Sunday, March 25, 2012

TVB: Ghetto Justice (怒火街頭) 2011

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Year Produced: 2011
Created by: Terry Tong Kei Ming
Language: Cantonese
No. of episodes: 20

Opening theme: No Time to Regret by Hanjin Tan and M.C. Jin

Main Cast:
Kevin Cheng Ka Weng - L.A Law/Law Lik Ah
Myolie Wu - Kris Wong Si Fu
Alex Lam - George Mike Jr./ Mai Cho Chi
Sam Lee - Tin Ka Fu
Sharon Chan - Ho Lee Ching
Joyce Tang Lai Meng - Tai Ng Ting

Supporting Cast:
Mandy Wong - Silvia Cheung Chi Sum
Shek Sau - Spencer Cheung Pak Kei
Ching Hor Wai - Poon Siu King
Kwok Fung - Mai Bo (George's father)
Chun Wong - Ting Fook Yuen (Fu's father)
Ting Chu Wai - Tam Wing Chau (Fu's mother)

A story about the thin line between the law and ethics and whether the two can align with each other to uphold social justice.

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Kris Wong Si Fu (Myolie Wu) is an aspiring barrister whose ultimate aim is to create a name for herself in the legal department; setting her idol, Spencer Cheung Pak Kei (Shek Sau) as her motivation, she sets to win as many cases as possible.
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She met the unkept and slacker of Law Lik Ah (Kevin Cheng), whom she develops a bad first impression of and was in utter disdain at his sight. Battling him in court, she learns that Law is not as simple as he seems as he holds a rather profound influence over his witnesses and defendants in court.
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Law was just as unimpressed with the unethical Kris who seemed to be more interested in the victory of the case than the interests of the causes of justice. However, Kris soon learns, through her various cases that the powerful affluent people are using their wealth to get away with their own heinous crimes thus changing her own direction and perception in law and upholding justice through the truth.
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Collaborating with Law, she learns much more than just winning her cases and even befriends the rest of Law's friends, George Mike Jr. (Alex Lam) and Tin Ka Fu (Sam Lee); both of whom were sons of rich families but yet works alongside Law to help the financially incapable in fighting for their rights and for justice.
Law reopens his office which is started to serve the community in Sham Shui Po, and to help the people in need; much to Kris's admiration.

Though initially still fighting for her own ambitions, Kris soon learns that Law's background was more astounding than his appearance, or her perception of him as he was the long lost famous barrister, L.A Law, who was as popular and admired as her idol, Spencer Cheung in the past.
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He had fought and won several cases, but had disappeared for years after his last case in which he felt guilty for causing the death of a witness whom he forced to suicide to free his client of the conviction. Unable to bear with his own guilt, Law could not bring himself to court anymore.

As Law and Kris spend more time with each other, they develop feelings for each other but Kris was too proud to admit her growing affections for him. At the same time, Kris bumps into her old friend, Ho Lee Ching (Sharon Chan) who turned up and then surprised Kris with the newfound fact that she is now a prostitute by profession.
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Disappointed with Ching, Kris turns away from her old friend although she needs her in a sexual harassment case. However, Kris soon found out Ching's sad story which led to her being a part of prostitution following her rape by her own mother's debtors. Tin Ka Fu, falls for Ching, but was being rejected by him again and again, as she was ashamed of her own background while Fu persuaded his own discriminating parents to accept her.

When Fu and Ching could finally start their own French restaurant; which was Ching's lifelong dream, she stumbled upon Spencer's illegal doings and ended up being murdered.
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Although they suspected Spencer, there was no proof to bring him to justice. Angered by that fact, Kris then made everyone, including her own mother as she offered to join Spencer's defense team to help defend him from law. Unknown to them, Kris was just acting indifferent to find the incriminating evidence to nail Spencer on his heinous crime and she finally succeeded in doing so; although unethically and unlawfully. Law realized Kris's intentions and changed her video, sending the evidence of him tapering with the evidence; causing him to be jailed and disbarred from practising law ever again in the future.
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At the end of the drama, Kris visits Law in prison and even told her that she will wait for him to return to help her with her practice and decides to reopen Law's office on his behalf, to the delight of the Sham Shui Po's residents.

Christy's Review:
An interesting drama; which takes a different turn from the typical courtroom drama of the likes of Files of Justice and Survivors Law, and focusing instead on the interests of social justice of the lower class people. I find it a fresh portrayal on depicting the interests of ethics in affecting the decisions of justice and that law knows no boundaries in the ones practising and those who are accused behind the bars.

It is a rather fresh idea; and welcomed too, with the rise of social issues and crimes in the society and having normal people and their mentality, gave a different insight into the perspectives of law and in becoming a lawyer. It shows that being a lawyer does not mean that one needs to only dress smart and win cases to be defined as one of potential, but that a lawyer should also uphold ethics and justice at the same time to be able to understand the law.
One of the first courtroom drama with a new take and appeal to true justice.

Characters Analysis:
Myolie Wu as Kris Wong Si Fu
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Nothing less than what I would expect of Myolie, as she is just so extremely at ease in her character and her expressions were typical of most of the characters she had portrayed in the past. Initially unscrupulous, Kris Wong was only interested in her own ambitions and could care less about the reality of justice but when she realized, to her disgust, that the rich were using their wealth to evade the consequences of law, she was torn between her own desires and the truth until she met the sleazy Law Lik Ah from whom she learns the true meaning of justice.
Although she was impressed with him, she was at the same time also dealing with her feelings of admiration or disrespect for him until he sacrificed himself for her towards the end. She had finally redeemed herself when she learnt to sacrifice her own career for justice in her best friend's case at the end. It was the turning point; the change of the selfish character Myolie portrayed from the beginning of the series, and for that, she has done a great job.
Myolie's hairstyle was a little weird in the series though.

Kevin Cheng as Law Lik Ah
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Sleazy and looking unkept, Law was not as bad as he seems as he helps people in need for the sake of justice and also for a charitable cause. Kevin Cheng played his character naturally as the laid back guy who was actually hiding his own past behind his character. Hiding his pain and grief from the stories haunting him from the past, Law had to act cool and nonchalant in front of everyone and Kevin was just dashing to play this happy go lucky character of Law who was confident and yet ridden with guilt.

Alex Lam as George Mike Jr/Mai Cho Chi
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It was refreshing to see this comical guy playing a serious role for once as he settles in his character as a nervous yet helpful son of an ex famous justice, Mai Bo. Alex Lam is a face one would tend to associate with comedy but his expressions and portrayal of a serious character here is simply astonishing, was extremely believable.
Best scenes was when he liked Tai Ng Ting, and yet hid his feelings for the married woman at the same time. A good job done by this actor.

Sam Lee as Tin Ka Fu
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Treading on the same nature as Alex Lam, Sam Lee is often seen in comical and supporting roles in movies and this is probably one of the rare times seeing him in a serious and awfully just character that it was initially a little weird watching him in his role. However, his facial expressions was rather natural as shown on his face that it becomes more believable as the show progresses. A fresh and interesting take of a role played by Sam and hope to see more series with him in the future.

Sharon Chan as Ho Lee Ching
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Another natural role for Sharon, who never failed to impress with her skills in portraying a difficult and stubborn lady in most of her typical roles. Her indignant facial expressions when facing difficult situations in the drama, just makes her believable in the roles she play. However, Sharon has been underrated in her acting most of the time, given her minor roles and I hope to see her in more major roles soon.

Shek Sau as Spencer Cheung Pak Kei
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Although a veteran actor, I never really did like Shek Sau's acting as I find his expressions a little exaggerated at times and it is typical in all his roles over the years. Nothing astounding as he plays yet another despicable character in this drama; one who is just too proud of himself most of the time and will never concede defeat.

Couples' Chemistry:
Myolie Wu and Kevin Cheng as Kris Wong and Law Lik Ah
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Nothing much from this bickering couple; and although they were both adorable at times, I just could not feel the sparks from this combination. Individually they are great actors, but when it comes to inserting romance between them, it did not seem to fit their impressions, in my opinion. Well, there is not much romantic scenes between them anyway, which was not too bad.

Sam Lee and Sharon Chan as Tin Ka Fu and Ho Lee Ching
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Alright, this may be the most believable couple in the entire series; possibly due to their heights? Chemistry was obviously lacking in them as well, although I can see that both were trying to fit in very hard to play a couple but it just did not seem to bring out the feelings they were both said to have in the series.

Alex Lam and Joyce Tang as George Mike Jr and Tai Ng Ting
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This is the least compatible couple, and it was a good thing that they did not develop much on their scenes as well. It was totally weird, and unbelievable and they are definitely the oddest couple in the whole series. It was evident that the relationship was one-sided although towards the end of the series, there was an indication that Ting may accept George eventually.
Well, I hope there will be a change in the sequel which was said to be coming up soon.

Likes about the series:
The touch towards society; especially the sensitivity towards the middle class society. Also, the differences shown between the higher class and middle class and how sometimes perception can be too generalized by the society.

Dislikes about the series:
Maybe the theme song, I just find it a little weird, but that's just me.
Also, the chemistry between all the couples portrayed did not seem very believable and was evidently lacking in their portrayal.

Good watch, definitely worth the 20 episodes and not draggy at all.

Rating: 4/5

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