Review: Gun Metal Grey (TVB 2010)
Gun Metal Grey < 刑警>
TVB series 2010
Producer: Terry Tong
Number of episodes: 30
Michael Miu as Mai On Ting (aka Mad Sir)
Felix Wong as Shek Tung Sing (aka Stone Sir)
Jessica Hsuan as Kim Hui
Nancy Wu as Sze Hui
Vincent Wong as Carson Ko
Grace Wong as Kong Hoi Ching (aka Leng Bao)
Oscar Leung as Lee Shim Leung (aka Fai Sim)
Mimi Chu as Lily Ma
Not just a car color option, Gun Metal Grey is also a TVB series starring two of the Five Tigers, featuring the much-anticipated comeback by Felix Wong and to a much lesser extent, Jessica Hsuan. Oh yeah, this also happens to be “that series” a.k.a. the one that was unceremoniously axed from the 2010 TVB Anniversary Ceremony. Am I even allowed to have an opinion on this one?
Fifteen years ago, Stone was falsely imprisoned for murder due to Mad Sir’s testimony. The pair was good friends although Stone never harbored any hard feelings towards Mad Sir as he knew it was an honest mistake. As part of something that could only happen in the TVB world, Stone was acquitted after new evidence that proved his innocence and even became a cop again under Mad Sir’s Special Investigations Unit team. Stone never really got over his false imprisonment and throughout the series acts like a judge of his own by punishing (even murdering) people who he believes to be innocent and/or have good reason to commit crimes, until he is jailed again, and this time for good reason.
Kim is basically Jit from the Detective Investigation Files trilogy–a reporter who conveniently always gets the first scoop as her sister Sze happens to be a cop. She first has feelings for Stone, but later gets romantically involved with Mad Sir. But unfortunately Mad Sir has a brain tumor and Kim wants to get married, but she doesn’t know about his tumour, so she sobs about how he’s not committed to their relationship. So what’s a couple to do? Break up then get together when the truth is revealed. Sound familiar? I don’t know why I don’t just copy and paste my plot summaries.
Sze is your usual tough-as-nails female cop (a much less annoying version of Sam Yuen from the Armed Reaction series). She idolizes Mad Sir, and also happens to be the birth daughter of the couple that Stone was falsely accused of murdering. Fellow cop Carson spends most of the series wooing her, finally winning her heart only to (brace yourself) die from an accidental shot by Stone.
I haven’t revealed everything yet, and this is one of those series that one should really watch sans spoilers, so I will leave my summary at that.
If you went into watching this series with larger-than-life expectations, you’re not alone. I walked in expecting Infernal Affairs meets Detective Investigation Files IV, and got The Brink of Law meets Detective Investigation Files. Close enough. I was not disappointed in most respects, anyway.
I quite like Carson and Sze’s romantic plot. They start off with the usual brand of bickering and misunderstanding, but start to see each other’s qualities through working with each other. I like how Sze first rejects him since her co-worker/buddy also holds a torch for him, and they actually become good friends before getting together near the end of the series.
Mad Sir is a hilarious character and his evolving friendship with Stone’s multi-layered character anchors the series. The relationship between these two men was much more intriguing than any other romantic plot that TVB has come up with recently.
In the acting department – strangely, it’s the less popular ones that make more of an impression.
Same old same old; she even said so in an interview (“This character is similar to other characters that I’ve played in the past”) so I wasn’t expecting anything different. Even with the Hermione hair, she’s a yawn to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Jess. She is intelligent and articulate, but for some reason can’t ever translate that onscreen in a series. You know what would have made her more interesting? If they killed Kim off instead of Carson. No joke. Her character is really annoying too.
A big surprise and worth his Best Supporting Actor nomination at this year’s TVB awards ceremony. He holds his ground opposite big guns such as Felix and Michael, which is impressive considering this is basically his debut performance in something that isn’t a cameo. In certain scenes he tends to move his hands around too much, and also blinks a lot in the romantic scenes, but overall a fine performance that was much better than expected. I was annoyed by how he kept throwing in English words every now and then in his dialogue, although I’m not sure whether this is the scriptwriters’ fault. Best scene was his argument with Stone Sir near the end of the series. Fiery, conflicted, but then determined all at the same time, not to mention commanding in his own way. It sucks ass that they decided to recycle Jun’s death from The Brink of Law in Gun Metal Grey and killed Carson off at the end, though.
I pegged her as a newcomer to look out for after watching her performance in Triumph of the Skies. Together with No Regrets, I think she’s starting to show what she’s capable of in the acting department. She seems to do best in characters that have a chip off their shoulder (Twin of Brothers for example) and in my opinion is one of the most versatile of the next generation of fadans. In fact, I think out of all of them, she has the most potential. She can act, has a unique face, and yup, went to acting school instead of competing in a Miss Hong Kong pageant. All of this shows in her performance in Gun Metal Grey. Along with Vincent Wong, she manages to be interesting and convincing as the ballsy Sze who isn’t a new character by any means, but Nancy makes her watchable. It also helps that she really does look like she could be Jess’ sister. A good performance.
Finally, he has lived up to his fame with his performance in this series. It helps that Mad Sir is a well-written character. Hilarious, crass, and bright, he is willing to bend the rules to solve cases but never to the point where ethics are questioned such as Stone’s character. He doesn’t have much chemistry with Jess, although he seems pretty compatible with the rest of the cast, especially good buddy, Felix.
He has aged well. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him and he really embodies the gray character of Stone, from the early hopefulness he has to repair his relationship with his wife and daughter, to the anger and fury of the latter episodes. His performance is layered, compelling, and consistent and he has great odd couple chemistry with Michael. Stone’s end was also well-written and compelling, and the very last scene might have been Felix’s best in the series.
A special mention to both Grace Wong and Oscar Leung. Oscar Leung is turning into a very dependable supporting actor. I think he has what it takes to become the next Ai Wai or Ram Chiang. Grace Wong was a surprise and makes the most of her limited screen time. Patrick Tang was also surprisingly decent given his previously weak acting and boring personality off camera. Who was the girl who played Long Long? She was very good.
Through the Grapevine
Nancy Wu and Vincent Wong became good friends after filming this series. They wanted to portray a more three-dimensional couple and had some challenges in the beginning as Nancy tends to be a little more timid and slower to warm up to people, but Vincent started by sending her a long text message explaining that he really wanted to work well with her, which won Nancy over.
Felix Wong only agreed to film this series upon getting a call from buddy Michael Miu, and Gun Metal Grey also happens to a 30th anniversary collaboration for them. Felix was also reported to be a hardworking, professional actor by both Nancy and Vincent. Apparently he could memorize a script for an episode in one night and not only know his own lines inside out, but other cast members lines as well.
To Watch or Not To Watch, That is the Question
Highly recommended given the sub-quality of recent TVB series. Lawyers and aspiring lawyers should find this one intriguing as well.
This review was written by Bridget, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com.