Friday, April 30, 2010

"E.U." -- Final Thoughts

I must say that this series did not impress me as much as I had expected. I wouldn't necessarily use the word "disappointed" because there were quite a few good performances and overall the series is alot better than most....but it did not have the "wow" factor for me. To be more specific -- 1) I did not feel the urge to go pull the DVD version of the series (which I recently bought) to finish watching the series because I was so engrossed that I couldn't wait day after day to watch the next episode (unlike what I did with "At the Threshold of an Era" which I finished in three days) and 2) I was still able to "multi-task" (do other things) while watching the series -- which generally means that the series failed to capture my attention 100% (again, unlike ATE, which was so good that my eyes were glued to the TV set and I had no interest in doing other things while watching).

To be honest, I already wasn't impressed by the first 2 installments of this trilogy ("The Academy" and "On the First Beat"), but I was hoping that "E.U." would be different because I had heard that the storyline would focus more on the veteran actors this time around rather than Ron and Sammul. But that wasn't really the case (at least in my opinion).....true, the storyline revolved more around Michael Miu and the antics of the triad gang that he leads, but Ron and Sammul still had pretty big roles and some of the storyline involving them was very boring. I really didn't care for Sammul and Leung Kar Kei's pairing (probably because I didn't like either character and Leung's acting sucks just like her sister's) and the Ron / Elanne pairing didn't click with me either (I actually found Elanne's character quite annoying) -- there was zero chemistry in both pairings and I started feeling that the 2 women served more of a "filler" purpose in the series -- meaning they were put in there as "love interests" for Sammul and Ron just to add another "layer" to the plot/storyline.

I also got bored with Ron and Sammul's characters: Ron = the brazen cop who always acts before he thinks and Sammul = the 'righteous' cop who is annoyingly stubborn and 'by the book'. I mean, after the THIRD time, it was starting to get old and tiring -- doesn't seem like the writers were able to find any more creative stuff to write about these 2 in terms of storyline and so focused on their 'relationships' which were also very lackluster (or maybe it was the acting of Ron/Sammul/Elanne/Leung Kar Kei not being up to par for my tastes).....either way, I was not impressed with any of the storyline involving these 4 and instead felt bored....

As for the veteran actors....well, they fared better in my opinion because of their skilled acting, but the characters themselves still did not leave much of an impression on me. Kathy Chow's "Sum Jie" was sort of weak and Michael Miu's "Hau Gor" was too stereotypical. I don't think that they wrote Sum Jie's character well at all because I honestly don't see what her contribution is in the series -- it's not like she is involved with any of the triad stuff or anything and I can't think of anything else "major" that she does throughout most of the series. Kathy did a good job in terms of the acting (which is evident in the scenes where she "struggles" to decide whether she should accept Hau Gor, the crying scenes, etc.) -- but I just don't think the character was developed enough to do justice to her acting.

With regard to Michael's Hau Gor, I just felt the character was too sterotypical in that there's nothing "different" about him -- I mean, you would expect a triad gang leader to do the things he did and just like Sum Jie, Hau Gor's character was also a bit one-dimensional....Michael's acting is good, but I liked his performance in "The Academy" better than in this series -- mostly because his character in that series was much better developed and he could actually put his acting skills to work.

The only character that I found to be the most interesting and developed was -- you guessed it -- Laughing Gor. And no, I am not saying this because of all the hype over his character -- in fact, I was a bit surprised regarding all the "hype" because now that I've watched the series, I don't get why there should be that much commotion over his character. I mean, his character definitely stood out because the other characters in the series were less developed and pretty lackluster, but to the point of tens of thousands of netizens protesting his death? Plus his character got killed off pretty early in the series if I remember correctly.....Hmmm....

Anyway, I will admit that Laughing Gor was more developed than the other characters in the series in that we get a glimpse into his past, his struggles with being an undercover cop in the triad society, how he had to sacrifice love for his work, etc. And it was sort of tragic that he spent 9 years undercover in that triad gang only to die at the hands of a fellow cop (ironically) before he had the chance to bring the criminals to justice -- it's like all that hard work and sacrifice went down the drain. Maybe in that sense, the audience was able to feel more connected to him and so when the character died, it felt like such a loss. Also, Michael Tse did bring out the traits of the character quite well with his acting skills....

Overall, the series was decent and I would say it's one of the better ones released that particular year. But as a whole (speaking about the entire trilogy), it doesn't live up to the excellence that its predecessor (the "Police Cadet" trilogy starring Tony Leung) was able to achieve in the 80s. I could re-watch the "Police Cadet" trilogy over again and it would still interest me -- but I don't think I can sit through this particular trilogy (TA, OTFB, EU) again without getting bored....


  1. I knew it was a good idea to skip the whole installments since I DID NOT even watch 'Police Cadet' yet.

    I think regarding Ron & Sammul's characters, they (the script-writers) were maintaining consistency with their characters (as typical as it gets so I'll take a stab at that), but must agree on how it could get boring and repetitive that they never learn from their past mistakes OR grow up.

  2. Yup...this trilogy definitely pales in comparison to 'Police Cadet'...the classics are defnitely the best!

    I agree regarding the consistency part with Ron and Sammul's characters -- I wouldn't mind seeing the characters multiple times if the acting was good, but since the acting was so-so, makes it boring. Case in point -- 'Armed Reaction' and 'Detective Investigation Files' -- the same actors played the same characters in the multiple installments for those and the script writers were able to keep the consistency with the personalities and the actors were able to continue to make the series the whole 'package' is pretty important....