Sunday, August 22, 2010

TVB: Burning Flame 3 烈火雄心3(2009)

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No. of episodes: 32

Wong Hei - Chung Yau Seng
Kevin Cheng - Rex Cheuk Pak Yue
Myolie Wu - Ko Wai Ying
Bosco Wong - Encore Fong Lei On
Aimee Chan - Easy Yung Siu Yee
Stephen Wong - Ko Ho Nam (Ying's brother)
Elaine Yiu - Cheuk Man (Rex's sister)
Ruco Chan - Kelvin Pang Chi Bun

Supporting Cast
Angelina Lo - Poon Yuk Hung/Rex's Mom
Rebecca Chan - Queenie Sum Yut Wah (Encore's Mum)
Chow Chung - Sum Yat/Sunday (Encore's Grandfather and Queenie's father)
Ha Peng - Ying and Nam's grandmother
Leanne Li - Kristy
Rachel Kan - June Ho Yee Ching
Kong Hon - Chung Yiu Kan (Seng's father)
Yee Chi Yuen - Chung Yau Fu (Seng's younger brother)
Joey Mak - Ko Yan Ying (Ying's youngest sister)
Sam Chan - Law Hak Ming (Fireman)

This is the third installation following the first two prequels on the same theme; focusing on the courageous fire-fighters whom we often overlook as the unsung heroes.

Chung Yau Seng (Wong Hei) aimed to fulfill his father’s dream; for him to graduate from university with a degree and he works hard despite being unable to make it into the university and ended up as a paramedic attached to a fire station.
He met Cheuk Pak Yue (Kevin Cheng), also known as Rex who was a team lead in the fire department and in an incident where Rex spoke up in justice on his behalf, the two became best friends.
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Rex helped him to get into the fire training academy and this realized his father’s dream for him to be a university graduate. Seng worked hard and it was in no time that he was soon promoted to be a team lead himself and assigned to work in the same district/department as Rex.
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Conflict arose between the best friends when Rex realized they had both fallen for the same girl; Ko Wai Ying (Myolie Wu) and although Rex had met her first and was about to pursue her, he gave up for the sake of his best friend, Seng who seemed to be smitten with her.

However, Seng soon start to get jealous of Rex’s attention on his girlfriend and accused him of trying to steal his girlfriend and the two soon drifted apart.

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Seng rescued a young man, Fong Lei On/Encore (Bosco Wong) who had no aim in his life and in a bid to avoid his mother’s suggestion to fly off to Canada to further his studies, he decided to enroll in the fire department.
He soon graduated from the academy and joined Seng’s team; at the same time joining in the mounting tension between the two teams which originated from the rift between Seng and Rex.

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Things got worse when Ying breaks up with Seng who blamed it on Rex and in a fire-fighting mission, Seng refused to listen to Rex’s orders and ended up almost killing himself.
Fortunately, the young girl; the victim was saved in time but Seng fell down which resulted in his comatose state for a few months.
Ying regretted her decision and stayed by his side, taking care of him and nursing him to full health, praying for the day that he would wake up.
Unknown to Seng’s team of firemen, Rex concealed the truth of the accident by pretending he lost his memory and it resulted in all of them, led by Encore to accuse Rex and Ying of adultery and the wrong they had done on Seng to lead to his state.
When the truth was revealed, everyone apologized to Rex and Encore even became an ardent follower/subordinate in the team.
Rex and Ying slowly developed feelings for each other, to the approval of Seng’s father who wished for them to be happy.
Just when their relationship start to blossom, Seng miraculously woke up and though he lost part of his memory, everyone helped him to slowly regain his memories.
Rex and Ying tried to hide their relationship to avoid aggravating him, but Seng soon remembered Ying as his girlfriend and tried to get intimate with her again. When Seng finally remembered his conflict with Rex, the couple revealed the truth which Seng had a hard time accepting and tried to win her back.
In his haste to race against their car, Seng ended up in another major car accident where he lost his leg.
He ended up more melancholic than ever when he lost his job at the same time and his appeal to join the admin team in the fire department was also rejected due to the nature of the car accident not work-related.

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Rex and Ying were patient and as he realized that Rex played a major role in getting him a chance to work in the fire department, he slowly accepted their relationship and gave them his blessings. However, deep down inside, he was struggling to accept the fact that Ying was no longer his girlfriend and he start to have suicidal thoughts.

Ying broke up with Rex when she learnt of his suicide attempt; leaving Rex devastated. Seng, upon realizing the real reason of their break-up amended things and helped them to get back together with each other.

Characters Analysis
1. Chung Yau Seng by Wong Hei
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This is a very strong-willed and stubborn character; who believed in everything he thinks is right. I think there was a connection to how he was always trying to please his father since his childhood and not allowing himself to fail his father’s expectations. I felt that he was doing everything only to please his own father; as he loved and respected the man who raised him and depended on him but it was this small thing which made the rigid man he was. He blamed everyone but himself and he liked to have everything under his control. He even had to tell his girlfriend what to do or not to do; and he still could not understand the reason she left him.
It was painful to watch him being so persistent on everything and it was a great slap to his face when he finally could not have it his way.

2. Rex Cheuk Pak Yue by Kevin Cheng
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This is another son trying to fulfill what his dad had left behind and forced to shoulder the responsibility and mature earlier when his dad died in a fire. He used to be a carefree and relaxed guy who took his own time in his life ambitions and all that changed when he lost his dad; his role model and he was forced to take his life into a different perspective.
He joined the fire department to fulfill his father’s wish for him to become a fireman and he succeeded with his excellent academic results and performance at work; promoting himself to being a senior team lead in a short time. Unlike his best friend, he was more of a giving person but he was also revealed to have a protective and harsh side when it comes to protecting his loved ones. Although he painstakingly gave up on Ying, when he finally won her heart, he also showed his persistent side when he refused to give in to his best friend this time as he knew Ying truly loved him.

3. Ko Wai Ying by Myolie Wu
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To me, this was a rather weak character who cannot seem to make her own decision. She is constantly succumbing to everyone’s wishes against her own wishes; which was particularly true with her boyfriend, Seng. She loved to play the piano but was disapproved by Seng who thought it was a waste of time. Refusing to anger Seng, she decided to give up on her dreams but was persuaded by her grandmother to hold on to what she believed. When she realized she was not happy at all in the relationship, she followed her grandmother’s advice and broke up with Seng. She constantly fall to her own emotions and guilt; which can be seen when she tried to break up with Rex even though she loved him because of Seng’s attempted suicide. She cannot even admit she loved Rex when he was about to get back with Kristy.
As a woman, she was truly a symbol of weakness, and I didn’t really like how she cannot just stand there and defend herself for at least once. I find her unworthy of two such brave men’s attention.

4. Encore Fong Lei On by Bosco Wong
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This young man started as a very playful and carefree person who believed in having fun and taking life one step at a time. When he was accused of arson and betrayed by his friend, he realized his mother’s disappointment and her hopes in him. He decided to pick up on his own life, and he was inspired by Seng, who had saved his life twice, and he joined the fire department. He was also a little stubborn like his mentor, and a little childish. He still enjoyed having fun and was shallow as he could not bring himself to believe that he liked a tomboy policewoman whom he had conflict with. He thought of their one-night stand as an accident and think her looks were unworthy of his love. It was when he realized he was losing her that he realized she was the one he really cared for and spend his whole lifetime with. He slowly mature and grew up along the drama and he even became the one to advise his own mentor not to be too persistent with his decisions in life.

5. Easy Yung Siu Yee by Aimee Chan
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This is a strong-willed and independent lady who also seemed rather clumsy when it comes to performing her duties as a policewoman on patrol. She dreams of joining the CID team and works hard to achieve it. Although she started off on the wrong track with Encore, she soon fell helplessly in love with him and it was this time that we see her feminine side as she tries to win his affections. It was also refreshing to see how a childish and defiant policewoman tried to compromise to keep her family together.

6. Ko Ho Nam by Stephen Wong
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This young man was a very bitter character; someone who believed only in his own dreams and was cross with others for trying to interfere with his life. When his dreams come crashing down and left him with debts to settle, he was forced to join the medical team in the fire department as a condition to pay off his debts which Seng helped. He was unhappy with his work and was constantly complaining; secretly detesting Seng and conspired to break him and his sister up, thinking he is not good enough for his own sister.
His grandmother’s death and Seng’s accident confirmed his own theories that he could never help anyone as it was all fated and decided by God himself. Just when he was about to give up on his job, in a sailing trip which he was dragged along by his sister, he ended up rescuing a pregnant woman and delivering her baby on the boat and this incident forced him to look at life at a totally different perspective. He believed in hope and it was then that he started taking his job seriously; believing in the good and miracles he could bring to others. He worked hard and continued to pursue his job to the next level; with his intention to help people. I liked to see how this character developed from a bitter person to be a much kinder and understanding person.

7. Cheuk Man by Elaine Yiu
The sister of Rex, she was constantly pursuing fun and attention from the opposite sex. When she was pursued by Kelvin; her brother’s evil superior, she thought she was on top of the world until she realized that he was married and was just toying around with her. She grew up and mature and developed a friendship with Nam, whom she declared she will never fall in love with because he just was not her ‘type’. There was not much insight into this character, but there was slow development and change from the initial person she was to become a better person.

8. Kelvin Pang Chi Bun by Ruco Chan
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This is probably the villain of the drama; the superior newly assigned to the fire department and had conflict with Rex due to his pursuit of Rex’s sister. He ultimately transferred Rex out of the brigade and landed him in the admin tasks; to inspect the fire equipment and to inspect fire sites. Eventually, he lost the favor of the Superintendent of the fire department who transferred him away when they realized he was not a team player.

What I Liked
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The team spirit and discipline in this fire brigade and how every decision could affect a life.
It was inspiring to see how hard these people fought; risking their lives for the lives of others.
It was also educational to learn that teamwork is not only important here but vital for the survival of the team and the victims in their cases.
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As their Superintendent was quoted as saying to Rex and Seng, “I cannot tolerate rifts in the team; when there is rift and misunderstanding which are not resolved, there will not be teamwork. Either you guys work it out or face termination!”
It was so true; looking at how they enter each fire site with risk and if they are unable to work with each other, how can they save lives?
The best example was when Seng refused to follow Rex’s orders because of their personal conflict and Seng ended up in a coma.
It was a fortunate thing they saved the real victim and not losing the little girl’s life instead.
All the fire scenes were so real, and I just felt so touched watching how these brave men walked into each fire site; not knowing whether they would come out alive or not and yet braving it all for the sake of others trapped in the building. It was heart-wrenching when I watched those explosions and see how these firemen could have died.
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What I Disliked
Nothing really; I think this drama did not fail much of the expectations and I found it as inspiring, if not more dramatic compared to its earlier two predecessors. It was a great storyline and I liked how the story brought out the true values relevant to our real life.

What could have improve
As mentioned above, nothing much, but I would definitely like to see more training sessions and how they are like at their own dorms or their meeting sessions which were not portrayed much here.
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My Verdict
I was wrong to think that this was another generic and boring drama because it totally blew me away with the whole storyline and the touching, not to mention inspiring elements in the story.
I say, Go watch this, it is really educational and it will teach us to appreciate these unsung heroes even more. It will also help to create the awareness to be more mindful of the sirens and the emergencies, or how every second which may be just a ticking of the clock to you may mean a life or death decision in an emergency.
You'd definitely never look at a fireman the same way again; but with much more respect and awe!

Rating: 9.5 out of 10!

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