Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Catch Me Now 原來愛上賊"

I just finished re-watching this series and I must say that the 2nd time around was even better than the first time! This is definitely one of my favorite series from the past 5 years (which says something about how good it is, since there are only a handful of series -- like less than 10 -- from the past 5 years that I actually like).

Again, the below is not exactly a review of the series, but rather just some random thoughts that came to mind about the series and its characters / storyline:

Of course, I was attracted to watching this series because of Damian Lau, since he is one of my favorite veteran actors and he never disappoints when it comes to his acting. I actually had high hopes for this series because I hated the previous series that Damian was in ("Drive of Life") and really wanted to see him in a likable role after the lame one in DOL. Well, I got what I wished for because his character in "Catch Me Now" (Jack Ko -- a modern-day 'Robin Hood') was awesome!! I think the reason why I liked the character so much is because he's very close to the way I've always pictured Damian in my mind all these years -- extremely smart and intelligent yet amazingly down to earth and humble, classy and suave but not condescending, cool but not arrogant, great sense of humor that borders on cynical but yet not offensive, displays the perfect amount of compassion and emotion (makes the character human) but not going overboard, a big brother who takes care of those who work for him as though they were family, someone who righteously stands up for what he believes in and fiercely stands by his principles but does so in a way that is not imposing and so easily gets 'buy-in' from those around him (I could actually go on and on with the description of his characteristics, but I'll stop here)....bottom line, I guess you could say the character is very similar to how Damian is in real life.

As much as I loved Damian's character in this series, I didn't like the pairing of him and Idy Chan. I know, TVB pretty much hyped up this series as the 'highly anticipated' comeback of 'Siu Loong Nu' but I really got to say that Idy's performance in the series was ‘disappointing’ at best. It's very obvious that she has been away from acting for a long time because her performance here really lacked emotion and was very wooden -- absolutely nothing like her performance in 'Return of the Condor Heroes', which at that time, bordered on legendary. From the beginning of the series when her character first appeared, I was already wondering what had happened to Idy's voice because it sounded so hoarse and whispy -- I thought that maybe she had a cold or something when she was filming those scenes and so figured that it would go away as the series went on....well, it didn't -- her voice was like that throughout the ENTIRE series, which annoyed me to no end because it was sort of distracting (at least for me). Also, her expressions seemed very forced and unnatural to me, which made her character very unappealing -- it was like she was trying to 're-learn' how to act all over again (and doing a poor job of it).

At first I didn't understand why Idy's acting turned so horrible all of a sudden, but after watching her interview on "Be My Guest", I was able to gain a somewhat better understanding -- apparently, in the years when Idy was less active in the industry, she had taken on a new religion -- I don't remember the name of the religion (though I'm sure it was NOT a 'mainstream' religion like Christianity or Buddhism) and don't want to say the wrong thing, so will leave it at that.....if I remember correctly, in adherence to the religion, she had committed to avoiding sexual desire (or something like that) so she had made it clear when she took on the role in "Catch Me Now" that she would not do any 'intimate' scenes (i.e.: kissing scenes, bedroom scenes, etc.). Of course, in a series, it's hard to completely avoid 'intimate' scenes altogether, especially if you're going to talk about a love relationship between a couple, so I think that's why in certain scenes that were 'somewhat intimate' (i.e.: hugging scenes), Idy came across as very stiff and unnatural (or perhaps it’s just been too long….don’t know)....

Anyway, I personally think that it was a bad decision for Idy to come back and do this series because it totally changed the audience's impression of her (and not for the better). The fact is that many HK viewers nowadays don't look at 'past history' when it comes to judging a person's acting skills and base their perception purely on how they perform in 'current' series (that's why the whole concept of 'veteran comebacks' are so dangerous -- but I'll save that for another post). I'm sure it would have probably been better for people to remember Idy as the 'perfect' Siu Loong Nu from "Return of the Condor Heroes" rather than the horribly acted 'see lai' character from "Catch Me Now". For me, I would have much preferred to see Damian's character paired up with someone else who was more 'worthy' of someone as 'perfect' as Jack Ko....

Moving on to some of the other characters in the series....

I have to say that I was quite impressed with Johnson Lee's performance in the series. Back when I first watched this series a couple years ago, Johnson was still a 'newbie' of sorts and the only other series I had seen him in was the sitcom "Welcome to the House" in which he played a nerdy computer genius (the stereotypical geek: glasses, eccentric personality, etc). Not knowing too much about him at that time, I was amazed at how he was able to play such an opposite character in this series (still a computer genius, but 'cool' and 'suave' rather than geeky) so well....of course, I'm not surprised now, knowing more about him and how talented he is. Also, I actually really liked the pairing of him and Sharon Chan in the series and felt that they complemented each other pretty well (except for the height of course) -- actually, I thought that they were a very cute couple, so I was a bit bummed when they broke up (though obviously they still had feelings for each other). Then, when Johnson's character died, it was even more sad, especially since they were so close to probably getting back together. I actually got teary-eyed during that part because Johnson's character was so endearing, yet they had to make him die so tragically (the fact that I got teary-eyed says something about how moving those scenes were, since very few TVB series are able to move me to tears nowadays -- especially the poorly made ones from recent years). As a sidenote, it's interesting that I didn't get teary-eyed when Damian's character died at the end of the series, yet I got so worked up when Johnson's character died. I think this is probably because with Damian's character, it was pretty much anticipated that he was going to die -- that would have been the only perfect ending for him...whereas with Johnson's character, it was very sudden and unexpected. (Plus I had watched the alternative ending for the series on TVB's website -- which was lame by the way -- and it sort of ruined the whole 'feel' of the ending for me)....

Another character worth mentioning is the villain played by Evergreen Mak. I like Evergreen -- he's definitely on my 'favorites' list in the supporting category. Though I've seen him play both 'good' and 'evil' roles, I actually don't prefer him as the villain because to me, he just doesn't look evil enough....ok, well, perhaps it's because of his chubby physical appearance for one and the fact that he also hosts children's programs on the side -- my image of him has always been of a big, cute teddy bear, so it's quite hard to imagine him as the evil villain....BUT, since he's convincing enough as the villain in this series, I'm totally ok with it (plus it shows his versatility as an actor). One of the things I liked about Evergreen's villain character in this series is that no matter how evil he became, he always showed piety and respect toward his Dad -- whose only goal in life was to get his son to repent from evil and get him back on the path to goodness. True, most of the time, Evergreen's character was 'nice' to his dad because he didn't want him to give away his inheritance money to charity, but there were times when he showed he truly cared (like that one time when the Dad and Jack came up with the plan to 'pretend' to be kidnapped and Evergreen would rather sacrifice ransom money and listen to instructions from the man he hated in order to 'save' his Dad). With that said though, I do have a little bit of a 'riff' with Evergreen's character in this series for killing Johnson's character, since I really liked his character (second only to Damian's character).....needless to say what happens to Evergreen's character in the end (the typical pattern with most villain characters in TVB series)....

Of course, there were alot more people in the cast that I didn't mention (primarily due to time constraints with writing this blog post). I won't go into each one, but I must mention that I especially liked the chemistry between Jack (Damian's character) and his 4 partners (BT, Long Legs, Key Man, and Car God) -- each had their own special skill and together as a team, they would rob the rich to give to charity. It was really fun to watch the entire team in action, constantly outsmarting the police (led by Joe Ma) and at certain points, even indirectly 'helping' them catch bad guys.

Overall, in terms of storyline and characters, this was a great series (with a few exceptions of course). The series is short (20 episodes) and to the point and it does a good job of incorporating suspense, action, drama, comedy, as well as romance together as an entire package. If I didn't already have a long list of series to watch/re-watch, I would definitely choose to re-watch this one again (I could just forward through Idy's parts next time -- the parts that are irrelevant to the main storyline, that is).


  1. I read it but I was a bit offended of the 'mainstream' religion comment since it sounded like something of a trend rather than a belief. BUT it's all right. We have our own way of interpreting religions.

    Anyway, back to the series, I told you I re-read my post before reading yours so here's the link: http://dtlct.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/catch-me-now/ - though we could keep discussing here since I have no intention of pulling you away from your blog OR try to advertise my blog, LOL. Just got lazy and didn't want to re-type some thoughts.

    I see we touched base on the whole Johnson and Sharon thing, lol. I was surprised I like them that much but it was really refreshing. (I watched this one before Welcome to the House it was a reversed feeling for me, lol.)

    As much as I like Evergreen, I felt that there were too much for me to forget about him, possibly 'cause of the ongoing attention to the Damian side and then Joe's side so yeah.

  2. Thanks for the comments!

    Sorry about the religion thing...I probably didn't express it right..but that's ok, since it's not the main focus of the post anyway...

    Thanks for the link. I read your post about this series as well -- there are some great comments in there! Looks like there were quite a few commonalities, such as Damian's character, Johnson's character, and the Johnson/Sharon pairing. Oh, and I must say that I totally agree regarding Johnson getting 'robbed' -- I was actually rooting for him over Wong Cho Lam that year (heck, that was messed up -- he was in way more series than Cho Lam!) I swear, Johnson is sooo under-rated and under-utliized -- that guy is way talented!!

    Oh, and I agree with the Joe Ma / Fala Chen thing you mentioned in your post...I didn't write about them in the post because even though I was ok with Joe's character, I figured I wouldn't have too much to say and the post was getting long already...lol...

  3. LOL! I know! I like the idea of seeing both guys - Damian and Joe - having a companion that balanced them out. BUT I felt like it was really dragging regarding the whole misunderstandings that was ridiculous. Like she was always being so supportive of him YET she like acted up afterward and kept giving him troubles. I think the script-writers couldn't find a way to stir problems up SO they chose that path, which made it TOO stupid for words. No wonder I forgot about Evergreen, was too busy venting at the stupid plot at that point.

    I forgot to say that I totally cried my eyes out at the part where Johnson's character died. It was like, "WHOA! That's messed up." Wilson Tsui was blaming himself but I think the person most responsible was Evergreen (as you pointed out).

    I'm guessing that WCL won over Johnson for something? I didn't pay attention regarding that since I gave up on most reward shows already. BUT I guess as long as Johnson has the audience's attention, it's good. (AKA audience pressure usually do some good - at least I hope so.)

  4. AND I just realized something! My friend didn't sign out so I was commenting on her account earlier! OOPS! Now I'm back with mine.

  5. Haha...no wonder! I was wondering if that was you!

    Totally agree regarding everything you posted. Oh, btw, forgot to comment about the alternative ending thing -- it was super lame, though as you said, not as lame as the alternative ending for D.I.E. (which by the way had so many inconsistencies that it was such a joke!!). At least the alternative ending to this series was technically only the last like 2 minutes or so -- everything else was pretty much the same...it was still stupid though...also, the good thing was that TVB put the alternative ending on their website only and didn't air it (unlike what they did for D.I.E.)...so this way, if people don't want to watch the other ending, they don't have to...

  6. I actually didn't watch either one of the endings but I read some spoilers and episode summaries regarding it. So comparing the two endings, I just thought that this one (CMN) seemed better than the one they did for D.I.E., which was leading to the downfall and into the definite failure of the second part of D.I.E. But that's another topic and I probably should leave it for later.

    I heard someone said that the alternate endings for CMN still retained the same words but somehow made sense with both versions? The only thing I had to say regarding Damian's character was having him died in the hand of some unknown guy! I was like, "WHAT?!" IT sort of reminded me of the ending for Andy Lau's "The Other Side of the Horizon" - to which Andy was killed off by some unknown dude while ranting away.

  7. Pretty much the alternate endings for CMN were 'the same' -- except he dies in the original ending and doesn't die in the alternate one...that's pretty much the only difference...that's why I saw it makes a bit more sense than the D.I.E. one because they don't throw in all this other stuff to complicate it...