Twin of Brothers


Reviewed by: Suki

October 13, 2004

Rating: four-point-five

Raymond Lam as Kau Chong
Ron Ng as Tzui Tzee Ling
Tavia Yeung as Lee Sau Ling
Li Qian as Sung Yuk Chi
Leila Tong as See Fei Huan
Nancy Wu as Wan Wan
Christine Ng as Fu Guan Chek and Fu Guan Yu
Waisee Lee as Yu Man Fa Kup
Johnson Lee as Lee Sai Man

"Twin of Brothers" is a new breakthrough in TVB series making history thus far. Filmed in Mainland China, many scenes were shot from real backgrounds; therefore many beautiful and breathtaking views are compiled in this series. In addition, TVB employed the aid of computer animations to add to the effect of characters' kung fu, giving the audience a sense of difference and superiority compared to past TVB kung fu series. The costumes were really good, both the guys and girls. With such beautiful backgrounds, clothing and advanced technology, the only element left for a successful TV series would be the characters and plot. Too bad TVB failed to deliver on the latter…

Prologue

Evil sects have always had an evil king in every generation to lead them. There was one such evil king by the name of Sek Chi Heen. He learned an evil martial art, but since he possessed a kind nature and didn’t want this evil power to harm mankind in the possible future, he asked his two friends to help him freeze himself along with the “Che Dai Se Lae Chi” in the Evil King Tomb. The “Che Dai Se Lau Chi” stored all the past evil kings’ power, and was one of the most invincible power sources in the world. However, the “Che Dai Se Lau Chi” was very tricky, and transferred a part of itself into one of Chi Heen’s friend’s piece of clothing before he left the tomb. (This friend is Fu Guan Chek’s master) This piece of clothing turned out to be the “Immortal Routine”, and along with teaching its reader amazing power, it was also the key to opening the evil king’s tomb.

The Twin Dragons
Raymond Lam - Kau Chong
Ray did an excellent portrayal of his character, and it is in "Twin of Brothers" that you can clearly see that his acting has improved a whole new level. Ray totally fleshed out Kau Chong that you could easily see this character grow and mature from a nobody (who always kidded around) to the all-powerful leader of a strong army. There are moments when you love him to pieces, and there are moments when you feel that power truly got to his head! Kau Chong is one of the most successful characters in "Twin of Brothers". Usually, most TVB characters are written out to be either strictly good or evil, while Kau Chong is in the middle, he is very realistic and human. Unlike Zhi Ling (Ron), there are times when Kau Chong’s decisions are kind of grayish, but that’s just what makes him so real!

Ron Ng – Tzui Zhi Ling
I would have to say I am very disappointed with Ron’s portrayal of Zhi Ling. His character was okay in the beginning when he hung around Ray’s Kau Chong, but in my opinion, he became an all-out bore fest when he started to have more and more screen time with See Fei Huan (Leila). Compared to Kau Chong, Zhi Ling is a gentleman. He knows what is right and what is wrong, and would never be caught in between. He can be very serious, which tends to be pretty dull and boring. If you are not a Ron fan, I seriously caution you to look out for his scenes with Fei Huan, and have a remote control ready just in case it becomes too boring!

The twins' background information:
Both Kau Chong and Zhi Ling’s parents died during a famine. They are both orphans, and have been best of friends having survived and gone through many things together while growing up. Having to grow up as children without their parents’ care, both had to learn many tricks in order to survive economic depression and war. The two suffered hunger many times and never once had decent clothes to wear, but yet they were very happy and carefree during that time, before they met their “pretty mother” (Christina Ng).

Their destiny:
The first girl that Kau Chong met was Lee Sau Ling (Tavia). Sau Ling was meeting this gay guy who she wanted to hire into her family’s army, in a restaurant Kau Chong and Zhi Ling just happened to pass by. The twins dressed up as waiters, wanting to see Sau Ling up close since she was so pretty! Having made fools of themselves, the gay guy wanted to kill them but Sau Ling stopped him. She helped the twins resolve this misunderstanding and freed them. Since she was so nice to Kau Chong despite their differences in social status, he immediately fell for her; her good looks added to his admiration for her of course! Later on, wanting to punish the gay guy for being so mean to them, the twins headed off to steal stuff from the gay guy’s house, but instead bumped into a Korean assassin, Fu Guan Chek (Christina). It turns out that Guan Chek lent this “Immortal Routine” to the gay guy so he could learn the powerful techniques in it, on the condition that he would use it to help her fight for Korea against China and that he would return it to her afterwards. However, the gay guy didn’t want to return the “Immortal Routine” and also broke his promise to her of aiding Korea against China. (China had invaded Korea three times already, and many Koreans were living in a state worse than death due to this war). In the end, Guan Chek got the “Immortal Routine” back, and the gay guy died horribly. It turned out that in order to learn “Immortal Routine”, one would have to possess both yin and yang in them. Kau Chong is yang and Zhi Ling is yin, and together they have the qualities needed to practice “Immortal Routine”. Therefore, Guan Chek forced the two to practice it, or die. In the end, after many twists and turns, the twins reluctantly agreed, and so their lives were forever changed.

The love interests:

With Kau Chong:
Tavia Yeung – Lee Sau Ling
Along the way, Lee Sau Ling continued to help the twins whenever they bumped into her. Her underlying motive was because she knew the twins were connected to the all-powerful “Immortal Routine”, and was hoping she could get it for her family. She may not be the most liked character in "Twin of Brothers", but she would definitely win for most interesting and most controversial. Ever since the broadcast of "Twin of Brothers", viewers have either really liked/admired her character, totally hated/despised her, or just plain old pitied her. Most people like her because of her super intelligence, remaining calm no matter what, and the fact that she looked like and was a true princess! But for me, I don’t like her that much. Her coldness towards Kau Chong’s love, and the fact that TVB portrayed her to be perfect and goddess-like really bothers me!

Let me just ask you this: If you were to choose, would you choose the well being of your family and your responsibilities to country, or would you choose true love? This is the dilemma that Sau Ling was faced with. The king was suspicious that the Lee family was going to revolt against him, so to make them show their loyalty, their taxes were raised. If they were unable to pay, then it would mean that they’ve used all their money building an army to revolt against him. Luckily, Sau Ling had an admirer, Chai Siew, who was very rich. If she asked him, he would gladly lend the Lee family the money. But then, technically speaking, Sau Ling should marry Chai Siew for this. Add on the fact that the king sort of placed an order that Sau Ling had to marry Chai Siew, Sau Ling had no choice but to do so. She was engaged to Chai Siew, and Kau Chong left with a broken heart, so hurt that he spit out blood when he left the city gates! However, Sau Ling had a wish. She hoped that Kau Chong, with the aid of the powerful “Immortal Routine”, would amount to some high position one day, and come back for her, despite the fact that she was already engaged to “the generous and who loved her more than his life” Chai Siew!

Somewhere in the middle, Sau Ling met up with Kau Chong again. She somewhat hinted towards him that he still had a chance with her, as long as he amounted to something in the near future. That gave Kau Chong hope again, and so he started to try his ultra best to become powerful and be “high” enough in society for Sau Ling’s hand in marriage. However, because of some stupid misunderstanding on both parties, Sau Ling and Kau Chong finally broke up, and Sau Ling married Chai Siew because she finally saw how much Chai Siew really loved her, and that she owed him too much to leave him. Since the beginning, their love was fated to be doomed…

My thoughts:
Like I said before, I don’t have much feelings for this couple. It is obvious that TVB is trying to promote and popularize Tavia Yeung, because even though most people should hate her character, you could see the scriptwriters trying desperately to stop that from happening. She was beautiful, understanding, smart, strategic, gentle, calm, etc. Supposedly to be very likeable, she was just plain eerie to me. The fact that she can be so calm and intelligent makes me feel that she’s more of a saint than a real person. That’s what TVB did, turned her into a goddess in the hope that the audience will adore her. :/ I would have to say the scriptwriters failed, as Tavia’s popularity didn’t rise too much because of Sau Ling.

Li Qian – Sung Yuk Chi
Many people did not like Li Qian as Sung Yuk Chi in the beginning. People who have read the book think that she is too small and girlish to play the enchanting and mature Sung Yuk Chi. Others found her too “servant-like” to play Miss Sung, who is equal to Sau Ling and is the daughter of a rich businessman herself (this is due to the fact that Li Qian usually played servants in her other films). The rest just don’t like Raymond co-staring with a Mainland actress who nobody knew. I too, did not like Yuk Chi in the beginning.

Being a good friend of Sau Ling, Yuk Chi was visiting her one-day dressed as a male. Escaping from enemies, the twins hid under her cart. She dropped money (those gold rock things) that coincidentally was stuck at this hole on the cart, and right in front of Kau Chong’s face! Kau Chong greedily tried to get it, but was seen by Yuk Chi and she stepped on his fingers! They reached Sau Ling’s residence, and Yuk Chi came out of the cart saying there were thieves under the cart. Of course Kau Chong tried sweet-talking his way out of it, and he touched her leg by accident! He didn’t know she was a girl, and so when she yelled and kicked at him for touching her, he didn’t understand what the big deal was all about! Because of this misunderstanding, their bickering days begun. Yuk Chi would always say things like how useless he was in front of Sau Ling, and Kau Chong would retaliate by playing tricks on her for destroying his image in front of Sau Ling. These scenes were so funny, and they just show how ironic how life can be sometimes; two people who hated each other so much could actually become lovers one day! This bickering couple had such great chemistry! They were sweet and cute when they argued, and the great thing is, they didn’t stop even after they became good friends!

After more episodes, I started to love this character. I found her not that annoying after all, and got used to Li Qian’s portrayal. There really isn’t much for one to hate about Yuk Chi. You will be touched by the way she loved Kau Chong. She fell for him when she thought he was over Sau Ling, but he wasn’t, she misunderstood. Still, she didn’t mind and did many things for him, hiding her feelings in the deepest region of her heart. She used her own body to shield Kau Chong from hitting himself when he went mad from the kung fu. She lied to Kau Chong, saying that Sau Ling did such and such a thing for him, when in reality it was Yuk Chi herself who did it (e.g. taking care of him when he was unconscious). She knew Kau Chong would be happy to hear that Sau Ling did so much just for him, so she didn’t mind giving Sau Ling all the credit. She even helped Kau Chong woo Sau Ling, and tried to help him when they broke up. It didn’t matter that she was hurting inside, as long as Kau Chong was happy, she was too. She was there when Sau Ling first broke his heart, she was there when Kau Chong thought he was going to lose his best friend Zhi Ling, she was there when he was learning his sword tactics, she was there when he broke up with Sau Ling for the final time, she was there when he was started his army, she was there with him on the battlefield when he fought wars, she was there when he betrayed Officer Wong and was about to lose his battle. When Kau Chong was happy, she was there to share it with him, e.g. when he was general of Wong's army, successfully tricking Wong to believe he was loyal to the man. Whenever Kau Chong was hurting, she was there to heal his wounds, e.g. the two times when Sau Ling rejected him to engage/marry Chai Siew. No matter what, she stood by him. She encouraged him, she gave him hope when all he saw was darkness, she covered him with warmth so he could heal. There is no way anyone could hate this character, she’s too likeable!

My feelings:
I guess from my passage from above, you can already make out that I’m a big fan of Kau Chong/Yuk Chi, right? This pair was the only reason I kept renting "Twin of Brothers", so yes, I adore them to pieces! Li Qian’s performance was especially excellent. I went from totally hating her to totally loving her in a few episodes! Your heart hurts when you see her cry, and you would just wish Kau Chong wakes up and fall for her already! That’s how good her acting was! In my opinion, they are the most romantic pair TVB has invented lately, and I really totally congratulate the scriptwriters on their excellent development of these two.

With Tzee Zhi Ling:

Leila Tong – See Fei Huan
The twins were secretly being harmed by Wan Wan (Nancy), who belonged to the evil sect and was ordered by her master to steal the “Immortal Routine”. Since the twins were still young and naïve, they didn’t know she was stirring up mischief for them in the beginning. This was where Fei Huan came in. She was from a good sect whose agenda involved saving the human race from destruction, so she intervened and saved the twins from Wan Wan’s evil clutches. Zhi Ling fell for Fei Huan after he saw her face accidentally for the first time behind her veil. At first Fei Huan tried to resist Zhi Ling’s love because she was basically half a nun and her master disallowed her to have any kind of love with anyone. But in the end, as Zhi Ling spent more time with her alone, one thing led to another, and she eventually fell for him and never left his side again. In the end, Zhi Ling’s persistence paid off.

My thoughts:
Like Kau Chong/Sau Ling, I have no feelings towards this couple. To be honest, I didn’t find their love all that romantic. I fast-forwarded their parts and only watched Kau Chong’s story.

Nancy Wu – Wan Wan
Zhi Ling was only interesting in the beginning when he was still hanging by Kau Chong’s side. The only other times he was bearable to watch without me yawning were his scenes with Wan Wan. As a pupil and member of an evil sect, Wan Wan was ordered to steal the twins’ “Immortal Routine”, but in the end, she fell in love with the clueless and gentle Zhi Ling.

My thoughts:
While Ron and Leila’s outlook make them the 100% matching couple, I think Zhi Ling’s scenes would have been 1000% better if he had more scenes with Wan Wan; even greater if the one he loved was her! Wan Wan’s “evil sect girl” personality would have had produced some nice chemistry with Zhi Ling’s “gentleman” nature. And like Yuk Chi, the things Wan Wan did for Zhi Ling made my heart cry for her ill-fated destiny of never having Zhi Ling’s heart.

The plot, or lack thereof:
There were many times when the scriptwriters kept the same things going on and on again in circles. For example, the twins kept going back to look for Yu Man Fa Kup to avenge Fu Guan Chek’s (their teacher and also “pretty mother”) death. I lost count how many times they failed before they realized they should just quit for now and move on! And then the twins kept leaving the Lee family because Kau Chong wanted to use his own talents to get a place in society, but continued to go back to them whenever they got in trouble, which they do a lot! Get on with it!!!

5 Things to Praise About "Twin of Brothers"
1. Beautiful sceneries and costumes
2. Appropriate background music
3. Refreshing computer graphics
4. Interestingly written supporting characters (E.g. Lee Mut, Sek Chi Heen, etc.)
5. KAU CHONG AND YUK CHI!!!

5 Things for TVB to Approve On Next Time
1. An almost-non-existent plot
2. Redundant love affairs, not enough on wars and fights near the middle
3. Rushing to end the series
4. Butchering of characters to satisfy plot twists
5. Unnecessary ending

I give this series a rating of 4.5 because, despite my various complaints about it, overall, "Twin of Brothers" is a very successful series. There was action, there was romance, there were good times there were bad times. It kept me wanting more. I enjoyed "Twin of Brothers", though can't TVB ever do a series without dragging it?!

Official Site
http://www.tvb.com/tvbi/program/twin/index.html


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