Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Thoughts on “Burning Flame 烈火雄心 3”

Just finished watching this series and figured I would post some comments about it. To be honest, I really didn't pay a whole lot of attention to some parts of the series, since I pretty much got bored, so technically, I can't really say that I "watched" the entire series (meaning I probably won't even remember much of it after this and most likely won't bother watching it again any time soon). Therefore, I am only going to comment on a few points that sort of 'stuck out' for me.

First, I must say that the original installment of "Burning Flame" (the one from 1999 with Wong Hei, Esther Kwan, Louis Koo, etc.) was way better and even the second installment was not bad (primarily due to the cast, which was quite impressive at that time). I actually wasn't even planning on watching the 3rd installment of this series because 1) I didn't even finish watching the 2nd installment and 2) I don't like the cast at all (the only one I'm able to tolerate from the cast is Wong Hei, but I hated his character in this series -- more on this later). So why did I watch it? For the simple reason that it was airing on TV and since I hadn't seen it yet, figured I would give it a try (I was multi-tasking at the same time, of course, which meant that I wasn't "seriously" watching the series).

The plot / storyline

Ok, so let's look at the plot / storyline of this series -- wait, was there actually a storyline? Well, if there was, it wasn't very appealing, since I barely remember any of it. The only things I remember from this series were the "grand" fire scenes and rescue attempts -- other than that, there really wasn't anything worth remembering....the rest of the series was pretty boring. Also, whoever wrote the script for this series must not be entirely in touch with reality because some of the scenes were REALLY far-fetched -- to the point where at certain parts, I was saying to myself: "And they expect us (the audience) to believe this???? Do they (TVB) think we are stupid?"

Two examples of this that really stuck out:

1) The scene where Bosco and Aimee are doing a rescue mission and are dangling from a rope atop a tall building....they end up falling (I don't know exactly how many stories but it seemed like alot) from the building and landing UNSCATHED on the huge bouncy tarp that the firemen put out 'just in time' right beneath them. Sound a bit far-fetched already? Well, wait til you hear the next this point in the series, Aimee's character is 2 months pregnant -- and after 'the fall', everything was 'perfectly fine': no scratches, no bruises, and absolutely no harm was done to the fetus. In fact, she was pretty much able to get up from the tarp and 'walk away'.

Maybe it's just me, but this scene was really unbelievable -- I mean, any doctor (and probably any woman who has any knowledge of how pregnancies work) can tell you that the first 3 months when a woman is pregnant is the most delicate and dangerous because the fetus is not stable yet and the risk of miscarriage is extremely high. This is why most women (celebrities, for example) don't like to announce their pregnancies until after the 3rd month -- this is especially true with Chinese women, since our culture is traditionally very superstitious about this kind of stuff.

So then how is it that Aimee's character is able to fall from a 15 story (at least) burning building during the most delicate time of her pregnancy (when the risk of losing the baby is sky high and even a task as 'normal' as walking too long, stretching, or just being under too much stress could cause a miscarriage) and come away without as much of a scratch and still be VERY MUCH PREGNANT?!?!?!? I mean, that's unbelievable to the point of being outrageous!! I don't know about anyone else, but when I was watching that scene, I felt like they (TVB, the scriptwriters, the producer, etc.) were insulting my intelligence!

2) The other scene was the one where Kevin and Myolie get into a major traffic accident -- the car is flipped on its side and is in danger of blowing up. Myolie isn't able to get out of the car because her foot is stuck and Kevin is trying hard to pull her out. The fire trucks arrive, but before they are even able to get their equipment off their trucks, Kevin pulls Myolie out of the wreckage and both are shown running for cover just as the car blows up in a ball of flames (sound familiar? yep, typical TVB -- they use this 'action sequence' in almost every series, it seems). The next scene is a short 'hospital' scene where it shows that both Myolie and Kevin only suffered a minor injury from the accident (Myolie had a sprained foot and Kevin had a bruise on his head) -- then the next scene jumps to them all perfectly recovered, holding hands and walking in a shopping mall.

Ok, I'm not saying that there should be a major injury after every accident and I agree that miracles do happen sometimes -- but it's EXTREMELY rare....especially with an accident of that magnitude. And the 'choppiness' of the subsequent scenes made it seem even more unrealistic because it's as though the accident scene happened just to showcase the 'special effects' and then it was pretty much glossed over after that. Though I didn't feel as strongly about this scene insulting my intelligence as the other one did, I still felt it was pretty unrealistic.

The cast

As I stated earlier, I would not have chosen to watch this series on my own accord because I don't like the cast. Those who are familiar with my TVB viewing habits know that I can't stand the younger / later generation of TVB artists because their acting skills are severely lacking yet TVB over-promotes them and pushes them constantly in front of our faces. I won't get into all the 'political' stuff here (saving it for another TVB rant later on down the road) -- the one thing to note is that Kevin and Myolie are on my 'least favorite' TVB aritists list and I've never liked Bosco or Aimee. Out of the main cast, the only artist I am able to tolerate is Wong Hei because his acting has always been quite good and consistent. So obviously, this series was pretty much already doomed for me from the beginning, since the only thing that made the series possibly 'worth watching' would have been Wong Hei...

BUT....even that last glimmer of 'possibly worth watching' was ruined for me because Wong Hei's character in this series totally SUCKED!!! His character had a bad temper, was very irrational, was always acting brashly without thinking, was unreasonably stubborn, etc etc. I especially got annoyed over how 'obsessed' his character was with Myolie's character, becoming a 'tortured soul' when she broke up with him and even to the point of committing suicide for her....I mean, come on -- GET OVER IT!!!!

With how poorly his character was written, I was wondering why TVB bothered putting him in this series at all -- he didn't have a whole lot of screen time compared to Kevin and Bosco for one, and his character was in a coma for a huge chunk of the series anyway. As is typical of the way their politics work, I'm guessing that TVB probably put Wong Hei in this series purely because of his tenure and association with the "Burning Flames" franchise -- he pretty much started the whole 'fireman craze' back in the 90s and became hugely popular after the first installment -- to the point where over the years, when the audiences think of "Burning Flame", they automatically think of Wong Hei. So for the series to not include him, it probably would have been weird -- but still....if they are going to include him, give him a decent character to play at least!

In terms of Kevin -- well, his acting was the same as usual -- bland and I didn't care for his character at all -- it's like he's pretty much there just to take up screen time. Even Bosco's performance and character were better than Kevin's!! At least Bosco's character was interesting and provided some 'comic relief' in an otherwise depressing series (I actually laughed at his funny reactions to things in some of the scenes) – but overall, I’m still not too keen on watching Bosco’s series though.

And I’m not even going to comment on Myolie – all I’m going to say is that I absolutely HATED her character in this series!! I’ve never been fond of her acting in the first place (yes, there IS a reason why I don’t like to watch her series!!!).

In conclusion…..

It’s sad, but the only ‘character’ I actually enjoyed watching in this entire series was one that’s not even listed in the cast list during the closing credits – Bosco’s shar-pei dog Kapun (also his dog in real life). Perhaps because I have an affinity for Shar-pei dogs (I think they’re adorably cute!), so I was really drawn to this one (come on, how could you not love that cute little pouting face??). I was sort of disappointed that Kapun was only in the first half of the series though (ok, which darn writer was it who wrote him out of the series??) – since the ‘character’ I enjoyed the most was gone, the series pretty much went downhill for me after that.


  1. Sorry for being harsh, but why do you keep torturing yourself through series that you don't like? Yeah, I know it's on TV and all BUT seriously? Putting on a Jacky tape would be much more effective while you're listening to the song and doing multi-tasking! LOL!

    I didn't even watch any of the Burning Flame ones so I figure I shouldn't even start now.

    The scene you described with Kevin and Myolie escaping from the fire reminds me of the scene with Kevin and Charmaine in Forensic Heroes II (BUT I think Kevin & Charm were more beat up in FHII if I remember correctly). YES, shows how creative TVB is with sticking in action scenes.

    AND the other scene, SUPER unbelievable all right.

    I was told that one of my favorite actors was portraying the bad guy so I didn't bother with it at all. SO...there goes.

  2. I know...self-torture...luckily I had the multi-tasking though, so didn't have to "sit" through it exactly -- that's why I don't remember much of the series anyway...

    You know, I really feel that the "Burning Flame" franchise is sort of an 'acquired taste' so to speak -- you either like it or you don't...and even if you haven't watched the first 2, it actually doesn't really matter because the storyline and characters are all different. I'm actually not keen on the franchise at all, but if I had to choose between the 3 installments, I would have to say that the 1st one was the best. that you mention it, I think a similar scene was in FHII....but then again, that same scene is in like every TVB action series, so not too surprised.

    Glad to hear that someone agrees with me regarding the Bosco/Aimee scene -- I actually was quite offended...I mean, the script for this series was already poorly written to begin with -- and they 'add salt to the wound' by putting in stupid scenes that so implausible to the point of ridiculous? Arghhh!!!!

    Yes, he's the villain in this one (well, he's pretty much been playing the villain in all the series he's been in since returning to TVB...)

    This series will definitely be one of those 'never re-watch' series for me(that list is getting longer and longer)...there's no way that I'm going to torture myself with it again -- once was enough (though I'll miss Kapun -- LOL!)

  3. Just stalk Bosco's weibo then you get to see pictures of the dog! LOL! Even if you don't like him, you could see the dog, lol. So there, problem solved!

    Yes, I remember someone telling me that the stories are totally different, but I don't know. I guess I shouldn't even start at all. Since didn't Wong Hei died in it? would be too frustrating to watch anyway.

    YES, TVB is making it even more obvious with those really fake scenes. YET some people still buys it. Series tend to turn me off more and more if they exaggerate too much. I think the only ones I could forgive anyone production is comedy. Since those are expected to be goofy. But these ones? So serious and they got carried away? Come on now! Definitely agree with you that they're treating us like idiots by putting those scenes in.

    CCP - Yes, I noticed, that's why I'm staying away for the most part. Either he gets the villain role OR they try to make his character dumb or ended up being scapegoat for other people's wrong, like in 'The Threshold of a Personna' AND I so DO NOT want to watch that one again - even if most of the people I like are in there. I think the only one he manages to get a safe role was in 'A Great Way to Care' since he was just some character in there.

  4. Haha..yea, I've actually been stalking Bosco's weibo for awhile now, but mostly because of the dogs (he has 2 Shar-peis!!) Wish he would post pictures of them more often!

    I agree with you regarding the comedy thing...doing that to a drama though is just plain stupid...

    CCP -- omg, I thought his character in 'Threshold of a Persona' was so pathetic (actually, I thought that entire series was pathetic -- I missed most of the series when it aired on TV and pretty much decided that I'm not going to watch the DVD version to 'fill in the gaps' since don't want to waste my time -- oh well...I guess I'll have to catch Roger and Ray another time...)

    LOL...I guess 'some character' is better than a pathetic one! Hahaha....

  5. Regarding CCP - Yeah, definitely. I didn't want to spoil it for you if you haven't watch 'A Great Way to Care' yet. But I rather he be 'some character' as well.

    The Threshold of a Personna - Definitely. It was soooo stupid that I couldn't believe TVB pulled that one once again. Like I said in my review, it seems that every time TVB does the theme of the immigration department, they get really 'creative' BUT ended up making the other parts of it really stupid. I didn't even finish the one that was also based on the immigration department years ago (aka the one starring Wong Hei, Jessica Hsuan - Ray was also in that one, which was too ironic).

    What I was even more pissed off was the whole Natalie and the others yelling at CCP's character when he was just used a scapegoat so the others wouldn't blame Patrick's sister. AND yes, I think for once people on AF were discussing relevant points with how the other girl was so using the easy way out so the others would blame CCP's character. Though he was spoiled and all but I swear he wasn't that bad. IF they (the script-writers) didn't use that method to crank the hype up and making CCP's character going all out, it wouldn't look so stupid. Even if Ray was the villain in the story, I still felt he was robbed. The script-writers spent too much time on the whole Patrick, Natalie, CCP, and Toby foursome that I swear Roger, Yoyo, Power, and Ray got robbed - even if they were supposed to be main. (Or so I thought.) I think you got me started on how stupid it was, LOL.

    Oh yeah, even I felt John got robbed too. 'Cause although he was the boss, but it was like he was as blind as the others, not trusting his son (and taking that stupid girl's word for it) SO...they (TVB) were so using the popular stars to try and get Patrick, Toby, and Natalie to shine OR something. AND failed miserably. Though I enjoyed Ben Wong's performance though. Also, Ellesmere too. I was watching 'A Great Way to Care' at the same time and I swear AGWTC is more worth watching - even if you're not a Kate fan. Since at least AGWTC made more sense.

  6. With regard to 'Threshold of a Persona' -- tremendous waste of talent! So many of my favorites (most of which are your favorites as well) were in there yet TVB lost focus and it ended up being so stupid (darn -- I hate it when TVB does that to artists I like)'s sort of the same thing they did to 'At the Threshold of an Era' as well (ironically, both have 'Threshold' in the title)....come to think of it, that's the same thing they do to alot of series starring the veterans....darn TVB!!

  7. Yup, major irony regarding both of the 'Threshold'. And the reason I even mention AGWTC is because of the similarity in cast for both. I swear Ben isn't robbed with the other one at all, LOL. (Or so I thought. Ben looks so handsome in the other one as the boss! Though like that matters since I was glad he got a cool role.)

    Okay, more later...

  8. I stumbled across this blog from AF. But anyways agree with your take on this series, I've tried watching it but couldn't take it after a few episodes. Everyone pissed me off and the plot was really boring to me.

  9. joyciel: Welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog! Hope you will come back soon! :o)

    Thanks for your comment -- definitely sums up my sentiments regarding this series as well! Definitely not one that I would re-watch any time soon...

  10. My comment: I wish the scripts can go destroy themselves in flames right in front of the scriptwriters' faces. A trash by Amy Wong who has gone downhill.

  11. zzXyz: Totally agreed! I even can't believe I sat through this series (luckily I was doing other things at the same time, so not like I was paying a whole lot of attention).

    Basically, they BETTER NOT try to do a BF4 -- because it will just be a HUGE WASTE of everyone's time!