Hard Fate

Reviewed by: Josh

July 31, 2004

Rating: three

Vietnamese Title - Dinh Menh Tinh Duyen
No. of Chinese Episodes - 30
No. of Vietnamese Tapes - 22

ATTENTION : Watch Out for Some Spoilers

The Cast:
Flora Chan
Damien Lau
Kevin Cheng
Niki Chow
Maggie Siu
Stephen Au
Hawick Lau
Chan Hoi Yee
Patricia Liu
Akina Hong

Special Guest Stars
Michael Tong
Michelle Yip
Mark Kwok
Sherming Yiu
Jenny Shing

“Hard Fate” focuses on the theme of jade and how it ties in with the fate of the characters. The series begins with a light-hearted plot that seems to be pointless and rather boring. Just as I begin to lose interest in the series, new characters and heavy conflicts are introduced that quickly made the series worth-while.

Brief Summary:
Flora learns from her aunt that a pair of special jade can bring harmony to the possessor. However, her aunt has lost one of the two jades and her biggest wish is to find the missing one before she dies. Flora manages to locate the missing jade and the stones are brought together. Since then, Flora is haunted by nightmares that seem to carry along a big message.

As for Flora’s love life, she faces many obstacles. After knowing that her boyfriend (Damien) is a married man, she is forced to leave him. However, after a severe accident, she has no choice but to stay with him.

After being with Damien for a long time, she notices that Damien is not the way he appears. She soon meets her aunt’s past lover and realizes that she is following her aunt’s tragedy and that the legend of the pair of jades is probably false.

Opinions on the Main Cast:
Flora Chan – Flora adequately delivers her performance, but as one of the top 5 actresses at TVB, I expected more from her. Her character is a very likeable one and it’s a pain to see all that she goes through. However, after this series, I can say without a doubt that Flora excels in only professional, independent, and modern roles (lawyer, doctor, etc.).

Damien Lau – Undeniably, Damien’s performance overshadows those of his co-workers. The transition in his character requires a great deal of effort, yet Damien carries it out with ease. You will like his character in the beginning, but you will quickly hate his character later in the series as well.

Kevin Cheng – Kevin’s character is probably one of the most likeable in the series. In addition, the chemistry between Niki and him is undoubtedly great. TVB makes the right decision to finally promote Kevin by giving him larger and heavier roles.

Niki Chow – Niki’s performance is quite enjoyable, however, she still needs polishing in her acting. She plays the outgoing, carefree, yet considerate and loving, character satisfactorily. I hope she will continue to do series for TVB in the future.

The Minor Cast :
Among the minor casts, unsurprisingly Maggie Siu provides the best performance. Stephen Au is once again a villain and his performance is typical compared with his previous roles. Michael Tong and Michelle Yip are both fine portraying lovers through flashback scenes.

My thoughts
Like I have stated, the opening of "Hard Fate" is unexciting and dull. However, pass through the first few episodes and it will improve. The age gap between Flora and Damien causes some displeasure during their scenes. Their chemistry isn’t really there and this is one of the poor factors in the series.

Kevin Cheng and Niki Chow, on the other hand, have great chemistry and look extremely compatible on-screen; it is a joy to watch them together.

The outcome of the series is astonishing. The deep secrets behind certain characters will leave you appalled. Near the end, some of the character’s deaths are also very startling. The atmosphere of the finale episodes heavily differs from that of the beginning -– quite distinguishing.

My Final Comments
The series surely has its originality; the subject of jade tying with fate is rather fresh. I also enjoy how the unconnected scenes in Flora’s dreams come together in the end. I personally think that it’s well done and imaginative. The series only has one major flaw-- it could have started out more engaging.

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