In the Realm of Success

Reviewed by: Prexous-Jen

February 03, 2008

Rating: two-point-five

Cantonese Title: Gong Sze Luen See Dor
Vietnamese Title: Buoc Duong Thu Thach

Steven Ma as Giu Ho Yeen
Nadia Chan as Jong Mei Kei
Michael Tong - Tong Joong Mun/3rd Sir
Claire Yui - Ah Yee
Margaret Cheung - Clara
Yeun Wah - Steven's Dad
Ching Chi Seng - 2nd Sir
Hong Wah - 2nd Sir's wife
Mak Cheung Ching - Nadia's ex

Synopsis: (Spoilers)
The first scene took place inside an airplane with Steven looking at his family picture. It includes his father, mother, and his grandmother from his mom's side. Steven had just came back from America after finishing school there. After he had gotten off the plane, he took the local bus. Nadia was also in the bus, getting screamed at by her boss on her cellphone. Well, there was a man sitting next to her and out of nowhere he had a seizure attack. While Nadia was leaning at one side because of how nasty it was when these while liquidy stuff was coming out of his mouth, Steven screamed for help, but most of the passengers just immediately got off the bus. So he came and put his own hand inside the man's mouth preventing him from biting his own tongue. Steven then grabbed something he saw and put it in the man's mouth which was Nadia's cellphone. She shrieked because she is sort of cheap and her cellphone costs HK$3,000. She followed him to the hospital hoping to get her cellphone back. After the doctors had finished wrapping his hand from the man's bite, she rushed to him demanding her cellphone. He told her he doesn't know, why don't she ask all the doctors. She replied telling him she already did and he told her someone probably stole it. She told him the cost of her cell and told him to pay her back. He told her he just came back from the States so all he have is HK$20. She took the money anyways and just made a statement on how she was so unlucky and rushed out of the hospital. Right after she left, his family came looking for him all worried.

Well, they went home and ate dinner and had their family conversation. In America, Steven had study a course that involves hotel management so his dad was hoping that Steven would work at the same hotel. Steven had other plans because he feels that if he screwed up, his dad's reputation might be ruined and he wants to rely on his own abilty instead. (His dad, who was promoted as head of security after 15 years of service, is probably the most loyal worker at the hotel. Even when he doesn't need to go to work, he still returns to check out things. He had an award for never missing a day of work. Though most of the staff in the hotel are like suck-ups.) Well, the economy in Hong Kong wasn't the best, plus there were other issues while applying for jobs so he ended up not getting any good news. His dad talked to him about it, trying to cheer him up and wanted to play a game with him involving "god's wishes". He told him if the coin landed on heads, he would work at his hotel, if on tails, his dad wouldn't bother him on his occupational concerns anymore. It landed on heads, so Steven agreed. His dad then went inside the house and threw the coin up again, when his wife accused him of using the same trick. (The other time was when he proposed to her.) Back to Nadia, her female boss made a mistake on a client which got her a yelling from a higher manager who is making her apologize. Well of course, she's going to make one of the lower position workers do it, so she made Nadia go apologize to the client and bring him one of the hotel's famous cheesecakes. It was raining when Nadia went outside to call a taxi when no other than Steven is also calling a taxi to go to the hotel for his first interview. They were both pushing to get into the taxi and Nadia in the end won while Steven fell down. When she came to apologize to the client, the client opened up the cheesecake and criticize the hotel for bringing him a flattened cheesecake (probably from all the pushing.) Steven arrived to the interview over an hour late walking in all muddy. His dad was embarassed and was mad at him for a while, but his dad's friend still got Steven a job.

Nadia has a boyfriend for 7 years, but he isn't very caring of her or really appreciates her. Nadia's mom and sister doesn't like him either. The series shows that he had cheated on her. The worst thing was that before she found out, they were planning to get married and she even bought a car for him. She was devastated by it because of all the time they've been together. Nadia had already met Michael on the corner of a street. He was waiting for his friend, and his legs were broken so he couldn't bend over. His cellphone rang and dropped, and the only one around him was Nadia. He called for him but she really didn't want to answer, but she did help him out. But it was funny, she kept leaning to get away from him, therefore he had to lean with her so he could hear the caller. He ended up falling on top of her and she pushed him away and hit him with her purse thinking that he was harassing her. Claire also hit him with her purse as well when she saw her sister doing the same thing. The 2 of them then left him and went away. His friend finally came down and brought him up to his house. Michael was out of money, but he didn't want to come home so he's planning to win this game of Monopoly tomorrow so he doesn't need to come back home. Well, he did won the game, and surprisingly, the one who awarded his check was his DAD!! (uh oh) So he had to come home. The reason he didn't want to come home is because is dad has 2 wives, Michael is the son of the 2nd wife, who used to be a servant for the 1st wife. The 1st wife doesn't like the 2nd wife, so she always makes arguments and brags about her own son. His dad ordered him to visit each department at the hotel to get a better understanding of the business so when he died, he could hand over his business to his 2 sons.

Well, most of the managers didn't want to take in Michael at first because they were afraid they might get into trouble, but Steven's dad got the honors. After spending time at the security department, he went to other departments and met Steven. At last Nadia was given a makeover by her sister, Claire. When she went to work, all the guys was literally drooling over her new image. During that week, one of the head manager wanted to arranged something so that only he and Nadia would be alone. Steven overheard this in the bathroom. It was arranged and the manager brought Nadia to a restaurant and got her drunk and then brought her to his car which Steven saw. He was on his way to undress her right when Steven stepped in. Nadia suddenly wakes up seeing only Steven while her clothes were sort of loose so she slapped him. A minute later, she saw the manager driving away, panicking then, and figured her accusation of Steven was wrong, instead it was that horny manager. She went home telling Claire the whole story and apologizes to Steven. So when they went to work, Nadia wanted to pretend that nothing happened because she doesn't want to hear those nasty gossips, but the horny bastard now takes notice of Steven and gives him ridiculous assignments.

Michael was bored because no one would give him work to do, so he decides to help Steven, and they actually found customers and became friends. Anyway, Michael decided he wanted to form his own department at the hotel called "IT" which will design the hotel's official webpage so their business will improve. He asked for volunteers, but no one wanted to volunteer because they didn't believe it would be successful and then they will be out of a job. Steven wanted to apply but his dad didn't want him to since he also believes that "IT" equals death. He was the first volunteer which cheered Michael up, who asked the head of each department to send some people to go to IT. Well, most of the departments gave up the useless or the people who had gotten on their nerves. Therefore, the group included Steven, Nadia, 2 other employees who were transferred, and Steven's friend. Steven's friend is like the laid-back lazy one who always takes the easy road. He had also had some sort of relationship with Claire, they both lied that they were rich, but ended up meeting each other and found out that he/she lied. Then after she found out the truth, she met Michael, and began to like him. At the beginning, most of the employees, besides Steven, wasn't taking the department seriously, but eventually the other people helped out, except Steven's friend. During the time at IT, Steven and Nadia's daily relationship improved, but improved even more when he helped her achieve her goal of getting a driver's license so she can get her car back from her ex-boyfriend, after failing the test 6 times already. She finally passed, it's funny though, because during the test there was a robber and the police had jumped in the car and told her to follow the burglars' car. It was a bumpy ride, but she had chased them down, allowing her to get her driver's license. After getting the license, she tried to get contact with her ex, but her ex had quit his old workplace and even moved. While walking with Steven, they spotted her ex outside an auto-repair store. The ex frighteningly jumped in the car to get away from them but they kept going after him and he tried to use the brakes, but it was broken so he crashed in the streets. Well, Nadia and Steven were nice enough to visit him and bring him a fruit basket, until he got the nerves to tell her how Japanese cars are dangerous and told her she should buy him a different car. Nadia was infused with anger and started yelling at him and threw the basket on his leg wrapped with a cast and left.

The webpage was completed but there was this one part that they wanted to redo, it was a page about weddings. Steven thought that it should include people to add a touch of intimacy. Steven was chosen to be the groom and Nadia declined the offer of being the bride so they posted a search at the company for a bride. Many people applied and the final choice was between Claire and Margaret (Margaret has also fallen for Michael after he saved her from her psycho ex-boyfriend). Well, Michael's older brother (half blood, because same dad, different moms) noted to Michael he wanted the bride to be his mistress who was also working at the hotel. The older brother has a reputation of cheating on his wife. His wife feels trapped because she has no respect which will affect the story later on. Michael decides not to use that girl because he believes Claire and Margaret are the better choices.

Ching Chi Seng was angry that his little brother didn't listen to him and he was kind of threatened because once he had gotten Michael drunk and Michael told him that he wants to beat him so his mom can get respect from all the pressure he has in the family. In any case, the brother told Steven's friend to do some tricks so his mistress can be the bride. What he did was put some toxic stuff inside the 2 girls' drinks even though he now likes Margaret, but he wants to join the older brother's group. Well, Margaret drank hers, but Claire and Steven was sitting next to each other so Steven accidentally drank hers instead, therefore she couldn't drink the drugs. Immediately, Margaret called out that her stomach hurt and ran to the bathroom and Steven follows. They had to replace Steven now, so Michael stepped in as the groom while Claire is the bride and everything came together. Now, the traitor told what had happenned to his wannabe group and the brother became more furious of what happened. Claire thought that Nadia had spiked the drinks to helped her out, but Nadia kept denying it, but then again Claire didn't care.

The 20th Anniversary of the hotel was almost in sight and the webpage was done and to be shown. A night before the anniversary, the crew reviewed ths site to see if there were any problems. There was none so they went out to celebrate. The whole crew was about to leave, but the Nadia said she left her cellphone, and Steven volunteered to get it and he saw his friend going inside the "IT" entrance door. Nadia chased after Steven and told him that she found her cellphone and rushed him to leave. At the bar, Steven was thinking about his friend, but he tried to relax. Claire pulled her sister to the dance floor to dance while these 2 guys came and asked them if they wanted to dance. Claire said she wants to dance but not with them and she got slapped and Michael stepped in for Claire. After this event they decide to go home.

At the Anniversary, Michael was introduced to Joyce Lee. They knew each other back in school and you can see that Joyce had, or should I say, have a thing for Michael. Well, during the display of the webpage, it had technical difficulties. After like 50 seconds, it was changed into pictures of club and sex themes. The audience was in shock! The next day, the whole "IT" crew was in a bad mood because of what had happened and suspected a traitor, especially of Steven's friend. Later they would find out that it was true and Steven punched the "mole" after he was transferred to another department in the elevator. His dad saw it on tape and called his son. He told his son about the time when the 2 of them were little and how Steven studied all night for a test while his friend just played outside and ended up getting the highest score but was caught by the teacher so he ended up getting a 0 for his test. (Similar to the ant/grasshopper lesson) So the meaning of it was that in the end, the ant will get the better of it.

Now, Michael was nowhere to be found and all of the "IT" crew went looking for him, while Nadia stayed behind to get the latest updates. Suddenly after a quick phone conversation between Steven and Nadia, he pops up in the "IT" room to get something out of his office. He ignored Nadia so Nadia followed him into the taxi and off to a nearby island I believe. That was when Michael starts having feelings for Nadia since she yelled at him and made him understand a piece of life. She called Steven to pick them up the next morning and Michael told Steven of his feelings for Nadia. Nadia doesn't like Michael in that way, but there are still rumors circulating. Meanwhile, Hong Wah been investigating her husband for evidence so when she divorced him, she will get some money. Her detectives also found evidence of him cheating the hotel out of it's money from a tape. Later, Hong Wah called Ching Chi Seng who was in bed with his mistress. She told him she have evidence of him doing some illegal activites and is willing to give him the evidence if he would just leave the mistress. He didn't think she was serious and hung up the phone. Hong Wah heartbrokenly gave the evidence to the ICAC. Ching Chi Send and all the people involved were arrested and sent to jail.

Michael and Ching Chi Seng's dad was in a coma, so Steven and Nadia did some oriental beliefs thing to help him. He actually woke up. The hotel was in a big black hole, they have debts everywhere and the only way to clear them is to have Michael marry Joyce Lee. He ended up doing so, even though he wholeheartedly loves Nadia. Steven got a little bit confused over this situation, but it clearly wraps up. After the marriage, there was this program from the hotel to send some people to different places of the world. Nadia joined because she can't stand Steven not telling her his feelings. The night he planned to tell her, he told her he'll be waiting at their old place, and he won't leave until he sees her. She ignores this, but Steven kept his word. That day was surrounded by bad weather and he was only wearing his vest, so he was freezing. Back home, Nadia and her family were watching news on TV. It showed Steven still waiting for her and the reporter also stated that he was waiting for a friend. She rushed there, thinking that Steven may be frozen by now. There, she asked an old man whether he knows where Steven was. He pointed her toward a corner, she went there and thought he's dead, but it was someone else. The worker told her Steven's in the car next to them, so she went inside the ambulance car and found Steven still alive, but looking terribly cold. He finally told her that he loved her (excluding that time when he was drunk, because Nadia's cellphone went out of battery so she couldn't hear him). At the end, Steven and Nadia were on the bus going to the airport for their free trip to Japan. There, they met the same seizure man and he was having another attack. This time, Nadia was smart and placed Steven's cellphone before using her own.

Jennie's Opinion:
"In The Realm of Success" was more like an experimental serial that went totally wrong and became distasteful. Though, I thought the cast and setting was refreshing set aside from most TVB serials and the return of Nadia Chan as a lead gave it light. I thought that overall the casting of Nadia, Steven, Michael, and Claire wasn't a bad choice. The cast wasn't what caused the serial to suck, it was the characters that were confusingly stupid. If you watched this serial, how many characters in here seem logical? There was some flaws and irritating factors in the storyline itself, but overall, it's not the worst modern serial--"Broadcast Life" is still leading. My rating of 2 1/2 stars seems kind of generous of me, but that's only because I'm feeling quite drowsy. My last comment is that I wish TVB will stop giving Nadia these crappy serials to act in and give her real dramas like "Cold Blood Warm Heart" to show her talent. About Steven, I'm glad that TVB is promoting him since he isn't a bad actor, but he does need to improve on some parts.

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