TVB’s controversial new drama, Master of Play <心戰>, aired on Monday, May 21st. Revolving around serial killers, the premiere episode of Master of Play was terrifying and suspenseful. The acting of Moses Chan (陳豪), Adam Cheng (鄭少秋), and Maggie Shiu (邵美琪) were praised. The ratings averaged 28 points, peaking at 30 points. Approximately 1.92 million viewers in Hong Kong watched the premiere episode.
Following the success of When Heaven Burns <天與地>, producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) and scriptwriter Zhou Xuming’s (周旭明) Master of Play–rumored to be the duo’s last TVB drama–was highly anticipated by the audience. After the first episode was aired last night, online communities were immediately overtaken by excited discussion regarding the thrilling premiere episode.
Audiences Look for Hidden Messages
References to Hollywood’s classic thrillers, Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, were apparent in Master of Play, due to the common subject of serial killers and cannibalism. Netizens praised Master of Play for its suspenseful content and delivering terror without onscreen bloodshed. This was the highest form of a thriller, by allowing viewers to imagine and fear the unknown.
Scriptwriter, Zhou Xuming’s dramas were often praised for their clever dialogue. In the Weibo community, Zhou discussed with fans earlier that War and Beauty <金枝慾孽> had used the palace setting to depict the battles of life, while When Heaven Burns lamented the heartlessness of modern society. Master of Play delved on the destitute of life.
On the other hand, some viewers complained that they did not understand the subject material. They quickly changed channels after watching only 15 minutes.
Acting Praised (Contains Spoilers)
Adam Cheng’s acting was highly praised in Master of Play, especially in the scene where his tears rushed forth while he simultaneously applied theatrical makeup. Absent from TVB dramas since 2009′s King of Snooker <桌球天王>, Adam’s acting skills were challenged in Master of Play, by portraying a neurotic theater master who engaged in a battle of wits with Moses Chan’s character. Since Adam’s daughter was mistaken for a heiress, she was kidnapped and killed 25 years ago. However, Adam’s reason for survival depended on finding his daughter (portrayed by Lily Ho 何傲兒), whom he continued to see in his dreams.
Maggie Shiu portrayed a tragic character whose left arm was cut off by serial killer, Tsui Wing’s (徐榮). Afterward, she witnessed Tsui’s suicide hanging and her mother’s awkwardness over Maggie’s disability. Her life turned around when she met magician, Moses Chan, whom she regarded as the most important person in her life. As a result, Maggie was even willing to compromise her ethics, commit murder, and take blame for Moses’ crimes.
Tsui Wing’s 10-minute appearance was praised, due to the actor’s ability to depict the crazed violence of his violent character. Viewers also praised the scene in which Moses Chan proposed to Maggie due to her convincing tears.
Despite the violent subject matter, the first episode of Master of Play was filmed well and did not contain too much bloodshed. Nevertheless, the Broadcasting Authority still received 24 complaints that the series was violent and bloody; the material was regarded as inappropriate to be broadcast at the 9:30 PM time slot.
“Master of Play” Trailer
Source: Apple Daily
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