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
11 tapes/22 episodes

Bobby Au Yeung,Marianne Chan Miu Ying,Jessica Hester Hsuan,Lam Mun Lung,Tse Tin Wah,Chu Mi Mi,Hong Wah,Tang Ho Kwong,Onn Tak Juen,etc

What & Where
Set during the Sung Dynasty,it is the story of a man who beats the odds to become a very renowned Medical Examiner that uses modern techniques,first of it's kind in China,named Sung Chi.

Medical What?!
Remember Untraceable Evidence?Your Flora Chan as Dr.Lip who cuts up dead bodies to find causes of death for possible criminal trials or to rule out possibility of a crime being committed?Well,here we have a man instead of a woman.Basically same thing here.

The storyline
To put it simply,Bobby(Sung Chi,and by the eway,the village he lives in all are called Sung--- as that is the Sung Village) is not well-liked not because he is a bad person.He is terribly nice,and with his two best friends,one of them a studious scholar names Sit Dan(Tse Tin Wah) whose mom took care of Bobby when his parents dies,he is basically a very happy person.But the town folks have prejudice against him,calling him 'Coffin boy' and therefore bad luck,because his mom gave birth to him in a coffin cause she died already.He was deprived of his right to two plot of lands when he is 30 yrs old,as promised to every male Sung in the village,he could not get any job except for being the time announcer.But later,due to a very severe misunderstanding which also involved Jessica(as Tong Si,she is the small time uneducated,unrefined and very tom-boyish kind of pick pocket who so happens to be the sister of Bobby's best fridn who we later know is not true coz she turned out to be the long lost daughter of a dead royal family uncle which makes her into a ge-ge/princess),which starts off their unlikely friendship.And during that time,he met the man who he would call Sifu,who teaches him everything about a corpse but being a bright student,he improved and improvised the technique until his sifu could not teach him anything new anymore.Later,he meets Marianne who is actually a Marshall,somebody who catches fugittives,the first female reportedly who was fired from her job unkown to her Marshall father because she was negligent in her work.All is well,until the arrival of Lam Mun Lung(as Sung Yik),the son of Chu Mi Mi and her rice-selling husband who has just passed the scholar exam and thus is now the towns Magistrate who seemed to be a very fair man.He fell for Marianne and vice versa.Unfortunately,because of one uncontrollable night of passion,he had to marry the town's richest man's daughter,Lam Choi Tip.And since his arrival,many many terrible things had happened and it leads to the end-climax where we will know the truth and whether Bobby will choose the princess or the policewoman to be his wife.A good question is,why not have both?

The Most Disappointing Character
Which would be Lam Mun Lung's Sung Yik.So he seeemd to be terribly fair,to be terribly nice.But you know that something is not quite right.When he arrived home,he could not remember who his parents are,he could not remember the answer to the riddle he gave to Marianne when they were children,he could not eat hot stuffs(which his parents remembered otherwise),his handwriting is so much more different than before he left town,he could swim when his parents recalled that his son has a phobia of drowning.Se then not later into the story we all know that he is not their son but an imposter because the real son came home,rescued when he was attacked by robbers on his way home,and they knew each other ,because the false Sung Yik(who is actually Fong Chun) was in the same town as Sung Yik to collect some family debts and because he has no where to turn to being poor and hopeless,he assumed the man's identity thinking he was dead.But he wasn't and so Fong Chun killed Sung Yin and buried him the backyard.He could have just married Marianne and be contented with something that is not his but he wanted more.He very reluctantly married Lam Choi Tip,the spoilt daughter of the town's richest man and he wanted to have power when he saw how succesful Bobby was and how higher rank he was.But then he had to cover his real indentity,and so he killed and killed and killed.In the end,he bacem so heartless that he claimed that Bobby and his wife was having an affair,his unborn child is actually Bobby's and that they both killed his parents to cover their affair.Bobby was sentenced to death.Whilst he gained the affection of Princess Jessica,whom we all know had a big crush on Sung Yik before she was the Princess because he taught her how to read an write.I am not disputing that this was a good gentleman who was a good judge.Strangely,he killed not because he took bribes.In fact he didn't take bribe at all,so he was not a corrupt judge.He killed because he wanted to protect his identity.Well,people have many reasons to turn into an evil character and it was such a waste.

The Most Irritating Character
The character of Lam Choi Tip.I can't remember the actress name,but I think her name is Yew Ying Ying,a former beauty queen from Singapore.Anyway,being rich and extremely spoilt,she never cared about anybody's feelings except her own.And being bored to death,she played a trick on Bobby,making him fall in love with her,have him proposed for her hands in marriage in front of everybody,and then publicly ridicule him.But she met her match in Sung Yik who never laid one eye on her until one night where they were both trapped in a cave and being a male and a female who is scantily clad and a girl who so willingly to throw herself at him,they well,DID it.And he had to marry her but it was a marriage made in hell.She spent like nobody's business,treated her in-laws badly.So you wouldn't pity her when people mistaken her as having an affair with Bobby.The thing is by that time,her patents had gone bankrupt and she realised that she was not a good wife/daughter/daughter-in-law and having a friend in Bobby(her only friend) she was always with him when she was sad and needed company.They were just friends.Poor girl,what she endured at end would certainly have you forgiving her for her past mis-deeds.

The Most Unreasonable Character
Jesicca's Princess Tong Si.Bobby promised that he would wait for her to come back after she have reassumed her real identity but Bobby,through his ally,Royal Uncle No.10(Onn Tak Juen) thought that she was going to be married to a Mongolian prince,which was not true.He was very sad but he moved on.During one sick periond where he was sick with some contagious skin disease,it was Marianne who took care of him.When he was accused of murder,adultery,where nobody beleived him at all,Marianne stood by his side.When he was about to be chopped off his head,it was Marianne who risked her own life and career to save him in the prison,against her father's objections.And you would ask,what about Jessica?She came home when she heard the news that he was sick,only to see her BF and best friend lovingly teasing each other.She was very angry,feeling betrayed by two most trusted person and when all the unfortunate events took place around Bobby,she was the first one to slap him,to refuse to beleive him and the first one to turn her back on him.She even have a change of heart and fell(again) for Sung Yik.She was unreasonable to the effect that she really thought that Bobby is capable of the criminal actions when everybody who knew him,after careful consideration,knew he could never have done all the murders,affairs,etc.But of course,since I have already mentioned above,who would Bobby choose at the fnal episode,you would know that Jessica have a reason for her actions and how would everybody save Bobby?Watch the final 30 minutes.

The Most Improved Performance
Nope,not Bobby.He is the same here as he was in every serial he is in(which is actually a compliment because he is consistent in his performance).Nope,not Jessica(whom I shall dare say was badly cast as Tong Si.Not that she isn't good but Jessica looked way too modern to be in a costume serials and her manner of speech is way too,well modern).Nope,not Lam Mun Lung,he's way too boring in his performance and even more boring to look at.

It would have to be Marianne.I was never her fan,but after her fine performance in Life For Life,I really do believe that she found out how to act ,and act really well.Here,I like her character.She always played strong characters who have a certain weakness,always the supportive one but unlike Maggie Cheung Hor Yee,she has something different to offer in all her roles. She is such a joy to watch and I personally feel that she is kinda pretty.And she looks very costume-period like in a costume drama.Though she may be the most irritating /unreasonable/meanes/nicest character in all her serials,but at least she has what Maggie doesn't have,that is variety.And as such,she is never boring to watch.

The Best Scenes
Sad but true,tha answer is NONE.All is average.

Some Strange Observation
At the start of this serial,I almost mistaken it as a sequel to Happy Ever After.And with Bobby and Marrianne (again),it almost looked like it.There are many similiarities with Happy Ever After,especially Bobby's character.The only difference is the main theme here is corpses,instead of food.And different period of time.But if you want to compare,this is not as enjoyable and fun to watch as Happy Ever After.

Is it worth Renting
For something lighthearted,this would be it.Unless you're a medical examiner.because then I would advise you to avoid this at all cost,coz it isn't a comedy and I wouldn't want you laughing at the fictional way of examining the corpses.It may be ridiculous in the cases,it may be boring at first,it may be repeatative ,but it's still good for something simple,not too much drama but many many deaths of course.

Is is BETTER than…
The first most obvious comparison would be with Untraceable Evidence .It's basically about the same stuffs,dead people,examination of corpses,police investigations,complicated love-relationship.But one glaring difference would be that in UT,it'sm more on police work.You rarely see Dr.Lip cutting up dead bodies and racing gainst time,trying to find the real cause of death to save someone from prison.In this serial,you have plenty of this sort of circumstances.In a way,Ut is not so much of a Medical Examiner serial that This serial is.

Happy Ever After would be the second most obvious comparison.As stated above,it's almost the same,except no food in here,though both uses knife to cut things up,one to cut food and another to cut bodies.That's the only difference.

Justice Sung would be the third most obvious comparison. Same thing here except Justice Sung is about lawyers investigating a crime,trying to find the true perpertrator of the crime in question.And if this is not glaring of a similiarity of these two serials,they both have the same surname/family name that is Sung!If you ask me which is better,in terms of cases and logical deduction of the conclusion of a crime,Justice Sung will be it.For pure entertainment,and some very complicated relationship matters,this serial reviewed would be it.Both have their own uniqueness but well,essentially the format is the same,with a very different packaging.

But one similiarity amongst all the serials mentioned above including the one reviewed here,the endings were all campy,obvious,anti-climatic and dead boring.It's like TVB really knows how to start a wonderful story but just doesn't know how to end it.This is the latest trend that I have observed in all TVB serials,especially for costume dramas.The only few ones that is not quite expected to end that way was The Sky Is The Limit and Ups And Downs,which are both modern dramas.

Interesting Facts
The final episode garnered higher ratings than was anticipated and well,they all celebrated by holding a press conference with all the main stars of the series in swimming suit and well,play in the simming pool.Even the producer (or was it the director?) was there to enjoy the celebration.

Which means that Bobby,Marianne and Jessica is now the bona fide big sisters and big brother of TVB.You can see Bobby and Jessica in their upcoming serials,Armed Reaction II(for Bobby) and the latest one where there is Mui Siu Wai also which caused quite a stir,between Jessica and Mui's Producer sister,like a very severe type of cat fight.

Interesting Fiction
Everything about how Bobby solved the cases is fiction,to me.Do not believe their ways.I really do not believe that DNA testing in ancient times is by dropping a few drops of blood onto the bones and if the blood goes into the bones,then he/she is the son of that person.It kinda screw up the whole idea of DNA to almost laughable proportion.Then certainly,those with Blood Type "O" would be everybody's children.

Sung Dynasty isn't Tang Dynasty.Even if they were,I really do not believe a Medical Examiner like Bobby can examine the lower parts,or any parts of a dead female body.

Scarrier Fiction/Fact
I don't know which is worst.A killer on the loose in the form of Sung Yik or the fact that you can see croonism in here.Sung Yik is the suspected killer but he is also the presiding judge.And then they revealed his evil deeds,and the judge is none other than Royal Uncle No.10,a close friend of Bobby's,who is actually the defendant here.Wouldn't this judge favour the defendant more and try many many ways to push the blame to Sung Yik?Of course we do know that Sung Yik deserved the prosecution but it is scary to see this.And it is also scary to see that Bobby,being a suspect is still allowed to examine the bodies concerning his case.We do know that he is innocent but well,it is a scary thought that what if he isn't.

In today's world,all deaths that is suspected to be possible criminal foul play would be examined by a Medical examiner to find out thr ture cause of death.All persiding judges that have relations in any way with the defendant,prosecution will be asked to step down.All Medical Examiners suspected in a murder will be asked to go for a long vacation until the case is solved.Why?Not because they DID it but becaus eof a suspiscion that they might have killed those people and because of suspected biasness,a concept you do not see in this serial.

Unimportant Stuffs
The title of this series,as in the cantonese version "Sai Yuen Luk" refers to the medical textbook that Bobby will write in his old age to educate and reveal his years of experience of being a Medical Examiner and the techniques that he had propounded.The question now is,is this all real?The starting was so convincing that perhaps this might be the real life story of a man named Sung Chi but I really don't think so.


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