[Episodic Thoughts] “Ruse of Engagement” Episode 1

Ruse of Engagement <叛逃>
TVB Series 2014

Cast: Ruco Chan, Ron Ng, Yoyo Mung, Aimee Chan, Louise Lee, Eddie Kwan, Lai Lok Yi, Kenny Wong, Leanne Li

Disclaimer: This is a watch as I write episodic thoughts and some information may not be accurate since this is memory based. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted. I apologize if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.


“… but if this was 1st class production, you will see Bosco and Moses somewhere, Eddie will be replaced by Michael Miu, Yoyo becomes Myolie and Aimee probably is still Aimee. That sort.”

Correct me if I am wrong; Chinese title is equivalent to “Traitor”, correct? Or “Running dog”? I however love the English title.

Ruse of Engagement 1I was expecting explosions from scene 1 but what we got is a song less opening and then it starts; bunch of Indians from Punjab with some drug deal gone wrong except it was no drug deal, the dealer was killed with a huge dose of anthrax powder. Yeah, I thought so too; that was so 3 years ago. Anyway the actors you see in this scene is also so 3 years ago; one has actually left HK. Anyway the Indians ran after some Asian dude at some shopping complex which obviously was late at night because the shops were closed and what ensued was an intense gun fight with someone abandoning her old grandma in a wheelchair between gun fighting Indians and … guess who! GUESS!!

No NOT Ruco but Ron aka Alfred. A shootout and one funny looking Asian old man walked by with a limp, bang bang bang, Ron ran to old woman, pushed her aside and bang bang bang and Indians ran away and Ron was just there to shop.

Aimee at her home in front of computer working; yeah very diligent, saw the anthrax death news and rushed out. She reached the rooftop where the anthrax guy died and she checked and all and Ron was there (shopping complex was below) and Ron is I believe SDU. Then came I believe CID or some dept telling Aimee and Ron to get lost but Aimee said this man died of anthrax and so possible terrorism and therefore ATF should be given information. ATF = Anti Terrorism Force and yeah I know, HK got terrorism meh? Well as you can see this episode will explain why TVB should just make another series about SDU and forensics. And then Eddie appeared and he was head of ATF and officially taking over the case and I was like the rooftop had way too many cops. Ron was asked to drop by to ATF tomorrow to give statement which he did and I was like shaking my head; you know how irrelevant this series is when 20 something countries with high tech stuff can’t even find a missing plane and here we have TVB’s idealised super high tech building and equipment that even analysed criminals by the probable matching of BONE STRUCTURE And I mean entire skeleton. Place looked too blue, too modern and as usual with super high tech stuff in a series about super high tech professionals; they all were insufferable know it alls. However this was 3 years ago and so the bad habits of nicknames never ceased; this time Leanne Li’s English name is Beauty.

Anyway Ron observed something not right with that limping old guy and so it was. Apparently one Japanese dude was not happy with some Japanese diplomat about something that involved Indians Punjab and frankly I didn’t follow. I see not terrorism but assassination attempts to be made on the Japanese diplomat during the dragon boat race which by the way Ron was participating.

Meanwhile Ron walked past an alley and saw one guy beating the crap out of the idea. Suddenly it became Brother’s Keeper except Ron was a cop and not a peanut cookie seller. Ron rushed to the dude who ran away and it turns out that’s Ruco looking like a gangster bad ass which he was and he was also Ron’s big brother, a huge disappointment to Ron and to their mom (Louise Lee again) who had pined for the return of the wayward son. Ron demanded Ruco to call home since they did not hear from him for 6 months and Ruco was like screw you! and left and Ron warned that he be careful if not he will personally arrest him.

He as in Ron and Him as in Ruco, so that I be very very clear.

Ruco turned out to be one of the gangster dude for some guy whose assistant was the guy who died of anthrax. He told Ruco to find that Japanese terrorist (in TVB world) and find out what happened. Probably this dude was dealing in anthrax stuff.

Ruco followed the Japanese dude one day and into the very place (Chinese opera theatre) where mom happened to work at. The Japanese dude successfully evaded Ruco and Ruco tried avoiding mom but Japanese dude attacked him openly and as Japanese dude (Sato by the way) tried to inject Ruco with a syringe probably full of poison (or Ebola for all I know), mom saw them and saw him son and quickly cried “Son, don’t kill him! Don’t murder him!”

I was like “But mom surely you can see HE is trying to MURDER ME!!” as they struggled and mom kept crying and I was like oh dear, Brother’s Keeper all over again when Japanese dude tried to squeeze the life out of Ruco’s neck and mom removed her shoe and finally did something useful like hit the Japanese dude with her shoe and he pushed her, she sprained her ankle and Japanese dude again ran away. Ruco wanted to follow but saw his mom like that, pretended not to care when he did as mom cried to him not to leave and be a useless bum and Ruco cried to leave him be and mind her own business and she threatened “If you don’t admit you’re wrong, if you run out now, don’t call me your mother!!” and guess what he did? He ran out and also called for ambulance/police for his mom. As Louise was carried into the ambulance she looked into the crowd with hope against hope he is there and she indeed saw him for one second and she knew she can’t give up on him, just yet.

Back at the club, Ruco got beaten to a pulp as he failed his boss about following the Japanese dude. Boss reminded then to stay in the club for next few days as he got something big for then.

Ron visited his mom in hospital who refused to take pain killers because she wanted to stay awake just in case Ruco dropped by for a visit and Ron being very emotional told his mom “He will never change, he will never ever change. When I saw him, I feel so ashamed he is my brother. Mother, it is time we give up on him. He is not the same man anymore, he is never coming back!” but mom being mom simply refused to give up even if her stubbornness was not due to certainty but rather love.

ATF found the Japanese dude to some building (ooooh so high tech) and to make long story short, they evacuated the entire building and again there was the old man disguise which was escorted by Chris Lai (yeah he is in this series). The ATF nearly caused a bomb blast when they almost knocked into the Japanese’s apartment without checking. Anyway, Chris (here called Negative since his Chinese name sounds like that word) already knew something was wrong with the guy and had personally escorted him as he tapped into his radio receiver (like Morse code thing) and they all surrounded the Japanese dude who then took Chris by the neck or somewhere whilst holding a bug jar (ok not as big as a jar but small cylinder) of anthrax (so 3 years ago!!) and threatened to throw it to the floor and Chris struggled to break free and as the guy threw the bottle down (about to), Eddie shot him in the head (blood and gore in this scene-yeah!!) and oops, bottle fell and luckily someone dived and caught it in the nick of time (no butterfingers here! but the boss was crazy-he misjudged his shooting I tell you and if the guy succeeded, entire male cast all dead for the ATF segments and lucky Aimee will get to front the entire ATF herself, wit Leanne!!). Celebrations, etc but they were still checking into the whole terrorist against diplomat thing.

Now this is where I was fuzzy in memory; why would triad boss give one bag each to his member, including Ruco with specific instruction to leave it at specific area by 12 at the dragon boat race? He was gun for hire? Trying to emulate the Boston Marathon bombing? Anyway Ron was there and saw Ruco and followed him into the toilet and as he knocked open the door he saw Ruco in the act of opening the bag but Ron didn’t see that; he saw only Ruco up to no good. Struggles when they heard a big bang and the bag was opened and in it bombs. Ron looked at a shocked Ruco and I think he said you brought bombs?

Hey Ruco was as clueless as Ron!!

Ending song was sung by Ron and Ruco with a rather fiery looking MV that I believe was filmed later; because Ruco had curlier hair and somewhat slimmer and Ron was much bigger in size and looked pretty tired.

No sign of Yoyo Mung.

Ruse of Engagement 2The first thing that struck me about this episode is how raw everyone was. Chris Lai was raw, Ron was raw, Ruco was so much younger and raw and Aimee Chan definitely was raw. And you must remember, this was filmed 3 years ago and even the sets and the technology seems dated. Anthrax? Very 3 years ago. This was TVB 3 years ago; everything in your face.

I have nothing to complain about the brother vs brother thing except since this series was filmed, there was another series about the same thing with almost same cast. It is not refreshing. For whatever reason this series was warehoused (maybe subject matter is sensitive?), releasing it now is a few years too late for freshness. Whilst I enjoyed the first few minutes of fresh camera angles which you must watch in HD, after a while all those pause moments got to my nerves.

Performance wise, Eddie looked old and too tense. Louise could sleepwalk in this role but well, she has great chemistry with her “sons” and very heart breaking to see a mom so trying to convince herself her son will come home.

Ruco was ok. He was eager as you can see whilst in Brother’s Keeper, he became more laid back in his acting performance; good for being relaxed, bad because if this become a habit, he will become those zombified actors who did just enough to scrap through. I’d rather an eager Ruco. He looked handsome in here and so much younger but I prefer him with glasses. Without glasses, he not only looked rough (on point here!) but “yam yam sap sap”. I prefer the accountant serial killer look. I am sure once he is in ATF he will be in suits or in those very cool looking ATF costumes.

Ron is Ron. Acting is worse than in Triumph In The Skies II but in retrospect, not as bad as I would think of him.

Aimee Chan is the worst in terms of acting. I like the girl, I do but in here she was like reciting her lines. She clearly improved a lot in Outbound Love but the problem is in Outbound Love she was a miscast, in here the role suits her looks but her acting was like acting. If Yoyo Mung could trump her in here, I will say it doesn’t say much for Yoyo herself since her acting is also so-so. One wonders why Ruco is perpetually stuck with less than stellar younger actresses.

There were a lot more actors that I care to talk about like Kenny Wong (where is he now?), Leanne (weird performance, weird character), Chris Lai (wooden to say the least) and so many more. This is a big production filled with I will say 2nd class actors. Eddie is not 2nd class per se but if this was 1st class production, you will see Bosco and Moses somewhere, Eddie will be replaced by Michael Miu, Yoyo becomes Myolie and Aimee probably is still Aimee. That sort.

Not a bad first episode with a cliff hanger but in the end it feels a bit dated and so in your face that one would expect from a series by TVB which involves specialised field.

“Ruse of Engagement” Trailer

[vsw id=”sucnhtRWLDM” source=”youtube” width=”500″ height=”375″ autoplay=”no”]

This Episodic Thoughts is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://ruseofengagement.blogspot.com/.

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  1. you contradict many of your own words . and you obviously have too much of dissatisfaction with tvb , too personal. I used to like your review in the past , but that was so 3 years ago.

    1. anton, you’re giving her a taste of her own medicine with that “so 3 years ago” comment, lol!

      1. Agree with you guys too- Funn always complains about almost everything.

      2. Almost everything except for Ruco of course. He can do no wrong in her eyes.

      3. I write what I feel and see. If you disagree say why. If you can’t or you agree why then the sarcasm? Sine my opinion is based on this series which I feel is dated problem is this series.opinion is never dated.

      4. opinion is never dated . however, you knew this drama is 3years old so pls fine tune yourself as if you’re watching it 3 years ago pls. tq.

      5. Some would argue there isn’t much difference in acting. If TVB wants to be relevant why why 3 years to broadcast a series about the latest technology? No fine tuning is needed. TVB deserves a bit of criticism for sitting on this.

      6. @Truth , the one who can do no wrong in her eyes is Steven Ma. Plenty of evidence about how she’s gushing about him and SIAC in this forum. She’s biased just like any of us. Woe to you if she happens to dislike you or your drama.

      7. you talking to me? yes, not denying it unlike someone.

      8. What is there to deny? Steven Ma is awesome. I like him. I can have favourites. Like everyone else.

      9. Good to hear from the horse’s mouth that she’s biased like everyone else.

      10. Never said I am not biased. Stop worshipping me and putting me on a pedestal. I am normal human being just like you. I see nothing wrong in that.

    2. Agree with you anton.

      Funn, while I share your love for Ruco, you are one terrible writer who sounds like some angry teen rambling on and on about nonsense “dude”. You try so hard to dish out criticisms and make it seem like you are giving a well-rounded critique, when all you are doing is exposing the lack of substance therein. A pity really, when there are some decent writers on this site like Addy and Katrine who are so much more succinct with their writing.

      1. I am not defending anyone and only want a civil forum where the exchange of opinions and thoughts are accepted. Lodging attacks and criticizing a reviewer in a public forum where freedom of speech is encouraged is also the exact same thing you accused her of doing.

        It is Funn’s opinion and she chose to share her thoughts not out to persuade or smear anyone or anything in particular. If you disagree, then please state so and provide a constructive argument supporting your views. Though I may disagree with some of her points, I truly gained much from reading her reviews in the analysis of each character and plot summaries. Thank you Funn!

    3. I agreed no longer like her reviews but I glad she did notice this drama was 3 years ago,and understand some actor/actress acting might be raw

    4. I think its really terrible to say that many actor in this series have a bad acting. In my opinion they wouldn’t be cast to be in the series if they don’t have any acting quality. Beside isn’t easy to act. If you think all of them are bad then why don’t you just be the one who play all the role?

      1. ” If you think all of them are bad then why don’t you just be the one who play all the role?”


      2. Then do it, upload it, and let’s see how will you do better than a trained actor.

  2. p.s – the atf van they used is way too high profile .
    it should be an un marked vehicle . instead its
    brandishing ATF all over. cute.

      1. Imagine FBI . Same thing. And ATF is not about secrecy like sdu

      2. all hit team uses un marked vehicle. same goes to fbi.

  3. I really don’t like Aimee Chan. I am surprised that you keep writing about her Funn. Her series aren’t that great.

    1. I am writing for Ruco. Since she seems to be I the same series as he I really had not much of a choice.

      1. Ok then! I understand completely! Sorry if I was annoying.

  4. The ATF office’s security has some problem: how can Ron enter so easily by just following Aimee? I know he was suppose to go there to report his witness but the ATF group were discussing crime and actions right there in the main room Ron was there to discuss too!
    My first impression to the 1st episode is – CHOK!

    1. He was given clearance to enter. As for the van it is like FBI where name is everywhere.

  5. I can’t believe they stored this drama in the warehouse for two years… I really like this drama, it’s fast pace and not boring at all. Feels just like back in the early 2000’s.

    1. I agree too. Unbelievable they keeps in warehouse for so long. I was longing for this drama for so so long and always waiting for them to air. I think the reason why they warehouse this maybe b/c during the time Aimee/ Roco wasn’t that famous and they keeps putting this drama aside but not they kind of popular they aired it. Just my guess!!

      1. I agreed about not being as famous.I was also thinking maybe the ratings wasn’t going so well that they pushed other dramas out first.

  6. Some facts that may help viewers:
    This drama is loosely inspired by the Counter Terrorism Unit (according to Wikipedia) and that ATU is a fictional intelligence agency. To know more about the CTRU, you can read it here: http://www.police.gov.hk/offbeat/910/eng/n06.htm

    – The english translation of the title is Traitor and so if you watched the promo clips or trailer, you will note that someone will be betraying someone in the future (it was hinted in the trailer/promo clip).

  7. If this was filmed about 3 yrs ago, I don’t think TVB was “trying to emulate Boston Marathon bombing”. The bombing didn’t happen till 2013.

    1. She didn’t do her research. Talk about life imitating art, not the other way around.

  8. I think you should be careful with some of the sentences you wrote:

    – trying to emulate Boston Marathon bombing
    – Then came I believe CID or some dept telling Aimee and Ron to get lost but Aimee said this man died of anthrax and so possible terrorism and therefore ATF should be given information. ATF = Anti Terrorism Force and yeah I know, HK got terrorism meh?

  9. SERIOUSLY WHY IS RON NG SHARING THE END SONG WITH RUCO CHAN? That guy can’t even hold a note properly. Ruco Chan looked so bad ass and seem to rock better hairstyles here. I can’t believe this drama was put into the warehouse. Aimee’s role is so redundant. Almost similar to what she did in Forensic Heroes.

  10. This drama is very refreshing like the pairing of roco and ron!!!

  11. The first episode actually wasn’t bad. The suspense element was definitely there, though yes I agree that the acting was raw for the most part…story isn’t bad so far though. (Oh and Eddie might look old and a bit too tense, but still looking forward to his performance nonetheless — finally a ‘meaty’ role for him after so many forgettable roles the past few years).

    Also, two things that this series has going for it that Brother’s Keeper didn’t: 1) police crime thriller/action theme, which we all know has a certain appeal with audiences, and 2) ‘golden’ scriptwriter Ka Wai Nam helmed the script for this series (for those who may not know, he was one of the main scriptwriters for the Detective Investigation Files and Untraceable Evidence franchises back in the 90s) — ROE was actually the last series he wrote prior to leaving TVB (though he returned last year to write that Vinegar Lady series, but honestly, his modern series are way better than his ancient ones). Knowing Ka Wai Nam’s background, plus I’m ok with most of the cast (except Aimee and a few others), I’m willing to continue giving this series a chance (though I will say that it’s too bad KWN didn’t collaborate with producer Poon Ka Tak on this series, since they were the main team for DIF and AE…but I’ll settle for Amy Wong, since these types of grand productions are her specialty…)

    1. llwy12,
      The cases from Detective Investigation Files were ripped off from Japanese detective fiction, by authors such as Jiro Akagawa, which are translated into Chinese. The intricate details in DIV series really shine, but this is because they are adapted from published works.

  12. Eddie Kwan is so handsome there. He’s so manly.

    People need to learn to appreciate the hard work that everyone put into each series.

    1. I always appreciated Eddie Kwan’s acting and I agree 🙂

      Every drama is the result of teamwork with the behind the scenes and the artistes involved 🙂

    2. @Best: Agreed — in the first episode, I already started to see a bit of the Eddie I loved back in the 80s/early 90s…hopefully his role continues to be relatively prominent throughout the rest of the series (please, TVB — be nice to me for once…lol).

    3. Yes! I saw behind the scenes and Eddie really nailed the action scenes. Such a natural. Hehe

    4. i think Eddie’s good for this role; also Kenny Wong.

    1. That’s what I’m trying to tell viewers Tvb already started to promote her. She was the 2nd lead in burning flame III. Tvb already wants to promote her long before she date Moses. Ppl should stop saying she got lead roles after dating moses. Yes I agreed only one part she did get more drama dating moses.

    2. No. She was co-lead 3 years ago. But since Yoyo is no longer with TVB, Aimee got pushed to first lead. Same case in that series with Maggie. Aimee was pushed to first lead from supporting.

      Yes, TVB was already promoting Aimee, BUT it wasn’t all up in your face. Can’t deny that relationship with Moses helped secure her first lead status. It also doesn’t help when she has no acting chops.

  13. I don’t understand how Funn’s “episodic thoughts” can ever be unbiased? She’s just writing out her thoughts on the show.

    1. I can’t give a false positive comment if I don’t have one. Doing so will mislead readers and that is a lie. I write what and how I feel and what I think. Anything less than that, well, why don’t you write the positive aspects? Let’s start with…


      And if you want positive comments there is 1 place you can go to. Fan forum. There are rainbows and pots of gold there that you will love. Oh I just saw an unicorn strut by.

  14. agree with funn,in my opinion eddie kwan’s acting is too stiff he has always that stiffnes and tension on his face,he should act more relax in some scenes,like how damian lau did in lives of omission.

  15. my opinion is that this show just started today
    and it quite violent so i prefer to watch something
    else but when i watch it the following week i hope is not tooooo violent 🙂

  16. The acting of the leads were terrible. It’s not even over acting, just bad acting and too many of the shots looked unnatural.

    The best part of the episode is when one of the older actor/actresses speak.

    As for Ron’s acting, he was better in the Academy series. I hope the acting improves.

  17. so… does this drama deserves my 45min everyday or no? Because this review is not helping…

    1. Ignore the review! Just watch the first 5 episodes and then decide. Don’t let other’s opinions change your perception of a drama!

      1. I also agree with Katie. Not every drama is everyone’s cup of tea. And good/bad acting is really subjective as well.

        So give it a try 🙂

    2. Lily, I don’t know. This is not a review. It is a recap. I have no foresight into future episodes so I can’t say it is good or bad.

      Obviously there are new readers here who do not understand what is an episodic thought.

  18. Well I think all of their acting are great and there are so many improvement especially Ron. I don’t know why people always said his acting is bad but I’m definitely say that his a great actor.

  19. Idk about the ATF theme. I guess a typical TVB cop drama would do.

  20. Anybody watched ep 2 yet? Ruco totally owned this episode!!!! A must watch! Ruco jumping off a bridge 3 storeys high without a stunt double is definitely one of the highlights; also how he hung on to the undercarriage of the truck, omg, this man is the just too awesome. Also love the tender and cheeky moments <3 and who can resist Ruco sounding so sexy speaking English……drools……TVB, give this man the BA this year!

    1. Maybe I should skip episode 1 and just go straight to episode 2 for the hottie Ruco!!! Lol

      1. There are some exciting moments in ep 1 but not enough Ruco. Ep 2 has action, as well as tender and cheeky moments and features Ruco in almost every scene. Btw, in that bridge scene , he mentioned that the explosion occurred nearer to him than originally planned becos of the unexpected change of wind direction and he was not wearing any ear plugs; so when you see him clutching at his ears, he’s probably not pretending, poor guy!

      2. yes yes hot Ruco in a white singlet showing off perfectly toned arms <3

    2. Ruco shed 20 pounds during filming of this series, plenty of vigorous action sequences

  21. Please respect the opinions of others and choose your words wisely. Personal attacks or name calling do not help make a point. Please agree to disagree and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

  22. I think the comments on Funn’s marital status and the whole menopause thing is uncalled for, rude and mean. You may disagree with Funn or take issue with the way she reviews dramas, but using such language on a female reviewer is quite misogynistic and uncivil. So she or any other female writers cannot express their opinions, especially negative ones, without being menopausal or unmarried? So all women need a “man’s touch” to have ‘valid’ opinions?

    I don’t see you putting any effort in taking on her critique/comments point-by-point; instead, you are hurling personal attacks that are quite offensive to other women.

    1. BChan, Funn

      Agree, the rude comments and personal attacks against Funn have been deleted for this precise reason. Funn is just sharing her opinion and those disagreeing may express their opinions, but no need to take it to a personal level.

  23. I find it ironic that the commenter who wants more ‘positive’ reviews is generating such negativity. Calling someone “hag” or “spinster” is not playing a devil’s advocate, and your demeaning comments are not contributing anything useful to the discussion. Why don’t you try taking your ‘advocating’ in a more constructive direction, like actually listing all the things you disagree with Funn on, but minus the name calling and insinuations?

  24. I think I like the songless opening. If they use the bullet sequence again, some netizens would complain that it is repetitive.

  25. dear funn, seriously this is not what I expected to see when I commented at the very beginning. no hard feelings though.

  26. Like usual, don’t like ruco, never did and never will as I don’t see him attractive or charming in anyway/any roles, he’s much better off as a villan :/ don’t like Aimee either, or any lead, so I’ll pass.

    If you don’t like Finn’s review, don’t read. It takes time and effort to write a review, at least respect her time and effort to the point of keep criticism constructive rather than personal attacks.

    1. Do you like Ron? Ep 2 is exciting . Give it a try. Ruco may be misunderstood half villain in here?

    2. Like usual, I like Ruco, always do and always will. I see him as very attractive and charming and a solid actor who can handle many types of roles. Pl pass on this since you don’t like Ruco or Aimee, no point suffering to watch the drama since you don’t like them. There’re many other people who like them. They won’t miss you, rest assured.

  27. interesting review.
    but please, don’t be so harsh on Ron.

  28. Is “Ruse of Engagement” available “online” in HD/720p?

  29. Enjoyed ur review funn.. 🙂 at the part abt the plane..

    I realise they use alot more vulgarities in this show. In Le Escargot, alot of pple complained when michael miu used the word “pok [email protected]” on michael tse.. That was the first time i learnt of this vulgarity. I keep hearing it in this show..

    1. It’s not funny about the plane, pls respect the families of those missing people.

      1. “ou know how irrelevant this series is when 20 something countries with high tech stuff can’t even find a missing plane and here we have TVB’s idealised super high tech building and equipment that even analysed criminals by the probable matching of BONE STRUCTURE And I mean entire skeleto”

        Wow. 😐
        Seems like she’s making fun of the airplane incident.

      2. @daniella You got it all wrong. Funn was not making fun of the missing airplane. I think she’s saying we don’t live in such a high tech world as the way TVB portrays it to be.

  30. The MV was filmed when he was filming No Good Either Way in Jan 2012. Hence the curly hair..

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