Yes, another rant before I forget about it altogether. I found it funny that the scriptwriters love blaming ‘loud women’ and thinking that they can get away with it, wanting to make us pity the ‘soft/gentle’ ones.
First off, I admit that Wong Siu Fan (portrayed by Sheren Tang) was NOT the most well-mannered or admirable in here BUT pushing the blame 100% to her side was beyond outrageous. It was probably a bad idea and she probably acted against her better judgment (since her judgment had been heavily clouded by her anger) to have taken revenge on her husband, Wah Man Shek (Michael Miu), by going with another man. Because in doing that, she lost her daughter, Ching Ling (Toby Leung). But it was sad and stupid at the same time that the others took Man Shek’s side after what happened. It was like since he was part of the Wah family so he was given a chance to explain and forgiven away after he proved that he was going to change for the better. I DO NOT blame Ching Ling as much in this case since she was still young AND did not understand the complexity of her messed-up family. (AND how she was not around much during these past years. Also, how her father was such a smooth-talking guy and always cared for her, buying her ice cream, etc. He sure scored a lot of points in that area.)
Because Siu Fan DID NOT know how to act or behave in a way that others approve, she was given the cold shoulders. I admit she was such a spoiled brat and was hateful at times with keep pointing fingers at others, especially the first part of the story. YET when she was abandoned AND was not given a chance, I sympathized with her more and more as the story progressed. She did a lot of unforgivable things too but like anyone else was better in here to judge her.
I found it touching that she was willing to go to any end to help her daughter with the reporting job. It was like she, herself, had grown up after what had happened. Though she still hated and wanted to seek revenge against Man Hang, she seemed to have matured in that she had cared for her daughter more and wanted to do what was best for her daughter. Though she tried to seek even more sympathy from Ching Ling by faking headache, etc but I actually don’t blame her since she only wanted Ching Ling to care for her more. It was even more touching that she finally admitted to her scheme. It was only because she was scared that they would never meet again–IF it would be her turn to die.
And oh yeah, just as I was trying to let Man Shek off temporarily, I wanted to beat him up again at the hospital scene at the end of episode 23 since he made it like Siu Fan was in the wrong. Like he didn’t marry her for her wealth YET he made it like she followed Ngai Tin Hang because of his wealth. He was the one who cheated and broke her trust in him and just turned around accusing her of being unfaithful? Lame…
Yes, I made it through this mark and I think I should discuss a certain matter before I blow up with people’s stupidity OR the messed up way everything seemed to be in here. I was expecting much more, considering how the cast seemed strong. However, it just got worse and worse because they wanted to sacrifice everything for dramatic purposes that it was beyond pathetic. I’ll save the rest for later but I would like to discuss the whole idea of blaming Gigi Wong’s character, Hui Zhan Yan, for the death of Maggie Chan’s character, Wai Cheung Ping. Honestly? That was a low tactic. Though I admit that by telling Cheung Ping what actually happened that it drove her to commit suicide, but seriously, Cheung Ping did commit the crime, NOT like Zhan Yan influenced her to do it OR had anything to do with it in the first place. What the world was that? Making Zhan Yan a scapegoat for all the men’s terrible choices and/or decisions in here? Or like making Cheung Ping such a pitiful character to seek brownie points?
Okay, so Cheung Ping was dumped by Wah Man Hang so she was devastated and went and married some guy. But she started over (or supposedly later) and loved that guy for real YET he found out the reason behind her marrying him and went ballistic, taking it to the worse (aka abusing her). I think any man would be upset IF he found out that reason. (Some man eventually got over it but others don’t–and that was the case in here.) I DO NOT, let me repeat that, I DO NOT approve of the abusing going on. Just because he was hurt DID NOT mean he could inflict pain on her. I also understand why she was driven to insanity and eventually killed him. YET I found it messed up that the others were blaming Zhan Yan when she was trying to tell the truth of what actually happened. Cheung Ping–whether OR not she intended to start her life over–made a decision, SO she was responsible for her actions too. The consequences she had to face was brutal for her, BUT she still made those choices. AND then she just had to go kill herself since she was such a coward AND did not want to face the consequences of imprisonment (or worse). Therefore, Zhan Yan got hated on–at least only from Man Hang at this point (since the others did not know yet). (And yes, I do know that Cheung Ping did not blame anyone and felt really guilty for her crime SO she could not live with herself, considering how she killed the father of her child. BUT I still hated that it eventually became the reason for others to blame Zhan Yan.)
What was Zhan Yan supposed to do? Perhaps she should not have told it in that way OR perhaps try to find some other ways like saying that Cheung Ping had killed in self-defense AND she would’ve gotten off (not really but might take on a lighter sentence than that). But I do not know of Canadian laws well so I cannot say for sure on this one. YET I have to defend Zhan Yan because she was so shocked that her husband wanted to break the laws in order to get Cheung Ping out of trouble. What IF he got caught? Was the other guy reliable? Zhan Yan DID NOT have time to think long. It seemed to portray that she was not as intelligent as various characters in here SO she did the only thing she thought reasonable AND that she knew of to protect her husband and her family. How was she supposed to know the outcome was like that? Again, just because a certain someone DID NOT have the bravery to face the consequences of his/her past and/or actions, it DID NOT mean that it was right for others to point a finger at someone else.
I find it even more beyond madness to even cast doubts and/or some guilt toward Zhan Yan just because she was married to Man Hang. He was the one who was responsible for causing grief toward different parties, NOT her. She never knew of Cheung Ping’s existence until recently. (OR so we were told so far since I’m only on episode 22 and I wouldn’t know if TVB would throw some twist in there BUT I doubt Zhan Yan knew Cheung Ping beforehand.) Why did they (the scriptwriters) make it like Zhan Yan was at fault for marrying Man Hang (aka being the third party)? (She was BUT she DID NOT know SO it wasn’t like she used dirty tricks to get to him AND wronged Cheung Ping.)
Now that I’m on Man Hang’s case, I just remember something else even dumber. The misunderstandings and/or rift between Mang Hang and Man Hung. It was pathetic that Man Hung was always so defensive and was pissed off at Man Hang and blaming Man Hang for everything. I agree that Man Hang had been responsible for breaking Cheung Ping’s heart AND how he went and decided stuff for them at times, BUT it was none of Man Hung’s business regarding Man Hang and Cheung Ping. I think the ultimate reason why there was a rift between their relationship in the first place was because of Man Hung’s unwilling to let go of the past AND it was more about the love and jealousy against Man Hang because of Cheung Ping than just the whole rant about “Man Hang deciding stuff for people.” Man Hung was still sore that Cheung Ping picked Man Hang over him. (I would NOT blame Cheung Ping in this case since she had the right to choose who she wanted to be with.)
What made it even more pathetic was Man Hang never making up his mind about what he wanted either. Yes, he was experiencing some past memories, etc. YET it was pathetic that he should blame his wife for making the move (or being unreasonable at times–which she was a bit overboard BUT I can’t blame her fully). He felt guilty for not being able to help Cheung Ping, but what was that? He made it like he would help anyone else IF it was the same situation BUT it seemed to imply otherwise. It was pathetic to doubt him since he really cared for the current family, BUT I find it pathetic that he shoved part of the fault to his wife too. IF he loved Cheung Ping soooo much, why did he sacrifice her back then AND now want to make up for it? IF he already made his decision, then MOVE ON. Or perhaps he was using his anger to mask for his own guilt. Whatever.
I’ll save the obstacles of the younger generation for some other time. Since I think it’s enough rants for this time.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.
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Wow! I didn’t even expect much of it, considering how long it was I last seen a movie. I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie so much from all the cast. I thought that what was even better was having a decent plot to move the story along and then leaving a lot of time for fighting scenes. Of course there were romances too but it was only briefly and only existed between one couple in here and I was glad. They focused on the right elements so the whole movie did not drag at all.
Donnie Yen was great as always in his fighting sequences. It was an interesting collaboration between him and the rest of the cast. What I thought was interesting and found quite fascinating was having seen Donnie’s interactions with Vicki, Chun, and Kate. Their relationships were very different yet each played an essential part to the story. It brought out his and their characters as well. There was no lack of screen time for anyone OR at least I thought it was relevant for the story and was not overdone.
So who was Donnie Yen really in here? Donnie portrayed Qing Long (青龍 aka Green Dragon), a leader of Jin Yi Wei (錦衣衛 – Cẩm Y Vệ), who possessed 14 blades. With those 14 blades, he had the power to off anyone to protect the emperor and defend the dynasty. All in all, it seemed like the best position. However, that was not easy since he was set up by Eunuch Jia Jing Zhong (賈精忠–who gave him the orders to kill Councilor Zhao Shen Yan) and betrayed by his own fellow guards (except for Bai Hu and Zhu Que who were killed off by Xuan Wu and Tuo Tuo respectively). However, he managed to escape and seek shelter elsewhere until he was able to recover the Imperial Seal (which was snatched from him while he was in the middle of confronting the councilor).
Vicki Zhao portrayed Qiao Hua (喬花), the daughter of Qiao Yong (喬永–who was the head of the Righteous Escort Agency – 正義镖局). She encountered Qing Long when Qing Long arrived at the doorstep of their agency, offering them money for their service. This time, they had to safeguard him out of the city. It was not a problem since Qiao Yong was thinking of marrying his daughter off and was ready to set out with her within several days. After some corny jokes from Qiao Yong’s old friend–and some offering of money (of course), the group was able to pass since Qing Long was hidden inside the bride’s carriage. They found out Qing Long’s truth identity when they were ambushed in the woods. Qing Long took Qiao Hua as a hostage after fighting off all the guards and told Qiao Yong and his men to head east to divert attention from himself. They were to meet him at a village up ahead so he could return Qiao Hua to them unharmed. Along the way, Qiao Hua discovered that Qing Long was not a cruel or rough person liked it was led on at first. They exchanged some witty comments at this one rest stop and somehow explored more about each other along the way.
Wu Zun came into the picture when Qing Long and Qiao Hua arrived at the pre-planned village. He was seen spying on them from a distance at first. He was introduced as the leader of the Heavenly Eagles Clan (天鹰幫 aka Tian Ying Bang). He was actually the real World’s Number One Sabre (天下第一刀 aka Tian Xia Di Yi Dao), ‘Judge of the Desert’ (大漠判官 aka Da Mo Pan Guan), not like the impersonator of that one group who tried to rob Qiao Hua’s agency in the woods (and was also killed off by the guards awhile after). Anyway, he challenged Qing Long at the inn. It proved that they were a match for each other and Qing Long decided to join forces with them to go against the eunuchs, the guards, and Prince Qing (whom Qing Long found out had join forces with the eunuchs in an attempt to overthrow the emperor). In exchange for their help, Qing Long offered the golds that were transported by the guards. It was impossible and seemed too easy yet Qing Long convinced the Heavenly Eagles Clan that he wouldn’t go back on his words (aka letting the clan have all the golds).
What was admirable about Da Mo Pan Guan was not only the fact that he kept his words to help Qing Long, but he even interfered with the battle–aiding Qing Long when Qing Long was surrounded by the guards. Qing Long took a quick glance at him before turning his cautious eyes back on Xuan Wu, asking, “Da Mo Pan Guan, don’t you just know how to rob?” He returned those words by uttering, “I love to rob, but I love fighting more.” Witty exchange. Probably their first time fighting alongside one another and it was also the last since Mr. Heavenly Eagles Clan’s Leader got killed off after saving Qiao Hua and sending her off with his last words to Qing Long.
Kate Tsui appeared at various points of the movie and was known as the adopted daughter of Prince Qing. Her name was Tuo Tuo (脱脱) and she was one powerful fighter all right. She had major scenes with both Donnie and Chun. The fact that she was responsible for both guys’ death was even more chilling. It was hard to swallow but somehow that was some of the most powerful scenes. Tuo Tuo was not only skillful but she was so chillingly scary. She was one of the most powerful fighters in here yet in a way she was very pitiful because she was only her adopted father’s tool. She was only a killing machine. She ended up paying a price for all her dirty works. It was mentioned that Prince Qing had shed tears upon hearing about Tuo Tuo’s death but was it true? Not impossible but what was the point after she was dead? Or was it because he trusted her so he bestowed upon her shoulders of such duties? Something to think about really.
What was really cool about the whole thing was the number of gadgets each character possessed and/or specialized in. Vicki did not get to use as much since she did not have many fighting scenes though Qiao Hua’s bravery and intelligence made up for it. Among the other three characters, Donnie’s Qing Long beat the other two by miles since he had fourteen blades, to begin with. There was also the whole idea with his wires that he manipulated to move from one location to others or hang loosely high above. He also had some of the other weapons inside the blade box, which was equally useful and not to be taken lightly by anyone–friends or enemies.
Chun came in second with Da Mo Pan Guan’s razor-sharp saber, lethal flying double saber, and hidden little arrows strapped on his leg. There were also the golden coins that he used as weapons, flicking it in the air–saving Qiao Hua that one time from her near-death experience. Then the last one could be said as part of his clan’s weapon, which was the special bow and explosive arrows they shoot out to inflict damage from a distance. And did anyone realize how his image sort of looked like Jack Sparrow? (Okay, that was just me since it was a big difference between being a pirate and some person famous for roaming the sands.)
Kate’s Tuo Tuo came in third with only two gadgets–her long flexible rope and the sharp stick she used to strike at her enemies. Because she was extremely skillful, the lack of gadgets did not decrease her powerful stances either.
The other cast was as great though they only appeared at various points. Damian Lau was Councilor Zhao Shen Yan so he only appeared at the beginning and the little of the ending part because he was imprisoned for the majority of the movie. Still, that was a relief that he was alive and was able to reunite with his family. Law Kar Ying was portraying Eunuch Jia Jing Zhong–who taught Xuan Wu about the importance of success and only others were able to see that part of the achievement, not all the means that one used to reach that point; and was ironically killed by Xuan Wu for that same philosophy. Sammo Hung was Prince Qing–who was seen giving orders to Tuo Tuo at the beginning and then was seen near the end with the voice-over of Qiao Hua telling the audience that he committed suicide before his execution date. It was interesting to see Wu Ma as Vicki’s father in here also–though brief but convincing. The production team should not be forgotten either because, without them, it was not possible.
The plot aka the story itself was another typical corrupted officials, eunuchs, incapable kings, heroes among thieves with the mixture of subtle romance, friendship, and companionship. Yet what made up for the rest of the story was the fighting sequences. It was enjoyable that it made way for lots and lots of fighting scenes yet the story still made sense. They did not linger long to drag out the feelings between Qing Long and Qiao Hua nor were they stressing too much of the ‘knowing the hero, respecting the hero’ concept between Qing Long and Da Mo Pan Guan.
It was there through the stories told or brief words exchanged. It was not dragged out or overly dramatic about the themes mentioned. The humor was subtle, really subtle so I was glad of that. You know it was there, but it was not dragged out OR to the point where you roll your eyes and mutter, “Lame.” It was in there at certain points to ease the moment or showed to some extent that they were not in danger–yet. All in all, the fighting scenes were well done. That was the hallmark of the movie and they had succeeded.
Acting? This was like 90% fighting between the main cast so I won’t say much but I thought they did their part to make it happen and that was what mattered. I thought it was a great opportunity for various cast members to learn from some of the veterans and/or the ones before them. Chun got his wish to work with Donnie and that was great. Not sure about Kate but I’m sure she learned and interacted with all the cast members well enough to make it work. She had fun with her action scenes–it seemed, but probably a lot of hard work for everyone involved, including herself. One thing I noticed was that practically everyone had to maintain their cool looks throughout. It was hard not to, considering how the story was. Everything was so intense. So that was an easy part? OR was that a challenge to try and not laugh?
Recommended or not? I thought it was worth it for action movie fans. But it depends on your standard. I am no expert, so I can’t speak out of professionalism. But I thought it was one of the best out there.
I must agree with people that it’s actually one of the best TVB dramas of 2008. And I also agree that the ending had ruined everything. If they’d thought of things beforehand and stuck with it, there wouldn’t be any need for alternate endings. It’s just lame and inexcusable. The ending for this series is actually more acceptable and understandable than the one for D.I.E. since it’s just dumb to suddenly kill Roger’s character out of nowhere. Talking about that, both dramas are awesome, but the ending or alternate ending had ruined it.
Good Points about Catch Me Now:
Damian Lau – Still awesome and unbeatable as always and prove that the people of his generation are still way ahead. TVB made a great choice by letting him take on this role. Very clever, witty, and charming at that. His portrayal as Jack was just right and beyond the character also. (Although it did get me to wonder if TVB had borrowed the idea from Pirates of the Caribbean since his restaurant and his name, NOT to mention what he did underground. But I will let it slide since it was Damian after all.)
Idy Chan – I was having second thoughts about watching this at first because of her, but I must say although a bit rusty but she did make it worthwhile to watch as the series moved on. Although her chemistry with Damian was a bit awkward at times (not their acting but to me as their appearances), it was great in a sense when you get into their characters more. The pair actually complemented each other because although she was kind of a klutz and not really intelligent, her principle and belief about life have made Jack realized lots of other things and made him think more positively about the general human population.
Joe Ma – I was super surprised to like him in this series and his portrayal as one of the main guys. But I really got into liking him in this series. He really suited this role as the tough/ serious cop with a great sense of righteousness. His character struggled through grasping the “gray” area of life was also quite traumatizing and a great point in the story since it was a conflict between cops vs. thieves/robbers.
Both Damian & Joe’s teams in this story – Loved their interactions with each other as well as of the other side. How they followed the leader and were very loyal and were also understanding to the point of willing to cooperate with each other in the end.
The fact that Johnson Lee finally gets a chance to show off his awesome acting. He has always been awesome, but I thought in this role he stood out even more. I swear TVB was robbing him as bad as they were robbing Wayne Lai or some others. But in this one, he was brilliant as the comical BT with both charm and wit. Sharon Chan was also a very good match for him in here and a very refreshing chemistry for them. Uncalled for to kill him off, but when I watched the scene where BT died, I was so taken aback and have to give TVB credit doing the aftermath scenes just right. Quite tragic and so fast for anyone to react.
Same as Johnson Lee, I finally see Dickson Lee in a role worth watching after the brilliant role he portrayed in The Black Sabre more than a decade ago. I really loved his character in here because it was a mix of humor and seriousness. Although he seemed like he was breaking the rules and cutting the corners, plus being a jerk at the beginning for snapping at Joe’s character at every chance. But he was just a straight-forward person and had a smart-mouth. He was a very loyal friend with others as well as his fellow cops.
Sharon Chan – Sort of mentioned her role already above but I want to add that I finally see her back in action. I meant she was in quite a few series lately, but this was by far the best since she had taken on 2nd lead roles. She was more natural in here than say Lethal Weapons of Love & Passion. I really loved her role in here and that I can see that she has worked hard for the role.
The concept of “black” and “white” and the “gray” in between.
The only draggy parts were the ongoing misunderstandings between Joe Ma and Fala Chan’s characters. Once or twice, we got it, but the repetitiveness of it made it unendurable. I totally understood the struggle and the feeling Fala’s character went through, but they stretched it too much that I wanted to toss something at the TV. Overall, a very good series and worth-watching.
Posted (on Xanga): September 14, 2008
Re-posted: Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
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