I remember watching this series as a child but didn't really know what was going on and my Cantonese was kind of rusty. I just remembered all the death scenes and the ending for some reason. Now that I recently re-watched it, I can write a proper review. I managed to find the entire Cantonese series on Youtube, in case anybody is interested.
SPOILERS ALERT: The entire series is basically about the Fong Family. They worked hard from nothing to build a successful family business creating weapons and selling them. The family is well-known and wealthy. Things are going well for awhile. Unfortunately, karma catches up with them. Most of the family members are corrupt and greedy, and eventually bring down the whole business and family. They are too busy trying to sabotage each other and gain control of the family and the money That's basically the entire plot. Hou Tien enters the family as a new member. Some people accept him and some don’t. He promises his father that he will try his best to take care of the family, but ultimately they are all doomed. It’s too bad, because he didn’t even want that life. He was content living poor and just being with Lau Yee, but in the end, chose family obligation over the simple life. Unfortunately, he is not smart or ruthless enough to manage the family and maintain the peace. The other men in the family target him and plot to get rid of him immediately. They take advantage of his niceness and Hou Tien is obviously not cut off to be in this corrupt family. In the end, they bring him down with them.
Fong Hou Tien - Cheung Kok Wing (Leslie Cheung)
He’s the illegitimate son that joins his dad and family out of nowhere. Nobody likes him at first, but he puts up with it. Hou Tien is wayyy too nice and righteous and even willing to give up Lau Yee to his buddy AND 4th uncle! Eventually he realizes that he really wants to be with her and stops trying to pawn her off on other men. He forgives his uncle and cousins even after they have conspired against him. Sad how him and Lau Yee got married at the end, but then he dies. They should have just left Chun Shun to karma, and left to carry on their lives.
Leslie is excellent in this role. He is handsome and gets good costumes. 80s TVB hair and costumes were the best. His acting is good. I am a Leslie fan, but sometimes he looks too feminine with the long hair and wearing certain colours. He’s lacking the height to look really manly, but his face does make up for it!
2. Fong Sheung Mun - Ou Yeung Chun Wah
Hou Tien's half-brother and is a cripple. Acting is a little wooden and the limping seemed a little exaggerated at times. I was glad when he finally got bumped off. Character was annoying and dumb. He was always jealous of Hou Tien and hated himself for being crippled and useless, seeing that his brother was more capable and higher rank in the family than him. An he was so gullible and kept trusting his uncle. It was sad that he got killed just as his son was being born.
3. Fong Sheung Mou - Poon Hung Bun
He is Hou Tien's and Sheung Mun’s younger brother. Its funny that he would seem perfectly healthy in one scene, and then try to force on a fake cough all of a sudden lol. This guy didn’t get many scenes and he’s just sick all the time.
4. Fong Sheung Chun - Kwan Lai Kit
Hou Tien’s cousin. Funny how they didn’t really mention what happened to him at the end. Or maybe the new edited version cut it out. I’m assuming that he and his wife and mom left the Fong family. He’s the evil cousin that’s also jealous of Hou Tien and schemes along with his dad to sabotage him and try to take over the family. Funny when they leave the family and then beg to be let back in! As soon as he’s back in the family, he’s back to his old despicable self. Him and his wife just cheat on each other, and he just causes drama. He became a good ass-kisser with Chun Shun near the end.
5. Fong Sheung Lai
The youngest of all. Chun Shun's son. He is soooo adorable! They could have at least given him a change of clothes! He’s always wearing the same red outfit! And what the heck happened to his mom? I don’t think they really explained that. Maybe Chun Shun bumped her off too lol. He takes a real liking to Lau Yee and Chun Shun hopes that she will become his mom. I’m glad nothing happened to him in the end, and he leaves with Lau Yee.
6. Fong Chun Yan - Yeung Chak Lam
The eldest in the family who controls the family. One of the few good members of the family and everything goes downhill after his death. Acting is good as usual and he fits the role well.
7. Fong Chun Chi - Lau Kong
He is the third son/uncle in the family and is always scheming to take over. He is too greedy for the money and lands the Fongs in hot water. Doesn’t do business fairly and lacks business skills. Almost gets the entire family killed at one point. I like this actor. He’s always good at playing both good or evil roles. He is really convincing.
8. Fong Chun Shun - Tse Yin
He is the youngest son/4th uncle. He sits in the background at first, pretending that he’s not up to anything and not interested in the family business. But really, he’s the worst out of them all. He uses Suet to help him do his dirty work, but has no real intention of marrying her or anything. He’s charming and also tries to get with Lau Yee, even though he could be her father’s age ahahaha makes no sense! Just like in real life, dating younger women! Tse Yin is a classic actor and also good at any type of role. I like seeing him in these bad guy roles, because they’re so rare. I think the only other series was him as the evil prince in Legend of Wong Tai Sin.
9. Cheung Wai - Lee Kok Lam
He’s the childhood friend of Hou Tien who wants to be rich. He’s jealous of Hou Tien because Lau Yee likes him instead. I’m surprised these two were friends because they’re so different. Eventually Wai gets his foot in the door with the Fong family thanks to Hou Tien. He doesn’t go far up the ladder until he starts helping out Chun Shun and becomes his pawn. Crazy how at the end he still wasn’t over Lau Yee and was willing to cheat on his pregnant wife with her, and leave with Lau Yee. His wife was too good for him anyway. Wai is brainless and keeps going along with Chun Shun, even though it means sabotaging his own friend. In the end, he redeems himself a bit and tries to help kill Chun Shun.
I don’t know how Kok Lam got the role. Sorry, he’s not cute and not the best actor. He usually doesn’t even get big roles.
10. 2nd granduncle - Cheung Lui
He’s the oldest in the family and outlives everybody. Haha he looks funny with the braids at the front. He’s gone from home a lot and is the brains behind inventing new weapons. And its so funny at end when he shoots Chun Shun. Why would you shoot someone outside your family home when it’s dark and you don’t know who you’re shooting? Lol.
13. Monk Wai Sum - Ho Pek Kin
He is Hou Tien's master. What can I say about this guy? He must be a monk in real life…is there ever a series that he is NOT cast as the monk? Always the same beads and EXACT SAME outfit….you know what I’m talking about. If not, watch Chor Lau Heung ’79 or any other ancient series where there is a monk and 9 out of 10 times it’s ALWAYS him!!! I’m sure this guy can just walk from one movie set to the next, and wearing the same monk suit too! And his eyes are so droopy that they just look closed all the time ahah!
16. Duen Kuan - Ng Man Tat
Isn’t Man Tat a little old to be playing Lau Yee’s brother? Not much to say about him.
18. Duen Lau Yee - Cheung Mun Yoke
She is Lau Sing's princess. I feel that she was more the man in the relationship with Hou Tien. She places the red cloth on his door to let him know that she likes him and is even the one to suggest that they get married in the end! Shouldn’t it be the guy proposing? Lol and Hou Tien even tries to get out of it as first, saying they should wait until after they take care of Chun Shun. Lau Yee is blunt and follows her heart all the time. I’m surprised that they sent her to do the weapons deal because she’s young and not that bright. She’s really trusting and naïve. She loved Hou Tien, but yet so easily believed Chun Shun when he said that he was the one that betrayed her and the Fong family.
Maggie and Leslie make a good couple here. I never really thought she was that good looking, but she is pretty in this series and has cute costumes.
19. Fong Sheung Wah - Wong Chiu See
She is the Chun Yan's youngest and only daughter. She is one of the few people that defend Hou Tien and like him. She is pretty and smart and capable of running family affairs. If she was a man, then maybe the family would have stood a chance. She doesn’t like Wai at first and finds him repulsive, but he grows on her later and she agrees to marry him. She later on discovers that Wai isn’t really the good person she thought he was, but she is stuck in the marriage and later pregnant with his child. She just ends up arguing with him a lot and keeping her distance by visiting her mom a lot. The marriage going downhill. It’s a shame that her life comes to tragic end. I’m surprised that Hou Tien seemed really angry at Lau Yee and her brother for her death at first, but then seemed to get over it really quickly. Wasn’t that his sister that just died? He should have slapped them both. The whole plot with Lau Yee trying to get close to Wai was stupid. If Lau Yee had used her brain, I’m sure she could have got Wai to agree to help them without having to pretend that she liked him. And why would Sheung Wah want to entrust Lau Yee to take care of her baby? Isn’t that the woman that she suspected Wai was cheating on her with?? Again, makes no sense!!
20. Ngan Cui Lien - Ng Sin Mei
Her mother is the 5th aunt. How old is she supposed to be here because she acts like a bratty kid. Her and her mom are the same and just useless. They want to be part of the family when times are good. When the whole family is close to getting the death sentence, they try to sneak out the property by pretending like they are not related to the Fongs.
21. Keng Sin - See Ma Yin
She is Sheung Chun's wife. She just wants to live the good life and not do chores or anything. Stuck in an unhappy marriage, they both just have their affairs. They deserve each other. Disgusting how she sleeps with his brother.
22. Chow Fong Ching - Hui Yik Wah
She is in control of the family business and they are in direct competition with the Fong family. I’m surprised they married off her sister to the Fong family. She will stop at nothing to bring the Fongs down. The part where she almost got the whole Fong family killed made no sense. So she cares about her sister but is ok with leaving her a widow??
23. Lee Suk Wan - Leung Kit Wah
She is Sheung Mou's wife. I think they were saying in that she was just supposed to be his concubine, but yet he never seemed to marry another. In the end, these two survived and were smart for staying out of all the family drama. They went to go on and live a happy and simple life…but while stuck raising his siblings’ two kids! lol
24. Chow Fong Yu - Ma Chor Ling
She is Sheung Mun's wife that he totally takes for granted. She is really submissive and takes all the abuse and beatings from her husband. Her sister is a lot stronger than her. She hopes that Sheung Mun will treat her better when their son is born, but sadly never finds out. I’ve never seen this actress before but her acting was ok.
25. 5th aunt - Sheung Gun Yoke
The other reviewer mentions that her and the daughter flee at the end. How come I don’t remember seeing this? I think the edited TVB version is cutting some scenes out. Her and her daughter are money hungry and really and have nothing better to do, but talk about other family members.
26. 3rd aunt - Fok Kit Chan
She is Chun Chi's wife.
27. Mrs Fong - Ha Ping
Chun Yan’s wife. She is super understanding when he tells her that Hou Tien is his son with another woman, and okay with bringing him into the family. She treats him as her own son. She is a nice lady and it’s shame that she outlived most of her kids at the end. Sheung Wah was one of her favourites and her death finally pushes her over the edge and she passes away shortly afterwards.
29. Shu Mut Yee - Fu Yuk Lan
She is Lau Yee's cousin. There is funny part at the beginning where Wai is trying to get with her because he thinks that she is the princess.
30. Ngai Suet - Lau Yau Wai
Chun Shun’s lover. She is an powerful escort and helps the Fong family get out of a lot of jams by using her beauty and charm and getting help from other men, probably her clients. She has the power to make a lot of things happen, and she is smart except when it comes to Chun Shun. He’s her one weakness and she is too trusting with him. She wastes years being his woman on the side hoping to marry him one day. She really doesn’t suspect that he is just using her the whole time. She finally gets really jealous when Chun Shun falls for Lau Yee instead and starts blackmailing him with all his bad deeds. Chun Shun has no intention of marrying Suet and decides she knows too much, and it’s time for her to go. I’m shocked that she would still trust him again in the end. He is really charming with her, and her death wasn’t too surprising. She was asking for it. Should’ve just killed him and then Hou Tien and Lau Yee would have had a happy ending.
I honestly don’t have any because none of them really stood out. There weren’t really any exceptional characters. Hou Tien was a good person but it bugged me that he was so trusting and was willing to give up Lau Yee easily. He should have just moved out and married Lau Yee.
Actually wait, Chun Shun’s kid was my fave. That kid was too cute! I love him!
Most hated character
Many characters were easy ones to hate. The gossipy aunt and her daughter. 3rd uncle and his family. I didn’t really like Suet because she was so stupid always helping Chun Shun and trusting him. She ended up setting a big fire to the Fong factory and ruining a bunch of weapons, which messed things up for Lau Yee and her people. Suet should have just went directly for Chun Shun. Chun Shun was the obvious main bad guy, but played it off really nicely at the beginning. I believed he was a good guy for a minute too. He didn’t get on my nerves as much as Wai for some reason. Wai is just a user and I think he liked Lau Yee and Sheung Wah just because they would help him get ahead in life. In the end, Wai caused his wife’s death and totally took her for granted. The entire series, he was down on himself for not being born into success but yet never seemed to do anything productive to help get himself to the top. He was really jealous of Hou Tien for being ‘lucky’ enough to be a Fong, and that made it easy for Wai to help Chun Shun plot against him. He’s not intelligent at all, and realizes too late that Chun Shun is out to kill Hou Tien. By now, he is too involved in the whole thing and Chun Shun can easily blackmail him or kill him too. Wai knows he is doing wrong things, but continues to be used by Chun Shun. He dies at the end saving Lau Yee, so he finally does something good for once.
The theme song is sung by Leslie. I don’t understand the lyrics 100% . It’s nice but sad. Suits the series as it’s not a happy one. The sub-theme is also partially sung by Leslie. Nice as well. I downloaded both.
The Fallen Family title is very fitting because that’s exactly what it is. They started off doing great and had nothing in the end. All members are either dead or gone and the factory is burned down. They did mention that it was karma, and that the Fong family ancestors did many bad deeds in the past to be successful. So I guess that earned them their fate. I guess it must have been karma because that’s a lot of bad luck for one family. All in all, karma is a good lesson to be learned, so this series has meaning. Karma will always come back to bite you in the butt.
The actors make this series bearable. If you are a big Leslie fan or enjoy watching 80s/90s TVB like me, then you will enjoy watching this. It was a sad story but entertaining to watch. However, it was just too depressing. Typical TVB. Watch it if you are prepared for the sad ending. I wish TVB would make more series with happy endings. Not sure if that has changed nowadays, because I don’t really watch recent series.
Honestly, I wouldn’t watch it again. Compared to other series, it’s just average, not the best or the worst. I’d give it 3 stars out of 5.