lens picture technique instead of a softer camera format, stated in their official website saying in 2008 Forensic Heroes 2 will be aired on TVB .

Really? Hard lense? Clinical? As in clean? Sterile? Boring? Didn't notice except for the last one. The houses as huge as ever. There are no poor people civil servants in Hong Kong.

Notice
The following is an opinion, not a full length review.

Comments
When I first read that ASTRO was going to broadcast this series with Bobby Au Yeung in well cut suits, I thought perfection. I heard of very positive reviews and with a sequel on its way I was very eager to watch this show. I was bored with all 3 CSIs so I wanted a refreshing take on the subject of forensic and investigation. I was planning an episode summary and even wanted to write a really complete review. But for once the accusations by my family that I have poor taste in what to watch and what not to watch was indeed accurate.

This series, after a mere 10 episodes or so had me giving up on it. It is not just a bad series, it is a very badly written, some time badly acted, all round pretentious series. I don't expect TVB to make a competent Law & Order type of series and I thought CSI:Miami is cheesy enough, CSI:NY shocking enough and CSI:Las Vegas predictable enough, I just never thought TVB could trump them all by not just being the worst, but the absolute worst of all detective series ever made by TVB that I have watched over the years. It is not difficult to pinpoint what is wrong with this series and if you care to read on, I do like to pinpoint several aspects that in future TVB series I do not wish to see ever again and they all have nothing to do with Bobby Au Yeung the actor or his well cut suits.

The story
Like in all detective based story, even if it is about forensic experts, it is always divided into 3 segments; the case, the experts at work and the personal lives of these experts intertwined with everybody else. It is the same old formula and the reason why it didn't quite work here is not because of the structure but rather the way the story goes and how the investigation could be completed.

You know the deaths are nothing spectacular, in fact the CSI series had more imaginative ways of killing someone and how the experts figured out the deaths and all but I must admit the investigations here are the mother of all investigation. They don't investigate. Let's see...

A murder happens. Someone always see something and sometimes it may involve a rookie forensic guy or a rookie cop or a cop or whatever. They usually don't remember anything but then when it hit them, they remember everything. Even when it is not happening in front of them. It's like the Malaysian highway accident phenomena. The accident is between a motorcycle and a dog, it happened on the opposite lane on the opposite side with a barrier in between like some 20km away and yet the jam is at the opposite side of the accident. It just doesn't seem plausible and in this series almost every death and investigation involve such impossible elements. I remember clearly one rookie forensic guy could remember the victim's earing hurt herself or him (I can't remember that part itself) and yet she was kissing his neck on the other side and he was drunk, confused and looking the other way. So how did he know? In fact they shouldn't call this series Forensic Heroes, it should be ESP Experts because most of them seem to solve the crimes not by technology but by gut feeling and the ability of seeing something that they shouldn't be able to see in the first place. If CSI series the cops could look for clues so small and minute, the HK counterparts are even more amazing since they could look for clue that's on the opposite side that's not within their eyeline.

Of course there's the 100% repentent killers, murderers, rapists, criminals... the pardon board in Hong Kong must have the easiest job in the world. But what is amazing is not these repentant killers; like I mentioned above, being able to see something that shouldn't be the case and in the end makes it sound like phoney stuff. Like that respectable man raping a young, I think starlet. He confessed, as usual and in the way he said he was repentent and I even kinda pitied him since he didn't mean to rape her since he was given some drug by his no good nephew and he suddenly got very high and he just had the urge to rape. But then I did a double take; why make the criminals so pitiful, almost like reluctant criminals when after he drank that stuff, he went on to rape her and interestingly he never suffered any blackout and he remembered every detail about the rape. And he then avoided responsibility by lying. Then there was something that trumped the entire story; they successfully identified the rapist (his semen in the girl I assume) with this guy by way of his saliva, by extracting his DNA. He was giving a talk so they took the microphone and analised it. And if such is the case, no crimes will be unsolved. It's a falacy to think DNA can be extracted in such a situation without a single doubt. For one, how sure are we the microphone was thoroughly wiped before he took the stand? How sure are we then that DNA belongs to him? Assuming it was thoroughly wiped, was he spitting saliva at the microphone? Have your tried putting your palm to your hand and try talking, do you need to wipe your saliva? Does this man have some saliva incontinence syndrome? It is over the top and it is highly suggestive that forensic can solve ALL crimes which is misleading because then a jury will believe that forensic is be all and end all of all investigation and of proof of guilt or innocence. It's as if the prosecution, defence and the court system does not exist. It just stops at the nabbing of the criminal thanks to forensic help. Credit must be given where credit is due but not all credit to the point that everybody else can just go away and die.

But then there's the minor issue with how the lab techs report the DNA results to the boss, that is Bobby. By walking to his computer, click click and said it has been sent to his desktop. What happened to printed reports? What happened to visits to the lab tech? Everybody in here acts as if they're best friends with the other, lab techs can simply walk in and touch the boss' computer and sending reports by networking. Maybe in HK perhaps.

And as always love takes a central theme towards the middle of the series. I can't comment on this since I stopped watching halfway through. I do know Bobby and Yoyo shared a searing kissing scene even if Yoyo looks dazed and hungry throughout the entire series whilst Linda and Frankie shared what I call non-existent chemistry. I just don't feel their relationship or rather I stopped feeling when bombarded with such poor excuse of a TV series. TVB, oh TVB, you can do so so so much better.

The script
Pretentious is one thing, highly impossible is another. I have a theory about human behaviour; that even the Dalai Lama would have to take a breather when he is faced with an impossible situation, and I am sure His Holiness even had to see within himself sometimes to forgive someone because no one is perfect. Not even God for that matter. But in this series, one case had me baffled. I mean not just how it was solved but rather the reaction.

Bobby's wife was killed by poison, accidentally. It was by a well meaning woman who wanted to help but didn't realise she killed the wife instead. The wife was dying from some incurable disease anyway but that poison kinda speed things up. And what it is with Bobby and dead wives anyway? Anyway...Bobby found out and he was so angry he screamed at that woman who was crying very hard. Then he rushed out and was comforted by the dead wive's brother, Frankie. So far so good, that is until Bobby confessed he had already forgiven that woman and that he screamed at her only because he wanted her to know the seriousness of her actions of feeding some kind of family medicine to his wife.

Let me pause here for a moment...

Your wife was just killed, in a very unfortunate way and you not only took 1 second to forgive the killer but even had the heart to scold her and punish her like a father would a child? Where is the logic? Where is grief? Where is anger? How come he could sidestep all that immediately to acceptance? It just gives me an impression he was tired of his wife, he was glad to be unloaded off the burden and that in the end he escaped the burden of a forever dying wife. Because no man, who loves his wife so much, however calm, cool and ultra professional would act the way he did. If he had calmed down a few days later and meet the lady again and said what he said, maybe acceptable but not this impossible perfect being acting in a perfect way.

Then there was another case that is worth remembering for the bullshit this series is all about.

We know this series promotes justice through science. Of course the detectives are made to look like complete fools whose only function in this series is to accuse everyone and then question them and within 10 minutes a complete confession. But that has always been TVB's portrayal of police detectives whenever they mix detectives with professionals. The problem is the sense of justice. One case had a poor chinese girl who came down from China and lived with her relative. She was hardworking and kept to herself until I think her uncle or cousin or someone tried to rape her and instead of pity she was met with scorn by her auntie or cousin, the wife of that man. She was thrown out and she was desperate and then she met a local man who not only took her in but fell for her and she too fell for him. Then one day her friend from the same village came down and lived with them. They took care of her but she was ungrateful and stole things from them. The girl who was fixing her bath saw what happened and tried to stop the girl from leaving, they struggled and the bad one accidentally hit her head on the mirror and her head fell into the bath tub and she drowned. The boyfriend came back, panicked and then chopped up the body and threw it down the sewer. 2 years down the road the skeleton (which was amazingly clean and white by the way which is impossible) was found and investigation started when a mother turned up and claimed the body was her daughter which turned out to be the friend and her daughter was still alive. Of course in the end she was caught and when she was taken out, the mother and daughter had a tearful reunion and it was a very sad scene and then Bobby had to spoil it with his twisted sense of justice by saying "Don't be sad now... you deserve to be caught, you committed a crime ....".

A crime? Of what? MURDER? Hardly! Disposing of a body maybe, failing to report a death maybe but murder? That woman bounced off the mirror and landed in the bathtub all by her own undoing and this poor lady will be charged with murder? And she deserved it? What kind of justice is this? Where is plea bargaining? Where is the prosecution? I doubt she will be ever charged with murder or manslaughter at all. If any maybe disposing of a body. I was appalled and disgusted with the script and if this was justice in Hong Kong, I would never live there. I am sure the legal experts feel the same way over there and would sigh at how poorly and stupidly this series has portrayed them to be.

At that point I gave up on this series. I have seen stupid series, I have seen ignorant series, I have seen pretentious overly preachy series but I think this is the first time I have seen an ignorant, preachy and stupid series all in one.

But let's talk about something else. If the legalities fail, at least the human drama wouldn't right? Well Bobby's character is the Mr Perfect you know. When he was accused of murdering his wife, he sat calmly, and even when his brother in law confessed he didn't believe him but wish that Bobby really didn't kill his sister, he was an epitome of utter annoying calmness. What does it take to make this man sweat? He very swiftly forgiven his brother in law for all the accusations. Oh how sagely. Shouldn't he at least show a bit of hurt? Maybe asked his brother in law "Why don't you believe me?" or when unfairly accused by the detective, Yoyo wouldn't he just snap a bit? Just a bit? In fact the way Yoyo investigated the case she was going all out to nail him. Your wife is dying anyway, you're tired you confessed to a friend and when she died of poisoning thanks to the cake you brought her, AH HA! YOU'RE THE KILLER! NOBODY ELSE! NO ONE ELSE! YOU'RE THE ONE, THE ONLY ONE, THE ONE OF ALL ONES!!!! And she went all out to question him, like giving leading questions, like not just implying but rather accusing. Why? Because she thought he was prejudiced against her brother who also works at the lab. How professional. Can we for once have an investigator who behaves like an investigator? At one hand we have Bobby, the perfect professional to the point of disbelief, then on the other hand we have Yoyo, the imperfect investigator to the point of frustration.

And then there's the detective work. If detective work is crossing the arm, staring with laser beam eyes and giving warnings can solve murders, this world would be crime free. Unprofessional is not the word to describe them but childish is. Not even an ounce of looking like a detective. There are no interview rooms. One victim's mother comes in and voila, ALL cops in the vicinity of that department would zoom in on her. They're like the most relaxed cops ever. I am sure the real detectives squirm at the TV portrayal of them and ask why the hell were they portrayed to be such an indequate bumbling fools?

Why indeed?

And I haven't reached the end but in any CSI type series, one of the main cast will face impending doom. Indeed when I saw the next week's preview there was a clown-serial killer on the loose. I am not sure if it is even the same killer as the one who killed liked how Frankie who wrote crime stories wrote the deaths. And talking about that, one man was electrocuted by a fan (I suppose exposed wiring) with water on his feet. He was sitting on a sofar of course, which was made of wood. Anyway his feet was on the floor, so they deduced he was electrocuted by the presence of the water, the fan and because Frankie wrote the strories as such. In fact many characters in here played by familiar faces are either criminals or victims, that it became very predictable. Anyway back to that crime scene where as usual they ALL gather together, the police always crossing their arms and looking serious but never quite come to any conclusion except for theories and then the forensic, always in nice cut suits, either with stylish forensic-ish glasses or not, not quite crossing arms since they will be busy pointing everywhere when making what they term as a scientic/forensic discovery, giving answers to the detectives who should be the one coming up with suspects. Anyway, there they were and I was thinking hey! That crime scene is not right! Yeah electrocuted but Bobbbbbyyyyyy, look, the victim is wearing rubber slippers!!! Can he be electrocuted when he is sitting on a wooden chair wearing rubber slippers? Can he?

The cast
Except for Bobby Au Yeung whose only problem in this series is HIS character and not him and also Linda Chung whose only problem in this series is... ok her acting is so-so but the bigger problem is her silly character that sneezed into the petri dish...oh my my my, defence lawyers would have a field day highlighting the incompetence of the forensics in this series ...

Well the problem is two major characters were a complete miscast.

Frankie Lam is a man who looks younger than his age, he always have this calm cool look who has the acting capabilities to look beyond just one single look; he can act hurt, etc. So great even if he was a bit boring to watch but his casting as the Medical Examiner in this series failed me totally. I mean it's not the age. It's not the looks. He was supposed to be a former gang member, reformed and became a cool calm good guy whose calm demeanour was tested when his sister died mysteriously. But somehow Frankie Lam didn't strike me as this character. When he acted angry, he didn't have that fire. He seems rather bland and it was all smoke but no fire. He was to me a complete miscast. Who would have been better? Someone young looking, professional looking, able to act, has the look of a guy that one would never suspect to be a former gang member and who can be as calm as he is impatient... Sunny Chan. True! Sunny Chan would be a better cast, and he could look like a medical examiner. Not sure about the gang member past but the thing with this character is one would never suspect his past you see... and at least Sunny Chan does look like he is angry when he is angry.

But the worst had to be Yoyo Mung. MEMO to TVB; never ever cast Yoyo Mung as a policewoman, ever again. She could have my vote as the worst miscast ever in a role until I saw a preview of a costume drama of Charmaine Sheh as a brilliant lawyer/orator and then the news that she had been cast as a policewoman in the sequel. Well she was in Angels of Mission but please.....don't they have anybody else? Yoyo Mung was beyond inadequate, she was unfocus, boring, bad acting and incompetent in her role. She was like not paying attention at all and even in her playful moments, she seems rather tired, stretched and so not there. She was supposed to be the leader of her team but she was more like the little girl running around accusing people of murder and her best move is her laser beam eyes and I could hear the criminals going "Ohhhhhhh, I am sooooooo scared madam". Where is the one truly sarcastic criminal in this series? Everyone in here seems like a first time offender easily scared. Yoyo Mung destroyed all her credibility as an actress by not doing her homework and any good judgment I have on her was totally anihilated by her little girl detective. She is a better actress than that but now I do realise she may have her limits. So who can take over her role? I had a hard time thinking of a name...but this detective is supposed to be cold and means business. Truth is when I was watching Angel Of Mission, I personally feel that was Sonija Kwok's best performance but it didn't really require her to act much. It just required her not to act at all and all she had to do is to look the way she does; cold, calculative and observant. In fact unapprochable as well and she could fight quite convincingly. So frankly my choice would have been Sonija Kwok but she may hit a snag at more emoting scenes but you know what... I am sure anything is better than Yoyo Mung's performance in here. I was wondering why not Florence Kwok who was in here anyway? Why not Sheren Teng? Old? Ok, younger... even Kenix Kwok in her aneroxic frame is even more convincing. Utter nonsense that Yoyo's performance if you ask me.

Everybody else is mostly failed by the over pretentious out of this world script with one exception. Our very own Malaysian Vivien Yeo. She is mostly unrecognisable because she seems darker, and much older. Acting I have seen some in the past so she kinda improved, her Cantonese still one kind. But a cop? Ok rookie cop. Standard stuff. One senior, one rookie, one playful, one experienced ... but does she even look like a cop? Can the casting director just actually do his or her job that is to cast the right people in the right role instead of the famous people in the role that other people can do better? I have absolutely no problem with Bobby whose acting has improved over the years ... no I take that back. He didn't really improved because he never quite deprove except that for some years he was always in those happy go lucky type of roles. Now his roles are more varied, not always likeable but interesting. Of course in this series I didn't like his character for being oh so noble to the point of annoyingly fake but the man, no problem. Like I said in the beginning, Bobby in well cut suits is always a good combination.

Why why tell me why?
Why is Jan Lau perpetually in a neck brace when she first appeared and yet she could move her neck quite fluidly? Why can't Jan Lau be the detective and leave the role of suffering dying wife to Yoyo?

Verdict
I truly give up on TVB after this series. I was already losing interest but after this, I switched to watch other channels. Under The Canopy Of Love replaces Love Guaranteed in the other time slot and I was like so? I saw a bit of Heart of Greed and I couldn't stand the series. Last good TVB series was Safe Guards and even that I had my problems with it but Forensic Heroes took the entire silliness to another higher level. It is now an artform you know, to humiliate the professionals, the police and everyone else, including the criminals. Forensic Heroes tried to sound intellectual when it shows a divide between the forensic aka science and detective aka instinct, that science proves cases, instinct doesn't but without instinct where is the work for science? Another series did this better and balanced the legal, the science and the instinct well and that is Law & Order, a series that TVB will never be able to make because for one they had to have someone intelligent enough to write the script and to differentiate between the concepts and yet unite all these too into the word called Justice. Truth is forensic work is only a small but is pivotal to proving a case but first and foremost is detective work and that requires instinct. Without any possible suspect, forensic does not come into play. Then the lawyers are important, as a good prosecutor will be able to amalgamate all the facts, science and law into a good argument for justice whilst a good defence lawyer will find the plot holes (easiest is forensic, especially if someone from the forensic team sneezed at the evidence) and get their clients off the hook. But forensic science and all other elements is not seperately be all and end all. They compliment and unlike this series, eventhough detectives are not highly educated like the experts, they bring with them a wealth of experience. Not all bones have DNAs and not all DNAs could be matched with the victims in the database. It is then for the detectives to find the evidence and the lawyers to find an end to it. Forensic compliments, it doesn't overtake. And somehow TVB manages to insult everyone in every profession in this series by simply bad writing.

The actors I pity them. In part miscast and in most part bad writing, Bobby Au Yeung deserves better than this crap. Forget about this utter nonsense and if you want a great performance by Bobby in a less insulting series and with equally great suits, try his best series ever, Take My Word For It.

A sidenote
Product placements in TVB series is so obvious. There used to be a time where the product's name is strategically covered with a clothes or something. Now you can see that green tea bottle all 3 in the middle of the table right in front of the camera. So it is also in your face and everyone in this series drinks a specific type of beer, wine or even green tea. I'll wait for the day when I see a whole bucket of KFC in the middle of a table. It could happen.

Linda Chung is really pretty. At least a new face that can act a bit but she does seems like she talks in a whisper all the time. Bobby looks like he lost a bit of weight. Yoyo looks like she needs a bit more weight and Frankie.. looks the same even after all these years. Florence Kwok? Glad that she's back.



6 comments:

  1. I agree with your review for Forensic Heroes. I watched it under an impression that it supposed to be the HK version of CSI or better yet, another detective investigation but after viewing about half way, I gave up the entire serie. I never watch CSI but I've watched numerous detective and forensic shows before but in no where else would they portray forensic as the only variable matter in solving crimes and in finding criminals. Like you, I was sick and tire of the unrealistic aspects that this serie carry out. And I totally understand what you said about Yoyo and her over-reacting and trying to be objective but yet she's the most emotional influence character trying to act professional of all. Maybe because of her character in Forensic that I ended up hating her character in The Ultimate Crime Fighters as well.
    Anyway, well said in your review. I couldn't agree more on what you said.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Funn Lim26.11.07

    Tiff, did she play a policewoman? I hope not! I really do not know what went wrong with her in this series. She is usually quite adequate. Here is like a walking talking breathing but like on automatic mode skeleton. Maybe she needs food because she looks painfully thin.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Luckily, I didn't recommend this series to you or you will be hating me for wasting you time now. :P

    Maybe I'm not familiar with the law enforcement profession. So, I never noticed all the problem you mention. I actually enjoyed this series a lot and am looking forward to the sequal.

    I'm neutral towards Bobby's and Yoyo's character. But, I do admit that Yoyo's character was very annoying in the beginning, but she became ok later. But, I really like Ding Ding and Sam. I don't see any problem with Frankie's acting. He potrayed Sam very well. Linda still have room for improvement, but quite adorable here.

    Tiff. I'm opposite of you. Initially, I was very annoyed with Yoyo's character in 'TUCF. She seems like a repeat of her FH character. But after watching more, Yoyo's character become my favourite character in TUCF.

    ReplyDelete
  4. yanne2.12.07

    Agreed with most of your review. I was excited about this series if only because of the cop-like-forensic thing and Bobby Au-Yeung but the cases were so ridiculous and stupid and it just left me...HUH? Especially that one stupid case with the brick that was completely senseless. I mean, who randomly throws bricks at people to vent anger!??! Also the way they solve the cases - yes, you're right. It's not forensic, it's ESP almost.

    I didn't think Frankie Lam was a total miscast as I liked his Sam but when I read your review, I instantly agreed that Sunny Chan would be a better choice. I'm one of his (Sunny's) biggest fans so I might be slightly biased.

    Great review. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Joanne14.6.08

    I would probably agree with the whole review, if I had watched beyond the third episode.

    I'm quite the CSI fan (the original only - not the spinoffs) and the TVB imitation just came off as cheap and boring. The only reason I even got so far as the third episode is because I wanted to watch the first case being wrapped up.

    When I started to read the paragraph about Frankie Lam and how he looks the med examiner but not the reformed gangster - the person who popped straight into my mind was Sunny Chan. And then I kept reading and saw that he's your choice too. I always thought he was abit like Frankie in that he seems like he can only play amicable roles, until I saw him in A Threshold of an Era and my impression of him and his acting abilities just skyrocketed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous13.12.08

    This review does not accurately capture the essence of the show. 0.3 stars for your review.

    ReplyDelete

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