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Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 11:45 AM
Overview : Safe Guards


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Producer: Lee Tim Seng [The Conqueror's Story, Reaching Out, Fantasy Hotel]
No. Episodes: 25
Year Released: 2006
Cast
Steven Ma
Elaine Yiu
Wayne Lai
Kwok Fung
Evergreen Mak
Cheung Chi Kwong
Suet Nei

Steven Ma as Seung Chi:
I find myself loving this character more and more as I watch Safe Guards. Despite how impenetrable and pressuring the situation is, he is able to hold his composure and act with tact and calmness without losing his sense of morality and beliefs. When people degrade him, he did not drop his dignity below his feet nor did he use force. He just stands there and he lets them talk the bs. That takes a great deal of maturity for one not to lose their imperturbability and to not be provoked and tempted to do stupid things when you are put in that situation. It is difficult, especially for men. But a real man shall not resort to using his fist and a real man shall be able to endure humiliation and hardships. Chi is able to withstand such situations. There is a real man right there for you.

I am mesmerized by Steven Ma's spectacular performance. He gave Chi such dominance and confidence. The way he walks and carries himself gives the audience the impression that he is a man who knows what he wants, knows what he is doing and plans to have it intended to happen. Yes, crying skills, they are awesome. Steven is one of the few male actors who can cry and yet still look masculine. I am dazzled by how hot Steven looks. His white, baby butt skin is gone and now he is tanned! I love his tan and I hope he keeps it.

Elaine Yiu as Fung *note: word of caution, Elaine fans may feel offended
Who in their right mind would hire a scrawny little girl who looks like she is in desperate need to eat something to guard their precious treasures? Really, Elaine Yiu looked sickly thin; it looks like if you touched her; her bones will all go crashing down. All she did is cry and cry, talk a bit and cries some more. I do not know if this is how her character was intended to be portrayed but that's what Elaine did 80% of the time - cry. Most of the time, she looked like a crazy woman with some psychological disorder or something. Just the over hysterical and dramatic way she acts and cries just makes her look nothing more than insane. I do not know if it is Elaine to blame or the scriptwriters, but at times I thought they tried way too hard to make Fung oh so pitiful and sacrificial. You know, one of those fragile and weak women who need a man’s protection. Oh please, give me a break, I don't buy it. Only Nnadia Chan is able to pull those characters off successfully. It is a pity that this potentially good character was ruined in her hands.

My sister and I spent a large amount of time enjoying ourselves as we *cough*...."criticized" her all the way to the last bit. I am still pondering what qualities is it that we have overlooked which makes her worthy of being promoted. What is it that TVB sees in her? She is just so horrible - everything about her is. All her crying scenes looks the same; were they cut and edited? And I bet those were fake tears. Like I always say, you do not have to have extraordinary acting skills but at least have some charisma. Charisma is more important to me than great acting skills. Some actresses have great acting skills but become nothing more than a sleeping pill on screen. Let’s see, Elaine does not have any charisma, acting skills or looks! Frankly, I thought Elaine tried way too hard. It is painful to watch her in attempt to torture some simple expressions out. She should close her mouth more often too, that way she might look half decent.

Wayne Lai as Chung
Chung was a big brat at the beginning. He would always cause trouble and would leave a huge mess for Chi (Steven) to clean up. Chi would always have to bail him out and take the credit for his mistakes. Being the arrogant and spoilt brat Chung was, he was not grateful towards Chi. There were numerous times where Chung would called Chi 'bastard,' and all sorts of other names. He would also go to his parents and talk crap about Chi. Basically he was a brat, chicken, gullible, manipulative and pathetic. I did not hate him as some had at the beginning because I found him amusing because he was so immature. It is not until he had to face a life-death situation did he mature. That is when he realizes who truly cares for him.

Wayne Lai's versatility never fails to impress me. When he gives Chi the keys to be the first leader of the Security Agency; his speech was so touching and powerful. He spoke with such confidence and it really shows how mature, decisive his character grew to be. That scene is a must watch for everyone.

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[Kwok Fung - Jeng Tong // Suet Nei - Sau Ping // Lau Kong - Jeng Pang// Ram Tseung - Jeng Man // Unknown - Second Brother]

I am so happy that Kwok Fung chose to act this multi dimensional character. I quite pity his character because he died due to repetitive shocking news, stress, and his good for nothing sons. I think this is one of the best characters he has played since At the Threshold of an Era.

Sau Ping is a biased mother who wants Chung (Wayne) to get everything. She is ignorant and her knowledge of what is going in the Security Agency is so limited yet she has to open her fat mouth and have a say in everything. It pisses me off how she gets mad at Chi (Steven) for everything that goes wrong in the Security Agency and family. Even after what Chi has done for the family and business, she was still inconsiderate and she was not understanding at all especially during the time when their business owed massive debt. BUT she stopped being an ignorant fool and she became a little more understanding. I'll give her that. Suet Nei is an annoying actress. I can not stand her pouty looks or the way she moves her lips. I have always disliked this actress because she is annoying. In here she is also annoying - as expected.

Pang is a bitter old man who resents everything about his life and everyone around him. He does not want to move on with his old life so he passes his days by stirring up trouble in the family and business. He is a stupid, old man who does not want to do anything better with his life.

Woo, what can I say? A brilliant man with brilliant strategies. The smartest of all yet also the laziest of all. You can say he is stupid for brains like his to spend his time playing with birds and looking at scenery. But I call that smart. He is the happiest of his three brothers; he is the one that enjoys life the most and he does not have to endure constant headaches like Kwok Fung had too. His simplistic, lay back and carefree life is very relaxing indeed. I love it when Kam Cheung accepts these types of smart roles like in The Conqueror's Story. He has chemistry with his wife. The most memorable scene is when he found his wife dead. That scene is torturous to watch. Music always stimulates the mood of the series. But when Man finds his wife dead and cries, there is no dramatic music playing yet it gave off such a heartfelt and dramatic effect. It really shows what an effective actor he is. It made my heart ache. After his wife sacrificed herself, Man became a little more ambitious. He tries his best to save the Security Agency. When the great general asks Ah Hei to give him a simple reason why he should believe him and not believe the pile of complaint letters from multiple generals who criticized him. Ah Hei is an alcoholic and appears to be very scruffy and careless. Man gives him a simple answer - Ah Hei is poor. He lives in a poor house. Why would the great general believe the other generals who live in big fancy houses with luxurious furniture and not believe Ah Hei who lives in a poor shack? Sheer genius right there.

The second brother? As oppose to Steven’s character, he is unable to withstand hardships and degradation without losing his integrity and principals. I think the only reason that he stole Evergreen’s wife away is because she was the only one that wanted him. Their relationship is way too rushed and had no development whatsoever. His character is a villain but one with no brains. His strategies and plans never work out. He is stupid, end of story.

Chemistry Factor
Definitely not Steven-Elaine. It is Steven-Wayne-Kam-Kwok Fung who shares heaps of chemistry amoung each other.

Theme Video


Verdict
Aside from the worst aspect of Safe Guards (I am sure you can all guess what it is); Safe Guards is a definite must see of 2006. It has a strong male cast but on the female side is extremely weak. Nevertheless, a very good drama. This drama does not include the biggest star names but it sells off because of the depthness of the storyline and fabulous performances from underrated and not so famous stars. The characters develops well and their actions are logic and believable. The script is cleverly written and it does not have many flaws. The pace of the story is very good. The ending is awesome; summary at the end is good and I like how they covered each characters' ending. Two thumbs up for this one.

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