[Review] “Black Heart White Soul” (By Funn)

By on September 3, 2014 in REVIEWS, TV Dramas

pic

Black Heart White Soul <忠奸人>
Hong Kong TVB Drama 2014

Producer: Amy Wong
Genre: Modern thriller

CAST

Roger Kwok as Matthew Ko Chit Hang
Kristal Tin as May Tam Mei Ching
Ron Ng as Cheung Lap Fan or “Funny Sir”
Louis Cheung as Marco Ma Kai Yuen
Waise Lee as Henry To Yee Hang
Leanne Li as Scarlet Sze Ka Kei
Kiki Sheung as Sin Wai Ying
Lisa Lau as Gillian To Cheuk Chi
Vivien Yeo as Icy Yeung Man Bing
May Chan as Lau Miu
Jason Chan as Alvis Yung Chi Chung
Matt Yeung as Lau Yim

Derek Wong as Benjamin Ko Chit Ming

TITLE DECIPHERED

Chinese title is 忠奸人 which is a pun to the word Middle Person. Except here it is literally “Good Bad Person”. Love the title. English title also rather good except at the end of the day no one is ever Black Heart White Soul. Plenty of black hearts, no white souls.

SUMMARY

Thanks to Wikipedia.

This series will talk about the “grey area” of humans, that there is no absolute “good” or “bad”.

MY POSTS

Did some short comments on this series here at http://www.point2e.com/2014/07/o-black-heart-white-soul-tvb2014.html

COMMENTS

At the end of this series I arrived at one conclusion about this series; I liked none of the characters because none of them are likable for some reason. This is not a series where you have cute cuddly characters with cute silly nicknames, except for Funny Sir. But nothing about him is ever Funny. This is not a series about redemption even if at first I thought it probably is about the bad dude in wheelchair playing nice at the end because he is really really really sorry. No one is ever really sorry or remorseful of anything in this series. No one is ever really happy either. This is a series about misery and how everyone is miserable in the end, except for one man but his is a sort of twisted happiness.

You can say this is one of TVB’s best series for 2014. It also is one of the best for many many years if looked as a whole. However it is also one of the most confusing and inconsistent series ever. It started well, towards the middle it went insane when the original story was done with, it had to take a new direction without abandoning the original story but it ended with a bang. The deaths were mostly justified although I will say the deaths were spectacularly done. I can’t complain about that. The end for those who remain alive is aptly miserable and subdued. The very last scene to me will remain as one of the most major revelation in TVB’s TV history and will be one many fans will debate and argue eventhough it is rather clear and non debatable. Or rather you will debate about unseen characters who will be directly affected by that ending we see. There were some happy endings for some minor characters who had a major role to play, or some forgotten ending for some but mostly I do feel this is one series where the ending is pretty clear for all even if it is like I said may be debated for a while.

So what is this story about? A legal drama? A cop drama? A mole drama? Nope. It is a drama about being human and the flaws that defines us.

MATT THE CHARACTER

Black Heart White Soul Roger Kwok Kristal Tin 3None defines those than the main character, Matt who is in a wheelchair. Usually when we see a character on TV in a wheelchair, he is one we view with sympathy and in TVB world, usually the nice sweet one. At first that’s what we thought Matt is until the first revelation is exposed; his true colours are not as simple as we think he is. Even then as a viewer who is quite emotionally invested in this story, I thought perhaps he can be redeemed. But as the series progresses, I realise the story is not keen on redeeming Matt; it in fact vilifies Matt and exposes him not just as a pretentious bastard, but a pretentious bastard with selfish intentions whose first and foremost interest is his own interest. To Matt, it is always what have I got to gain from all these? First it was money for surgery to his legs. For that he sacrificed an innocent woman’s liberty.  Then it was for career and for that he sacrificed a really sincere man who wanted to atone for what he did wrong and to be Matt’s friend. Then it was for love and for that he sacrificed everybody else, even if most deserved it. At the end it was for forgiveness, which in itself is a giving act but when it comes to Matt, it was not an act of selflessness but an act of utter selfishness and for that he sacrificed his own life, liberty and freedom. A heavy price to pay but he calculated it, he planned it, he thought about every move like a shrewd chess player and in the end he deduced he has more to gain than to lose. Even at the end Matt is a very calculative man, flawed and nothing likable. Can he be pitied? At times I do whenever he is being compared to the bigger villain and is proclaimed to be the worst of the lot. He wasn’t. Yes he is manipulative, he uses love and friendship so perhaps that made him the biggest villain of all but he didn’t kill. He never directly harmed another to be more precise. I never liked him, at times I try to feel for him and every time I almost succeed, there is another reason to dislike him. But I never hated Matt. It was never enough to hate him. In fact there were times I feel he indirectly helped the people he supposedly hurt.

For example, May his wife. He was the reason she was convicted of a crime she did not commit although he is not the reason she was arrested in the first place. And yet if without Matt, this silly May will still be chasing after bad guys and will eventually end up in prison some way of another. She seems so immature to me at first I felt prison matured her into a better more sensible person. In part it was due to Matt’s encouragement, however insincere he may be, whatever he did May changed for the better.

Another example is Ming his own brother. Ming was imprisoned for a crime he did commit but it was entrapment from Matt. Ming was told by May that Matt was the reason, instead of anger, Ming reasoned whatever it may be, Matt helped him appeal his conviction and in a way if he was never greedy he would never have been caught in the first place. After being caught he reasoned he became a better man.

I know it is twisted logic but somehow Matt did the right thing but he did them with the bad intentions.

Another example is the issue of Scarlet, another silly woman and the violent numero uno villain, To Yee Hang. May finds it disgusting that Matt manipulated and encouraged Scarlet to kill To Yee Hang when frankly, Scarlett didn’t need any encouragement at all. That woman was stupid in the first place. I feel by wanting to kill To this Scarlet is doing the world a huge favour.

Same goes for Matt killing Lau Yim. Everyone blamed Matt for stabbing Lau Yim in the neck when everyone seems to forget Lau Yim was strangling Matt in the first place. It was part self defence part murder but the world is better off without a violent criminal like Lau Yim who killed without reason nor remorse. He even enjoyed killing people, such as throwing the fainted Sap Chai off a building, quite literally. No one remembered that but they all piled on the guilt on Matt for killing Lau Yim, which made absolutely no sense.

Unless of course you’re talking about absolute black and white situations. For a series that is all about the grey, towards the end there is an insane need to justify everything in black and white matter. That is why I feel for Matt when he tearfully and frustratingly cried when May betrayed him as May said she did it because he was wrong, but to Matt, whatever he was doing was to protect her and for his own gain and there is no absolute right or wrong but in this cruel world, it is only me, myself and I. Sounds selfish but in that instance, I agree with Matt. This series almost destroyed itself when it needed to be right, wrong, black, white about everything. But the last scene proved otherwise and that is to me an apt ending which is why the English title is sort of on point.

Matt is the driving force of this series but other characters had almost equal billing in terms if interest and impact.

HIS ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Woahhhhhhh!!! Cooooool!

He will die, eventually since his kidney’s done for. He needs dialysis. But he will die a very happy man in prison because he confesses all his crimes, got himself probably decades and will die in prison but he atones his image before May who will be bound by either guilt or pity or love or all to spend the rest of HIS days to visit him in prison. Problem is he didn’t really genuinely atone for his sins. He faked his atonement to gain May’s pity because what Matt wants, he will manipulate, he will cheat, he will beg, he will pretend, he will confess all crime, he will sacrifice his life to get what he wants. And he wants May’s attention and in throwing away everything, he in the end won what he wants and so to me, Matt is the happiest person in this series in the end. Poor May.

ROGER THE ACTOR

I made an observation earlier on on how this series was gonna depict Matt, will there be car chase scene, foot chase scene, etc etc when I kinda realise you know, all these were impossible.

Black Heart White Soul Roger Kwok Ron NgHis disability was supposed to be the driving force of Matt’s nature but frankly I have never seen such a mobile disabled person which is positive to see but not much impact for the series. Towards the middle, Matt could have been fully able bodied instead of disabled, it made no difference. That doesn’t mean Roger was terrible. Quite the contrary, Roger was masterful. Ok, so the legs moved, didn’t seem heavy or dead weight enough, he was super agile for a person whose legs can’t move, rather OTT in some scenes (especially his evil stare and sneer which reminded me of Tavia Yeung’s awful evil look in Beyond The Realm Of Conscious.. sorry… Conscience) BUT his best scenes, all towards the end and in that scene where May confronted him to tell him she had betrayed him and he cried out in frustration.. those scenes showed why Roger is one of the acting kings of TVB. Some other actors may be able to act as well in this role without going overboard but Roger did an amazing job. He was willing to go so low for this character, I applaud him.

ALTERNATE CHOICE

Ruco Chan is my other choice for this role just so to match Ron Ng in age. Roger is arguably and admittedly too old but perhaps maybe Matt and Funny aren’t supposed to be matching in age anyway. Frankly I do not know. However I do not know if Ruco could go as low as Roger did, even as a villain Ruco manages to be the desperate hero these days whilst Matt isn’t supposed to be pitied or admired. In that sense Roger is to me the only choice for his ability to make the character so despicable.

FUNNY SIR THE CHARACTER

Black Heart White Soul Ron Ng 5Funny Sir almost had  a point to justify his extreme hatred and determination to catch Matt for his crimes. Almost until he went too butt hurt for me. It was almost vengeful, vendetta sort of butt hurt because Matt used him, he almost had Funny killed, etc etc. I get it that Matt is terrible, Funny is angry but the most infuriating thing about Funny is, he thinks he is always right even when he is as ruthless and at times as terrible as Matt. He drove his girlfriend to almost madness and depression, he married someone he love for the reason to get close to her dad to investigate her dad, he had a part in causing her to lie in a vegetative state at the end, he caused his own mother’s death, he reasoned Matt was worse than To which was pure stupidity in my opinion (for one Matt never executed his own wife point blank without remorse), he used May to make sure Matt continue to go his criminal ways just so he can catch Matt later. I know he is supposed to be a righteous character but I do get a feeling towards the end he was supposed to be so out of his mind with vengeance he has lost his way until his mom died and in a moment of clarity he became the straight as an arrow cop again. Problem is I still hated Funny because I find him unjustly in his accusations and a hypocrite in justifying his actions. I am not sure am I supposed to hate Funny but like one commenter said some time ago about Ron in Ruse Of Engagement, he always manages to star in a character that “stops the world from spinning” sort.

HIS ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Blahhhhhh!!!

Doesn’t die, not maimed, lives to tell the tale. Skeptical over Matt’s supposed atonement but still friends with May. And he will be the richest of them all. Why? To Yee Hang dies without a Will, Scarlet the wife dies, Gillian the daughter in persistent vegetative state and may die and so in the end all passes to the son in law, Funny Sir!

So unfair.

RON NG THE ACTOR

Poor Ron Ng. He somehow could make Funny so annoying or maybe on paper Funny is a funny sort of character, in a bad way. I will say this series is perhaps Ron Ng’s best dramatic role, because I see more than bored stoned out look on his face. He could look angry stoned out, sad stoned out, etc etc. In this role he cried, he shouted, he teased, everything in one role. His best moments were the buddy-buddy moment, his worst will be his dramatic moments, but that being said, Ron Ng gave his best in here. He is not the worst actor in this series, and to me this is one of if not Ron Ng’s finest eventhough I will say he was better in Triumph In The Skies II BUT Isaac is way classier than Funny. But you gotta give him props for looking admirable even when being called Funny Sir at the most dramatic moments in this series. As for his Funny, I don’t know, could it be the Ron Ng curse that every dramatic character he plays always ends up being so “stops the world from spinning”?

MARCO MA THE CHARACTER

Marco Ma is the villain with a heart in here. His downfall is he is not as ruthless and self serving as Matt, not as manipulative and evil as To, not as carefree as a villain as Lau Yim and fell for the wrong woman that is Scarlet. Basically he is this series 2nd most pitiful character. I really do feel for this man.

HIS ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Nooooooo!!!!!!!

Tried to kill himself after that Scarlet woman was a super bitch to him but he didn’t die, had me guessing was he or was he not but in the end confirmed he was indeed crazy due to the impact of the water thing in the car thing in the river thing. And he remains so at the end and for me, 2nd happiest character in this series since he forgot his misery.

LOUIS CHEUNG THE ACTOR

Black Heart White Soul Louis CheungFast becoming one of my most favourite actor in TVB. I don’t know what is it about him. He is not very good looking, he is not very tall, he is not even considered dashing but I can’t stop looking at him. He wears those Bosco silly looking costumes and guess what? He wears them so much better! Bosco looks like hobo, Louis looks like a rich guy. His character reminds me of Bosco’s in Ultimate Addiction and Louis was more convincing as a rich guy who has a secret. This man has serious acting chops, serious singing chops, serious dancing chops and he has a great speaking voice and very expressive eyes. And he does kissing scenes too without complaining. He made Marco Ma memorable and manages to maintain his dignity and in some ways his humanity, thus making Marco Ma the reluctant villain and the least despicable amongst the men in this series. He is the actor to look out for.

TO YEE HANG THE CHARACTER

There must be some irony that the character is a bald benign looking guy who loves his daughter the most and he turns out to be a rapist, an abuser, a violent wife beater, a murderer who does not get his hands dirty except in the end, a control freak and a dirty businessman all rolled into one. Villain of the year? Perhaps because he is to me the ultimate villain. There are some inconsistency of course, like  how again and again TVB never ever depicts a decent legal aspect in a drama, many of them revolving To Yee Hang but on the dramatic scale, this is one character you will be scared of and wanna smack as well. By the way I don’t quite like how rich people are depicted. Surely there must be some nice kind hearted not very control freak rich person out there somewhere? This series tells me all rich successful people are bad people.

HIS ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Perfect!!!!

Seriously, no TVB drama has ever ended a villain’s life as satisfying as this series. First he ran away and off into the streets, turned back to smirk and suddenly WHAM! Got hit by a car and his back hit the stationary lorry when the same car that hit him got knocked at the bumper by a car that couldn’t stop in time and so our villain was now knocked a second time and pinned between the car and the lorry. What could have made it ultimate death will be his prolonged death like blood oozing out of his mouth and he tried to move his mouth to speak but couldn’t and then slowly die a painful death. But one can’t complain too much. I will take this death as it is.

WAISE LEE THE ACTOR

I am however not convinced with the acting, maybe he looks too nice, you know. Maybe that’s the point. In retrospect, maybe he wasn’t egoistical looking enough, not angry enough, not control freak enough but in a way it was a competent performance by a veteran. Perhaps if he had been too this or too that he would have been a caricature because towards the end To Yee Hang was in the danger zone of being a caricature. Therefore, good performance.

LAU YIM THE CHARACTER

He has got to be the coolest most heartless villain ever, and yet this very same heartless villain put above all else the value of friendship. He was Marco’s henchman and friend from prison and even when Marco betrayed him, he lied for Marco. I don’t know; this cruel evil man threw Sap Chai down a building simply because he could and he betrays May his lover and also beats up his sister and yet I admired his sense of brotherhood. Strange.

HIS ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Great but too short!!

Matt struggled with Lau Yim who was strangling Matt when Matt took out a swiss knife and plunge it into his neck. And that is how Lau Yim aka Ah Fo perished. Need more blood.

MATT YEUNG THE ACTOR

Since Matt Yeung is mostly expressionless but cool, this character suited him perfectly. No complaints although at first when the series started he was this super cool gangsta who robbed a designer bag store, I was like what? Poor gangsta issit? Rob a store? Of course that was before the whole story started.

NG SHING YEE THE CHARACTER

Aka Sap Chai. The most pitiful and perhaps the most blameless character even if he was flawed. He got set up from the get go and his ending was so sad and very very dramatic.

HIS ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Off the roof and puns intended!

Seriously, he was knocked unconscious and then Lau Yim carried him and threw him down the roof and we even get to see his body hit the floor. Very very dramatic and shocking, perhaps so shocking everyone watching with me gasped loudly. Now THAT is dramatic!

DAVID TO THE ACTOR

I did not realise this was the young actor playing Anne Heung’s dark skinned son in Love Is Beautiful until Kidd reminded me and my god, now I remember. He looks the same. Excellent performance. He does look like a man in desperation, very scared, etc even if at times I feel too much scenes of him acting like a coward. The thing is his Sap Chai never really became brave and I suppose that is why this series rock. Not one character becomes the hero of the day but all of them are flawed.

MAY THE CHARACTER

Black Heart White Soul Kristal Tin 2Started out intriguing, the middle sort of disappear from the story and then came back into the storyline. I feel her story is not standalone; hers is to serve the purpose of Matt’s story. Maybe to show that he has a loving side even if we viewers like May at the end finds out and accept the harsh truth; you can’t love someone who proclaim to love you the most and yet treat everyone like shit. You can’t ignore that. And Matt loves only himself at the end of the day, even if he wanted to sacrifice his own life for May, he did it because he knew he would look good in front of May and not out of the goodness of his heart. Which is realistic. I however ended up disliking May because I feel this series tries too hard to be black and white with characters. May is like a complete canvas where you can see everything, guess everything. The moment she found out Matt was responsible in part for her imprisonment, she broke up with him. When she saw the youtube video, she reconciled. When she was told by Miu Miu Matt seems to be the bad guy in disguise as the good guy, for a moment she hesitated and yet she went on to investigate him. In the end she betrayed him when she knew he did a lot of bad things (which to me isn’t that bad to justify the betrayal). However as justice would have it (yes, justice because she needs to suffer too) she will probably bind herself to Matt when she finds out Matt confesses to everything and is dying, thinking he truly repents when he doesn’t. What I would have love to see is May being hopelessly devoted to Matt. When she first found out about the prison thing, I would have hoped that she buried it deep inside her, forgive Matt and move on because by that time Matt was the man who in more ways than one encouraged her and changed her for the better. Prison was actually better for her. Then I was hoping it would fester, create a fake lull until she finds out about Ah Fo’s death BUT even then she shouldn’t have been angry. Ah Fo was violent criminal, she should understand. But it should be Ming’s incarceration that should open her eyes and in the end she will come to a natural and sad conclusion the man she loved never was that man at all. Hence the betrayal which would justify the tears, the anger, the disappointment. Come on! You got on with a guy who took money to put an innocent woman into jail, how much worse can he be than that and yet you still got on with him. Surely everything else wasn’t as worse. I feel May was badly fleshed out. I didn’t feel for her because I feel she knew what she was getting; in fact when she betrayed Matt I thought she was more despicable. After all by that time we knew Matt did everything for her and frankly his crimes are more white collar than murder and stuff.

KRISTAL TIN THE ACTRESS

At first glance, a total and absolute miscast. She is too old for this role and she is not pretty enough because since May is pursued by quite a few, one would assume she is pretty and also because she is so idealistic and into romance with bad boys, one would assume young, maybe mid 20s at most. However her face suits when it comes the “strong on the outside, very weak on the inside”. Kristal always gives me an impression she is a very independent strong woman. May shows the same aspect but when things fall apart, she crumbles and falls down hard. That is where again she is back to being a miscast. I am not convinced by her performance. It doesn’t help she looks the same and dresses the same like in No Good Either Way except I like her more there and I do here. I also find the character not very well written so Kristal is basically given a weak character to play and she disappears from the screen and from the story, as if she is not the leading character next to Roger and Ron. Not her best work, not even memorable in that sense.

ALTERNATE CHOICE

If Charmaine was younger, I will say Charmaine Sheh. Now, ok you can go “WHAT?!” but I will say Aimee Chan but she is not very believable as someone not very educated but she has this youthful look, before the baby came along. Selena Li can play the bad girl turned desperate girl turned dutiful girlfriend turned angry girlfriend but I can’t stand the way she speaks. So… at the end of the day I will say Linda Chung because this can be rather similar to her excellent and best role in A Journey Called Life. However the role can also be adapted to a Mainland China character working and living in HK so that will widen the pool of actresses.

SCARLET THE CHARACTER

One despicable woman. I should have guessed she would be such when she started the affair with Marco. On a scale of selfishness, she matches Matt but the difference is Matt is selfish but tries hard not to hurt his beloved whilst Scarlet is selfish and she has no problem walking over Marco’s dead body.

HER ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Bull’s eye!

I don’t condone domestic violence and I felt pity when she was abused, raped, bullied by To Yee Hang. But when she from victim became the aggressor, and in light of poor Marco, I didn’t care. She deserved the beatings. Quite simply because she crawled on all fours back to him. She had a chance to run away with Marco and enjoy riches, live a good life in South America. Imagine; samba in Brazil, tango here, flamenco there but she said she wanted revenge. Revenge my foot! She wanted more money and status and name and fame which only To Yee Hang can give. No pity for her. She asked for it. Her ending as well even if To Yee Hang did it in a cold blooded way, again no pity for her.

LEANNE LI THE ACTRESS

Black Heart White Soul 5A very prominent role for her, in fact she sometimes have more screen time and more story than Kristal Tin. Was she good? Ok lar. She is not the best actress around. She still speaks haltingly, and breathing heavily. Fans seem to praise her that she has improved. Yeah, she improved but she wasn’t great. Competent is the word but she does do the “fidgeting” aspect perfectly. Poor girl though; had to wear ballet slippers the whole time even when in revealing tight gowns that benefits from super high 6 inches monster heels.

One thing I must comment on. Remember all those 2 second rape scenes by prominent actresses which became the selling point of the series? And yet here is Leanne, filming a rather graphic scene (by TVB’s standard) of her being forced by Waise’s character. It was a long scene complete with visuals and sounds and some inter cut scenes with Louis and back to her and the guy on top of her looking very very in distress. And yet not one word on this in English news site, not that I know of. Anyway whatever pity I felt for her kinda eroded in the next few episodes in this series’ attempt to vilify almost every character in some ways.

GILLIAN THE CHARACTER

Quite a pitiful character; deceived by her father whom she sees as a saint, betrayed by her husband whom she loves very much, despised by a mother in law she respected, hated by her own stepmother. And she has no friends. She is always alone. She is highly educated, very nice, very kind hearted to the point she can hurt people with her kindness (Sap Chai for example) and elegant in her educated rich girl kinda way. Pampered but not arrogant and never self centred. She is the perfect daughter that one could hardly believe To Yee Hang managed to give birth to. However she is also too much rainbows and ponies in her mind; too idealistic, too trusting and too mollycoddled that she can’t face the truth of whatever is the truth. In the end one question is answered; she chose her father. Even when confronted with her father’s criminal activities, she chose to run to her father and expose her husband. I think by that time she was already half mad. Blame Funny.

HER ENDING’S DRAMATIC SCALE

Bone crushing!

Poor poor girl. She was accidentally pushed by her father who was struggling against Funny when she fell head first. I thought she broke her neck. Nope, she just never woke up from her coma. No happy ending for her. Blame who? Funny!

LISA THE ACTRESS

Black Heart White Soul Lisa LauSometimes Jillian, sometimes Julian, sometimes G-lee-en (not as bad as Triumph In The Skies‘ Zoe), I do not know this actress. At very first glance I knew she had major work done to her face. If you think why Funn should you concentrate on her looks when acting skills should matter, well TV is something you watch, meaning you see. I can’t help it; if actresses go to a cheapskate plastic surgeon or did extensive facial work, I am bound to notice it. I can’t ignore it. I googled her original face and she did her eyes, her nose and not sure what else. Her makeup doesn’t help. Her hair which was long at first is a wig but I question if her short hair is also a wig. She looks like this Mainland Chinese actress, Sun Fei Fei whose face is pretty but is so plastic she could hardly emote anything. Lisa is still young, her work is a lot but not enough to kill the muscle on her face, so yes, there’s quite a lot of emoting. But I can’t help it; she looks so plain weird, it is just embarrassing to watch. The surgeon did a terrible job. That being said, the pity is this girl has serious acting chops. She can act! True! She can! I mean she was more than competent. But her face, I just can’t get over her face. It was scary, like one scene she suddenly appeared to catch Ron going through Waise’s stuff. She looked very very scary.

OTHER CHARACTERS & PERFORMANCES

Miu Miu is annoying like hell. But the actress May Chan is good. I know the voice is annoying with the babytalk voice but I do think it was deliberate. But yes I agree, I wanted her to just shut up. Strangely though, Miu Miu is the character with the voice of reason many times over.

Becky Lee is Denise pronounced as Dennis. Poor girl, forever the unwanted unloved one to the hero, in this case Marco Ma. If Marco had married Denise, all would have been perfect. Denise is a loyal friend and lover, she never betrayed Marco and even till the end she would visit Marco. Becky the actress did a very good job. I enjoyed her performance even if she looked very very very sad with too much lip gloss.

Madam Sinn is another interesting character that fades in and out of the story that at times she seems pointless. Kiki Sheung did well as the stern but loving mother. Her scenes with Ron are very good to watch and Ron always does well when with a veteran. As if he suddenly feel “Eh I gotta do better in this scene because it’s Kiki Sheung man!!!”. That sort.

Can you believe Jason Chan has a role in here? Yeap! As a hot shot young lawyer named Alvis. Seriously, this man is good looking, he speaks good English with an English accent, and when he doesn’t talk, when he just stand there and do nothing, say nothing and just smirk, he really looks the part. But then he had to speak. He is TVB’s worst siu sang and yet he would have been perfectly cast as Tony Hung’s character in Rear Mirror with all the fidgeting and the unsureness in his speech. Pity he is often cast as someone so very confident in himself and yet I feel he doesn’t have that.

Not sure who is the actor who plays the bad cop who laid a trap for Sap Chai and his gun. He was thrown into the sea and drowned though I am not sure if it was on Marco’s order or the boat people wanted his money and threw him into the sea. Looks the part, plays the part well.

I don’t know who is the actor portraying Kwong King Cheong but I will bet his character’s name is the most spoken of character apart from Hung Kwok Tung because the series started with these 2 characters. His character is also one of the few surprises in this series; he had nothing to do with Hung Kwok Tung’s death or even Sap Chai’s death. Funny never seem to declare this gangster as “worse than To Yee Hang” despite the fact that he was head honcho for Marco then Matt then To then Scarlet and then himself. And he has the happiest ending next to Matt; he got away with ALL his crimes because no one seems to be arresting or investigating him. The actor did fantastically well. He really looked like his character.

The actor who portrayed Hung Kwok Tung is the catalyst of this series and yet I do not know his name nor can I comment on his performance since he has so few scenes. But his death was dramatic.

SOME NITPICKING

The PP Vs May case is strange. I mean the arguments were well put forward; Roger did well and presented well and they were all logical. But the downfall for the case which is the fingerprints is also the downfall of the logic. Fingerprints on the bags is easily explained; she works there, she must have touched the bag. Why she kept the bag can also be explained; she panicked. She didn’t have criminal record so she is not a seasoned criminal. Her reaction is expected. Why she told no one can also be explained. Ah Fo is her boyfriend, he is a violent man, if she tells he might kill her or maybe she loves him too much to betray him. The fingerprints on the necklace which was given by Hung Kwok Tung to his fiance/wife is harder to explain; but no one can say when Hung showed the necklace to his fiance/wife, May did not touch it in admiration or something. Doubt can be cast. It doesn’t make sense at all in that sense.

VERDICT

Very good entertainment, very good series, well written for some characters, very well acted generally and for the first time, a series with a proper end for every character. The ending is one that I really really like. I like how bold it is, how controversial it can be and how in the end the anti hero never became the hero. He remained the anti hero or rather the villain. Now that is bold writing. Sadly the others had to be black or white which is disappointing but illustrates how frustrating for a man like Matt who lives in the real world whilst the rest lives in their la la land. This is a series populated by villains, so I am sure you will find one to hate, one to pity and one to like. My bet is hate To Yee Hang, pity Matt at some point and like Marco Ma.

A must watch because even if it just a decent series, it is a very good decent series.

This review is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at www.point2e.com.

48 comments to [Review] “Black Heart White Soul” (By Funn)

  1. charbydis says:

    Hung Kwok Tung was Glenn Lee i think (from “Come Home Love”), and Kwong King Cheong was Gu Goon Chung, who is famous as Hero Wan Fei Yeung in the old ATV series”Reincarnated” after Norman Tsui ran away halfway through filming.

    Login or Register before you can reply to charbydis
    • Funn Lim replied:

      Ran away halfway through filming??

      Anyway thanks for the names. These 2 are the most talked about in this series from day 1 till last. That one scene where Kwong King Cheong has a son, that actor looks exactly like the older actor that I thought could he be this actor’s son??

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
      • Charbydis replied:

        There are two views to the “Reincarnated” incident with Norman Tsui storming off set.

        ATV’s version was that Norman Tsui kept on coming to set late or drunk. They had to change the script late minute to say that Norman’s character had cocoon silk stuck on his face as consequences of learning the top martial arts so ATV got a stuntman to stand in for him wearing a mask for about 10 eps.

        Eventually, ATV management got fed up with Norman and they had a spat in the make-up room so Norman stormed out of ATV with his ancient wig. so ATV changed the script to the character having a new face after his mask came off and Gu Goon Chung was asked to replace Norman.

        Now Norman’s version of events was that because of ATV’s habit of filming ten initial episodes for broadcasting, then filming the rest as it was shown to appease viewer’s criticism. This causes filming to be very rushed and scripts were being changed at the last minute.

        Norman was very stressed and need to drunk and take sleeping tablets to relax. He only found out after the replacement when he want to work so he left when he was asked to.

        Both versions have some credibility and it was a mystery for ages. The scriptwriters did so well that everyone thought that the plot was supposed to happen that way. A similar switch was done when Lau Wing had to run away after disfiguring his wife after filming ten eps of “Empress Wu” and ATV had to replace him to Savio Tsang.

        Norman and ATV have since reconciled and they have a great relationship over many series. And Norman has always refused TVB’s invitation to film for them and has stuck by ATV even in its recent down times.

        Login or Register before you can reply to Charbydis
  2. mito says:

    Best wtf series in recent years.

    I hate Funny Sir the most.

    Hong Ngan Wo Sui.

    Matt loves the wrong girl as well. Got betrayed.
    Funny Sir. Got betrayed as well but he is going to be super rich.
    Louis. Got betrayed as well.
    To Yee Hang. Got betrayed by Scarlet.

    Sap Cai. Loves the wrong girl that has physco dad. Winded up dead.

    Only Matt brother and Madam not involved in any romance relationship.

    Login or Register before you can reply to mito
    • Tofu_rice replied:

      Mito – good assessment ! It really only takes one sentence to summarize the main theme that runs throughout the entire series – hong ngan wor sui!

      Login or Register before you can reply to Tofu_rice
      • mito replied:

        Thanks. I look it that way.

        It is good series. Heck, even Ron was watchable. Except Ron wife, she is okay but she does feel weird.

        Login or Register before you can reply to mito
    • Funn Lim replied:

      But Matt betrayed her first. What goes around comes around.

      Funny Sir betrayed, maybe. The woman was already crazy. he betrayed her in a way too.

      Louis… agree.

      To yee Hang? Betrayed? Well he got his revenge didn’t he? Then she in her grave got her revenge.

      Sap Cai died not because of psyco dad. He died because of Ah Fo who has nothing to do with psycho dad.

      What about poor poor Denise? For the rest of her life she will have to watch crazy MArco going crazy over a woman who does not deserve him.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
      • mito replied:

        Yup for Matt. But still.

        I did miss the part where To yee hang wife beater before Louis right? To yee hang was plain and simple bad characters with no remorse and any good.

        Sap Cai downfall begins he fall in love with Crazy girl.

        Denise was sad. By the way, does anyone feel that she is kind of OL hotness?

        Nice review.

        Login or Register before you can reply to mito
  3. miriamfanz says:

    The PP vs May case… you’re forgetting Roger was deliberately trying to lose the case. He could have made all those arguments that you pointed out, but he didn’t on purpose.

    Login or Register before you can reply to miriamfanz
    • Funn Lim replied:

      I do get your point but there must be a better way to lose the case. The judge or even the prosecutor may even suspect Matt deliberately throwing away his own case!

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
  4. Kiki says:

    Gillian the actress was horrible. The actress looks to plastic. I can’t concentrate on her acting at all 🙁

    Login or Register before you can reply to Kiki
  5. bloom says:

    I have not finished reading the above written by Funn Lim. Thanks so much, you’re fantastic, I wont be able to write so well like what you did. Thumb up and thanks 🙂

    Login or Register before you can reply to bloom
  6. kolo says:

    agree that BHWS is best serie so far in recent years,but it will soon be defeated by line walker i think. im not addicted to a tvb serie in years like this one.

    Login or Register before you can reply to kolo
    • Funn Lim replied:

      I am annoyed with line walker with the cutesy music and cutesy moments at the most inappropriate time.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
      • jj replied:

        And don’t forget cheesy and overused slow-mo at inapprporiate time. Other than that, Line Walker is pretty decent thus far.

        Login or Register before you can reply to jj
      • Funn Lim replied:

        Very decent. Imagine if Tony Leung actually partake in this… ahhhh… but then you don’t pay Charmaine and Raymond so much and not have them do many many things even if it hurts the flow of the story.

        But isn’t it funny; highest population of undercover cops in one single triad. The likelihood of UCs falling for cops is 100% in HK! Too many cops!

        Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
      • jj replied:

        I would take Tony over Raymond any time! Though, Raymond and Charmaine scenes are entertaining thus far. I like their chemistry. I just hope Raymond keep this “small potato” acting until the end because I hate his “big boss” emo/chok acting in their first chase scene in eps 1. I hate it when he talks soft and depressing. I can barely hear him! So annoying lol.

        Not just in one UC, majority of them are going for the same boss (Benz). I guess out of the whole triad, only Benz is gangster and evil enough for them to only focus and send all their UCs after him lol. If my guess is correct, he’ll end up with 4 of the 5 UCs working under him.

        Login or Register before you can reply to jj
      • SD replied:

        I’m glad they gave Benz Hui a bigger role finally, it’s about time people who can act get some more spotlight. Too much emphasis on looks these days, its nice to see some of my favorite 3rd line or support roles getting beefy roles and outshining the leads. Hopefully this leads back to a recovery period where acting takes priority over looks, it really brings a character to life when the actor/actress has more available tools and experience to back up their trade.

        Login or Register before you can reply to SD
  7. niko says:

    I couldn’t continue watching this series cause of Lisa Lau’s face. It looks so weird! Can’t stand her being the main character that I would have to see a lot. As soon as she appeared on screen, I noped out of there.

    Login or Register before you can reply to niko
  8. KingMa says:

    what guys think about Vivien Yeo? was she good? alright?

    Login or Register before you can reply to KingMa
    • MW replied:

      I think Vivien Yeo is pretty. But, her accent seems to get in the way. In BHWS, her character seems to have faded away. Her performance did not make her stand out.

      Login or Register before you can reply to MW
    • Funn Lim replied:

      Improved a lot since debut. I thought she was 2nd lead until Lisa appeared. I wished she was in Lisa’s role although Vivien makes a convincing cop.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
  9. Steph says:

    I wouldn’t say this was one of my favourite dramas, but for one where none of the characters are likable, it was pretty good for me. I admit, I usually have to like the protagonist to enjoy the drama.

    I don’t think Roger can pull off the evil glares and smirks, but his friendly face actually works for his character since for most of the drama no one knows how manipulative he is. When he doesn’t go over the top he can look pretty chilling though.

    I agree that Matt isn’t as evil as To Yee Hang, but in a way he is worse because he doesn’t see anything wrong in what he does. I guess that is the theme of the drama; is he “bad” if he is doing it for the “good” of the ones he loves? The line is clear for me though so I don’t feel pity for Matt. The scene near the end when he’s crying and saying how he “cannot accept” the fact that May betrayed him completely displays his flawed logic, because he begs May to forgive him for framing her for a crime she did not commit, yet does not understand why she would turn him in for a crime he did commit. Although since May did choose to forgive him initially (WHY? HOW?) I guess it was more of a betrayal. But it was the only evidence she had of any of his crimes.

    I don’t blame Funny for making Gillian crazy, but I skipped a couple episodes so maybe I missed something. Gillian always annoyed me, not just her face (my sister describes her face as puffed up but flat at the same time) but also her actions. From my understanding, she didn’t believe that her father committed any crimes so was offended that Funny would investigate him, but went crazy when Funny tried to keep his distance so that he wouldn’t hurt her as much when he arrests her father. Then she practically forces Funny to marry her. And in the end when she catches Funny in her father’s study, her reaction was not a confused or innocent, “what in the world could you possibly be doing”, but more of a “why are you trying to get evidence of my father’s crimes”. She is supposed to be a well educated sophisticated girl, but when it came to Funny she became a pathetic clingy girlfriend. Yet in the end she chose her father over him, which led to her own demise.

    Louis Cheung as Marco was great. To Yee Hang’s dramatic death was very fitting. And I agree, that graphic scene with Scarlet and To Yee Hang deserved much more recognition than the other so called rape scenes.

    Finally, thanks for the review Funn. You always have such detailed and well written ones 🙂

    Login or Register before you can reply to Steph
  10. Cindy says:

    Roger as a villain was a bit like soap opera actors. It wasn’t very convincing with some exaggeration

    Login or Register before you can reply to Cindy
  11. llwy12 says:

    Another well written and well thought-out review! Great job, Funn! Can’t speak for others, but I definitely appreciate the thoroughness of your reviews.

    I agree with most of what you wrote in the review with only a few exceptions, so only a few quick comments from me:

    Marco was definitely my favorite character in the series – Louis did a fantastic job and at times, even stole the spotlight away from the main actors. I especially loved his scenes ‘mad’ scenes at the hospital — so well acted and absolutely convincing! He’s definitely an actor to watch out for in the coming years!

    In terms of Matt – I don’t know…I was kind of ‘on the fence’ toward his character throughout the entire series. At times I pitied him and felt sorry for him (for example, that scene where he is crying to May after finding out that his legs will never be healed), but then the next minute he does something that makes all pity for him go out the window. One of the things you said in your review that I absolutely agree with – “Matt actually lived in the real world while everyone else lived in their lala land”….brilliant statement that is so very true! This is one of the main reasons why I couldn’t bring myself to hate Matt either and actually pitied him at times…after the series was over, I couldn’t help but ask myself: was Matt truly an evil, bad person or was he a selfish, hugely flawed human being merely trying to survive in this perpetually ‘grey’ world? (Of course I couldn’t answer that question and still can’t even now…)

    As for May – well, let’s just say that I disliked her character. I actually don’t feel she really changed after getting with Matt…still as naïve as she was in the beginning and living in her own ‘fantasy’ world throughout. And I’m sorry, but I couldn’t stand Funny….the way he tried to be overly righteous when he was just as calculative and manipulative as Matt. I think the part I hated most was the last segment of the finale when May and Funny were talking and she said something about him having a “halo over his head”…made me want to puke!

    Login or Register before you can reply to llwy12
    • Funn Lim replied:

      Yeah, halo over his head. More like thorns I tell you or fluff in his head more like it. I too barfed at that or as I shall quote a certain Rachel “YOU MAKE ME WANNA PUKE!!”

      As for Matt, I agree perhaps he is not evil. But he is definitely selfish. The thing is at the end he decided to unselfish himself by doing everything for May because May wants him to be a good person. Note, May wants him, not he himself. So everything he did at the end of the day is to get to May. So he is to me a very selfish person and yet a very real person. I think within ourselves is a bit of Matt or even Scarlet or Marco or any of the villains in here, just how cold or calculative or foolish.

      But Funny got on my nerves too. Last count of the lives he destroyed;

      1. Matt
      2. May (in a way)
      3. Gillian (many many many times)

      But this is TVB’s way to have a clear divide between Matt the bad guy and Funny the good guy when frankly they’re both terrible.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
  12. Will says:

    To be real honest I didn’t find Roger all that convincing in here, far too mobile and OTT in some scenes, unrealistic. Perhaps as the poster said, Ruco Chan should have got this role or even Edwin Siu.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Will
    • Funn Lim replied:

      Edwin Siu? No! No! No! Maybe as Funny but no!

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
  13. dtnt says:

    Do you think Matt was evil like that to begin with even before the accident or he only became like that because of the harsh reality?

    Login or Register before you can reply to dtnt
    • Funn Lim replied:

      I suppose if I am in Matt’s situation probably changed due to harsh reality. But I also suppose if someone could be so manipulative and selfish, it is probably deep within one self but just that in the past there was no need to be so. This series never talked about Matt prior to the accident so it can go either way.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
      • mito replied:

        Would wonders of they will did a prequel on this.

        Login or Register before you can reply to mito
  14. ebbie says:

    Great review!
    I wonder what’s the problem with May, why cant she just forgive Matt if she loves him? It seems he needs to be perfect- which is just plain unreasonable. The people he ‘so-call’ hurt, were mostly real baddies anyway!

    Funn, really like what you wrote about Louis Cheung 🙂 He’s indeed very charismatic !

    Login or Register before you can reply to ebbie
    • Funn Lim replied:

      Ahhh the dilemma. Can you love someone who says he loves you but treats everyone else like sh**? Can you love someone who loves everyone else but treat you like sh**? May can’t do the former. She couldn’t, perfectly understandable. I can’t be with a guy who first framed me, then did bad things and then bugged me and later manipulated me. He needs only to be a good man. Ahhh hard to be a good man!

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
    • mito replied:

      Because in TVB show, you can have a bad guy gets good ending. TV code?

      The only thing I felt unfair is Funny sir. He get the most “win”. He isn’t that Angel as well.

      Login or Register before you can reply to mito
  15. sushiroll says:

    so how many stars you give it?????

    Login or Register before you can reply to sushiroll
  16. m0m0 says:

    one of the best drama in recent years. quite surprised by roger’s ending, not that he ended up in jail. but the fact of his twisted reality of happiness. pretended to repent for his sin but in reality to get pity and care from his wife.

    Login or Register before you can reply to m0m0
  17. m0m0 says:

    never the less, roger did an excellent job in the role. the cast overall is very strong.

    Login or Register before you can reply to m0m0
  18. Peggy says:

    Linda Chung as May?????? You gotta be kidding, she will spoil this really good show.
    She will make May to be vulnerable whinny girl instead of the strong May portrayed by Kristal.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Peggy
  19. SD says:

    The word “selfish” is an irony in itself, no one is truly selfish because selfishness is only seen so when you’re on the outside looking in and trying to rationalize it based on your own set of rules. Matt explains that to May in the show so using the word selfish on any of the characters is a bit off the mark. It’s all about perspective which is why you can emphasize with Matt (based on his history) as he does a fantastic job of rationalizing his every motive to you from his POV.

    We’re all trained through our respective systems that tailor us in a certain way, but it doesn’t mean everyone turns out that way but it’s ‘good enough’ as long as the majority believes in it. This is why humanity has never been able to reach an utopian state of mind. It will remain in science fiction only because on a whole the world has always lived in a world where the majority imposes on the minority. Sometimes majority can mean ‘more people’ like a democratic state while sometimes it can mean ‘more power’ like in China or even more extreme authoritarian states.

    The Internet has been slowly filling in the gaps by letting the minority be heard. Different perspectives are presented to allow humanity, for the first time in history, to discover their own truth without bias from a higher power trying to subvert your view.

    I would also like to mention that the To Yee Hang wasn’t a representation of rich successful people equals bad/evil guys. We put rich people on the bad guy list most of the time because they have money and in our ever increasingly materialistic world, we as the people have empowered money as a symbol of power. If you read literature from only 150-200 years ago, you will find that a lot of it talks about money but it isn’t as all powerful as we make it out to be in today’s world. Rather, bloodline/status represented power and money was considered filthy as defined by the merchant class who were sneered upon. If you take a look at the revolutions from the 17th to 19th century, you will find that these are sparked by the wealthy using money to replace kings and nobles who rule and impose through purity of blood and status.

    So what To Yee Hang really represents is power. Basically it has corrupted him completely because of his absolute power, he’s projecting the same image nobles of old did if you watch ancient series. If you’ve watch House of Cards, Frank Underwood makes a clear distinction that power is real and his assistant Remy Danton who chose money has made the wrong choice because it’s not power.

    Someone in power is always detested because they’re the majority imposing on us, the minority. Again, once you’re the minority becoming the majority then you will find nothing wrong with what you’re doing and this goes back to my earlier argument. It’s all about perspective.

    Login or Register before you can reply to SD
    • mito replied:

      well said, perspective and perception

      Login or Register before you can reply to mito
    • tayna replied:

      I like Funn’s thorough review, but I agreed with your perception…Selfish or not depends on ones perspective.

      Login or Register before you can reply to tayna
  20. Diane says:

    Super exaggerated review and uses long terms to make yourself look smart, lol.
    Good thing TVB did not hire someone like you.

    This is the worse series for tvb.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Diane
    • Ashley replied:

      agree. i was so bored in this series.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Ashley
    • Ben replied:

      Agreed!

      Login or Register before you can reply to Ben
  21. Ben says:

    I got bored with this series, just like this review.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Ben
  22. kidd says:

    Ron Ng has improved a lot in this series compared to his past series. He has always has problem showing emotions through his eyes. But, here his pain, frustration, anger are all visible. I can really feel his sadness and guilt at what happen to Gillian and his mother.

    Login or Register before you can reply to kidd
  23. kidd says:

    Some other observations.

    1) All the men in this series are ‘one woman’ men. Henry, Funny, Matt, Macho, all only loves/have one woman at one time.
    Henry claimed to not love Scarlet and Scarlet betrayed him badly, but, you still didn’t see him have other women. He still went to Scarlet’s place every week.

    2) Matt trusted in PI very much. Their relationship seems to have one beyond client and service provider. The PI guy knows a lot of Matt’s secret and even give advise to Matt on what to do. Matt doesn’t seem to have anything to hide when he’s with the PI.

    3) For a student of Psychology majoring in Criminology, Gillian seems to be very bad at reading people. She’s oblivious to everything that happen around her. I think the scriptwriter should have given her another profession/major to make this character’s naivete and ignorance more believable.

    Login or Register before you can reply to kidd
    • Funn Lim replied:

      The others I agree but Henry we are not sure since the series is too busy with the characters on screen. But since he is a man so guarding his good image I suppose he can’t have a mistress or some prostitutes and beat them and rape them and not let anything out. That man is a sadist. He doesn’t enjoy the sex because it is pleasurable, he finds it pleasurable because he likes to control and force his way with Scarlet. He goes to her to assert his possession and ownership over her. I wouldn’t say he loved her. He doesn’t know how to love except himself and his daughter.

      As for Gillian, I suppose she has been protected her own life. She doesn’t know the real world which is why she suffers at the end for not having the wisdom.

      Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim