To Where He Belongs

Reviewed by: TKL

May 26, 2004

Rating: two

"To Where He Belongs" or "Flaming Brothers II" (even though it has nothing to do with "Flaming Brothers I") is a disappointment for many fans of the first series. I, on the other hand, was never a fan of the first series so I was able to watch this series without expectation. The only thing that was not changed was that Michael To and Patrick Tam once again played brothers.

This series reunited most of the cast of the first series such as Michael To, Patrick Tam, Christy Yeung, Kathy Chow, with a few new additions such as Teresa Mok, Damien Lau, Alice Chan Wai, and Catherine Hung.

Sui Guan (Kathy Chow) was Ko Ho Wan's (Damien Lau) girlfriend. They were very much in love when he was a lowly policeman until he met Lui Ka Po (Teresa Mok), sister of his boss, that their love encountered trials. Sui Guan won the title of Miss Hong Kong but her dream in life was still simple. She only wanted a family life with Ho Wan while Ho Wan courted Ka Po and they got married. He asked Sui Guan to leave Hong Kong without knowing that she was already pregnant. On the way to Taiwan, Sui Guan was pushed into the river by Ho Wan’s best friend who claimed that Ho Wan asked him to do so. Fortunately, Sui Guan survived and married Mui Fei who had two adopted children. Mui Jing (Michael To), son of Sui Guan and Ho Wan, grew up to be a streetwise triad member who knew nothing better than gambling, fighting, reckless behavior, and car racing. He had a childhood friend who later became his girlfriend, Joyce (Alice Chan Wai). She was a lawyer. On one occasion, he met Ho Wan, who was now a very famous businessman. Ho Wan had a son named Hok Lung (Patrick Tam) and an adopted daughter, Hok Yu (Christy Yeung). Believing a fortuneteller that his oldest son was bad luck to him, Ho Wan was never fond of Hok Lung. Hok Lung might be the son of one of the richest man in Hong Kong but he lived like a beggar as his father did not support him. Hok Yu was a doctor who was involved in a relationship with another doctor.

Later, Hok Yu fell in love with Mui Jing. However, hearing the false account of the story from his mother, Mui Jing always considered Ho Wan as his enemy. Sui Guan was involved in a car accident and unfortunately lost her memory before she had a chance to tell Mui Jing that Ho Wan was his real father. In order to carry out his plan of revenge, Mui Jing deserted his long time girlfriend, Joyce (Alice Chan Wai), to marry Hok Yu. Kenneth Tsang plays the role of Ho Wan’s business rival while Catherine Hung played his daughter, Daisy, who was married but fell in love with Hok Lung. Unfortunately, Hok Lung was later trapped in jail. During this time, Mui Jing took over the company. Using ruthless strategies and dirty tricks, Mui Jing encountered more enemies in business. Hok Lung was later released from jail and learned about Mui Jing’s plan of revenge. Being a floppy businessman, the company soon went bankrupt and Mui Jing found himself on the run from his enemies. He escaped to Taiwan but fate was unkind and he even had to live on the streets for a while. Hok Yu arrived at Taiwan to look for him and to talk about their relationship. By chance, Mui Jing also encountered Hok Lung and Ho Wan in Taiwan. So would they work out their differences? Would Hok Yu get the answer she was seeking for: had Mui Jing ever loved her?

Michael To aka Mui Jing: I could see that Michael had tried his best to play this role of a ruthless, and cunning, scoundrel yet the age factor had betrayed him. He looks too old to play a streetwise triad member, especially with that ridiculous dyed hair. I much prefer him in "Healing Hearts" or the good old "DIF I, II, III", where he was more of his element in those series. Michael tried very hard to look the part of a triad member, a person who lives only for today, whose goal in life is to drive a car really fast, yet he failed miserably. It started to look more convincing after he married Kristy Yang’s character with a smirk on his face but the character development went down hill from there. I just could not understand how could a lawyer and a doctor fall in love with this character? What did they see in him? Exciting lifestyle? His charm? The way he drove other people’s cars? And talking about car racing, I have never seen such bad special effects as in this series. I am still dizzy from all the car racing and fighting scenes. All they did was swing the camera around. There was one scene when Mui Jing was ambushed by bikers. They rode their motorbikes around him and started to hit him but I could not see a thing and it was so dizzy.

Patrick Tam aka Hok Lung: He deserves the best actor award for this role. He was the only one actor that was worth watching in this series. Patrick Tam has turned Hok Lung into a very believable character. If it was not for him, I would have stopped watching the series. He fits more into the role of a younger son who is frustrated because of his father’s ridiculous belief. Hok Lung acts as though he does not care but deep down, he still loves his family very much. Deep down, he is still a child being deprived of love and attention. If I was him, I would have never forgiven Ho Wan that easily.

Damien Lau aka Ho Wan: At first, I thought the idea of him being paired with Kathy and Teresa was odd. However, Damien managed to bring the charm to his character and did have some convincing chemistry with Kathy. Yet at times, he did go overboard a bit with his acting. Especially in scenes where he sang, or chased the main actress around as though he was in his teens. I just hope that he will not play the role of a young man in love in the future productions. He was excellent as the cunning, evil and cold-blooded businessman and father. Yet the only down-run from his character was when he pretended to lose his memory and started to act silly with Sui Guan, who also lost her memory at the time.

Teresa Mok aka Lui Ka Po: She looked her role in this series. Yet Ka Po was a very unloving mother. Hok Lung was her son but she could stand by and let his father treated him that way. Her role did not have much screen time and to see her still looking like her 20s self and Damien with gray hair was ridiculous. Why did she not have make-up? She did not want to look ugly?

Kathy Chow aka Sui Guan: If fans of "Flaming Brothers I" expect a pairing between Kathy and Michael, they would definitely disappointed. Worst still, she played the role of his mother. I still remember how I missed the appearance of Kathy’s character in "Flaming Brothers I" because she seemed to disappear for a while and all I saw was her back. In this sequel, it was a pain to watch her character. She was supposed to be Mui Jing’s mother yet there was no make-up to make her look older. At times, she looked younger than him. Her character was ridiculously written. What sort of mother was she? All Sui Guan did was hiding in her room and prayed. Her husband, Mui Fei, must have been an extremely kind and generous man who would want to live with a woman like her. Sui Guan did not even come down to dinner. She did not teach Mui Jing anything. In a way, she was responsible for the way Mui Jing’s life turned out. I don’t know how Kathy could agree to take on this role, and don’t even get me to start talking on how boring, silly and dragging it is after Sui Guan loses her memory. Why did they not kill off her character? It was so cliché that her character lost memory before she had a chance to tell her son the truth about his father. I do want drama in the series but the whole idea of someone suddenly losing their memory had been used as a drama-enhanced ingredient in many series. It was plain boring.

Kristy Yang aka Hok Yu: Kristy Yang should learn how to say no to this type of role. She always plays the role of a demure, gentle, and innocent girl who unknowingly becomes the third party and worst still, the main character never falls in love with her. Hok Yu was like a flower vase. Her character signified nothing and did nothing much. The role did not require much acting from Kristy except looking pretty.

Alice Chan Wai: her character should evoke some pity from the audience since she was hopelessly in love with Mui Jing but he deserted her for his plan of revenge. However, Alice failed to do that and at times, seemed to annoy me a great deal. I think it was just her inability to express the emotion. Her face always had this same expression. In order to spice things up, the director added the unnecessary CAT III bed scene between Alice and Michael. What was that for? I think I prefer the old Chinese series in which people don’t even kiss. I mean if you remember those series in 80s or 70s, characters had tremendous chemistry without going to extra length of kissing. Call me old-fashion or whatever you want but I think the racing bed scene is more apt for a movie, not a family-entertainment-typed series.

Catherine Hung aka Daisy: Daisy and Hok Lung made a cute couple, though Catherine did look more mature than Patrick.

The plot of the series was rather exaggerated and at points, ridiculous (Yes, I know I have used this word more than once in this piece of writing but I could not find a more suitable word). The series showed some dark sides of human beings through the characters of Ho Wan and Mui Jing. Ho Wan would do anything to get what he wanted. He loved Sui Guan very much but when she was in his way to achieve his goal, he was not very reluctant to cast her aside. Like father like son, Mui Jing was very much the resemblance of his father. He would desert his long-time and devoted girlfriend in order to carry out his plan of revenge. He even used his stepsister, who was so helplessly in love with him, to achieve his goal. His evil intention drove the girl to commit suicide. However, it was quite silly of Ho Wan to take Mui Jing into his company. Mui Jing was nothing more than a streetwise scoundrel who had no idea how to do business. How could Ho Wan trust such a person to do business for him? Would a loving father let his daughter, a doctor, marry such a man in the first place? The series was poorly scripted with not many intrigues and twists to engage the viewer’s attention though the pace was not slow and dragging. In addition, the miscasts and shocking use of camera were rather frustrating. This series is another example of how sequels often turn out to be disastrous. However, it would not take the award of the worst series since it was still much more bearable than "Healing Hearts". If you are a fan of "Flaming Brothers I", expect to be disappointed.

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