"I would rather bathe in iodine and wrestle with porcupines than listen to this actor (Joe Ma) speak one more word of English."
SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS
Jau Dim Fong Wan” (translates to the wind and clouds of hotel)
No. of episodes
1. “Beet Kwai Ta” (Don’t Blame Her) – Ron Ng (closing)
2. “Yat Sang But Been” (Never Change for Life) – Hacken Lee (interlude/Hoi Sum’s song)
Joe Ma Tak Chung as Martin Ko Fung
Kenix Kwok Hor Ying as Becky Koo Bik Kei
Ron Ng Cheuk Hei as Ng Kai Kit
Ella Koon Yan Na as Lee Hoi Sum
Elaine Yiu Zhi Ling as Chloe Cheng Hor Yee
Keung Dai Wai as Cheng Wing Fat
Ellesmere Choi Jee Kin as Ng Kai Chi
Winnie Yeung Yuen Yee as Julie
Mary Hon Ma Lei as Kit’s mother
Lau Dan as Wong Yuk Ting (Kit’s father)
Lo Hoi Pang as Fung’s father
Raymond Cho Wing Lim
I would rather bathe in iodine and wrestle with porcupines than listen to this actor speak one more word of English.
Joe Ma’s Dictionary of English
Clear = KEER-ya. Example: “Make sure the fifth floor rooms are KEER-ya”.
Sure = SHOO-wer. Example: “SHOO-wer, I’ll have a drink with you, Becky”.
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s move on to acting. Joe Ma is a yawn to watch and even the multi-layered character of Martin can’t change my opinion of this guy. He has the looks, the height, his physique suits Martin perfectly but he has zero screen presence. Zero. He makes a good-looking couple with Kenix, he looks happy when he’s supposed to be happy, he smirks when he’s evil, he looks sad when he’s supposed to be sad – but everything about his performances including this one is simply predictable and therefore boring. He improves a lot towards the end of the series, but the man has no charisma at all! Put Joe Ma back to ke-le-fe status, please.
Bizarre Casting Decision #1. It was greatly uncomfortable watching Kenix in here. I see her as no-nonsense, honest, moral, and straightforward, both as a person and in her previous roles (Take My Word For It, Love Bond, Legal Entanglement), and I just found it odd to watch her as a lying, scheming woman with two ‘faces’. Even though the storyline explained that the only reason Becky was like this was to gain financial security for her family (her young son and her aunt), I just found her weird. Kenix emoted well in this role, and she has good chemistry with Joe Ma (superimposed by the fact that she speaks crappy English as well)… but overall she was thoroughly awkward in a role that diverged too much from her real-life persona. The actor who played her son was cute as a button though. Where on earth does TVB get its child actors from? They’re better than the adults!
If you can look beyond his unbelievably stupid, irritatingly rash, and possibly schizophrenically violent character, Ron Ng has actually improved…slightly. His emotional scenes are not as stiff as before and he makes a nice couple with real-life rumoured girlfriend Ella Koon. He adequately portrays the hot-headed, even maniacal Kit at the beginning of the series (Ron is the one young TVB actor who looks like he can actually throw a punch), and shows his character’s emotional growth throughout the series pretty well. A consistent performance, but this guy needs to break out of the impulsive and immature characters he’s known for playing.
I loved her character and Ella was surprisingly watchable in her first acting role ever. It’s not easy to be drop-dead gorgeous and a tomboy at the same time but Ella did it. Very good performance, and I found her absolutely adorable. I love her tomboyish spunkiness expressed through a girly, beautiful face and I equally love how she became more mature, more reserved, but just as genuine at the end of the series. She has great chemistry with Ron Ng as well as the actor who played her older brother.
Keung Dai Wai
Bizarre Casting Decision #2. Please, the noble, gentle, moral-looking Keung as the ruthless businessman Cheng? Are you serious, TVB? I thought I had to put in my other contact lens after watching Keung Dai Wai as the ever-moral Wong in Wong Fei Hung Master of Kung-Fu and then moving on to watching him as the bribing, daggers-in-smile Cheng in RDOV. As expected, his scenes of anger (in the final episode, for example) are sorely lacking – he’s like Lawrence Ng; both men look gentle and seem like the most even-tempered people on earth. Otherwise his performance here is brilliant. Simply brilliant.
Awful character, awful performance. She’s gotten worse since Hearts of Fencing. The good news is, if TVB continues to use her, she can only get better.
The veteran performances here are top-notch – Lo Hoi Pang, Mary Hon and the elder actors who played the board members were great. Lau Dan looks nothing like a businessman but he’s tolerable. The actor who played Mark was amazing – too bad his name escapes me at the moment. Both Ellesmere Choi and the actor who played Kit’s older brothers were good. Winnie Yeung was predictably terrible.
The hotel looks beautiful though not “royal” as its name suggests. The script tries to be unpredictable with its twists and turns and its constant hammering of the eternal question “Is Martin a good guy or a bad guy?” and yet fails because of one thing and one thing only: Kit repeatedly ruining any chance of the Wong comeback because he always blurts out how and when they ‘won’ a battle.
Sweet, Sweet Justice
For the first time in recent memory, TVB delivers an ending that screams justice. The malicious and fake princess Chloe is paralyzed for life when a desperate plan to push Hoi Sum in front of a truck goes horribly wrong. Call me cruel but I laughed and clapped during that scene because Chloe was such a witch with a b. Her father didn’t get it much better at the end - Cheng loses all his money including his stocks to Royal Hotel. And for that, this series gets a whole extra star, bringing it to a respectable 3.5 stars.
To Watch or Not to Watch, That is the Question
Nothing earth-shattering, but an entertaining, good effort with some awkward casting decisions and a decent length.
Through the Grapevine
Ella Koon was named the Cooking Devil (i.e. the worst cook) out of all the contestants on the uber-popular variety show Beautiful Cooking.