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A Case of Misadventure
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A Case of Misadventure (20 Episodes)
[viet name: TRANG SU HO DO]
* reviewed by blur one mostblur@hotmail.com
* also check out blur one's homepage: the blurealm

Cast:
William So Wing Hong - Chan Tai Hei
Flora Chan Wai Shan - Tai Foon (Foon Jie)
Cheung Chi Kwong - Ng Sam Sing
Wong Lam - Yung Yung
Stephen Au Kam Tong - Mo Loong
Kwok Fung - Yung Lo Yeh
Derek Kwok Jing Hung - Law Bor

Warning! Spoilers! Finally. Flora Chan in a lead role after goodness knows how long: one which she doesn't have to share limelight with any other actress or one where she isn't some guest star who only appears in a handful of episodes and is subsequently replaced with some stand-in at the endinally. Here it is: A Case of Misadventure.

The Story:

This story starts in Guangzhou, 2 generations after the great Chinese lawyer, Chan Mung Kut. We are introduced to his good-for-nothing-except-play grandson, Chan Tai Hei (William So). Although bearing the same family name, Chan Tai Hei is nothing like his grandfather or father. Exceptional lawyer he is not. So much so that nobody ever goes to him for legal aid. In comes Tai Foon (Flora Chan) seeking a lawyer to represent her husband, Law Bor (Derek Kwok), when he is arrested for murder. Chan Tai Hei very obviously loses the case for her, thus starting a hate-hate relationship between them. Chan Tai Hei then runs off to Hong Kong with his butler Ng Sam Sing (Cheung Chi Kwong). In Hong Kong, Chan Tai Hei is put up by an old family friend, Yung Lo Yeh (Kwok Fung) and his daughter, Yung Yung (Wong Lam). Meanwhile Tai Foon, having to pay for Chan Tai Hei's fees, ends up in Hong Kong too having to work off the debt. Surprise, surprise, Chan Tai Hei and Tai Foon cross paths again when she ends up being in his employment? Yung Lo Yeh then arranges for Chan Tai Hei to be conferred the Justice of Peace for the Causeway Bay area. And so it begins. Given the responsibility of presiding over cases, Chan Tai Hei together with his scoobies ?Tai Foon and Ng Sam Sing ?go about trying to find out the truth about each crime, bringing the guilty perpetrators to justice.

The Review:

A Case of Misadventure starts off on a slow note but manages to pick up the pace as it goes along. Though as a crime/legal series, it is nothing exceptional or remotely intellectually stimulating. If you like intriguing mysteries and cases and love being able to go through the processes of investigation with the protagonists, you're going to be sorely disappointed here. The answers are as clear as day and you're very likely to have solved them as soon as the crime is committed. I guess it would have been a tad more interesting if they had shown us step-by-step how they actually solved the crime rather than rely on flashbacks to tell the tale. Which was another annoying factor - I know the flashbacks were there to show the unfolding of events but did they have to start the repeats from so far back? They got draggy at some point or other and I either found myself going to the washroom, making a cup of tea or zapping through them.

As a comedy, I found "Eternal Happiness" a lot more funny and more entertaining. "A Case of Misadventure" is not so much a comedy as it is a crime series. Actually it hovers between the two which doesn't make it much of anything. Honestly, if it weren't for the two leads, Flora and William, I doubt I would have bothered very much with this series anyway. Not that it is a terrible one. It just isn't one of those where it'll have you gripping the edge of your seat or dying for the next episode. You can already guess what's going to happen next so that already takes the fun out of it. Also all the cases ended in the same way. Couldn't the scriptwriters have made it more interesting? I mean, all of them had the guilty ones succumbing to their conscience and trapping themselves in situations where they will inevitably confess of the crime. ~rolls eyes~ Old but nice trick, but it does get boring after awhile when it's the same trick used for all the cases! Then of course there has to be the typical, cliched story line where members of family or those close to the protagonists or the protagonist himself always, without fail, gets into trouble one way or another with the law. Boring. Next.

So the script is nothing to shout about. But it did manage to keep its head up above water in the ratings game in Hong Kong (I think the series averaged a 30, with its highest being 32 - not too bad, I guess). There's no denying that Flora has a strong following of fans who have been dying for a Flora-serial for ages. Good or bad, they would definitely support their favourite actress in this one. Then there are those who were interested to see what sort of chemistry, if any, Flora and William would spark off in this ew?partnership. So I guess one could say that the success of "A Case of Misadventure" was partly due to the two main leads: Flora and William. Seriously though, I really felt that they were the ones who carried the whole show. Like I said earlier, it it weren't for Flora and William, I really wouldn't have bothered to continue. It was their performances that made it more worth the while and made a mere average story more enjoyable and acceptable.

The Cast:

William So as Chan Tai Hei -

Chan Tai Hei is lazy, useless, playful, immature and has pretty much squandered the family fortune. All he has left is his family name, his faithful butler and the 'Kut Hung Chak' - a handbook of the cases solved by his grandfather and father. He's used to the good life, is somewhat arrogant and loves being at the centre of attention. William's portrayal of Chan Tai Hei will have you not liking him initially - he is good-for-nothing yet arrogant - there is a phrase in Chinese: 'sik siu siu ban doi biu' (lit: you know only a little yet you act like you know it all). But as the story progresses, you begin to empathize with him as you see him reluctantly being manipulated by Yung Lo Yeh. Yet at the same time, you can't help but feel that it's all his own doing. Also, I reckoned that if it weren't for his scoobies, Chan Tai Hei wouldn't have cared too much for any of the cases nor would he have gone all out to do all that he did - Foon Jie and Ng Sam Sing were always there like a nagging conscience. Yes, Chan Tai Hei does have heart but I just didn't think that he had the desire or perseverance to go as far as he did if it weren't for his two faithful servants. What I didn't like was, at the end, when he so easily gave up after being accused of murder and was sentenced to death. Character-wise, I would have expected Chan Tai Hei to kick up a fuss, to probably be so scared as to even pee in his pants. But no. He just looked too cool about it all - there wasn't even the slightest bit of emotional outburst! I mean, sure, you do see some growth in his character throughout the series, but this I thought was too far a jump. All of a sudden Chan Tai Hei is a man disappointed with not being able to uphold justice and let truth prevail? A bit unbelievable if you ask me. Anyway, it made him realise the importance of justice (ho hum, the proverbial moral at the end of the story) but then, a bird never really changes its feathers - he still needs Foon Jie to rant at him and keep him on his toes! All in all I thought it was a good performance by William. Chan Tai Hei was an arrogant, funny, annoying and pitiful fellow. And William did well to show us the different facets of Chan Tai Hei's personality.

Flora Chan as Tai Foon (Foon Jie)-

I know a lot of people were skeptical about Flora's ability to play a period role having said that she is too modern looking. What's modern looking as opposed to ancient looking though? ~shrug~ If modern looking means looking out of place in a period role, then I choose to differ on the opinion that Flora is too modern looking. Watching Flora as Foon Jie, I hardly had time to think about whether she was too modern looking or not. It was the personality of Foon Jie that caught you rather than how she looked. Flora again plays the same strong, level-headed and smart woman role, yes, but this time round, it is, what one would call in Malay, more 'kampung' (village). She comes across as a big sister of sorts and it was funny seeing her being this naggy, busybody maid from a rural China village as opposed to a high flying city executive. The first thing that comes to mind when seeing Flora in this role is, "Aiyo, so aunty". I, for one, would never think of Flora that way but she managed to pull it off well. But if you want to go back to looks - all right, in my opinion, Flora is too classy-looking to be a maid, and no TVB, having hair fall over your face and wearing less than elegant clothes doesn't exactly make one a maid! Though I must say that Flora looked really good and elegant at the end when she was dressed in a more expensive looking ensemble. It also made you think that she's gone all 'si mun' and cultured when suddenly Foon Jie mode kicks in and you have her pushing up her sleeves in typical 'tai kar jie' (big sister) fashion to once again help a choking-on-a-fishbone Chan Tai Hei! Flora's performance here is definitely commendable. I thought she managed to bring out the 'ah-ma-jie'-ish personality pretty well - who would have ever thought that Flora could turn out to be such a nag and an aunty?

Stephen Au as Mo Loong - There is this one thing about Stephen Au that really bugs me. I find the mole on his eyelid really really distracting! Okay, that aside, Stephen's Mo Loong is one who goes about doing his job by the book. As chief police of the Causeway Bay area, he's responsible and straight-forward but I feel, not very bright. He hardly ever uses his grey cells and thus takes whatever evidence there is at face value. As a man, he is 100% devoted to Yung Yung and would even go out of his way to please her even though he knows she doesn't like him. I thought Stephen played the part of the pining, lovesick fellow pretty well. You feel sorry for him yet some times you can't help but get annoyed at his blind devotion towards someone who constantly dishes out so much crap at him! I guess his natural lur?looks did lend a bit of credence to his Mo Loong. Also, through Stephen's body language and expressions, I could always sense Mo Loong's underlying disapproval of Chan Tai Hei - he never really liked the guy and even when he had to work with Tai Hei, you could feel that Mo Loong was only being professional by not letting his personal feelings get in the way.

Wong Lam as Yung Yung - Yung Yung is your typical rich kid - spoilt, bratty, irrational, unreasonable. It is easy to despise Yung Yung - she is, after all, supposed to be irritating and annoying and Wong Lam managed to portray that effectively. But later on when she's caught between having to choose between her men and her father, I failed to empathize with her (if empathy was what the script had intended). Wong Lam hardly gave me the feeling that she was in much of a dilemma. She didn't even look remorsefully guilty at leaving Chan Tai Hei to die at the gallows! Wong Lam could effectively play the part of the brat but I thought that was about all she could do here. Though I have to say that she has certainly improved since I last saw her in Return of the Cuckoo.

The Pairings:

Chan Tai Hei and Tai Foon (William So and Flora Chan)-

Throughout the story there is absolutely no hint whatsoever that Chan Tai Hei likes Foon Jie in a romantic sense. So when he suddenly albeit very subtly hints to her that he wishes their relationship could be more, I nearly fell off my seat. Hello? Did I miss some episodes along the way?? All this was just a bit too unbelievable to stomach. But it also had me thinking. Does Chan Tai Hei really like Foon Jie or is he in love with the idea of making his own choices? I think the latter because at that time he was being forced into marriage with Yung Yung and he was depressed at not being able to even choose his own bride! I'm glad though that Foon Jie didn't succumb os it would just have made the whole thing too incredulous. Although she may not like Tai Hei romantically as yet, she is amused by his sudden interest and I do get the feeling that she could very likely give it consideration in the future as she doesn't exactly lose and bolt the door?on him.

William and Flora undoubtedly work well together. You can see a certain chemistry between them although not necessarily as a romantic one. Flora looks older than William (though in actual fact, she is younger) and coupled with the fact that Flora's Foon Jie seemed more matured and older than William's Chan Tai Hei, pairing them up as a couple would have just looked totally weird. So, kudos to TVB for leaving the ending 'open' so to say. Not that I have anything against younger men/older women relationships! ~shrug~ There just wasn't any delving into their relationship beyond that of a platonic one here. So you don't exactly see them in a different light. They once played siblings in Healing Hands 1 and I can't get rid of that thought as yet. At this point in time, when you put Flora and William together, they'll always be sister and brother.

Chan Tai Hei and Yung Yung (William So and Wong Lam)-

One's a spoilt brat who's smitten with him. The other's a lazy bummer who can't stand her attitude. This was very obviously a one-way relationship. Chan Tai Hei had absolutely no feelings for Yung Yung other than probably a sisterly one. But he led her on because he didn't have the guts to face Yung Lo Yeh and lose everything he had been given. Bad enough that Sam Sing and Foon Jie seemed to encourage him on for selfish reasons. But then it also goes to show what a spineless fool Chan Tai Hei is. Yung Yung, on the other hand, lives in her own imaginary world when it comes to Chan Tai Hei - how can she seriously believe that he likes her? Then again, with that spoilt attitude of hers, she'll only believe what she wants to believe. William and Wong Lam? Erm...how can I say this in a nice way? Hmm...put them together and I just get the feeling that William deserves better ~shrug~

Tai Foon and Law Bor (Flora Chan and Derek Kwok)-

Tai Foon has been waiting for years for this man to return and marry her. So when he eventually returns, she's evidently overjoyed. Although you get hints that maybe their relationship wasn't like before - that she was merely marrying him because that was the right thing to do. After all, she had been waiting for him all this while. Later when Law Bor escapes from prison and shows up in Foon Jie's life again, you can tell that whatever feelings she may have had for him in the past are no longer there. It is instead replaced with perhaps, a sense of obligation (she is married to him after all). Law Bor was worse. It just seemed that he was using Foon Jie the whole time for his selfish reasons. I guess this was one relationship that grew stale with the times or it could possibly be that they never really loved each other in the first place.

You don't exactly see sparks fly between Flora and Derek in here. After all, the script didn't call for it - they were supposed to be a tad uncomfortable in each other's presence and that's how they played it. Other than that, I think that Flora and Derek do no look too bad together. If I remember clearly, I think they had been paired up once before, although very shortly, in Untraceable Evidence?

Mo Loong and Yung Yung (Stephen Au and Wong Lam)-

Mo Loong is simply infatuated with rich girl Yung Yung. What he sees in her one can only wonder as she treats him worse than mud most of the time. His perseverance finally pays off though as he does end up with Yung Yung in the end. Although I do find it hard to believe that Yung Yung truly likes him. I feel she runs to him because he's always been there for her and with her father dead and Tai Hei making it clear that he doesn't like her, who else can she turn to? Having being brought up to be totally dependent on other people all the time, running to a Mo Loong who's eagerly waiting with wide open arms is probably the most convenient and easiest thing to do. What about Stephen and Wong Lam? Well, I reckon Wong Lam looks too much like a baby sister who needs to be taken care of while Stephen, when put next to her, looks just like an elder brother. Then again, that's just me...

Is this better than Justice Sung and Man of Wisdom?

In terms of intrigue and courtroom battles, Justice Sung has the upper hand. In terms of likeability, I found "Man of Wisdom" with Cheng Tan Sui the most entertaining. As for the leading cast, need I say of course, it's A Case of Misadventure?

Would I recommend this series?

If you're a Flora fan, you'll probably watch it anyway. But even after all I've said, I still do recommend watching A Case of Misadventure. If for nothing else, watch it for Flora and William. In my opinion, they did a great job here with just a mediocre script.

How do I rate it?

3 out of 5 stars. I would have given it a 2.5 based on script alone. But I enjoyed both Flora's and William's performances, so I gave it another .5 of a star.

Is there going to be A Case of Misadventure 2?

The way A Case of Misadventure ended, my guess ises, there very likely will be a sequel. Fans will want to see William and Flora reprise their roles. They would want to know if Chan Tai Hei and Foon Jie eventually get together as Foon Jie doesn outright reject his dvances? I supposed if there is to be a sequel, it would be interesting to see how their romance, if any, develops and whether Flora and William can successfully brush off the stigma of merely being on-screen siblings.

the blur one's Rating: * * * (Scale of 5)

 

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