Net Deception


Reviewed by: Real Deal

June 21, 2004

Rating: four-point-five

The Cast:

Wong Hei
Eddie Kwan
Myolie Wu
Jack Wu
Tiffany Lam
Felix Lok


The Story:

(*Special note: Some of the characters do not have English names. For the sake of convenience, I'll directly use the actors/actresses' names.)

Wong Hei is a successful entrepreneur who owns a video game company and an Internet bar, but that's just a cover-up for what he really is - a genius hacker who gets tons of money, and more importantly, a sense of fulfilment, from cracking complicated net systems and changing the data therein.

Eddie Kwan is a cop who is after Wong Hei. For years, he has been trying to gather the evidence of Wong Hei's criminal activities, but he never succeeds. Although his boss has asked him to close the case, he does not give up. Deep down, Eddie wants revenge badly, because his girlfriend fell in love with Wong Hei and decided to break up with him five years ago. This was especially hard to swallow since Eddie and Wong Hei used to be best friends.

Jack Wu is a young man who would have made a great policeman. Just before he graduated, he was kicked out of the police academy for changing his friend's test score. Eddie sees his potential and gives him a secret job - collecting the needed evidence to put Wong Hei in jail by being an undercover cop in his company.

Myolie Wu is an energetic young woman who works for a delivery company. By chance, she finds that Wong Hei is her half-brother. Wanting to know him better, she gets a job in his Internet bar. Things seem to go well as Wong Hei gradually accepts her and she falls in love with Jack. Alas, good days never last. She realises her brother is doing illegal things all the time and is directly responsible for their grandma's death. Then she finds out that Jack is just using her to hunt down Wong Hei.

Tiffany Lam is Wong Hei's first love, but she has always been controled by Felix Lok, a greedy man with only money on his mind. Felix asks Tiffany to seduce Wong Hei, but she falls for him. To get even, Felix sets Wong Hei up and kills his grandma in the process.

Will Wong Hei finally be caught by Eddie Kwan? Will he kill Felix Lok? Will Jack and Myolie get back together? Will Tiffany end up with Wong Hei? If you really want to know, go watch it for yourself. :)


Evaluation of the cast/characters:

Without a doubt, Wong Hei is the real star here. He has always been a fantastic actor, and he delivers yet again. I don't think there is anyone else who can play this role so well. The character is a complex figure. He's not a bad guy, but he breaks the laws and likes to walk in "grey areas", so to speak. He seems very cool, but he's warm inside and does care about his family. Wong Hei totally captures the essence of this character and makes us feel for him even though we don't agree with his way of handling things.

A definite plus is the way Wong Hei looks in this series. He is never your typical-good-looking guy (think Sammul Chan), but he exudes charm and sexiness here. He wears black most of the time, and boy, does black fit him!!! That particular scene where he pulls out the guns with both hands when he's negotiating with Felix Lok... Gosh, he looks the coolest!

Myolie Wu does a pretty good job. Yes, like everybody else, I'm tired of her over-exposure, but she does have some talent and it shows. I give two big thumbs-up for her crying scenes in here. First, the one after her grandma's death. She cries so desperately and slams Wong Hei really hard, blaming him for killing grandma. It's so heartbreaking. Secondly, the one of her grandma's funeral. Wong Hei says, "It's my fault. Please come back, grandma! Grandpa is unhappy, and he misses you so much!" Myolie is looking at him from sideways, with tears all over her face. It's one of the series' most memorable scenes. Thirdly, the one after Jack tells her he is only using her and he never really loves her. She slaps him in the face, and a single tear rolls down her cheek. She has this pent-up agony and cold-to-the-core look in her eyes. Very impressive.

Jack Wu does a good job too. He manages to show mixed emotions where necessary. On one hand, he knows what's black and what's white, but he knows his ultimate goal is to serve the justice and put Wong Hei in jail. On the other hand, he has this special bond and friendship with Wong Hei. He respects him for his talent and some of his principles.

Eddie Kwan does not really impress me. Maybe it's his character that annoys me, or maybe it's his not-so-versatile acting. I'm not a fan of his, so I may be a bit biased here.

I do not have any praise for Tiffany Lam either. She's really just a vase in this series. Find any good-looking actress to replace her and nothing will be affected. She does not seem to have chemistry with Wong Hei at all. You won't find yourself rooting for their "good ending", trust me. You just won't care. On the other hand, you will care if Myolie and Jack can patch things up in the end, and that says a lot about the importance of acting skills.


Other comments:

1) The theme song adds tremendously to the series. First, the lyrics closely reflect the plot. Secondly, the video's high-tech feel fits the "Internet hacking" storyline very well. Thirdly, the melody is really nice and super catchy! And finally, yes, Wong Hei sings it. :)

2) Wong Hei gets to say "I'm gay!" in the second episode. I won't spoil the fun here. Let me just say it's a hilarious and priceless scene.

3) Myolie's mom and "aunt" are a lesbian couple. Their relationship is one of the subplots throughout the series. Although minor, it is significant. I'm glad TVB finally puts a positive spin on a gay relationship. In the past, TVB series either had no gay characters, or had stereotypical gay roles just for comic relief. This is definitely the first time a gay relationship is taken seriously and actually has a good ending.

4) Unlike any other TVB series I've seen before, "Net Deception" devotes a whole episode to tying things up in the end. I personally find it a bit draggy. Maybe I'm the odd one out, but I stick with my opinions: 1) Why do they put that Eddie-Kwan-ex-girlfriend-look-alike character in? What's with all her so-obviously-fake moles? Just for a laugh? Lame. 2) Wong Hei and Tiffany Lam get married in prison? That's a bit far-fetched. 3) What exactly is the case they are working on in the final episode again? And why does the sister of Eddie Kwan's ex suddenly have a fiancé? Doesn't she have feelings for Eddie? Either be clear, or avoid putting in unnecessary, meaningless plots.


Conclusion:

I enjoyed this series a lot, and I highly recommend it. It's worth watching just for Wong Hei. The storyline isn't completely innovative, but it's still pretty refreshing. Family, friends, personal values, work ethics, good vs. evil, black vs. white. All the classic elements of a great drama can be found, and the ending will most likely surprise you in a good way. If you hesitate to watch this series, don't. It's solid entertainment and it will be worth your time and money!


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