Return to the Truth

Reviewed by: sukting

November 22, 2008

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Do you wish to see how Lui Chung Hin and Kong Wah act as brothers? This is the first time I see Mai Shuet acting as a mother. This drama will be able to satisfy your curiosity. Most of them are in TVB now, playing supporting roles. Please let me know if I have made any mistake as I watched it many years ago.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Lam Shu Han – Mai Shuet
She is the mother of the brothers. She is sick of the poor life and being ill-treated by Sek Nien, so she abandons her family and remarries Shing. She enjoys riches but misses her sons. She finds them but Sai Hong is still bitter over what happens and refuses to forgive her. Sai Kit is greedy and acknowledges her. She showers him with wealth and love in order to reduce her guilt.

Upon knowing that Sai Kit killed Shing for his property, both have an argument. Sai Kit accidentally pushes her down from the home balcony and she falls to her death in the garden from the second floor. It is a pity that she never gets Sai Hong’s pardon before her death. As expected, Mai Shuet puts up a strong performance as the mother although she looks too young at times.

2. Ko Sek Nien – Kwok Fung
He is very bitter over his life as his rice business isn’t doing well. Thus he beats his family frequently. When Shu Han leaves, he gets mad to burn his shop. This results in Sai Kit having a brain concussion and Sai Hong has to take care of both of them. He deserves this kind of retribution as he makes his whole family miserable. Maybe Sai Kit is sore over this and doesn’t want to call him father right after the arson.

3. Cheng Shing – Lau Dan
He is the family’s neighbour and is attracted by Shu Han’s beauty. Both elope and he feels sad when he has no children of his own. He regards Sai Kit as his son and this spineless nerd actually calls him father, making his own father sad to die of a heart attack. Sai Kit is never satisfied with what he gets so he kills Shing to get ALL his money.

4. Ko Sai Hong – Kong Wah
He is the elder brother. He is upset when his whole family is broken up. Sai Kit has been trapped in a wheelchair since young. Thus he bravely takes up any job to make ends meet. He even begs Doctor Lo to treat Sai Kit. He is in love with Yee Mun and both date for a while. However, Sai Kit comes between them and causes them to break up. Sai Hong then concentrates on his career instead. After Sai Kit ditches Yee Mun, he gets so angry to break ties with him.

His relationship with Shu Han is strained. He sets up a shop with Ah Chun. Shu Han sends a fruit basket to congratulate him, but he never forgives her. He even blames Siu Ling for this and drives her away. When he can’t find her, he can’t rest his mind. After he finds her at the beach, both affirm their relationship. He slowly becomes soft-hearted towards Shu Han although he refuses to admit it. On the day of her death, he went to visit her but stopped at the gate and turned back home.

Upon knowing what has happened to her, he keeps blaming himself. He doesn’t hesitate to bring Sai Kit to court but Sai Kit confuses the witness to get off the hook. He can suppress his anger no more to beat him up outside the court.

My classmates found Kong Wah resembling Lau Tak Wah. They may be right as he was younger then. He acted decently, but was not really that fantastic as this role suppressed all his feelings. I hardly saw him showing emotions – except in the scene where he beat up Sai Kit. Still, it is considered one of his best works when he was in ATV.

5. Ko Sai Kit – Lui Chung Hin
He is the younger brother. From young, he is already evil to the core to put rat poison into the family’s rice – to spite a rich family who jeers at him. That causes the rice business to turn bad. He keeps blaming Sai Hong for not saving him in time when he was young to cause him to be paralysed for years. He is jealous, thinking that Sai Hong has a better life. Sai Kit is very ungrateful after he gets cured.

Knowing that Sai Hong loves Yee Mun, he becomes the third party. Seeing that Shu Han is rich now, he acknowledges her. he also has the cheek to call her present husband father to stay with them. Upon knowing that Siu Wai is rich, he dumps Yee Mun to marry her. He then controls the family business and ruins it by selling it to Shing.

He is delighted that Yee Mun has a son but Yee Mun refuses to admit that the baby is his. This man never stops killing one after another. He kills Shing as he hopes to get his money. Even though Shu Han is dead, he is bent on making sure that her share will not end up with Sai Hong. He sends killers to attack him. Sai Hong is with his nephew and the poor boy becomes the victim to get killed. (Don’t we see this in ‘Looking Back in Anger’?) That is why Sai Hong can’t condone Sai Kit’s actions anymore and wants to bring him to justice.

However, his attempt fails. Sai Kit gloats over his good fortune when he gets Shu Han’s money after the trial. He also gets control of the Shing and Leung companies. At this time, he finds his hands shaking and is alarmed. All doctors can’t cure him. Doctor Lo has passed away and his previous patients are showing the same symptoms now. Sai Kit knows that his illness has reoccurred and regrets what he has done. What is the point of having so much money and he can’t spend it?

He knows that his days are numbered and he requests to see Sai Hong. Other serials will have the older brother forgiving the younger brother (in ‘Looking Back in Anger’, ‘Flaming Brothers’ and also Relentless Justice’ – Chi Kong is simply too nice to bring Fai Wong who is sitting on the wheelchair to their old residence to recall their past.) for his misdeeds. But this one – the ending is cruel and factual indeed.

Sai Hong maintains that he will never forgive him. He never bothers to help him up when he falls from the wheelchair. He just walks away! Soon we hear a gunshot and we know what happens to Sai Kit. But Sai Hong continues to walk away without stopping!! A classic and unexpected turn of events from the usual plots we see. Maybe Sai Hong is also blaming himself – all of this might not have happened if Sai Kit wasn’t cured.

What can we complain about as Chung Hin put all he had learned from Hong Kong Acting Academy to good use? He makes Sai Kit so detestable that all will wish to wallop him. Between him and Hoi Wai from ‘Relentless Justice’, I will choose Chung Hin as the winner as he goes so much in depth for it.

6. Lee Yee Mun - Choi Hiu Yee
She is Sai Hong’s girlfriend who feels lonely as Sai Hong often neglects her because of work. One night, she gets drunk. She sleeps with Sai Kit, thinking that he is Sai Hong. Both cohabit and she gets pregnant. Sai Kit doesn’t know this and dumps her. She bravely accepts her fate to be a single mother and stays alone. Sai Hong takes good care of her.

Sai Kit visits her after she gives birth but she refuses to let him carry the baby. She pins all her hopes on her son but his death ruins all her hopes. Even after Sai Kit becomes a vegetable, she refuses to visit him. She simply can’t get over her son’s death. I feel that she should have switched roles with Kam Ling. Kam Ling is more petite than her and she doesn’t look that weak to me.

7. Leung Kwong Wing – Yeung Kwan
He is a successful businessman who dotes on his daughters. He is also Shing’s business rival. Shing has been eyeing his company for a long time. He spoils Siu Wai and can never get along well with Siu Ling. He is very wary of Sai Hong when he woos Siu Wai. But since he marries into the family, he lets his guard down to let him manage his business. Sai Kit proves him wrong when he gets control of the company instead. He falls sick and is out of ideas on how to win it back.

8. Leung Siu Ling – Lau Kum Ling
She is the younger daughter but she never shows off her wealth. Kwong Wing has hoped that she will help in the family business but she chooses to become a lawyer. She gets to know Sai Hong and falls for him. Knowing that Shu Han longs to get Sai Hong’s forgiveness, she tries to help them. She feels bad for Yee Mun as Siu Wai seizes her husband. Thus she moves in to stay with her and takes care of her.

It is considered a breakthrough for Kam Ling as she worked with ATV’s up and coming actors. She does well in the court scene when Siu Ling is trying to nail Sai Kit for his deed. She also has chemistry with Kong Wah as a couple.

9. Leung Siu Wai – Yeung Yuk Mui
She is the elder sister, - spoilt, arrogant and also insensitive to others. Being capable, she manages the family business. She falls for Sai Kit at first sight. Even though she knows that he is attached to Yee Mun, she keeps humiliating her. No doubt, she gets him in the end but she has invited a fox into her house. She has voluntarily given her family fortune away to him. She can only cry helplessly with Kwong Wing.

Yuk Mui also turns in a fine performance as a woman who initially looks down on others to get dejected at the end. Actually, her curly haired image doesn’t lose out to Wan Bik Ha in ‘Vengeance’. Why didn’t she get famous after this?

10. Ah Chun – Yim Chau Wah
He is the brothers’ loyal friend who grew up with them. He dislikes Sai Kit from young as he witnessed him putting the rat poison and keeps warning Sai Hong of him. Sai Hong thinks that it is undue worry and he has complete trust in Sai Kit. It later proves that Ah Chun’s instinct is correct. He is also the middle-man to bring Siu Ling and Sai Hong together. He finds her kind when she helps him through a court case and introduces her to Sai Hong.

Did you see a strong resemblance between this drama and others? Please allow me to list them below:

1) The elder brother is kind while the younger brother is evil. Both must be handsome-looking or capable. Some end up in the same profession to outdo one another.
2) Some elder brothers are the cause of their younger brother’s misery or illness. So they try hard to make it up to them when they grow up.
3) The younger brother gets a lot of money and still comes up with evil deeds as his greed can’t be satisfied. Sometimes, to the extent of wanting to kill the elder brother.
4) They try to get their elder brother to take the rap for their misdeeds. The elder brother doesn’t mind it as they love them too much even if they get jailed or wronged to be blamed.
5) The younger brother will try to get his elder brother’s ex-girlfriend. Some of them truly in love with them while others do this just to spite them and dump the girls later.
6) To make sure that they have powerful backing, the younger brother will marry a rich girlfriend and desert their beloved. After that, they keep going back to their ex, making their marriage only alive in name. Or probably get them to will all their assets to them too.
7) They will eat humble pie to get into their father-in-laws’ good books. After the old men become ill, they will torture them emotionally – telling them their real motives of marriage.
8) They never get jailed for their misdeeds as they often buy witnesses or talk their way out in court.
9) Most younger brothers repent their mistakes while some don’t.
10) Their elder brothers will continue living happily (or safely) after the younger brothers kill themselves or get killed.

We see all the ten factors in countless dramas so there is no exception for this one. It amuses me to think that this formula can be repeated in ‘Relentless Justice’, which is more than 15 years later. But what I like this drama is that it shows a true side of life. No matter how close two brothers are, one can’t forgive the other as he has done a deep wrong. I can’t imagine Chi Kong letting Fai Wong off in ‘Relentless Justice’. But I can understand why Sai Hong can’t forgive Sai Kit at all.

He has done a terrible mistake to forsake their father, murder their mother and kill his nephew. His whole family is wiped out because of him. How deep the hatred is! And it fits the title so right – return to the truth. I am won over by the two actors’ acting. Both are definitely underrated. If this drama is shown in TVB, I am sure that they will soar to popularity immediately. Luckily, they did after the switch, otherwise few people would get to know them and they would continue to waste their years in ATV due to the lack of promotion.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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