The Title Deciphered
Re my post previously posted HERE. Reproduced here for your convenience.
By the way it is not ULTIMATE CRIME FIGHTER but THE ULTIMATE CRIME FIGHTER. I made the mistake many times. The Chinese title is similar.
There comes a time, rarely that there is a title that you just love for no reason whatsoever. The title may be ordinary, simplistic and even meaningless in the scheme of things but somehow, like true love, you just fall head over heels, no rhyme nor reason.
I am absolutely and unequivocally in love with the title, ULTIMATE CRIME FIGHTER which I am watching right now over at ASTRO. Even the Chinese title sounds great, and translated into the English title which I just mentioned. There are just so many ways to say the title, from the whispering ultimate crime fighter to the theatrical ULTIMATE Crime Fighter to the accented Ultimate Crimeeee Fighterrrrrr to the WWF like UL-TI-MATEEEEE CRRRRRRR-IMMMMMMEEEEEEEEE FIGHHHHHHHTERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!
I just love this title even if looking at the content of the series, the title makes no sense because well there aren't any ultimate crime fighters in there! But still... such a simple title, so many varied ways to express oneself. My favourite amongst all the ways?
Ah-tee-mate Kime Fai-ter.
Does remind me of Fighting Nemo... I mean Finding Nemo!
What? So long ago and only now broadcast on ASTRO?
No. Of Episodes
Yuen Biao - Yuen Fo-Sung
Moses Chan - Wai Chun-Lung (John Loong)
Gigi Lai - Wong Jing-Ying (Jing Jing)
Yoyo Mung - Keung Nga-Yue (Ginger)
Kevin Cheng - Chong Man-Hei (Aaron)
Maggie Siu - Lam Chor-Yuk (Janet)
Marco Ngai - Sing Chi-Him (Hugo)
Natalie Tong - Ngai Sze-Ka (Yan Yan/Ka Ka)
Bryan Leung - Wong Bo
Sam Chan - To Wai-Keung (BT)
Matthew Ko - Lai Ji-Kin
Fala Chen - Ada Wai
Ben Wong - Chong Man Hong
Lau Dan - Mr Chong
Law Koon Lan - Mrs Chong
Mark Kwok - Cool Man
And many more ...
The Story So Far ...
Taken from Wikipedia. I must add the sypnosis below is so totally NOT the story proper at all. How can the writer mess up the story? Is this the official version from TVB? So does it mean TVB doesn't know its own story? You can also go to the same site to get the low down on each major character but be forewarned, not accurate also. So if you want to know the story proper, read my summary.
Famous for his unparalleled kung-fu skills, Police Officer Yuen Fo-Sung (Yuen Biao) has cracked a large number of difficult cases, which makes him very popular within the police force. Despite the recognition he has achieved, Fo quits his job to become a monk. But later, as luck would have it, he gets back to Hong Kong again, where he experiences a series of mysterious, supernatural events…
With the assistance of Fo, Wai Chun-Lung (Moses Chan), an undercover police officer, manages to solve the most complicated cases. Fo believes that there is a special bond between him and Lung. Lung and his bosom friend Keung Nga-Yue (Yoyo Mung) have been very close to each other. Feeling so upset, Lung’s girlfriend Wong Jing-Ying (Gigi Lai) starts going out with her boss Chong Man-Hei (Kevin Cheng), which leads her to the point of no return…
To seek revenge, Lung has shown his complete disregard for law and order. He is ready to sacrifice himself and even Fo to reach his goal. Things are happening as Fo predicts. Will the long-running feud between them be eventually settled? Fate will decide…
Whilst the story may seem to centre on For Sir, the actual series centres on 5 major characters. For Sir with his deep Buddhist philosophical view of life and his relationship with a formerly rich lady abandoned by her irresponsible husband, Janet and For Sir's relationship with a girl called Ka Ka. Then there John Loong as well as Jing Jing and Ginger. Then there's Aaron and his relationship with everybody mentioned above as well as his own family.
For Sir used to be a hot tempered cop married with one daughter. His wife (Hong Wah) could not take his hot temper anymore and so decided to leave, taking along his young daughter whom he loved very much. After some time the wife disappeared and For Sir lost all contact with his daughter. Feeling miserable, he went to seek guidance and found the Shaolin temple monks who taught him Buddhist philosophy of life and he realised he was not a good husband. Determined to change his ways, he became more zen like and look like from a renewed vigour. He returned to HK and after a brief employment as Janet, a rich woman's chauffer cum her son's bodyguard he was reemployed as a CID under the command of a young policeman named John Loong. For Sir has the unique ability to see the future which is pretty accurate and often this special sense has helped him in numerous cases and life threatening situations. Working with John Loong he felt a kinship with the usually jovial young man.
John Loong worked as an undercover cop where he got to know his neighbour, a nice but not very pretty girl named Jing Jing. When he became a cop again and was given a promotion to head a team of CIDs, Jing Jing fell for him. Being a ladies man, he didn't quite accepted her advances although he liked her. But after a while he gave in and became an item with her much to the displeasure of Jing Jing's father who felt his daughter was never home when she started dating him. However they quarrelled and broke up numerous times because Jing Jing felt she did so much and yet John Loong didn't seem to care or love her whilst John Loong felt she was too clingy and expected too much. The final break up was when he thought she was pregnant and he proposed and she knew he did it because he was a gentleman and not because he loved her and so they parted ways. John Loong threw himself into his work and his mood worsens, comforted only by his close friend, Ginger who was a tough cop who retired to become a lawyer because her mother was afraid she might get hurt. Ginger herself dated Hugo, a successful lawyer briefly until she realised he was a scumbag and so she left him. Ginger felt closer and closer with John Loong and became his confidante.
Meanwhile Jing Jing got as new job as a doll fashion designer and worked with rich but temperamental man, Aaron. Aaron was moved by her sincerity and enthusiasm in her work and often sided with her. However Aaron carries a dark secret of his own; when a body was discovered where the man was murdered 5 years before, Jing Jing found out that dead man was once Aaron's lover. Aaron was a closet homosexual and could not let his father (Lau Dan) know the truth because his father could not take the public humiliation. Same time Aaron is feuding with his older half brother and often led to angry clashes.
With the discovery of this body which led to more investigations, John Loong was convinced Aaron was the killer though he didn't know the motive. He warned Jing Jing who was at that time pretend to date Aaron to save him from further questions about his sexuality with his parents but Jing Jing didn't believe John Loong who became more and more aggressive in pursuing the case. After sometime, Jing Jing realised despite everything, she was still in love with John Loong and John Loong realised he loved her too and so secretly they were seeing each other again. Aaron found out and being severely depressed, he began to drink heavily and urged Jing Jing to see him. John Loong who was obssessed with cracking the case neglected to see Jing Jing for that day and so she went to Aaron and found a pen belonging to the dead guy who was blackmailing Aaron about his sexual orientation. Jing Jing suspected Aaron must have contributed to that man's death and called John who wasn't at his place and so she left a cryptic message. Aaron found out she was holding the pen and out of anger, he pursued her to the pond, pushed her in and drowned her. Then he pretended to have tried to save her. The one person who saw what he did was his estranged brother who decided to use this knowledge to blackmail him to give him money to pay off his debts.
John Loong was overcome with guilt and knew Aaron was the killer. Aaron said she accidentally fell and he was trying to save her. His father believed him but everybody else didn't. Prosecution was mounted but eventhough a video tape was found that showed him drowning Jing Jing, the case was compromised by John's overzealous participation, a bad witness in the form of Aaron's brother (who agreed to testify because he thought Aaron tried to run him down but in actual fact it was John who tried to run him down) and so Aaron was let off. John took the photos and the tape to Aaron's father who confronted his son and suffered a major heart attack. Aaron being angry decided to retaliate. However he was later kidnapped by his own brother and during the rescue mission, Aaron was badly hurt by his own brother who was badly hurt himself. John Loong decided to take matters into his own hand and killed Aaron and put the blame on the brother. The brother ran away but John wanted to kill the only witness as well.
Ginger who was by this time in love with him and had a drunken one night stand with him and pregnant as well and For Sir wanted to save John Loong but through different methods. For Sir wanted him caught and repent, whilst Ginger wanted Aaron's brother to leave and so John can go on without being caught. John didn't know Ginger was helping him and he ended up pushing her down the stairs. For Sir, angry with what happened desperately tried to persuade John to turn a new leaf but in one of his hindsight, he knew John would shoot him. As John got news the brother was at a certain location, For Sir ran after John. John shot the brother despite pleading from the brother and so For Sir pointed a gun at him as he pointed back. When For Sir suddenly opened fire, John fired and shot For Sir. But For Sir was shooting the brother who was trying to attack John from behind. Overcame by guilt, John realised he was wrong and took For Sir to the hospital and turned himself in.
For Sir survived and forgave John. He ended up with Janet and would be promoted to Sargeant. John will go to prison for an unspecified number of years. In prison he read the buddhist books sent by For Sir and became deeply phisolophical and realised the errors of his ways. Often visited by Ginger who gave birth to a boy and lost her license to practise as a lawyer because she helped John, Ginger promised to wait for John Loong as she raised their son. Later Ginger became a journalist writing about life whilst John became a published author whilst in prison. In prison he found peace and sees himself free at last with Ginger and his son by his side and he waits for that day when he will be reunited with them ...
I didn't know what to make of this series. It has the title of a detective series, the contents of a family drama and love story and in the end became like a story which questions to what length would a man exact vengeance; is it to the point where he destroys everyone he cares about, including himself? The ending is deeply philosophical and to some may seem rather silly way to end it since we get the appearance of Buddha (how on earth Buddha can appear in this modern series? Just watch the series). But this series surprised me with that it has a proper and thorough ending for some major characters with narration in words telling the viewers what happened to them. That is new since TVB has a tendency to end it with a question which can be very tiresome after a while.
But this series is weird. It has no proper theme, and it is the type that finds its theme as it goes along and somewhere along the way there should and will be an ending and whatever that may be, the story will go towards some direction you would never expect.
Some reviews describe the story from the viewpoint of For Sir and his uncanny ability to see the future and the notion of superstition cases and stuff. Yes there is that ability but to describe this series as a weird X-Files type series is very wrong. For Sir is one of the major character but he is not the only major character. The story can broken into 3 stages; 1st of the story is heavily about John Loong and Jing Jing whilst the 2nd is heavily about Aaron and John Loong and the end between John Loong and For Sir. John Loong is the main guy here but again he is not the only important character. This is like an ensembled cast; one can't work without the other.
So what is this series about? I can't say with certainty. I was baffled by its content. First few episodes did talk about investigations of unrelated cases and whilst it may be intriguing at first, it quickly became confusing because when I thought this series is about detectives, it changed course into something deeply personal.
What is certain is this series is careful to show the main characters. However silly Jing Jing may be, towards the end of her character, you will probably like her because much time has been invested on her. The way she was murdered was an injustice that John Loong is rightly angry about. Some time was also invested on Aaron who appears half way into the series who seems like such a gentleman at first but turned out to be a killer without a conscience. He is a deeply selfish man who would kill to cover his tracks and as he cover more of his tracks he killed more and more and in the end revealed himself to be a monster. John Loong in his grief and guilt killed Aaron to which I cheered since I hated Aaron by that time but to cover his tracks, tried to kill and kill and in the end almost lost his humanity. In a nice twist he saw himself as Aaron when he looked into mirrors and it shows he was slowly morphing into the monster that Aaron was.
For Sir is a uniquely pleasant character that seems like the usual quittesential compulsory good guy. But he's more than that. He is the beacon of hope in the times of despair, he saw reason when no one else could and he wanted to help John but using the right way. Someone with practical sense like Ginger tried to help him the wrong way and ended up suffering herself but For Sir, knowing his life may be at risk decided saving John is far more important than his own life. There is no denying the differences between John and Aaron is that John is beneath it all a good man. Driven by guilt, grief, a sense of injustice and ultimately almost insane sense of self preservation, he almost turned into a monster Aaron was. Aaron may seem like a good guy, but deep down he is deeply disturbed. He does not hesitate to kill, eventhough minutes before he professes to love but in the end his tendency to kill to cover his tracks outweighed whatever is left of his humanity. Although he had a crush on Jing Jing, after he killed her, he felt no remorse, no pain but fear that someone might know. Despite how well Jing Jing treated him, to him Jing Jing was an obstacle to his life of freedom which in the end makes him a monster.
The best scene of this series had to be when Aaron was seriously injured, with a steelbar impaled through his stomach thanks to his half brother. He taunted John Loong, saying he will live but for once John saw sense and did not fall for his taunts since he thought Aaron was dying anyway. Then they heard sirens and Aaron laughingly say "It took them only 2 minutes to reach here... 2 minutes!! I will live. How do you feel about that? Having to be a cop and do the right thing when all you wanted was for my death but you can't get me! How does that feel!!" and John was so angry he pushed in the steelbar and thus killing Aaron. Whilst what he did was wrong, being a cop and all, with Aaron being so irritating and for killing effectively 3 people, one of whom did not deserve to die and that was Jing Jing, I cheered at John's actions. I felt the fact TVB wrote such an end for Aaron is bold and refreshing. Justice was administered since the law utterly failed Jing Jing. I felt like for once TVB is giving me something different, something unexpected and something so sinister and yet so just. Kudos to the writers for writing this scene in.
Of course all that was spoilt by the fact that story doesn't seem to end just there and went on for a few more episodes. Whilst you may complain about the encounter between For Sir and Buddha, as someone did scoffed at the silly scene, it was a pivotal scene for For Sir who was a buddhist. His will to live was spurred by the sounds of Janet calling his name and his brief enlightening encounter with Buddha making that scene deeply philosophical. The idea that there is nothing to fear of death, that everyone encounters it, that it is ok to die but not before your time, that one should appreciate and make do with the time we have before we become one with the earth again makes this series at this point a rather uniquely religious one to which I welcome this scene. What's so interesting about series after series about squabbling family when once in a while you get this kind of scene?
That weird but interesting scene does show how unique this series is. Earlier this series contained a very good twist in the story that made me sat up and paid attention. That was the story of For Sir and his long lost daughter Yan Yan except the girl claiming to be Yan Yan was actually Ka Ka, Yan Yan's best friend. What is touching is how For Sir reconciled with the fact he will never see Yan Yan again since Yan Yan died missing her father and how Ka Ka, deprived of a good father adopted him as her father. Their relationship is one of the strong point of this series, the warmth and playfulness between these two makes the relationship all the more poignant and great to watch. There is also the relationship between Janet and her young son who was angry with his mother thinking she abandoned his father when in truth he abandoned them and how For Sir united the mother and child. The interactions between For Sir and the young boy is also another highlight, and is one of the less dramatic moments. I also like how Janet was forthright with her husband that she wanted a divorce and how her son in the end reacted to that fact. All very positive. Truth is after a while I was tired of Aaron's deceit, Jing Jing's naiveness and John Loong's anger and it is interestingly For Sir and his adopted family that provided the lighter moments.
The story of Ginger and Hugo is almost pointless until John Loong went insane with vengeance and revenge. Ginger then actually had something to do and her steadfast loyalty to John Loong is again a good twist to the story in the sense I thought it was pretty realistic. If this was Forensic Heroes, probably Ginger would advice John to surrender and accept the punishment of the law with one huge smile. This Ginger is more true to life; she rescued Aaron's brother from John with the sole purpose so that John doesn't commit another murder and so that the brother can leave Hong Kong and John will be a free man. I can't disagree with her intentions and I also can't say I disagree with For Sir's take on how silly her actions were. But these actions are practical and true and not some politically correct bullshit that we see in some series such as Forensic Heroes where everybody is on a high horse and nobody is actually thinking about "WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIM??" because everybody's sense of justice is following the law to the last letter. This series constantly reminds us of Jing Jing and the injustice that was inflicted on her and frankly I may not have done what John Loong did but love, grief and guilt will sometimes drive a decent sane man into doing crazy stuff.
One part of the story I hated though was the whole prosecution of Aaron. It shows following the law will lead to injustice. I am not sure the HK judiciary or police force will be too happy with what is portrayed of them; basically imbeciles. It shows how the facts can be ignored, twisted and that the entire law enforcement, from the judges to the lawyers to the law to police and to the forensic experts are all total and complete imbeciles when it comes to catching a real criminal. I thought Aaron's case was pretty solid; a motive, scars on Jing Jing as well as a video showing him actually pushing her head into the water which totally debunked his story that he was trying to lift her head up to rescue her. There was also Jing Jing's last recording which implicated Aaron.
Let's examine the facts.
Aaron does not deny Jing Jing was at his home, that she fell into the pool, that she drowned because she could not swim, that he tried to save her, that the marks on her neck were caused by his effort to lift her head up.
Isn't that just stupid? Even if I am not some big shot forensic expert, I can tell you with certainty there is a difference between marks left by someone holding someone's head up from water and marks left by strangling someone. And no one, and I repeat NO ONE would rescue a drowning victim by holding their neck above water with their bare hands. You use forearms, you lift the shoulders, etc. The marks on her neck is pretty obviously left by someone clasping their hands around her neck and squeezed. Could Aaron have been so stupid that he thought strangling her is rescuing her? Then the video tape. The prosecution removed the tape from the judge's consideration, so basically the judge and jury never saw the tape. How stupid is that? You just don't remove evidence. Defence wil object, judge will review the tape, but at the end of the day the judge will decide if the prejudicial effect will outweigh the beneficial effect. Questions were raised that since the Thai dude who recorded it (but didn't actually witness the event) handed it to John Loong, known sworn nemesis of Aaron the Defendent, therefore the evidence is tainted. My question is so what? Get an expert witness to testify it was not tempered with. This is not US courts where rules of evidence are stricter, this is HK court where rules do make sense at the end of the day. But the funny and stupidest part is the prosecution killed their own case by removing the evidence, not the judge denying the admittance of that evidence. There is of course a question of motive. Why would he kill Jing Jing the love of his life? That John Loong would falsely accuse him because John was jealous Jing Jing was with Aaron now. How dumb can that be? Can't the prosecution call the two best friends of Jing Jing to testify Jing Jing never stopped loving John? Call the dad to say she was seeing him again? That would lead credence to the argument that Aaron was with jealous rage when he acted the way he did. Moreover, as for motive, the last recording pretty much implicated Aaron. So maybe the evidence of 2 previous unconvicted murders can't be introduced but the tape shows Jing Jing had doubts about Aaron about certain deaths. Coupled with the pictures of Aaron with another man, the 1st victim, I thought the case was pretty solid.
I just thought the entire prosecution business is just so badly written it defies logic and common sense.
Of course another stupid scene(s) would be putting weak witnesses on the stand. Man Hong as a witness I understand since he saw what happened but his crediblity is weak. Why put John Loong on the stand? He ended up shrieking like a lunatic.
So maybe Aaron may not be convicted at the end of the day but at least the writers should make an effort to make his acquittal a bit more convincing than this lazily written trial process.
However much I do not like the case or the individual investigation cases which always leads to accused confessing everything and anything they can confess too, I actually like the practical raw emotions when it comes to how certain characters reacted to the catalyst that is Jing Jing's death. I find it very realistic to have John posting the gay pictures of Aaron on the internet, thus TVB is acknowledging the power of media, in this case the internet. I like the fact that Aaron fought back and John didn't lay low and took it like a coward. I like the fact that these two men pretty much destroyed each other and then themselves because that is realistic. I also like how the other characters reacted around them with represents the 2 different polar opposites of a sense of justice and closure; some may feel For Sir was way too nice whilst some may feel Ginger was too foolish. But these 2 represent the same ideal; they'd do everything to help Man Hong not because they wanted to save him but because they wanted to save John from spiralling out of control but then John was too insane to realise that sooner.
But my complaints about how it all ends primarily rests in how John so easily woke up from his insane grief or cover up jobs so soon and so easily. Shooting For Sir was a reason, knowing Ginger was pregnant with his child was another. But so simple, that perhaps For Sir should have just let him shoot him sooner. By then the series was already 37 episodes, about 7 episodes too long already so they must stop somewhere somehow. Of course as I write this I do wonder; since For Sir could see himself being shot, why on earth did he not wear some protection? And since everyone knew how out of control John was, why didn't the force just suspend him? Take away his gun?
Another aspect I wish to highlight that was badly written was others' reaction to Jing Jing's sudden death. Everybody was ok but not much was shown on the 2 best friends. They should be more involved in the aftermath since they were so involved before. I sat with total disbelief how John's sister reacted. This was the same sister who liked Jing Jing, approved of her and even helped her to woo John and her reaction was "Let's see it this way brother. Jing Jing's death was fated, and it happened as preordained by the heavens. You shouldn't blame yourself or feel too sad about it". This is TVB with its PC crap. Jing Jing didn't die of some illness or a car accident or even suicide. She was blatantly murdered, young, vivacious, full of life and now plain dead. The sister cried a little but she should have been choking back tears when she said those PC crap to the brother. Where was she when her brother went bonkers with grief and revenge? She should be more involved, more raw emotions, more realistic reaction to a death nobody expected.
Some reviews I read online has been pretty misleading, simply because the synopsis is pretty misleading. If you think this series is about For Sir and his ability to see the future, you're only 20% right. That ability is to facilitate the last episode I suppose, to create some tension, some fear of the inevitable rather than fear of the unknown but it doesn't dominate this series and it doesn't look as silly as it sounds. The entire series which began without a theme and went on to have multiple themes at the end is about to what extent one is willing to do to cover one's tracks and forgiveness which includes forgiving oneself. What Aaron did for the 1st murder was an act of passion. What he did 2nd time was an act of cover up. By the 3rd murder Aaron was a cold blooded murder who murdered as he sees fit. As for John, his killing of Aaron to me was justified and perhaps is the best scene in this series. It could have been a perfect crime. In a way I felt if he wasn't that insane as to kicking Ginger down the stairs or shooting For Sir, perhaps everyone should give him a break by just letting his murdering Aaron go without breathing a word to others. That would be wrong of course; murder is murder whoever you murdered and why. Of course when it comes to Aaron who annoyed me when he was taunting John, I just pretty much thought why don't John just push the bar further into his stomach, which he did. Almost a perfect murder.
As for the performances, there were some breakthroughs for certain actors.
Yuen Biao impressed me. I never thought he was that good an actor more so when it comes to romantic scenes, but the quiet romance he had with Maggie Siu's Janet was effective. His scenes with Natalie Tong and the little boy were effective and touching and he was at his best as the father to these 2 characters. His confrontational scenes with John were not very well acted since heavy drama is not his expertise so to speak but for all intents and purposes, and having seen a lot of his movies back when he was younger, I feel his performance as For Sir is his best in his career, thus far. He convinced me in some scenes how zen like he was, quite quirky like Charlie Crews in Life (oh how I love Damian Lewis), the way he spoke about Buddhist philosophy was very convincing and eventhough his meeting with the Shaolin monks and the Buddha himself may be a ridiculous plot in terms of this modern series, somehow he made them possible and believable. I enjoyed his performance and may I say, Yuen Biao looked very good for his age. Body also looks good too with a well toned body. The younger generation should look to him to know how a man's body should look like.
One of those who gave a breakthrough performance is the boy who played Maggie Siu's son. He shared great chemistry with Yuen Biao and everyone else and the scenes where he deliberately ignored Maggie's character were perhaps some of the best and most realistically written.
Marco Ngai also gave an excellent performance as the vindictive and petty womaniser Hugo. So again a streotypical portrayal of a successful lawyer with a huge ego but Marco Ngai looked the part even if his English had me taking a double take as to what he actually meant. When he wanted to say SEXY he actually said SASSY!! Both almost the same meaning but still, what is wrong with his Xs? Anyway I pity him though. He is a very good actor, same face, same tone and yet could be nice or could be despicable. I thought his Hugo was outwardly despicable but inwardly a romantic guy with the way he pursued the hard to pursue (and why would anyone be attracted to her anyway) Ginger. In the end he was actually a lying fake hypocrite which kinda disappointed me. I was hoping that he actually turned out to be a gentleman even if his job requires him to act like a jerk.
Ng Ka Lok, whom if I am not mistaken is called Carlo is fun to watch as he went all out as the effiminate best friend of Gigi's character. Enjoyed his banter with Rain Lau even if towards the end they pretty much disappeared from the story the moment Jing Jing died even if they should be given more role.
Moses Chan is someone I am not sure how to evaluate. He is great at comedies but weak at dramas and yet he is in one drama after another and often really serious drama series. I have always said and will maintain that he is never quite the leading man in his series, as he always shoulders the leading man responsibility with some other equally or more famous actor(s). I still think he has yet to prove his mettle as a leading man per se like Bobby Au Yeung type. Will people watch his series if he is the real and only headliner? The thing with him is he always gets the meaty roles. His John Loong is another difficult character to play, who is flamboyant to dead serious and to OTT insane. His performance showed all that of course so kudos to him BUT with extreme sudden changes, not gradual which gives me an impression his John Loong is crazy. Of course he is not crazy, he is just driven and merciless and obsessed but not crazy as in insane. I hated it when he speaks with a whisper. He always whispers in dramatic moments and the only time he ever speaks loudly and clearly is during comedic moments. He truly shines in lighter moments which is why he should be in more comedies and his worst moments are towards the end when his character has crazy eyes, talks crazy and as I said, suspiciously but not really crazy. He just seems well, inadequate in conveying his character's more tormented moments, his guilt, his anger, his impatience, his unreasonableness, his descent into somekind of but not quite madness driven first by his grief, then by his guilt, then by selfishness and finally his need to survive. This is one multi faceted character that would have been better acted by a more drama-competent actor, someone who can show more than blank crazy eyes acting and gear towards a full blown angry man type of acting. I miss Kong Wah. He can give this role a sense of urgency, a sense of grief, of bereavement, of pain. Or Bobby Au Yeung who of course does not fit the handsome eligible bill that Moses can. But to be fair to Moses, this is one of his finest performance of a character that seems to be going everywhere. I mean the writer seems at lost what to do with him until towards the end with one broad stroke of his pen, quite literally wrote the demise of a potentially good cop. I didn't quite like that but all that befalls him do make for a very good character study. Did anyone feel the writer is trying to draw similarities between his John Loong and Aaron? I felt it was interesting but a bit forced. I didn't see them as similar at all.
Kevin Cheng is interesting in here. He was becoming boring, irrelevant and uninteresting until the role of Aaron came about. Again this character seems at lost in the plot until towards the end when his purpose is revealed. Also a bit cruel twist of fate for what seems to be a nice guy in the beginning who turned to murder out of desperation and became a full blown monster towards the end. And a very irritating monster and frankly kudos to Kevin Cheng for shedding his gentleman image and just go ugly. His Aaron is handsome but towards the end he just seems ugly to me and so I suppose that is one good acting from Kevin. Whilst I appreciate his attention to details, such as pacing as he was taunting Moses or body hunched foward when threatened or using his gestures to great effect when trying to threaten someone, I feel some of his actions a bit more deliberate than natural. He is trying hard, I can see that but yet maybe much too hard. Maybe it is because there is no mean bones in Kevin Cheng perhaps? No doubt his performance in here is one of his best for portraying one of the most irritating and monster-like character, so much so I was cheering when John Loong killed him. The way he maddeningly taunted John Loong, laughing as he heard the ambulance approaching the scene was enough to make any blood boil. However let's face it; Kevin Cheng is always those cool type of dudes that doesn't seem to have a proper volcanic temper, much like Moses himself. So to see him out of his comfort zone (one of the favourite words used in American Idol and which is very applicable here) is interesting and welcoming even if it may not be very effective. What I am saying is truthfully, Kevin Cheng is not that a fantastic actor. A better actor can give this role more manic appeal and yet perhaps show to the viewers his vulnerability. After all Aaron was very desperate to keep his name clean so he did what he did but towards the end maybe it just became easier. It just seems so easy for him to kill that after a while to cover his crime he became comfortable with the idea and the act of taking a life and he took the most innocent of them all, Jing Jing. The rest maybe in some ways deserved their end but not Jing Jing. And to cover that up, he lost his human decency so he became in the end as I kept repeating, a monster. You know a few years back I would say Deric Wan would be perfect for this role. Now I can't quite name any since TVB's new crop of actors aren't exactly brimming with natural acting talent. So to be fair to Kevin, this is one of his finest performance but if there was a better character actor (like Nick Cheung or Roger Kwok perhaps) taking this role, I am afraid he may pale in comparison.
Yoyo Mung is infuriating. She was terrible as a policewoman in Forensic Heroes and in here again as a policewoman and then a lawyer, she was not convincing in either role although she seemed awake as opposed to her sleeping distracting performance in Forensic Heroes. So that is a plus point. Her character, Ginger is an interesting character. First of all, was the writer serious in calling her Ginger? Somehow that name just doesn't sound right for a tough woman like Ginger. And Ginger is a tough woman. She can take care of herself, she has an opinion, she is steadfast in her duty, she believes in justice and yet foolishly for love she did what would finally destroy her career but showed her as a human being and not like those robots in Forensic Heroes. So this is one character goldmine for a female actress, more so it seems at first like all characters in this series, her character seems rather aimless. Towards the middle you know her purpose but before that you wonder; what is she doing in here anyway? I know as Moses' love interest but how (that was before I knew what happened to Jing Jing). Yoyo Mung has killed most of her own credibility in her recent performances and frankly I find her inadequate in here even if she does say words or act in such a way that is unladylike, the way her character is. But I am not convinced. I just find her still sleepwalking in here role but at least half awake now. She should forever be banned from playing policewomen or lawyers. She should just stick to the obligatory girlfriend roles. Who could have done better? Everybody else who can act can do better. Sorry to Miss Yoyo, until and unless you start to do some major real acting, your time is up. I am getting impatient with her.
Gigi Lai has retired, married and is happy at last. Good for her. Sad though because this, as Jing Jing is one of her finest performance apart from what was that series with Moses where they were siblings where Yoyo Mung was actually a good actress? Anyway in here she had to make herself less pretty and more plain and so she had to wear glasses, have bad perm and really buck tooth type of teeth. So she was over the hill, so she was overacting, so she was overreacting but you do become fond of her Jing Jing after a while because she is such a nice person. Gigi can try to fool us all that her Jing Jing is unattractive next to Moses' John Loong who is supposed to be a ladies' man, but Gigi is a very beautiful woman. So I wasn't convinced, looks wise. Acting wise, she got better as her character becomes less silly and more serious. Her chemistry with Moses and then Kevin is great and I enjoyed her scenes with Rain Lau and Carlo Ng. Her ending was very sad. Ok, so this is full spoilers right? Ok, she died. Killed quite terribly by Aaron. Hers was an unexpected death and that threw John Loong into his descent towards self destruction. Her Jing Jing is quite sad too because she loves John Loong, did everything for him and yet he seems uninterested eventhough we know he loves her but not as much as she loves him. She wants affection and she can be needy and clingy but she is a really nice girl. Gigi portrays all that aspect very well even if I find her Jing Jing quite annoying when it comes to promoting her fashion doll called Ah Wu. I was like can we move away from Ah Wu please. To think that I was beginning to like her and suddenly she is retired. I shall miss her heavy breathing.
Natalie Tong is extremely thin which made me concentrate more on her twig like legs and arms rather than her performance. If you can get pass her skinny frame aka lollipop body, I would say she did a good job. She shares a very good chemistry with her onscreen father Yuen Biao and I enjoyed her part of the story which is touching even if it didn't really fit into the whole storyline per se although I will say it does from the forgiveness part as in Yuen Biao forgiving himself and her for what happened to his real daughter. I didn't expect that twist frankly and her story is the highlight of this series when the whole Aaron-Jing Jing-John Loong stories got tiresome after a while.
Ai Wai plays Natalie Tong's despicable father who lives off women. How can a man looking like that live off women? Well just watch this excellent actor's performance. Very convincing and I shall say this; he deserves an award for any role, any role whatsoever.
Ben Wong is a revelation. He was the good guy in Kindred Spirit but since then he has excelled in playing the hypocritical villain, his best was in Safe Guards. Here he was pretty good as well as the bad guy but not as evil as his brother Aaron. His Man Hong is just despicable and stupid but not necessarily evil.
Lau Dan did a fine job as the morally upright patriach of the Chong family whose value and expectations did in some way drove Aaron who could have been the perfect son to murder. I enjoyed his confrontation scene with Kevin about his murder of Jing Jing which was explosive and one of the best scene. However I dislike his character when he found out John Loong killed Aaron and he felt Aaron's death was an injustice. I mean so his anger that he killed an innocent girl like Jing Jing was in the end a hypocritical way of expressing a non-existing anger perhaps? That after all a son is still a son despite him being an evil monster?
Apart from Yoyo Mung for the worst underacting in this series, Law Koon Lan has the dubious honour as the worst overacting in this series. When she was calm she was ok even if she overacts. But when Aaron died and she thought Man Hong had a part to play in his death, that confrontation at Aaron's burial site with her angrily and literally hopping up and down to scold Man Hong was really to me the hallmark of really really awful acting, especially from a veteran like her which is unforgivable. But I am not surprised since she has been this awful before. She can be good but she is always over the top, almost theatrical in her acting that just doesn't translate well onto the small screen. Which means being a veteran and acting in hundreds of series or movies or theatre does not make one a good actress. The only time she was subdued and was actually good was in Burning Flame but after that she seems to bunny hop everytime she is very very angry. Why?
Maggie Siu is very subdued in here and at times I wonder what is the point of her character as hers doesn't fit into this series' grand scheme of things. But every character serves a purpose, all big and small and hers is as Yuen Biao's love interest. I like their love affair, a very cordial and at times romantic storyline and I love her interaction with the boy who played her son. Maggie Siu is a fine actress so not much complains here.
Annabelle Lau as Moses Chan's sister? Quite a good casting actually. But I would thought she as the older rather than the younger sister. I have no complaints about her except after Jing Jing's death the plot should also involve her instead of her suddenly missing. After all her character was close to Jing Jing, in a way. And I feel her worst moment was her reaction to Jing Jing's death. Wayyyyyy too unemotional.
I am not even sure what is Vivian Yeo, our very own Malaysian girl doing in here. In fact what is she doing in HK? Was she even in this series? Her name was listed so I list it here but I can't remember her at all.
Fala Chan, up and coming star of TVB is well, just a guest star. Except for her accent, I think she is competent. I have yet to see her in a more fleshed out role other than Steps.
I am not sure if this is her name but the actress who played Kevin's cousin, the one with the bitchy look is I think called Yvonne Ho even though I can't recognise her. Looking at Wikipedia she has been in a lot of series! Never noticed her. Correct me if I am wrong, please. Anyway no comments. Except maybe this actress is way better than the under and overacting queens of this series.
There are many more guest stars in this series that I feel distract the viewers from the main storyline. Frankly it will take half the series to know what is the main storyline since this series tries to be everything; from detective to supernatural to love to revenge to forgiveness to redemption to well, everything. You can't pinpoint a single theme as this series is like shooting a lot of arrows where one is bound to hit the target. Well it did towards the middle of the series. I ended up liking this series, especially when it accelerated towards the ending. The story dragged a bit in the middle with the relationship problem with Jing Jing and John Loong and other never ending predictable investigation stories. But what I love about this series is certain realism, like the police shoot outs where people do get hurt, where criminals run instead of dropping to their knees and confessing within seconds of "Stop! Police!" is shouted. I also like the idea that not all policemen are perfect, law abiding fearless supercop. Although certain aspects are downright stupid, like the whole trial thing, the series more than made up for that huge blunder with really good confrontational scenes between Aaron and John Loong which are realistic. Nobody take harassment lying down and certainly nobody expects justice to be served automatically. This series portrays the system as failing the good and so the good turns nasty to take matters in their own hands but like all morally good story, in the end vigilante will not serve you well. So the ending is a bit sappy, a bit disconnected with Jing Jing's story but I feel it serves it purpose well.
I must stress though; I have read reviews that said the ending was John Loong was released and reunited with Ginger and their son based on what was shown on the screen. As far as I can tell, he was and will be in prison for a very long time and in his time he envisioned the moment when he was at the beach with his wife and son, a vision of the impending freedom and peace of mind, that in the end he was at peace with himself. Not sure if the narration said he was released when he writes a book about philosophy though. I like the ending because for once it was actually an ending.
Whilst seemingly a detective series at first, and it seems to go on and on and on to a pointless end, it does have a good story and very intriguing characters. Fans of Moses, Gigi, Kevin and Yuen Biao won't be disappointed even if I mentioned the performances part is good if you restrict it to the actors portraying their respective roles. But overall this is one surprising series with a few good surprises and twists in the plot, all of which I have revealed in here and so maybe it won't be that surprising to you anymore. Watch it for the characters and I am sure you will end up enjoying this series. The plot description in TVB site or Wikipedia site does not do this series justice. This is a series that offers much more. A must see in my opinion, even if just to see the moment Kevin Cheng's character dies. That to me is the ultimate best scene in this series, and one of the most justified killings even if it is not right to do so.
NO THEME SONG!! Yippee!! But the opening musical score is a tad too long with all the swoosh sound effects.
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