"I made a mistake. His (Moses Chan) entire function in this series is apart from being the stud is to bore us to death. I do not get his character and it is such a pity he did not die a heroic death because at least there is some drama. Everytime he appears I tune off because I know he has nothing of substance to say, to do."
SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS
Cast - Character
Taken from Bridget Au's review of the same series although my spelling differs a bit.
Ada Choi Siu Fun as Jiu Yook
Bowie Lam Bo Yee as Yim Man Hei
Gigi Lai Zhi as Kai Ming Fung
Moses Chan Ho as Sung Dong Sing
Kenny Wong Tak Bun as Sung Dong Yeung
Charmaine Sheh Si Maan as Ka Chun Fun
Maggie Siu Mei Kei as Long Yuet
Chung King Fai as Yim Lo Ye (father to Man Hei)
Chan Hung Lit as Uncle Ma
Chow Ka Yee as Siu Kam
Rebecca Chan Sau Yu as Siu Hung (aunt to Man Hei)
There are plenty of long, indepth summaries and reviews here in this site. Which is why I am not writing the summary for this series.
There are not quite much I could say about this series that other haven't said. The reviews of this series are easily divided two categories; love it or hate it. I could hardly find one that is neutral towards it. I can understand why. From the very first scene to the last, this series will have its share of fans and critics alike and it seems the critics quite probably belong to the group who loved War And Beauty. Strange since the cast is predominantly the same and I think even the producer is the same. The most notable stars missing from this production were Sheren Teng and Maggie Cheung. Truth be told, I really really like War & Beauty, which most probably meant that I really really didn't like Dance Of Passion. Or is it The Dance Of Passion? But where is the dance of passion? Passion between who? Dance of what? The Chinese title is much more accurate depiction of the landscape which I suppose to have a title like that means the colour tone of the entire series must follow the title as in yellow, dusty and a bit fiery. However having watched La Femme Desperado and then Men In Pain showing over the same timeslot, I would suggest perhaps a name change is more appropriate for The Dance Of Passion because frankly, the women in Dance Of Passion are far more desperate than the modern series and the men are far more in pain that the modern series of the same name. Even the Chinese title of La Femme Desperado which is loosely translated as "It's Not Easy Being A Woman" describes the women in Dance Of Passion far more accurately than it did for the modern series which to me kinda showed being a woman is really not that difficult.
The title aside, I admit I didn't watch every single episode of this series. I skipped a few minutes, sometimes one episode but having missed a little, and then watching and following the story for the next few episodes didn't kill me nor did it ignite my curiosity. The only scene that I felt was brilliant was because of Maggie Siu but other than that, the entire series gave me the Bold And The Beautiful feel, with its constant close ups of its leading actors, the stagnant non moving storyline and after a few days, the same old issue all over again. The story is flawed to the core because at its very core it has a story that could in no way move forward without one of the lead characters having some bad luck falling on them and not many of such happened except to the poor but very fertile Ka Chun Fun. The entire story is mostly about plotting, but about what? Well power struggles between two families, then struggles between the people within the same clan, then same family, and then in the end I lost track of who is fighting with whom because the people who are supposed to be fighting with one another is no longer fighting amongst themselves. Plus the military presence and a whole lot of ke-po relatives, this series' squabbles were destined to confuse rather than excite.
But put that aside, like I said even the worse series has a core storyline. If I must add, the story is basically about people. Not families, not events but several major characters and how life in that god forsaken barren desert land had given them life and also had robbed them of their liberty. It is a partriachal society where men rule but funny enough the Sung family has a woman ruling them because above all else, that man must be able to have a son. So in the end who can have a son rules the roost. And in the case of Maggie Siu's character who rather die being accused as a pregnant adulterous woman than a barren chaste wife, it is a very strange society because for a man, virility is no. 1 and for a woman, being able to bear a child is of utmost importance. Feminists will kick the TV set of course and that is the very core of this story; how backward those bastards are. Just imagine that the women and men are so desperate for a child to seal the stronghold of power that they could deceive an innocent girl into sleeping with a cousin (I am still confused till the end what is the blood relationssip between the Sung men), rather than her own husband without her knowing it. Every issue about this series has something to do with the word forbidden. Rape, affairs, spouse swapping and of course kidnap and ransom by the mountain bandits, this is a dangerous world the series is set in and everybody is on high alert. Problem is the entire story just plod along the same old story all over again. Certain characters went through change, such as Bowie and Ada's characters but the rest seems to have stuck in the same vicious cycle of lazy writing.
Take for example the most pointless character in this series, Moses' Sung Tung Seng. Why I remember his name is simple; everybody has a habit of calling the entire full name of that person and to confuse us all, there is Sung Tung Yeung, Sung Tung Seng, Sung Ting Hiu..even Moses made a big boo-boo earlier on when he said "I did not kidnap Sung Tung Seng!!!" (or did he scream Sung Tung Yeung's name? What I am sure he did not say the boy's name) when of course he meant Sung Tung Hiu, his ermmm...cousin? I am a bit lost with regards to the relationships but I suppose every Sung is related and every Yim is also related. Anyway, Sung Tung Seng, the most pointless character in this series and I dare say in any series. He seems devious, he seems not, he seems mean, he seems kind, he seems to be plotting, and yet he hasn't done any plotting. For all that he did in this series, such as running, standing, sitting, being angry, being dissatisfied and probably his most favourite pose of all, sitting on the sands of verandah or chair or whatever and having a heart to heart talk with either Kevin Wong's Sung Tung Yeung or Chan Hung Lit's character. Other than that, he isn't doing much. Ok, he got beaten every other episode, tied up every 3 episodes or so and got involved into a love hate relationship with Man Hei and Madam Sung every 5 episodes or so and the heart to heart talk every episode. In fact this man seems to live just to be kicked and punched. He hates Yim Man Hei, Bowie's character. Why I was wondering for endless episodes, then he did nothing. He hates and hates and yet plots and plots and then...nothing. His entire role in this series seems to be the virile stud because he impregnated the same character twice in this series. And he talks a lot, but what about? I'm sorry. I made a mistake. His entire function in this series is apart from being the stud is to bore us to death. I don't get his character and it is such a pity he didn't die a heroic death because at least there's some drama. Everytime he appears I tune off because I know he has nothing of substance to say, to do.
Then there's the 2nd most pointless character, Ka Chun Fun. If she is the representation of innocence, I get it. I really do. It's written all over her face and the way she speaks. She is nice, she is submissive, she is innocent. Does she become innocence lost? Nope. She became from the unknowing adulteress to a full blown adulteress who seems to have all the bad luck thrusts upon her. She was abandoned on her wedding day or somewhere thereabouts, her parents were brutally murdered on her wedding day, she could not marry for a year, she married an impotent man, she was almost kidnapped and raped by a bandit, twice, she was kidnapped and almost burnt on the stake by the crazy villagers, almost drowned I suppose in a well, conned into sleeping with a stranger, getting pregnant twice with the same man, miscarriaged once I think thanks to Maggie's devious actions and I guess in the end lived many years alone until she found her love again. But she has no change? She doesn't become stronger or weaker, more innocent or unhappy. In fact she simply became from one simpleton to the same simpleton of the same values who became an adulterous. But I must stress even if she was an adulteress, she slept with only one man in the entire series, the first she was conned and the second out of a forbidden love. Technically I don't see her as an adulterous. What is more infuriating is the non-movement of her story; she had many chances to run away from that god forsaken desert with her lover, and many times she didn't. Plots after plots later on whether she is leaving, or why she must leave, on why she couldn't leave...everything about leave or don't leave to the point I just scream "LEAVE LAR!!!!!!". What is so difficult? Why not Madam Sung has a personal errand for Chun Fun to run, and she must be escorted by a male member of the family and then just run. But she stayed. Why I do not know. Loyalty perhaps? Affection? She is such a simpleton I really don't see whether it was loyalty or affection or fear or submitting to one's fate. Or maybe it was just pure bad acting or maybe like what I have said about Charmaine Sheh's acting performance, her As does not always connect with her Bs. She is a scene per scene actress and even until now she is still frustratingly a scene per scene actress that has no connection with one and the other. But even if she did, her character is truly pointless to the plot because even with all the action and the bad stuff happening to her, her character could be safely deleted from the script and her character won't be missed, except maybe on the virility part. And the worst is this character is very innocent and simple. Charmaine looks pretty, she can play innocent to the hilt and even simple but because she is much older now and she doesn't have that innocence that is so naturally seen in her earlier days. Time is cruel I suppose, and she could still play someone young but to play someone so young and wide eyed is not her forte anymore. How I wish that she swaps role with Gigi Lai. Challenge her a little and it would have been even better if she plays Ada's role and let someone like Linda Chung to play Chun Fun or Ming Foong. Someone younger. I believe Charmaine Sheh could be challenged to rise to the occasion and yet here she is another sweet demure innocent wide eyed character. It is almost a bore to even describe the character she is playing. If this had been made when she was just like she was in Flying Fox On Snowy Mountain, I would say she will be perfect. But like I said, time is cruel. On the same vein, even Ada looks old but at least appropriately old. Gigi for her age looks great and she always seem to play those intellectual stubborn types when quite frankly she doesn't seem to be that kind to me in person. And yes even Gigi is too old for her role.
However one very interesting happened to this series which is not directly related to this series. Charmaine Sheh was in the run for Performance By A Leading Actress (I suppose that's the title) for the International Emmy 2007 together with Bobby Au Yeung for Dicey Business. She didn't make it to the first 5, but that is quite an achievement since reportedly no Chinese actress had that honour before. Frankly her nomination did not change my opinion of her performance one bit and I didn't feel of all the actresses in this series she was the most deserving. But she is extremely popular and one may consider her TVB's no. 1 actress now, but sometimes talent has very little to do with it rather than a face and personality viewers' like. Don't get me wrong; from her first series until now she has improved leaps and bounds but to me considering her experience, she could have and should have done better. But then I am of the same view with regards to some of Gigi and Ada's performances and they too had longer experience in this industry so who am I to point out Charmaine Sheh and fault her for her inadequate performance. There are worse actresses than her but none had much of her spotlight so it is easy to highlight her rather than the others. Having seen most of her performances including this one which is considered her best performance since she got international recognition for it, I suppose what used to be the majority is now the minority group who still thinks she is inadequate or perhaps overrated as an actress. Her fans will surely be very happy with this shift of emphasis but the world is not always of one voice and if my voice is in the minority, on one hand it is a positive note for me who has been following her career since day 1 (I practically grew older watching her series) and on the other slightly negative note for everyone else, you can't always have a united voice. Her achievement should be rejoiced by Chinese all over (as was what happened to Bobby Au Yeung) but I feel perhaps if she should be nominated, it shouldn't have been for this performance which I feel is as bad as the others than I have consistently criticised. For me Charmaine Sheh's one only great performance was in An Herbalist Affair and even that there were some scenes I considered her weak. Every other performance could have perhaps performed better by an actress more popularly known for her acting than her rumours, gossips and product endorsements. Maybe I should rephrase that since that can describe Bernice Liu who is a far worse actress than her but with such a sunny disposition one can't stop liking her despite her inadequacies. They belong to the same group but only differs in experience.
Back to the series.
There are simply too many characters in a rather simple storyline that is trying to make itself as complicated as possible.
But that doesn't mean there aren't any complicated characters.
Ada's Madam Sung is quite complicated, compounded by the fact that she seems to be highly stressed all the time and in later part, sighing most of the time. Ada didn't do too bad a job but she lacked the authoritativeness, the commanding presence to make her young Madam Sung truly domineering in the first few episodes and not much more to make her character filled with sorrow and regret, almost as if she gave up on life itself after her son's death. I do think Sheren Teng would have been a better choice although I am not her biggest fan. Somehow Ada just seems like she is delivering her lines with the heaviest of sigh or the sharpest of gaze but not much else. Something is missing and that makes the series suffer a little since her character plays a major part in the series, almost the lead character. Madam Sung also seems to get into politics and then withdrew from politics altogether and then play politics and then stop altogether. There was a flashback scene where it showed a younger Mrs Sung who was innocent and faithfully serving her very old and dying husband who tried to strangle her to death when he feared after his death she will dishonour his name by remarrying or be with other men since she was young and pretty. That was a good scene but too brief. I would have hoped for an extended flashback scene to how she was then so as to contrast how she is now instead of letting the viewers suppose she was what she was and she is now who she is because of what happened then, that is to protect her son's interest and she is willing to go through all lengths to do just that. But that short scene is not enough. After a while Madam Sung just came across to me as suffering, wandering, lost, pitiful but nothing else. Her characterisation seems stuck almost at the end, and always in a loop with nothing much except to suffer in silence for Yim Man Hei.
Then there was of course Master Yim, the adopted father of Man Hei. He came across as a harmless docile old man but in actual fact he wanted to train Man Hei to rule with an iron fist, to control with fear. Why I wonder. He seems to be plotting all the time and he seems to have a lot of verbal fights in a very friendly but full of malice with Gigi's Ming Foong. He hates her, enough to want to drive her away which of course she refuses. The more I see this old man, the more he seems to me like having the function of "Kan Yan Kin" as in Evil Kin. You know in Wong Fei Hung series there is the noble good doer Wong Fei Hung and the forever bad and evil doer Sek Kin who will stop at nothing to do bad things, episodes after episodes. After a while his entire function is just to be evil, and has no purpose apart from being evil. That old man reminds me of this Kan Yan Kin function. He is probably a failure as an evil person. Even his wife hates him. He just wants Man Hei to rule ruthlessly. Maybe he has some issues with himself for not being evil enough. I can even hear his evil laughter from that darkened room of his as he spoon feeds his wife who is a vegetable whilst he laughs like HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAA!!!! I mean what is this guy doing apart from plotting and plotting to no end? And his verbal attacks with Ming Foong is as deep as the pointless discussions between Tung Seng and that bearded old man which means it is empty. Deep is just my way of being sarcastic because everytime these two pairs talk, and the old men tends to be philosophical in their conversation except Kan Yan Kin philosophises in an evil way whilst that bearded old man in a hopeless sort of way and yet for whatever they're saying it all could be replaced with blah blah blah blah and still the conversation may sound urgent or evil or hopeless thanks to the background score or the reaction of the co-star, as in Moses' rather zen like look and Gigi's rather constipated look. So they must be saying something of significance but everytime these old men open their mouths I tune off. They may be speaking Cantonese but to me they might as well be speaking Mars alien language.
One further character that is not only pointless, but useless and also tiresome to watch is that bearded old man's deformed daughter, as in her mouth is deformed. I can't remember how you call that sort of facial disfigurement but in today's world it can be corrected. Anyway why make that girl have this disfigurement? Because then she would have to have half her face covered, and since she is not mute, she would have to deliver her lines but problem is with that disfigurement and that shawl covering her mouth, I can't hear her perfectly. It was very difficult to hear her speech plus she isn't a fantastically great actress, all was pure torture. And her character seems good, then seems bad for trying to break up the love birds that is Chun Fun and Tung Seng and then...well pure frustration and boredom. Why can't she walk with a limp? Or have a huge scar on her face? Or half blind? Why that disfigurement which really isn't working in her favour in terms of acting?
Then there was the loop I mentioned with some characters.
The same loop was also happening to Ming Foong. She was a promising character since she was the smartest, most educated and very rebellious. Halfway she fell for Man Hei and then she just became a very relentlessly jealous wife intent on destroying Madam Sung. She seems so stubborn, she just got stuck on that mode all the time. I find her character interesting but it is the non-movement of her character towards the end that killed my interest. How interesting can a jealous woman be, who was at first rebellious and then jealous for the entire series? She is perhaps the most honourable character at first for her devotion to her best friend Chun Fun, which for a moment I thought does TVB dare to show a lesbian love between these two women? Well...they're just the best of friends. A pity though but then maybe if the series show them falling for one another, it might become trashy. Not that lesbian love is trashy but with so many pointless repetetive sticky trashy stories abound, the story of a lesbian or gay affair may actually tip this series over and make it truly trashy since that would mean the writers were running out of ideas to shock, to surprise. But one could have hoped it had become trashy in that sense because towards the middle this series was running out of steam if not for two major revelations or rather one major revelation and one humungous change of character.
I thought there was more to Maggie Siu's character, especially she was the demure wife who became ruthless and desperate in power. And then she killed herself amidst rumours that she was pregnant with another man's child when in fact she wasn't. She placed the idea of being able to bear children higher than that of her own reputation of a chaste wife which is sad. Even until the end her husband loved her and I believe she did everything for her husband, although she was consumed with power later on. What is disappointing is she then killed herself. Her story just ended there as it had suddenly began. I would have hoped for more but her character seems to fill in the spaces only. In actual fact her character has no significance to the plot which centres mostly on Bowie and Ada. But Maggie Siu gave a fantastic performance, especially that scene where her husband overheard her saying she killed the old vengeful maid of Ada and was suspected of aborting Charmaine's child and he stormed off and she ran after him crying and begging and held on to him and he just walked away and she actually fell to the ground still clinging on to him crying and begging. My heart stopped for a minute when she fell. She must have really fell because it looked real and the actor looked like he almost paused for a while, afraid she might be hurt. That was the one singular moment that made this series almost bearable, to have seen Maggie Siu giving her all in that one singular moment that actually creates tension, hightens the emotions and made me feel for the characters and that all thanks to Maggie Siu's performance. In the beginning though she seems a bit monotone and I didn't know what to make of her character and her ending was abrupt.
But the same can't be said of Kenny Wong. Why does he look like a kuli? Why does he dress like a kuli? Why is he always baring his chest? Playing an impotent man is not easy. He is not only unable to have a child, he is unable to perform. He looks like he is constipated at all times, his chest always sweaty and his character is of no particular use. In fact whilst Tung Yeung is a good guy who is honourable in his own way, he is an inadequate leader and doesn't do much. His wife did much more. In the end he burnt the field he toiled with his wife and he ran away. He was angry, he was frustrated and he felt at fault for his wife's death. But there were some loving moments between them, especially the last scene where Maggie was alive which was pretty sad. Eventhough he suspected she was pregnant with another man's child, he went to visit her when she was sick, lightly and gently stroked her hair whilst she pretended to sleep. He was ready to forgive her. When Chun Fun was impregnated by Tung Seng, he didn't feel that hurt but when he thought his wife foolishly did the same, he felt so much hurt. He really loved his wife but apart from that Tung Yeung is boring to watch and Kenny Wong is a boring actor. Chemistry wise, I don't think he has it with Maggie though.
Rebecca Chan's character is to be a vegetable for the entire of the series who has awareness of what is going on. Wasted talent. Then there was Florence Kwok, who was a surprise to see in this series who had one brief scene and then some scenes later on. Again wasted talent. Any unknown can do that role. Many more really bad actors in recurring roles, like those uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins, etc. Whatever branch of the family, just name it and you'll probably find it in here.
Then there was Yim Man Hei.
Bowie's Yim Man Hei is basically a character that swings from one end to the other. From ruthless to not ruthless. Not a bad guy but his adopted father who wanted him to be Kan Yan Kin as well. I am not complaining about the changes in this character which was for the better. The revelation that he was actually very very deaf was a smart twist in the otherwise boring plot but the revelation was too soon because then it was the same loop, except he became gentler when he felt he was responsible for Tung Hiu's death. Now I understood why Bowie was always looking at his co-stars intently, especially the mouth area. In one revealing scene he was locked up with Moses' Tung Seng in a shed by a general who wanted him to not just give him money but deliver to him Madam Sung as in Ada for reasons you and I know. He refused, punched the general and landed himself in hot soup. When he woke up in the morning, he looked at Tung Seng who didn't sleep at all that night. Tung Seng didn't know he was deaf I think and he said he couldn't sleep because he heard those snipers getting their guns ready. Later when they were released for reasons Man Hei didn't understand, he found out Ada's Madam Sung paid the general a visit and it was later revealed by Tung Seng that he couldn't sleep because he could hear the general's sexual torture on Madam Sung who was suffering from the general's sadistic nature. That to me was a good scene but so few. However I still feel Bowie gave one of his worst performance in here. His Yim Man Hei may be deaf and still tries to act ruthless, but to me his ruthlesness comes from the fact that he is probably the only person in the village that has a gun. Every little problem he will show his gun to scare off people. I don't find that threatening, I find that conveniently threatening, if you know what I mean. There must be more to this man that could command such fear and loathing and yet it seems like the gun played a big part. What if he runs out of bullets? And then there was the over the top eye brow action in several scenes, especially when he was trying on the Kan Yan Kin look. I cringed. Bowie is a wonderful actor, but here he sounds breathless (he always talked like he was breathless but more so here, probably the sand and desert) and he went over the top with some scenes and expressions that it seems more comical than threatening. Luckily towards the end he mellowed a bit, toned down a lot and gave a decent performance but it was too late to save the series from being the farce that it is.
Yes, a farce. Whilst I applaud TVB's attempt at cinematography, but since watching the series entails using ones eyes and if ones eyes could potentially be blinded by the excessive thing called cinematography, I have to say the production is awful to the core. The costumes, the village, the looks, all look great but in the end, it was the colour tone and lightning that killed this series. I would have wished more research had been done, that the colour is toned down a bit. Somewhere along the series it was as if the colour shield has been lifted and certain scenes with normal colours was like a welcome change but for most time especially the desert scenes and the night time scenes it was torture to the eyes to watch. First of all you will feel like you have been punched hard on your eyes with the very bright yellow colour representing the desert, to give it a fiery barren dry hot look. I suspect originally it may still be barren dry and hot but maybe blue skies and not so yellow at all. It is perhaps to give this series a dated kinda look, like old times look but it hurts. My eyes hurt, so much so that I had to wear sunglasses when I was watching this series and it still hurt, that I had to lower my head and just listen to the dialogue. When that kinda blinded you, every other scenes seem so dark. Then there was the too green, too blue and for night time sequence, too dark. Everything is so excessive that it hurts. Look at Lord Of The Rings series, or even CSI : New York Season 1. Those are also tinted lenses but not so excessive. Whoever approved this series to be broadcast must be arrested for damaging the health of the viewers with blatant disregard towards their eyesight. It is not art, the entire tinted scenes are not even beautiful. It was torture. I know, you will get used to it after a while. Why should you? Why get used to bad acting, awful scripts, non existing dialogues, ugly fashion and in this case, awful tinted lenses? If there is no complaint no one would know it is bad. Frankly I hated those tinted scenes and my eyes still hurt eventhough my eyes have adjusted to the lightning after I lower down the contrast, colour and brightness of my TV set whenever I watched this series. If there is one single reason why this series fails in my opinion, it is those colour tinted scenes. But luckily or maybe not so luckily for the producers of Dance Of Passion, this series failed for a variety of reasons, each one of them a justified reason so those colour tinted scenes is not the single all consuming reason why this series sucks. Big time.
There were also mistakes in logistics. Like how a smart lady like Ming Foong would try to run away from the god forsaken desert but without food and more importantly water without any plan. Beats logic. And there was Man Hei on a horse, we see a wide shot scene, more for cinematography purposes that Man Hei was down there, below the cliff or rather on the bottom of two huge cliff or whatever and Ming Foong running on top. Next scene Man Hei was on top. How did he get from there to THERE? And of course repetetive scenes like digging of wells, for the next ten episodes or so still digging which was boring. And under the constant sun, I am sure the actors all used SPF 100. There was the constant fireworks display since this is a village that produces fireworks or playing that huge.. what do you call it in English? In Malay it is Gasing. Really huge one. The people in the town seems like walking dead, nothing much to do, always fighting or just walking around. Not many children from what I can observe. I can't blame Man Tin, brother of Man Hei for wanting to leave that god forsaken desert. I wonder why fight so much over a piece of barren desert? To sell sand to Singapore and Hong Kong perhaps?
The themesong was god awful, and coupled with Bowie's squeling, it was pure torture. The end song sung by Charmaine Sheh was better, however Charmaine Sheh is not a professional singer and more like a karaoke singer, so however good she sings it, a real professional singer with a reputable reputation as a singer would have done the song more justice than Charmaine Sheh did.
Then there was the ending. I do like the ending because I was wondering where is this series heading towards if not towards the total and complete annihilation of all the characters. Well not all died. Just one I suppose and quite pitiful as well. Madam Sung didn't have any reason to live anymore and poor Man Hei, now deaf AND blind didn't know who died for him I suppose and Ming Foong took care of him silently because she thought he loved Madam Sung but well I suppose he loved Ming foong and finally he realised it was her and Ming Foong realised he loved her and so considered happy ending. As for Chun Fun and Tung Seng who was sent to fight in a war I guess must have reunited many years later as we see a later scene of Chun Fun, now an old woman who must have been the one narrating the series carrying a package with Tung Seng's name and came back to the god forsaken desert which is now a thriving archeological/filming site and as she walked she walked back towards the past and saw all those she knew. So would that mean she died there?
I didn't like this ending. It would have been far greater significance if it was the child of these two people who came back to the village to bury her father and mother together. No need to see happy faces. I mean was Chun Fun so happy during those times? Did she have such a happy memory of the people there? Does she mean to say she wants to live in that oppressive age again? This is not Titanic. Rose had good memories of the people on Titanic and then she saw Jack again when she died. Chun Fun hardly had any good memories of that standard. So it would have been more poignant that we see an old lady walking into the village, carrying something, and then she stopped by the edge of the cliff and released the contents which are ashes of her parents, now returned to the place where bitter memories were mixed with loving ones because after they fell in love in that place that threatened to tear them apart and we hear Chun Fun saying something to the daughter, something positive. But that would be illogical since Tung Seng never had any good memories of that village.
Truth be told, this series has its moments. Some gems. But essentially it is a series that is much ado about nothing. Like Bold And The Beautiful, so much drama but if you look carefully, switch off for 3 days, and 3 days later still on the same topic. It feels laborious to watch, and it didn't help that the cinematography nearly blinded me. The characters are not memorable, maybe memorable for the awful circumstances they were in but not memorable because of themselves. The themesong sucks, the title whether in English or Cantonese is irrelevant to the topic of the series and the entire dialogue seems forced. Like someone trying to make an intellectual series full of intrigue and plottings and betrayals and sacrifice but ended up with a total dud that had some of those but could not sustain it. And then there was a brief moment in this series where the the writer tried to tie the women and their fate to the plot, like some scar on their hands. If this is a series meant to showcase how hard a life for women, it totally went off point when it added all those plotting. The concentration should be on these women and what ties them together perhaps but instead it was more about everybody because anybody and everybody seems to have a say in something in this series, making this series into a convulated plot. If it had been about the women, it would have been a better series but it wasn't. It became a series about everybody else BUT the women and so when that scar on the hands and some fortune teller stuff was shown, the entire series didn't make that much sense anymore. The script at its very core was badly written, the execution was awful and some performances became aimless because their characters were aimless.
I do recall a conversation with my family when watching this series where my sister said "I am lost with the plot". I said "At least you're lost which meant you once understood it. I haven't even got into the plot, never involved with the plot and never even understood the plot to even get lost in it".
In the end, to me this is one of the worst series I have ever seen and I would not even want to recommend this to you unless you're the biggest fan of any of the actors in here. Other than that, better to avoid it and invest in some other series, something lighthearted and does not take itself so seriously and tries to be intellectual to the point that it became a boring farce.
Strictly for fans. If you have seen it and you loved it, you would of course hate my review. But if you disliked it, you would probably see some sense in some of my points. Either I am sure the reaction to my review is exactly the same as the reaction to this series; love it or hate it. You watch and then you decide but be forewarned, buy yourself a good sunglasses, tone down the contrast and brightness of your TV and get ready to train yourself to "hear" the performances rather than see because the yellow colour...oh yellow colour will nearly blind you for sure.