VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

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








Written by Funn Lim


This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



How Long
10 tapes/20 episodes

Who
Cheung Tat Ming,Marianne Chen Miu Ying,Mui Siu Wai,Hong Wah,Lau Ka Fai,Tse Tin Wah,Soh Yuk Wah,Yuen Siu Cheung,Ah Hoi from Kindred Spirit and veteran actors and actresses that certainly deserve more credit than they've received.

What & Where
Set in modern HK,it is basically a cross between Meet Joe Black and City of Angels,TVB style of course,with great character studies that the two Western Movies clearly lacked.

The storyline
It’s not very complicated.It tells of Cheung Tat Ming,who is the most selfish,obnoxiuos,greedy,unfilial and unfaithful man to have ever lived.He’s not even sincere in everything that he does.Then there is his ever faithful and a bit too good to be true GF(Soh Yuk Wah) who fell in love with him because she thought he was the one who rescued her when she threw herself into the sea because her previous BF left her,but actually the real hero and over all nice guy here is his best friend,Yuen Siu Cheung who is actually crazy about her only that she never really know that.Then there is her cousin,a successful ,unscrupulous and definitely no conscience whatsoever of a lawyer in the form of Marianne Chen.Cheung hates her because well,she basically cheated him out of several hundred thousands of compensation in the name of legal fees.She’s almost like him,only a professional.Then there's this girl that Cheung tried to woo,a too good to be true,overall nice girl who so happens to have a heart disease by the name of Mui Siu Wai,who just loves to do charity work.But this story has a very nice twist to it.You see,it involves the Justices of Death,those types that when you die,you’ll be taken by them to report to the Underworld Judge,in the form of Tse Tin Wah and his sifu.This is a guy who is curious about everything.And during one robbery after he witnessed how Marianne pushed Mui Siu Wai forward to the robber saying,"Since you have a disease,why not you just sacrifice yourself",he decided to change their two fates.You see,Marianne is supposed to live until 80 whilst Siu Wai has only one more year to go.So he switched their dates of deaths and in the process was discovered by another Justice of Death.He ran away,together with the two books that contains the fates of our heroines and jump into the body of Cheung Tat Ming who earlier died from a car accident,knocked down twice actually.He was exceptionally nice to Mui Siu Wai because he knew her before.He accidentally took her life and got to know how nice she was,but she forgot about him after she drunk the Mang-Poh Tea.Meanwhile,Marianne discovered she got some rare heart disease with one year to live whilst Mui Siu Wai was cured from her disease after a successful surgery.Many things happened,as stated below and he at last realised that he regretted what he did and there was nothing he could do to change the mess he made but to see the woman he truly loves die slowly before him.

A Thesis on Human Behaviour
Yep,this serial can be a useful thesis on human behaviour and the ‘what ifs’ character studies.They come in the form of Mui Siu Wai and Marianne Chen.Let’s take Mui Siu Wai first.At first,we all like her because she is so bloody nice.She does charity works,never yell at her mom,never got angry even when she was insulted by Marianne who is her Master in her chambering days,in fact she tried very hard to be friends with her.She was the only one to have seen something nice in an overall very mean person.So it’s no wonder Tse Tin Wah(Now in Cheung Tat Ming’s body) is so crazy about her.But after one successful surgery,became a lawyer and a prospect of a lifetime of living for her,she became greedy.She discovered how money can really help ones life and she became materialistic.She became mean and at the end she became what Marianne was.She even caused the death of Marianne and almost the death of her mom.She had no conscience.You’ll hate her,believe me.

Then there's Marianne.At first,she is your object of extreme hatred.She is mean,she used her cousin,Ah Ngor in the sense that she never pays for the vitamin tablets she supposedly bought from her cousin(Soh Yuk Wah),she loves to insult ordinary hardworking people like Cheung Tat Ming (after Tse Tin Wah took over) and she had no conscience in the sense she fought for rapist and etc.But when she discovered she had heart disease,she began to gradually change in her perspective.She became to understand people's pain,she began to have a conscience and she became to be easily satisfied with the simplest of things,like helping people,reuniting with her father which she usually hates,and she began to fall in love with Cheung.At the end,she left her high profile job and worked for Legal Aid Department.You’ll wish that she did not die at the end and you'll learn to like her.

Husband,wife and her best friends
Marianne was no angel at first.She was having a long time affair with her boss,Henry(Ah Hoi from Kindred Spirit) and at the same time,was best friends with his cancer stricken wife,Hong Wah.Then she blew it all off by letting her know of the affair in a way to get the man to marry her.That’s when she got the wife as an enemy.You’ll ask why don’t they divorce?Well,the husband is cheap,he just wants someone to sleep with and it does not help that the firm belongs to his wife.So for money’s sake,he’s stuck with her.When Marianne wanted to be a partner of the firm,she very naturally objected.So at last,Marianne realized the man just never is capable of love and she left him for a much better man in the form of Cheung Tat Ming.

Then there’s Mui Siu Wai.When she became greedy,she had an affiar with Henry and even used the affair to threaten for a partnership in the firm.It does helps that his wife is her new best friend who never suspected her because she had a perfect decency record before she turned mean of course.So poor wife actually,bad husband and what is this with best friends and husband huh?

The Worst of the Lot
It’s basically, Marianne VS Mui Siu Wai .Who’s character was the worst?Though Marianne always shouts at her assistants insisting on certain types of fonts for certain types of documents,though she had an affair with her boss,though she manipulates the evidence for her own case ,though she was mean to her father and loves to insult people,but at the end,you’ll forgive her.She redeemed herself by using all her money to pay for her cousin,Ah Ngor’s debts.You’ll understand and sympathize her cos after all,she is a perfectionist in her professional life,she thought her father left her mom and her when actually,it was the mom who was having an affair with another man and so he left heartbroken,though she manipulates evidence but she never fabricate any evidence and it does helps that she genuinely loves that boss of hers.

Mui Siu Wai on the other hand is just too good to be true turned really really evil.She became worst than Marianne in the sense that she would make sure all her competition is crushed,fabricates evidence,tell lies and she used Henry for her partnership.She was neither porfessional in her office nor kind to people outside the office.It does not help that she was unreasonable and totally bitchy.I apologize for my language but I just can’t think of other words to describe her.

The Best Performance
I would have to say Marianne Chen Miu Ying.I never really liked her in all other serials,she was just too wimpy or too bitchy for me.But here,she played the part to perfection.I watched this serial just for her so fans of hers take note.When she was mean she was really mean but when she realized that she was wrong,you can see a change in her mannerism,her bahaviour.Her acting has improved tremendously.Another I would say would be Mui Siu Wai.All along she was playing those girls that had no finesse,who wasn’t that pretty and usually nice.Here there is a refreshing change.She was made to look sophisticated,educated and she had all the best dresses in the serial.She looked pretty.And her acting had also improved tremendously.She was really mean.There was times you may thought that the role was too much for her to handle, that she looked pretentious but that’s her character,a pretentious person.So I would say the two actresses really made this serial a gem to watch.I dunno about you but I would swear that Mui Siu Wai and Marianne Chen looked almost alike.It does not help that they had almost the same hairstyles and same dresses.Creepy.

The M.I.A character
M.I.A means Missing In Action and is a term used to describe soldiers that went missing during wartime.Well here we have one in the form of Tse Tin Wah.Though you might think Cheung Tat Ming is the hero but actually,in about 2 tapes,the real hero is in the from of Tse Tin Wah only that you don’t really get to see his face speaking the scripts.Because he went into the dead body of Cheung Tat Ming and overnight,that bastard became a nice person and a decent man,to even his parent’s surprise.But their excuse was "He has amnesia because of the accident".So basically,Tse Tin Wah appeared for a while and then,well he went missing for the rest of the serial and Cheung became him.Which was funny really.Cheung Tat Ming had neither his characteristics nor mannerisms, in fact he reminded me of Cheung Tat Ming.So basically,he’s the same except he’s just nicer.Maybe it’s the guy’s acting,which I wouldn’t term it as great.

The Ending
Ok,you might be wondering by now what will happen at the end.Who will be with who?Well,Yuen Siu Cheung ends up with Soh Yuk Wah,Cheung Tat Ming never got Mui Siu Wai because she never really loved him as a lover anyway.So that was consistent and really refreshing.In fact,Mui Siu Wai went to jail and only that did she realized her wrong ways and she became her old usual self again.As for Marianne,well it’s quite confusing for the ending.Did she die?Or was it a reincarnation of some sort?Did Cheung Tat Ming got to change the Book Of Fates to set the wrongs right again?Will he get to be with his loved one again?The answer is NO to all and why?Well,watch it for yourself and then you tell me because I myself is uncertain about the ending.But this is indeed a very different kind of serial.

Funny Scene
I know it’s mean to laugh at the way someone died but the way Cheung Tat Ming died was just too funny.He got knocked once by a car and that didn’t kill him.He got up and BOOM!He was knocked down again for a second time and I laughed.It reminds me of the way Brad Pitt died in Meet Joe Black which was funny and morbid at the same time.

The Theme Song
Sung by Cheung Tat Ming himself,it was not that fantastic actually.But it grows on you and after a while,it’s ok .But what I like most is the opening scene,where we see the segments and hear the theme songs.It seems that TVB is going back to basic where they have the actors and actresses posing for some still shots that is totally unconnected to the serial and then we can see some scenes from the serial.The 70’s way actually which was done tastefully here.You just got to see it for yourself to appreciate it.

A Lesson in Life
Wow!Too much to list it down here.This serial teaches a lot of invaluable if not useless facts of life.So I’ll list it down the few important ones.

* So you got a life threatening disease but you got cured.HOORAY!So do everybody a favour and not think that just because you were sick most of your life and you lost out opportunities,don’t think that the world owes you and start being mean and evil to get back everything in the shortest of time.Rome wasn’t build in one day so please,take your time.

* So you got best friend and you trust her to look after your good looking husband.DON’T!!Like in this serial,she might be having an affair with your husband behind your back.To quote Oscar Wilde with a bit of modification, "To have lost your husband to one best friend is a misfortune,but to have lost your husband to TWO best friends is carelessness !".

* So some bosses of yours may be really mean and always shouts at you but most probably nobody bothers to know them.So be like Mui Sui Wai,take your time and be really nice and really patient,something no decent mortal can do anyway except for those who have TVB scriptwriters as their creator.You might never know,your boss may have a reason to be so bloody mean.

* So you got a scum for a husband,who not only had affairs with your two best friends but almost killed you for your money,so do yourself a favour and just leave that man.With the money and beauty in the form of Hong Wah,well plenty of fishes in the pond,and the pond is really big here.

* Remember the Chaos Theory,that says "When things go wrong they go really wrong"?Well,that kinda describe Mui Siu Wai's character in like one short sentence.

Should You rent It…
If you’re a fan of Marianne Chen,this is the serial which you must watch just for her.If you’re not,well go and watch it because it doesn’t really matter who you like.This is a very small serial,a small production compared to that Threshold of an Era but this serial is different from the usual we’ve seen.It’s really a very charming serial that you'll grow to love,not just like.An excellent serial.

Is It Better than ..
Meet Joe Black starring Brad Pitt and Sir Anthony Hopkins?The acting there is excellent and definately,Brad Pitt is much better looking than Cheung Tat Ming.But as for storyline,I like this version better.It’s not that slow.City of Angels starring Meg Ryan ?That one too slow and the ending is way too funny for me.Frankly,I like this serial.It succeeds where the above two failed,in the sense that it details the ways human behaviour ,well… behaved.

If I were the Scriptwriter
Ill definitely change the stupid ending.I am tired of those cliffhangers,those ending without an ending.If she died,then let her die.If she lived then don’t be so ambigous.I really don’t have the time to think, "emmm,well what was the ending ah?" .Reminded me of Looking Back In Anger where until now there was a dispute as to whether the character of Carina Lau really died or not.Mind you,fights almost broke out because of this tiny little unimportant dispute.

Interesting Facts
Not much.But something really funny about the promotion for this serial.If you notice,they only promote this serial in HK AFTER we in Malaysia got to see the whole serial.Why so late in promotion?Because all the budget went to Threshold of an Era?

Interesting Fiction
If you’re confused of the serial’s portrayal of Tse Tin Wah’s occupation,then you may be confused about the structure of the administration of the underworld in chinese legend.Tse Tin Wah is a Poon-Koon,loosely translated as Justices of Death,assistant to the big boss of the Hell World,King Of Hell.If you saw Journey to the West,you’ll know who the boss is.Think of Tse Tin Wah as those old chinese legend of Justices of Deaths in the form of a bull and a horse,on a man’s body of course.If you saw "Dark Tales II" you'll know what Tse Tin Wah roughly do.Nope?Well,he basically leads dead souls to the Hell Gate for punishment,reincarnation,sentencing based on previous lives’ conduct.Do they exist?I dunno.Do they still speak in ancient tongue ,wearing purple ancient garments(reminiscent of Sung Dynasty) and uses a pen and paper instead of computers for work?I dunno and Ill never know until the end of my life.They may be laptop-bearing,Gucci-clad yuppie who speaks in English accent for all we may know.It’s a very chinese concept and frankly,very intriguing .So what does that tells us?We have nosy invincible people next to us all the time,taking notes of all our good/bad deeds and when we do see them,it means only one thing;you won’t be reading this review coz you’re probably dead.Nah,don’t worry,it’s just fiction……or is it not??????


1 comments:

  1. Anonymous13.11.12

    where can I download the drama?

    ReplyDelete

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