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