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.


How Long : I can't remember

Who : 4 very very young actors,3 of them now at TVB.Kong Wah,Jackie Lui Chung Yin,Jan Lau Kam Ling,Choi Hiu Yee,Mai Suet, and 2 very talented child actor,now teenagers.

What & Where : Set in modern 80's HK,it is a tale of rivalry,jelousy,bitter hatred of two brothers,the women they both loved and their mother who is clearly biased with her love and attention.

The Verdict : I wanted to put this here first coz this will be a rather lengthy review.I personally feel this is one of the best ATV series I have ever seen,from the compelling storyline to the acting of the child actors and their grown up conterpart,you'll probably cry as much as I did.If you could find this one,do rent it.But since this was like so long ago,I don't think ATV has it until they re-released it.

The storyline : Mai Suet and her well to do husband of a rice shop has two young sons,one year apart.The eldest one is the soft spoken and not so smart and the youngest one is the smart,over achiever,naughty and the apple of his mother's eyes.It is very obvious who the mom loves more because all the best things is for this young son to the point that the oldest son is ignored way too much.But the boy,for all the inadequacy of love and atention from his mom got just as much love from his father,a good decent hard working man.And so he never felt little so to speak.But during one time because of the youngest son's malice towards an old woman who had criticised his favourite dead hero,Bruce Lee,he put rat poison into the rice that the woman bought and thus the whole family was poisoned to death and his father's shop was burnt and they were forced to live in proverty.At the same time,the mother's ex lover(a very young Lau Dan) saw that incident and kept quiet.He would pursue this woman but she tired to avoid him,staying true to her husband eventhough they lived in proverty.But the husband was beginning to suspect the wife was having an affair of the heart with this man.Then one day,tragedy struck.The two young boys,and the neighbour's daughter that they both liked was playing and the eldest son who was good at cycling was showing off to the girl.The young brother,feeling jeolous and rage decided to race his brother but instead,he feel down,knocked his head hard.The brother panicked and brought him home,only to have his father arguing with the mother and refusing to let the son see a doctor out of spite of the wife.Poor boy who by now was having a very high fever and beginning to feel numb in his limbs.But after a while,they brought the boy to the hospital and it was too late.He will remain paralysed and would not be able to walk ever again for decades because he has brain damage.But he could still observe and he isn't stupid.The wife by now had lost all hope since her only hope is now almost in vegatative state,left with her lover with a stack of cash for her son and the promise that she would come back for her two sons once she is settled.Poor eldest son who begged his mother refusing to let go of the car .That began his hatred for his mother.Because of the brother's condition and his father who is too weak to work,the young boy,barely into his teens left school and worked to support his family and to save enough money to cure his brother.Then 20 years later,they're both grown up,the eldest son is now an uneducated,tough talking renovater in the form of Kong Wah and the youngest son is still paralysed in the form of Jackie Lui.The gilr whom they both wanted is now a pretty nurse in the form of Choi Hiu Yee,Kong Wah's suffering girlfriend.When the son got better and when he met his mother again,that was the beginning of their nightmares as Jackie became more ruthless each day,to take back all his lost years.

The Worst Of The Lot is : Definately Jackie Lui's character.When he regained his clear mind and movements,he did worked hard but his mother,who have tried to find him for many year but couldn't pampered him and spoilt him.He was in love with his borther's girlfriend,raped her one night because she thought he was the older brother.When his brother found out,he let him have her .But because of his greed,he married a rich man's daughter(sister of Jan Lau).But he didn't have to do that because he is smart and he could've made it even without connections whatsoever.But his greedy and malicious side got the better of him.And in the end,he killed his step father,killed his motehr(accidentally) only to discover that all his mother's wealth has been left for his eldest brother.He then tried to cause serious harm to his brother by the law but Jan Lau,who is a prosecutor and by now,the brother's GF caught him before he did.Though in the end,he had almost everything but even if the law couldn't quite catch him in his criminal ways,God did.His condition reversed and even before he killed himself,he had wanted his brother to shoot him but his brother,by now who has no more feelings for this brother that he had slaved most of his life for,walked away.

The Most Difficult Person To Be Is.. : The oldest brother,Kong Wah.Deprived of a decent chance of a decent education,all of his life he lived with the guilt that if it wasn't him who had raced with his brother in that fateful aftrenoon,the brother would not have been living his life in a wheelchair.So he worked hard,sacrificed his education,threw away his pride to use the money his mother left for them, sacrificed his dignity to kneel in front of the doctor who eventually cured his brother.From a wimpish boy who cried without a second thought,he became a tough talking man who refused to cry.He fought for his brother's dignity.Some might say he should but how much must one man do to be forgiven for an act he never did do?When he met his mother again,he,unlike the spineless brother was unforgiving .But in the end,when he discovered his own brother became an entirely different boy that he once loved and knew and when his own unreasonable father died of a heart attack because his youngest said the unthinkable,the brother began to hate this young man who had seduced his wife to be,and when his mother told him that he was the better son and she regretted not loving him as a son,all is forgiven but it was too late.His mother was dead and he knew who did it.When at last his own little brother became as he was before,he had begged his elder brother to shoot him,to make it easier for himself and probably to have the blood on his brother's hands,Kong just walked away.You may say he is heartless to his brother's plight but in the end,those who sin must bear the conseqeunces themselves.I would say that Kong is the Most Hourable Character in this series.

The HATE factor : Jackie Lui who at first would be my Most Pitiful Character nominee
but towards the end you'll hate him.So he spent most of his life in a wheelchair deprived of everything thinking that his brother had a better life.But what did he know of his brother's hardships?He was ungrateful,spineless for calling that man 'daddy' and in the end,evil.But we do know that something about him wasn't right since the first episode.He was boastful(which brought about his own misery),malicious and evil too for putting those rat poison into the family's rice.He wasn't a good boy and when he grew up,he wasn't a good man.But when he was paralysed,he was the most decent man.So somehow,you would wish if only he wasn't cured.

The Best Scene : The first 2 tapes that featured the two young boys,especially the younger one who I feel is the best child actor I have ever seen in HK.He was also the young Wong Yat Wah in the excellent classic,Looking Back In Anger with Deric Wan,Carina Lau,Kathy Chow.By the way,those two boys are real life brothers,now all grown up and not acting.A great pity for someone with his talent.Other secens would be the ending.Simply well,simple,poignant and full of unspoken meanings.

The Love factor : Choi was the GF of Kong,but he always neglected her and during one drunk night,she selpt with Lui thinking he was Kong.In the end,she lived in with Lui only to have him married to a rich girl(I think the girl's name is Strawberry something,now in TVB).She gave him a son but she kept the son.Kong then met Jan and Jan feel for this honest and honourable man though he wasn't as educated nor rich as she was.You could say in the Love Factor wise,it was a happy ending.

The Most Unreasonable/Annoying Characters : The father.Being as unreasonbale as he was,it was no wonder that the wife left him.And also the mother,whom I felt was the cause of all their miseries.And Lau Dan.What more can I say except that he deserved his ending.

Is Jackie Any Worse Than... : Kelvin Kam of Secret Of The Heart? Well,almost. In fact,the story is quite similiar with this series,but Kong's character is not as stupid and naive as Sunny Chan's character.But in terms of Jackie's character and Nick Cheung's character,quite similiar,only less gruesome deaths in this series.
Lei Chi Hou of Kindred Spirit? Nope.Lee will have the honours for being TV's worst son/brother.And the fact that he has all the best lines which made Kindred Spirit such a hit.
But the one person that I could see the most similiarities is two characters.One is Ming Chi Kit of Flaming Brothers and the other,Deric Wan's character in Looking Back In Anger.What is it with younger poor brothers who wanted much more in their lives adn the only way they think they could achieve that is by:

1)dump good poor GF wh would always be brother's former GF
2)marry nice mega rich girl and torture her emotionally
3)kill lots and lots of people,beginning with their own family(especially mothers)
4)Got a lot of money and THEN do more criminal stuffs like selling drugs,ect which kinda make all his past efforts redundant
5)before he either got killed/killed himself,his brother would be the one who will enjoy the fruits of honest living
6)AND he never ever goes to prison.

The Best Performance : The two young boys,Jackie for his doey-innocent-turned bad eyes,Kong Wah for his excellent potrayal of a man caught between,well eveything,Mai Suet for her excellent potrayal of a wman biased and lived to regret it.Nope,the others weren't that good,especially Choi whose acting is a bit raw here.

Is it worth Renting : Definately .Enough said.

Is It Better Than ...: All the above mentioned series?All have their similiarities in the sense that honest older brother,good turned bad younger brother,how the older brother would deal with the youngest brother in the last episode.But the main difference is the ending.Ok,so THEY ALL DIED in the end.BUT...

Flaming Brothers : Michael forgave a very repentant and seriously injured Patrick

Looking Back In Anger : Deric wasn't that repentant but he knew he was wrong.The brother wanted to forgive him and the only way for forgoveness is for him to face the consequences of his own actions.So Felix Wong sent his brother to USA for a business,knowing that the plane would land in Malaysia where the brother was a wanted murderer and before he was to hang to death(death penalty),the brother forgave a very scared to die brother.

Kindred Spirit : I am sure when Lee died,everybody forgave him.

But in this series,which is the only difference with above mentioned series other than the way they died itself,which now we rarely see this very realistic ending,Kong never forgave a not very repentant Jackie and his brother told his young brother do whatever you want with your life,it is you life and he walked away amdist the sound of "BANG".and he continued to walk away.Classic ending.

Interesting Facts : Out of five principal characters you see in this series,four is now in TVB and one (Choi) in China/Taiwan.Even Lau Dan is in TVB.And I would say for some,it was a good decision,like Jackie whos is getting a lot of exposure in TVB.But for Jan and Kong Wah,I really don't think so .So they have work,a very consistent thing but all Jan is playing is,..can anyone remember?And for Kong,though he has much more exposure but now after JTTW,all he played is Kings and more Kings.I am not complaining coz I have a feeling that he is probably the only TVB actor who can boast that he hugged more up and coming actresses than Louis(who got to kiss most of them though),and also all of the series he is in in TVB are all big time hits,which is a good thing.But then,he has less demanding roles.Since he is older now than he was in ATV,I guess other younger actors will get more screen time and hero roles.Which is a great pity for this actor who was simply irresistable and amazing as the very complex Yong Zheng in Secret Battle Of The Majesty.He deserves to have meatier roles that deman much more acting chops than he is having right now.

By the way,you can see him in Legend Of Lady Yang,Ups And Downs and also you can hear him in his coming album.

Jackie can be seen in When Dreams Come True


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