Review: “Sniper Standoff” (By Miriamfanz)

Sniper Standoff <神鎗狙擊>
Hong Kong TVB Drama 2013

Producer: Kwan Wing Chung
Genre: Police, action
Episodes: 25



Eddie Cheung as Ko Chun Kin
Michael Tse as Lee Ho Yeung
Kate Tsui as Sheung Koon Ming Chu
Kathy Chow as Wong Yeuk Ling
Eliza Sam as Lai Chan
Alice Chan as Ding Hau


Sniper Standoff Kathy ChowKate Tsui jumps from more explosions than I can count. Kathy Chow survives a head shot. Michael Tse casually lets bullets whiz by him, while the foreign president’s whole family can dodge bullets in sync. No, this is not Matrix 4, just Sniper Standoff.

And the SDU team? Oh look, here they come, rushing in after the damage has been done.


If, from Tiger Cubs, you got the impression that the SDU was invincible, Sniper Standoff will show you that they are not. They are made to look so incompetent that it’s almost laughable. From beginning to end, they are out-witted by a single person, and even in the end, they did not catch the bad guys based on their own merits. If these are the so-called “best of the best”, I cannot imagine what the worst will look like.

Sniper Standoff Kate Tsui Eddie Cheng

The plot is full of holes and inconsistencies. It’s not just in the details, like why Kate is chasing down criminals in 5-inch high heels. The scriptwriters overlooked more fundamental errors. What about the fact Kate pointed a gun to someone’s head in public? How can Eliza Sam shoot down a criminal against orders and receive no disciplinary action, whereas Michael got the boot over a similar incident?

What I do like about this series is the fast pace. There are lots of exciting action scenes: bullets flying everywhere, explosions, car chases, etc. The plot is also moving along quickly. All the cases fit together into the larger story; there is no dwelling on irrelevant sub-plots. Although the plot itself is bullet-ridden, at least the story, taken as a whole, felt like a coherent story instead of a mash-up of randomness.

Sniper Standoff Michael Tse 2Michael Tse has unfortunately become Laughing Gor in all his roles now. His character is pretty much the same as Laughing Gor, except he works for the triads this time. Kate Tsui is also in her typical role as police officer for the nth time. However, she does a good job in the emotional scenes in the latter half of the series. Eddie Cheung has a stoic character, but he manages to bring out the personality of the character. Kathy Chow just looks old. I was looking forward to see her character’s change for the bad, but it was unsatisfyingly short and incomplete. Eliza Sam is unsuitable as a sniper as she lacks the tough demeanor. I’m glad there wasn’t a heavy focus on her. That being Sniper Standoff Eliza Sam 4said, I would have loved to see better development of the character itself. She spent more time whining about not being able to participate in real missions, rather than actually proving herself capable of being a real SDU. Alice Chan, in a similar position as Friendly Fire, is less attractive here, with toned down seductiveness and evilness.

Conclusion: Watch with half a brain and just enjoy the action.

The review is written by Miriamfanz, a Contributing Writer at Visit Miriamfanz’s blog!

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  1. I spent most of the episodes wondering why Eliza Sam always wore tight tank top instead of t-shirt regardless of what type of training she was doing.

    1. Same here! I was like why is she different? Why can’t the guys wear tank top and she wear a t-shirt? Don’t tell me the reason is to differeiate between a woman and man. Is there like a hk sdu website to explain it? Lol

  2. Can someone tell me what happened to Kathy Chow face? That doesn’t look at all like her in the poster.?!?!

    1. Somebody tried REALLY hard in photoshop make her look presentable. It ended up making her look like someone else though lol. Long hair does not suit her.

      1. I can’t believe they let this pass at the marketing/production dept. This is ridiculous. That’s not Kathy. BTW she’s always had long hair.

      2. At one glance, I thought it was Esther Kwan. Not to offend any fans of Kathy, but her character spells B.o.r.i.n.g. in the drama.

  3. Great Review Miriamfanz!

    This show was hard to watch for me. Michael Tse was a bit Laughing, but fit the role of the overconfident, bitter ex-cop well. I can’t imagine anyone else at TVB doing a better job. It was just unlucky that the character was written similar to Laughing.

    Eddie Cheung was great and brought some needed acting ability to the series as a whole. I felt embarrassed for him having to participate in such a poorly written, insulting series though. He deserved something better. Something intelligent.

    Kate Tsui, my god it was painful to watch her act. Those heels made me facepalm in her scenes. Plus all the illegal stuff she did to break the law in order to get her way, or Intel. Her character was really annoying to me.

    Kathy Chow, super annoying with her whiny nasally voice. Made me want to slap her everytime she appeared on screen. I ended up getting so sick of her that I fast forwarded everything she was in. I doubt I missed much of the story. Everything she said was just the same thing over and over.

    Eliza Sam, that whole character was just in insult to the viewers. All she did was complain and disobey her superiors. I find it shocking that she even got out of cadet school cause she wouldn’t have lasted one day in “The Academy” tv series. Female SDU sniper, yeah right, not in a bajillion years. Especially if that female was anything like Eliza’s character.
    Her outfit and whole character was just put in to try and grab(ratings)from whatever the equivalent of the neckbeard-basement dweller is in HK.

    The rest of the SDU, embarrassingly incompetent. I thought Tiger Cubs made them look bad, but boy this show made me realize that Jerry Lewis or the 3 Stooges would have made a great nemesis for them.

    This series made me feel bad for all the real life highly trained professionals it pretends to represent. TVB is NOT making the HK police force look good lately.

    I agree with the reviews about the plot holes, but for me, the characters and dialogue were even worse.
    I also agree with the star rating. 3 stars for me as well. But 2 of them belong to Eddie and 1 to Michael. Plot/characters/dialogue get none.

    1. Lol, very detailed response. You may want to consider writing a review yourself 😛

      I agree with you that Michael is probably the best candidate for this role, but I really wish to see something different from him. I remember him back before Laughing Gor he played many different types of characters. Maybe by leaving TVB he can now try out new roles.

      I don’t see the point of Eliza’s character other than “selling meat”. She never actually proves how females can be on par with the men in SDU. I’m hoping to see that in Tiger Cubs 2.

  4. Was this show truly that bad??? I was looking forward to too since I have seen a police series in awhile and was also looking forward to seeing Kathy and Eddie. I have not seen them act in a long time. But am disappointed to hear about Kathy’s acting. I always liked her acting so do not get why it seems bad in this series. Great to hear that at least Eddie acted well since he is a good veteran actor.

    1. If you watch it not expecting it to be good, I’m sure you can get some enjoyment out of it. If you watch it not expecting it to be realistic, you might enjoy it.
      Everything in it was just way over the top.
      Kate running (literally) after everything in those crazy high heels, Michael shooting bullets that changed direction in mid-flight, Kathy whining about her problems every time she is on screen, SDU guys acting like they are privates in the army – all the while Eddie trying to get them into fighting shape (they are suppose to be the operational A team who are already highly skilled), female sniper recruit who whines about everything, physically weak, disobeys orders every chance she gets, and out-shoots everyone,etc etc…

      It’s more fantasy than reality. If you turn off your common-sense and watch it, it could be entertaining. For me it was just another reminder of how fast and far TVB is falling.
      This was Eddie’s first series for them in a long time and I guess I was expecting something worthy of his skills. Instead it made me feel embarrassed for him. I wonder if he will film anything else for them after this show airs. Especially after all the articles about his crazy filming schedule and injuries.

      Bottom line is, don’t totally take our word for it, if the premise sounds good to you, go for it and watch it. I may end up hating or being overcritical of stuff that other people enjoyed.
      Watching Eddie Cheung alone made it worth it for me, it’s just too bad there’s so many scenes without him in it.

      1. Eddie doesn’t need to film for TVB, since he has that lucrative cosmetic business and is supposedly already a millionaire because of it (tabloids probably exaggerated though — he’s admitted that he made alot of money due to the business, but not quite at that millionaire level yet). Anyway, after the disaster that this series was, I actually hope Eddie doesn’t film for TVB anymore cuz to me, it’s a waste of his talent. He’s better off concentrating on his business and if he has the ‘acting itch’ every once in awhile, then just take on the occasional supporting role in movies like he’s been doing the past 10 years or so….

      2. Thanks for the info you guys! I still may see it just to see how it is. My mom really loves Eddie’s acting and was looking forward to seeing this series. But sadly she may get disappointed due to TVB’s bad series lately. I saw Eddie in Mystery in the Palace with Kevin and Gan Ting Ting and he did a great job. I hope to see him in more China dramas since TVB is just a big waste of his talent. I also wonder if Eddie will film for TVB again since they did not treat him well.

      3. Eddie was in the sitcom Til Love Do Us Lie(really good sitcom in my opinion) for about a year before this so it’s not actually his first series back with them. He’s also in the upcoming tvb calendar so there is a high possibility he will film with them again.

      4. Eddie went back to film for TVB because his child wants to see him on TV.

      5. Aw. S/he should tell daddy to come back more often! (Preferably to another station that makes better use of his talent though…)

      6. Thanks AC and llwy12 ! didn’t know that about those other shows and the cosmetics business (I’m kind of limited in which TVB series are available for me to watch). – Also the TVB calendar thing is pretty interesting!
        On one hand I hope he does continue to film since he is one of the few good actors left there.
        On the other, if they keep giving him bad scripts like this one, I don’t know if I will be willing to watch it. 🙁

  5. I felt the story was cliched and some of the characters were miscast. Michael Tse did as well as he could just suppose writers can’t seem to make him less like Laughing.

    I actually had more of a problem with Eddie’s Go Go sir than Kate Tsui. I just didn’t believe he was a sniper trainer (probably influenced by Joe Ma in Tiger Cubs).

    Kate was like cross between FH3 and H&L character – so very familiar no special breakthrough.

    Kathy Chow – didn’t like her line delivery or when she gripped her head when it was aching – thought for veteran actress she can portray headache better. I enjoyed her sister’s acting much more as she was showing a subtle breakdown.

    1. Yeah Eddie was like the opposite spectrum of Joe as far as SDU trainers go, but he still made me believe he was capable of the job.
      Joe was all super serious drill instructor, and Eddie was all laid back.

    2. This is a different Kathy Chow than the one that is Niki’s sister. Kathy is a good actress but I guess the role in this series was not suitable for her maybe??

      1. ^I believe smurf120 is referring to Kathy’s sister in the series, who is Miki Yeung. Yes, she was quite decent

      2. Yes Miki Yeung (I didn’t know her name) – the one who played Kathy Chow’s younger sister. She played her neurosis as as playful side very well.

  6. I just noticed in the promo poster even though all the SDU team (guys) are in full camo gear, Eliza still wears relatively low cut tank with arms/shoulder, and chest exposed – shouldn’t she at least have on a bullet proof vest?

    1. Haha that’s all she wears through the entire series. I think a couple times she put on a real shirt when she was off duty or on a mission.
      Totally rediculous

  7. I found the series to be entertaining enough – love Michael Tse and guess he will always be Laughing to everyone now.
    There were lots of ridiculous moments (yes Kate Tsui – running in high heels is stupid).

    But best line of the series?

    GoGo Sir’s brother on Kathy:

    “you should stay away from her, she’s changed…she cut her hair short and started wearing leather jackets!”


  8. I just thought that they all ran weird, with their hands like that…..

  9. This is among the worst police series I have come across. I just cant understand why Kate is running around in that terrible looking high heels. Even court shoes would be better. And look at her awful fake eyelashes. Does policewoman go around with those Minnie eyelashes? Can the producer get a better grip of stopping these type of scenarios. The show does not support real life scene, its just a show of actress face (eyelashes and all) and the body.

  10. I watched with 1/4 of my brain. If it weren’t for the cast in this series, I would have used the 1/4 of my brain to just pick my nose instead.

  11. I could not finish this series. It got off to a promising start and then fell way flat.

    Kathy Chow was a yawn. Eddie Cheung was quietly involving, and Eliza Sam was cute. I am now convinced that Laughing Gor was career suicide for Michael Tse because now I only see Laughing Gor in any and all of his portrayals including this one, which is a shame. I also noticed Kate Tsui running after criminals in 4 inch heels and laughed.

    Who played Yeuk-ling’s sister? She looks like Miki Yang and is someone I see potential in.

    1. How did you find Kate’s performance, aside from the heels? 🙂 yes, Miki Yeung did play Kathy’s sister.

  12. Great review! Always enjoy Eddie Cheung but this show is so bad, I feel bad for him!

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